End of the World?

Published: June 22, 2013
The writer is a lawyer and partner at Ijaz and Ijaz Co in Lahore 

The writer is a lawyer and partner at Ijaz and Ijaz Co in Lahore [email protected]

“It was just a bomb blast and not the end of the world,” this incisive observation was reportedly made by the Khyber-Pakthunkhwa (K-P) information minister while commenting on the suicide blast on a Shia imambargah, which killed at least 15 people this past Friday. Well, Minister, for those 15 people, it was the “end of the world”. The apocalyptic phrase was impossible to banish this past Friday for another reason. Shaheed Benazir Bhutto would have been 60 on Friday, had she been alive. She is not alive and that was the end of the world for many; in any case, it seems to be the end of a particular world. Shaheed BB is always missed, but we are in a different world now. In a world where TTP terrorists attack buses filled with girl medical students and funerals, while members of parliament from the revolutionary party find it to be a reaction to drone attacks. It was a shame that the Interior Minister, having taken the trouble of travelling all the way to Balochistan, could not fit the attending of the funeral or even condoling with the families of the girls killed in the blast in his schedule. An enlightened member of parliament recently expressed his views on how society can probably do without co-education, if the TTP so desires. The good doctor was gracious enough to stop short of prohibiting all education for women. This is why Shaheed BB is missed. The world of moral heroism that she brought us has ended.

The K-P Finance Minister apparently has said that all citizens from the ages of 18 to 35 should be given military training to be prepared for “Jihad” and the K-P government might be willing to pay for it. I do not want to continue with this trope too much, however another not so honourable member of the National Assembly has recently said that Mumtaz Qadri should be released immediately. Individual opinion, we are told. Sure, so given the precedent of compelling Makhdum Javed Hashmi to retract his statement on Mian Nawaz Sharif being his leader, would the offending MNA be told to do the same? If he does not, will action be taken by the party? If that doesn’t happen, it is hard to believe that it was “individual” opinion, particularly when the party and its coalition partners seem to have a rather large number of “individual” opinions, which by some coincidence are uniformly dispiriting and aligned. In the interest of fairness, the PML-N opinion on militancy and terrorism is exactly the same as that of the PTI. It is a reaction to the “war on terror” drones, etc. The false moral equivalence is getting nauseating. It reminds of something that I heard someone say a while back: “These are the sort of people who, discovering a viper in the bed of their child would place the first call to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.” Anyone who dares to draw a correlation between the Shias being killed and drone attacks should be treated with contempt. It is cruel and ignorant of history. There were sectarian murderous outfits before September 11, 2001 and not to acknowledge that is either ignorant or malicious.

The Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) continues its murderous spree with impunity. The Hazaras killed in Balochistan are everyone’s concern. The PML-N federal government cannot shrug its shoulders and claim that it is a provincial matter. Firstly, murder in the name of sect and religion is a challenge for everyone. Secondly, the LeJ has its headquarters in Punjab. The PML-N ran a non ideological campaign, promising better roads, the unironically named “bullet train” flyovers, etc. That model served it quite all right in elections. However, it cannot run a “non-ideological” government. It is impossible to remain non-ideological in this country. Underpasses and ring roads will not make the challenge of militancy go away and will become irrelevant in the long run if that challenge is not eliminated. The TTP and the LeJ and their friends have already made their choice for us and we can either surrender or fight. BB would have fought, she went down fighting. The PML-N has gotten off on the wrong foot in the fight. It seems too preoccupied with giving provincial governments deadlines. Perhaps, it is time for it to realise it is no longer in opposition and for the next five years, all long marches lead to Lahore.

The Pakistan without Shaheed BB is a sad place, a dismal place. If BB was in parliament she would have given a befitting and unequivocal response to the idiotic statements made in it. How we have travelled from a government where the leader of the House was a woman to a government where the only two women members are “junior” ministers. While the toe curling, embarrassing and cowardly display of figuring out how to shower flowers and sweet talk with the militants killing our children continues, it would be refreshing and emancipating to have BB. And to have her say once more, “Mazhab kay jo byoparee hain, woh sab se baree bemaari hain”, something Javed Hashmi and his party seem to have glossed over in their baaghi frenzy.

BB, and one would assume the current Prime Minister would agree, was arguably the best leader this country has seen. She was the epitome of courage and grace, of poise, humanity and selflessness. Let us hope that the new and improved Mian Sahib is up to the task. For after her sacrifice, a shambolic return to the politics of the nineties, with political victimisation, slander and uber-religiosity would be the ultimate insult to our Daughter of the East.

Happy Birthday BB.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 23rd, 2013.

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Reader Comments (37)

  • rajat
    Jun 23, 2013 - 12:00AM

    The K-P Finance Minister apparently has said that all citizens from the ages of 18 to 35 should be given military training to be prepared for “Jihad” and the K-P government might be willing to pay for it.

    Is this the new education policy costing Rs. 66 billion?


  • truth
    Jun 23, 2013 - 12:17AM

    No offense to the author but we all praise the ones
    who are not amongst us anymore.
    I have my doubts about BB being courageous,pious etc AND how can she be daughter of the east??? She can only be daughter of pakistan if the majority agrees in Pakistan.


  • Polpot
    Jun 23, 2013 - 12:24AM

    Isnt it therefore very distressing that till date no one has been prosecuted for Bibi’s murder?
    Sad comment on Law and Order in the country.


  • Pakistani
    Jun 23, 2013 - 12:34AM

    I wish BB was alive to, her murder was wrong and a big loss to her party. I would agree with the author if she was alive she probably would have given a ferocious speech. However it would have been just words and no actions. BB was in power twice and she never made any effort to help the average Pakistani by her actions. She was a great orator but did not deliver in any of her promises.


  • Ali
    Jun 23, 2013 - 12:46AM

    Hahaha right. The same BB that backed the Taliban in Afghanistan? The same BB that doesn’t have one achievement to her name after becoming PM twice? The same BB who was sacked after her brother was killed in a ‘police encounter’? Recommend

  • Fakhruddin Saleem
    Jun 23, 2013 - 12:50AM

    Happy Birthday BB
    We miss you…


  • faraz
    Jun 23, 2013 - 1:02AM

    “She was the epitome of courage and grace, of poise, humanity and selflessness. “

    Have you heard of a place called Switzerland which is known for its banking system?


  • Shahbaz Asif Tahir
    Jun 23, 2013 - 1:06AM

    You forgot to mention that she is the prime accused along with her husband,
    in the murder of her own brother. The one accusing her of this is her own niece Fatimah
    Bhutto. She is a part of massive corruption scandals, during her two tenures, as PM.


  • Parvez
    Jun 23, 2013 - 1:12AM

    The picture you draw of the PTI and the PML-N and their confused and absurd policies, does appeal to the senses. What is not understandable is your over glorification of BB’s political and moral resolves. When compared to our leaders of today she may appear tall but then, when the bar is set so low, the result loses credibility.


  • Sry
    Jun 23, 2013 - 1:14AM

    I condemn all extremist violence as (unconditionally) immoral, unacceptable.
    I wish our national and provincial assemblies were teeming with women.
    (so liberals don’t guilt trip me for what I’m about to say)

    What is with this diefying of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto(especially the latter, once we figured out that the former’s legacy is too pernicious to defend)? I mean it’s surprising that liberals who will commend people like Bacha Khan also praise the Bhutto family.
    When Khan said “you’ve thrown us to the wolves” to Gandhi, to whom do you think he was referring? Maududi and his minions were not powerful enough at the time of partition to upset Bacha Khan; he was talking about the loyalists the British were leaving behind with large estates (you know the “wadera” types), who would control Pakistan. And the much loved Bhutto family was one of them.
    The left needs a reality check; part of the reason behind the right-wing’s unchallenged ascent is because the left devoted itself to a party of landlords talking “socialism”


  • Arifq
    Jun 23, 2013 - 2:35AM

    Saroop Ijaz, one of the few good men in Pakistan, courageous and decent human beings! Well said Sir, and Happy Birthday BB


  • Maharaja Shera
    Jun 23, 2013 - 3:03AM

    Benazir helped in creating good Taliban & invited Osama Bin Laden to Afghanistan to start a project of good foreign policy complementing economy. She was a true Pakistani nationalist who was killed by the same forced she helped created. Her project of using terrorism as short cut to success is live & in full swing. I will leave the calculation to people of Pakistan how much are you loosing & winning. The larger world have very negative opinion about us.


  • F
    Jun 23, 2013 - 7:18AM

    The violent death of BB was sad. Your sentiments are personal and respectable. But since they are about a public person and in the public domain, they invite comment. Whie the honorable PM was in office, she condoned corruption and terrorism. Her support for her husband – Mr.10% and “strategic” assets against India and Afghanistan were very visible. One can only go by her record. However, do respect your feelings and attempts to make her larger than life.


  • Vikrant
    Jun 23, 2013 - 7:45AM

    I am NO real fan of Benazir Bhutto as such, but I agree with the gist of what the author has to say — especially in the area of womens/girls rights to education and other positive social issues that BB touched upon in her life time, and how the world (certainly Pakistan’s world) seems a lot poor now given her absence. Also, his points on the terrorism issue is as usual, spot on.


  • salim
    Jun 23, 2013 - 9:50AM

    To enter the epoch of capitalism we must neuter the feudal. To be against feudalism does not make one socialist The followers of Maududi and the feudals are the ones keeping us backward.


  • Jun 23, 2013 - 9:58AM

    Was also the epitome of corruption.


  • RHS
    Jun 23, 2013 - 10:32AM

    Saroop, you are quite on the mark here. The bad guys are winning and Pakistanis are contemplating their navels. BB would have led a different Pakistan and many would have listened to her. You cannot negotiate with these beasts.


  • Aysha M
    Jun 23, 2013 - 11:08AM

    BB is missed.

    We had two liberal progressive leaders in Pakistan Benazir Bhutto and Altaf Hussain, both marginalised in one way or the other.

    Confusion and fundamentalism reign in Pakistan


  • Shahid
    Jun 23, 2013 - 11:28AM

    Thank you Saroop for a befitting ode to BB. You are sorely missed BB!


  • Rustam
    Jun 23, 2013 - 2:22PM

    To those who are accusing BB of creating Taliban in the 90s. Just for your kind information, the foreign and the afghan related policies were in control of the Army since 1988. It is another matter why PPP didnt fought that fight.


  • aaaaa
    Jun 23, 2013 - 3:47PM

    @Aysha M:

    if liberalism equals blackmail, extortion, and then playing the victim, then yes, altaf hussain is the greatest liberal to have graced this earth.Recommend

  • Sm
    Jun 23, 2013 - 4:21PM

    Enough with the effusive praise of benazir. She never did anything that served the people. These politicians are crooks and Pakistan is more the better with these pathetic people destined to the dustbin of history.


  • Owaise
    Jun 23, 2013 - 4:41PM

    Just bequeathing her mantle to her husband says it all about her democratic credentials. I hope we have seen the back of this family!!!


  • Aysha M
    Jun 23, 2013 - 6:23PM

    vicious rhetoric


  • Tulla
    Jun 23, 2013 - 6:48PM

    ‘If BB was in parliament she would have given a befitting and unequivocal response to the idiotic statements made in it.’
    Kindly don’t forget Rehman Malik, Yusuf Raza Gailini, Firdous Awan, etc. The statements they made in and outside parliament were indeed always full of wisdom and can’t be ever considered idiotic.


  • aaaaa
    Jun 23, 2013 - 6:52PM

    @Aysha M:

    its the simple truth. i also added another charge in there, ET strangely decided not to publish. Fact of the matter is MQM has been in government in Sindh and the centre from 2002-2013. Why didn’t they deal with this then? Why the crocodile tears now?


  • Tulla
    Jun 23, 2013 - 6:54PM

    Why even the seemingly rational and educated in Pakistan have such serious blind spots when it comes to individuals they love? To paint BB as angel with no fault, severely detracts from Saroop’s analysis. She was a politician and had all the problems/issues that Pakistani politicans suffers from.


  • Aysha M
    Jun 23, 2013 - 7:05PM

    It doesnt have to be MQM bashing all the time
    But MQM seems to be a favorite foe
    Political mandate does not always get translated into administrative mandate, hence being in power becomes ineffective


  • faheema
    Jun 23, 2013 - 7:28PM

    “Mazhab kay jo byoparee hain, woh sab se baree bemaari hain”, this is not just bemaari but cancer gone malignant. Every political as well as military leader has his contribution in making this cancer more malignant. Shaheed Millat by inserting in the nerves of newly formed state objective resolution; most learned PM Z.A. Bhutto and his parliament by their contribution in re-defining definition of Muslim and declaring Ahmadis non-Muslim. Rest job was successfully done by Zia-ul-Haq and now Saudi monarchs and Iranian Shiatism are playing their role in aggravating situation further. Though BB had vision of this confused state of affairs but even if she was alive she would helplessly remained confined to few rhetorics without tangible concrete steps.


  • aaaaa
    Jun 23, 2013 - 7:31PM

    @Aysha M:

    “Political mandate does not always get translated into administrative mandate, hence being in power becomes ineffective”

    This won’t cut it. Its a lie. They held the federal government hostage for the last five years. In any case, the PPP can say this right now in answer to the Muttahida Qaatil Movement’s complaints which during the last 11 years they themselves did nothing about. What would you say then? What goes around comes around, a lesson the MQM is learning the hard way. If they are so principled, how come their man has been governor sindh for the last decade while sindh goes south? How come they have been in government for the last decade while sindh goes south? Why don’t they resign?


  • Naim
    Jun 23, 2013 - 8:14PM

    After spending more than the actual amount in question by Ehtasaab ur Rehman followed by Musharraf they couldn’t prove a single allegation.And yes after making the mockery of the presidential system even the supreme court has gone silent over the Swiss accounts.The fact remains that Bibi died a true hero,a true daughter of the soil which cannot be denied by any sane living being.Else you can carry the anti PPP flame for as long as you like but these are facts that cant be changed.


  • Shariq
    Jun 23, 2013 - 9:42PM

    A very happy birthday, BB. And yes, Rest In Peace.


  • Bewildered
    Jun 23, 2013 - 9:56PM

    “Benazi­r was the epitom­e of courag­e and grace, of poise, humani­ty and selfle­ssness.”

    She was rather the epitome of corruption, mismanagement, and nepotism. Any other description of her is far from truth.


  • khuram shafi
    Jun 23, 2013 - 11:54PM

    it looks highly paid column .i sugest you to be good lawyer for PPP rather then journalist …today whole the nation suffers BB and her party,s vision ..what outcomes in last 5 years when more then 7 womens were ministers? write woth logic dont sell your pen plzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz


  • Mohammad Arif
    Jun 24, 2013 - 10:37AM

    Dear writer, it is totally biased reporting. OK why you don’t ask NS to stop drone strikes. Is he handicapped, then he doesn’t deserve to be PM. But these guys have to loot the country so they will not leave the important positions. I think NS knows only two English words in front of US – OK Sir, OK Sir. Then how he can dare to stop the drones. First come out of US war (NS responsibility). Then negotiate with the groups and end the war. This is so simple. It is NS responsibility. All the terrorism will be stopped. Remember when Nato supply was stopped, terrorism had also stopped. Mr. PM. Have you any guts in this free world?????????????? Only IK deserves to be there.


  • expaki
    Jun 24, 2013 - 12:49PM

    @truth: “AND how can she be daughter of the east??”

    Truth Sahib, why are you so SURPRISED at such title? Pakistani nation is CREATIVE only in INVENTING such titles. 1947 Country came into being, you start counting QUIDS, Azam., Milat, Awam, and read history, we have had one who was dreaming to be PRESIDENT FOR LIFE, then came biggest CHARLATAN, who ruined the country, following AMIR , Moaulvis who proclaimed to be MAOLANA and list goes on. Add in that list MPs with fake degrees who helped create “BRIGHTENING DEPTHS”


  • gp65
    Jun 24, 2013 - 9:50PM

    One must give credit to Benazir for fighting Zia’s regime. Same thing about her opposition to Musharraf’s regime.

    But when she was in power, she did little to improve the plight of people. She started pushing paid mercenaries to Indian Kashmir – a policy that further radicalized your country, she supported the installation of the brutal Afghan Taliban on the hapless Afghans, she failed to rollback regressive legislation by either Zia (e.g. Hudood laws) or by her own father (the anti-Ahmadi laws). Leaving a party to her husband and son as inheritance shows a complete lack of democratic principles as though the party was her personal property to be gifted at will.Recommend

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