Tariq Ali takes on Pakistan’s politicians in his op-ed following the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team.
The failures of this government and its inability to defend the country’s interests or its population from drones or terrorist attacks are paving the way for the return of the army to power as a way of avoiding a serious split within its own ranks. All that is awaited is a green light from the US embassy in Islamabad. Not that this would solve anything, but it might create the illusion of stability for a few months. It’s no good Pakistani politicians mumbling that this is “our Mumbai”. The fact is that, over the last year, the Zardari government has done a great deal for itself and its clients, but nothing for the people or the country. The more Pakistan drifts, the more opportunities offer
themselves to the extremists.
Pakistan’s cricket legend and self-appointed cheerleader for the homegrown Taliban, Imran Khan, had recently said that militants will never attack a cricket match or cricketers in Pakistan because Pakistanis love cricket too much. I am not sure whether he based his analysis on militants’ respect for people’s favourite pastime or on his newfound adherence for orthodox Islam, but he has obviously been proven wrong.
A tragic and terrifying attack such as the one that happened in Lahore on Tuesday is perhaps no time to remind famous people that how naïve they can be in their public pronouncements. People like Imran Khan seem to think that if they slip in a nice word about militants, then the terrorists will reciprocate by showing some restraint, or at least not do things like attacking the only cricket team in the world brave and friendly enough to visit Pakistan during the past 14 months.
Imran Khan made another prediction in his statement. “There will be a severe backlash against the militants if they attacked cricketers, because Pakistanis love their cricketers too much.” So perhaps it’s not the day either to remind him that Pakistanis also love good education, pop music and an occasional dance performance.