Leftovers from yesterday’s establishment have us chasing shadows. An American with connections to the CIA shoots two armed men at Mozang Chowk and now we are regaled with stories of thousands of Raymond Davis’s acting as silent assassins stalking the streets. Jamaatis march in the streets demanding ‘blood for blood’ and making fiery speeches condemning the ‘foreign hand’.
While this is going on, there are operatives planning and preparing to commit more murders against innocent Pakistanis. Only this time it is not thieves brandishing guns that will prematurely lose their lives, but government officials. It is not a claim of self-defense that will be made by the gunman, but a declaration of war. And the response is too often silence.
Of course, those responsible for killing almost 10,000 Pakistanis over the past years are not Americans. They are not Raymond Davis’s wearing grey shirts and carrying Glock pistols, rather they are wearing kurtas and carrying Kalashnikovs and suicide vests.
Is there any wonder why there is not outrage over these killers? Look at the cast of characters who are out whipping up the masses into an emotional frenzy over Raymond Davis, a lone gunman who shot two armed men. Whether he committed this act in cold blood or in self-defense, it was an isolated and bizarre incident that seems to involve the spy-vs-spy games of intelligence agencies more than any ideology or greater scheme.
Prominent among those who spoke on the occasion included former Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) chief Qazi Hussain Ahmed, Gen Hameed Gul, Chairperson DHR Amina Masood Janjua, former diplomat Roedad Khan and former MNA from JI Mian Aslam. To show solidarity with the protestors, eminent human right activist Tahira Abdullah and world record holder in ‘O’ Levels Exams Ibrahim Shahid were also present on the occasion.
It’s this same crowd who after hearing TTP has claimed responsibility for killing Bhatti have blamed it on…CIA.
“Accepting the responsibility of killing the minister soon after the incident by ‘Punjabi Taliban’, as reported by media, is an ample proof that the CIA is behind this crime because the US spy agency had been staging such ‘dramas’ of ‘Punjabi Taliban’ after committing the crimes of same nature earlier,” [Chief of JI Sindh Chapter Asadullah Bhutto] said in a statement on Wednesday.
This is beyond unreasonable. It is deep into the territory of suicidally stupid.
The assassinationa of Shaheed Salmaan Taseer and Shahbaz Bhatti were not part of some CIA operation to undermine Pakistan. If it is, why does the JI never speak out against these crimes? They spare no resource for the glorification of Mumtaz Qadri. They are relentless in their cries of justice for Aafia Siddiqui. They can find nothing but forgiveness and excuses for Taliban militants who strap bombs to the bodies of children and send them to kill women in the market. But they can not shed a single tear for the thousands killed by jihadi militants. They can not say a prayer for the soul of a martyred soul if he is seeking to protect the weak and defenseless.
No. This is a war not against secularism. It is not a fight against moderation. It is more than that only. It is an attempt to silence the voices of the minorities and oppressed. It is an all out war on the founding vision of Pakistan as expressed so well by Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah in 1947.
You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place or worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed that has nothing to do with the business of the State. As you know, history shows that in England, conditions, some time ago, were much worse than those prevailing in India today. The Roman Catholics and the Protestants persecuted each other. Even now there are some States in existence where there are discriminations made and bars imposed against a particular class. Thank God, we are not starting in those days. We are starting in the days where there is no discrimination, no distinction between one community and another, no discrimination between one caste or creed and another. We are starting with this fundamental principle that we are all citizens and equal citizens of one State. The people of England in course of time had to face the realities of the situation and had to discharge the responsibilities and burdens placed upon them by the government of their country and they went through that fire step by step. Today, you might say with justice that Roman Catholics and Protestants do not exist; what exists now is that every man is a citizen, an equal citizen of Great Britain and they are all members of the Nation.
Now I think we should keep that in front of us as our ideal and you will find that in course of time Hindus would cease to be Hindus and Muslims would cease to be Muslims, not in the religious sense, because that is the personal faith of each individual, but in the political sense as citizens of the State.
These Taliban jihadis and the Jamaatis who facilitate and excuse their crimes would gladly tear the national flag into shreds, ripping from it the bold white bar that proudly proclaims the rights and protections of minorities in this country. They would have us abandon our own people.
Let us not forget that Pakistan was born to protect the rights of Muslims from mistreatment by a Hindu majority. It was this oppression that we were supposed to learn from, to rise above, and to wash clean as we built our own society. Again the words of Jinnah are a stinging reminder:
I cannot emphasize it too much. We should begin to work in that spirit and in course of time all these angularities of the majority and minority communities, the Hindu community and the Muslim community, because even as regards Muslims you have Pathans, Punjabis, Shias, Sunnis and so on, and among the Hindus you have Brahmins, Vashnavas, Khatris, also Bengalis, Madrasis and so on, will vanish. Indeed if you ask me, this has been the biggest hindrance in the way of India to attain the freedom and independence and but for this we would have been free people long long ago. No power can hold another nation, and specially a nation of 400 million souls in subjection; nobody could have conquered you, and even if it had happened, nobody could have continued its hold on you for any length of time, but for this. Therefore, we must learn a lesson from this.
The Taliban and their Jamaati sympathisers will speak every ill against India and Hindus. They will point to every instance of a Hindu oppressing a Muslim and say that it is their nature to do evil. But point the mirror back at these monsters and you will see that they are exactly what they preach against. They condemn BJP for facilitating violence against minorities in India, and yet they relish in the same evil.
Thankfully, there are some brave souls, some true Pakistani patriots who are willing to stand against these forces of evil in the country such as PM Gilani and MNA Farahnaz Ispahani.
Pakistani government leaders condemned the attack.
Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani visited the hospital and offered condolences to Bhatti’s grieving relatives.
“Such acts will not deter the government’s resolve to fight terrorism and extremism,” he said, adding that the killers would not go unpunished.
“This is concerted campaign to slaughter every liberal, progressive and humanist voice in Pakistan,” said Farahnaz Ispahani, an aide to President Asif Ali Zardari. “The time has come for the federal government and provincial governments to speak out and to take a strong stand against these murderers to save the very essence of Pakistan.”
This is a good start, but we need more. The voices of the people must be united to stomp out this virus, the infection of militancy and sectarianism that is killing us. As a united people of 180 millions, we cannot be overcome by this virus. Only if we allow ourselves to be divided against each other, if we allow ourselves to be placed into smaller groups such as Ahmadi, Shia, Christian, Sufi. Then it will further divided into Deobandi, Barelvi, Wahhabi and the killing will continue. Then it will divided further and madrassah will fight madrassah, mosque against mosque until finally there is no one left.
We can stop this madness, this descent into a cycle of murder-suicide. But only if we come together and refuse to be divided. We are all Deobandi, Barelvi, Wahhabi; we are all Sufi, Christian, Shia, Ahmadi; we are all Baloch, Sindhi, Punjabi, Pakhtun.
WE ARE ALL PAKISTANI
With apologies to Pastor Martin Niemoller…
First they came for the Ahmadis,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t an Ahmadi.
Then they came for the Christians,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Christian.
Then they came for the Shia,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Shia.
Then they came for me,
and there was no one left to speak out for me.