Being a regular viewer of Najam Sethi’s late night show on Geo TV (Jang Group), sometimes I am bemused by his selective pick and choose of topics and the way he interprets several issues. There are many occasions when I am grossed out by his simplistic and mediocre take on issues and his selective skips and omissions.
Last night, commenting on Pew global attitudes project report on public opinion in Pakistan, he reprized his same oft-repeated views on popularity and unpopularity of leaders, Imran Khan, Nawaz Sharif, Asif Zardari, General Kayani and Iftikhar Chaudhry. But most surprising were his comments on decline in percentage of people who consider Taliban a threat.
When Najam Sethi was asked about this decline in public opinion in last two years, he responded that it is because two years back, they were on a rampage in Swat and FATA, there were threats of Taliban’s march towards Islamabad and imminent fall of Peshawar. After military action against them, the threat has been foiled. Also in the last year, Taliban have changed their tactics and didn’t attack civilians like before and mostly targetted persons from the armed forces.
Now read comments by Najam Sethi and check data and facts of the past two years. The decline in suicide bombing at public places targeting civilians came only in Punjab. The highest rate of suicide bombing was in 2009 when Punjab too was under attack along with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and FATA.
While the number of suicide declined after Punjab Govt and intelligence agencies there and in the center (Islamabad) reconciled with the Punjab faction of Taliban (LeJ, ASWJ, HuJI), as a result suicide attacks in Punjab and on the offices of intelligence agencies did decline. The area highly affected by the terrorists attacks, KPK and FATA have to face the same intensity and outrage of Taliban. Anti-Taliban tribal elders have been killed, civilians blown in Peshawar, Parachinar, Mardan and other areas, Shrines and tombs of Sufis and intellectuals attacked, ANP local leaders have been killed, its women parliamentarian attacked, and KP Police have lost hundreds of their colleagues, sipahis and officers.
On the other hands Taliban’s brother in the arms, the sectarian killers from Punjab and their foot-soldiers have intensified their attacks against Shias from Parachinar to Gilgit Baltistan, Karachi to Quetta. They are killing people indiscriminately for their faith, face attributes resembling to Shia Hazaras and Shia sounding names after checking their Identity Cards and examining their backs (to see self-flagellation marks of Shia Muslims).
They have no respite for those who are considered a hurdle in their objectives, and who are used as sacrificial lambs in Pakistan Army’s tough give and take bargaining business with the United States.