I tend not to believe in horoscopes and palmistry. However, I am occasionally tempted to give in. For example, when I read in the horoscope section of today’s paper that something very bad will be in the news tonight, I felt uneasy. Their prediction proved true. My dear cousin Almagar Khan, a bank officer, informed me that Farhad Ali, grandson of the esteemed Muslim League leader Ali Baba Jaan and an MBA student at the Agricultural University, was found dead after a terrorist attack in Swabi. The ground beneath my feet shook. I had met this twenty-three-year-old young man on two occasions in the past when I had attended religious gatherings. I tried not to think of him but his image could not escape my mind. I recall him in white clothes, with a sweet-natured face and a taciturn manner. When he did speak, he did so with such lucidity and intelligence that he seemed wise well beyond his years. He was one of the thirty-four innocent civilians who had been killed in a terrorist attack in Peshawar’s “Khyber Supermarket.” Two other students were also among the deceased.
Just think what his parents must be feeling right now. This intelligent young bachelor was taken away from his mother and sisters. All their dreams and high expectations of him have been squashed. In their unimaginable grief, they are yearning for their son to return to them. But, of course, Farhad will never return. The barbarians have extinguished his voice.
This incident and most of our economic and societal problems can be blamed on America and our government. America could not win the war in Afghanistan and now, after its Osama bin Laden drama, desperately wants to disentangle itself from its own war. What kind of answer can the United States and our own government provide explaining the numerous deaths of innocent individuals such as Farhad Ali? Both countries have no credibility to back their deplorable actions.
America’s war on terror has cost Pakistan $10 billion and the lives of 10,000 of its security officers and 40,000 civilians over the past ten years. The $15 to 17 billion that Pakistan has received from the United States over the years is a negligible amount of money given the task at hand. According to some sources, the Pakistani government is too focused on fighting America’s war on terror, thus engaging in widespread killings and bribery. These same sources inform us that from the money it has received from the U.S., the Pakistani government has taken 1,500 billion rupees for itself, using that many for its own corrupt pursuits. Unfortunately, many of our own investors are investing billions of rupees in other countries such as Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, and the UAE.
Under pressure from the American government, the Pakistani government spent $6 billion on relocating 300,000 IDPs (internally displaced person). Most of these refugee women had not looked at another man in their entire lives. Yet this “war on terror” forced them to participate in humiliating and shameful situations. Other than this, the American war has had a devastating overall effect on the Pakistani society. According to one estimate, 45 percent of the Pakistanis live below the poverty line. The Pakistani external debt, which was $30 billion in 2000, has now increased to $65 billion as a result of America’s war. Our national debt has increased to 5,000 billion rupees. This, too, has happened because of America’s war. America’s war on terror has substantially decreased the Pakistanis’ buying power. According to one survey, 70 percent of the people are buying less fruit, 80 percent less meat, 60 percent less vegetables and 20 percent less flour.
America’s war is to blame for all this. If our leaders had any intelligence and wisdom, our country would never have arrived at such an abysmal state. Pakistan has become a joke now. It is a nuclear state yet it is begging small countries like Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal for electricity. It has been estimated that, from 2005 to 2011, 160 suicide attacks occurred here, injuring 8,293 civilians and killing 2,200. From 2004 till present, 2,500 people have died from drone attacks.
Given America’s history and lust for blood, the picture above is not something new. Since 1890, America has engaged in 160 armed battles and wars. Sixty of those attacks have been on Islamic countries and those closely neighboring them. America’s war in Afghanistan has resulted in 920,000 deaths. How disgraceful that America’s army of 120,000 has made slaves of 2 billion Muslims! Their war has cost them a lot as well: Their debt has reached $14,200 billion. The entire world spends $1,400 billion on defense. America spends $700 billion, half of that amount. Isn’t their behavior unjust, reckless, and simply crazy?