Pakistan is mourning the tragic death of two brave and fearless heroes this week – the daring son of a madrassa curator who gave his own life to take away that of a Karachi’s most feared policeman, and the courageous young suicide attacker whose bomb went off trying to run from a fat highschool bully in Hangu.

Analysts blame illiteracy and lawlessness. “If terrorists could read and write, they would know Pakistan’s schools are helping their cause,” said the president of the teacher’s union in the troubled Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, devastated by decades of violence, bigotry and terrorism, taught in its school curriculum.

A security expert said the rule of law was the answer. “The state has no writ over large parts of the country, and that is the fundamental problem,” he said. “If these terrorists could see that the police is fully capable of torturing, terrorizing, raping, and murdering Pakistanis, they would realize that their campaign is redundant.”

Sources close to the primary suspect in the assassination in Karachi say the young madrassa student was himself a victim. “He was a law-abiding citizen, on his way to Shia seminary to carry out a suicide attack, when he got caught in the suicide attack that killed Chaudhry Aslam,” his close friend revealed to this scribe. He criticized the police of the metropolitan city, blaming it for the debacle, saying his group will continue to battle the legacy of Chaudhry Aslam. “These things have become routine in Karachi now,” he said. “When you leave your home in the morning, you don’t know if you’ll be able to safely carry out a suicide attack in the evening.”

But things are much better for the Taliban in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, where Tehrik-e-Insaf leader Imran Khan came under harsh criticism after he took sides with high school boy who stopped a young disillusioned suicide attacker from expressing himself, instead of the bullying victim who was tackled and stopped until his suicide vest went off.

“It was such a disappointment,” said a young student. “We were hoping that our exams will be delayed because of the suicide attack.” He also criticized Malala Yousafzai for siding with parents in the bitterly polarized debate between parents and children on whether the latter should go to school.

A Taliban spokesman said via telephone from an undisclosed location that he had himself been bullied by big kids when he was in school. “In the beginning, I wasn’t sure if it was bullying or that’s how boys played with each other,” he said. “They would spit in my lunch, or slap me and run away, or write inappropriate things on my school notebooks,” the spokesman said before he broke down.

Speaking of bullies, Imran Khan came down hard on his own party’s government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa while talking to reporters, asking why it did not react immediately to the incident. A source said the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief minister did in fact react to the incident in a timely fashion, and was amongst the few prominent leaders who attended the funeral of the suicide attacker who was killed in the explosion.

“That boy can stop one suicide attacker with force,” he told the gathering, “but he cannot stop the entire Tehrik-e-Insaf from creating a narrative that justifies these attacks. Our leader Imran Khan can create several hundred new suicide attackers with one public rally.”

The Taliban spokesman agreed with him, and called for an end to the victimization and dehumanization of his group.

“We will bomb them in their houses, and we will bomb them in their mosques,” he warned. “We will bomb them in their hospitals and we will bomb them in their schools. We will bomb them at their weddings, and we will bomb them at their funerals. We will bomb them in their offices and we will bomb them in their shops. We will bomb their children, and we will bomb their elders. And we will continue to bomb them until they stop accusing us falsely of being violent terrorists.”

“That is cowardly,” a Jamaat-e-Islami leader responded. “Suicide attacks are acts of cowardice. They must become true soldiers. They must try to get their hands on nuclear weapons and carry out major destruction.”

He strongly opposed the government’s plans to hold a dialogue with the Taliban. “We cannot negotiate with these beasts. We should just give them what they want.”

 The author has a degree in Poetics of Prophetic Discourse and works as a Senior Paradigm Officer.

Email:harris@nyu.edu

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