A lot must be said about the recent happenings in Pakistan. Let’s start with the Kaptaan. His insistence to boycott the joint session of the parliament was immature, typical of his type of politics. However, there can be no two opinions on his motivation behind the said decision. In fact, there shouldn’t really be any varied opinions on the Panama leaks. No matter what the circumstances the country goes through, the leaks must not be ignored. The international reveal has been taken seriously in countries that have a transparent and binding bureaucratic and judicial system. In Pakistan unfortunately, it’s been taken as another whiff of the rumor mill. Which, it isn’t. The Kaptaan, in his shrewdness will do the country a big favour if he does carry the ball down to the touchdown. The Prime Minister must not be allowed excuses to be potentially guilty, and indeed outlandishly so, just because of some tensions on the border. His job was always supposed to be one with a lot of multi-tasking and different fronts. Here is another one: do justice to your job and also, justify holding the job. It’s only fair. The taking hostage of Islamabad that is inevitable given the PML-N’s reluctance to follow through on the Panama inquiry would be constructive this time; or at least, will aspire to be so.
Cyril Almeida is now a famous name and indeed unfortunately for very sore reasons. Everyone knows the story already and it made a lot of powerful people very angry. He was stopped from travelling when his name was put on the ECL. Almost all media channels and institutions condemned the action and jeered at the government. Chaudhry Nisar, in his typical style, made a ridiculous press conference (where he, of all the things, tried to put forth a hypothetical nuclear-secrets-selling game-theory predicament as a justification to the ECL enlisting). Cyril’s name was taken off the list and the ‘investigation’ continues.
The government made a fool of itself due to the ECL inclusion. Everyone warned them not to make this mistake. But they did and then they went back on it making a mockery of themselves. The justification given by the interior minister is that the news item pushed forward the agenda of the ‘dushman’. Funny because the news item basically repeated what is being said by the world at large. There is no denying the fact that our beloved country stands internationally isolated.. Musharaff was lazy in his dealings with the Afghan Taliban, allowing them space and time in the tribal areas bordering the Durand line. The country is considered one of the most dangerous country in the world with an uncountable quantum of lives lost at the hand of the menace of terrorism. Osama Bin Ladin was killed in our grounds. Akhtar Monsour had the same fate, again on Pakistani soil. Hibatullah Akhundzada, as reported fairly recently, was openly teaching at Al Haaj mosque in southwest Pakistan until May. Hafiz Saeed, an internationally recognised terrorist continues to hold rallies in the capital and head his party that has had numerous sanctions placed on it. The country is a bloodbath for almost all minorities and is wilting under the weight of extremism and violence. These conditions and circumstances don’t rise out of air. The country has lost much in its attempt at solidifying its eccentric duality and half-hearted attempts at solving its problems. The rife between the civilian and military fronts has been obvious. The measures taken to bring the terrorist to justice have fallen short. People involved have protested against the hands in the glove before. The news item simply repeated the same. It insisted that elements such as JeM continue to survive because some elements in the brass intervene. Using non-state actors to fight the Kashmir cause has been a long tradition of the armed forces, one confirmed by the Musharaff, the military chief then, when he banned militant groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba in 2001. The fact that they continue to exist and indeed in large numbers questions both the ability and will of our security forces to eliminate them. Cyril, in his report, repeated what was, as the esteemed Zafar Abbas continues to insist, a discussion insisting on the above dynamics. This was not an analysis; it was reporting.
And then there is the final appeal of Asia Bibi, a topic that deserves and will get its own column eventually. For now, the judicial powers that shall take hold of this case must understand that the weight of the country’s history and future nestles on their shoulders. Qadri’s death sentence set the right precedent and will do the country much good in times to come. Asia Bibi’s case holds the same importance. It will gauge and benchmark the liberty with which the blasphemy law is used and abused. The country and its principles are desolate and murky and cases such as these can pave the way to sensibility and stability. Here is to hoping the best for a country (apparatus and people alike) that likes to axe its own feet.