News Release

Pakistan: How U.S. Adds “Fuel to Fire”

PakistanJUNAID AHMAD [in Lahore], junaidsahmad at gmail.com
Ahmad is on the faculty of law and policy at the Lahore University of Management Sciences. He’s also with the faculty of advanced studies at the University of Management and Technology in Lahore. He is active with the group Peace for Life, a “global interfaith liberation theology group resisting Empire and fundamentalism.” The statement “strongly condemns the recent deadly terrorist attack in Lahore, Pakistan perpetrated by religious fundamentalist groups. We mourn for the innocent lives lost, including children, and sympathize with their families and friends. …

“Pakistan is a major non-NATO ally, supplying intelligence and logistical support to the United States. The United States, in turn, rewards Pakistan’s loyalty by pouring in billions of dollars in military and economic aid. The U.S. government has proposed U.S. $860 million in aid for Pakistan during the 2016-17 fiscal year, including $265 million for military hardware in addition to counterinsurgency funds. This is on top of the series of drone strikes and direct military intervention of the U.S. inside Pakistan.

“In 2015, Peace for Life initiated an Interfaith Peace and Solidarity Mission for Pakistan to bring to public attention the plight of communities affected by sectarian violence in the country. The recent terrorist attack in Lahore confirms our conclusion that to end violence and sectarianism in Pakistan, Pakistanis of all faiths and confessions need to come together to struggle against the Empire’s militarization and wars of aggression.” Read the full statement. [Ahmad was in Islamabad when the recent attacks took place. Communications there were suspended, see “Mobile phone services suspended in Islamabad amid pro-Qadri protest.”]

RAFIA ZAKARIA, rafia.zakaria at gmail.com, @rafiazakaria
Zakaria just wrote the piece “The Playgrounds of Pakistan” for the New York Times. She is author of the recently released The Upstairs Wife: An Intimate History of Pakistan.

DARAKSHAN RAJA, [in D.C.]  darakshan at washingtonpeacecenter.org, @DarakshanRaja
Raja is program manager for the Washington Peace Center and founder of the Muslim American Women’s Policy Forum. She said today: “The U.S. government has condemned the terrorist attacks in Lahore and is promising to work with the Pakistani state to fight terrorism. This will most likely be followed by more military campaigns, more drone attacks, and a crackdown in Punjab. This is how the U.S. government adds fuel to the fire. The group responsible for the horrific violence in Lahore is a splinter group of the Taliban. The creation of the Taliban and its subsequent waves are rooted in the U.S. intervention in the region [going back to the 1970s], and its active support of the Pakistani military, which is driven by America’s own geopolitical interests in the subcontinent to maintain empire and global hegemony.”

Producers may want to use David Bowie’s “Cat People (Putting Out Fire)” as lead in music for segments on this. See video.