The kidnapping of a comedian

Published: April 26, 2012

Mangal Bagh is rich because he has been kidnapping wealthy people of Peshawar for ransom. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

Another proof that Pakistan is embroiled in lateral issues like corruption and honour-in-foreign-policy, and ignoring the erosion of the state at the hands of terrorists was forthcoming when a comedian from Peshawar was kidnapped at gunpoint by terrorists on April 24. He was performing at a wedding and there was nothing anyone could do to save him despite the vaunted efficiency of the 1122 call system for emergency police help.

Comedian Nisar Khan made fun of the terrorists operating under warlord Mangal Bagh’s gang, who operate under the banner of the Lashkar-i-Islam and the version of religion that they were trying to impose in Khyber Agency through savage punishments. His funny line was: “Shave my head, paint my face black; mount me on a donkey and make fun of me”. It lampooned the way the Taliban punished people whom they accused of theft. He was picked up last year too but was released. Only time will tell his fate this time around.

Whether he has been picked up by the Lashkar-i-Islam or the Taliban is not known. Both are active in Peshawar and have nullified the writ of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government. Outside Peshawar, a string of cities along the Kohat Road are also under a diarchy with the Taliban calling the shots and commanding more obedience on the part of the citizens than the state. One fears that the Pakistani state, under the tutelage of the establishment, may try to make itself safe from the terrorists’ savagery by becoming pro-Taliban and anti-US. The war which many say is “not Pakistan’s war” is, therefore, not wholeheartedly supported by all and, people like Nisar Khan are made an example of by the terrorists.

Mangal Bagh is rich because he has been kidnapping wealthy people of Peshawar for ransom. He has not been able to absorb himself into the Taliban led by Hakeemullah Mehsud under the umbrella of al Qaeda. Unlike him, another warlord, Swat’s Maulana Fazlullah, was able to join the Taliban and al Qaeda in 2007, after laying waste to the economy of Swat and then fleeing into Afghanistan. Mangal Bagh, however, has been fighting both the Pakistan Army and the Taliban for the last seven years. Needless to say, that the savagery of the warlords allows them to amass wealth and organise themselves.

When the Taliban took hold of Kabul in 1996, their version of religion came to the fore. Initially, people liked the ‘quick justice’ the Taliban meted out, but, with time, they woke up to the tyranny of the regime. All the singers and musicians of Afghanistan fled the country, including the famous singer, Nashanas. In 1999, General (retd) Pervez Musharraf came to power in Pakistan and started ruling with the help of an electoral clerical alliance of the Mutahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA), especially in then-NWFP. After the MMA promulgated new laws of conduct under the Hasba Bill, which the Supreme Court shot down, the same thing happened to Peshawar and other cities of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa: singers and entertainers either changed professions or left for Lahore — while cinemas were abolished.

The ‘quick justice’ syndrome still exists among the Afghan people, who must be getting ready for another migration into Pakistan as the Taliban look like they will be getting back to Kabul after the Americans leave Afghanistan. But this ‘quick justice’ did not sit well with the people of Swat who were grateful when the army rescued them from the clutches of Maulana Fazlullah. But another round of  Talibanisation seems to be around the corner as the Difa-e-Pakistan Council — composed mostly of Pakistan’s infamous non-state actors — gets ready to fight the US and the 350,000-strong Afghan National Army that Washington will leave behind. Already the first big jailbreak in Bannu has pointed to the big muster of the mujahideen, who will wage the next war in Afghanistan, as well as maintain control of the areas they have supposedly  ‘conquered’ in Pakistan. In Pakistan, the government, the Supreme Court, and the army are busy looking the other way.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 26th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (20)

  • Kaalchakra
    Apr 26, 2012 - 12:51AM

    It’s sad that some people do not know the limits of their ‘fun’ and offend others.


  • Fundyar
    Apr 26, 2012 - 3:34AM

    He was showing through comedy how unislamic these Taliban are”!!!


  • Arslan
    Apr 26, 2012 - 4:52AM

    @Kaalchakra These men consider killing/kidnapping innocent people Islamic. Tell me where it says in the Quran to do so! You are not muslim if you kill/plunder other people over nuance issues! Grow some brains for heaven sake!


  • Jibran
    Apr 26, 2012 - 5:12AM

    Nashanas left the country long before the arrival of Taliban and the same goes with all other musicians who fled the country long before the Taliban uprising in the country.
    another thing, it will be misleading and incorrect for the record to say that Mangal Bagh (Tuesday Garden) fought against both Pak-Army and TTP in fact the Great Ameer till date maintained a good friendship with both of these parties in the conflict. Mangal Bagh never crossed the border into Afghanistan and is still living some 50 miles away from main Bara market, in the outskirts of Chora — a locality lies on the way to Tirrah valley. It is in everybody’s interest to maintain friendly relations with Mangal Bagh whether its the Army, the Taliban or the tribal Parliamentarians.


  • Haris Chaudhry
    Apr 26, 2012 - 5:12AM

    @ Kaalchakra:

    So when does comedy has to not-offend ?? All comedy offends.. So what Loin Akhtar did all his life pretending to be Pathan, Bengali, Memon, Punjabi, Sindhi wadera etc etc is sure to have offended millions.. What about those that make fun of politicians in tv shows 24/7 – So you are saying that it is ok to ‘kidnap’ if people feel that they are being made fun of…???

    Its attitude like these that has made Pakistan the most intolerant nation one arth and the butt of jokes globally..


  • Parvez Amin
    Apr 26, 2012 - 6:37AM

    You lose your sense of humor – you lose the best of humanity. Life without laughter is food without salt. Bringing humor to life is like lighting a candle in a dark room. Sad to see a source of harmless merriment harmed.


  • Khan is King
    Apr 26, 2012 - 6:54AM

    @Kaalchakra- You’re obviously an ill-informed, bandwaggoning Taliban apologist. You represent a strata of our society that is utterly confused, albeit ultimately well meaning. It is not your fault that that you think making fun of the organizations that aim to take over our country is crossing a line, it is the fault of our government for not uniting the country against them. May God give you the strength and wisdom to see things for what they are.


  • Kaalchakra
    Apr 26, 2012 - 8:11AM

    I am sorry but there can be no compromise over insult to Islam and the Rasool of Allah (pbuh).

    If you want to have fun, there are so many things you can have fun about.


  • Ahsan
    Apr 26, 2012 - 10:45AM


    He was not making fun of Islam and Rasool of Allah (P.B.U.H). He was making fun of the religion of these stupids Talibans. These Taliban are not at all muslims they are the worst animal on this planet.


  • Yuri Kondratyuk
    Apr 26, 2012 - 12:38PM


    It’s sad that some people do not know
    the limits of their ‘fun’ and offend

    Above all else, the Devil cannot stand to be mocked.
    –C.S. Lewis


  • Mr. Honest
    Apr 26, 2012 - 1:14PM

    Th erosion of the state of Pakistan. Sad indeed!


  • Khan
    Apr 26, 2012 - 3:46PM

    We had a golden chance to get rid of these savages as we had NATO on the other side and we could have cleansed this mess easily .. We could have got rid of their leaders long ago and every thing would have been under control but alas! .. now we have really a bleak future. Once they vacate the area, these savages will have a huge base in neighboring country and all those people driven out of the Swat etc will have a place to rebuild themselves and then will eventually turn against us, creating a mayhem in Peshawar and all other cities of KPK.
    As we won’t have any backing from across the border, neither any funds that we get from the US etc .. we will eventually exhaust and give up.
    We are worst enemy of ourselves .. our shortsightedness will be our nemesis.


  • M@NI
    Apr 26, 2012 - 4:12PM

    Pakistan government should give protection to the real talent, media should focus on this news more rather then showing veena malik assets


  • SaQiB
    Apr 26, 2012 - 5:05PM

    totally useless editorial……….. another attempt of ET and its gang to make a mountain out of a molehill………………!


  • Sangaryar
    Apr 26, 2012 - 11:27PM

    “The ‘quick justice’ syndrome still exists among the Afghan people, who must be getting ready for another migration into Pakistan as the Taliban look like they will be getting back to Kabul after the Americans leave Afghanistan. But this ‘quick justice’ did not sit well with the people of Swat who were grateful when the army rescued them from the clutches of Maulana Fazlullah”.

    What an ingorant and ill informed commentary, which presumes that Afghans actually like the Taliban or their brand of Islam. These types of editorials are only published in Pakistan and the media tries to perpetuate this image of Afghanistan and Afghans as barbarians and Pakistanis as enlightened people.

    For your information the people of Swat are Pashtuns like their neighbors across the border and they both harbor deep resentment against the ruthless, cruel and Godless Talibans.

    Furthermore, only Pakistani newspapers will write stuff like “as the Taliban look like they will be getting back to Kabul after the Americans leave Afghanistan”, Americans are not leaving Afghanistan and the Taliban will not be getting back to Afghanistan ever.


  • Jamshed
    Apr 26, 2012 - 11:31PM

    This self-rigteous, morality brigade starts telling people what is Islamic/unislamic yet kindaps people for ransom. Strange twisted logic.


  • Apr 26, 2012 - 11:34PM

    Is this not an example of terrorists’ dark and evil agenda, and another attempt to suppress the nation of Pakistan? Kidnapping and killing is the only way they operate. It is sad that an artist, a standup comic, is kidnapped for making people laugh and smile. The terrorists have been inflicting pain on all sections of society. We have seen them in power in Afghanistan and recently in Swat but what came out of that was misery for the people. We see that continue whenever they get a chance. It is time for everyone to unite against these blatant attacks on the people of Pakistan and together with our allies put an end their atrocities.

    Maj David Nevers
    DET-United States Central Command


  • Kaalchakra
    Apr 27, 2012 - 7:01AM

    Maj David Nevers

    You must respect Pakistan’s culture.


  • alicia
    Apr 27, 2012 - 10:08AM

    Sorry but Its not in Pakistan’s culture to kidnap people. Don’t know about FATA areas where these terrorists reside because they were the hotbed of criminals way before this war. But the general people of Pakistan do not believe in kidnapping others.


  • Salma
    Apr 27, 2012 - 3:46PM

    hope some journos read this too- rather most of them need to read this and internalize it-


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