Home

Why Subscribe ?

Popularise CC

Join News Letter

Editor's Picks

CounterMedia.in

Press Releases

Action Alert

Feed Burner

Read CC In Your
Own Language

Bradley Manning

India Burning

Mumbai Terror

Financial Crisis

Iraq

AfPak War

Peak Oil

Globalisation

Localism

Alternative Energy

Climate Change

US Imperialism

US Elections

Palestine

Latin America

Communalism

Gender/Feminism

Dalit

Humanrights

Economy

India-pakistan

Kashmir

Environment

Book Review

Gujarat Pogrom

Kandhamal Violence

WSF

Arts/Culture

India Elections

Archives

Links

Submission Policy

About CC

Disclaimer

Fair Use Notice

Contact Us

Search Our Archive

Subscribe To Our
News Letter



Our Site

Web

Name: E-mail:

 

Printer Friendly Version

Suicide Attacks: What Pakistan Shares With Iraq ?

By Akhtar Ali Syed

14 September, 2010
Countercurrents.org

Three suicide attacks in two days, in the holy month of Ramadan, reignited the discussions around the reasons behind this gory phenomenon. The discussions, generally and unfortunately are focused on the recent incidents, which understandably remains inconclusive and unproductive. These incidents happen in a proper context. Within that particular context they keep taking different shapes. To reach that perspective we need the full data in front of ourselves to evolve a comprehensible appearance of it.

If we ignore the first suicide attack ( 19 th November 1995 ) Pakistan started having suicide attacks since 2002. Since then the frequency kept rising with 89 in 2009 and 41 in this year so far. Figures for this year may remain less than the last year but that will correlate with the downward trend in suicide attacks worldwide.

Year

Pun

Sin

Bal

NWFP

AJK

Total

Sect

2002

1

1

0

0

0

2

0

2003

1

0

1

0

0

2

1

2004

4

2

0

1

0

7

5

2005

2

1

0

1

0

4

3

2006

0

2

0

5

0

7

2

2007

12

1

4

39

0

58

1

2008

13

1

1

46

0

61

3

2009

20

1

2

65

2

89

5

Sept 2010

7

2

1

30

1

41

9

TOTAL

53

11

8

170

3

271

29

 

As we know about the under discussion prevalent hypotheses about these attacks are ranging from Islamic fundamentalism to foreign involvement to fight for freedom. Over emphasis on one undermines the others. The effort to reach one hypothesis covering all incidents is misleading, particularly in Pakistan and Iraq . In rest of the world regions known for recurrent and perpetual suicide attacks like Palestine , Sri Lanka , Afghanistan and Chechnya there might be one single reason for majority of attacks. However Pakistan and Iraq are writing a new history in this regard.

The most loudly talked about hypothesis comes from religious groups in Pakistan in which these attacks are considered as the reaction to Pakistan 's participation in the “war on terror”. This hypothesis may be relevant to the attacks carried against the Army and security forces but Barailvi Sunnis, Shias and Ahmadis in Pakistan are not the NATO allies. Furthermore, national and international journalists who know the Pakistan-Taliban interaction are writing about Pakistani support to Taliban available at least since 2005. Why Taliban “the freedom fighters” are attacking Pakistan army while they are being supported. Situation becomes more confusing when Afghan Taliban who are the real and genuine “freedom fighters” disown Pakistani Taliban. Who then the Pakistani Taliban are fighting for? How and why freedom fighters allowed Laskar-e-Jhangvi a known militia for its sectarian agenda to become part of them? One important question is why certain sects and political parties representing the same sects have never been targeted.

If it is a fight for freedom of Afghanistan then they should have followed the same pattern. In Afghanistan these attacks are very focused on NATO troops and Afghan politicians enjoying American support. Though number of botched suicide attacks is quite high but civilians are not being targeted in Afghanistan . While in Pakistan , markets, school going children, shopping women and mosque goers have frequently been targeted.

Drone attacks in the tribal areas provide another hypothesis to this discussion. But the data does not support this. The first drone attack was carried out on 18 th June 2004 two years after Pakistan had first suicide attack on its soil. How can a reaction come before the action?

We can, easily draw some conclusions based on this discussion.

Situation in Pakistan is very different than Palestine , Iraq and Afghanistan . That's why attackers in Pakistan cannot be tagged with the same labels as attackers from other regions.

Pakistan is the only region where suicide attackers don't enjoy mass support (except from one sect) but even then they are still going on. In other regions mass support is sought to forward the political agenda. These attacks are carried out to force the opponents to change their positions. Pakistani attackers have seen the lack of mass support rather hatred by masses. They have also seen their failure to change Pakistan Government and Army's stance. However this did not bring change in their strategy of killing and being killed. Iraq is witnessing more or less the same situation. Mohammad Hafez was successful in getting to know identities of some of the suicide attacker who carried out attacks in Iraq . According to his finding only 7% of the attackers were Iraqis, rest was foreigners. That was the main reason why masses, mosques and people from other sects were frequently targeted. We don't know the identities of big majority of attackers in Pakistan but the assumption is the majority belongs to Pakistan . If this is the case, then Pakistani suicide attackers are more religiously motivated, more extremist, more sectarian, less nationalist and less calculated than the attackers of other regions.

Akhtar Ali Syed

Principal Clinical Psychologist. Ireland

Can be contacted at akhtarlisyed@gmail.com