Utter resignation

Rehman Malik’s opponents still have some hope as he has promised that he will resign if a security lapse is proven.

Shahid Nadeem March 08, 2011

Interior Minister Rehman Malik has flatly refused to oblige his detractors who are demanding his resignation after the assassination of Minorities Minister Shahbaz Bhatti. “Why should I resign?” the minister said. “Did chief minister Punjab resign when the terrorist attacks in Punjab took place?” In his speech in the National Assembly, Mr Malik revealed that he was now number one on the terrorists hit list. “You may not see me here again” he said. It could be a ploy to ward off the growing resignation chorus and to prove that he was doing a good job of combating the terrorists, but such a statement from the all-powerful interior minister could not be very reassuring to the people who expect that the interior ministry and law enforcement agencies are there to protect them. The minister went on to announce that Sherry Rehman was number two and Fauzia Wahab number three on the list. The minister might as well have announced the Top Ten on the Hit List Charts for the benefit of the hit men!

Rehman Malik’s opponents still have some hope as he has promised that he will resign if a security lapse is proven. All they have to do is to find answers to some nagging questions: Why was the minorities minister, who was known to be on the hit list, left all by himself to face his assassins? Where were his 15-odd security guards? Were they watching the World Cup? Why was he not given a bullet-proof vehicle, despite repeated requests? Why was he not allotted a house in the minister’s enclave? Who was privy to his schedule for the day? How did the killers escape being spotted before or after theassassination in broad daylight in an area full of road blocks, and an intelligence agency office across the road? Another mystery to be resolved is that why Shahbaz Bhatti who had expressed concerns about his security on so many occasions, chose to visit his mother’s house all alone, unprotected and vulnerable? Was he bent upon on getting himself killed?

After all, he was from Khushpur, the village which became known the world over because of another son of the unhappy village, Bishop John Joseph, who committed suicide in 1998 to protest against the persecution of minorities due to the misuse of the blasphemy law? Shouldn’t the interior minister arrange for briefings for leading politicians and human rights campaigners on how to avoid becoming the target of terrorist attacks? They could be advised to avoid visiting their mothers without bullet-proof vehicles. If not living in protected enclaves, they should build bunkers around their homes. They should also think a hundred times before they speak on a controversial issue, in fact they should keep their mouths shut at all times for security reasons.

If Rehman Malik is not resigning and Shahbaz Sharif is not obliging either, who should be the sacrificial goat? The inspector-general of police of Islamabad! But he has already taken action and arrested several (read usual) suspects. How about the minister for religious affairs for failure to mobilise the religious leaders for the protection of the minorities? But the incumbent is new and his predecessor himself survived an assassination attempt sometime ago (though he may not survive the Hajj scandal). Mr ever-so-accomodating Raza Rabbani did offer to resign, but that would have been unfair as he has just joined the cabinet. At the cabinet meeting which Shahbaz Bhatti was going to attend before being brutally murdered, a visibly upset prime minister offered to resign himself, as no one was willing to accept responsibility. Perhaps we, the people of Pakistan, should collectively resign to the terrible fate which awaits us all!

Published in The Express Tribune, March 9th, 2011.



PriyaSuraj | 10 years ago | Reply @ A Suhail - Agree with you, unfortunately bad news sells. Hopefully all is not bad with Pakistan. I read other Pakistani dailies as well and for people like me (and may be Ajay) who have never been there, they also paint a very gloomy picture of Pakistan. And as far as Indians who act superior here are concerned, don't fret, you will find all kinds of Indians (sane, insane, people with superiority complex, people with inferiority complex etc). I think these behaviours are universal, you find equal number of Pakistanis displaying the same symptoms on these very pages. As one of my friend says, opinions are like Ah*, everyone has one :).
Ajay | 10 years ago | Reply @ A Suhail as explained by PriyaSuraj, people can leave 'shining' country for many good reasons. The country is not harmed from such migrations. I am NOT anti Pakistan but clearly Pakistan is headed toward a prcipice with no hope of turning back as almost every negative force possible has a vice like grip on Pakistan. If this were to be the case with India and if NO HOPE was there, I would follow my own advice and leave India. I am very conscious of events from History. The Hindus and Chritsians who could not leave Pakistan on time suffered badly. Those who were smart enough to leave quickly got away without loosing much. They were also able to sell their properties. Stephen Cohen, a friend of Pakistan has in a recent report painted a very negative pciture of Pakistan and given it an F grade. He says that there are many factors that have put Pakistan on a decaying track and he has listed those factors. I said there is No Hope in Pakistan because it can clearly be felt and seen. I am sorry for sounding negative. 'Shining' was an adjective used very briefly by one party and rejected by people of India as pointed out above by Harkol. India has much in its plate to take care- poverty, illetracy in country side, corruption. Most problems can be attributed to lack of strong population control policies. However India could be considered 'shining' if instead of looking at its "to do" list(any country will have it so it is normal) you look at what it has done in a short span of 60 years. It managed many challenges- foreign threats, created a stable society despite so many communities of varying cultures, languages, religions, despite attempts to create divisiveness- many in pakistan had been hoping that India would disintegrate soon because unlike Pakistan it did not have people of one faith. It became self sufficient in many areas of soci economic indicators when it could have easily failed like Pakistan- it too borrowed funds from international agencies- the difference with Pakistan is those funds got used and have since been repaid, it setup industries, scientific and educational establishments, chose wise policies in trade and commerce not importing anything blindly, choosing social economic model, India has been giving to the world its services, skills, education, help during disasters, spirituality and plays a very useful and efefctive role internationally so much so that all nations of the world (except perhaps Pakistan) want to do business with it, their leaders- no less than presidents visit India, India gives them orders and jobs, India has approval from almost everybody to be nominated a permananet member of UN, even nations that are warring amon themselves like Iran, US, Israel , arab countries...all like India and believe in it- just a few days ago Iran's President informed Indi'a s Foriegn Secy that India and Iran are great cultures and together they could create a new world order--- has anybody including Muslim nations said anything similar to Pakistan? When India says it has a target of putting a man on the moon in next 12-15 years, does anyone laught at India? Can Pakistan say the same without getting laughed at. To the world it seems, India is shining indeed. It isn't just one country but the world is saying that to India. So India has done something that others' have not done. It has set a model for others to follow.
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