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Pakistan in Dire Strait

19 July, 2007

By Ahmer Muzammil


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Kudos is in order for our brave Chief of Army Staff who courageously annihilated a mosque full of students, women and children, all the while sitting pretty in the comfort of his lavish president house paid for by the people of Pakistan. For the umpteenth time in our history our Army that was supposed to save us from the aggression of foreign forces has bravely murdered their own in cold blood. I am no supporter of the lal masjid brothers and I have been on record condemning their vigilantism. But shouldn't state display a tad more responsibility and restraint compared to let's say some offshoot fringe elements of the society?

What was the rush? I mean couldn't we have just waited for them to run out of food and patience or did our Army had to rush back to Kashmir to conquer Kargil again? Wait,  that can't be it, because we are enlightened now. How were they harming anything holed up in that mosque? And why did president have a problem once the agreement was reached between the religious scholars, lal masjid and the civilian leadership? I mean if Indian govt. can release Masood Azhar, one of  their most wanted man and bunch of others just so they can secure the life of couple of hundred airline passengers, why couldn't we have 'given them a safe passage' to avoid massacre of women and children on such a large scale? And by the way even if you give them safe passage, they wouldn't have disappeared in thin air, once the women, children and innocents were secured, what stops you from apprehending them? Please don't tell me 'oh no once you make a promise than you have to abide by it', lest we forget we have broken promises of shedding uniform in 'nation's best interest', gave up the whole accountability façade that we started out with by appointing known looters and bank-defaulters in the cabinet, and there is also that small matter of providing people access to jobs, food, clean water, peace, security of life and property, that we have never delivered on. I think we can safely say that terrorist would have definitely understood if went back on our words.

And the mother of all questions is that how is it that a mosque which is a stone throw away from the headquarter of ISI - the same ISI that keep tabs on what brand toilet paper our CJ uses and knows what every opposition leader have for lunch -  was piling all kinds of ammunition and militants were gathering up right under their nose and they didn't know a thing about it? Are you kidding me? It's either malice or incompetence. ISI and the government have displayed quite amicably in the past that they are capable of both, but my money is on the former. Musharaf in his longing for American love and his desire to prolong his rule won't leave any stone unturned. This was a perfect stage show where he drove the point for the Americans that him and only him is capable of crushing religion in Pakistan and as it is evident now Americans are buying it with every last dollar they got. This was a show put on for the entertainment of west in which the characters either knowingly or unknowingly played right in the hands of the puppeteer and they eventually paid the ultimate price.

My humble understanding of Islam forbids me from taking the law in my own hand. Therefore I have always been against the stark vigilantism that was being carried out by the hafsa brigade. I think their purpose would have been better served if they had secretly videotaped by buying equipment which is no more than 200 dollars and is easily available everywhere. I think hidden camera in a hat ( tehelka.com style) would have been sufficient. They could have given that info to a TV station or if the brothel owners were too influential and it wouldn't have gotten any air then they could have easily loaded it on YOUTUBE. We live in a very small world.  They would have enjoyed far more credibility in the public opinion than they did if they had concrete evidence to back their assertions.

This is no secret for the people of Islamabad that Auntie Shamim was exactly doing what she is famous for now. She was charged, arrested and then released by the authorities in late nineties because obviously she has an impressive list of clients that include cabinet ministers according to credible journalists and they help the madame out in these matters. It's also no revelation either for the people in the know that the massage parlors of Islamabad serve a little bit more than just massages. The illegal confiscation of the student library was a blemish on civility and completely against the basic tenants of Islam but it was a reaction by a bunch of over-zealous girls over the demolition of several mosques, Masjid-e-Ameer-Hamza was 100 years old, long before CDA ever become a reality. I admit that some of these mosques were probably built on illegal land but how ironic that Army government of all people would be worried about folks grabbing land illegally.  My quandary is whether any of this constituted a crime that deserved an all out infantry assault where the purpose is to kill- like they were an enemy army or something? RSS in India quite often resort to violence by breaking windows of shops on valentines day, burning cinemas and beating up young people, we have never heard that Indian Army bombs their headquarter just because they were illegally enforcing morality.

How pathetic, complacent, politically-correct and tribal are our liberal NGOs?  They get their knickers in a twist when a brothel is forced out of business by vigilantes but they are no where to be found when the state is unleashing all its military might on little children, women and men some of whom just got stuck because they made the cardinal sin of opting to offer the prayers with congregation in lal masjid and then either were held hostage or couldn't get out because they were scared to get shot in the cross-fire. I get that this stand off was not a priority and surely human life is not as important as the marathon race but could our liberals just pretend to care just to be polite? Or is that too much to ask from these pathetic imposters who pretend to be human rights champions when in fact they are nothing but paid thugs who pander to their masters. How can anyone be so cold, there are hundreds of lifeless bodies of children and innocent girls still lying in cold storages and they have the audacity of sitting all dolled up on TV and justify this senseless extra judicial murder? You are playing with fire here people. This dictator is 'enlightened', don't be surprised if the next one is an 'islamist' (and we have precedence, anyone remember zia?) and unleashes all his might at your kid's prom. Not that rich kids usually stand up for anything anyway, they'll probably start growing beards then to kiss up but what I am saying is that it's a slippery slope when you support oppression just because it was carried out on your arch-rival.

Martin Niemoller said:

First they came for the Jews

and I did not speak out

because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for the Communists

and I did not speak out

because I was not a Communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists

and I did not speak out

because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for me.

and there was no one left

to speak out for me  

Sometimes I swear I find this whole exercise of writing completely meaningless and in vain because ever since our inception as a country, hundreds of thousands of commentators that were much wiser, far more eloquent than I can ever claim to be, have blackened tons of pages with wisdom but it falls on deaf ears, so what is the point really? I guess the point is that Prophet (PBUH) said that when you see oppression stop it with your hand, if you are not strong enough than speak out against it and if you can't even do that than at least consider it wrong in your heart and pray to Allah swt for justice and that is the weakest stage of imaan(faith).

For the love of GOD people rise up and oppose this aggression. Because if won't rise as a civil society and make sure that these matters be sorted out fairly on democratic platforms in a civil manner, than the void will be filled by extremist voices and all hell will break loose. My heart goes out to the families of soldiers who have lost their lives in the line of duty, but this is a conflict that we must avoid and sort out peacefully as much as humanly possible. I don't think we did that here.

If we as people want alcohol to be legalized and brothels and pubs on every street corner in Pakistan then let's make this decision as free people. How come no one is asking the people of Pakistan whether they are 'enlightened moderates' or extremist, or something in the middle? Why do we always have to be told what's good for us on gunpoint? When are we going to get the basic right of freedom of choice of our own fate, something that all but 2 countries in the world have already gotten? I heard our macho minister of education mocking the poor girls of Hafsa for being too emotional on Capital Talk the other day. I guess he has a point. But we should check with him again, God-forbid if his daughter or sister was to get blown up in fragments in front of his very eyes - would he than get a tad emotional? Someone once said that legendary poets are always relevant, long after they are gone. How sad for us that Faiz is still relevant.

Kaheen naheeN hai,

KaheeN bhhee naheeN lahoo kaa suuraagh,

naa dUst-i naakhun-i qatil, Naa aasteeN pay nishaaN

naa suurkhee-i lUb-i khanjar, na rUNG-e noak-i sinaaN

Naa khaak pUr koee dhabbaa, naa baam pUr koee daaGH

KaheeN naheeN hai, KaheeN bhee naheeN lahoo kaa suraaGh

naa sUrf-i khidmat-i shahaaN, keh khoon bahaa daitay

naa deeN kee nazr , keh bai-aana-e jazaa daitay

naa razm Gaah meiN barsaa, keh mo'tbir hotaa

kisi alam pay raqam ho kay mushtahir hotaa

puukartaa raha bay aasra yateem lahoo

kisi ko bah'rey samaa'at naa vaqt thha naa dimaaGh

...........Naa muuddaee naa shahdat, hisaab paak huaa

yeh khoon-i khaak nasheenaaN thha. Rizq-e khaak huaa  

Reader Comments:

Its common Pakistani who will make difference

Fully agree with writer that its common Pakistani on street has to make choices for himself. Poiliticians, jehadis, armed forces cannot force their views on the common man. For Pakistan to grow , its for each of Pakistani who has to raise voice agaisnt injustice, intolerance.

Sanjay, Hungary - 19 July, 2007

freedom

Yes people of pakistan should have a say but good people pakistan should standup and let the extremist and govt.know what they want or live fear of india or other nation to take our freedom from us. people of pakistan please do something may god show us the way .

sajjad, Pakistan - 19 July, 2007

Pakistan in Dire Strait

Very well written article by Ahmer Muzammil but perhaps he is forgetting that all should respect the law of the land. Making mosques as sanctuaries and breeding terrorists is not written anywhere in Islamic books. The teachings of Islam by Maulanas is in question and they got to be looked into by the Government. What happened in Lal Masjid all deplore but the entire blame goes to two brothers who refused to surrender with their accomlices. If they had come out from the Lal Masjid and other areas they were occupying by leaving their weapons behind the seem would have been different.They had huge piles of weapons and claimed could fight for a month. They had huge piles of latest weapons and challenged the writ of th government. You can't have a State within a State. No government on this earth would allow that kind of nonsense. No doubt Armed forces had to come to resolve that sitution and there was no other way to tackle that sitution which was created by two so called maulanas. The trainees they have produced are bombing mosques in other places in the country. If you were the Head of State what would you do.? Its your duty to protect the majority citizens of your country and do clean up job no matter how harsh or hard steps you have to take. It was sad what happened there and lot of lives were lost including Army Officers, Media men and others. That was unavoidable. One must appreciate that Gen Musharraf had no choice but to order either surrender or face the music.

Mohammad, United Arab Emirates - 20 July, 2007

When did this happen?

"... did our Army had to rush back to Kashmir to conquer Kargil again?"

conquer Kargil AGAIN????? When was the first time we did that??

Sayed, United Arab Emirates - 20 July, 2007

Choosing

I shouldn't really comment since I am not from Pakistan and never have been there, but I am simply confused.

The writer seems to jump from one side to the other and only at the very end of his article does he seem to take some some sort of definite stand.

Violent extremism cries out for all of us to choose. One is with those who behave as they did at Lal Masjid or one simply says a loud NO! to extremism.

There just doesn't seem to be any sort of middle ground for those who love Pakistan and want what's best for it...

As an Ameircan living through these terrible times, hearing the words of those who wish to destroy my country, I have discovered -

There are some battles that, sadly, just have to be fought.




Ayasha, United Kingdom - 20 July, 2007

Long term peace should be the goal of every one.

No one is against USA,No one is against Americans,people are against American policies and there are voices against it right in USA of those who want US to regain respect in the world.Now more than ever it should be easy because US is the sole power and muslims have record of supporting it when there were two superpowers,so why not now.Yes but tragically in peace you don't make short term profit as the war monger corporations want.Profit in the form of long term peace is the best to achieve.

Dr.Khan, United Kingdom - 20 July, 2007

Ayasha who are you

Ayasha in an earlier e-mail you wrote you are a Pakistani living in US and now you say you are not a Pakistani and never visited Pakistan.This is strange,may be between writing too much you forgot.There is a saying in Pakistan also that someone who lies a lot forgets what he said before.You are right though you should not comment because they are without any background.

Kiyani, United Kingdom - 20 July, 2007

Well, u know it all.

Somebody should ask this question to Musharraf !!

Shub, United Arab Emirates - 21 July, 2007

Extremism is one colour...on both sides of the border

Dear Ahmer,

It hurt us as it hurt you to see scores of Children & Women being killed to score some political brownie points. I fully agree that had Mr Musharraf given a chance to peace, it was not far away.
But I am sure you would have understood his wisdom from yesterday's verdict of Supreme Court. The General was sure of losing the court battle and hence he has played out the Lal Masjid drama, just to show who is in control, to his american masters and to the public in general, else it will be difficult for him to hold on to his seat.

Its not very different here in India, where rulers burn down coaches and run down people to show their political supremacy even within party (read Narendra Modi).

The question here is Do we have a Gandhi or Quaid who can lead the masses away from extremism ? Can we have a political upheaval on both sides of border, to reach out to common people and bring them out of terror and hence extremism (its a product of insecurity and economic backwardness) ? Can we as one go for another freedom struggle and rid ourselves of the fanatics ?

AND FINALLY CAN WE GET RID OF AMERICA AS OUR ROLE MODEL and rely on our own historical wisdom to create a society that does not survive on spending but saving ??

Can We ??

Anand Jain, Hungary - 22 July, 2007

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