Peshawar Attack: Failures, Tragedies and the Blame Game

Whenever violence is perpetrated in Pakistan like the Peshawar attack, the government and the military accuse India.

peshawar-attack

Pakistani Prime Minster Nawaz Sharif

The deadliest militant attack that resulted in the killing of more than 140 kids in an army-run school in Peshawar has deeply shocked the world and created an eerie atmosphere.

Shortly after the brutal attack, the chief spokesperson of the Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the carnage. The Taliban said that the attack was carried out in reprisal to Zarb-e-Azab, an ongoing Pakistani military operation aimed at wiping out terrorist networks in the tribal regions of the country.

In the wake of this horrible attack, Prime Minster Mohammad Nawaz Sharif immediately called an emergency meeting of all political parties to come up with a comprehensive plan that could prevent such tragedies in future.

This attack on innocent kids was unprecedented, dreadful and horrible. These kids had no knowledge of religion, nor of the military operation against these terrorists. The attack shook the Pakistani nation as well as everybody else in the world. However, it didn’t come as a total surprise.

Pakistani religious fundamentalist groups have carried out such gruesome attacks on a number of occasions in the past, resulting in heavy casualties. Christine Fair, a prominent author and an assistant professor at Georgetown University, said in an interview with The Diplomat that she was not surprised the way this horrible attack was carried out. “There were hundreds of such attacks on girls’ schools since the last decade. This is something that the Taliban carried out with some considerable frequency.”

Formally known as the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, or (TTP), the Pakistani Taliban is led by Mullah Fazlullah.

The leader of the banned outfit has been very instrumental in carrying out attacks on girls’ schools. In October 2012, Malala Yousufzai, the youngest ever Nobel laureate, narrowly escaped from an assassination attempt from Taliban mastermind Mullah Fazlullah.

Whenever violence is perpetrated in Pakistan, the government and the military accuse India, subjecting it to scathing criticism for being involved instead of battling the actual enemies. Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan’s former military dictator who ousted the civilian government of Nawaz Sharifthe incumbent Prime Minister in 1998said in a recent television interview that this attack was backed by India.

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Since 9/11, Pakistan has become the epicenter of religious fundamentalist outfits, which have not only created instability in Pakistan but also have posed a grave threat to India. The Mumbai attack in 2008 is one such example.

There is a general perception among Indians that Pakistan is selectively fighting the terrorist groups. They argue that Pakistan views terrorists who are a threat to India as good terrorists. They say Hafiz Saeed, the leader of the terrorist outfit Jamat-ud-Dawa which sends fighters in Indian Kashmir, freely holds public rallies in Pakistan’s capital.

In an interview with Arif Jamal, who is the author of The Call for Transnational Jihad, Hafiz Saeed says, “Why should I hide or be afraid of the fact that I wage jihad against India? Is any Muslim afraid of fasting in the holy month of Ramadan?”

The recent move of the Pakistani anti-terrorism courts to release Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, the alleged mastermind of the Mumbai attack, also indicates the non-seriousness of Pakistan in rooting out terrorism from its soil. Lakhvi is the founding operational commander of the Lashkar-e-Taiba and founding leader of the Jamat Ud Dawa.

On Facebook Jamal said that “Nobody expected Pakistan to release him while the Pakistani nation was struggling to recover from one of the worst terrorist attacks in which more than 130 kids were brutally killed by Islamist terrorist in Peshawar.”

Zahid Ali Baloch, a Fulbright Fellow, writes on Pakistan and Baloch issues for The Daily Dawn, The Daily Times and The Baloch Hal ( A newspaper banned by the Pakistani government because it reports on Baloch issues). He can be reached at zahid.sajidi@yahoo.com.