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Enough of Karachi’s trial-and-error!

I sincerely hope that all those who dream of military revolutions and military rule put an end to their delusional image of military forces. I mean, if not now, what is it going to take for people to realize, that this takeover of cities by military power is not the answer ? I mean, heck, an unarmed cab driver was shot to death like a dog right in the middle of Gulistan-e-Jauhar Karachi. How close do you want them to come ? How close ?

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We have the Police, that are trained to handle issues in the city. However inept they may be, however corrupt they may be, no matter how much we pillory them, please do not forget that they are the only forces that are trained to deal with civilians. Their whole hierarchy, training programs and the way command flows is modelled to make them capable of handling problems of the city, caused by citizens. This is THE reason why you generally employ Police in the cities and your armed forces / Rangers / FC Corps on the borders or on strategic missions. What muddled policymakers allow uncivlized, armed and schizophrenic madmen to take over the security matters of a city ? Does no one truly understand how dangerous military presence is in the cities ? Their minds and bodies, their stimulus is not trained to react or process civilian problems. This is not the first case that has happened in a city. Military forces, and specially Pakistan Rangers are notorious for their brutal treatment of citizens. This is the 3rd major incident of civilian kills from the Rangers. A little while back, a young man was similarly killed in Shah Faisal Colony. And don’t forget the murder 2 years back of a suspected robber that was already caught and bound, in Benazir Bhutto Shaheed Park Clifton! karachi-incident-rangers-atc-1324298967
Mentally-ill armed security officers are dangerous for the city. They place citizens under further terror and I do not know how I would feel the next time a Ranger’s team stops me for checking. You, my friends should be terrified of the thought.

This should not end with the prosecution of responsible personnel that finished off the cab driver. This is not a problem of a specific individual. Surely after all these deaths, we should realise the malaise has penetrated far deeper? It is an event that was waiting to happen. Sooner or later, civilians were going to die at the hands of the Rangers. Unruly wild animals are tamed. You do not send stampeding elephants to crush them, killing anything and anyone in their path. And a city of Pakistan, for all practical purposes, is a fucking jungle. It is high time our politicians take a brave stand and withdraw the stationing of armed forces from the cities. Let’s not be confused into thinking the Rangers or other military forces are free from corruption. What difference in the end does it make if its Police or the Rangers? People are still getting killed aren’t they? Places are still getting bombed right? Rangers are stationed in my locality 24/7 and yet people are robbed, looted, abducted everyday. Land mafias keep gaining strength, and from time to time conduct high profile shootouts. Did anyone stop the violence? Not really!

Does the general public still not get it that they’re stationing serves no purpose in the cities? One way or the other, our police forces will have to be the ones to patrol the city. They are the ones that will need a proper cleansing and a comprehensive upheaval of their working systems, otherwise there is no hope for any of us. Someday it could be you, or your child, or someone you know. A lot of people roam around in Karachi. Too many.

Hollywood made a wonderful movie ‘The Siege’ starring Bruce Willis and Denzel Washington which highlighted most beautifully, the exact problem of imposing military rule in the cities. People in denial about the armed forces should watch the movie and the videos of civilian kills made by our Rangers. They should. This video should be engraved in their minds so they know what such ruthless killers are capable of and why they should never be allowed to roam in uniforms in the cities or get involved in political games. This recent killing is as damning an evidence of their ugly face as any.

You cannot solve a chronic disease by giving it a quick fix. I am not supporting our lackluster police here, but it is them that needs to be bettered. The general public is not less endangered with the presence of Rangers. Now with this event, it has been proved that perhaps, they are more endangered than before.

Pakistan and specially Karachi, can endure no more trial-and-errors. Since no parties have done good, lay faith in the military? I dont think so. There will be no answer or an end to this madness, unless we stop doing that. This country will either rise through these very political parties or it will keep meandering on, with our blood sucked out of every vein, till we can give no more.

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The anarchy of peaceful protests – a classic oxymoron

Could they have done anything different? Could the protests have been any other way? I mean, we all know by now that almost none of the prominent religious scholars can be trusted to raise an unconditional voice against the madness that comes automatically programmed into an average Pakistani protestor. It also remains undisputed that the large-scale protests were nothing, if not political. All religious groups and parties have proven beyond all doubt that presently, the religious scholars of this country are not fit to lead anyone.

So who can?

It may be fair to conclude that most of them did not want what ensued a month ago. However, none of them have displayed the courage of going against the popular norm. None of them publicly denounced with conviction the chaos that was taking place. No, their tone, their stance against the angry mob was how one friend might talk to another close yet misguided friend; ‘Yes I understand what you are doing and why you’re doing it, I know , I am hurt too, but please don’t do it.’

  

It’s come to a point where you’ve got to ask, ‘Who are they kidding?”. I mean, we have a long and colorful history of mass protests in which we have repeatedly exposed our distasteful disposition to violent behavior. Are our religious leaders really that naïve? Is their shock and surprise at the destructive nature of the mob really genuine? I don’t believe it, but if they expected something different, it would only go on to confirm the level of their disillusionment with reality!

As much as it saddens me to say it, for I have been a firm believer in the mantle of leadership being borne by our religious scholars, this is a combined failure of the whole religious organizational and political structure. The notion that we can be led and guided by them in these testing times has come crashing around our feet. Their wisdom and their politics both have disappointed me. The idea of religious leadership is dead.

This is what @tazeen had tweeted about them, and to which I fully agree:

Why is the protesters’ leadership called Ulma-e-Karaam by all the TV channels, surely we all know that they are hooligans.

Mufti Naeem on TV the other day, publicly denounced these acts and yet he had the audacity to talk about them in a polite and understanding manner, asking protestors to please go home and that God will reward them for their emotions and actions.

   

Does that not confuse you about the message they are trying to convey? Are our religious scholars not aware that an unruly faction is always waiting for such mass protests to create havoc, burn and loot valuables and public property? Do they not themselves recognize these events as an opportunity to promote their own agendas and display their hypnotic power over the masses, and do the protests not waiver strictly from the original purpose to everything deemed un-islamic? Why were banks and cinemas attacked and American flags trodden on and burned if that’s not the case? Their leadership and mandate has no direction; their political statements are more or less garbled insults at everything American (they are well aware of how much an average Pakistani likes to hear that).

   

On Saturday at Jauhar Chowrangi, a religious party had laid down an American flag on the road and took pictures as cars drove over it. I am greatly saddened for currently, there is no future for this country if such religious leaders continue to hold power over the masses. A peaceful protest in Pakistan is just a myth.

If you go on a social media round, as I’m sure most of you have already done, you might go on to question who the heck is on the roads when most of us seem to be in agreement on not resorting to violent discourse and adopting peaceful and more beneficial means of countering such anti-islamic propaganda. But then we all know that the majority does not have access to the internet for a start; a large majority of those who do, have not yet embraced social media. Add to that our unfortunate language barrier. As a result, we, the bloggers and the writers, only seem to be talking and discussing and expressing horror among ourselves! We may occur as intellectuals, but practically, what are we doing other than showing how sharply we can think and how eloquently we can write?

Maybe we need to ask ourselves if our efforts, with all our best intentions, are even sufficient to make a tangible difference. We debate, we argue, we discuss and exchange views. Yet this exchange and development of thoughts is not trickling down to the masses, most of which cannot even read. It’s just a theory, but there’s got to be something wrong in what we are doing. Are there any avenues for us to reach the masses? We know Pakistan does not have a vibrant reading culture. Can we reach out to the masses in a better way? Can large communities be educated through seminars and schools?

I am stumped to be honest. The only way I see to improve the situation is to break through the barrier between the intellectuals and the mere followers. How can we do that? Let’s generate ideas and share our thoughts. I am sure that when all of us start to think in these terms; we will come up with great ideas to expand the information flow from a trickle to a river.

The majority of our people only get to listen to the perpetually inflammatory media and the sermons of the self-appointed representatives of religion that are well aware that they are their only source of knowledge.

We must challenge that source. 

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