The rot has moved from the limbs to the heart

The news that TTP have declared allegiance to ISIS is not surprising. Taliban commanders have mentioned working with ISIS since several months. This is a bad sign for Pakistan when we have already spent $2 billion on Zarb-e-Azb operations that show no signs of progress. But actually, this is not the worst news for Pakistan, even if it is the most sensational. Jihadi extremists working with jihadi extremists is to be expected. What should worry us most is not the state of militants, but the state of our own civil society, which appears to be descending into a state of rot.

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Devil’s Advocates

broken scales of justiceI lost count of how many times someone emailed me a link to a news report about Sharifuddin Pirzada, the lawyer who is leading Gen Musharraf’s defence team. The report was originally written by AFP, a French media group, but  it has spread like fire since, appearing in countless newspapers both in Pakistan and internationally. The explanation that Pirzada is ‘just doing his job’ is perfectly valid – that is not my issue. My issue is why this explanation is only given for lawyers who defend dictators?

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A Modest Proposal

You shoot me, I shoot you right back. I have been thinking about the blasphemy laws and the veneration of Mumtaz Qadri, and I must admit that it has taken me a while to understand what is going on. But now that I have finally wrapped my brain around it, I wanted to be sure to share with my moderate and liberal friends who I fear are still trying to makes heads or tails of the situation.

Let’s start with a review of the facts:

First, Asia Bibi was convicted of blasphemy for allegedly saying that Jesus was equal to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Or something. Nobody really seems to be certain what she said. But we’re certain that it was insulting, whatever it was. After all, she’s a Christian, and that’s insulting enough.

When people began investigating the background of the case, though, they discovered that actually it all seems to have started because of an argument over a goat. Governor Punjab Salmaan Taseer took up the case saying that he wanted to make certain that the woman was not punished if she did not commit any crime.

Sahibzada Fazal Kareem, head of Sunni Ittehad Council, told AFP that a pardon of Asia Bibi “would lead to anarchy in the country”. Asia Bibi still sits in prison with no pardon.

Second, Mumtaz Qadri of the Elite Police Force turned his gun on the man he was sworn to protect and shot him the back. For this, he is being termed ‘Ghazi’. Lawyers showered the confessed killer with flowers, and Jamat Ahle Sunnat clerics threatened politicians and journalists with death if they do not support Qadri’s act.

Why did Mumtaz Qadri commit this act? The man he was sworn to protect, Salmaan Taseer, had termed the blasphemy laws ‘man-made law’ and said that it should be reviewed. Mumtaz Qadri disagreed with him.

Some have mistakenly said that Qadri killed Salmaan Taseer because of blasphemy, but this is not correct because Salmaan Taseer never committed any blasphemy.

Actually, Javed Ahmad Ghamidi also agrees that the law is man-made law and not divine law. Dr. Khalid Masood also has noted that the blasphemy laws are mis-used to promote injustice and that justification for these laws is questionable based on Quran. This is something that has been discussed and debated and there are differing positions even between respected scholars.

Salmaan Taseer, even if you disagree with his position, was not convicted of blasphemy. He was tried by no court and no sentence was handed down. His killer was not authorized to commit this act by any judge. Qadri was not even authorized by any fatwa. We know this because Mumtaz Qadri has said it himself. He simply woke up one morning and decided to shoot a man in the back because he disagreed with him.

Therefore we have now shown that Mumtaz Qadri shot a man in the back because he disagreed with him on an issue. So, we must ask, if shooting a man in the back because you disagree with him makes you a Ghazi, shouldn’t we all shoot in the back those who we disagree with? After all, don’t we all want to be Ghazis?

Think about the lawyers who are cheering their new hero. It makes perfect sense why they would idolize him. Everytime they go into a courtroom it is because there is a disagreement. And resolving these cases takes countless hours of preparation and sometimes years of making motions and giving evidence. Cases could be closed much more quickly if they just shot each other in the back.

For a similar reason, it is obvious why the Mullahs are supporting Qadri. Think of the theological disagreements that they have been studying and debating and arguing over for a thousand years or more. So much time could be saved and used for more important tasks like beard conditioning and turban folding if a cleric could just shoot the scholars he disagrees with in the back.

Or how about politics? Think of all the energy that is spend on campaigns and rallies and voting. It would be so much simpler if we should we all just go out and shoot supporters of the other political parties.

How about cricket? With today’s fast-paced society, test matches are nearly impossible to watch. Even ODIs are too long for many people. We’ve already created 20/20 to move things along more quickly, but imagine how soon a match would be completed if we just did away with bowling and batting and fielding and simply went straight to shooting everyone in the back.

As you can see, it makes perfect sense. This would surely increase our GDP also as we would create a booming new industry for guns, ammunition, and funerals. If we put a tax on bullets, we could raise enough money to close the tax-to-GDP gap that has the IMF so concerned. Plus, we would never have to listen to anyone we don’t agree with. What an incredibly wonderful world. So it’s settled from now on, there is only one rule – if you don’t like what someone says, shoot them in the back.

Let me know if you disagree. I’ll be happy to shoot you in the back.

Editor’s Note: This piece is satire only. Please do not shoot anyone in the back, front, or anywhere else. If you disagree, please simply leave a comment instead.