Running down the hall to get to one of my classes on time, I was stopped by a senior colleague who had come to inform me of the DHA Z block blast. Puzzled, I started calling family and friends in the area to confirm if everyone was fine. When I got to class, a sea of young eager faces looked towards me; these pre-teens weren’t young enough to sense something was wrong. Trying to keep everything calm, I resumed with the scheduled class, only to find out after a little while about another blast – which eventually proved to be a rumour. The news of the second blast was the tipping point and chaos became inevitable. Evacuating a school is perhaps a lot more difficult than it seems.
Amidst all the chaos was the constant stress of seeing innocent scared faces looking for answers. What do we tell them? Do we tell them the truth? Or do we lie. Do we tell them the root cause of all this chaos, which perhaps started many generations ago? Or do we lie to them? Do we blame the Panama case, the PSL or do we blame religious extremism?
Following the blast, numerous explanations started emerging. From the very beginning, it seemed as if the Punjab Government was willing to let the blast be anything but an act of terrorism. The initial statement claimed that it was a generator blast, which eventually changed to a brief acceptance of the fact that it was, indeed, a planted bomb which later changed to the statement that it was a cylinder blast. A cylinder blast that caused 10 deaths, numerous injuries and managed to damage buildings even roughly 150 metres away? Why is it that when a similar cylinder blast took place in H block DHA on January 23, 2013, the damage done wasn’t even remotely close? Another point one fails to understand is why most private schools decided to stay closed the following day and why the Z block area was completely cordoned off all night on the 23rd February; when did cylinder blasts start creating this much of an issue?
Nobody wants to live in a constant state of terror and confusion. However, it seems rather odd that just a day after the armed forces launched an operation to ‘rid the country of menace’ (quite literally) that a ‘cylinder’ blast took place within an area that comes under the management of the armed forces. A loophole in the security, perhaps, would better explain this blast.
As far as the public is concerned, I have seen people criticize the government and the association of the Panama case with these blasts in Lahore. I have also seen a possible link between these blasts and the upcoming PSL final in Lahore. While these justifications make sense, I haven’t yet seen one justification that could explain it all. I haven’t seen anyone finally suggest that this is, in fact, an act of ‘Jihad’. We are no strangers to religious extremists present within our country. We are also not strangers to religious scriptures which encourage ‘Jihad’ or fighting in the name of God. Yet we choose to conveniently close our eyes and bury our heads in the sand. In order to avoid the ‘wrath of God’ we choose to face the wrath of these extremists every day.
We very frequently find comfort in blaming external enemies for the menace in our country. If, for once, we decided to see what goes on within the darkest of places in our own homeland we would understand that the problem lies within. Why is it that no religious scholar has ever used his authority to declare Jihad as an outdated concept? Why has no religious scholar taken the pain to declare killing in the name of God wrong?
We condemn blasts, we choose to lie to ourselves about the nature of these blasts, we choose to lock ourselves inside our homes yet we don’t do one small thing that could perhaps make our lives better; we don’t condemn the ideology behind these blasts. In remaining silent at times like these, we are no less than the facilitators of these extremists that help them conduct these blasts. We too, are responsible for all the blood that is spilled. We too, are murderers.