I was personally horrified to learn of the slaughter of innocents in Peshawar, only to remind myself that effective executive counter-terror policy requires sound intelligence networks devoted to the maintenance of political institutions that serve ‘citizens.’ The slaughter of innocent children tells how frightened the Taliban are of any further incursion by Isamabad into F.A.T.A. The truth is far more difficult for Sharif and his administration, for he must persuade the Army and ISI where Pakistan’s interest lay.
Khan is now most certainly sidelined, given the moral depravity of this event. Make no mistake, this event cleaves along the most brittle fault line embodying Pakistan: civil-military relations! If Sharif cannot maintain a course of effective governance, he will not rescue Pakistan from grave error. The maintenance of civilian supremacy means that issues of governance take priority, for the cowardice and fanaticism underwriting the Pashtun militancy can only be defeated politically.
This attack reminds those with clear vision of the mortal danger the Taliban poses to the future of Pakistan remaining a Republic. Pakistan’s military and intelligence institutions have spent decades servicing terror proxies. Until Pakistanis at every level of its society begin to address this collusion, they will not be safe from terror.
Where to begin? How about normalized relations with New Dehli? How about consultation with American counter-terror allies as well as unrelenting repression of terrorists on both sides of Durand. When the Pakistani state itself begins to admonish and pursue terrorists that operate openly in Lahore, it can begin to address the politics of sound civil governance. Until then……Pakistan remains mortally vulnerable.
As Arnold Toynbee wrote of his time in Peshawar, ‘the criteria for growth is self determination.’
Pray for the repose of the souls of harmed children! Peace.