Can Paris and Peshawar have a fundamental moral equivalence at some basic minimum level? Can we in Pakistan say with all our hearts that slaughtering of innocent men, women and children cannot be justified under any pretext? Can we bring ourselves to genuinely proclaim that there must be no ‘but’ when condemning the slaughter of innocents? If the answer is yes, it proves we can de-complicate the layers upon layers of toxic arguments in favour of violence against ‘others’ that we have internalised over the decades.
But if the answer is in the negative, or falls somewhere in the middle, let us then admit that our supposed consensus against terrorism rests on very thin ice. As it does for the United States. And the United Kingdom. And France. Washington, London and Paris do not shed tears for Islamabad when blood splatters on our soil. Their domestic consensus on terrorism is a consensus on keeping them safe. Their history is based on ‘otherness’ and therefore hard-nosed policy trumps humanity, and self-interest dominates universal principles of compassion and the intrinsic value of human life.
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