3,400 terrorists killed, 837 hideouts destroyed, 13,200 intelligence based operations carried out, 183 hard core terrorists killed and 21,193 arrested, 488 army personal lost lives and 1914 injured in the one and a half years of the operation Zarb-e-Azb. These are the official figures released by the ISPR on their official website with the slogan, “stay positive, good days coming soon.” Only that the ‘coming soon’ slogan sounds more like the end line of the trailer of some about to be released movie. Actually ‘stay tuned for more’ seems to be more like it as the situation on the ground has taken a positively ghastly turn as the terrorists have openly threatened to blast the universities and colleges all over the country in a video recorded message released.

The thought that seems really demeaning to me, personally also, is the disregard our military establishment has for the cerebral prowess of Pakistani people as an entity and the media personnel in particular. Either they think that all the people living in this unfortunate country are blind or mentally retarded – or both. It is inconceivable how else the DG ISPR can do these amazing press conferences of his with a straight face. There is, however, one issue that he is not asked tough questions by anyone because probably the survival instinct of the humans present at the press conference kicks in, but it does not mean that anyone in his right mind would not but think of them.

The figures presented by the DG ISPR seem more likely to be that of somebody’s imagination rather than the reality. But even if we accept those figures for the sake of satisfying our simple minds, would they mind telling a few details which would corroborate these facts and figures. When they say the operation is going on and there are almost three and a half thousand terrorists killed, would they tell us how they identify these people as terrorists? Where are these killing fields where thousands of these terrorists are killed? What happens to the corpses after they are killed? Are those left for the vultures to devour and if so then are there fields littered with the carcasses of the slain murderers? Who identifies their bodies? Anyone? Or are all the operations carried out and completed without verifications? Where have the twenty-one thousand arrests been made? Which areas in particular? Where are these concentration camps where such an enormous number of terrorists are imprisoned? Who is cooking for these prisoners? Anyone? The army has mentioned only twenty one thousand odd arrests but the wise advisor of the federal ministry Tassadaq Hussain went slightly further and mentioned in a TV talk show that actually the military has made hundreds of thousands of arrests. When the host asked about the place where they are kept, well the sagacious advisor did not have any answer obviously for security reasons.

The question is, if according to the ISPR , there are thousands of people arrested and thousands killed where is the proof of all of this? We have nothing to verify this except the patriotic songs produced by ISPR and that is all the proof most need anyway. When they say ‘it’s done’ then it’s done. No questions asked, period. But questions have now taken a life of their own and they will not be slain by anyone. This has gone far enough now and the people have a right to know the truth. Is there anyone seriously perusing any big terrorists at all and if this is true then who is going to answer about the obvious anomalies? Things are just not adding up right. There are simply too many discrepancies in the claims made and the realities on ground.

The DG ISPR in his latest press conference stated that there were veiled women used to bring arms and ammunition from Darra Adam Khel in Landi Kotal. Is this place situated near Planet Mars where the army cannot reach? When the army claims that they have had spectacular successes in Zarb-e-Azb the claim only rings hollow when we see that only an hour’s drive from Peshawar there is a whole market of illegal arms and ammunition. Anybody – men, women and children – can come there and buy large caches of ammunition and then hide them in the burqa and come back on public transport buses without anybody or any agency remotely getting suspicious at all. Not only that, according to the DG there was a clear warning already with the government agencies regarding  terrorist group threatening to strike Bacha Khan University.

I mean what can be a further example of the sheer audacity of the terrorist groups who went to buy the arms and ammunition from the open market, brought to the city of their choice in public transport – hence travelling on ordinary highways everybody uses and crossing each and every check post on the way – and they did not seem to have a care in the world. They do not seem apprehensive of the fact that there is a grand military operation going on where thousands have been slain and arrested and that there may be checking on any of the posts. No sir, they were clearly so comfortable that they contacted the news reporters of their choice to offer breaking news.

What is the meaning of this news provided by the DG ISPR himself? Can anyone shed some light on it? I for one cannot wrap my head around the apparent comfort level and ease of manner the operation was carried yet again. I mean the terrorists did not crawl under ground for miles, they did not cross dangerous jungles, and they did not swim in icy cold waters of freezing rivers, submerged to remain invisible. They did not go to any such length which might have made their attack hard to detect. They did none of these things, instead they took a bus and then a rickshaw to get to the university. Finding the rickshaw in time perhaps would have been the hardest part of the whole operation. I know, urban transport is a real issue too, but more on that some other time.

So that is how easy it actually was to reach the university. Then pray our dear DG ISPR tell us as to what the presence of the uniformed men at the check posts really amounts to? And what actual deterrence do they provide if they have the vision equivalent to the blind and the competence level of the dead. It is a joke indeed only that this time the joke has gone too far. The questions that have popped out of the walls of the Bacha Khan University are now like the spores burst out in time for fertilizing and these questions will now fertilize the minds of thinking beings everywhere. You will have to face them over and over again and no amount of patriotic songs and documentaries are going to serve as substitute to real answers.

Why is there a thriving illegal arms and ammunition market right next to where the grand military operation is going on? Why is there such sloppy security at all check posts? If all the real master terrorists are comfortably hiding in Afghanistan then tell us what is the point of this operation here? But if all the hard core terrorists have been eliminated according to you then how come there are vibrant groups active, alive and kicking? So much so that the groups have the audacity to produce video massages of the suicide bombers and then release it to the press. In these videos the ‘fidyeens’, the suicide bombers, can be clearly seen as living with their families, training with guns and actually being respected as great warriors by the people around them. If Zarb-e-Zab has succeeded no less than ninety percent then what are these areas where the real killers are well protected and comfortable?

This is not adding up at all and I am not alone in asking these and thousands of other questions. Now everybody wants to know the truth and they will not be satisfied with anything less. It seems as if we are perhaps even more vulnerable now with the renewed threat to our children and very sorry to say, the “good days’ coming soon seems to be a massive hoax.