University bombing a watershed: Pakistani mediaOctober 22nd, 2009 - 2:01 pm ICT by IANS
Islamabad, Oct 22 (IANS) The suicide bombing at a university here was as much a watershed as was the siege earlier this month of the Pakistani military headquarters, an editorial in a leading English daily said Thursday. Another pointed to the “changing temperament” and increasing desperation of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and noted that “all bets, it appears, are off”.
“The bombing of the Islamic University in Islamabad was as much a watershed moment for the education sector as was the raid on the GHQ (General Headquarters) for the army and the military more generally. In both cases a line was crossed, and the map of terror gained new territory,” The News said in an editorial headlined “A state of war”.
“We are at war, and for the first time, our children are right in the front line,” the editorial added.
Six students, including three girls, were killed in the Tuesday bombings, which came four days after the Pakistani military launched a major offensive against the TTP in the South Waziristan region of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) along the border with Afghanistan. The TTP’s Oct 10 assault of the GHQ was seen as a desperate bid to stave off the military offensive.
Following the university bombings, the Pakistani government immediately shut down all educational institutions across the country, at least till Sunday, while security measures were reviewed. All schools and colleges run by the armed forces were indefinitely shut down a day after the South Waziristan offensive began.
“Viewed objectively it is unlikely that normal service is going to be resumed in the foreseeable future, and even as students and teachers go back to work they will do so with a nagging fear at the backs of their minds,” The News noted.
It also noted that the bombers are “adapting to the need of the hour” and becoming “ever more sophisticated in the way they go about their business”.
The attack on the university “reveals the changing temperament” of the TTP) and its “increasing desperation”, Daily Times said, adding: “The university is a centre of the study of Sharia and is staffed in such a way that a worldwide perspective on the Islamic way of life becomes available to Pakistani students. It has featured renowned foreign scholars on its faculty and is highly regarded in the Islamic world.”
Since the university is funded by Pakistan’s “friendly Arab states” and is located right next to the Saudi-built Faisal Mosque, “the attack also contains a message from Al Qaeda. All bets, it appears, are off”.
Noting that the university’s students pelted stones at the car of Interior Minister Rehman Malik as he arrived to review the scene of the bombing, the newspaper said: “This was a leftover from the settled understanding they had of the government. It might change in the coming days as they review their opinion of the TTP and Al Qaeda. But the question to be asked here - and in other universities - is: will the campuses undergo a change of mind?”
When the Islamic University was set up, Daily Times said, one teacher sent by Saudi Arabia was Abdullah Azzam, a renowned Palestinian scholar who also ran the famous Saudi humanitarian organisation Rabita al-Alam al-Islami, which had an office in Islamabad.
“Azzam also laid the foundation of Al Qaeda in Peshawar, not as a terrorist organisation but as an Islamic response to the Soviet incursion in Afghanistan. He was killed in Peshawar but his legacy has remained a part of Al Qaeda,” it said.
Tags: bombers, bombings, desperation, education sector, educational institutions, foreseeable future, general headquarters, islamic university, military headquarters, new territory, pakistani government, security measures, south waziristan, state of war, temperament, three girls, tribal areas, ttp, watershed moment, waziristan region