January 10, the Shaikhul Islam and ‘Kaptaan’

Published: January 12, 2013

The writer heads the Centre for Education and Development in Bahrain, Swat zubair.torwali@tribune.com.pk

I avoided much of the agony on January 10 because I was fortunate enough to be travelling and social media applications on my cell phone were off. But by the night, agony and grief gripped me. In a single day, Pakistan lost over 115 innocent citizens and had hundreds of people injured. The serial blasts in Quetta’s busiest bazaar and the one at a Tableeghi Markaz — the district preaching headquarter of the Tableeghi Jama’at — near Mingora, Swat traumatised us, once again. Equally disturbing was the news from the Line of Control where Indian and Pakistani soldiers have been killing each other at the expense of the peace process between the two countries. One hopes that it won’t detract from the army’s apparent paradigm shift in the identification of the real enemy.

The mystery of the mayhem at a grand mosque in Swat, reportedly killing over 22 pious preachers and injuring more than 50 others who gathered there for Shab-e-Juma (Friday night) prayers, has shaken the nerves of the idyllic valley and reminds us of the bloodiest of years — winter, 2009 — when beheaded and slit-throat bodies strung over poles and trees were usual sights in the morning. It is now another winter, which has witnessed its first mayhem in cold blood in Swat.

Looking at the bloodshed in the country, one cannot help but cry in agony. People of any sect, faith and ethnicity are virtually left at the mercy of barbaric hands while the already handicapped government is threatened by a ‘Shaikhul Islam’ whose aim, it seems, is to have an interim technocrat government with himself as prime minister. For the government, January 14 will be a doomsday as Shaikhul Islam Dr Tahirul Qadri sees it. But what he and his ilk don’t see is the fact that the people of Pakistan have been experiencing doomsday scenarios for decades.

To our obscurantist forces, we admit Pakistan is yours. You can gather millions of people and exhort them for hours; you can malign thousands of people and you can shun the ‘liberal fascists’ but don’t you see the blood of Muslims surging in bazaars, streets, mosques, temples, churches and shrines? Isn’t that enough to startle you? If a few ladies and gentlemen come out with candles in order to mark their protest against the killers, you are fast to dub them as traitors and Westernised liberal fascists. Have you ever gathered people to condemn murders and genocides?

The few people who raise their voice are actually very afraid of you because you have followers roaming free who can choke, stab and terrorise at will;and what you, as ideologues of these particular people, do is blame foreign hands. This is the real power of the enemies within. You must now either realise it or abandon your right of claiming to anchor this sinking ship. Leaders like the lovely Imran Khan, Islamic televangelist Tahirul Qadiri and jihadi patriarchs like Hamid Gul, Munawwar Hasan, Maulana Samiul Haq and Maulana Fazlur Rahman,along with their godfathers in spy agencies, must now tell the nation who the real enemy is.

I ask the few honest among the civil society, writers and intellectuals to kindly abandon raising their muffled voices and leave this country, for the so-called ‘silent majority’ has been married to this obfuscation for decades.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 12th, 2013.

Reader Comments (20)

  • Mirza
    Jan 12, 2013 - 12:46AM

    A factual and appealing Op Ed by a young scholar. You asked “Have you ever gathered people to condemn murders and genocides?”
    I am ashamed to say “not”. In fact we support all these murders and atrocities against the helpless civilians and minorities. We go out of the way to demand talking with these killers, apologizing for them and make excuses for their being savage killers. “Only if the US and India stop interfering in the region and USA leave the killings would stop”. In fact once the US leaves, it would be the rule of Taliban’s Sharia. As they are not afraid of anybody in Pakistan and the army would not taking any action against them anyway.

    Recommend

  • Jan 12, 2013 - 12:52AM

    Is this really an article in ET?

    Recommend

  • Falcon
    Jan 12, 2013 - 12:56AM

    The article does not have a logical trail. The respected author is combining too many things: TUQ, IK, JI, and militants. When things are so generalized, that shows either anger or ignorance (for example, TUQ is a known voice against TTP that is why MWM is supporting him, so why are you combining him with TTP? He is at fault for other issues, not supporting terrorists). On a side note, the author has condemned everyone except the government, may I ask why?

    Recommend

  • Falcon
    Jan 12, 2013 - 1:00AM

    One more thing, PTI has explicitly named and condemned LeJ (see link below). In fact, 2 of the martyrs were PTI workers. So, please don’t go around saying that PTI or IK has anything to do with sectarian violence against innocent Hazaras.

    http://www.insaf.pk/News/tabid/60/articleType/ArticleView/articleId/14669/Imran-expresses-deep-concern-over-rampant-acts-of-terrorism-claiming-hundreds-of-precious-lives.aspx

    Recommend

  • faraz
    Jan 12, 2013 - 1:09AM

    You forgot about the party in power for past 5 years: PPP

    Recommend

  • John B
    Jan 12, 2013 - 1:42AM

    “they are welcome to leave the country: who is stopping them”- Former PM Gilani.

    I understand the painful tone of the article written in agony of the soul.

    The perils that PAK is in today is /was the result of so called educated middle class who run the government machinery. They are the collaborators, executioners and enforcers of policies law and order and judiciary and it was them who took PAK to the slaughter house-liberals and hardliners alike.

    No government can function without them and if only they stood up and resisted when they were/are asked to be part of the system, things would have been different.

    They are the one who leave and seek asylum with the first sign of trouble and the poor end up on refugee camps or in the vacuum left behind.

    It is not the poor and illiterates who rally to the call of messiah’s and mullahs. In many respects, it would be better for PAK if the educated middle class -liberals and others- leave the country and disappear into thin air and let the poor sort it out.

    After all the poor is living peacefully in the streets and slums and refugee camps without any issues.

    Recommend

  • Indian
    Jan 12, 2013 - 1:55AM

    As an Indian observer, I think Pakistan’s most serious problem is extremism and militancy. It’s what is scaring away economic investment. That’s why I’m baffled by why Pakistanis support Imran Khan, whose track record on this is pathetic. Imran Khan’s first political mentor was Hamid Gul. Hamid Gul is the worst kind of anti-Indian (which is OK, after all he was a General) but, more seriously, also anti-Hindu demagogue, and associates with all the militant groups. Imran Khan sent his party’s top representatives to the Difa conference. His party president, Javed Hashmi, has been chummy with Hafiz Saeed since both their college days. So, to all Pakistani friends: seriously? This is the guy who is going to solve Pakistan’s most important problem? Does his track record inspire confidence?

    Recommend

  • Mirza
    Jan 12, 2013 - 3:49AM

    All political parties can agree on one point, to stop the killing of innocents. There should be no two opinions ifs and buts on this issue. There should be a total outrage and protest till there is an army action to stop this carnage.

    Recommend

  • Muhammad
    Jan 12, 2013 - 4:28AM

    Qadri & IK are the chips of the same block

    Recommend

  • sabi
    Jan 12, 2013 - 5:18AM

    but don’t you see the blood of Muslims surging in bazaars, streets, mosques, temples, churches and shrines?
    For decades people of this country followed these preachers of hate blindly.Now the outcome of blind faith can be seen on streets of Pakistan.But wait for a while their turn is coming just wait.

    Recommend

  • Mozart
    Jan 12, 2013 - 10:47AM

    @author:

    Problem with your ‘kind’ is that in your zeal you end up portraying religion as the main problem which no matter how much you want is not true. Your article and articles from other authors like you only show frustration probably because you know that your plan is not working. Good luck geniuses!

    Recommend

  • Zab
    Jan 12, 2013 - 11:12AM

    Mr. Torwali, what do you want a “Shaikh-ul-Islam” to do? Sit in a mosque and preach? Or join the tableeghi jaamat? You have named everyone at fault, except the PPP and PML-N and the so called liberal democrats? what was your article about?? you seems confused on most of the things here.

    Recommend

  • Concerned
    Jan 12, 2013 - 12:30PM

    @Mozart: My question to you, sir – why was a Hazara locale attacked in Quetta on 10 January? Was it not solely because they were Shia? Is it not religion and its interpretation the reason for this disastrous infighting raging in our country?

    Recommend

  • aley
    Jan 12, 2013 - 12:31PM

    @Falcon:
    PTI crying LeJ is an ideal case of running with hares and hunting with hounds…

    Recommend

  • Jan 12, 2013 - 1:04PM

    @aley:
    Its PMLN that has made seat adjustments with ASWJ in 6 constituencies, not PTI. It is PPP that has made alliance with SIC who supporter killer of Salman Taseer. So how about calling a spade a spade rather than directing guns at PTI (who have not been in power or made electoral alliance with an extremist group)?

    Recommend

  • Hassan
    Jan 12, 2013 - 1:17PM

    @ Are we allowed to blame anything on anyone without any logic and prove? This article is so low on its logic for blaming IK for miseries of this nation. Shame is the word sir.

    Recommend

  • John the Baptist
    Jan 12, 2013 - 4:30PM

    Nice rant!

    Recommend

  • Alex
    Jan 12, 2013 - 5:38PM

    @Mozart:
    Yes religion is …..if you were still blind to it. Any religion when not used properly will cause such mayhem. Its not the author but other who must get checked.Recommend

  • shafqat kakakhel
    Jan 12, 2013 - 7:58PM

    I wish to thank Zubair Torwali for his elgantly written oice in the ET on 12 Jan captioned Janyary 10, the Shaikhul Islam and Kaptan which faithfully reflects the pain and agony felt by all of us-those amongst the westernised traitors or the hapless and silent majority.We are indeed passing through what the chine curse calls “interesting times”. I hope, despite the lack of evidence, that Pakistan is experiencing what Najam Sethi has described an existential transition and from the womb of this turmoil a healthy and decent polity will be born.I know this is wishful thinking bur what elsae do we have.I am staying put.After all who can porovide alternative abodes to so many scores of millions of us.
    Shafqat Kakakhel

    Recommend

  • Jari Khan
    Jan 12, 2013 - 11:13PM

    Massacre after massacre but no leadership in those tough times. Pakistan need brave leader who do not spend people’s money in building bunkers. Rather he come out make a law against these hate mongers. Clean Pakistan of mullahism. Bring simple human values of mutual respect, and self confidence and peace and security to people. People’s party is collecting people’s money. Recommend

More in Opinion