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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Face off with the Doctor!

I thought twice before writing this piece (initially considered dumping it) but my innate desire to identify the fallacy in the system got the better of me.

Despite all my efforts, i could not ignore him– yeah, you got it right, i am talking about ‘the doctor’.

A few days back Geo tv host, Dr. Amir lost his temper for once over yet another ‘Amir Liaqat Hussain brand bashing’ article. The article titled “Mudaari”, which means juggler, was published in the Daily Ummat by a random journalist, Ziauddin khan. Its transcript is as follows:

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Now lets hear doctor sahib’s repartee to the article, which he brought to the fore during his immensely popular tv show, kindly go through this video:

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x12dhqb_aamirliaquat-response-to-ummat-in-amaan-ramazan-27-7-2013_news?search_algo=2

This by no means, was a mere riposte but an undercurrent of a brewing storm, looking at his previous shenanigans. He smartly postulated a self created hypothesis out of the article, that is dangerous to say the least.

First and foremost tactic that he deployed was to brace himself with nuance by misconstruing the complete context of the article, in an attempt to incite anger amongst the audience.

It reminded me of Karl Marx’s famous quote in german, the interpretation of which is :

“religion is the opium of the masses”.

In a country like Pakistan with a high illiteracy rate that holds true to a large extent.
Now if you tell your audience in a tv show, whose market positioning as a religious program is questionable having seen singers and comedians perform, that someone has written a slanderous note against Islam in a tabloid it would suffice in fraying tempers and engendering hate amongst the crowd.

There is no denying the fact that he has a sizeable following, whom he either incite or imbue with a sense of mission is your own call to interpret. I think the onus lies on the people to a large extent, when it comes to opting their leaders. Islam advocates that you ponder deeply into the reality yourself, rather than following someone blindly.

Why don’t we have strict laws to rein in those who propagate hate by concocting controversies they want to hatch. unfortunately, being a religious scholar is considered a luxury in our country, no one can question your intentions as if you have landed in this world with a no objection certificate. If at all someone tries to rectify the fallacy, then a web of conspiracies is weaved against him in order to marginalise him from the mainstream strata.

We have short memories. Especially where so many sectarian mishaps befall every day it is difficult to exactly remember one. I don’t think many people would recall the tv show where the aforementioned host sparked hate against Ahmadis. Which consequently triggered targeted killing of Ahmadis.

Hence it behooves on any person not to create rift in an already fragmented society through their incisive words especially when they are at a pedestal to form opinions.

My humble plea to Amir Liaqat Husain would be:

“Doctor sahib please don’t try to issue a fatwa against poor journalist, Ziauddin khan by giving an impression as if he has desecrated the sanctity of the holy month of ramadan. You can’t stop people from commenting on your demeanour as you are in a responsible position that entails accountability. You can’t afford further recklessness since you already have blood on your hands for propagating hateful speeches in public forum against a peaceful minority.”

Sana Bucha has apparently left the giant media group in protest against Dr. Amir Liaqat Hussain’s reinstatement. I guess letting go off Sana won’t hurt Geo but disposing off Amir would be a cause of concern — after all he is the ‘shooting star’ for them in the BCG matrix.

I believe it is high time when Geo network starts applying ‘Geo Asool’ and ‘Zara Sochiye’ campaigns with letter and spirit on itself as well, rather than using them as attention grabbing media gimmicks.