A new report by Islamabad’s Center for Research and Security Studies says that deaths from violence across Pakistan decreased by 45 percent in 2016: there were 4,647 people killed in 2015 against 2,610 in 2016. The easy explanation for this reduction was the Pakistan Army’s Operation Zarb-e-Azb in North Waziristan against bases used by militant groups to punish Pakistan and its neighbors.
There was no satisfactory diagnosis of the violence that persisted in all the provinces. But if you investigate how and why the pockets of violence in the tribal areas were created you might get nearer the solution. That is, if Pakistan wants to end this bloodletting. Blaming India or any other foreign state does not withstand scrutiny because it suggests a kind of useless retort to global powers telling Islamabad to clean up its act. Pakistan has unfortunately fought too many wars in its short existence, using non-state warriors because it is unable to match the size and strength of the forces wielded by its target state. Beyond that, the persisting violence is the result of an ideological tilt toward brutality to end perceived heresy within the bounds of law or outside it. In other words, the victim of violence is violent.
Today, despite the drop in deaths in 2016, foreigners don’t want to come to Pakistan to even play cricket. What the world outside hears are war cries rather than welcoming notes. Unlike India, which doesn’t want to go to war for Hindus killed outside India, Pakistanis feel honor-bound to defend the entire world’s Muslim Ummah. Even relatively moderate religious political parties such as the Jamaat-e-Islami have spent the past week calling countrymen to arms because Muslims in Myanmar, Syria, Kashmir and Palestine are being persecuted. Its leader Sirajul Haq, however, sees no irony in castigating the government for passing a law to end violence against women in Pakistan. Muslims—specifically male Muslims—appear far more worthy of ‘protection’ to them than the vulnerable women within their own state.