Little did we know that the beautiful Friday morning in Oslo, less than a week ago, would turn into a tragedy in the afternoon, changing forever the Norwegian capital, the country and the world. The bomb blast at 03.23pm on Friday, July 22, 2011, outside the Norwegian Prime Ministers Office killed eight people and injured many more. The damage to the buildings was unimaginable, if just coming from a car bomb. As if this was not enough, the perpetrator drove his car for an hour, took the ferryboat across to the holiday island of Utoeya in Lake Tyrifjorden northwest of Oslo, where he disguised as a policeman carried out the worst atrocities possible, shooting dead around 100 young people and injuring many more, some of whom still missing presumed drowned. It took as long as one and half hours before the armed police arrived, apprehending the perpetrator, the 32-year-old Anders Behring Breivik, a right-wing extremist, who must not only be confused and wired, but also insane. Breivik was a blue-eyed and fair-haired; a typical ethnic Norwegian, not at all a brown-eyed, bearded foreigner with Al-Qaeda sympathies, as the media began speculating initially. Survivors of the nightmare said that he had looked calm and composed throughout the ordeal, which indicates that he must also have doped himself with tranquilisers and other drugs, making the idealistic Labour Party Youth at the summer camp look like little insects that he could kill, and finally begin rooting out what he in his sick mind considered dangerous future leaders in Norway and Europe. In the court hearing on Monday, he explained that he had to do what he did in order to stop the country and Europe from being taken over by Marxists and Muslims - never mind that Norway has less than 150,000 Muslims in a total population of five million, and the Marxists would at most be a few thousand. He also claimed that he was part of a larger European network and two other cells in Norway were planning further attacks. The woman heading the main police security services said yesterday that she does not believe that at all. It is rather thought that wired loners, such as Breivik, dream up and imagine having many sympathisers and even being part of organisations and networks. It is not likely to be true, but it may still be a fact that there are other individuals and right-wing extremist groups in Europe, who would have similar twisted ideologies as Breivik, yet, without going as far in criminal action as he did. After the Second World War, the Nazi Party has been banned in most European countries, including in Norway. However, from time to time, some so-called new-Nazi groups have surfaced, again usually including loners and outsiders, sometimes descendants of old Nazis from the war. I remember, for example, when I was young and lived in Oslo in the 1970s one such group was discovered after an explosion on the outskirts of the city, injuring several people. But in no way near what Breivik has done, and not at all ideologically founded, rather as revenge from having been ostracised due to the way their Nazi relatives had been dealt during the war trials and afterwards. But such small groups would normally not have members with very coherent thoughts and ideologies, which Breivik seems to have, at least to a certain extent. At a press conference on Tuesday, Breiviks lawyer Geir Lippestad explained that his client considers Norway being at war and that in the future, say in 67 years, he believes that people then will thank him for having begun the revolution to save the Western World. The lawyer said that his client was surprised that he had managed to reach the Island of Utoeya after first having detonated the explosives downtown in Oslo, diverting attention. He also thought that his client had expected to be killed, and that the claimed other two cells in Norway, and many in Europe, would continue the war against the democratic systems of Norway and elsewhere. The actions were serious but necessary, Breivik had said. The lawyer also explained that he found his client to be very calm and cool. He even suggested that his client must be insane, considering his opinions and justifications for his actions, leave alone the actions themselves. He had shown no empathy for his victims and he shows no remorse afterwards. His understanding of reality seems to be beyond sanity, the lawyer said. There are many questions to ask and issues to analyse: Why did this happen? Shouldnt somebody have realised that Breivik had gone astray? Has the Norwegian society become too individualistic allowing a loner, as it seems, like Breivik live his own wired life, plan his atrocities, buy the ammunition and guns, and so on, without anyone noticing? And even his Facebook pictures, armed and in military uniform, and the manifesto, were of such a nature that somebody should have noticed and questioned him. But then, Norway is a tolerant society. People are allowed to do their own things and nobody should interfere. Well, as long as it does not harm anybody else. This time it certainly did. Some will say that this is a too high price for freedom. Yet, I would emphasise what the Norwegian Prime Minister Hon. Jens Stoltenberg said in several statements and interviews, notably that we should not give in to the perpetrators terror actions. We should strengthen our democracy and protect the values of openness, democracy and inclusiveness. We must not descend into the level of the killer, not pursue another military spree against extremist actions. The idea that represents Norway is precisely that we shall expand inclusiveness, care and understanding for all human beings. I have been moved by the many Pakistani and Afghan friends and colleagues, who have contacted me after the tragedy in Norway last Friday. They have called, sent SMS messages and emails; they have extended condolences and expressed sympathy; they have shown compassion with the Norwegians, who have never experienced such atrocities. The Pakistanis themselves are used to bomb blasts and terror attacks - due to no fault of their own. The high number of Pakistani-Norwegians in Norway makes the country and the current tragedy closer to Pakistan than it would otherwise be. I have also met some Pakistani-Norwegians in Islamabad after the tragedy, and many have wanted to talk with other Norwegians. The Pakistan-Norway Association, PANA, and other groups have held vigils, and the Embassy has first and foremost looked after its own staff. When tragedies of this character strike, usually smaller but still serious tragedies, expatriate communities join hands, and friends and strangers meet and comfort each other, discuss, and maybe read a prayer together. In Pakistan, we are lucky that the people show such overwhelming empathy and kindness towards us Norwegians. That is a reminder to us Norwegians living in Pakistan, that we must also show empathy when tragedies happen in the beautiful land of Pakistan. True, Norway is a generous donor, which after the earthquake in 2005 donated more than $75 million and in 2009 and 2010, some $25 million where donated each year to the IDPs and the flood victims, in addition to similar amounts in regular development aid. Emergency allocations and development aid are indeed important. But the empathy and compassion shown by Pakistanis towards Norwegians this time when they are at the receiving end have surpassed everything. I say thank you to all Pakistanis. May God bless the land of Pakistan and the people and may the friendship between Pakistan and Norway grow closer. I know your prayers during Ramazan, and any time, will go a long way to strengthen our relationship - Inshallah. n The writer is a senior Norwegian social scientist based in Islamabad. He has served as United Nations Specialist in the United States, as well as various countries in Africa and Asia. He has also spent a decade dealing with the Afghan refugee crisis and university education in Pakistan. Email: