IN the wake of the Westminster terrorist attack, the world is witnessing trending hash-tags on social media websites to express solidarity with the victims, ceaseless lamentations of the international media for the death of four people who died in attack, front-page reporting, special media coverage, flood of condemnations from around the world, innumerable condoling statements and resentments from the international community.
But unfortunately, most of people who are phenomenally eloquent against terrorism today are same people who were silent like dead when a series of bloody terrorist incidents killed at least 150 people in Pakistan last month. What comes to my mind is question that where all this eloquence and extravagance with words, which we are seeing today, had gone when people of Pakistan were subjected to unprecedentedly heinous acts of terrorism? Coverage of these terrorist attacks in Pakistan by mainstream Western media was no more than publishing of a few trivial articles. Response of international community was mostly indifferent like it was not a matter of their concern at all.
It is pertinent to mention here that more than 60,000 Pakistanis have been killed in different terrorist attacks since 2006. In other words, Pakistan, per year, has been facing two terrorist attacks as fatal as 9/11 since 2006 by joining the “war against terror”. In spite of being confronted with a number of internal and external problems, the way the people of Pakistan have fought the peril of terrorism is commendably amazing. But for Western media, these efforts of Pakistan are not even worthy of being mentioned simply because they don’t affect their own countries. It seems as if the international community believes in two types of terrorisms: one, which targets the Western countries and the second, which targets the comparatively poor and developing countries.
The global community needs to be cognizant of the fact that terrorism has no nationality, no race and no religion. It is a threat to humanity as a whole. For this threat, more or less, is equally shared by all the countries, so the reactions to it should also be equal. A terrorist attack in Pakistan is as abominable as an attack in Orlando or Westminster. Then why Pakistan was made an exception? We live a globalised world where the mainstream media enjoys the capability of building narratives and shapes the thinking of people. Freedom of speech, freedom of opinion and freedom of expression are of course among the inalienable basic freedoms. But how these freedoms are exercised by the mainstream media makes the whole difference. People have full right to freely appreciate or criticize and lament or celebrate whatever they want but when it comes to achieve the shared goals; then the strategies should also be shared by all the people. If we really want to further the cause of global peace and prosperity, we have got to understand that this cause can be served in a far more befitting fashion by acknowledging and encouraging others’ efforts and endeavours vis-à-vis the establishment of peace and by not exhibiting even an iota of duplicity for them.
Western media and governments should now rethink their behaviour and change it so as to make it consonant with the prerequisites of combating the filth of extremism and terrorism, otherwise overcoming these glooming threats would remain a pipedream.
—The writer is a lawyer based in Rawalpindi.