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Mr. Palmyra Is Dead, Who Is Next?

The senseless death of Mr. Palmyra I mean Khaled Al-Asad not only baffled mid-east but also shook the heads of International forces interested in that region. Not only it’s the demise of science but also a paralyzing effect on intellectual breed.

ISIS

Khaled Al-Asad was the 83-year-old archaeologist who became ISIS’s latest casualty. For 40 years, Khaled al-Asad was the director of antiquities in Palmyra and ran its museum. He spent his life studying, excavating, and preserving the stones in his hometown, and was murdered this week at the hands of the self-styled Islamic State.

When Islamic State took the ancient city of Palmyra from Syrian Government and its allies, many in Syrian media were even declaring: “How can we protect stones when we were not been able to protect humans?”, but there was a man who tried hard to protect it from the draconian intentions of self-proclaimed Jihadists.

Mr. Palmyra, as another Syrian archaeologist remembered him, was beheaded in public in the center of town by the ISIS, who then strung up his body with his head at his feet. His glasses were still on.

“They killed him because he would not betray his deep commitment to Palmyra,” the director-general of UNESCO, said in a statement. The Islamic State reportedly held Asad for weeks, trying to get him to reveal where artifacts had been stashed away but his dedication made the way to brutality.

It’s not for the first time these morons have done such to cultural prime as before that Qasem Abdullah Yehiya, the assistant director of laboratories at the Directorate-General of Antiquities and Museums, the Syrian government’s antiquities agency, was killed in a mortar attack.

ISIS

This war on culture is criminal disdain for Syria’s vast heritage. After destroying the precious artifacts, they’re now eliminating the preservers of culture by justifying as they’re ‘apostate’ and serves as the “director of idolatry” in Palmyra, like they did in the case of Khaled Al- Asad.

But other times, cultural destruction is a deliberate tactic. And the Islamic State is not alone. President Bashar al-Assad’s regime has targeted historic architecture, including symbolic mosques and cherished archaeological sites, as its own terror and propaganda tool.The regime’s strategy is omnipresent graffiti on damaged buildings/mosques as on the minaret-less Umayyad Mosque in Aleppo: “Assad, or we will burn it.”

ISIS

Palmyra is one of Syria’s six UNESCO World Heritage sites; 5 of them have been badly damaged by the war, from airstrikes, mortar attacks, and extensive looting. The Old City of Aleppo is largely in ruins. Only the Old City of Damascus has been spared but its suburbs are also under fierce fighting and its walls are being touched.

The mixture of vandalism and iconoclasm is at play. Asad’s murder has made him a symbol of the war’s destruction of cultural heritage. He refused to leave his hometown when the ISIS took over Palmyra. He reportedly assumed he would be left alone, since he wasn’t a threat.

Relating Pakistan

ISIS is not really a big threat for Pakistan at-least now but TTP/LeJ is. After the assassination of Malik Ishaq, it is assumed and many reported that LeJ is going to merge in MangalBaag’s or Umar Khurassani’s militia, as currently they’re breathing under their cover. But both these groups are factions of TTP and we shall take them as a whole.

TTP/LeJ were never less brutal in Pakistan than ISIS in mid-east. Haven’t they murdered our intellectual elite? Didn’t they kill families of Khojas and Momnas? Murdered your Khanzadas and Bilour’s?Your children? Haven’t they detonated in our shrines? But the sleeping habit of our establishment makes it easy for them to cut us from our most sensitive part.

The military assault named ‘Zarb-e-Azb’ have somehow damaged TTP and its groups that are not under military’s tutelage, purportedly. For example, many here were raising potent questions about establishments support to LeJ but now after killing its supremo, these questions seems to be dead. Was that assassination initiated only for that purpose?

It’s not only a matter of a couple of years that we can overcome this civil war ailment but we need to be patient and keep on revisiting and rethinking our strategy to eliminate this terrorism/extremism menace. The current direction is wise but still needs to improve a bit more but who knows what comes up next on dinner’s table.

For the better future of this nation our elected parliament members and most importantly our establishment shall not take violent extremism/terrorism as a strategy tool. Yes we are vulnerable, but we can diminish this vulnerability. We can have good cordial relations with our neighbors despite their religion and sect. If ‘they’ manage to work on it now and after some mulling session achieve it through pragmatic diplomatic maturity, then I assure you that this nation ain’t need to worry about any non-state armed group.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are solely of the author and do not represent ARY policies or opinion.