Tragically this Eid followed killings of 40 people who had gathered to offer Namaz-e-Jinazah of f their colleague who was shot dead a day earlier. Islamist TTP claimed the responsibility. And I wondered why Namaz-e-Jinazah which is an Islamic farz was attacked by the Islamic militants who claim they know Shariah better than other Muslims of the world.
But this was not the first time such suicide attacks had earlier killed many in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK). Even in the worst of the communal riots at the time of the partition Hindus and Muslims did not attack each other’s funeral rites. Why in the land of pure even funerals are not safe, that’s the question an average Muslim is asking. The TTP with each attack, in which innocent people are killed, loose support among the Muslims of the country.
This Eid sadly followed killing of many young men who were returning from a football match, the only traditional joy for the poor wretched people of Lyari. The Karachiites know this was part of the political gang war. It has destroyed the old city which was once the place of politically conscious people. Lyari used to have dens of underworld gangsters but the local progressive political leadership dominated. Various communities lived with each other in peace in Lyari and its adjoining localities. Trouble started when political parties started patronising different criminal gangs in the scramble to secure their constituencies, — a la Bollywood movies. People of Lyari have no sympathy left for the political parties who have nexus with criminal gangs. Their children fear to go to school and colleges and their businesses have been badly affected. Many Baloch and Katchi residents, who could afford to, have migrated from their centuries old abodes to other parts of the city.
This Eid followed ethnic killing of 13 Punjabi workers who were going from Balochistan in a Punjab bound bus. The responsibility was claimed by the Baloch militants, it doesn’t matter which front or liberation army. This did not serve their cause. Even though we have always supported Balochistan’s right of self-determination and condemned kidnapping and dumping of Baloch activists bodies, we have to equally condemn such ethnic killings. The net loser of such actions is the Baloch nationalist movement. Please don’t give me a rationale that the Baloch militants were avenging the killings of their comrades, as two wrongs don’t make a right. Such actions defeat the cause of securing rights of Balochistan’s people.
A point to be noted here which often progressive writers are afraid to raise is that if the prime objective of the nationalists is the welfare of their people , then in post 18th Amendment scenario they should focus more on the mismanagement and corruption of their respective provincial government. I am not suggesting that all the issues of autonomy are solved. But there is a bigger issue of devolution of power to local governments. The nationalist parties and militants are usually quiet on this issue. Narrow or ultra nationalism breeds fascism leads to ethnic hatred and is not a progressive movement.
This Eid followed D.I. Khan’s jailbreak organised better than any military operation by the TTP. About 250 inmates escaped and Taliban took all their comrades to the safe havens in the tribal areas. Although the intelligence agencies had informed much in advance that this jail would be attacked there was no combined drill of law enforcing agencies to test the ability to combat with the attackers. Both central and provincial governments were found blaming each other and scoring political points, not accepting their utter failure. This was the second jailbreak highlighting the eroding writ of the government. A bitter truth, isn’t it?
This Eid followed the PML-N approaching the Supreme Court, that while the country is bleeding, their most immediate issue is to perform Umra and sit in Aitekaf hence presidential elections cannot be held on 6th August, which was also 27th of Ramzan. In the same spirit independence of Pakistan, which too fell on 27th Ramzan, should have also been postponed after 1947’s Eid. Worst is the court obliged PML-N in a most controversial and one-sided decision impairing its impartiality.
Looking at this scenario what troubles me is that the whole establishment looks confused and has not realised the ‘URGENCY’ of the existential threat to the country by the Islamic and ethnic militants. The much-talked about meeting to get all the parties support against the national security threat has not yet been held. On the other hand the prime minister takes time out for paying homage to the Emperor of the Muslim world—the Saudi King.
Meanwhile, unfortunately the Al Qaeda franchisees are having a free hand to establish their superiority over the government in Pakistan. So far they are winning and gaining support by the religious extremists and confused Imranists who find it hard to condemn them without ‘ifs’ and ‘buts.’ The army is in a limbo, its jawans are being killed as the army chief who is clear-headed about fighting the terrorists is about to retire. The ruling parties stand confused or are afraid of Jihadis. So let the people be killed and the Al Qaedism lead the narrative, while we celebrate Eid happy over the trivial issue that this time Peshawar to Karachi it was held on one day. Great!
This Eid I was reminded of the poem I wrote on 31st December 2007 after Benazir Bhutto who courageously challenged the Taliban in her last speech, was assassinated. Almost six years have gone-by but we have gone nowhere. Standing in the rain of blood, I recall:
Soaked in the rain of blood
Burning tears in my eyes,
I stand in the killing fields of Pakistan
Impatient for the 2007 sun to sink into the Arabian Sea,
No remorse, no farewell
Good riddance, good riddance.
As I look at the horizon to welcome 2008 with hope
Hope the miracle balm that soothes our bleeding wounds.
The overcast of bloody 2007 is still looming
Clouds of terror are still thick
Wanton killing winds are still blowing
I’m struggling to keep the flame of hope alight.
Hope for peace, hope for end of misery
Hope for love, hope for death of hate
Hope for forbearance, hope for end of intolerance.
Am I hoping far too much?
This query is death to quash
Reality checks are ruthless
Vision is pain, knowing is curse
Hope is the only balm for bleeding wounds
The writer is author of the book ‘What’s wrong with Pakistan?’ (firstname.lastname@example.org)