Bomb blasts, death by drone, hand grenade attacks, targeted assassinations and shootings — along with kidnappings, rapes and murders, in general — are so much a part and parcel of everyday life in Pakistan that the populace, unless directly affected, has long since stopped paying any serious attention to the carnage and chaos raging around them. Whilst life must go on, playing ostrich and ignoring the reality is certainly the wrong way to proceed; it is, in fact, asking for more mayhem than ever.
The ‘I can’t do anything about it’ attitude prevalent throughout the country is a serious sign of societal selfishness which, if there is ever to be any kind of enduring peace, must change and change fast. Living in a land of violence is no easy matter and one has to be strong enough to endure everything that comes his or her way. But enduring and stubbornly ignoring reality are two completely different things.
This ‘I’m all right Jack’ frame of mind is nothing more than blatant negativity. The longer chaos is allowed to rampage unchecked, the more widespread and deep-rooted it will become. Expecting the shockingly overburdened armed forces and largely corrupt police force to keep an ever-burgeoning population of over 180 million people under peaceful control is asking for a miracle which will not, by any stretch of the collective imagination, happen on its own.
Of course, the general populace should not be expected to take matters into its own hands — although, this is exactly what is happening in tribal areas. Willingly, or as a result of governmental pressure, tribal lashkars — both armed and unarmed — are engaged in a struggle to keep their areas Taliban-free. However, they should pressurise the authorities to tackle the deteriorating situation head on and should, at the very least, stand up and speak out. There is clearly not much — if anything — to be achieved on a one-to-one basis. Anyone who has the guts to personally stand up and speak out should do so in the hope that others will see the light and follow their example.
The increasingly critical situation can only be seriously challenged if and when people are actively prepared to push for necessary salvation together, which — given the self-destructive degree of selfishness that permeates each and every societal level in these dark and dismal times — is, sadly, highly unlikely to happen.
The mere handful of political activists attempting to promote revolution as the answer to our current plight do not hold the answer. It is only necessary to revisit the failed revolutions of the Arab Spring to see this. Any such move would expand violence and bloodshed to an untenable degree, with innocent victims paying the price, as can be witnessed even today.
The only plausible and sensible way to tackle the ongoing violence is via the concerted efforts of those few stalwarts prepared to put their lives on the line in the name of peace. It is time that whoever these saviours are, shed their inhibitions and openly get to work.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 4th, 2012.
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