A car bomb killed over 95 people, mainly women and children in the Meena Bazaar area of Peshawar today. According to Riffatullah Orazkai of the BBC:
“All that could be heard were the cries of women and children.”
According to one witness who brought a number of victims to the hospital:
“I could see some people trapped inside… I saw this girl lying unconscious on the road outside and I brought her here.
“But no one has come to claim her so far,” he said.
Out of all the horrific Taliban related violence in the last few weeks, this one must be the worst. The terrorists specifically targetted an area bound to be full of women and children shopping for clothes and toys. This is reminiscent of the ominous signs put up all over Mingora market places earlier this year which banned women from entering markets of clothing and jewelry. It is reflective of an ideology that regards any form of female self-expression – even something as mild as shopping for clothes, or bangles or jewelry – as an act of sin worthy of being punishable by death.
These lines are from Kishwar Naheed’s poem “Ye hum gunahgaar auratein” which best explain this hypocritical and misogynistic ideology:
Ye hum gunahgaar auratein hein
Ke sach ka parcham utha ke niklein
To jhoot se shaah-raahein ati mile hein
Har ek dahleez pe sazaaon ki daastaanein rakhi mile hein
Jo bol sakti theen voh zubaanein kati mile hein
On Friday a suicide attack on one of Peshawar’s most populated areas, Khyber Bazaar killed 52 people and injured over a hundred.
Here is the scene of the carnage described by BBC Urdu correspondent Abdul Hai Kakar:
Police and relief workers were collecting body parts from the remains of the bus and other vehicles when I arrived.
It was a site of sheer carnage – and there were more heart-rending scenes at the nearby Lady Reading Hospital.
A line of bodies lay on the morgue floor – all shrouded in white sheets.
Most were so badly disfigured that it was not possible to recognise them. Most were missing limbs.
Here is a video report from ARY News:
A new HBO documentary about the 2004 murder of journalist Ajmal Naqshbandi by the Afghan Taliban:
Embedded journalists with a Taliban squad. A glimpse of the ideological motivation of these people.
A documentary from October 1998. A pre 9/11 view of things; from the looks of it, the Taliban were ready to expand and would have done so whether there was an American invasion of Afghanistan or not. Towards the end Maulana Samiullah predicts the rise of the Taliban because of non-functional democracy in Pakistan.
It also focuses on Jandullah and how they were causing mischief in Iran back in the 90s.
Muslim Khan proudly admits to beheading people, and threatens journalists. The interesting thing is that two of Pakistan’s most conservative analysts disagree with Muslim Khan on this issue. It is sad that people such as Irfan Siddiqui and Haroon ur Rashid who were proudly championing the Taliban cause when it was restricted to Afghanistan, are now disagreeing with the Taliban as they are threatening basic freedoms in Pakistan.