Articles of the year 2007

Confusion Compounded
Published on April 14th, 2007

The Last month has seen some very interesting developments in Pakistan, and watching Television, scanning all the channels, and listening to all the political commentators, I became very confused. Not more, not less than the political pundits, but equally so. It seems the confusion is being compounded, by the Government ministers/spokesmen, being outwitted, outspoken, and outislamed by quasiimams, who just a few years ago were negotiating their way, out of serious terrorist charges. And now are threatening their erstwhile benefactors with charges of being lesser Muslims. To see Ijazul Haq defending himself live on television, saying 'I also pray five times a day' was hilarious in the extreme. Surely, instead of charging the criminals, for kidnapping, forcibly occupying government land, are serious crimes, kidnapping has ( I understand) a death sentence, and applying the law of the land, the enforcers of the law suddenly backed off. The Lal Masjid Duo managed to call Ijaz a liar, and the poor fellow had a hard time denying it. At times he seemed even to be doubting himself. The brothers , made a visibly embarrassed, Ijaz with knotted brow, trying to figure out whether he had lied —so convincing were they.

The Preacher is a formidable adversary, and in debate more so because he speaks forcefully, and with a sound belief that God is on his side, he is even more convincing, for even the viewer cannot, or will not believe that a man of the cloth can lie through his teeth. The Dictum "Nobody in his right mind is going to argue with a preacher (Mody Coggin Boatright ), is being proved correct on 39 channels daily—round the clock. And with the benefit of an electronic pulpit allowing access to 160 million Pakistanis, whose very souls are the subject of the contest, courtesy television ,the government would be well advised to reconsider their options. For on every channel, the government is behind on points .

However the confusion of the government in deciding to take action, or not, against the Lal Masjid women, and their mentors, is typical of the 'too many cooks' syndrome. For God's sake with a cabinet of eighty plus, how can you expect a firm decision. It does seem that the doves are winning the day, probably convinced that a mosque should not be 'Martyred' not realising that this does not apply to those built upon encroached (illegal) land. This issue was debated and resolved by an Ayat in the Holy Koran to prohibit precisely this act. Surah Tauba states "And there are those who put up a mosque by way of mischief and infidelity-to disunite the Believers and in preparation for one who warred against Allah and his Apostle afore time. They will indeed swear that their intention is nothing but good: But Allah doth declare that they are certainly liars."

In fact the religious scholars would do well by attacking the illegal structure, which is causing such a deep rift, and is a direct violation of the tenets of the Holy book—the word of God.

The confusion gets compounded when the CJ of the Supreme Court is suspended under dubious circumstance, and the entire Legal framework is up in arms, and every pundit worth his ink is furiously scribbling his views, for the story line itself is so juicy. Luckily for the Government the legal process is so heavily weighted in favour of 'Time' that the hapless CJ may well die of old age before the issue is resolved. He himself should not fall prey to the advice of his star lawyer that victory is just around he corner! The long dates say it all. In the meantime the confusion continues. The government itself is not the only victim of the murky fog. Benazir herself does not know if she is coming or going—the Sharifs even less so. Full marks to the rank and file of both Parties for hanging in there so bravely.The President should carefully rethink his Chief negotiator head of 'Q' for politicians do have their own agenda, and Chaudry sahib is too closely wed to the Maulvis (by belief, and not otherwise) to launch a strike. This will have serious repercussions on Pakistan, and its future. We are being dragged back into the Dark ages, from which we thought we had been rescued by a brave knight. After a great beginning, all for naught, in the space of a few weeks. Both the President and the Prime Minister should wake up to their enemies, for it seems the two are well and truly surrounded with the baying getting closer.