The (wrong) path to democracy

Talal Bugti's bounty against Musharraf is a case of immature, reactionary and uncivilised politics.

D Asghar October 15, 2010
The recent statement by Talal Bugti about setting a bounty of Rs1 billion for former president Pervez Musharraf is pathetic, deplorable and highly immature, to say the least.

In the same statement, the leader of the Jamhoori Watan Party indicated that Brigadier (R) Masood Malik would act as an approver against Musharraf for the genocide and abduction of innocent people in Pakistan.

The statement comes from the sardar of a tribe and demonstrates the typical depth of a tribal leader. There is no denying that the Bugtis have valid grievances against the former president, but asking a person to behead him would be tantamount to inciting grave violence against another human being.

This is what is fundamentally wrong with our nation. Violence being translated from the screens of Punjabi flicks to the streets of the country has become the order of the day. We are indifferent when people are beheaded, as some consider it part of "Islamic justice." Somehow, the idea of prosecution, defense and due process have been erased from our collective intelligence. However, even in the Islamic justice system, such extreme decrees can only be declared by a Qazi (Chief Justice), after appropriate due process.

If violence was the means to the end, then we would have seen total reform and revolution in all these years. The fact is, people are sick and tired of the daily acts of violence, which have ripped apart the fabric of this beautiful nation. Jinnah's peaceful and progressive Pakistan has become the ridicule of the entire world.

If Bugti sahib's party really wants to make Pakistan a truly "democratic country" (like the name of his party) , then he should follow the process of any democratic and civil nation and demonstrate some depth as a statesman. His Rs1 billion reward should be used for his own people, who are deprived and for the province which still needs to catch up with the 21st century.

If Bugti has an approver, then he is familiar with the legal process. It would be meaningful to bring concrete evidence to the fore and seal the case against the former dictator. But to suggest anything other than the legal course would only endorse the commonly-held perception that Pakistanis and Muslims are wild and barbaric.

The local media went full-throttle, calling this verbal salvo ofBugti a "stinger missile" launched at the behest of the PML-N, in response to Musharraf’s scathing criticism of Nawaz Sharif. The PML-N formally followed up with their charge sheet against Musharraf, with hopes that he will be arrested and tried in a court of law upon his return to Pakistan.

Subsequent to this bizarre announcement, Bugti stated that Musharraf is petrified and under immense pressure and that he has succumbed to using medication to allay his fears and anxieties. Of course nobody knows whether or not this is true, except Musharraf himself and his family members.

Regardless of whether the former president has found solace in pills or not, the nation should find its resolve in respect for the law. Our country is plagued with violent episodes every day and even a little more violence may be too much. It is high time we bring Pakistan back into the league of civilized nations.
D Asghar A mortgage-banker by profession who also loves to write.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


Liaquat Ali | 13 years ago | Reply "But to suggest anything other than the legal course would only endorse the commonly-held perception that Pakistanis and Muslims are wild and barbaric." The brunt of the idiotic statements coming from the "Muslim" world causes those living in non-Muslim countries headaches. The frustrating thing is that the same people who are issue fatwas against Musharraf would be the same people to protest against Geert Wilders who has made his political career out of identifying the barbaric strands among Muslims.
D. Asghar | 13 years ago | Reply @Kamran Bhai, you are mixing freedom of speech with freedom to incite violence. Although I am a strong freedom of speech proponent, but every freedom comes with some limitations. If Bugti Sahib's speech was limited to evidence against the former president or criticism of Mush policies, I am with you. But asking someone to behead Musharraf, I am sorry will not cut it. Now put that demand in the context of already ultra volatile and violent Pakistani society and you will understand, where I am coming from. Thanks a lot for your comments.
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