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Terrorists running free in Pakistan

by Mahim Maher

February 22, 2013 | 11:36 pm

Anti-Shia banned militant outfit LeJ chief Malik Ishaq in a press conference in Punjab on Feb22. He was detained for one month on Feb23.
Ishaq was earlier detained in his house, however since the Quetta bombing that killed 89 people on February 16, the police have detained him in the Rahim Yar Khan district jail. Those killed in the attack mostly included members of the Hazara Shia community. The LeJ claimed responsibility for the bombing. Before being detained, Ishaq held a press conference and declared the Quetta bombing a government failure. PHOTO: EXPRESS

I try not to write about these things because I'm not on the ground reporting. But the news is important for Pakistan and well, for reasons I cannot explain, it was played down in my newspaper and others.

The big news is that the chief of the most violent Sunni outfit, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, was detained from his home in Punjab on Feb23. Lashkar-e-Jhangvi or Army of Jhangvi takes its name from Haq Nawaz Jhang from Jhang in Punjab. This outfit is linked to al Qaeda and the Taliban. It has been blamed for the kidnapping and beheading of US Journalist Daniel Pearl.

Malik Ishaq is the chief of this outfit that has claimed responsibility for two recent deadly bombings in the city of Quetta (province of Balochistan). Nearly 200 Shia Hazaras died in those attacks. The Hazaras are a minority ethnic group.

After the first bombing, the Shias refused to bury their dead. Social media and the news networks exploded with anger over the government's callousness in dealing with the problem. The provincial or state government was dismissed and Governor Rule was imposed.

But that didn't make any difference as a second bombing took place weeks later, specifically on the 40th day after the first one. Muslims commemorate a death on the 40th day with prayers. It is called the Chehlum.

Balochistan province has long been troubled by a secessionist movement of the indigenous Baloch. The sectarian war in its capital of Quetta is an additional problem. My city of Karachi also suffers from extreme sectarian violence. The two militant outfits are fighting a bloody war of attrition in the south of Pakistan. The Sunni Lashkar-e-Jhangvi is pitted against the Shia militant outfits.

It's pretty simple. I don't understand why the government, law enforcement agencies and the courts cannot just convict these terrorists once and for all. The politicians are so scared of them and indeed so are the police that no one takes action against them, writes against them or convicts them. Even the judges are afraid because these killers never forget and never forgive. No one has the courage to deal with this problem. And all those mothers and wives who lost their loved ones, those children who lost their fathers will not forgive us for it.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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I am a 33-year-old journalist in Karachi, Pakistan where I work as the city or metropolitan editor for The Express Tribune, a daily national newspaper in English affiliated...

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