Today if all the countries of the world decide to ban burqa being a tool of terrorism, there will be a lot of hue and cry but no one will be shocked. Even the most conservative Muslims will try to understand this action. Time has come when the line between the religious symbols and concepts and terrorists techniques is increasingly getting blurred.  Like the concept of Jihad which has come to be used by terrorists for mass killing for political purposes, the symbol of burqa is also being used as terrorists’ tool to facilitate their access to their target, normally a mass of innocent civilians.

The tragic suicide bombing incident of December 25, 2010 in Bajaur agency’s HQ Khar claiming about 50 human lives was an attack by India-funded so-called Pakistani Taliban on a rival tribe as majority of the victims belonged to the local Salarzai tribe, which supported military action against the militants and formed a militia to force them from Bajaur. This suicide attack was conducted by a suicide bomber clad in a burqa normally worn by women of these most conservative Pashtun tribes.

The use of this lethal shroud first came to light in 2007 during the Lal Masjid operation in Islamabad when people saw on their television screens stick-carrying, burqa-clad human beings. Most people suspected then that given the height of these burqa-clad girls, they were clearly seen as tall and well-built male warriors. This chilling apprehension was soon confirmed when the senior maulvi of the Mosque was caught fleeing the scene clad in an ill-fitted burqa.  It was not difficult to spot him with his 6’ plus height which is not common for ladies in this part of the world.

According to media reports, as up to 1000 people waited in the morning chill for food aid on Saturday, the attacker first hurled grenades into the crowd, then detonated explosives. Hours later police were still trying to determine whether the bomber was a woman or a man in disguise.

Witnesses described a horrific scene, with mangled bodies and bloodied clothing scattered over a wide area, and wounded people crying out for help. The most critically injured were taken to hospitals in Peshawar, the nearest large city. Officials said the death toll could rise. More than 300,000 people have been driven from their homes by a military drive against insurgents that began in 2008.

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