Pakistan’s conspiracy cottage industry

Mustafa Qadri in The Guardian:

Conspiracy Although the Taliban have openly claimed responsibility for the recent epidemic of suicide bombings against civilian targets in Peshawar and Islamabad, many Pakistanis appear convinced that the real culprits are India or the United States.

“These are India's agents,” an anti-narcotics bureaucrat tells me in Islamabad with a confident grin. With its operatives active in a string of Indian consulates along the Pak-Afghan border, so goes the popular claim, they direct New Delhi's latest attempt to topple the Islamic Republic. It is a common refrain in Pakistan. In fact, so common, that almost everyone I venture to ask blames the Indians, or Americans, or foreigners for the terrorism.

The country has faced many crises over the years, but these are particularly unsettling days. In the past, violence tended to be unilateral: avoid the angry mob on days of protest, neighbourhoods patrolled by gangs, or criticising vocal mullahs and life was generally quiet. But today's enemy moves with stealth and could be anywhere.

Already poor migrants from Afghanistan and the central Asian republics have been evicted from the slums of Islamabad, Rawalpindi and Karachi on the suspicion that someone among their numbers is responsible for the violence. But these are just the small fry, and even the media and the government claim there is good intelligence implicating foreign powers.

So where, one has to ask, do these rumours come from?

More here. [Thanks to Ruchira Paul.]