There is no point finding faults with anyone anymore. Emotional appeals, hysterical theatrics, weeping widows, crying orphans, all of it has lost significance. It seems people have become pain agnostic; but honestly it didn’t happen overnight. They were not always like that. They would care about each other. But lately it seems they have been sedated. They are so deeply polarized that even deaths have been labelled. Now deaths are weighed according to the geography and sectarian affiliations. After a blast news flashes on TV screens, the curious eyes and the foggy minds instinctively reflect concern – again it is instinctive, not with the conscience mind. After a lapse of few moments, when the instinctive empathy wanes, they curiously search for the identity of the victim group. If it belonged to them, they cry and mourn, but if it turns out to be from a different sect or religion, then life carries on for them as a usual business.

Whatever happened in Pakistan in the last few days was inevitable. There was no surprise factor. May be it was a surprise for those who imagined that the turf that took thirty years to lay would be uprooted in a couple of years with bullets, police encounters and aerial firings. In the history of wars, the phrase 'wars are never fought with armies, these are fought on the back of national support' is always doubly underlined. Military operation in a tit for tat style purge of well known, though previously ignored, miscreants cannot deliver what this deeply wounded nation is grossly misled to believe.

It would be foolish to deny this fact that we are now the victims of the same fire lit by our policymakers in the past to burn other’s compounds. But it is the very nature of the fire, if not extinguished it burns without any discrimination. It has been burning us – for many years. Now everyone is feeling the heat and we hastily want to undo it. But despite all of our efforts it doesn’t seem an easy task.

The most horrific of all the recent terrorism incidents is the one that took place at the dargah of Sehwan. Almost 90 people lost life to the like of one suicide bomber, who was in a rush to attain his glory. It was so huge a loss of human life that it jolted even those who were in their deep somber. But it met the same response. PAF jets went up and started targeting the never-ending terrorists hideouts in the tribal belt and by the dawn of the next day, Pakistanis were greeted with the news that 100 terrorists have been killed overnight. It seemed like a match of numbers between terrorists and security forces. It might have offered something for anybody, but it has no significance in terms of the objectivity. Even if all divisions of our army march on Afghanistan and kill all the Khurasanis or Fazlullahs there, terrorism cannot be curbed. In the past we have seen this: how much terrorism was reduced by the death of Baitullah or Hakimullah Mehsud’s deaths? The answer is that it didn’t affect it at all.

Under the spell of vengeance in mind, and foam in mouth, harming some of the enemy’s foot soldiers is not going to bring any respite for public from terrorism. Enemy would just defer its future attacks for a few weeks or months but it will come back and do the same. It is a long haul effort that needs cold planning. In this respect, terrorists are more acute in their planning and coordination. They pick their target months before they actually have to attack. And by the time they do their nefarious work, they don’t have any anger in their planning. To counter this enemy, preemptive planning is required. Professionalism requires a great deal of sticking with the objectives until these are accomplished. The temporary lull in terrorist activity is always deceitful and is followed up by even deadlier attacks.

The other aspect deals with the sensitivity of this whole issue. There was a report published on the achievements of National Action Plan and among many other statistics provided, one count deals with the closure of certain seminaries associated with aiding and abetting the terrorism. The figures provided there are very interesting. In two years Sindh closed down almost 2,400 seminaries followed by Punjab and KP with at most one or two each. Do these simplified numbers reflect whether it is Sindh only that is mostly affected? The circumstantial evidence is to the contrary. It just shows the apathy of the Punjab and KP governments to address the underlying issue or may be a weakness of resolve, or even a dangerous aspect might be that political parties have some kind of lean on these.

Talking about a seminary is a highly sensitive issue. Despite knowing the fact that these are the only kind of schools where education is imparted purely on sectarian lines and there have been no reforms carried out to fix it. Generally, in the press, we see reports about the dire situation in Southern Punjab, but the reality points that central and northern parts of the province are also not in any better shape. The most lethal situation is that in almost all of the small towns and villages of Punjab, new seminaries are still being opened without any formal approval process. It might have not been any point of objection had these seminaries been installed there even with the nod of the locals. But the apparent problem lies with the fact that in these new facilities not a single local student gets enrolled and the villagers look in amazement at the staff and students who are totally alien to them, not only ethnically but nationally as well. What to mention of KP where even the provincial government approves huge grants for some of these seminaries, which are generally acknowledged for all the wrong reasons.

Another painful dimension is that our society’s abjectly low respect for the sanctity of human life. Only few hours after scores of people died in Sehwan blast , debates started about the nature of the worship, practices and dhamal ( traditional dance) at the dargah. It seemed as though what matters more to them are the practices that carried out there instead of humans who were butchered there. This is an extremely painful situation. No matter, how wrong or right their practices were/are, should they have been killed for it? This twisted and diabolical mindset needs to be educated. It is in fashion these days to use the word ‘narrative’. If someone is actually serious, they need to revise this narrative.