Extremists take aim at Soft Target
Shamim Masih

ISLAMABAD: Once again Islamic extremists forced sobbing parents rushed into hospitals searching for their children. Taliban insurgent once again hit soft target at Bacha Khan University on 20th January, 2016 Wednesday after a month Pakistan observed the first anniversary of the deadly attack on Army Public School and killed about 150 students and teachers in Peshawar. Four terrorist entered the University and shot killed at least 30 including two teachers, injured students said the toll could be much higher were it not for a teacher armed with a pistol that briefly held off the attackers before being killed. The attackers had chosen a day to attack when students and faculty members gathered at the school for a poetry recital to commemorate the death anniversary of Khan Abdul Ghuffar Khan, the activist and a leader after whom the school is named.

Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), a banned organization claimed the attack through a post on his Face book page, adding that four attackers were sent to the University. On the other hand TTP – Fazalullah group condemned the attack, terming it “against Shariah”. Banned organizations are still operating freely in Pakistan. The government bans an organization; it emerges with a new name, contests elections and even wins seats and takes part in legislations. Lashaker e Tayba, (LeT) banned in 2002, changed its name to Jamat u Dawah (JuD) and still working freely under the guise of a welfare trust – often along with Pakistan Army in cases of emergency and one of its main office in heart of Islamabad, the capital.

It is observed that recently Islamic militants had chosen and hit soft target. Educational institutions, worship places and minorities of the country. All Saints Church in Peshawar was attacked in which more than 127 people were killed and over 250 injured. Later; on March 15, 2015, at least 20 people were killed and more than 80 injured when two Taliban suicide bombers attacked two churches in Youhanabad, Lahore. But when happened next, the average response after these attacks is exactly the same as any other in the past. “They are not Muslims; terrorist has no religion, its conspiracy and so on. Such oversimplified; sweeping statements have become a part of national discourse in Pakistan.

Islamic radicalization has no boundary and it does not need any set organization, its mind set; as a Pakistani Christian writer, I have been raising voice against this mind set and when we talk about this mind set; watchdogs usually see and call to threaten for raising voice of voice less people. We have seen such people from all walks of life. The most ridiculous of all has been the response of Ansar Abbasi and Orya Maqbool Jan, the same were considered as their negotiators back in 2014.

The year 2016 begun with attacks for Pakistani Christians; five different incidents were reported in just first two weeks, on Sunday, January 03, Muslim youth disrupt Christians’ New Year prayer meeting. Muslims in a village Nawapind, in Pasrur who seized a church property have disrupted a prayer meeting at a private residence, a source said. Sources confirmed that local Christians obtained written approval from the district police office. But when Christians began worshipping, some Muslims heading Rashid Jutt reached there and disrupted the meeting. Local police officer, SHO told that police resolved the issue at a village council level meeting. On 7 January, the New Apostolic Church in Batth Village, on Multan road was set on fire after New Year celebration in suspicious circumstances alleged to be arson attack. On the same day a Muslim man went into the Church and burnt copies of Bible in Victory Church, Kasur.

On 14 January, a Pakistani Christian man died while in the custody of the notoriously brutal police of Punjab in Kelaske, Gujranwala. On the same day, TMA worker in Sialkot was shot dead in the morning whilst cleaning the streets. Nazir Masih, a devout Pakistani Christian and father of five children, the only breadwinner was gunned down. He was struck by four bullets and despite the noise this many shots would have made in the constantly busy streets the gunman remain unknown. Four Christian’ girls were victimized in different areas of Punjab. Two Pakistani Christians asylum seekers died in Thailand during January.

As extremists are taking soft targets but our government has not provided any security to churches and educational institutions in the country. Bishop Humphrey Peter said that government did not provide any security for churches and other institutions. I have not been to understand, where do we stand? What is the future of our children? Security of an individual is purely responsibility of the govt.