Foreign hand

Despite the eagerness of our collective knee to jerk, writes Kunwar Khuldune Shahid, blaming outside factors will only lead to further pandemonium

Foreign hand
The previous week has been marred by two massive terrorist attacks in the country. Jinnah International Airport in Karachi was attacked on Sunday – followed by firing at the ASF academy on Tuesday – killing over 20 people. On the same day as the first Karachi attack, 23 Shia pilgrims were killed in Taftan courtesy bomb explosions and firing in the small town located on the Pak-Iran border. The former attack continues to hog the news, while the latter has been criminally under-reported, probably owing to fears of fueling an imaginary sectarian war. Both attacks have been credited to an ambiguous, intangible and yet ubiquitous “foreign hand”, despite the fact that the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and Jaishul Islam have taken responsibility for the respective attacks.

Somehow admitting that a foreign country managed to make a mockery of our security – or lack thereof – seems to soothe the patriotism (read inner insecurities) of our nationalists and defenders of the security forces more than accepting the simple reality that the terrorist manoeuvres originated from within our own borders. The “foreign hand”, more than a euphemism or a misnomer, is a shoo-in to be mentioned in this state’s epitaph once it dies of self-strangulation. Why would anyone give credit to someone else for a relentless suicide attempt, one that is as blatant as they get?

To be fair to the patriots, there indeed is a foreign hand at play in this suicidal mess. There might not be an imaginary “Iranian proxy”, in a long extinct Saudi-Iran “proxy war”, to blame here; especially since remnants of even an alleged “Iranian proxy” evaporated decades ago. There might not be an Afghan or Indian foreign hand either, despite our readiness to jump the gun and the eagerness of our collective knee to jerk. Some would like to dub Mutahhida Qaumi Movement’s (MQM) involvement as that of a “foreign hand” as well, what with the MQM’s ‘Mohajir’ card and the recent arrest of Altaf Hussain in London. But attacking an airport is out of even MQM’s league.


Islamist jihad is the ‘foreign hand’, despite being born and bred in our country to ward off Russian infidels from Afghanistan in the 1980s. Once Pakistan had successfully played godmother to the mujahideen in exchange for some serious dough, ensuring the Russian collapse by 1992, the godchildren then became important arsenal for Mission Kashmir in the 1990s. The Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP)-supported Taliban regime in Afghanistan completed the jihadist jigsaw in the region by the turn of the millennium. Then 9/11 happened, and as the world united against these dangerous ideologues, Pakistan, the motherland for jihadists – the most vulnerable state for Islamist terrorism – has stubbornly refused to disown its godchildren.

The foreign ideological hand that is wreaking havoc in Pakistan first usurped this territory in 712 AD. And every Islamist imperialist from Muhammad bin Qasim to Hakeemullah Mehsud has been hailed as a hero in this realm, despite being the land’s biggest enemy. It is the same foreign hand, the same foreign ideology that in the shape of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) and Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP) – legal name Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ) – that is involved in Shia genocide all over Pakistan. It is the same foreign hand that has vanquished the ideological mainstream, resulting in half of the Sunni population not even accepting the Shia as fellow Muslims. This in turn makes the ideological ground fertile for Shia ethnic cleansing, which is never recognised as such despite the genocide becoming more barefaced with every act of Shia massacre.

[quote]Pakistan has stubbornly refused to diswon its godchildren[/quote]

It is the same foreign hand that has killed over 50,000 Pakistani citizens, and is yet to receive the status of the state’s enemy, let alone being accepted as a veritable existential threat. The TTP, LeJ, Jaishul Adl, et al are all propagators of a foreign ideology that has for centuries been hell bent on destroying the land of the Indus Valley Civilisation, and chopping off its cultural roots.

The foreign hand’s, foreign ideology is fascist and imperialist. You either conform to it wholeheartedly or you denounce it completely. Negotiating for middle ground with the ideology’s most radical proponents has all the hallmarks of a gruesome suicide. And as the foreign hand wraps itself around the state’s throat, the state is using the other hand to scratch its head.

As “fate” would have it the Islamist Frankenstein would first kill its own godmother, because that is precisely what the behemoth was taught: kill those that differ ideologically. That the state itself was not in complete synchrony with the ideology being fed to the monster never occurred to the statesmen. It has turned out to be a rookie mistake considering that beasts first tend to target the nearest prey. The only option for the state is to amputate the foreign hand that for the past couple of decades has grown into a suicidal limb.