The brutal rape and murder of an 8-year old have led to demands for public hanging of killers and rapists as if that is the solution to such crimes. If military courts are the answer to terrorism, and lynching the answer to blasphemy then surely public hanging will help cleanse Pakistani society.
No one wants to stop and think that according to reports by Pakistani civil society organizations, on average 11 children were abused per day. In 2016, 4139 cases of sexual abuse were reported by Pakistan’s newspapers, a ten percent increase over 2015. And this is only those that were reported! And of course, no wants to discuss the root causes of these crimes.
Instead as Cyril Almeida points out the ‘outrage machine’ is “on fire and in overdrive.” And so “the rage — total rage — once activated was only going to go in ever more dangerous, more unhinged directions. APS brought hangings back. So this time it had to be a hanging plus. Hang him in the street outside her home. Hang him in a public square. The biggest one you can find. Hang him in a stadium. The biggest one you can find. Build a new stadium if there isn’t one big enough.”
Raza Rumi, asks why “a tragedy that should have been a wake up call for the country and how we raise children at homes, schools and madaris” has instead “turned into a sordid game for political elites and a rating contest for mainstream electronic media. Once again, a historic opportunity for reform has been squandered.”
Here is more from Rumi’s piece
“When Zainab’s story came into public light, every Pakistani was horrified especially those who are parenting young children. That sexual abuse of children is a part of people’s lives came as an ugly reminder. Celebrities opened up in public arenas recounting the horrors of being abused as children. Earlier, the Kasur child pornography scandal shook the public in a similar fashion but nothing came out of it in terms of setting things right. One hoped that with the outrage and protest over Zainab’s murder things would turn out to be different. But they didn’t.”
“From 2011 to 2016 a total of 19,508 cases of child sexual abuse were reported in the country. This is where the media could have played a constructive role. Instead, mainstream media covered the Zainab story while ignoring all ethics of journalism. Zainab’s parents were blamed for their negligence, his brother was scolded for not protecting his sister and the list goes on. A bereaved family found itself in the midst of rating sharks coping with an uninvited onslaught. The images of dead Zainab have only brutalised us and not helped the cause for child protection.”
Democracy once again appears to be under threat in Pakistan with a politician who seeks to become Prime Minister using abusive language against parliamentary institutions, the dismissal of the chief minister of Baluchistan, the threat of another rally with cleric Tahir ul Qadri putting together another loose coalition. This is in addition to Pakistan-US relations being under increasing stress, civil-military relations at their worst and the continued radicalization of Pakistani society.
The dismissal of an elected chief minister in Balochistan and his replacement with someone who secured less than 600 votes in the last general election is a reflection of the troubles facing Pakistan.
In a scathing editorial The Friday Times stated: “If the strategic importance of the province to the Miltablishment is obvious, so too is its tactical relevance in the current political situation. If the PMLN is to be stopped from improving its position in the Senate so that Nawaz Sharif cannot constitutionally make a comeback, then something must be done to stop the Senate elections from taking place in March before the next general elections are held some months hence. One way to do that is to precipitate a political crisis in which at least two provincial assemblies – Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa – are dissolved, posing a constitutional challenge to holding the Senate elections on time. If necessary, this may be followed by mass resignations from the National Assembly of PTI, PMLQ, PPP, MQM and assorted groups currently in the fold of the Militablishment – including a significant chunk of PMLN “sleepers”— that compels a dissolution of parliament and the installation of an interim federal government cobbled by the Election Commission and Supreme Court of Pakistan. Such an interim government could stretch for months on end until the latest Census results have been collated and constituency delimitation concluded in a “satisfactory” manner. During this period, further political engineering can take place to ensure “suitable” results — a political dispensation that excludes the person of Nawaz Sharif from power (by getting NAB courts to sentence him for corruption) and also denies any political party an outright majority in parliament that might foolishly embolden it to challenge the political hegemony of the Miltablishment, a mistake that both Asif Zardari and Nawaz Sharif respectively made in office and for which they are still paying the price.”
Similarly the Lahore Mall rally of PTI, PPP and Tahir ul Qadri’s PAT was “only meant to confirm the pledge of the disparate parties to stand together for the final Heave-Ho when the signal is received rather than immediately go for the Punjab government’s jugular. Balochistan, KP and the opposition parties are now all primed for the coup de grace. They are simply waiting for a nod from the Miltablishment to trigger the beginning of the end of the current political dispensation led by the PMLN.”
According to Cyril Almeida in Dawn the reason for all this is the belief “The people can’t be trusted to deliver the right result and massaging the process takes a bunch of doing.” Hence “IF you think you’re crazy and imagining things, you’re not. A moment of stability quickly yields to instability and confusion and the threat of chaos. But there’s a pattern all right. Nawaz and Maryam go quiet, the system goes quiet. Nawaz and Maryam switch the megaphone back on, the system roars back. This time it may be for good.”
Operation Zarb-i-Azb’s success has persuaded the army that deviant militants can be successfully crushed.
Pervez Hoodbhoy, Dawn, December 16, 2017
FOR three decades Pakistan’s military establishment has stoutly denied supporting violent religious groups irrespective of whether a group’s target lay across national borders or, instead, its goal was to achieve specific political objectives within Pakistan. But today the military’s attitude is more ambivalent.
Human Rights Commission of Pakistan slams the enforced disappearances of Baloch students and activists in Karachi
HRCP demands release of Baloch students & activists picked up in Karachi
Lahore, November 27: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has slammed the recent spate of enforced disappearances involving Baloch students and activists in Karachi. HRCP has demanded that these student activists and human rights defenders be accorded due process if they are suspected of any crime, or be immediately released by the security forces that have detained them.
Pakistan’s long-serving ambassador to the United Nations, Munir Akram, is known for his close ties to Pakistan’s intelligence service and for reflecting the most hawkish stance of the Pakistani establishment against India, the United States and Israel. His other claim to fame is that, while serving at the UN in New York, the U.S. State department had to ask Pakistan to withdraw Akram’s diplomatic immunity when his then girlfriend Marijana Mihic charged him with misdemeanor assault Akram got out of that mess by getting his girlfriend to withdraw the charges.
Since his retirement from the Foreign Service, Akram (like some other former colleagues of his) has taken to espousing Pakistani hyper-nationalism in the Pakistani media. Unlike the domestic violence against Marijana Mihic, this chest-beating has significant implications for Pakistan’s future. It reveals the deep-rooted ideological pre-disposition of Pakistan’s establishment to take risks with the country’s security, based on incorrect assessments. (The 1965 and 1971 wars and the Kargil misadventure come to mind).