IF today, with remote in hand, you randomly flip through channels on your TV, or browse through nearly two dozen online newspapers, you will see video clips or photos of Pakistan Air Force jets pounding targets in North Waziristan, artillery firing into the mountains, or, perhaps, some other celebration of Operation Zarb-i-Azb. But hang on! You rub your eyes. Our jets bombing Islamic fighters within the territory of this Islamic republic?
For 10 years after 9/11, Pakistanis had lived in a delusionary bubble. A majority had been brainwashed into believing that terrorism in Pakistan was the work of some “foreign hand”. So, even when various militant groups angry at Pakistan proudly claimed suicide missions against military and civilian targets, they were ignored. No Muslim could kill another Muslim, was then the prevailing logic. Surely Pakistan’s eternal enemies — India, Israel, America, or maybe even Afghanistan and Iran — were responsible.
The foreign hand myth was nurtured by overpaid and wilfully ignorant TV anchors, together with their chattering guests, to the point where it became the only truth in town. Their invited guests such as retired Gen Hamid Gul, his son Abdullah Gul, and numerous cohorts confidently pronounced that suicide bombers were uncircumcised non-Muslim agents of foreign powers. None had inspected the leftover meat.