Darra tragedy


Of late, the Talibans version of Islam has been referred to as tribal. It is a misnomer. There is nothing tribal about this, or, at least the interpretation of the word tribal that we have come to apply to the area bordering Afghanistan. No traditional conflict amongst the tribals bombs mosques, kills women and children. And none of it was beyond the control of senate of the spingiri, translated, literally, as the white beards. The control of old men can be at the same time a problem and an asset. The former because of their intransigence and the latter because of the lifetime they have spent witnessing the futility of violence. They are more likely to break for peace than not.

But with young blood and new ideas for Talibanisation is a new phenomenon comes problems and dissonance. Fridays mosque attack, which came about as a result of the dispute between the Tariq Afridi and Momin Afridi groups in the Darra Adamkhel area, is yet another example of the alien values that the Taliban have brought to the land. Over a hundred people have now been killed in the ghastly attack and many injured when a suicide bomber sent by the Tariq Afridi faction of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan set himself off during Friday prayers.

Though the tribals understand, perhaps better than people from other parts of the country, the scourge that the Taliban present, many religious parties continue to refrain from unequivocal condemnation of the militants. Granted, they cannot be expected to be as clear on the matter as the openly secular ANP, which has had a history of opposing religious extremism back from the days of the Soviet War. But even a rightist party can condemn organisations that go around bombing mosques. The cancer of extremist militancy presents an existential threat for us. The sooner we realize that it has no place on any shade of the political spectrum, and in any part of the country, the sooner we can get out of the rut we are in.