Purification by fire

No Country For Minorities

Arsonists burned down a Hindu temple in Tando Mohammad Khan district last week. SSP Tando Mohammad Khan, Naseem Aara Panwhar responded to the incident with the type of compassion that we have come to expect from authorities.

“We had asked them not to keep these things in this manner and at least raise proper boundary walls. But they did not care,” she said.

You see, it was the fault of these stupid Hindus for keeping their holy artifacts in a manner that they could be seen instead of hidden away where they belong.

Perhaps Shama and Shehzad would have been better to have kept themselves hidden away, too. Their very existence as non-Muslims was so offensive that they were burnt alive, purifying our country of their Christian-ness.

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What Justice System Says About Our Society

Only 4% terrorism suspects convicted

The reality about how so-called justice operates in Pakistan was put in stark relief this week. Courts gave decisions in three different cases, and the decisions speak volumes not only about law and order, but our society more generally as well.

Thursday, the Lahore High Court granted bail to Lashkar-e-Jhangvi chief Malik Ishaq who is facing charges of fanning sectarianism through giving hate speeches. Malik Ishaq must be quickly approaching the world’s record for being charged and released in terrorism cases. Actually, though, it’s not just Malik Ishaq but most terrorists never get convicted.

While Malik Ishaq is repeatedly given the benefit of presumption of innocence, another Pakistani is facing a very different judiciary. An appellate forum under the Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR) has ordered a new case against Shakil Afridi, the doctor accused of helping the CIA find Osama bin Laden, for alleged involvement in anti-state activities and collusion with foreign intelligence. This is not an excuse for Shakil Afridi or a plea for innocence, only an observation that it accusations of cooperating with Americans against terrorism seem to be treated much more seriously than accusations of cooperating with terrorists against Pakistanis.

And then there is the third group in this trio of justice systems. According to media reports, as SC was prepared to close the 35 missing persons case, it was revealed that no FIR has even been filed against the accused Army men.

To the Court’s credit, it is taking the case seriously and is making what appear to be good faith efforts to see justice prevail. However, the Court also has to work within the boundaries of law, which means that it relies on other officials to carry out their own duties, who in this case appear to dragging their feet.

And let us not forget that which some would certainly like us to quickly forget, which is the much rubbished New York Times report that ISI had a secret, unaccountable desk dedicated to Osama bin Laden during his stay here. This is a serious allegation made in one of the most prominent of the world’s newspapers. The last time such unsourced allegations were made, judicial commissions were constituted, officials were placed under house arrest and their movements restricted, and the nation found itself in an uproar. In this case, though, the article was dismissed almost unanimously within hours. Gen Pasha will not be called home from Dubai. No judicial commission or investigation necessary.

But even if the ISI is completely innocent, which is, of course, a possibility that must be given all due consideration, the article does name others and mentions specific evidence against them:

The haul of handwritten notes, letters, computer files and other information collected from Bin Laden’s house during the raid suggested otherwise, however. It revealed regular correspondence between Bin Laden and a string of militant leaders who must have known he was living in Pakistan, including Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, the founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba, a pro-Kashmiri group that has also been active in Afghanistan, and Mullah Omar of the Taliban.

Will the DG-ISI secretly meet with the author in a London hotel room to view the evidence against Hafiz Saeed and Mullah Omar? Will the alleged correspondence be ‘leaked’ to the national media so that the public can decide for itself about the facts of the case?

So here we have one system of justice with at least three different types of justice: The jihadi terrorist who cannot be convicted, the accused foreign agent who can never be acquitted, and the Army men who can never be properly brought to book due in the first place. We can place the blame on the judiciary, but isn’t what we’re seeing actually a reflection of something much more familiar?

 

Open Season on Pakistanis

Pakistan bleedingWhen Raymond Davis shot two men in the street, the nation erupted in anger. The streets were packed with angry souls who demanded justice. As his true identity as a CIA agent became known, anger fueled paranoid nightmares that saw trigger happy Americans in every burger restaurant and behind every boundary wall in Pakistan. Internationally acclaimed Pakistani author Mohsin Hamid expressed this anxiety most eloquently in his piece for The Guardian.

The affair has brought home what should have been obvious to us Pakistanis for a long time. Pakistan has become a game preserve, a place where deadly creatures are nurtured, and where hunters pay for the chance to kill them.

It’s a terrifying picture. What makes it all the more terrifying is that, like many nightmares, there is some small piece of truth to it. But, then, like most paranoid conspiracies, it deflects from the reality. Pakistan has become a place where deadly creatures are nurtured, and where where hunters pay for the chance to kill. It’s not, though, American Raymond Davises that are killing Pakistanis like game.

16th August 2012: 20 Shias pulled off bus and shot dead

Local police official Shafiq Gul told AFP that the gunmen were masked, but said the victims were pulled from three separate vehicles in the district, which neighbours the Swat valley, a former Taliban stronghold.

“They stopped three vehicles, searched them and picked up people in three batches of five, six and nine and shot them dead. They were all Shias,” he said.

20th September 2011: Sectarian atrocity: 29 killed in Mastung, Quetta ambushes

The Shia community in Balochistan came under intense attack on Tuesday when 29 people were killed in two separate, targeted incidents claimed by banned militant outfit Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.

At least 26 people were killed and six others injured in Ganjidori area of Mastung, about 30 kilometres southeast of Quetta, when a group of armed men attacked a passenger bus carrying Shia pilgrims from Quetta to Iran.

Hours later, three more people, hailing from the Hazara community, were gunned down near Akhtarabad area of Quetta as their rescue team made its way to the site of the bus attack. Two others were also shot.

Not CIA. Now RAW. The initials of these killers are LeJ. And the leader of the hunting party is Malik Ishaq, the man invited on stage with Sheikh Rashid, Hamid Gul, Hafiz Saeed, and others of the so-called ‘Difa’-e-Pakistan Council. The same Malik Ishaq who was paid by Government Punjab ever since Sharifs came to power in 2008.

In case you are thinking, “Oh but I am not Shia this is not my problem…” please let me remind you that this was not the only terrorist attack inside Pakistan that day. Same day, militants attacked PAF Minhas airbase martyring two soldiers before being defeated by our security forces.

Federal Defence Minister Syed Naveed Qamar Thursday said the terror assault on Kamra’s Pakistan Air Force (PAF) Airbase is not a failure of the security institutions, but then, what else can we call it when terrorists plan and carry out attacks on our own PAF base inside our own country? Security is when agencies stop terrorists BEFORE they carry out attacks, not DURING attacks.

It’s time to stop making excuses and start defending our nation.

COAS Gen Kayani spoke the following words on the anniversary of the national Independence Day:

“The fight against extremism and terrorism is our own war and we are right in fighting it. Let there be no doubt about it, otherwise we’ll be divided and taken towards civil war. Our minds should be clear on this.”

Today, this has become crystal clear. If we continue to bury our heads in the sand and ignore the jihadi killers in our midst, it will be all of Pakistan that is eventually buried. There is still time to save ourselves but we must act now to end this open season on Pakistanis.

They Warned Us, Didn’t They?

Eleven innocent Pakistanis murdered over the weekend in Balochistan by Lashkar-e-Jhangvi militants.

At least 11 people were killed on Saturday as gunmen opened fire on a vehicle in the provincial capital; reports indicate that all the victims were Shia. The attack follows Friday’s incident in which at least seven people were killed when gunmen attacked the office of a private transport company in Quetta. Police officials say the victims were waiting to board a coach to Iran. Proscribed militant outfit Lashkar-i-Jhangvi has claimed responsibility for both attacks.

Why should we be surprised? They warned us that it was coming.

Speaking to Geo News, Malik Ishaq said that he was satisfied with the decision of the courts and he had nothing to do with terrorism. Ishaq added that he would continue to fight for the country and the Sahaba.

And so the jihadis keep laughing…

Malik Ishaq laughing

While Pakistanis keep dying…

Mourning innocent victims of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi

When will our patience run out?