The idiot’s guide on how not to…

Published: June 19, 2014
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The writer is a columnist, a former major of the Pakistan Army and served as press secretary to Benazir Bhutto 
kamran.shafi@tribune.com.pk

The writer is a columnist, a former major of the Pakistan Army and served as press secretary to Benazir Bhutto kamran.shafi@tribune.com.pk

In this case, how not to ‘remove barriers and clear no-go areas’, in Model Town, Lahore! I mean, really, the mind reels at the crass stupidity and the cold-heartedness of the Lahore Puls (as it is popularly known) leadership. And at the complete lack of training and discipline if scenes of the brutish looking policemen firing indiscriminately into the small crowd that was ‘protecting’ their cult’s HQs; and mercilessly beating up young kids and old men, and women, are anything to go by.

The sad tally of this idiotic but cruel foray is 11 dead so far including two young women, both with two and three little children and, reportedly tens others injured, some grievously. The optics of the pain and tragedy suffered by seemingly unarmed people were terrible, moving me to tears many times over the past two days. It was disgusting.

Indeed, as was the sight of a super-mustachioed goon, said to be one Gulloo Butt, leading a police charge wielding a huge danda with which he then proceeded to smash cars parked outside Dr Tahirul Qadri’s establishment in plain view of the police. This lout was also seen offering drinks to the mob of policemen, including a superintendent of police. The newly appointed IG of Punjab has confirmed him to be a police informer aka ‘stool pigeon’ (short: stoolie) in Americanese: a criminal who gives the police information about other criminals.

Now then, there are very many aspect of this, what shall I call it, catastrophe’ for it is nothing less, or else. Just as the country was gearing up to come together to stand behind our valiant armed forces as they entered a crucial phase in the battle for the country’s very survival; just as the tensions between the ‘institutions’ and the elected government were coming down to a gentle simmer, the Punjab Puls goes and pulls this one off on the country, indeed on the elected leaders it is supposed to serve, not harm.

Many out-of-work politicians, leaders of one and two-man parties, who were baying for the government’s blood but had quietened down, are now in full cry threatening ‘revolution’, the likes of Chaudhrys Shujaat and Pervaiz Elahi and Cohort: Shiekh Rashid ‘Talli’ and Mushahid ‘Mandela’ Hussain included. I ask you! ‘Revolutionaries’ who have served every dictator that came along being handed an opportunity even they could not have dreamed of.

The media, too, has gone overboard, even comparing this tragedy with that of Jallianwala Bagh. Shows you the extents the media, especially the electronic media, will go to for the sake of ratings and to stir the pot even more. Some senior media men are calling it the final nail in the coffin of an objective media. But again: stand up Punjab Puls!

The social media is loud with calls for immediate retribution, even hanging the policemen in public squares immediately if not sooner. There is no thought about the law and Constitution and the rights enjoyed by public servants, be they from the Puls. Even appreciating the chief minister’s sacking of the two highest officials of the Lahore police has been pilloried as flattery, I myself am coming in for flak from scores of out-of-work foul-mouthed trolls who had nothing to troll about just two days ago, especially in view of the PTI’s U-turn on drone strikes and the ongoing operation in North Waziristan. Stand up, again, Lahore Puls!

Nor is anyone willing to listen to suggestions of comparing governance in Punjab to the other provinces. It is as if whatever hard work Shahbaz Sharif has done for the province has been brought to naught because of the Model Town catastrophe, and that he is to be judged by it alone. Very few will look at the forced conversion of Hindu girls or the destruction of Sikh and Hindu temples and absolutely no administrative action. Indeed of the daily mayhem in Karachi.

No one is willing to listen to the argument that no politician could be mindless enough to order the police to kill wantonly, specially the followers of a fringe preacher who has already tried his antics once before (in better weather!) and was chased out of Islamabad when the crowd had nowhere to go to relieve themselves on the second day of the Dharna in Blue Area. What could he have done in the searing heat of a Pakistani June? Take a bow, Lahore Puls!

Which straightaway brings me to the matter of dealing with the fallout of the ‘raid’ on an emergency basis. Could someone for starters, immediately take administrative action against the police for not simply (and sensibly) withdrawing when they were allegedly brick-batted by TuQ’s ‘militia’ at midnight on the night of June 17/18 and taken the staff of the City District Government with it. Why could the ‘operation’ not have been carried out in the morning WITHOUT the leadership of the super-mustachioed lout? And his violent acts in plain view of TV and mobile-phone cameras?

Those responsible must be dismissed from service after summary inquiries by the many good officers the Punjab police have. They are well known, even if they are not in the good graces of Rana Sanaullah, who is making matters worse by mouthing off inanities. He should rather be looking into charges that the Puls is busy trying to have the medico-legal reports of those poor things killed or injured in the murderous fracas altered. And to show that policemen injured by bricks were shot. This is adding insult to injury and must be put down with force.

DSP Phularwan (yes that is his name), caught on TV doing his shenanigans at the Jinnah hospital and already suspended by the IG should be dismissed from service, as should the other police officers caught In flagrante delicto, in the pursuit of the aim of forging medico-legal documents.

Firm action by the chief minister immediately, if not sooner is the only way of easing the hurt and the anguish that many of us feel. Democracy forever!

Published in The Express Tribune, June 20th, 2014.

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Reader Comments (36)

  • Awais Hameed
    Jun 20, 2014 - 12:20AM

    Exactly! This unfortunate incident should not eclipse the long history of Shahbaz Sharif’s services for punjab. “No one is willing to listen to the argument that no politician could be mindless enough to order the police to kill wantonly..” Just like no one is willing to hold Qadri responsible for his tactics to destabilize democracy. Democracy forever!

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  • Shuaib
    Jun 20, 2014 - 1:15AM

    I totally agree with this view. I have said it over and over again! I obviously believe that the police has to be brought to justice for their actions. However, the CM isn’t crazy enouh to ordr the execution of innocents. I know there are allegations of corruption but that doesn’t mean that the Shareef brothers are murderers.

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  • simpleton
    Jun 20, 2014 - 1:43AM

    major sahib,

    i admire your loyalty towards sharif brothers but i admire Gulloo Butt even more….i am sure if this govt stayed in power until the end of this year you will be well rewarded for your intellectual chicanery……………good luck.

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  • Ammar Khan
    Jun 20, 2014 - 2:02AM

    Way to suck up to the Sharifs sir! According to you politicians can not be mindless enough but the police can? Great logic there!

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  • Jun 20, 2014 - 2:04AM

    “,,,appreciate the chief minister’s sacking of two police…” Still defending Shahbaz Sharif.
    Has to. His brother Nawaz may find the next job for out of work ex major of the Army
    Preferably in the Foreign Office. Preferably in London. Shahbaz is the chief dunderhead
    in this colossal fiasco. He is accountable for this debacle. Now he has to bear accountability.
    Shahbaz is Mother Theresa…er…Father Theresa of Punjab. Bathing lepers himself. Telling
    bedtime stories to little Hindu orphans. Patrolling Gurdwaras, temples on his bicycle. Keeping Punjab safe. If you notice carefully Shabaz is mostly suffused with this ethereal green light, glow…Truly Nawaz’s twin brother Shahbaz is a saint in disguise. Nobody knew.

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  • Arifq
    Jun 20, 2014 - 2:04AM

    Circular arguments, recriminations and protestations but in the end making sure real culprits i.e., Punjab Government are not held accountable, well done dear writer!

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  • Ayesha Toor
    Jun 20, 2014 - 2:57AM

    He is the CM of Punjab. Does the buck not stop with him? Even if he is not involved, he should have the moral courage to resign. Plain and simple.

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  • Goad
    Jun 20, 2014 - 3:19AM

    “…Could someone for starters, immediately take administrative action against the police for not simply (and sensibly) withdrawing when they were allegedly brick-batted by TuQ’s ‘militia’ at midnight on the night of June 17/18 and taken the staff of the City District Government with it. …”
    What nonsense! You want the police to withdraw when public takes law into its own hands.

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  • Gp65
    Jun 20, 2014 - 7:13AM

    So why is it that there is such a strong reaction of the events in Model town which was missing during Joseph Colony? Just wondering…

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  • Lahore Lover
    Jun 20, 2014 - 8:09AM

    @Awais Hameed:
    Agreed. Correction: Use the word “antics” instead of “tactics.”

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  • fawad
    Jun 20, 2014 - 8:45AM

    ‘Firm action by CM ‘ but what if the CM is in involved in all this and all this happened due to his pressure on the police. Who will take firm action against CM?

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  • Usman Aziz
    Jun 20, 2014 - 9:21AM

    The stupid loyal of cruel rulers….

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  • Haseeb
    Jun 20, 2014 - 10:17AM

    “High Commissioner” Shafi trying to defend the indefensible:p

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  • FS
    Jun 20, 2014 - 10:48AM

    @Ayesha Toor:
    He is totally involved and should be held responsible. I do not entertain the idea either that SS may have ordered the killings (although i maybe wrong) he is still responsible for it. Why? Because this is a clear reflection on his neurotic style of governance. His one man show tactics where there is no system and no institutional setup in place but just one man. Where he wants to be the Sub Inspector, SHO, DSP, SP SSP, DIG, IGP, DCO and Commissioner all by himself and where all these positions are answerable directly to him rather than their own institutional hierarchy. Where he fires even a sub inspector on personal orders. When an SP is too scared to go back and tell his highness Shahbaz Sharif ‘sorry sir we were not able to remove the barricades’ for the fear that he will be crucified and immediately receive suspension orders, the SP will do whatever it takes to bring the barricades down. Because the ‘Shar’ braatheraan use police as their party’s militant wing, the lowest of ranks in police know that the more militant their actions are the higher they will rise in the eyes of these braatheraan. Case in point Gullu Butt. This is just the kind of hooliganism SS has managed to instill in Punjab’s system. I cant imagine for the life of me any such excess happening in any other province. I laugh in amazement when people call him a good administrator. He’s the worst administrator ever. We need institutions and proper systems. But that is too much to ask of Sharif bratheraan. They are too evil minded and dishonest to let power slip out of their hands by strengthening the institutions.Recommend

  • Fedup
    Jun 20, 2014 - 10:48AM

    What happened was tragic.
    On the other hand the barriers did had to be removed.
    The police and LDA have used night operations to remove barriers before, so doing this at night was not new.
    The barrier removal operation could have been delayed until the protests had died down like they eventually do.
    Once the police was engaged withdrawing them if they faced a little pressure would have set a bad precedent maybe encouraging lawless elements further. That doesn’t authorize using lethal means though.
    Instead of lethal means calling reinforcements and perhaps calling fire-brigades to disperse crowds using water cannons could have been used.
    The fact that while there are other unmoved barriers and that this particular barrier was tried to be removed at a sensitive time period bears consideration and investigation. The others should go as well.
    The history of out of control mob emotional violence has gone long enough whether it is PAT, MQM, unruly lawyers, religious parties, anti-democracy supports calling for military action whatever.
    They have a right to protest, however no right to threaten uninvolved innocents or to disrupt life of the rest of the population on a continuous basis. Inability to control your emotions isn’t an excuse whether for an individual or a mob. Your rights end where they infringe mine.
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  • Aamer H Zaidi
    Jun 20, 2014 - 11:24AM

    Mr. Shafi, Can you please also write a column about how great SS and NS have been in resturturing the Punjab Police, Punjab Health Department, The Punjab Education Department, Punjab Revenue Department, the Lower Judiciary etc in close tp 30 years of almost uniterrupted rule in Punjab. They have made no structural changes. All they have done is widening the roads and running more buses. The world remembers Nehru not because he built world class infrastructure in India but because he built a world class education system the results of which India is now enjoying. You and your leaders are short sighted and measure progress by the width of the roads not the development of human resources.

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  • Rex Minor
    Jun 20, 2014 - 12:00PM

    @Ayesha Toor:

    The buck does not only stop but also start from him and his big brother! You have beaurocrats ruling the country and Punjab, not politicians with integrity! Your call for taking political responsibility is not in your political system nor in the American system as well( your American phrase).

    Rex Minor

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  • Shazia Bangash
    Jun 20, 2014 - 12:06PM

    Since Kamran Shafi describes the PTIs decision to support the military in terms that have negative connotations – i.e., a “u-turn”, can one assume he is against the operation in North Waziristan? Or is this just another one of his illogical, insidiousness and personally motivated digs at Imran Khan?

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  • Agnostic
    Jun 20, 2014 - 12:15PM

    @Ayesha Toor:
    Your two lines really sum up the issue. Shahbaz should have the moral courage to step down. There can be no two ways about it. He must set an example by submitting to the principle that the head is responsible if citizens are killed on his behalf.

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  • Uza Syed
    Jun 20, 2014 - 12:46PM

    @Haseeb: You mean ‘wannabe High Commissioner’ who is now trying for any posting anywhere ?

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  • Shakir Lakhani
    Jun 20, 2014 - 12:51PM

    “And his violent acts in plain view of TV and mobile-phone cameras?” Perhaps they should have removed the TV people and mobile phone cameras from the site before raiding? Is that what you are advising them to do the next time they have to launch a raid?

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  • Author
    Jun 20, 2014 - 3:39PM

    @Shakir Lakhani: Not at all. Only pointing out the arrogance of the Lout and his police henchmen…!

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  • Alam Awan
    Jun 20, 2014 - 3:41PM

    I think you have gone too far this time in supporting N League. Your logic is totally absurd. Your have tried to introduce this term “Lahore Plus” without taking into account the fact that PML N is ruling Punjab since 2008 and all important officers in Punjab Police have been posted at their own choice, specially newly posted IG Punjab. Dont portray Shahbaz Sharif as someone with great character and moral values. Why cant u imagine him giving orders for all the police action???? This may be your own choice but public now fully understands true style of politics of N League. Any ways, nice try to win high commissioner ship, Major Sb……

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  • akber
    Jun 20, 2014 - 3:49PM

    Another lame lame effort of Kamran Shafi to save nora league leadership and there grievous crimes against people in Lahore, like stealing Lahore’s mandate through rigged elections wasn’t enough.

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  • Kanwal
    Jun 20, 2014 - 4:48PM

    @gp65
    Not only that. I wonder how loss of many lives daily in karachi never becomes an event as big as this one. Also, the killing of an MQM member of assembly in lahore in similar circumstances(apparent robbery gone wrong) never made headlines. Panjab elite has to come out of this biased approach at some point.

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  • Razi
    Jun 20, 2014 - 7:35PM

    @gp65

    You will keep wondering because you come here with only one purpose: to gloat and rub salt in our wounds. The likes of you are incorrigible.

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  • SouthEastAsian
    Jun 20, 2014 - 7:38PM

    The “puls” in the subcontinent are not the most gifted people on the planet. But this takes the cake.

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  • Zaid Hamid Lal Topi Wala.
    Jun 20, 2014 - 7:53PM

    Mr. KS,
    As outsider I can say for sure that IK, TIQ, Chaudri brother etc trying their best to dig a deep grave for Nation name Pakistan.
    When Nation is fighting for its survival against terrorism, they are trying to grab power by any mean. PTI troll is as crazy as AAPtard in India. In my opinion SS is much better as administrator than NS.
    I appreciate your effort to educate these people who does not even know that money spent on infrastructure is investment in future. In develop or developing country they know that time save in mobility is saving $. Man hour time = $. And that what SS is trying to do by investing into infrastructure. And lot of negative comment about his effort written here. You are right who in sane mind will shoot in his own foot. Most of time junior in Asian country go into over drive to score point in eyes of administrator & I think it is case in point (In Lahore incident).

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  • Parvez
    Jun 21, 2014 - 12:38AM

    There are times when you completely go off on a tangent…….and this is one of those times.
    How in heaven’s name can you even attempt at trying to find excuses for Shahbaz’s behaviour………. are there no red lines as far as he is concerned ?

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  • S.Nasir Mehdi
    Jun 21, 2014 - 2:27AM

    It will be vague to discuss the “Idiots Guide. Ham to janain sedhe bat- All barriers any where must be removed forth with with out any dis cremation.Secondly, suspension is not a punishment. Those caught by camera eyes and those ordered be dismissed from service. Mr. CM do not fool by suspensions and cash rewards. Do not forget the site had court orders to erect barriers whereas there is no court order for other sites.

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  • Asma
    Jun 21, 2014 - 7:18AM

    @Ayesha Toor:

    So mmmm what about PTI. Shouldn’t the most honest Imran Khan resign for the chaos in KPK :) ??

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  • z lodhi
    Jun 21, 2014 - 11:59AM

    Don’t know how many on this board have visited model town. I live here and it is all barricaded NY different people. There is s barrier on every road and is locked at night, I challenge you to find your way in owing to locked barriers . this whole operation was a sham just to instill fear amongst people. Recommend

  • Pea Brain
    Jun 21, 2014 - 1:08PM

    Describe ET: Selective, spineless, and arrogant.

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  • Jun 21, 2014 - 5:32PM

    @Pea Brain:
    Absolutely ! A pro India rag. Hindu trolls are allowed to post
    15 to 17 comments. Per article. Very very pro India
    While non Indian comments are censured. Ratio 17to1 Indian trolls.

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  • Jun 21, 2014 - 11:36PM

    When Kamran Shafi a well known Chamcha of Gunjas and writes OUR VALLIANT FORCES that means the days of Gunjas regime are Numbered. Such people opinion change with winds and they even do not care what they were saying few days back.Recommend

  • Zeeshan Ahmed
    Jun 23, 2014 - 9:45PM

    TaQ’s departure from Canada to Toronto must raise questions on the ‘refugee status’ channel he used to acquire residency in Canada. TaQ claimed to the Canadian immigration courts that his life was in danger in Pakistan because he lent support to a European cartoonist facing death threats after being accused of creating blasphemous content against Islam (this in spite of a prior claim by TaQ that he was the main architect & influencor of the blasphemy law in Pakistan). TaQ seems to be travelling back and forth at will between Canada and Pakistan without any perceived threat to his life.

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