Of course one could always point to the apathetic response to the previous major terrorist attack against the Ahmadi mosques in Lahore to show how callous indifference to the persecution of vulnerable communities has a habit of coming back to haunt us. But even that is something that should surely be already on the mind of any right-thinking person. The issue is not one of security lapses at all - as some are mistakenly emphasizing - the issue is a more fundamental one.
I don't wish to go into the grisly details of the attack and its tragic aftermath. Instead, what I would like to share with you are a couple of things. The first of these is a portion of an interview of author and journalist Mohammed Hanif, on Kamran Khan's special series of programmes (which are running as a substitute for his normal programme while he is away on vacations). The portion you need to hear lasts from the beginning till about 5:25.
Now, keeping in mind what Hanif says, read this news item from the Associated Press. In particular:
"But on Friday, few Pakistanis interviewed saw militants at the root of the problem.
"America is killing Muslims in Afghanistan and in our tribal areas (with missile strikes), and militants are attacking Pakistan to express anger against the government for supporting America," said Zahid Umar, 25, who frequently visits the shrine, where 180 people were also wounded.
Pakistanis are suffering because of American policies and aggression in the region, said Mohammed Asif, 34, who runs an auto workshop in Lahore. He and others said the attacks would end if the U.S. would pull out of Afghanistan.
Several other Pakistanis interviewed blamed the Ahmadis, a minority sect that has long faced discrimination in Pakistan. On May 28 in Lahore, gunmen and a suicide squad targeted two Ahmadi mosques, massacring at least 93 people, and some Pakistanis claimed the sect must have been seeking revenge.
Others cast about for additional villains — though America's hand was seen there, too.
Washington "is encouraging Indians and Jews to carry out attacks" in Pakistan, said Arifa Moen, 32, a teacher in the central city of Multan."
Today, on Geo news, I also heard the Barelvi Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Pakistan (JUP) - holding a rally outside Memon Masjid in Karachi - blame the Data Darbar terrorism on "Blackwater and Qadianis." And I wondered, is there any hope for us at all?