Pakistan: Now or Never?

Perspectives on Pakistan

After cricket, an attack on a revered Sufi shrine in Pakistan

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The bombing of the mausoleum of a renowned Pashto mystic poet outside the Pakistani city of Peshawar has darkened the mood further in a nation already numbed by the attack on cricket, its favourite sport, when the Sri Lankan team were targeted in Lahore.

Taliban militants are suspected of being behind the attack on the shrine of Abdul Rehman at the foot of the Khyber pass, where for centuries musicians and poets have gathered in honour of the 17th century messenger of peace and love.

The militants were angry that women had been visiting the shrine of the Rehman Baba as he was popularly known and so they planted explosives around the pillars of the tomb, to pull down the mausoleum in an echo of the Taliban bombing of the giant Buddha statues in Bamiyan in central Afghanistan back in 2001. The structure was damaged and the grave blown up, Dawn reported.

“Is there any limit to this insanity ?’ asks Owais Mughal in a post on All Things Pakistan.  The militants had burnt girls schools to the ground in northwest Pakistan, forced traffic to drive on the right hand side instead of left in the Malakand region, dug up graves of a minority sect and even hung the bodies in the public square in Swat region, he says. And now they were blowing up the resting place of the dead.

Pakistani society in the throes of tectonic change?

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Pakistan is dealing with multiple challenges all at once – its sovereignty and its very idea of itself as an independent nation state are tested in the northwest by both the Islamist militants and U.S. forces hunting them. To its east, the old hostility with India is back in full force following the Mumbai attacks. Then above all, some think the economic meltdown is a more serious risk to Pakistan’s survival than the threat of a conflict with India.

Where does a proud nation turn to for deliverance, faced with almost daily prognosis of its imminent demise?

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