Tuesday, April 24, 2018

WARPED ATTITUDES

https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2018/04/24/warped-attitudes/

  • How many acid attacks must take place before something is done to prevent them?
Three girls in Gujrat, two of them sisters and all fellow students at university, were critically hurt when acid was thrown over them at a bus stop a few days ago. Their attackers were three men on a motorbike. One of the men was the uncle of the two sisters who were hurt, the other his friend. These two escaped while the third man was caught and handed over to the police.
The reason for the attack was that one of the victims had refused a proposal of marriage.
All three girls were taken to hospital with severe burns.
According to a report in one of the newspapers, ‘between 150 to 400 cases of acid attacks are reported in Pakistan every year. As many as 80 per cent of the victims are women, and almost 70pc are below 18’.
How many attacks must take place before something is done to prevent them?
As horrifying as the attack was a comment following the report in one of the English newspapers, a comment that has since been removed. The comment said: ‘Were they accompanied by male relatives? If not, they deserved it.’ That comment had also been ‘recommended’ by other readers.
Deleting the comment was probably required, since it was, to put it mildly, inappropriate, but deleting it will not remove the attitude. It is such attitudes that cause such attacks, and like a weight tied around a body, sink the country to the bottom of a murky pond. Please don’t point out such attacks happen elsewhere too. That does not excuse what happens here, nor are we in a position to point fingers.
The illustrious person behind the comment lives in an imaginary place where it is required and possible for every woman to have a male protector. It is not required, nor is it always possible. The commenter also missed the fact that one of the attackers was an uncle of one of the victims. Therefore, since uncles invariably tend to be male and related, a male relative did accompany her, and he was the one to attack her.
In other similar cases, the attacker is often a brother, a husband, father or another male relative. Earlier this year a man in Malakand threw acid on his wife and daughter for example. These attackers possess a twisted sense of honour, and are driven to act by something the victim does that is supposed to have damaged that honour. Marrying the man of her choice, for example. Therefore the woman must either be killed or defaced to repair that damage. This is called an ‘honour’ killing. It is time it is called something else, because labels matter.
The rest of the narrative consists of the usual drivel:
In a brainstorming session organised by the HRCP, it was reported that ‘As many as 98 percent of the cases filed by acid attack victims are never decided due to existence of various loopholes in the law’
‘The Punjab chief minister and the inspector general of police directed the police to arrest the suspects within 24 hours.’
And:
‘The chief minister has demanded immediate action to be taken against the perpetrators and has also called for the victims to be provided with the best medical care.’
So, in addition to being a place where such incidents take place with sickening regularity, Pakistan is also a county where the police needs to be directed to do its job, in other words to arrest criminals. It is also a place where (the CM imagines) it is possible for criminals to be caught within a randomly issued deadline. Although that ‘immediate action’ may not taken unless ordered might well be true. It is a moot point who gets at the butt end of that action though.
In addition, Pakistan, for the CM of one of its most populous provinces, is a place where he must order the best medical care for injured persons, otherwise the best medical care will be withheld.
May it be pointed out that what good medical care is available is thanks to the efforts of individuals rather that the government. It is Shaukat Khanum, the Aga Khan Hospital, the Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation, the Ghurki Hospital, that provide the best care, not the mismanaged government hospitals with their appalling standard of hygiene.
In a brainstorming session organised by the HRCP, it was reported that ‘As many as 98 percent of the cases filed by acid attack victims are never decided due to existence of various loopholes in the law’.
Acid has proven itself to be a weapon as much as a gun or bomb. As suggested by another reader, its sale must be monitored, and made part of a wider de-weaponisation campaign. It is not sufficient for chief ministers and inspector generals of police to ‘take notice’ of such tragedies.  The public certainly notices them. The officials’ job is to act against them. Failing this, they will be failing in their job, as they have.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

DIGNITY OF OFFICE?

https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2018/04/17/dignity-of-office/

  • Somebody remind them
A judge should always behave in such a manner as to preserve the dignity of the office and the impartiality, integrity and independence of the judiciary.
Global Code of Judicial Ethics 2015
Approved at the International Conference of Judicial independence
There are after all varying degrees of education and values among a country’s population, with resultant questionable professional standards. It is when officials in positions of authority and responsibility also subscribe to those questionable professional standards that the country is in trouble. Sadly, it appears to be an increasing tendency for these officials, persons you would think were educated and trained beyond such behaviour, to overstep their remit, and to do so in an exceedingly ill-considered manner. And most people love it. Which is probably why these officials do what they do, to play to the gallery, like the POTUS who shoots absurd Tweet, after Tweet, after Tweet, topping it with ‘Mission Accomplished!’ after a bombing spree.
In the recent exchange between the CJP and the minister of railways, if readers were able to retain their breakfast long enough to scroll down to the comments, they’d have found several ‘Shabaashes’ for the Head of the Pakistan Judiciary, and several comments expressing the wish that ‘May the Almighty Bless the CJP’. Amen. Although ‘May the judiciary rest in peace,’ would be more applicable.
In case it slipped his mind in the course of his jihad with the minister’s father, as mentioned by the CJP, one may remind the Honourable Chief Justice of Article 3.5 quoted above, which says that judges should always behave in a manner consistent with the dignity of the office and the impartiality, integrity and independence of the judiciary. Although whether there is any dignity, impartiality, integrity and independence left in that branch of government, or any other, is debatable.
The chief justice also slipped up when he praised Lalu Prasad Yadav of India, and held him up as an example. The said Mr Yadav has been convicted of being implicated in three scams, and has recently been jailed for the third
Seeing that the minister of railways is a public servant, may one also remind him of general standards expected of a public servant? Those standards do not include boasting about who his father was. No one cares, or at least no one should care. The only recommendation required is that public servant’s own performance, which is what the CJP has been calling into question in such a refreshing manner.
The incident leads to some interesting points, namely the inability of the public to understand the difference between justice and interference. And the inability of both the public and the judiciary to appreciate the importance of due process.
While it is important for justice to be done, and what is as important, for justice to be seen to be done, the matter does not end there. A certain method must be followed by means of which an offender must be dealt with, following the prescribed procedure. This is called due process. If this is ignored it in itself leads to injustice.
The honourable chief Justice crossed several lines in the course of taking notice of the ministry of railway’s performance, when for example he said he was doing ‘jihad’ in this matter. No sir, this is not a personal matter, you are simply doing your job.
The CJP asked the minister if the court was supposed to allow the minister to remain in his office without contesting elections for twelve years.
It is not up to the honourable chief justice or the court to ‘allow’ a government official to be in office or not. It is up to the people who elect the government to deal with such matters. One expects the CJP to be aware of this.
The chief justice also slipped up when he praised Lalu Prasad Yadav of India, and held him up as an example. The said Mr Yadav has been convicted of being implicated in three scams, and has recently been jailed for the third.
Probably the CJP’s most vulgar stance was when he made oblique references to some place the minister had visited some days ago, to his ‘body language’ at that place, and the ‘type of tea’ he had there. Whither dignity of office?
He also accused the minister for not coming up to the standard of his father, and mentioned that he, the CJP and the minister’s father had ‘done Jihad together.’
The term jihad keeps cropping up. Where does it come into the matter of the performance of the Pakistan railways and its officials?

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

WHERE'S THE DIFFERENCE?

https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2018/04/11/wheres-the-difference/

Where’s the difference?

For all that they are so viciously against each other, the similarities between right-wing segments of society in Pakistan and the US are astounding. As are the issues created by the two. These similarities would be funny if they were not so disturbing, mindless, violent, destructive, a threat to peace everywhere in the world. It would be wise to perceive these similarities and concentrate on our own shortcomings instead of unceasingly pointing to the other.
Five years ago, at the age of fifteen, Malala left this country, forced to do so for reasons that need not be restated. Two years later, at the age of seventeen she became the youngest recipient of the Noble Peace Prize, awarded for her struggle for the right of children to education regardless of gender. Being female and an outspoken one at that, she instantly became one of the most reviled persons in the country of her birth.
Using the prize money, Malala set up a school for girls in her home town in Swat. The parents of the students at this school are haunted by the genuine fear that militant extremists will target the school as they did its founder, and for the same reasons. They have requested the authorities to deploy security services to protect their children.
Governments are elected to serve the people and to protect their interests. Sadly, the interests they end up protecting are most often their own, which is well understand by groups that play on this tendency
Meantime in the US roughly eighteen shootings have occurred on school campuses this year alone. That averages to about three a week. Fear also haunts parents in the US who wonder if their children are safe in school as they have a right to be, but clearly are not. The government including the president, asked to take measures to make schools more secure, responded by suggesting that teachers should be equipped with guns to provide that security. It is a response that puts that country to shame.
In the US, members of groups that refuse to allow controls on weapons are much more often conservative than liberal.
In Pakistan conservatives are invariably involved in terrorist attacks, ‘religious’ extremists who are armed, and support violence in the name of religion.
In many of these cases, the victims are girls/women and education, the two components of society that appear to attract the ire of conservatives most often. Yet women and education more than anything else help promote peace. When education and women are not allowed to thrive as they should, the entire society suffers. This makes extremism and radicalism the enemy of us all.
Extremism and radicalism, wherever you find them, thrive amidst ignorance. In which case it is ignorance that must be targeted from every angle if anything is to change in this country, or anywhere in the world. And those who support radical extremists should be viewed with suspicion wherever they may be. Schools that educate and do not promote violence must be protected and supported in every way.
In Pakistan, security, the right of every citizen appears to be the right of government officials alone. The entourage that follows ministers and other servants of the people has no right to exist. Those resources should instead be involved in protecting the people, and specifically students since in both the US and Pakistan, countries that on the surface appear so disparate, students take their lives into their hands to gain an education.
In different ways and in the absence of action from their governments, the people of both countries are trying to play a role in minimising weapons. In Pakistan there is ‘Citizens Against Weapons’, a group that is pushing for a weapon free Pakistan and demands the ‘complete withdrawal of weapons from every citizen, regardless of rank, status or affiliation,’ a commendable and ambitious effort.
In the US, the latest shooting in a school in Florida led to the death of seventeen students by a fellow student who is said to have used an AR-15 rifle, a semi-automatic weapon made for military use. He was later arrested and confessed. Afterwards students took the matter into their own hands and demanded that the government protect them. They called for a clamp down on access to weapons. Student led demonstrations called ‘March for our Lives’ across the US and in other countries took place in March this year. In the US alone, turnout was around two million, the largest the US has ever seen.
Commendable as they are, and even though they may prevail on the powers that be to take action to some extent, these movements are not likely to get very far, and are likely to be slow to produce results both in the face of government inaction, and the degree of weaponisation in society.
Governments are elected to serve the people and to protect their interests. Sadly, the interests they end up protecting are most often their own, which is well understand by groups that play on this tendency.
It is a shame that students are forced to demand security from the very people who have been entrusted with ensuring it. And no, this is not something that happens just out there in the US, it is happening right here in Pakistan as well. It is time to examine our own failings and realise how closely they resemble those whom we love to condemn, and work to improve this country that was formed at midnight, as Malala said, but has never managed to shake off the darkness enveloping it.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

AT THE END OF 2017

https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2017/12/26/at-the-end-of-2017/

  • Let us usher in the New Year soberly
The usual upheavals took place all over the world this year, natural disasters, terrorist attacks in which hundreds of people died, and agitation to protest various things.
Some of the largest protests the world has seen took place when women marched in many different countries including the United States, to protest against the election of Donald Trump as president. They were also marching in support of women’s rights, immigration, healthcare reform, the environment, LGBTQ rights, and freedom of religion, because Donald Trump in his various incoherent statements yet managed to make it abundantly clear that his stand on women’s rights and these other issues is wrong, and offensive.
In February North Korea fired a test ballistic missile resulting in worldwide condemnation, and afterwards Britain triggered Article 50, launching negotiations to discuss Britain’s exit from the European Union.
Also this year, the US dropped the largest non-nuclear bomb on an ISIL base in Afghanistan. It also announced its decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement.
In February North Korea fired a test ballistic missile resulting in worldwide condemnation, and afterwards Britain triggered Article 50, launching negotiations to discuss Britain’s exit from the European Union
In an ongoing crisis that began many years ago, the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar were targeted by the army of that country in a process of ethnic cleansing that led to mass migration of that community, mostly to Bangladesh. This has now created a refugee crisis, the seriousness of which was highlighted by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Earthquakes and hurricanes struck Mexico and the US causing extensive damage to life and property. Later in the year the US and Israel announced their decision to withdraw from UNESCO.
In Pakistan the prime minister was removed, yet another elected leader unable to complete his tenure.
And this month the US announced it was formally recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The announcement led to widespread condemnation of the decision all over the world, including in a formal vote in the United Nations.
In March of 2017, the UN warned of a massive humanitarian crisis in Yemen, the biggest such crisis since World War II. More than seven million people are at risk of starvation predominantly in Yemen, and also its neighbouring countries in Africa, Somalia, South Sudan and Nigeria.
All that is most cruel is exposed in this crisis in Yemen, caused by a naval blockade put in place in 2015 by a coalition of nine countries led by Saudi Arabia that aims to prevent the Houthi Rebels in Yemen from gaining power. Mercifully Pakistan, that was invited to join the coalition declined when its Parliament did not sanction it. The blockade has left most of the population of Yemen deprived of sufficient food, water and medical aid. The economy has obviously suffered because the blockade prevents the movement of commercial ships as well as aid supplies.
The United Kingdom and the United States have been accused of supplying arms to this coalition.
Sunni/Wahabi Saudi Arabia fears that the rebels are supported by Iran, a Shia country. The starvation of millions of people can therefore be laid at the door of something as irrational as sectarian differences.
In Yemen, the parents of children such as two year old Shohud who weighs a mere 11lb, the four year old who weighs 16lbs, and Ayesha who weighed 7lbs at 21 months are not likely to care if a concert is bombed in Manchester killing several people. Government workers in Yemen who have not been paid for more than a year are not likely to give a second thought to the US recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. How would they, when they are in the midst of starvation, a dangerous exposure to cholera, and the resultant misery of deprivation and death?
To feel critical, angry, or else pleased at events not immediately affecting oneself is a luxury. It means you have the education, the awareness, the information and the leisure to feel dismay at Donald Trump’s election. You possess a modicum of security yourself if you feel sorry for the plight of the Rohingya, and you worry about losing that security by the ballistic missile fired by North Korea and the escalation of tensions between North Korea and the US. Such acts after all are in the interests of no one. If you feel that the leaders of a country need to display greater diplomacy and sense than that displayed the leaders of North Korea and the US, it is because you have the intelligence to understand this. You feel concern for those who lost their homes in the earthquakes and hurricanes because you yourself possess homes. If you are critical of the tax reforms in the US it is because you have the basic intelligence to perceive that its current government cares much more if not only for the wealthy than for the poor.
Therefore let us usher in the New Year soberly, giving a thought to those starving millions in Yemen, grateful for even our shambolic government and pathetic leadership. Let us feel grateful for the fact that we can condemn something that happens elsewhere in the world because it means we have the leisure to do so. May that condemnation and that gratitude lead us to do right by ourselves, and by everyone else in the coming year.  Amen.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

AN ACUTE IDENTITY CRISIS

https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2017/12/19/an-acute-identity-crisis/

  • There is no reason the standard of education cannot be improved
In the wake of Faizabad, the PTA — in its wisdom — shut down news channels on television, as well as social media such as Facebook. It was as if they wanted to ensure that members of the public not knowing which streets to avoid were caught in the violence that our people had unleashed upon themselves. Which is why, since they were not on air, I decided to phone one of those television channels that reports on Lahore alone, to see if they knew whether routes to the airport were safe and accessible.
“Salam alaikum,” I said when a female operator picked up my call. “Bibi, could you please put me through to someone who can tell me if the road to the airport is clear?”
“I will,” the lady responded. “But first, I would like to point out to you that it is rude to call anyone ‘Bibi’. If you talk to a lady in an office. You should call her ‘Madam’ or ‘Miss’.
I would have reminded the ‘Madam’/‘Miss’ of certain respected personalities whose names are preceded with Bibi, but she had robbed me of my breath, and I thought it better to save what was left.
That incident well illustrates the national disease called ‘Acute Identity Crisis’, the one that has penetrated every muscle and bone of the nation.
I wrote last week of madressahs that fell far short of being schools because they taught nothing but religion and that too of a certain brand, a system of ‘education’ that created graduates unfit for jobs other than teachers and Imams in madressahs and mosques, or else as terrorists.  But this now is a system of education that has wrecked this country by carefully nourishing a social divide, and by hacking away at the identity of the nation.
A social divide as stark as the one that exists in Pakistan is like words on the screen picked out in distinctly different fonts and colours, some visibly placed in the centre of the page, others crowded together in the margins, like the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’ of society. Together, the two prevent the formation of a coherent society
A social divide as stark as the one that exists in Pakistan is like words on the screen picked out in distinctly different fonts and colours, some visibly placed in the centre of the page, others crowded together in the margins, like the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’ of society. Together, the two prevent the formation of a coherent society.
A society in which a divide is reflected right from the start in schools is headed for trouble, and yet there is no apparent effort to unify the English and Urdu medium schools in Pakistan, the first associated with the haves of society, the second with the have nots. There is no effort to level the playing field to ensure that in terms of education at the end of the day both sets of students graduate with similar advantages. Instead, the two languages are used as weapons rather than rich sources of literature and separate doorways to the world. It has resulted in the creation of Urdish, a bastardised collection of words that make little sense and less beauty, and in silly perceptions such as the one held by the operator whose yearning for a highfalutin persona led her to ignore the existence of the ‘Bibi Fatimas,’ and ‘Bibi Khadijas’ of her life. Such a system of education does that, it keeps facts and practicalities out of sight by replacing them with mindless aspirations.
Our cook’s son now apologises by saying “shit!” but he has no ambition to learn the alphabet, English or Urdu. You hear mothers tell their children “washroom ja kay hand-wash karo,” and people rolling their R-s for some reason, and saying ‘jeera’ rather than ‘zeera’ like their favourite Bollywood celebrity. The word waqt has gone out the window with the concept of time itself, and ‘sho-ping’ is the national pastime for women. Such things will happen when education fails to present any intelligent goals. The maulvis at Faizabad might have been dislodged from the roads (although they ain’t gone nowhere), but this loss of identity has created a drifting nation that is not likely to discover its foundations without a lot more work. What those foundations are is a contentious issue. It’s best to start with giving everyone the capacity to answer that question for themselves.
There is no reason the standard of education cannot be improved. The only things standing in the way are apathy and corruption. And of course the misconception that sees education as a threat. Well it is a threat, but only to the things that should be threatened, such as power in the wrong, few hands. To the nation as a whole it is a source of strength and progress.

Monday, December 11, 2017

MAULVI OR TERRORIST?

https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2017/12/12/maulvi-or-terrorist/

  • A haunting question
“What will they become, maulvis or terrorists?”
That question posed by General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Pakistan’s chief of army staff last week in Quetta at a seminar about human resources development, has to be the question of the year. Speaking of the vast number of graduates being produced by madrassahs he pointed out that at the end of the day these students still did not possess an education and were therefore unfit to work. It is one of the major problems in the field of human resources in Pakistan.
The numbers are staggering. Of a country of over 207 million people, it seems that two and a half million are students at madrassahs across the country. Not taught mathematics or geography, or any of the mainstream subjects except religion, students at madrassahs are studying at a kind of Hogwarts. What are they to work at once they graduate? The COAS observed that it is not possible to build enough mosques to accommodate them if all they can do is become maulvis.
Well said Gen Bajwa, and thank you for bringing such a crucial point into the open for discussion.
General Bajwa’s question however produces a string of other questions, such as: why must a chief of army staff have to be the one to ask this question? In fact, should he ask such questions at a public forum which he is addressing as the COAS when it does not fall within the remit of his position?
Madrassahs can be brought into the mainstream if regulations are passed making it mandatory for these thousands of institutes that at present cater to the underprivileged segment of society, to teach mainstream subjects along with religious education
And, what is the civilian government of the country, and more specifically the government’s department of education doing to allow such a situation to develop, where a multitude of uneducated graduates is produced only to join the ranks of the unemployed and or terrorists, and the matter is not addressed?
The armed forces of Pakistan are no doubt composed of several well intentioned and talented persons. But it is at the end of the day exactly that, an armed force whose job it is to defend the country from physical attack. They are not meant to indulge in education, except for military schools. But that is a futile observation, since the armed forces of Pakistan appear to find the civilian arena tantalisingly attractive, as we have seen.
Regardless, should a person desist from making such observations about a particular field even if he or she finds that that field is of crucial importance, yet it is not receiving the attention it deserves? If he or she feels that he or she has something to offer in that field, something that would make a difference? What should he or she do then?
You have to admit that the temptation is great, to meddle in civilian government matters, when the civilian government is as disorganised as it is, and as inept.
It has to be conceded that the chief of the armed forces in this country has some right to comment on the matter, given that it is his troops that are called upon to combat the results in the shape of terrorism.
Madrassahs can be brought into the mainstream if regulations are passed making it mandatory for these thousands of institutes that at present cater to the underprivileged segment of society, to teach mainstream subjects along with religious education. Even then, they can be brought into the mainstream only if that regulation is enforced. This would not just provide jobs for thousands of teachers but a more rounded education for the students. Such an education would result in more jobs being open to madrassah graduates. Not to make this move is a clear sign of apathy and short sightedness.
The citizens of a country should all be given the same opportunities as far as possible. It is unfair to throw substandard education in the path of students just because they are unable to pay for a better one. It is also unfair to give children a specialised education right from the start. If they are started off with a mainstream education and then they chose to teach religion, so be it.
The reason madrassahs survive is that mosques and schools affiliated with them receive so many donations in the shape of money and food, particularly the latter. This feeds the staff and students at the madrassahs, something that neither would be able to do adequately otherwise. It indicates a level of poverty which is of crucial importance to note.
Civilian governments need to deserve the trust placed in them. Unless they do they will always be overridden by those who observe the void.
Poverty too needs to be addressed and eliminated. Unless it is, it will be used by those who observe the desperation and use it.

Monday, December 4, 2017

HOURIS CAN WAIT

https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2017/12/05/houris-can-wait/



  • The stomach cannot
Demonstrations and sit-ins were staged by various ‘religious’ groups across the country recently. These demonstrations were suspended by the leaders of these groups when the government caved in to their demands, but only after the law Minister, Zahid Hamid, was forced to resign, barely escaping with his life and that of his family. A demonstration in front of the Punjab Assembly in Lahore staged by the TLY carried on. That too has finally ended, with the government managing to save the Punjab Law Minister Sanaullah’s job. Mr. Sanaullah’s reprieve though is only temporary, since Maulana Asif Jalali of the TLY, the person who now dictates to the government, has clearly stated that although he is not taking back his demand for the minister’s resignation, he will kindly allow the government to carry on doing what it wants for a period of one month.
The government has had to agree to the other demands.
You’re strongly reminded of the recent news in the BBC about a zoo in China where people turned up to see exotic animals, and were instead confronted with air-filled toy penguins, and a handful of roosters and geese. To spell it out, just so did the public in Pakistan hope for a government and were met instead with inflated dummies and a handful of fowl persons with a predominance of geese.
The policy of not negotiating with terrorists has a contentious history but it makes sense and still exists. Whether a country agrees with the policy or not, even if it is a signatory to the agreement that prohibits payment of ransom and negotiating with terrorists, some governments have caved in, and secretly or quite openly given in to demands. Each government of Pakistan has, of course, firmly adhered to the policy of having none but the knee jerk policy, which says ‘do whatever you need to do to keep ‘em quiet, keep yourselves in power, and to hell with the people’. You have to give it to each successive government for living up to this on every occasion.
It has now agreed that the report compiled by Raja Zafarul Haq’s committee regarding events that led up to the demonstrations is to be made public later this month by the 20th. Meantime the government is to pay reparation (with tax payers’ money) for the people killed during operations to remove protestors from around Islamabad recently, never mind that these operations were conducted because these people had hijacked the capital of the country and were forcing the government to accede to their demands… or else.
The policy of not negotiating with terrorists has a contentious history but it makes sense and still exists. Whether a country agrees with the policy or not, even if it is a signatory to the agreement that prohibits payment of ransom and negotiating with terrorists, some governments have caved in, and secretly or quite openly given in to demands
Also agreed upon is that yet another commission is to be set up to decide how many loudspeakers each mosque is to be allowed in the province. It is infuriating, since the said loudspeakers are used not just to relay the call to prayer, but also to pander to the sitting mullahs’ yearning for an audience and predilection for Bollywood tunes. They are also used to rally people to protests such as these recent ones across the country.
What is probably most terrifying is that the ulema are to review the religious views contained within the curriculum of schools in the province.
Not the smallest organisation can be run much less an entire country without first deciding where the country stands on certain crucial matters. Pakistan, unfortunately, has the reputation of agreeing with the loudest speaker, or doing whatever is demanded when its arm is twisted, and/or its leaders are offered the appropriate incentives.
When the US Defense Secretary arrived in Islamabad to discuss Pakistan’s support in defeating the Taliban, Pakistan’s representatives course presented a cooperative front, with $$$ in mind. How they can maintain even that farce is another matter, keeping in mind the government’s caving in to the demands of a group of persons with much the same agenda as the Taliban. It is after all because of the TYL that PEMRA recently shut down social media for a couple of days throughout the country, since the group was using that platform to ‘incite hatred’. It is as a direct result of this group’s appeal to the baser instincts of the public that several persons died, and the government and people of the country suffered economic losses in the billions.
The ultimate measure of satisfaction is peace and at least a basic level of material satisfaction: sufficient food, access to housing, education and water, healthcare and transport. Neither the so called religious parties nor the government can draw wool over the public’s eyes for very long when both fail to deliver in this matter, since for the living houris can wait but an empty stomach cannot. A limp government that can be dictated to leads only to chaos. Neither these parties nor such a government fulfil the public’s longing for prosperity. Instead both pander only to the avariciousness of people in power on either side which is a desire that can never be satisfied.