Why Peshawar Might Not Be the Last Islamist Mass Slaughter on Pakistani Soil


The slaughter of children by the Taliban in Peshawar has united Pakistan against terrorism. Every newspaper of

Peshawar School Attack
Jordi Bernabeu / iWoman / CC BY

every political persuasion demanded that the government crackdown on militants to stop another such grisly event from every happening again on Pakistani soil. But such hopes are unlikely to come to pass. And the reason, as one commentator put it wryly, is that Pakistanis are united against terrorism, but not against terrorists.

For two decades now, Pakistan's all-powerful intelligence service called the ISI – equivalent of CIA – has played a complicated game of "good terrorist, bad terrorist" based on whether a group serves its geopolitical ends against India or not. And it has cultivated the "good" ones, giving their noxious ideology a pass and offering them a safe haven in the country. 

The problem, however, is that to control terrorism, the country's civilian rulers will have to rein in the ISI. But if they do that, the ISI will withdraw its support and boot out the government, a perfect Catch 22.

Regimes change course only when the cost of maintaining the status quo exceeds the cost of enacting change, I note in The Week."However, to Pakistan's political leaders, the price of these children's lives is still lower than the toll of a veritable civil war with an intelligence service that has long played footsie with extremist groups…"

It is not surprising then that even though the bodies of the children are still warm, the Pakistani government's "zero tolerance" resolve against terrorism is already showing signs of waning.

Go here to read the whole thing.


NEXT: Federal Appeals Court Overturns Ban on Gun Ownership by People Who Have Been Involuntarily Committed

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Is that “zero tolernace” a (sic), a typo or some kind of meme you kids use that I’m too old to understand?

  2. :::Gasp:::

    You mean Islamists are bad people and not just responding rationally to US imperialism?

    I don’t think your SJW friends are going to like that line, reason.

    1. Please, if the US had a sensible immigration policy, none of this would be happening.

  3. Alt Text: Foyer, Albert Hall

    1. +nice old timey reset

    2. Oh, boy.

    3. +1 I’d love to turrrrrrrrrrrn youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu ooooooooooooooooooooon.

  4. Weirdly, Pakistan is so effed up that probably the best case scenario is that the military turns on the ISI in a dirty war.

    And ISI attacking the children of the military is probably about the only way that was ever going to happen.

    1. If that goes down, I got 100 quatloos on the Army.

    2. Simpler solution: The government can put out notices in the town square “These are the names and addresses of the ISI members who are protecting terrorists”. Next to the notice, leave photos of the ISI members and a spool of rope.

  5. Why Peshawar Might Not Be the Last Islamist Mass Slaughter on Pakistani Soil

    Let me guess: because evil fucks seem to have free reign over there?

  6. “Might not be” the last?

    I’ll bet my next paycheck on “is absolutely not the last – moar comin'”.

    Talk about easy money…

  7. But Pakistan’s fears have taken almost pathological proportions. And India’s secular democracy has done a relatively decent job of keeping its own belligerence in check (even when the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party has been in power, although the jury is out on the party’s current prime minister, Narendra Modi, who has a track record of tolerating anti-Muslim violence).

    And what else can we call the absurd thought that Modi would risk nuclear war merely because he’s too Hindu-ly socially conservative for Dalmia’s tastes but “pathological”?

  8. “Why today’s sunrise might now be the last time the sun rises in the east”

  9. a complicated game of “good terrorist, bad terrorist” based on whether a group serves its geopolitical ends

    Hm, that sounds familiar.

  10. Dalmia’s analysis is on mark, although she has not talked about the risk of Pakistan escalating terrorist attacks on Indian soil. The ISI and Pakistani army are unpredictable. Jihad is used as an instrument of foreign policy. I see great threats to India, especially as it grows and prospers.

  11. “The slaughter of children by the Taliban in Peshawar has united Pakistan against terrorism. “

    Uh, last i checked, they quickly turned it into a reason to Hate America and Israel even more than they currently do

    “Several analysts say the incident will likely soon be forgotten, noting popular influences in the media that include conservative Islamists arguing that the real issue is Pakistan’s alliance with the West in what they depict as a fight against Islam.”

    At today’s burial of Zain Shah, aged 16, who was shot yesterday at the Army School, his uncle echoed this conspiratorial view, as did others at the cemetery. “We are picking up the dead bodies of our children because of the relations between Pakistan and the United States,” he says.”

    1. So that would make it BLOWBACK!?

      1. Sometimes “blowback” is a credible theory but other times it’s unhinged delusion. I think this is one of those other times.

  12. Let me guess, the current Taliban leader is living quietly in a compound about a mile from the Pakistani military academy?

  13. Oh, sure, the Pakistani government is all united and stuff now, out there on the steps of the Pakistani capitol singing “God Bless Pakistan” or whatever…but in two months, Pakistan’s version of Dianne Feinstein or Barbara Boxer will be out there slamming Pakistan’s version of John McCain and offering to surrender to the Taliban.

  14. The slaughter of children by the Taliban in Peshawar has united Pakistan against terrorism.

    We’ll need evidence because there doesn’t seem to be any indication that Pakistani’s are united to any appreciable extent against terrorism. I don’t think it’s unfair to say that Pakistani culture might be the most barbaric outside of sub-Saharan Africa. Polling indicates them to be the most pro-Islamism, including all the prickly points, of any society on Earth.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.