Escaping death in the Land of the Pure

Published: March 29, 2014
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The writer hosts a show on Express TV and works as a consulting editor at The Friday Times

The writer hosts a show on Express TV and works as a consulting editor at The Friday Times

Finally, I countenanced what I had been dreading for quite some time. Journalists and media houses being under threat is a well-known story in conflict-ridden Pakistan. I had also heard about my name being on a few hit-lists but I thought these were tactics to scare dissenters and independent voices. But this was obviously an incorrect assessment of the situation.

On Friday night, when I had planned to visit Data Darbar after my television show, my car was attacked by “unknown” (a euphemism for lethal terror outfits) assailants. The minute I heard the first bullet, the Darwinian instinct made me duck under and I chose to lie on the back of the car.

This near death experience with bullets flying over me and shattered window glass falling over me reminded me of the way my own country was turning into a laboratory of violence. Worse, that when I saved myself, it was not without a price. A young man, who had been working as my driver for sometime, was almost dead. I stood on a busy road asking for help and not a single car stopped.

A crowd had gathered and I was seeking their assistance almost like someone in a hysterical sub-continental film. The nearest hospital was a private enterprise, which initially refused to treat all three of us. I had to protest, after begging on the street and then seeking emergency medical aid. Suddenly, all that afflicts Pakistan became clear: the violence, the impunity for murderers, the failing values of a society and privatisation of essential public services.

Within minutes, my driver was declared dead, my wounds were cleaned and a third victim of barbarity struggled with a fast receding blood count. Thankfully, officers from the Punjab Police were helpful and enabled me to sort out things. This was harrowing and I became an object of all that I have condemned in recent years.

I am now at a safe location, unable to move out and have been told that my case is exceptional with six men — most armed — had attempted to eliminate me and they failed. And that the security agencies can only protect me if I remain locked up in a “safe” location.

So what is my fault, I have been wondering? I am a relatively small fry in the media and opinion industry. I am a recent entrant in the mass (electronic) media, but my views, I am told, are dangerous and invite trouble. So, I wish to ask my well-wishers the following questions: is raising the issue of minority rights unacceptable? Is demanding the inclusion of Jinnah’s August 11 speech in our Constitution and state behaviour unacceptable?

I have written a book on the shared history of India and Pakistan and this irked some. I have argued for rational engagement with the West and the outside world and that is not kosher. I reject conspiracy theories as I prefer reason over totem and this does not fit in a mindscape that considers the outside, external enemies.

Pakistan’s journalists face the oddest of challenges. They are being coerced into silence or singing praises of extremists and advocating legitimacy for their operations. Pakistan’s politicians have almost given up, as their private and public statements are at variance and they have accepted that this “new Pakistan” of fear, threats and unpunished violence is what they have to deal with.

I also know that I am not alone. There are dozens of other voices that have to be silenced by some quarters. These voices are a threat as they stand by civilian victims of terror and shun attacks on our security forces. These are voices, which also refuse to make martyrs out of terrorists. And they also hold that the greatest blasphemy is undermining humanity and using faith for spreading hatred.

The choice for me is stark. I am not willing to accept death as an option. Nor am I going to accept forced silence. I am grateful to all those who have shown support for my plight.

But it would be far more important if our collective outrage turns into public pressure to change the direction of the state and stop it from committing hara-kiri at the altar of a fabricated ideology or regional ambitions. There are no good or bad extremists. And there can be no justification for any form of violence by private actors. Who else would know, if not me?

I am haunted by the fact that a precious life has been lost while some people wanted to target me. More than that, I am worried that there may be many more lives at risk. I am not too hopeful if the current set of federal and provincial governments would deliver on security and public safety.

There is little or no will to tackle the camel that has entered the Pakistani tent and is displacing reason and humanity. Yet, there is no other recourse. So I appeal to the government to provide me security and not let me remain a victim of an ideology asserted with bullets and bombers.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 30th, 2014.

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Reader Comments (96)

  • Islam
    Mar 29, 2014 - 11:33PM

    It is too early to point fingers at who was behind this. Let the investigation take its course. Unfortunately, in Pakistan professional jealousy often leads to paid assassins. The recent shooting death of the dean of Karachi medical university was the result of this.Recommend

  • Khan
    Mar 29, 2014 - 11:41PM

    Time to leave, while you still can. Sorry for your loss.Recommend

  • Mar 29, 2014 - 11:45PM

    Carry on Raza sahib. Have you wondered why there hasn’t been any threat to hacks like Ansar Abbasi? Is it because they represent the elements who are trying to silence you?Recommend

  • Deepwater
    Mar 29, 2014 - 11:45PM

    Its too late, brother. All moderate, sane, fair-minded, liberal people should leave Pakistan along with the minorities. Last one out should turn off the lights unless the power is out anyway. Recommend

  • Muhammad Usama Khan
    Mar 29, 2014 - 11:49PM

    You, Sir, are indeed a brave man. The question that made me lay awake all night after hearing about the attack on you and your driver’s shahadat is this: do we, as a nation, deserve men like Raza Rumi?Recommend

  • Feroze A Ursani
    Mar 29, 2014 - 11:59PM

    Rumi like Benazir, is the bravest of the brave. Both knew they were targets both are/were non relenting in their quest for truth. One couldn’t survive the assailant because of a dictatorial dispensation in the country at that time, let’s hope brave Rumi will live on as we do have a democratic set up at the helm of affairs and a watchful and alert judiciary quick to make them enforce the rule of law.Recommend

  • Aachar
    Mar 30, 2014 - 12:14AM

    Being left in the cold by bystanders, as well as being not helped by emergency hospital stuff are great examples of the societal breakdown that is occurring in Pakistan society.
    People are becoming more and more indifferent, hardliners are succeeding in creating a very toxic environment. What has made this incident even worse is the media blackout. There is a collective silence about the intolerance that has slipped into Pakistan. Those adhering to liberal, rational views are made to fence for themselves. It is a disgrace that authorities are just looking from the side lines when the decay is permeating even further.

    Recommend

  • Pakistani Odyssey
    Mar 30, 2014 - 12:17AM

    Nothing I can write here can make up for what you have gone through, Raza bhai. May you always stay safe and have the same fortitude.

    Condolences to the bereaved family of your driver who lost his life.

    Recommend

  • Ehsan
    Mar 30, 2014 - 12:19AM

    shameful; act by cowards, failure of over paid security elephants.

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  • khanman
    Mar 30, 2014 - 12:20AM

    Sad state of the country and its helpless intelligence agencies..These terrorists are freely attacking at their will.

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  • Hassan
    Mar 30, 2014 - 12:35AM

    With all due respect – why should the governmen provide you with security? Are you the only one whose life is in threat? Who all should the government provide security to in this country? Every other person faces the same risk in one way or another. You draw a good salary for doing TV shows – get yourself some protection. Just like private businessmen or other wealthy people do to protect themselves from kidnappings etc. It’s not fair to expect the government to provide security to individuals who might be at threat for various reasons. If you were an odd one out of millions who alone was at threat then it wouls have been appropriate for you to demand security.

    p.s. I am not pro government in any way – this is just my honest thought about this issue.

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  • majid maqsood
    Mar 30, 2014 - 1:17AM

    You should be careful while going out…Pakistan needs such voice like you…your voice is more important than life and it should not be silenced…You better leave country and do your program from abroad…!

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  • Parvez
    Mar 30, 2014 - 1:25AM

    We need voices like yours. We, the secular liberals don’t have a place in this society. Only Ansar Abbasi, Oria and the likes can speak.Recommend

  • Carl
    Mar 30, 2014 - 1:44AM

    Well spoken sir. I’d like to urge you to carry on speaking out against the extremists, but hesitate to do so. What would be the point in a country where extremism is in fact now “normal”? Without strong leadership from the top (of which there is no sign), your country – your society, is lost anyway.

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  • kanwal
    Mar 30, 2014 - 1:49AM

    @ Islam
    Too early to point fingers? did you not read he had threats? Is this a joke for you? What do the statistics tell you? Pakistan is one of the most dangerous countries in terms of number of killed journalists. Pls don’t comment if you don’t have anything positive to say.
    @ author
    Pls do us all a favor. Don’t stop what you are doing. Pls do it over Skype or phone but keep doing your work. I feel hopeless too when I read no one stopped to help. I hope you are able to forget it and get healed abut in time. God bless you and your courage.

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  • Shahid Qamar
    Mar 30, 2014 - 2:10AM

    Raza Rumi, you are absolutely wasting your time by asking the state to provide you the security. They would not do that for their citizens who helped them to sit in the PM and CM houses.
    You have three choices 1) Shut up and sit silent and live a coward life 2) leave the country like many other and 3) keep trying with brave heart and speak the truth as I am sure after our death our grand grand children might see a different, secure Pakistan.

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  • ModiFied
    Mar 30, 2014 - 2:18AM

    Dear Mr Rumi, time to leave Pakistan. You can still write what want from outside. Sorry to say but you may not be lucky next time. In Pakistan there is no place for sane people like you.

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  • Ali Hassan
    Mar 30, 2014 - 2:23AM

    Dear Sir,

    You are a warrior of the pen and such a persona should never be silenced. I would be very grateful to you if you continue this struggle and keep the voice of reason alive but from a safer land.

    It would be hard if impossible for you to do what you do best under a constant state of fear. You are among the very few who can steer this country to be open towards alternate paradigm. Be that as it may from outside its border. Please do not stop.

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  • Oort Cloud
    Mar 30, 2014 - 2:28AM

    Mr Rumi we are in a state of war and crisis of identity. Outcome of both will depend on morale of belligerents. You sir, represent the normal tolerant sane voice of reason in Pakistan .
    you have to decide whether you have to pitch in and fight through your words and influence or you want to ditch like haqqani, Tariq Fateh & Rushdie.

    We cant afford to loose Pakistan
    We cant quit now
    Decision is yours & we cant judge you for that

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  • fifo
    Mar 30, 2014 - 2:38AM

    I am completely with you Rumi Sahib and demand the same from the authorities.
    GIVE US OUR SECURITY AND LIFE BACK.

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  • Avtar
    Mar 30, 2014 - 2:47AM

    I guess God was with you than with your assassins who claim to be proponents of Islam.
    I can just imagine how pure this land has to be – Saudis and Muslim states must be envying Pakistan. Pakistan as a state has abdicated its responsibility towards its citizens.
    Mr Jinnah and Iqbal would not recognize the Pakistan they fought for. I am glad other societies like India is not striving towards Ram Rajya or some golden past.

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  • Pan Mat
    Mar 30, 2014 - 2:51AM

    Hi Raza,

    Your courage in the face of adversities is exemplary, hope this will stand out as an inspiration for rest of your countrymen. The masses will need to shed their myopic views and also overcome the systematic brainwashing done by institutions including religious scholars. The only way out of this mess is for people to start using common sense and make their own minds.

    Wishing you a safe life in the years to come.

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  • shariq
    Mar 30, 2014 - 3:03AM

    Condolences to the family of soul who lost his life at the hands of killers without conscience, may he rest in peace.

    Rumi sahib, there are many who are releived that you are safe and we are concerned for your safety. Dont have to add, Stay strong but be carefull.

    Voices of reason and sanity are scarce yet important for the survival of Pakistan. We hope things would improve and state would take steps to ensure prevention.

    Cant say that general public not helping is alarming, they might have been scared at first for their own lives. But I guess it also reflects one set of mentality. Due to various reasons, usually in case of road accidents, a big chunk of majority is mostly watching, with few exceptions who stand up and take much needed action.

    Whats most important to note is that we have to put our own house in order first. The general public which complains about the extremism has to think and behave responsibly, and with courage when the time comes.

    These are tough times indeed.

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  • RHS
    Mar 30, 2014 - 3:05AM

    Raza, the beast that has entered the tent is unfortunately not a camel. It is a deadly predator that nobody wants to take on. Benazir Shaheed has already become its victim. Maybe leaving Pakistan is becoming the best option for sane people like you.

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  • Naresh
    Mar 30, 2014 - 3:15AM

    Attn : Raza Rumi Esq.
    .
    **WHAT CANNOT BE CURED MUST BE ENDURED.”
    .
    Cheers

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  • Hassan
    Mar 30, 2014 - 3:28AM

    Raza, we admire your courage! You speak for millions who think like you but are afraid to speak. Thousands of miles away from the incident, I was stunned at the news. I wish you the very best. We will overcome these challenges one day, and people like you will not be forgotten.

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  • Mar 30, 2014 - 3:29AM

    @Islam:

    On one hand you suggest let there be a full investigation before pointing fingers, then on the other hand disingenuously attempt a deflection away from the most likely suspects, generally religious extremists or shady state security men, in this targeted killing attempt by making your own unfounded claim that its ‘more often professional jealousy’, which actually isn’t often, and very unlikely as far as journalists (particularly those who rage against extremists and state patronizing) are concerned.

    Had you actually put forth a theory of ethnic or a political hit, it probably would have had more currency to the uninformed, but given that this is in the backdrop of Punjab, can’t blame folks not having this as the first excuse that pops into mind…

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  • Shamsher Singh Dhillion
    Mar 30, 2014 - 3:37AM

    Get out of Pakistan while you can, the Mullahs have Pakistan by its Jaws and they will not let go.

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  • Mar 30, 2014 - 4:07AM

    I’m sorry for the author’s loss, that too a young man.

    But the esteemed author, who thankfully survived which is a small victory and miracle in itself, is much larger than he gives himself credit for. After this major attack that has garnered some international attention, there maybe some hope and relief for other Pakistani journalists if some reforms that are being promised get delivered, at least according to one prominent writer, Ahmed Rashid’s opinion on the BBC.

    Pakistan in pledge to protect journalists

    But I’d be cautious as so many other journalists, even high-profile ones, who only seek the truth and expose wrong doings, in Pakistan and elsewhere have suffered or perished without a thing being done or even noticed. Just recently Sardar Ahmad and his family were slaughtered close range by the Afghan Taliban (whom many Pakistanis sickeningly revere). Pak needs to take the security of its journalists and media organizations seriously.
    Afghan notebook: A voice silenced

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  • water bottle
    Mar 30, 2014 - 4:30AM

    I cannot even imagine how it feels to face bullets.

    Stay safe. Pakistan, even India needs you.

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  • Waseem Haider
    Mar 30, 2014 - 4:42AM

    Dear Rumi sahib, you are a brave man but do you think it is being brave or wise to wait for your turn or if you know what is ahead if you continue what you are doing. So do think on other options, you can continue writing what you think is right but safety comes first and I am sure you will write more and with much more power than before. We need you as we need truth to flourish and stay alive.We are sorry for your driver (RIP).

    Recommend

  • Prakash
    Mar 30, 2014 - 6:05AM

    Raza Rumi is brave man, who have always spoken what he believed, as such it is duty of Civil Society to not let his voiced be silenced by unreasonable forces.

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  • PeaceMonger
    Mar 30, 2014 - 7:35AM

    Mr.Rumi, you have two choices:
    1.) Negotiate with the would-be assassins.
    2.) Leave Pakistan for good.
    If you choose item 1, you can consult PTI on how to negotiate with murderers.

    Recommend

  • Mirza
    Mar 30, 2014 - 8:16AM

    There is a jihad going on against the moderate Muslims and minorities in Pakistan by the TTP, its allies and apologists. While PML and PTI had endorsement by TTP and a walkover in the last elections ANP and PPP were not even allowed to campaign. After the two rightwing parties came into power they have legitimized TTP as credible foes of Pakistani state. It is not surprising that not a single top leader of PTI or PML is ever attacked by these fanatic terrorists who have killed, beheaded and blown up tens of thousands of Pakistanis. Yet TTP chose IK as their top negotiator to represent them. In their opinion nobody could be better to plead their case on the bargaining table. Keep up the good work Rumi. Everybody has to die one day. Recommend

  • F
    Mar 30, 2014 - 8:47AM

    Stay strong for you are. Write with courage for that is who you are. Anything less would be unacceptable.

    The self righteous want to silence you, the indulgent masses ignore you but humanity and reason need you.

    Recommend

  • Irum Ahsan
    Mar 30, 2014 - 8:55AM

    Raza no more conspiracy theories i guess, what we see on TV and read in papers is all true. You are right, at this time it is no more an individual’s battle anymore, their has to be a collective action. I always advocated for a democratic society but democracy cannot exist without deeply inculcated rule of law otherwise this is exactly what happens.
    I have no right to say that please continue fighting this battle when I myself am sitting far away in my secure home.

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  • Nikki
    Mar 30, 2014 - 9:02AM

    No body can touch you without Allah’s wishes.Being a Muslim it is our belief.We all love your arguments,thats all.

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  • Strategic Asset
    Mar 30, 2014 - 9:06AM

    Can’t imagine putting myself in the author’s shoes.
    Recommend

  • Anonymous
    Mar 30, 2014 - 9:24AM

    feeling sad but not astonished a bit..only a couple of days ago i had commented in reader’s comment section on ET that talking sane is the shortest way to heaven in Pakistan.if you long for a long life in Pakistan purge yourself of all the sane and rational ideas.its very sad indeed that people like Raza Rumi who should be valued and rewarded for their commendable job of pulling the country out of jaws of extremist terrorism, are being attacked.in this war between rational vs irrational state apparatus unfortunately seems to be standing with the latter.chances of survival of tolerance are next to nil.Recommend

  • Mar 30, 2014 - 9:43AM

    Camel is in with billions of dollars, so be careful

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  • ahmed41
    Mar 30, 2014 - 10:00AM

    “——I have written a book on the shared history of India and Pakistan…”

    Raza Rumi ji, please let me know how to purchase your book. Is it marketed in India ?

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  • Mar 30, 2014 - 10:45AM

    Name of the hospital that denied you treatment. Make an example out of them.

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  • sabi
    Mar 30, 2014 - 10:54AM

    Dear Rumi:
    We respect your great efforts for fighting against falsehood.You are a true mujahid
    May Almighty be always with you.

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  • Nadeem
    Mar 30, 2014 - 11:00AM

    @Hassan:
    I think you have misunderstood Rumi’s demand for security. He appears to be asking government to take actions which ensure security for all Pakistanis. Plz read between lines ;)

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  • vaqas
    Mar 30, 2014 - 11:07AM

    @Islam: you sir, seem to be a very lost person.

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  • Mar 30, 2014 - 11:27AM

    Dear Raza

    This has been a horrible experience for you …and for many of us who love you, your writings, your goal towards the truth.

    There’s little that can be done except by the Government and Political Parties … and almost all of them are with the terrorists. Pity.

    Soon things will have to change. People and the parties will have to move away from this … or we are doomed!

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  • Dasti
    Mar 30, 2014 - 11:42AM

    @Hassan: its govt responsibility to protect his citizens specially who are explicitly under real threat. By your logic every one should arrange his own security if he has all means to do that, it would be chaos in a country.

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  • Patriot
    Mar 30, 2014 - 12:00PM

    May Allah keep you safe Rumi Sahib. What else can one expect under a Govt that has given legitimacy to an insurgency of barbarians? A country where the hypocritical masses turn a blind eye to target killing of bold voices and minorities. Where the Quaid’s vision is twisted to suit extreme elements. Where the Govt lies through its teeth be it the economy, politics or something as basic as security. Fast losing hope in the land of the pure with its stark impurities!

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  • Indian Ink
    Mar 30, 2014 - 1:10PM

    I feel that its better for you to have private security having loyal competent security guards and also bullet proof , bomb proof car to protect yourself or else request government to provide security to you. You may also take asylum in some other country like Malala before situation improves in your country. These things happen when there is law and order break down, bigotry, hate speech preached and hate literature distributed in religious places, and criminals without fear roam around performing crime. I hope there be some peace talks(mazakrat) between Rumi and the militants who attacked him so some peace be achieved between them like Nawaz sharief talks with the militants. Let there be peace between different groups/people/politicians who have different ideologies. Rumi is fighting for his ideology with his pen and militants are fighting for their ideology with gun. God bless all. Let there be peace. One believes and wants caliphate, tradition, strict religion, ancient and sharia other wants progressive, modern, moderate or secular and liberal Pakistan. The fight continues let there be peace. Be Liberal – Live and let Live. I hope Pakistan becomes peaceful best wishes from India, Aman Ki Asha.

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  • Ajamal
    Mar 30, 2014 - 1:56PM

    May Allah keep you protected and make you able to continue your “Jihad”. Threat to life is the “professional hazard” in countries like Pakistan and those afraid should be persuing some other profession.
    We need more journalists like Raza Rumi to enlighten us against the forces of extremism and violence out to destroy our society. With continuous awakening only, this nation will wake up to the dangers posed by the extremists and their apologists – otherwise, quite sadly, our country is already in the dis-integration mode.

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  • Zubair K Bhatti
    Mar 30, 2014 - 2:02PM

    Raza,

    I’m proud to be a friend. May you stay safe. Always.

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  • Parvez
    Mar 30, 2014 - 2:29PM

    There’s a comment by @Parvez………..that is not by me ( @Parvez ). In principle I do not disagree with the statement made but kindly let me do my own commenting.
    Raza Rumi, may God protect you……because those who should have failed miserably.

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  • T R Khan
    Mar 30, 2014 - 2:29PM

    Every Ahmadi in Pakistan feels just like Raza does now.

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  • jami
    Mar 30, 2014 - 2:46PM

    Blame lies on the lardy shoulders of Nawaz, Shahbaz and Rana Sanaullah.

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  • Shermeen
    Mar 30, 2014 - 2:50PM

    What a dark, chilling place Pakistan has become. I pray for the security of all decent, right-minded souls, including Raza Rumi who has been fearless to point out the obvious. Sitting here thousands of miles away I cannot begin to contemplate the horror of every day life in the country of my origin. May God save it from the brink of what appears to be a
    pit of fire.

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  • kamran
    Mar 30, 2014 - 3:03PM

    Dasti, you are forgetting that there is no real government in this country.

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  • observer
    Mar 30, 2014 - 3:05PM

    Will the Judiciary of Pakistan also convict you like it convicted Sawan Masih, for being a victim of violence.

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  • Anon
    Mar 30, 2014 - 3:05PM

    @Hassan:
    If you had even a basic understanding of politics you would not say this.The author’s appeal is an appeal to personal safety on the basis of the observation that the writ and responsibility of the State has failed in providing even basic security to ALL it’s citizens, which is a fundamental right awarded as part of the social contract between any state and it’s citizens. When the state stops safeguarding this right and it is expected of citizens to guard their own interests then the state stops functioning and can said to have failed. Rumi Sahab is appealing to the state to take up its fundamental responsibilities.

    The moment citizens like you begin begin saying “we should all buy our own security”, you become apologists for the failure of the state. Shame on you.

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  • Mohammed Ajaib
    Mar 30, 2014 - 3:35PM

    Admiration for your efforts, regrets for your suffering .for too long the weak person has suffered, the hungry r not being fed, the blind r not being lead, the deaf r not being shown the way, but instead being frightened , welcome to Pakistan, however if the people of Pakistan want change they will have to stop being donkeys and also stand up…this is no different to oppressive regimes our politicians claim to be in power under the pretence of democracy…..to appease the west …. But yet they rule like dictators , a few thousand miles away the a young man was subjected to the evil unfair way of a system n he sadly gave his life in protest ….it woke that sleeping camel n people woke up…the perpetrators of this violence r no other then then the politicians n the some religious leaders who will read this n howl….. The majority of these will in their heart agree but do nothing………. Remember he who watches n knows of these atrocities is a bigger sinner than the monsters who r committing it ……so the next time u do your namaz think of all those suffering n being denied their HAQ…….I can go on for ever but is there someone who gives a damn…..it seems a bit of fear n threat people run into there back room n pray when they come back out that the dark cloud will have gone away…….May Allah forgive the sinners in power who have ignore the plight of the weak person on the street……whilst all their HAQ is being squandered on properties n shopping malls across the world………………..

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  • Rex Minor
    Mar 30, 2014 - 3:44PM

    There can be no doubt about the author being the man of enormous courage to survive the most calculated violent attack and be able to express instantly his inner feelings. Your power is imbedded in your intellect sir, which feeds your thoughts and in the pen with which you write. Keep writing Sir and as long as you write, your power will remain intact and no one in this mortal world will be able to harm you.
    You are living in a country of people with multiple cultures, which was created in the name of Islam, separating it from the hindu majority India and has most of its life lived under the military rule. Today it has a highly charged, destabilised and terrorised environment for a number of factors including the war of terror which is ongoing because of the foreign powers, the subjugation of its citizens of Pakistan by the security forces in Khaki and the violent resistance from those who are resisting occupation and suppression with extreme violence and without regard of the collateral damge. Given this situation, the importance of knowledge and the theory of knowledge based on four faculties ; sense perception, retention, imagination and estimation. Imagination has the principal role in intellection, it can compare and construct images which give it access to universals. The untimate object of knowledge is God, the pure intellect and Truth(Ibn Sina).Remember also sir, that for long you have been looking into an Abyss without realising that the Abyss is also gazing at you. You have the right as a citizen to ask for security and the police has the obligation to investigate thoroughly and with the assistance of Scotland Yard if necessary to find out about those who took on the attack. You may yet live to know of the surprise.

    Rex Minor

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  • still
    Mar 30, 2014 - 4:00PM

    so many comments for indian friends

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  • Mann
    Mar 30, 2014 - 4:24PM

    Raza, I am happy to hear you are safe. My condolences for the loss of life. Please stay safe. Best, Mann

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  • Sharjeel
    Mar 30, 2014 - 5:01PM

    It is a sad situation indeed …. and we are sorry that we cannot be of much help to you except show you solidarity with our words.

    I believe that one should carry out his/her mission but one has to use wisdom and be careful when the enemies are strong and use unfair means ….
    and also remember that our religion has the concept of “Hijrat” when the situation becomes dangerous. One can always come back and attack with a stronger force when he/she has gathered enough ammunition and power ….

    Keep it up Rumi, but we careful ….

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  • Rex Minor
    Mar 30, 2014 - 5:05PM

    @Mohammed Ajaib:

    Well said sir! It is a wake up call for all to reconcile in order to reach a consensus. War against injustice and unequal distribution of opportunities and resources are the evils which must be defeated in all parts of the world.. A democracy works efficiently with a federation of the provinces and not with an authoritative central Government. People should think of this alternative. What is workable in Germany and switzerland and is being proposed for Ukrain can also be looked at by Pakistanis.

    Rex Minor

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  • Parvez
    Mar 30, 2014 - 5:08PM

    That comment is by me, an authentic @Parvez: if you don’t like tat, please change your name. In any case, ours is one of the most common names in the country. Why are you even bothered.

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  • Safdar Parvez
    Mar 30, 2014 - 5:32PM

    The danger in speaking out on what goes against conventional beliefs and received wisdom in the current bigoted state of the Pakistani society today has become all too real. What was once a truly minority view has been replaced by violent , irrational, extremist action that is holding the entire country hostage. There is no end in sight to the darkness that has descended on our country. Our own friends are not safe. We are thinking of you, Raza in these trying and tumultous times.

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  • Hyperbaig
    Mar 30, 2014 - 5:37PM

    Very sad to hear about this event. The space for broad minded people is surely shrinking. To flee is cowardess and the wrong decision. This life doesn’t mean anything anyway. You are to be judged on this life for the next one. Raza Rumi we are with you. Stand your ground.Always do the right thing regardless of the situation. Nevertheless we are with you

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  • human
    Mar 30, 2014 - 5:43PM

    Raza Rumi is one of the sanest, bravest, best person the world of journalism and indeed the entire country has produced. He is an amazing, soft-spoken and kind person too. Pease stay strong Raza and Express’s journalists, editors and team members. Please don’t give up. Sane people are the only hope left. The Pakistan government too MUST wake up and end its politics of appeasement of extremists. The government MUST NOT let its journalists and general public down time after time. WAKE UP government. PLEASE.

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  • Assad
    Mar 30, 2014 - 5:46PM

    Sorry for your loss, but what you write here needs to be printed in the Urdu media. The vast majority of our population who are Urdu readers need to be made aware of this intolerance pervading in the name of a false jihad against own people by the taliban and their affiliates.

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  • aghahakee
    Mar 30, 2014 - 6:07PM

    a state that has but capitulated to extremists can’t eliminate the scourge that Raza is also victim of. But as he has written we have no other option but to insist on state performing its duties.

    I express solidarity with him

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  • Indian Ink
    Mar 30, 2014 - 6:22PM

    God bless you Raza Rumi,stay safe.

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  • Saif RK
    Mar 30, 2014 - 6:38PM

    “The nearest hospital was a private enterprise, which initially refused to treat all three of us. I had to protest, after begging on the street and then seeking emergency medical aid.”
    private hospitals are only money mintng machines these enterprises are not serving the nation. Private practice of doctors and private hospital must be banned immediately. You are renowed figure of Pakistan otherwise they never deal medical emergencies. Every single emergency is dealt by public sector hospitals. So now we have to decide whether we still opt for more privitization or shift back to nationalization?

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  • Mar 30, 2014 - 7:25PM

    Very sad on this brutal and cowardly attack on you, I remember our telephone discussion earlier on that day and was exciting for your article regarding the minorities and on the very evening came to know about the incident. On that night I realize that the 1 list I got from a friend of your profession earlier this month and ask to wait for another list of Journalists of print and electronic media to stop spreading their progressive and secular thoughts and opposing those fanatics. The very friend also told me to wait for some days you will also get a list of social activists who are demanding for the protection of minorities and demanding for the repealing of some specific laws and policies. Speechless on this insanity and waiting for the secular forces to be unite……
    In solidarity from civil society, get well soon and wish you all the very best in future.

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  • Z H Hashmi
    Mar 30, 2014 - 7:32PM

    Romi Sahib ! do not loose heart , keep writing and speaking for the noble cause .

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  • Ganguly
    Mar 30, 2014 - 8:26PM

    Pakistan people and no one else is responsible for the situation which is present in Pakistan. Journalism is very dangerous when law and order situation is bad in the country and government is inefficient to maintain law and order and punish the guilty. Raza Rumi, express tribune and dawn editors and journalists take care of yourself.God bless you, take care, stay safe.

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  • Uzair
    Mar 30, 2014 - 9:24PM

    My dear Raza,

    Even though we have never met, I feel like we are kindred brothers. I salute you for your bravery, your fight is more a more brave and more worthy a cause than any battle fought by the soldiers and officers of our Army since the creation of Pakistan. You represent, and are at the forefront of, the very struggle for the soul of Pakistan. The forces of obscurantism, argument-by-authority, xeonophobia, misogyny, and just plain superstitious nonsense are vastly superior in strength, yet the truth must be told.

    I firmly believe that one day Pakistanis shall learn the meaning of logic and critical thinking and human rights, but it pains me to say that I believe that day is far away. We are bought and paid for by the petro-dollar societies and their poisonous ideology that brooks no alternative discourse and for whom merely asking questions and stating the truth deserves a death sentence.

    I sometimes wonder if us liberals of Pakistan should finally pick up guns in self defense, and perhaps even in offense. At least we would finally really be liberal fascists, as the other (moronic/evil/ignorant/right wing) side is so fond of calling us when we speak the truth.

    Stay safe my brother,
    Uzair

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  • Mar 30, 2014 - 9:53PM

    Truth, Questioning, Human Rights, Self Dignity and Respect, Rationality are not suitable in a Muslim society.

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  • Strategic Asset
    Mar 30, 2014 - 10:09PM

    @Parvez: Nobody here cares if your real name is Parvez or not.

    The actual Parvez, the one who has posted on ET for many years as Parvez, is well known for certain views. if you desire to continue to post under his moniker, nobody will stop you and while it can be an irritant, we can still figure it out.

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  • Parvez
    Mar 30, 2014 - 11:06PM

    @Parvez: ET this nonsense has started again…….kindly institute the code process again.

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  • Asjad Bukhari
    Mar 30, 2014 - 11:48PM

    “There are no good or bad extremists. And there can be no justification for any form of violence by private actors.”

    Firm and clear minds like Raza Rumi are the one they give some hope that this country can pull itself out of this mess – otherwise looks like we are inches away from alBakistan where Stone Age tribal traditions and mind set would be the endurance only…… :(

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  • American
    Mar 31, 2014 - 12:39AM

    @Islam:
    Since 1958 till today, which investigation resulted in any conclusion and which culprit/murderer has ever been arrested, never mind convicted ?
    Your belief in investigation is amusing.

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  • Nabila Bhatti
    Mar 31, 2014 - 4:22AM

    It is correct that the government should provide security to Raza and others who are on the hit list and not let them remain victims of an ideology asserted with the bullets and bombers. Stay safe Raza Rumi.

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  • Parvez
    Mar 31, 2014 - 9:11AM

    @Strategic Asset:
    This is hilarious. A copyright on one of the most common names in Indo-Pak. Look, I have been using my all my life, as you have. A pseudo name like Strategic Asset is understandably personal but Parvez, come on, you cannot stop people from using their own American. In any case, this is my last response on the subject. I feel silly even discussing it,

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  • Parvez
    Mar 31, 2014 - 1:43PM

    @Strategic Asset: Thank you for that…….the fault lies with the ET system.

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  • Hassan
    Mar 31, 2014 - 2:03PM

    @Anon:
    Your arrogance deserves not more than a single line response such as this. If someone has the guts to be brave then be brave without any conditions; look at the example of Iftikhar Hussain whose son was also killed in attacks – how many times have you seen him asking for government security for this personal protection?

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  • cyrus
    Mar 31, 2014 - 2:44PM

    hats off to your courage. best wishes

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  • Mar 31, 2014 - 9:10PM

    It is sad that another journalist is targeted and even sadder that a young life was cut short in this attack. Our heartfelt condolences go out the victims and their families. These targeted attacks are very difficult to predict and defend but we can do one thing, that if we see suspicious people lurking in our neighborhoods do report them to the authorities. If we stand vigilant and united against these enemies of our nations, we can make life difficult for them and diminish their capabilities of sneak attacks. Together we are close to shutting their shops of terror and death, all we have to continue doing, is to stand united against them.

    Abdul Quddus
    DET – United States Central CommandRecommend

  • Afzal
    Mar 31, 2014 - 11:24PM

    I visited the scene of crime interviewed the witnesses.
    What I commented to Mohammad Shehzad from Islamabad is what you have written.
    I share your feelings, you have a new lease of life, probably to accomplish a task that Divine knows only.
    Keep your routine and take consultation of a social psychologist to help you out of the first 2 hours of the crime.
    Love.

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  • truthbetold
    Apr 1, 2014 - 12:30AM

    @Islam:

    “It is too early to point fingers at who was behind this.”

    Not really. The fingerprint of the “agency” is all over this incident based on past facts.Recommend

  • Adnan
    Apr 1, 2014 - 12:37AM

    This country will only welcome characters such as Ansar Abbasi and Oria Maqbool, which in reality should have been on Cartoon Network only.

    Hats off to you Rumi!!

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  • reason
    Apr 1, 2014 - 2:46AM

    Salute to Raza Rumi. All reasonable, sensible people are with you, Raza. You embody our hope for a secular, tolerant country,

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  • Hamid
    Apr 1, 2014 - 3:41AM

    Dear Mr. Raza Rumi,

    It is extremely sad and frustrating that the state of Pakistan continues to let down its sensible citizens be they Malala or Raza. But sane people like you give one hope that all is not lost. Just like Malala Yousufzai continues to be a voice for girl’s education even while living abroad, I hope you will continue to write for tolerance, peaceful coexistence, secular values even if you decide to move to another country.

    I am sure the Express Tribune will always be there for your Op-Eds so that we can continue to benefit from your wisdom and advocacy for tolerance and human rights. I also hope your writing is translated into Urdu and published in Express group’s Urdu newspaper so that a wider audience can read your excellent work and learn a thing or two.

    You have our best wishes.

    Regards,

    HamidRecommend

  • Fact
    Apr 1, 2014 - 3:24PM

    Raza Rumi is not only an incredible journalist and writer but a real HERO too. His parents must be so very proud of their son!

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  • Indu Bhushan
    Apr 2, 2014 - 4:11AM

    You are a brave man, Raza. If you decide to leave Pakistan, Manila could be a beneficiary.

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  • Rvel
    Apr 2, 2014 - 5:33PM

    These kind of heart wrenching shameful events lead the liberal and secular people to flee from Pakistan. There are so many people around living in stone age, having conventional stereotypical beliefs denying rational and logical thinking. Getting rid of extremists has to be the priority of government. If this is happening in Lahore then one imagines how miserable the situation is in other cities. Nobody has got the right to take law in his hands and kill anyone at their will. This is not just the war of force and power but its also a war of mindset which has been cultivated from Zia ul Haq’s era. Its a total mess out there…It makes us all open minded people who appreciate diversity and pluralistic ideas to just leave this country. No jobs on merit, I being a FC college student see how poor our education system has become, where you give money to buy degrees, with no grooming of personality. I think the only way to fight this crisis is to become united and a coordinated effort it required to fight of this dreadful situation. The Government lacks vision to tackle these extremist elements.

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  • goldconsumer
    Apr 3, 2014 - 3:46PM

    @Naresh:
    You are right. We are enduring India ever since. Lets see what Mr. Modi brings for us.

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