When our forefathers designed the Pakistani flag, they made a white vertical bar of one quarter of the size of the flag, while the rest of the three quarters were green. This white bar represents the religious minorities in the country while giving them the message of peace and equality. Today, this white bar is red. It's red with the blood of Christians, Shiah, Ahmedis and many more that have refused to toe the extremist ideology. I was simply speechless at the scale of destruction the twin suicide bombs caused at the All Saint' Church soon after the Sunday service. So far more than 80 men, women, children have died and countless are injured or missing.

Some religious leaders were of the view that delay in talks is responsible for these attacks on innocent people, mosques, churches, markets, schools and security forces. In my view the Taliban apologists are causing more harm and becoming more dangerous than the Taliban themselves. These apologists provide political (and financial) support to these terrorists and their murderous ideologies, they use street power to hinder action against them, divide the nation and justify TTP’s actions, saying they are a result of events in Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia and Palestine.

You will find them everywhere, in the bureaucracy, education institutes, political parties and armed forces; always working day and night for the TTP' cause. They will misguide the general public that terrorism is due to Americans presence in Afghanistan, or operation against militants in last 10 years has been a failure. Taliban are Pashtun phenomena that may or may not go away with the exit of Americans from Afghanistan, all they want is to enforce Shariah in the tribal areas which will end insurgency. They keep repeating these arguments on TV channels, in newspapers and in speeches but no one explains why innocent lives have to be lost? Is this not against Islamic beliefs?

It's unfortunate that state has not only lost its writ but senses as well as they seem to be unable to counter the terrorists' propaganda or even explain logically what is happening. State is unable to tell the truth that terrorism didn't start from 9/11, we have been suffering since the 80s. Force is the only way to get rid of the Taliban from Swat, Pashtun may be a dominant group among the Taliban but they are now joined by hundreds of Punjabi and other ethnic groups who have brought finance and skills to speed up the carnage. Swati Taliban didn't stop at the establishment of Shariah courts but went on to conquer more areas. Now the Americans are talking to the Taliban to ensure their safe exit not to surrender, while TTP have asked Pakistani government to surrender its sovereignty. Pakistan is buried in the quagmire of hatred and blood from the day it joined the American-Soviet war in Afghanistan in 80s; since then there is no end to its miseries. We can never ever win this war until we reverse what Ziaul Haq and his like minded generals and politicians did to Pakistan.

MASOOD KHAN,

Saudi Arab, September 23.