5 Culpable parties in #Gujranwala Killings

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“Hate is a baggage. Life is too short to be pissed all the time. It’s not just worth it”, are the words of Danny Vinyard, the protagonist in my all time favorite Hollywood flick,American history X

I reckon his words are the most suitable antidote needed at this critical juncture by our society that has been defaced with another scar in the form of Gujranwala killings.  

The miscreants torching houses of the vulnerable Ahmadi minority at the culmination of the Holy month of Ramadan added to the ignominy of the shameful act. An inside source cleared the air that the accused was framed, a commonplace with minorites in Pakistan, since his facebook account was hacked before he was charged of posting an offensive image on the social networking website. 

Post Gujranwala incident, I have identified five culpable parties whose indifference towards humanity is startling:

1). The Mob (mentality)

This is the most dangerous of the lot as they comes in various shapes and forms. They are well verse at wielding sticks, totting guns and pyrotechnics. They claim that they ostensibly retaliate in the name of the God, yet their goal is to incite hate.

 At times they afflict pain by being physical on other ocassions they prefer to remain silent. Wondering how?

When Farzana Parveen was stoned to death in broad daylight this mob watched orgasmically until the poor lass breathed her last. Whereas in cases of Badami Bagh tragedy, Gojra massacre, Youtube protest and recently Gujranwala arson they excercised their physical prowess.

Another bizzare routine in their modus operandi is looting. They executed it with utter impunity, after setting houses,belonging to the Ahmadis, on fire. 

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2). Inept criminal justice system: 

With human rights violation galore, the criminal justice system in the Islamic republic of Pakistan has failed miserable and as it seems, the price tag on life depends on a person’s religious affiliation — a pity to say the least.

Every passing day our flawed judicial system strengthens the radical element by bowing in front of his tyranny. In case of Gujranwala incident it has hardly taken notice.

No matter how debatable or confusing the intricacies of blasphemy law are but it is clear as a May morning that only state has the right to exercise the law. The Gujranwala incident would be the umpteenth time when judiciary and the state machinery have failed to deliver.

If past precedence of this skewed system is anything to go by then Hijratullah, the culprit in Manawa incident is a prime example. He was sentenced to 7 years later Judges ruled him innocent.

Same hold true in the case of Rimsha Masih, where witnesses changed their testimony during the course of legal proceeding against Khalid Chishti, who was charged with wrongly framing Rimsha of blasphemy. As a result the culprit went scot-free.

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Rashid Rehman case is no different. While representing blasphemy accused lecturer, Junaid Hafeez, he was threatened by his counterpart in the court of law but the system was unmoved. He was eventually shot in point blank range by the supposed custodians of the Ummah. 

I reckon the recently promulgated Pakistan Protection act 2014 has pushed the envelope a few notches. With bizarre clauses suggesting that “an accused is guilty until proven innocent“, could well sound like death rattle for the vulnerable minorities, if misused. 

A commission being formed to investigate the murder of innocent Hira, Kainat and Bashiran in Gujranwala incident seems a remote possibility as well.

3). Chief minister Punjab and his toadies:

Being a direct stakeholder, Khadim e Ala could not muster courage to publicly condemn the killings.Usually hands on, both CM and his toadies including Khurram Dastagheer, MNA from Gujranwala, (despite being contacted by the jamat ahmadiya spokesperson) kept their lips mummed over the unfortunate incident, that consumed the lives of two children and a pregnant lady.

On the contrary, a few days later the news about the electrocution of 3 minors in the same city, prompted Shahbaz Sharif to take notice and order investigation resulting in fastidious suspension of a myriads of rank and file GEPCO officials. (Link attached)

One must not forget that Shahbaz sharif was the incumbent in Punjab when Salman Taseer, Shahbaz Bhatti and Raza Rumi were attacked. When household names can’t find peace under his leadership, I wonder how a vulnerable minority can wish for it.

4). Electronic media 

This medium is all encompassing, has a larger reach and illiteracy is not a barrier in its viewership, but on the issues of Ahmadis, it is coy and timid like politicians of our country.

Barring Jibran Nasir who had the chutzpah to break the silence through his show, Izhar, rest of the media was busy playing to the galleries.

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At most, state television PTV drew a hazy picture of the incident by letting the audience know that there was a rift between two groups that led to the incineration. Hardly any media outlet pointed out at the fact that fire brigades were forced to go back by the angry mob when they arrived at the scene. Like previous incidents pertaining to this minority group, facts were twisted to get it over with.

Similarly the unfortunate incident of 28th May 2010 in which more than 90 Ahmadis lost their lives failed to get ample air time as it was treated as a petty lapse on the part of law enforcement agencies.

5). Unpatriotic Gaza sympathizers

They update status in favor of the oppressed Palestinians but they find it difficult to share a tweet highlighting the plight of minorities rotting in their own backyard. They must understand that charity begins from home.

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The Zionist oppression against Palestinians is as condemnable as the act of hooligans lighting houses of Pakistanis on fire. Shouting hoarse over the plight of Palestinians in Gaza while caring less about the miseries of their compatriots manifests their indifference towards their homeland. Their bigotry is unexplainable and their nationalism questionable.

All hate mongers must realize that it is not about who is right or wrong? The issue is whether you have the conscience to raise voice over the tyrannical act or are you simply numb. 

As for Danny Vinyard, he gets shot by a random fanatic in the end. 

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Parachinaar: A reeking slaughter pen!!

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Parachinar — once deemed as Pakistan’s answer to Switzerland, this beautiful valley in Kurrum Agency, nestled between snow laden gargantuan mountains and breathtaking deep gorges has unfortunately become the epicentre of a mass scale genocide today.

The traumatic incident on friday night that consumed scores of innocent lives is not novel to an extremely polarized populace, fragmented into dissenting sects and clans. Infact it is the continuity of strings of heinous acts carried out by hatemongers, who have no religion or conscience. The culprits are ignominious to human race leave alone muslim faith( ie: if they mistakenly associate themselves with Islam).

The worst part about the ongoing massacre in Kurrum Agency is the lack of resolve on the part of government’s machinery to halt the blood shed and restore peace. The primary reason behind the state’s apathy and failure can be attributed to the nature of ensuing conflict in Parachinar that reeks of sectarian and religious intolerance.

During the past thirty years or so, not even a single altruistic & audacious leader has come out of his comfort zone to address the woes of Parachinar residents. All we as a nation have dealt with is their rhetorics.

Conversely, some leaders did take regressive steps towards the opposite direction, pushing the region into perennial war zone. General Zia ul Haq for one stands out for his shenanigans.

The aforementioned used the terrain of parachinar during his self proclaimed holy adventure to quell the communists, as kurram agency was the shortest route to Kabul, Afghanistan. In no time, Parrachinar became the strategic focal point to carry out assaults. It paved way to an influx of Jihadists belonging predominantly to the Salafi and Wahabi school of thought who had no love lost with the shiite tribes, already ensconced in that region.

What followed was the gravest bathos in the country’s history. With recurring sectarian blitzkrieg rampant in the region, death tolls predominantly of shiites and Hazaras population, considered heretics by the war waging militias have become the order of the day.

The ethnic profiling of shiites and ghettoizzation of Hazaras in a claustrophobically cordoned off town of Parachinar with no external help due to an inapt role of law enforcing agencies reflects a haunting future for the stranded residents.

Hate begets hate. The new generation of terrorist groups likes the Tehreek e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) have filled in the boots of their predecessors to jockey for power in the region. In retaliation, a military wing of shiites tribe called the ‘Laskhar’ has entered the arena since 2008 as a counter punch in a land devoid of government’s writ in any form, size or shape.

A picturesque town converted into a war torn zone now, gives semblance of gaza strip with collateral damage taking place under the rule of parties that chanted slogans for eradicating terrorism from the country as part of their manifesto.

The schism between diverging tribes in the region is widening by every passing day.The damage is not confined to a particular sect or tribe now, infact it is unbridled and unchained waiting to hit anyone in the rage of tyranny.

IDP camps in Kohat comprising of displaced families from the kurram agency especially Parachinar tell the sorry tale of despair apart from giving some food for thought to the policy makers.

With no end in sight to the wave of intolerance, It seems like every innocent citizen in this country is a minority and a migrant in his own homeland.