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South Asia Should Stand United

Pakistan Link , Commentary, Anila Ali Posted: Dec 05, 2008

As I sat in Karachi watching the terror attacks on Mumbai, I began to feel very disillusioned with the situation. I started hearing all kinds of views as I visited places with my father, Qutubuddin Aziz, a renowned author, journalist and ex-diplomat. Some views were dogmatic and some very sympathetic. I looked upon my father for an in-depth analysis. Being an intellectual, he was of course horrified by the attacks and sympathized with the victims and their families. He quoted the Quran as stating:

On that account We ordained for the Children of Isra`il that if any one slew a person - unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land - it would be as if he slew the whole humanity: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the whole humanity. Then although there came to them Our messengers with clear (guidance), yet, even after that, many of them continued to commit excesses in the land. (5:32)

"Unfortunately, the fingers will immediately start pointing at Pakistan." This is the typical game that India and Pakistan play; any attack on either side, and fingers get pointed at the respective governments of each country because that is the easiest way to appease the fuming public, blame it on the neighbor and augment the seeds of hatred.

During my visit I met many high level politicians from all parties and was so pleased to hear their positive attitudes and what resonated from all the parties was the root to the problems in Pakistan, the fundamentalists that have re-emerged and re-grouped under different names and want to do all they can to stop progress in Pakistan and the rest of the region.

The Pakistani government is very new, has many teething problems and is focusing to root itself as a democratic government. To blame it for an attack of such immense planning is wrong. The real culprits are the terrorists which have more to gain. Firstly, the Pakistani military's focus from the borders of Afghanistan will move to the borders with India. Secondly, whenever there is progress in the India-Pakistan relations, these elements create trouble as its in their benefit to have the countries accuse each other.

I urge all American, Pakistani, and Indian citizens and politicians to remember that we must all stop thinking that way. That's a selfish and myopic view to think that a newly elected barely rooted government in Pakistan has a part to play in one of the biggest tragedies to hit Mumbai in decades. That is the kind of thinking the fundamentalists want us to have, myopic and selfish. We will be playing straight into the hands of the terrorists. Any innocent life lost is a tragedy for all humanity. We must stand united against attacks on innocent human beings irrespective of their religion. Unless and until we stop thinking like that, the world will not change. It is in the best interest of South Asia that we stand united against acts of aggression and terrorism. Only then can we stand on our two feet.

India and Pakistan must work out a settlement on Kashmir amicably. Yes, the Kashmiris are oppressed, let them fight against their own oppression. We need to fight against the biggest enemy of Islam- fundamentalists who even kill Muslims and consider it collateral damage. That is the biggest enemy of Islam.

Related Articles:

Lessons From 9/11 For India Today

Mumbai Attacks Hit Home For Young South Asian Americans

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