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By Javed Aziz Khan
PESHAWAR – Terrorists killed or injured while planting bombs get no sympathy from Pakistani or Afghan society.
“(Terrorists) are not doing any service to Islam but are damaging its ... image,” said Peshawar religious scholar Maulana Jahanzeb, explaining people’s attitudes. Nobody has the right to kill others because his agenda is unimplemented, he said.
“People had developed a little sympathy only for a teenage bomber, Umar, who was wounded when a portion of his suicide jacket exploded outside a shrine in Dera Ghazi Khan April 3, 2011,” Jahanzeb said. “This was also when he apologised to the nation and wished to live a peaceful life according to Islamic injunctions.”
Those who plant bombs are not normal people, said Abdul Waseem Khattak, a lecturer at Sarhad University in Peshawar.
“They are a stigma for society,” he said. “Those who are killed or wounded while planting improvised explosive devices (IEDs) should expect no sympathy from anyone.”
Public contempt extends to the families of bombers.
“The family of a ... suicide bomber in Nowshera has yet to be accepted by many in the social circle, as people of the area, including their relatives, avoid visiting them or inviting them even … four and a half years later,” said Nowshera resident Sartaj Khan, referring to a young Nowshera District suicide bomber who killed former provincial minister Pir Muhammad Khan and four others in November 2007.
Pakistanis have died by own bombs
A number of militants in Pakistan have been killed by their own bombs in recent years.
In late February, eight militants were killed in the Astana area, Tirah Valley, Khyber Agency, when they mishandled explosives. Reports conflicted on whether they were planting a roadside bomb or were loading explosives onto a mule.
Umar Riaz, chief investigator of Peshawar police, recalled two local undergraduate students who were wounded while allegedly planting explosives in Gur Market on the same road in February 2010. That explosion killed two people. Police arrested the injured Farhan Ali and Muhammad Ali on suspicion of involvement, but their fate has not been announced.
Two militants were killed planting explosives in the Zakhakhel Banjwal area, Landi Kotal sub-division, Khyber Agency, January 22.
Last September, two were killed in the Kalosha area of South Waziristan, as they planted explosives on a road leading to the house of a rival militant commander, Sharif Wazir.
In July 2010, Bajaur Agency militant commander Irshad Khan and a comrade were killed while assembling explosives. And in January 2008, three men building a bomb to blow up CD markets were killed by an explosion inside a house on Phandu Road.
Afghan terrorists injured in attack planning, too
Apart from Pakistani areas, there are a number of incidents in which the Taliban of Afghanistan have mishandled the locally made IEDs and lost their lives.
A Taliban commander along with six other men was killed February 28 while fitting a bomb into a vehicle in the Nawazabad district of Helmand Province, according to media reports.
In February 2010, up to 20 militants were killed trying to plant an IED to target soldiers, media reported without disclosing the location.
A woman terrorist was killed January 10 in Bala Murghab District, Badghis Province, by an exploding bomb, Pajhwok reported. Authorities identified her as the 65-year-old sister of Mullah Dastageer, the late Taliban shadow governor of the province. She was reportedly trying to avenge Mullah Dastageer’s 2009 death, tribal elder Haji Aminul Haq said, according to media.
That incident was a rarity because the suspect was both elderly and female, but it still drew disdain from Afghans.
“In our society women have a different role,” said local university student Sumbal Jafar. “They are mothers, sisters, wives and daughters. They are considered the honour of a family. But they are never seen killing people in such fashion.”
The dead woman’s family should feel ashamed, she said.
Hatred for bombers is universal in Afghan society, said Adnan Qayyum, a young Kabul doctor. “Those who are involved in killing people by planting explosives need the maximum punishment,” he said.
“'Hatred’ is not enough to describe the feeling that a common man has for those involved in terrorism,” said Kabul NGO employee Taimur Ahmad Shah.