No Indian group could be blamed for Wednesday's deadly attacks in Peshawar and Kabul that claimed over 100 lives as they were planned "within a few miles" of where they occurred, an editorial in a leading English daily said Thursday.
Another wondered whether the Peshawar attack was an attempt to cause the national mood to swing against ongoing military operations against the Taliban in Pakistan's restive northwest.
"This was not some plot hatched and executed by mad Hindus or Sikhs, this is a plot that will have been hatched within a few miles of where the blast occurred, by men who believe that their piety and vision of a Muslim future world, wherein their own paradigm will rule supreme, is best achieved by shredding the bodies of their fellow Muslims," The News said in an editorial headlined "Blitzed".
Holding that there was "no obvious causal linkage between the two events", carried out by separate groups hundreds of miles apart in two different countries, the editorial added: "No causal linkage perhaps, but a linkage in terms of the perpetrators of both being willing to sacrifice the lives of women and children as well as humanitarians, and a linkage in that both countries are cursed by a malaise that has grown over three decades or more."
A car bomb ripped through a crowded market in Peshawar Wednesday, killing 105 people, as US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived on a visit to Pakistan and assured full support in the fight against terrorism.
In Kabul, six UN employees and three guards were killed Wednesday in an audacious dawn terror attack on a UN guesthouse that sparked a fierce gunfight leaving three suicide bombers also dead. Rockets were separately fired at Kabul's only luxury hotel but no one died.
"Extremism, whatever the historical reasons that are bent around trying to understand it and place it in our national and cultural context, now envelops all of us in a deadly and debilitating cloud," The News said.
It also drew a parallel between the Peshawar attack and the bombing of London and Dresden during World War II.
"The live visuals were eerily reminiscent of pictures of the bombed cities of Dresden and London during World War Two and evoked that dreadful word that has come to embody lightning-fast and devastating attacks on civilian populations - blitz," The News said.
"What was the motive (of the Peshawar attack)?" Dawn asked and answered:
"US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had touched down in Islamabad only a few hours earlier, so perhaps it was a message for the Americans. The other obvious possibility is that the army operation in South Waziristan is leading the militants to target the soft underbelly of the state, killing innocent civilians to sow the deepest of terror and perhaps cause the national mood to swing against military operations against the militants."
"The immediate effect, though, is clear: the jitteriness and anxiety across the country, already at high levels, will have gone up a notch further... All that the people know is that there is a shadowy enemy inside the country which seems capable of striking at will and that the state is floundering in the face of an unprecedented wave of violence," Dawn contended.