The flip side of lynching

For every mob that silently watches a crime being committed, there is another mob that will stand on the street and protest it, however futile they know it will be.

Sarah Elahi September 16, 2010
The recent trend of Pakistanis lambasting the entire nation for the tragic events that transpired in Sialkot is getting old already. It is true that when public lynching becomes possible, even probable, a country is in a sorry state. It is also true that events such as these should inspire, outrage and force us to question who we have collectively become.

Similarly, we need to keep in mind that thanks to the global trend of hating this country and everything to do with it, we are in a position where most Pakistanis have become aware that nobody can help us as much as we can help ourselves. While some indulge in newspaper activism and seethe with anger at why we are not all wringing our hands, hanging our heads in shame and crawling into tunnels to die, there are tens of thousands of ordinary Pakistanis risking their lives and livelihoods to reach out to our flood-affected compatriots. There are tens of thousands of volunteers who drive ambulances, distribute food and relief supplies. For every mob that silently watches a crime being committed, there is another mob that will stand on the street and protest it, however futile they know it will be.

Yes, we should be ashamed today of the crimes we let happen. We should also be ashamed that we consciously edge out the unsung heroes that prevent this nation from imploding to indulge in seriously passé government-bashing.

Today, crisis after crisis is encouraging (most of) us to put aside our petty, badly-considered ideas and work towards a Pakistan that people will not be applauded for brushing aside in disgust. While myopia might prevent some from seeing it, every young Pakistani I know has done something for their country this week, whether it is Facebook activism, going to Peshawar to work with displaced people, calling attention to the plight of minorities or spending their savings on medical supplies for the needy.

Perhaps what Pakistan needs isn’t for all of us to jump in the Indus and commit national suicide but to celebrate and nourish our empathetic, rational side.
Sarah Elahi A graduate of Mount Holyoke College who works with the Citizens Archive of Pakistan
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


Sohaib Ahmad | 13 years ago | Reply The failure of Police is due to Police Order 2002 which has increased senior ranks and resultantly quick promotions of officers. No reforms have been allowed in the service structure or at Thanna level. Senior Police officers are against community service model of policing prevailing in other countries. They want to preserve the Raj setup. A PSP officer should look like an IP officer, a ruler or King who can not do wrong. The record of punishment by Mr. Tariq Dogar IG Punjab shows that only DSPs and provincial cadre officers have been awarded punishments and not a single PSP officer has even been issued a letter of dis-pleasure. Unless the 99 percent of Police is treated fairly, if not equally, by their own command no reform will work. The community must raise this issue and weed out dead wood. We do not want PSP based system instead there should be an equal oppertunity based Police structure with independent Police Commission consisting Judicial Officers at provincial level to hear greivances of Police personnel as well as public compliants. We have waited for 63 years. The PSP officers will never do any thing in public interest but then Government should think otherwise.
Rida Fazal | 13 years ago | Reply Good positive thinking for a change :) keep it up ...
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