Thursday, January 13, 2011

Assassination of a Governor

Published in The Frontier Post on 13-01-2011

Governor of the Punjab was assassinated by his own elite force guard last week. The assassinator claims that he killed the person, he was supposed to protect, because he committed blasphemy. This has stirred a debate, which was previously not very open, between the secular brigade and the Islam-walas. World media all around the globe portrayed it in a way which labeled the whole society as extremist.

Killing of a Governor wasn’t much important as per their writing, but the topic of whether Pakistan is entrenched with extremism has been raised. Once again the guns have been pointed towards Pakistan of promoting extremism and safeguarding the extremists. Mandated to eliminate the safe havens of al-Qaeda operatives allegedly working on Pak-Afghan border, Pakistan has been maligned with so much dirt even though Pakistan is fighting the war supposedly for this world. Last week’s event has once again ringed the alarm bells in Pakistan. Debate has begun between the rightists and leftists over the blasphemy law.

The talk is not about the blasphemy law, it is about the ideology of Pakistan i.e. what should be the ideology of Pakistan or what should be the basis of law. This war between the rightists, who advocate Two-Nation Theory and leftists, who want Pakistan to be a secular state, has always been went through this war and it is such a shame that after 63 years of independence, we are still debating over what should be the source of law in Pakistan. Everyday, since the incident, the editorials and columns of newspapers are filled with the debate over the trend of society. The society as a whole is labeled with extremism and calls for tolerance are promoted. These calls for tolerance just don’t settle in my mind. I mean, I can’t believe that people label the residents of this state as intolerant.

We are part of a country where there is no gas, no electricity, no security and even no water (when there is some water, then it is in the shape of catastrophe like floods) and still this dead nation doesn’t come on streets and tolerate all this. I wonder if the same problems would have been in any other so-called western civilized state, then the conditions would have been much different. Still we are the ones who are intolerant. The whole case of Aasia and her meeting with the Governor or vice versa, has turned into a major discussion point. The Economist, in its recent addition presented the assassinated Governor as a hero of this nation and an heir to Jinnah’s throne. Western media concludes that Governor’s only fault was that he met the ‘poor Christian lady’ who was accused of blasphemy only because of a personal fight with neighborhood but they forgot to mention that the lady was trialed and convicted, it wasn’t like as if she was sent to jail without any proper trial against her like they do in Gitmo.

The irony of being ruled by an ideology, which is imposed by the sole-superpower state of the world on the other state, is that whatever goes against their ideas of liberty and freedom are touted as extremism and fundamentalism. In this case, the hypocrisy of the west and even our so-called western–modernized intellectuals is exposed. They always advocate for democracy and sliding towards the majority but in this case, they’ve forgotten that the majority is against them. A mammoth rally in Karachi, headquarters of a secular party MQM, in support of the killer is a testament to that fact. Not commenting on whether the assassination was justified or not, the main question is why the west is making so much out of this and portraying the world that Pakistan is going to fall into the hands of Islamists.

Samuel Huntington’s theory of Clashes of Civilizations comes into play and clearly exposes west’s plan against Islam and its values. Killing a person in the name of blasphemy is extremism and executing someone in the name of holocaust is labeled as upholding the freedom. Firing in a political rally shows insecure the people are here in Pakistan while firing in a political rally killing six persons and injuring a congresswoman doesn’t get the news headlines. When a Muslim commits a crime in west, it is generalized on whole of the Muslim community like when Jack Straw labeled all the Pakistanis as rapists and when a non-Muslim commits a crime, his religion isn’t even mentioned with his name. Perhaps it enlightens us about the way this world is being run. If the west talks about the government of majority then it should also understand the sentiments of the people and what their desires are. People won’t come out of their homes to protest against price hike, non-availability of energy resources and poverty but they will always come out to stand for its religion. Protests against the Caricatures and recent protests are glaring examples to that. People of Pakistan or sub-continent, in large, are glued with the bond of Islam. The Khilafat Movement in 1920s was one of the biggest movements of sub-continent. The paradoxical principles of the west are not injectable in a society like Pakistan.

It talks about freedom and liberty but it is unable to appreciate the fact that one’s freedom will be at someone else’s cost. Salman Taseer’s expression was his freedom of speech but it was an obstruction for majority of the nation. While the west increases its efforts to secularize and modernize Pakistan, it has forgotten that it will only polarize the society and create a divide between the nation as seen before. Recent incident has underlined Pakistan as a state whose residents support Islam from its core and are strongly linked to the Islamic ideology. West, as always, has feared the expansion of Islam and the western media has again targeted Pakistan as the main culprit. My teacher at my university taught me to always stay idealistic and keep a positive approach but now I am unable to keep that approach. This world doesn’t operate in an idealistic manner. It is full of hypocrisy and the notion of principles is only for the oppressed. Assassination of a Governor has been turned into intellectual assassination of the whole nation.

The ruling elite will always oppress the ruled and the intelligentsia will only present what they think regardless of the desires of their readers. This article may be catharsis of a 22-year old university student, who hasn’t seen much in his life but one thing is for sure that it is the expression of the majority of Pakistan.