After the release

Published: March 17, 2011
Supporters of the Pakistan's religious and political parties shout slogans as they take part in a protest against the release of CIA contractor Raymond Davis outside the U.S consulate in Lahore March 16, 2011. PHOTO: REUTERS

Supporters of the Pakistan's religious and political parties shout slogans as they take part in a protest against the release of CIA contractor Raymond Davis outside the U.S consulate in Lahore March 16, 2011. PHOTO: REUTERS

The fear of a backlash by orthodox forces always seems to be greater than the actual event. There was apprehension of large-scale protests after Pakistan opted to support the US in the aftermath of 9/11 2001; nothing happened beyond a few days of violent street rallies. Similarly, the release of Raymond Davis, following a settlement based on the handing over of blood money, has so far resulted in only a few sporadic demonstrations and some vitriolic comments from the usual gang of suspects (read: Self-righteous TV show hosts).

There is irony in the fact that the Jamaat-i-Islami, whose members attempted to break into the US Consulate in Lahore following the CIA contractor’s release, should have to face the reality that he was let-off under the qisas and diyat laws, proposed by the late General Ziaul Haq, a key mentor for the party. The religious parties and the right wing elements should really not be objecting at all — given their support for ‘Islamic’ laws and their vehement disapproval of all suggestions that, in at least some cases, reform is urgently needed to prevent misuse (as in the case of honour killings) of the legislation. Perhaps a realisation that they have been beaten at their own game explains their response so far. As for the public’s reaction, other than pockets of anger, as reported by this newspaper, there has not been a mass outpouring of public rage.

Of course, this not to say that people are not feeling disappointed and frustrated by the quick unfolding of the whole affair, especially since the fate of the third man’s family and what happens to the quest for finding his killer is left unresolved. In all of this, perhaps, it is difficult to ignore the fact that the media, or significant sections of it certainly, willingly or unknowingly, played into the hands of those who think themselves to be keepers of the nation’s sovereignty and this perhaps led many people to think that releasing Davis would be tantamount to selling our national honour for a few dollars. If anything, it can be said that for a change, all centres of power — the federal and the Punjab governments  and the military — were all on the same page on this issue.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 18th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (7)

  • D. Asghar
    Mar 18, 2011 - 12:41AM

    @ Editor right as usual. However if you think that ghairat brigade will shut up so easily, then you might be slightly mistaken. After all licking their own wounds is hoing to be very painful, and I am afraid it will take some time to heal.

    Some parting comments, Well done Zardari, Sharif, Kiani and the Adlia. All on the same page. Wish we can get that momentum going on other issues of real national interest. Recommend

  • John
    Mar 18, 2011 - 12:55AM

    As it was customary in “these” kind of cases, the PAK Govt should have expelled R. Davis as soon as the incidence happened. The political power struggle within the establishment and military institutions actually aggravated the case.

    Now, a precedence is set, and the question would come in the future would the PAK Govt do the same with other Govt.

    If the answer is no, then PAK Govt looses her credibility. Recommend

  • Humanity
    Mar 18, 2011 - 2:47AM

    @D. Asghar:
    Salam Asghar Bhai :)
    The silver lining in this drama is the fact the people can no longer deny the real potential of abuse of the sharia law designed to dispense gross injustice through persecution of the minorities and to grant get out of jail free passes to the wealthy. People must realize that while the laws may be Islamic, the implementors are not the 7th century holy and pious people. The implementors are the 21st century hypocrites who are quick to sell their mothers for a few bucks. People supporting the sharia law got a taste of their own medicine. Hopefully, the bad taste will help them realize the grave danger of the mixing state and religion. Do these people need any more proof that giving religion in the hands of mullah-politic hypocrites destroys both deen and duniya?

    Separate state and religion to guarantee the rights of all citizens, become a 21st century self-reliant society and live happily ever after. Make Raymond Davis irrelevant!Recommend

  • faraz
    Mar 18, 2011 - 10:14AM

    Purpose of this protest by JI and PTI is to attract the right wing constituency of PML-NRecommend

  • Mar 18, 2011 - 1:29PM

    Relax, the Protest will fizz out soon!Recommend

  • Mubarak Ali
    Mar 19, 2011 - 3:43AM

    Glad to see you on this post. Your comments are always to the point, keep it up.
    As for mullahs are concerned they have no worry to earn their livelihood. Mullahs have ample time to make trouble, as this is the only thing they have learnt well. Hazrat Allama Iqbal has rightly said: Deene mullah fi sabeel Allah fasad.Recommend

  • Uza Syed
    Mar 19, 2011 - 5:05PM

    @Mubarak Ali:

    Sir, I slightly disagree with you here. Even the Mullah has to worry about his livelihood —– it’s his job to keep us all ‘worried’ and concerned by created threat to us and our faith —– it’s his main job to keep us, at least, misinformed and ideally outright ignorant. Imagine, us as being better informed and better educated citizen that’ll be the day when Mullah fears being out of business. O’ Mullah’s are the most worried folks right now and working overtime in manufacturing half-truth and falshood to poison our minds. Remember, we, as long as ignorant, are their only hope for survival and we must be kept ignorant. Mullah will give his “anything” including what he he considers his most valued “commoditity” to keep us uneducated, misinformed and ignorant. Recommend

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