Mainstream Islam could still survive in Pakistan
By Amit Baruah
What, He Worry?
December 21, 2009
According to the Pakistan Institute of Peace Studies (PIPS), 241 Pakistanis were killed and 704 wounded in 165 militant strikes across the country in November alone. The PIPS website (http://san-pips.com/index.php) has collated figures for fatalities and casualties for months and years before. As we know all too well, however, mounting death tolls alone don’t tell the full story. Most stories of individual loss, grief, destitution, anger and helplessness that follow these terror strikes remain untold.
Ironically enough, Karachi, the abode of mohajirs — migrants from undivided India — is the most peaceful city in Pakistan today. Peshawar, Lahore and Rawalpindi are in flames and seem to be the favourite targets of the Taliban. Multan and Dera Ghazi Khan, outside the tribal battle zone, have also been attacked.
From 1997 to 2000, when I lived in Islamabad, one routinely saw Finance Minister Sartaj Aziz waiting patiently in his car for the traffic light to turn green. His chauffeur was his only companion; there were no security men in sight. You could also see Foreign Minister Gohar Ayub Khan strolling along the street for a late-night coffee with his family to the Nadia coffee shop inside the Marriott Hotel. Again, there were no gun-toting men with him. Pakistan was still peaceful.