Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Violent death in Pak society

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    Violent death in Pak society

    [URL=http://www.dawn.com/weekly/mazdak/mazdak.htm]

    Good article, I belive it adrreses some issues about Pak society we should really address. Any comments?

    The calculus of violence

    By Irfan Husain

    I was going to write about something else when a friend rang to tell me about the bus explosion which killed a dozen French naval technicians. I had heard a loud explosion early in the morning, and had wondered where it had come from.

    Apart from the personal tragedy and trauma for the families of the victims this vicious attack is yet another nail in any prospect of foreign investments. No foreigner in his right mind would want to risk a visit to Pakistan, let alone start a business here.

    When Shaukat Aziz, our peripatetic finance minister, appeals for foreign capital during his many visits to financial centres the world over, does he know how ridiculous he sounds when he waxes lyrical about the investor-friendly policies of his government?The first thing any investor demands, whether he is foreign or local, is security, and on this essential factor, the military government's record has been abysmal.

    While nobody has claimed credit for this barbaric attack, it is a fair assumption that the perpetrators of this latest atrocity are linked with one of the many jihadi outfits that flourish in Pakistan or its neighbourhood. That they are now out of control of their 'handlers' should come as no surprise, specially as the events of 9/11 have forced a U-turn in our Afghan policy, and a slowdown in our activities in Kashmir. Inevitably, religious extremists have now turned their attention to targets within Pakistan. The unfortunate Daniel Pearl was an early victim of their anti-western venom, followed by worshippers in an Islamabad church; Wednesday's attack is unlikely to be the last one.

    After General Musharraf's eminently reasonable speech last January in which he renounced Pakistan-based militancy in Kashmir and promised to control the madressahs, we expected swift action, and initially at least, we were not disappointed. Around 2,000 militants were arrested, some jihadi parties were banned, and we were told that the seminaries would be forced to teach modern subjects. But all too soon, most of the militants were released, the proscribed parties changed their names, and we are still waiting for the madressahs to be reformed.

    The president's dilemma is that, on the one hand, he wants to satisfy American concerns regarding terrorism, and on the other he wants to retain the option of upping the ante in Kashmir. For this latter objective, he cannot afford to crack down seriously on the jihadi organizations that have been operating freely this last decade or so. Indeed, their tentacles now extend to the army, the bureaucracy and certain tiers of civil society itself. Support for these elements also comes from abroad.

    Senior army officers view the jihadis as a 'reserve army' that they can use in a proxy war at will. But as we are seeing, these groups often have their own agenda which runs counter to the government's goal of appeasing the West by distancing itself from terrorism. Recently, there has been growing disillusionment with the policy the government is following in the post-September scenario: while our security agencies are willing to cooperate with the United States in arresting and deporting suspected terrorists of other nationalities, they are dragging their feet when it comes to taking action against home-grown extremists.

    There is a callous school of thought that asks aloud why people get so worked up over the killing of foreigners here when so many have been killed in Palestine, Chechnya or wherever. Indeed, when Daniel Pearl was kidnapped and savagely slain, this was a constant refrain I heard, much to my disgust. Indeed, the relative value of human life is often the subject of debate when atrocities occur.

    The best reply to this insensitive reasoning came from human rights activist and veteran journalist, I.A. Rehman. Basically, his view is that the worth of a life depends on the value a nation and a society places on its citizens. If we are willing to tolerate random killings in Pakistan for years without putting a stop to it, then we should not expect foreigners to pay much heed to the almost daily terrorist attacks that occur on our soil. If our own government does so little to protect us, we should expect no sympathy from abroad.

    However, other countries are outraged if their citizens are killed, specially by foreign terrorists. A couple of months ago a British school girl was killed by a crocodile in Africa, and the story was front-page news in the UK for days. So many Pakistanis meet violent ends that they are lucky to make page four in the national dailies.

    When over 30 Pakistani soldiers were killed in an ambush during a UN peacekeeping mission in Somalia, not a single minister flew to Mogadishu to accompany their bodies to Pakistan. When 18 Americans were killed, the entire American policy in the region was transformed in the wake of national grief and anger.

    Basically, we have been unable to force successive governments to seriously crack down on armed groups of extremists because we have become hardened to violent death in our street. Every time there is an explosion, or worshippers are gunned down in mosques, or Shia doctors are shot we accept these atrocities as a way of life and go about our business.

    There is little collective shock, horror and anger over these pointless killings, so there is no pressure on the government to change its policies or to improve the law and order situation.It takes foreign criticism to push the government into issuing vague declarations of intent against terrorism.

    Recently, an American reader sent me an e-mail askingwhy there were no demonstrations outside Indian embassies in Muslim countries to protest against the recent butchery of the Muslims in Gujarat when Israel was the regular target of such protests for its actions in the occupied territories which had resulted in far fewer deaths? Was the life of a Palestinian more valuable than the life of an Indian Muslim? my reader asked. I have no easy answers.

    I suppose one reason why random killings arouse less emotion (other than grief) is that we are a fatalistic people for whom these deaths are not in fact random, but form part of the Almighty's grand design. In this worldview, nothing happens unless it is ordained by the Maker. Thus, even though mere mortals might not understand why a little boy died from the blast of a hidden bomb, there is a higher purpose to his death that is beyond our ken. In the West, there is far more faith in free will, and the ability of the human spirit to shape our lives. Hence, the unnecessary loss of life is not accepted as easily as it is in our part of the world.

    While we mull over these philosophical differences, I would appreciate any help I can get in answering my American correspondent.



    [This message has been edited by RealDeal (edited May 12, 2002).]

    #2
    I guess Pakistan should also stop voicing concern for the Palestinians, as the arabs usually dont have any sympathies with Kashmiris and they expevt us to support them always.

    Comment


      #3
      We do have a secruity problem, but that is because of the lack of actual policing infrastructure. The police are pathetic to say the least. They can be easily bribed and nobody respects them. The vile elements on the other hand have the money, equipment etc to get what they want done. This is a major problem, and only can be dealt with in a strict "revolutionary" manner.

      Also ironically, you bold a comment which is the exact opposite of a comment you pasted in the economics thread. Why is that?

      ------------------
      Iím just a freedom fighter
      No remorse
      Raging on in holy war
      Soon thereíll come a day
      When youíre face to face with me
      You can't fix stupid. So might as well troll them!

      Comment


        #4
        Which comment are you referring to?

        Comment


          #5
          The first thing any investor demands, whether he is foreign or local, is security, and on this essential factor, the military government's record has been abysmal.
          That is from this thread.

          And this is from the Economics thread with 12 replies.

          we are resorting to anti-people policies in the area of economic policymaking.At the dictates of foreign donors Pakistan has become heavily dependent on external loans...
          Investors want stability to invest, as said in quote 1. When we accept this and attempt to comply with it, quote 2 (which you posted and thus I believe you agree with) says we are being dictated to.

          ------------------
          Iím just a freedom fighter
          No remorse
          Raging on in holy war
          Soon thereíll come a day
          When youíre face to face with me
          You can't fix stupid. So might as well troll them!

          Comment


            #6
            The situation vis-a-vis Pak-India is an impediment to investment, to say the least. It got close to hot in '99, thankfully this played out well.

            Comment


              #7
              Security refers to physical security,law and order.

              Being 'dictated to with anti-people policies' is a reference to IMF conditions set out which Mush accepted, to the detriment of the average person in Pak.

              There was a good article on this in the Herald, I think about two issues ago,if you can get your hands on it.

              [This message has been edited by RealDeal (edited May 13, 2002).]

              Comment

              Working...
              X