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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From Shanti Nagar to Badami Bagh via Gojra!

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“Die Religion … ist das Opium des Volkes”, said the sage Karl Marx . Interpreting in english, it means religion is the opium of the masses. I think Karl Marx very rightly pointed out that religious emotions are the most overwhelming ones. People can commit some of the most abominable acts without understanding the true essence of their respective faith — this insanity touches its pinnacle in societies bereft of literacy and education.

Visiting Joseph colony in Badami Bagh, a naked eye can visualize the arson of Shanti Nagar and Gojra resurfacing itself. Christian minority has once again faced the wrath of intolerance dished out by a handful barbaric minds, that misconstrued the teachings of their faith. Not only christians but the rest of the minorities in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan have been victimized from the time, since General Zia Ul Haq passed the blasphemy law in 1987.

Islam is a religion of peace and tolerance. The Holy prophet (peace be upon him) is an epitome of that. His life is a parable of tolerance and respect towards other faiths. All muslims should follow the teachings of Holy prophet (peace be upon him) and understand Quran, rather than playing in the hands of inapt mullahs who are expert at distorting islamic views.

Even the founder of this country, Quaid e Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, was vociferous in safeguarding the rights of minorities. Here is an excerpt of his speech :

” You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or any other places of 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. ” ( 11th august 1947)

As far as this incident is concerned my qualm is that the deed of one man is being translated as motives of the rest of the community — Only the alleged culprit should be tried in the court of law. Secondly it is very easy to settle old scores and personal vendettas by wielding faith as tool over the minorities. As in this case, in order to prove a culprit guilty no physical proof or evidence is required — the mere statement that a random person from a minority group has indulged in blasphemy, would suffice in framing charges against him.

The only reprieve given to residents of Joseph colony by local government after this grisly incident was in shape of an expeditious compensation to rebuild their houses but i still cannot digest the failure on part of law enforcement agencies to preempt the arson.

Moreover the ever rambling law minister of punjab, Rana Sanaullah, failed to utter a single word when provincial assembly session was held to debate over this incident — it transpired that he had a sore throat (he could not have come up with a more flimsier excuse). I hope he is not intimidated by the fundamentalist militia, that holds sway in our country. The way such incidents are unfolding, all of us need to seriously reflect upon our deeds in order to build a pluralist society and a tolerant mindset.

Dil ka ujadna sehl sahi, basna sehl nahin zaalim
……………Basti basna khel nahin, baste baste basti hai!