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Pakistan: Reactions To The Time Square Bomber

Categories: North America, South Asia, Pakistan, U.S.A., International Relations, War & Conflict

Time Square at New York City by Flickr user redeye, used under a Creative Commons licence

Earlier this month an attempted Bomb attack at the Time Square in New York City raised security alerts across USA. Following the attack the Police detained Faisal Shahzad, a Pakistani-American, from JFK airport in connection to the bombing. According to the reports [2], Shahzad's car was found in the heart of Times Square loaded with gasoline, propane, fireworks and fertilizer.

His arrest has been been followed by frequent raids, more arrests and further investigations which raised much speculations and triggered a debate on US-Pakistan relations. While the media and authorities continue to question the possibilities of more terrorist attempts, many in Pakistan feel targeted. Blogger Ammar Yasir relates [3] the incident to US visa policies and the effect of terrorist attacks on US-Pakistan relations:

The Pakistani tragedy is that we all are scrutinized for the crimes we never committed. Statically speaking more Pakistanis are the victim of terrorism than any American for that matter. Our army has been more effective against the Taliban than US and NATO forces combine in Afghanistan. US Govt. has more power to enforce their will on the Pakistani than the voters who elected the Govt. American drones fly in Pakistani air space, bomb down Pakistani houses and land safely on Pakistani bases. Still, our seriousness is questioned, our loyalty to the cause is inquired and our fate is decided on the basis of some Hollywood movie.

Kalsoom Lakhani at CHUP [4] gives possible solutions:

Faisal Shahzad may be a Pakistani-American, but he was not only “Made in Pakistan.” Yes, Pakistan is plagued with a vast number of issues. We have an undeniable terror problem. But the right solution in this case is to have both countries – the U.S. and Pakistan – look inward at their own societies and take responsibility for the issues at hand.

A blogpost [5] titled “Who is Faisal Shahzad” by Adil Najam on All Things Pakistan, takes a look at Shahzad's life demanding to view and understand the situation beyond stereotypes:

Let us not shy away from the tough questions that we need to ask ourselves. But let us also not be more tough on ourselves than we need to be. Let us work very hard to understand how someone from amongst us could even contemplate such a horrible act. But let us not let the horribleness of this contemplation lead to the condemnation of an entire community. Let us understand him for what he is accused of being: a criminal; let us condemn him for what is charged with having done: criminality; but let us not allow his alleged criminality with our own identity.

Shahzad's arrest and the aftermath has raised fears amongst Pakistani's living abroad and in Pakistan. News reports regarding his possible connections to groups in Pakistan is not comforting. Needless to say, the incident has raised tensions and has put Pakistan in the spotlight once again. Perhaps, as Lakhani puts it, its about time the two countries sat together and took responsibility in order to find a sustainable solution and device a strategy to combat terrorism.