Violent means

Published: October 18, 2011
We ask once again — what is happening to our society? What are we coming to; why has life lost all worth?

We ask once again — what is happening to our society? What are we coming to; why has life lost all worth?

The rate at which violence is spreading in our society is truly alarming. On the afternoon of October 17, hundreds witnessed an incident on Lahore’s busy Jail Road, on the pedestrian bridge located outside the city’s prestigious Kinnaird College, where a young man pumped five bullets into a second year student from the institute and then shot himself dead. The killer, Shams Alam, was 23; the victim, Samar Wasti was 19. Two young lives have ended tragically, leaving many students at the college which has closed for a day, traumatised.

The incident, we are told, took place after Alam, who had known Samar since school, was turned down when he proposed marriage. This it seems is becoming unacceptable for more and more men in the country; some have hurled acid on young women who refused them or extracted vengeance in some other terrible fashion. We have asked before. We ask once again — what is happening to our society? What are we coming to; why has life lost all worth? Other such acts take place too. This one has gained headlines chiefly because it involved a student from a leading college, who died so dramatically and so needlessly, even as she complained over her cell phone to her father about being harassed by Alam.

There is another issue here that needs to be looked into. There are far too many guns in our society and far too many in the wrong hands. We wonder how a 23-year-old gained access to a pistol. Pakistan, according to international monitoring groups, has one of the largest number of small arms in circulation anywhere in the world. This contributes to the high rate of murder, to the growing acceptance of brutality and the dramatically enacted tragedy in Lahore which took two lives within minutes, with hatred replacing what may have been an ill-conceived notion of love on the part of a young man who had succumbed to the violent trends that have already wrecked far too many lives.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 19th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (9)

  • Oct 19, 2011 - 4:06AM

    Unfortunately the state helped nurture this gun culture amongst all of our generations since the 80’s.

    Now, it is mainstream. Shahid Afridi’s brother was shown on the news celebrating his brother’s cricket win by firing into the air from his home patio. Barely anyone noticed or criticized the reckless culture of celebratory firing that has lead to so many unnecessary deaths.

    Zulfiqar Mirza proudly boasted granting thousands of licenses for guns to supposed ‘patriots’ during his tenure. Twisted priorities and beliefs will lead to such dangerous and scary societies.

    There’s a trend of ‘bharam’ (Urdu literal: respect, slang: pride/ego/attitude/toughness/show off) instilled in some young guys. Compound that with the usual status quo and strong misogyny we have in society and the apathy for the rule of law down to even unable to stand in line properly.

    It tends to hide their lower fragile self-esteem and exaggerate their own self-importance. Breach it, by rejecting their overtures, then there’ll be a visceral reaction. From the South Asian copy culture of brutal evil acid attacks against women, it’s not a difficult of a graduation to a firearm.


  • Zarak
    Oct 19, 2011 - 4:23AM

    Why do not you write on the possibility of flirt which that girl might have done with Shams? Also try to teach girls what should be their limits according to islam while communicating with any namehrem? Issue is very simple come back to the basic and in our case it is none other than teachings of Islam.


  • Oct 19, 2011 - 9:41AM


    On what track are you on?!

    How on earth did you just excuse a violent murder being committed by a homicidal and suicidal emotional psycho guy and instead come up with baselessly and shamelessly accusing the female victim as a ‘flirt’ (kind of un-Islamic to smear the victim’s honour isn’t it?!) and being at fault for exercising her right in rejecting a marriage proposal and tie it in altogether with needing segregation in a religious society even for a marriage proposal?!


  • amlendu
    Oct 19, 2011 - 10:08AM

    I do not have words to describe your stone age mindset.Recommend

  • A J Khan
    Oct 19, 2011 - 10:26AM

    Tribal justice is required in this case. It is beyond judiciary to understand the pain of the girls family. They are going to tell them that the murderer does no exist any more. So the case is settled. For them it is statics and two plus two.
    But the pain of the girls family is much more than PPC 302 case.
    Tribal Justice says that the boys family is still responsible for the act of the boy. The boy committed suicide of his own choice. It does no justice to the girls family who has been deprived of their daughter and dishonoured in public..
    The girls family must avenge by killing few members of the boys family. This will not only do justice but would be a lesson to those who dishonor and kill girls in public with impunity.


  • Sufi
    Oct 19, 2011 - 12:07PM

    @Zarak no amount of flirt can justify a murder you are a sick mind yourself boys should know their limits regardless of what the girls do or dont know dont go around blaming girls for your animal like acts. I suggest you visit the poor girl’s house and see what the family is going through. It is sick men like shams and even sicker men like you who make me feel ashamed of being a man. what was her fault? that she did not want to marry him ? is that such a big sin who give him any right to force her into anything. its disgusting what just happened and the mentality of our men is even more disgusting i wish i could just burn down the sick brains before they went ahead with gruesome acts like these.


  • Sufi
    Oct 19, 2011 - 12:10PM

    @zarak and for the love of Lord dont bring Islam into this. You talk as if only girls were forbidden to speak to any man and all the rules were for girls. Its men who are ordered to lower their gaze. Get your self onto Islam before talking about it Recommend

  • Brasstacks
    Oct 19, 2011 - 1:09PM

    @Zarak: What’s this ? Some kind of stone age thinking or latest interpretation of Islam by an ulterior mind to defame this great religion of peace, modernity, progress & promoting equality sexes.


  • Oct 20, 2011 - 7:38AM

    @A J Khan:

    Like Zarak’s comment wasn’t bad enough.

    While I agree the parents of the boy should be held partly responsible, at least in a lawsuit, I say absolutely NO to your tribal justice, which is nothing more than mindless violent revenge at the wrong people.

    What next? When a woman gets raped, we either force a marriage, or do an honour killing of her if we can’t catch the rapist, or ask to rape the rapist’s sister, or other female relative, in revenge?!

    Besides being un-Islamic, un-constitutional, and inhuman, tribal justice is just part of the reason why Pakistan is considered backward and the society is tanking.

    A better solution is to stop thinking like a tribal society and evolve into a civilized society that works hard in building societal attitude improvements and functioning systems that reduces such heinous crimes, than simply taking cheap short-cuts of ‘kill them all’.


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