Pakistan & Bangladesh newspapers criticise Putin

No ‘root cause’ can justify killing children

Bangladesh’s The Nation opines that even terrorists must be able to distinguish friend from foe. By implication, the newspaper is rebuking the Chechen terrorists for choosing a wrong and counterproductive target. Condemning terrorism itself is half-hearted. Its accompanying editorial advises the Russian government to avoid ‘state terrorism’.

Pakistan’s Dawn similarly finds the Russian government wrong on both counts – it criticises Russia’s handling of the Chechen problem as well as its handling of the hostage crisis. According to the Dawn, the Russians should have ‘engaged’ the terrorists instead of storming the school. But it did call them terrorists.

Even the Daily Times, a newspaper that seldom takes dogmatic lines, blames Putin’s rigid policies for the terrorist outrage.

The irony is that while Mr Putin tells the international community that his fight against the Chechens is part of the world’s war on terror and seeks international understanding for his actions there, he, nonetheless, does not want the international community to mediate the conflict because he considers it to be Russia’s “internal” problem. The recent incident in Ossetia is essentially linked to Chechnya. Mr Putin’s policies have caused such despair and sense of outrage in the region that there appears nothing left for the Chechens and Ingushetians except to give their own lives in order to take Russian lives. On both sides, innocent people continue to die. This is shameful and it has to come to an end.

Russia’s Chechnya problem requires immediate international response and mediation, preferably under Chapter VII of the UN Charter. The world cannot allow children, whether Chechen or Russian, to be held hostage to the violence that has resulted from Moscow’s foolish policies. *[Daily Times]

It is unclear why the Daily Times thinks that international understanding and international mediation go hand in hand. It also ignores the fact that a large number of terrorists were Arabs, who had no business to be in Chechnya or Ossetia in the first place. Its analysis is faulty for it attempts to characterise the Beslan outrage as an act of Chechen vengeance without accounting for the internationalisation of Islamic jihad.

If the Chechen cause has lost international sympathy it is because of the violent methods adopted by its proponents and also its hijacking by the likes of al Qaeda. The export of jihadi philosophy and methods from Pakistan to various places including Chechnya, Xinjiang, Bosnia and Kashmir changed the nature of these conflicts. To argue that the Islamic separatists in these places represent local aspirations is like arguing that the Taliban are the real representatives of the Afghan people.

Finally, it is rather rich for the Daily Times to suggest UN intervention in Chechnya, while it was Pakistan that used its vote in the UN Security Council to block any serious action against the genocidaires in Sudan’s Darfur region.

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