Sir: Yet another tragedy has sent a shiver down the spines of everyone who has come to learn about it, not only in Pakistan but across the world: ten foreign trekkers and a Pakistani, on Sunday, June 23, 2013, who were on an exciting journey to Nanga Parbat, the world’s ninth tallest peak, were murdered. The innocent souls who had come to climb Nanga Parbat could not ever have imagined that they would fall prey to the brutal attacks of a handful of ruthless militants and lose their valuable lives in the bargain. News reports published in some of the leading dailies of the country said that the attackers were dressed as paramilitary Gilgit Scouts (GS). This clearly indicates that they were attired in GS gear to conceal their identity and malign the GS for the odious crime that they did not commit. Different terrorist groups have come forward and claimed responsibility for the murder of the foreign trekkers. Blatant admission of the crime committed by these groups is an out-and-out challenge to Pakistan’s security agencies who have so far failed to lay their hands on these volatile groups who continue to audaciously kill innocent people across the country. Their open threat to continue such attacks in the future should not be taken frivolously. All-out efforts must be made to deal with them with an iron hand.
The terrorist attack on these foreign trekkers will have a damaging effect on the already declining tourist industry of Pakistan. It could also take a heavy toll on the abysmally low foreign investment in the country. Above all, it may leave an indelible mark on Pakistan’s excellent bilateral relations with countries whose citizens were killed in the attack. What has happened is indeed tragic and condemnable in the strongest terms. The prime minister and the president of Pakistan, the legislators of the country and people from every walk of life have vociferously condemned the brutal killing of the foreign trekkers. Pakistan’s interior minister cogently said on the floor of parliament, on the day the incident occurred, that the government would leave no stone unturned to track down the perpetrators of the crime and give them exemplary punishment. One sincerely hopes and prays the countries affected by this tragic incident will appreciate that Pakistan is an unfortunate victim of terrorism, and it has been resolutely trying to grapple with this menace for more than a decade now. Pakistan has suffered and continues to suffer heavy human and material losses due to terrorism. It is valiantly fighting this menace and would do everything that it can to bring a quick end to it, as it firmly believes that in the resolution of this problem lies its own salvation and that of the entire region.
M FAZAL ELAHI