The nine Pakistanis belonging to TTP, who attacked the Kamra Airbase in the wee hours of the most sacred night for Muslims, the Lailatul Qadr, prove that nothing is sacrosanct for these people.

This is the one night that so many among the Muslims are up all night praying for forgiveness and all else that they wish for. It is hardly the night on which they would fear to be attacked by anybody belonging even to other faiths, let alone their own. The facts, however, are the opposite.

A sinister group of fellow Pakistanis and fellow believers carried out a well planned attack to undermine our military institutions, close to sehri time and at the tail-end of the holy month of Ramazan during the night of Lailatul Qadr. There is, obviously, a great distance in their beliefs and ours, perhaps, even wider than the difference between Islam and all other religions.

It is to the credit of the combat-readiness of the security personnel on duty at the base that the attack was repulsed and foiled, and could not do the sort of damage it had set out to do. Yet, it also leaves us wondering where it is that these fellow Pakistanis are picked up from and further, taken to be indoctrinated and trained?

If there is awareness of their location, then those areas have to be reclaimed by us and the enemy either driven out or reconverted. If some of these people have infiltrated our institutions, as suggested, then there should be people among our intelligence services who ought to be concentrating on infiltrating their organisations, too, to be better able to monitor their plans. 

After each attack on our military institutions, it is recognised that these people have some sort of help from a retired or serving insider, which helps them plan their execution in such detail. Our intelligence gathering sleuths do manage to home in to dates and target areas, yet prevention does not seem to be up to the same mark. It has gotten better over time, but needs to improve further.

The octopus-like hold of this ongoing war on terror has got Pakistan so fully caught up in it that it seems next to impossible to wriggle free. It has no simple solutions to it, but it would help somewhat if important people, like the US Secretary of Defence Leon Panetta, do not make public announcements of Pakistan Army’s intending operations in North Waziristan Agency (NWA). It is like showing the red flag to the bull, so to speak!

It is quite another thing to have our own Army Chief, in his address to the Pakistan Independence Day Parade at PMA, Kakul, mince no words about militant operations in Pakistan. The Chief said the right things and we have to rid the country of this menace.

It was kind of Alladinesque though when the Army Chief (who was consistently shown among the guests in the first row wearing a sherwani, watching the live transmission of the Independence Day PTV programme from the presidency) appear in full uniform, almost simultaneously and also live, to address the Parade in PMA. Almost as magical as the Queen of England and James Bond when they did their helicopter trip from the Buckingham Palace to the Olympic Stadium!

Maybe our Chief used a flying carpet, who knows! Most Pakistanis believe that the faujis can do everything and anything - if they set their minds to it!

Unfortunately, the civilians are not viewed with the same conviction, despite the wish for democratic institutions to flourish. They seem to manage to perform even lower than the very low expectations that the average citizen has of them. Ironically, they worsen their own previous records, instead of merely equalling or, miraculously, improving upon them.

The Independence Eve PTV programme shown live from the presidency was one such example. There were important people from all walks of life invited for the event, including a large number of Ambassadors present in Islamabad. PTV has always done these sort of shows very well, given the resources it has. This year, however, the element of creativity and showmanship was altogether missing.

They took the showcasing of the performing arts of Pakistan to a new non-exciting! Rahat Fateh Ali was good, but too hemmed in. The only other item was a group of school children, who waved flags and lip-synced to a few well-known tarannas. The difference was that even schools now do these shows better. Among the things that need disbanding the name of PTV, I’m afraid, must be added.

Postscript: There were some good names added to the list of the award-getters this Independence Day. Nice to know that there is somebody appreciating and evaluating the life efforts made by some to their chosen professions. It was good to see among the recipients the names of Manto and Josh, Tahira Syed and Jugnoo Mohsin and most of all Sohail Ahmad. All of them have given us so much insight or pleasure or just happiness. Truly well-deserved!

As we reach the end of the holy month and prepare for Eid, the contrasts begin too. While the whole of the last month has been about piety and atoning and serious stuff like that on all our TV channels, beware that it is about to take a 180 degree turn on Eid Day, as the snippets being shown reveal. Quite the other end of the pendulum! Only serious thumkas and jhatkas to be aired. Oh, whatever happened to moderation in all our areas of life?

The writer is a public relations and event management professional based in Islamabad. Email: tallatazim@yahoo.com