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Stopping terrorist attacks in Pakistan – by Omar Ali


There was a one ton bomb in Badaber (Peshawar) today. Then a suicide bomber struck a shia imambargah in Quetta. And a remote controlled bomb struck a military convoy in North Waziristan. About 60 people have been killed, many more injured. In Quetta the injured were first taken to Bolan Medical Complex where no one was on duty. Someone claimed on twitter that the medical staff left after the Lashkar E Jhangvi called the hospital and warned them. This may not be true. In any case, the injured were then moved to the military hospital and the civil hospital Quetta.

There was the usual outrage on Twitter. And the usual arguments between those who think “this is not our war” and those who think they are batshit crazy to say that. And there were questions about how a suicide bomber made it to the mosque in Quetta in spite of so may checkpoints. Finding it hard to shorten this argument to 140 characters, I wanted to take the opportunity provided by this blog to air a few thoughts:

1. “this is not our war” is a false narrative. Not because it was always our war but because we opted to stay with “intcom” in 2001 (instead of opting to become a Muslim North Korea) and that has consequences. We CANNOT have it both ways now. Jihadist terrorism (especially when directed against major powers, not just against India or Afghanistan) cannot be sheltered and nurtured within our borders while we simultaneously participate in “intcom” (the “international community”) as a normal corrupt third world state. That option was closed in 2001.  Maybe we want that option to stay open. But we are not God Almighty. There are finite options in front of us. Being America’s “important non-NATO ally” is not the ONLY other option. There are others. But keeping the jihadist networks safely sheltered in FATA is not one of them. One way or the other, we had to shut those networks down. Those networks dont want to be shut down. So they will fight. HOW we fight them, what tricks we use, who we prioritize; all these are details and can vary. But SOME fighting was inevitable once we opted for staying with the microsoft-compatible world. We dont even have to advertise it in those words. We can tell lies like other countries tell lies. But ALL options are not open. Having the Jihad and eating NATO cake is not going to happen. Even with a patsy like Kerry. Not gonna happen. SOMEONE in charge has to be clear about this. It does not look like they are. If they were really clear, they would not be paying people like Zaid Hamid to spread disinformation and confusion. For more on this line of thought, see

2. Stopping people at checkpoints is important but it CANNOT be the main way of stopping such attacks. The whole point is to:

A. Decide we are not going to permit this terrorist campaign to continue.

B. Systematically identify and target those organizations and leaders who are responsible for this campaign.

C. Rinse and repeat till they either surrender or die.

This is not rocket science.

Meanwhile, our gloroius commander of the faithful is touring Sri-Lanka to promote “balance of power in South Asia”. The LEJ is helped and backed up by the TTP. The TTP is nourished by the same Madressas and ideologues that support the Good Taliban. The good taliban are our ace in the hole to conquer Afghanistan and maintain “strategic depth”. Strategic depth is essential for “balance of power in South Asia”.
We are back to square one.

PS: as Waqas points out in the comments: “the war against groups like SSP, LeJ, n TTP has always been Pakistan’s war, member of intcom or not, 9/11 or no 9/11. period. if shias, ahmedis, christians, and actually anyone not subscribing to the jihadist worldview is a citizen of pakistan then automatically its the state’s responsibility.”

But (for the sake of PTI-types) let us assume that shia-killing and Ahmedi-killing etc is all fine (since IK thinks those things that were happening prior to 2001 were not a problem), EVEN then, this is now our war. Because they are not going to stop with killing shias and ahmedis.