This opinion piece was published in Express Tribune, one of Pakistan’s leading English newspapers. It highlighted the Pakistani government’s handling of domestic terrorism as well as the aftermath of the brutal massacre of 150 children and teachers in a school in the city of Peshawar that month.
A brief excerpt below; read the full article here.
On December 18th, when news first broke that Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, a top leader of the terrorist outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and accused mastermind of the Mumbai terror attacks, was going to be released on bail, frenzy ensued. The Indian media exploded, and was quick to compare this development with the Indian show of unity with Pakistan following the Peshawar massacre; pundits denounced it as a case of the same old.
However, something else happened on December 18th. The news quickly went viral on Facebook and Twitter and Pakistanis across the country, as well as overseas, were quick to respond and express rage and disbelief. Many tweeted directly at the Pakistan Army’s PR account to demand an answer. Soon enough, the government announced that the bail decision was a “technical error” and vowed to appeal. Within 24 hours, before he could be let out, Lakhvi was rebooked.
The Pakistan government and army’s response to the Peshawar massacre has been palpable and swift thus far. However, it should not give us rest and cause for unbridled optimism. Pakistan is not new to unspeakable tragedy, even though the sheer scale and monstrosity of this one is unprecedented, and we are definitely not new to promises of change.