The suicide attack on a boy’s school in Hangu should awaken those who think that the Taliban have an agenda of enforcing Islam, they want to impose their own version of Islam which has nothing in common with the religion espoused by our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and Shariah that stresses upon importance of education, tolerance, peace, honesty and condemns use of violence and murder of innocent citizens. There is no doubt, religion has been exploited to recruit innocent Muslims for inflicting damage to Pakistan, weaken it from within and reduce it to anarchy that exists in Somalia. The agenda seems to be to drag Pakistan back into the stone age, render thousands permanently handicapped by opposing polio vaccination and isolate it from the international community.

It is an unfortunate reality that our military dictators have exploited religion in the past to perpetuate their illegal hold on power, sow seeds of discord on sectarian, linguistic and ethnic differences, so as to weaken political parties, which may pose a threat to them by launching a nation-wide political struggle to rid this country of martial law. British Raj used this same divide and rule policy to prolong their occupation of the sub-continent. The demons that we have created, because of our shortsightedness have come back to haunt us. What Pakistan needs is political leadership and dedicated security agencies with courage and determination such as shown by the 15 year old Aitzaz Hassan, who foiled the evil design of a suicide bomber who intended to blow up a school with almost 800 students assembled there.

Pakistan is our geographical identity, created through constitutional struggle, so that a Muslim majority could live in peace with members of other faiths, each practicing their religion, yet working together as a nation to achieve economic prosperity, developing human resources through education in science, technology, economics, social sciences, art and culture etc, not to become a state hostage to armed gangs, terrorists, target killers, land grabbers, greed of self seeking politicians and religious fanatics.

MALIK TARIQ ALI,

Lahore, January 18