Pakistan’s attempt to blame India for Taliban attacks poisons the public


Rescue workers sift through the rubble of the Peshawar blast that killed more than 120 civilians. Some Pakistanis refuse to believe the Taliban was behind this attack. Reuters photo.

The Pakistani government continues to blame India for the Taliban insurgency that is raging throughout the northwest. The New York Times explains why this is dangerous. The Pakistani people don’t want to believe their own countrymen could commit such acts of horror. Over time, this erodes support for operations against the Taliban, while anger at the government builds. From The New York Times:

In two days of interviews, Pakistanis here said they believed the war had taken a dark new turn, with civilians now bearing the brunt of insurgents’ fury. But that does not mean greater public anger at the Taliban.

The attack was so disturbing that people refused to believe that their countrymen were the culprits. If anything, it was met with disbelief or anger at the government for failing to protect civilians.

“The Taliban talk about morality and women’s dress, but they wouldn’t do such a thing to us,” said Muhamed Orenzeib Khan, a gas station attendant who lost nine members of his family in the blast. “Their target was never the common people.”

“It’s not easy to say our countrymen are in any way involved,” said Altaf U. Khan, a professor in the journalism department at the University of Peshawar. “There is a feeling of extreme helplessness: ‘We have no power, so why take responsibility?’ ”

Denial brings its own problems, namely the risk of prolonging the insurgency, because people do not know who their enemy is. That seemed to be the case for Muhammed Afzal, an oil trader whose building was damaged in the blast. “I know my tribal people,” he said, sitting on a couch in a room with blown-out windows. “They aren’t strong enough to do something like this.”

Mr. Afzal, who has relatives in Texas and Florida, offered a view of who was responsible, similar to many others interviewed here. “I’m telling you categorically – the people behind this bomb are the Indians and Mossad,” he said, referring to Israel’s intelligence agency. India and Pakistan are archenemies, and India figures into many Pakistani conspiracy theories.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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  • Spooky says:

    This is why the Zardari regime, which is seen as a puppet of the US, will fall before general elections. Maybe even before the end of the year if he continues to pursue the NRO.
    Then depending on what the military does, it could very well mean India better watch its back due to their paranoid neighbor…

  • Tathagata Mukherjee says:

    Firstly, this denial is not surprising. Laden has some 65% positive rating in Pakistan (Obama has less than 20, so is President zardari). To find out real Pak, we should go beyond English Press of Pakistan and read Urdu press.
    If my memory serves correctly, more than 60% Pakistanis believe Muslims did not do 911 (though Laden himself claims it. Ahmedinajad however refutes muslim involvement because it will show the power of sunnis).
    Muslims are in long denial. I think there is quranic injuction behind this. That reads something like this-” when a muslim is in dispute with a non-muslim, support the muslim.”
    Some deliberately deny involvement of ther fellow muslims to perform Taquiyya (an islamic doctrine- used for deception).
    But you are correct. Its poisoning society, cutting off relationship between people.
    Whenever, a bomb goes off in India, we say Pakistan is involved. Its an euphamism for Muslims. We want to say, Muslims have done it, but due to political correctness, we can;t say that. So, we say- its Pakistan that has done this.
    The scenarion is unfolding like what Tom Friedman wrote after 3 muslims tried to attack some airports in Britain. Let me quote Tom-
    “Muslims have got to understand that a death cult has taken root in the bosom of their religion, feeding off it like a cancerous tumor.
    This cancer is erasing basic norms of civilization. In Iraq, we’ve seen suicide bombers blow up funerals and schools. In England, seven out of the eight people detained in the latest plot are Muslim doctors or medical students. Doctors plotting mass murder? Could that be? If Muslim leaders don’t remove this cancer – and only they can – it will spread, tainting innocent Muslims and poisoning their relations with each other and the world.”
    Mumbai is most attacked megapolis in the world by terrorists. People are so upset, there is now a drive by a fringe group to stop any shop/music/film that has name of any Pakistani/Pakistani City/Place in it.
    Even police cannot stop this because those who are doing these have huge public support.
    Sponsoring terrism by pakistan has done more damage to the subcontinent than even partition of Indian subcontinent in 1947.

  • chandrabhan says:

    It is not surprising to see the ostrich mentality in Pakistan. They simply can not accept that Muslims can do such a heinous act. Actually it has very deep routes, I meant the phenomenon. It is very similar to the deeply held sub continental belief regarding the peaceful conversion to islam. Muslims also universally believe that their religion and society have always been free from the horrors of forced conversion, imperialism and slavery; there is no place, they claim, for such abominations in Islam. They believe that only Christians perpetrated such horrors around the world, from India to the Americas; they are vociferous in condemning the West over this. But after reading(Islamic Jihad Legacy of Forced Conversion-Imperialism-Slavery) , they will realize that it is Muslims, who were the master of forced conversion, imperialism and slavery in the most shocking forms since Islam’s birth. The European Christians had also become the sustained victims of these Islamic brutalities for many centuries before they themselves embarked upon these practices. Muslims were, indeed, the masters to teach Europeans all these horrible things.
    ” The most firmly established belief amongst Muslims as well as non-Muslims that Islam was propagated peacefully by Sufis and that force was never a part of the propagation of Islam particularly in Southeast Asia, and Central and East Africa. I have made it clear with solid documentation from authentic sources that Sufis were mostly violent Jihadis. Those, who engaged in conversion, did so through the instrument of violence. Some Sufis were peaceful, but they never played a significant role in conversion. Similarly, Islam’s spread in Southeast Asia was anything but peaceful. Legendary Muslim traveler and Sufi devotee Ibn Battutah records of brutal Jihadi excursion against non-Muslims in Samudra (Indonesia) in the 1340s. Southeast Asian Muslims would be shocked to find out how Islam was imposed upon their forefathers. Similar was the case in Central and East Africa.” M A KHAN author of the book.
    Any way I am surprised at too little loss that Pakistan army is reporting. Is it a tactical retreat by pashtoons? As far as I am concerned, TTP is nothing but manifestation of pashtoon nationalism and islam is the only glue that can unite these warring tribes.
    The bigger agenda is to erase the Durand line and create a pashtoonkhwa. I think it is time that world should stand up to barbaric assault on Pashtoon national by Pakistani army. Imagine , using Artillery and heli gunships on Texans.


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