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.