Thirst for blood or common sense? – Newspaper
ONE of the enduring images of Count Dracula played in the 1958 version of the horror film Dracula by Christopher Lee, blood flowed from his teeth and chin after claiming his victim as his glassy, ââbloodshot, wide open eyes gazed into the distance.
Of course, you would have the right to wonder about the relevance of this image today, especially since these lines are generally devoted to an analysis of the contemporary political scene with all its daily twists.
This image occurred to me when I first read allegations that the “liberals” were disappointed with the deal between the authorities and the raging Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) in Punjab, because the liberals would have preferred bloodshed.
Yes, those who made these allegations included the usual media suspects whose disdain for “liberals live and let live” borders on insanity. But joining them and then becoming the main voice of this choir was one of the most prominent ulema in the country.
Known as “Mufti-i-Azam Pakistan” in Barelvi circles, you would immediately recognize him by the immense anxiety he caused for two decades as people waited for him to confirm whether Ramazan moon or Eid had been seen anywhere in the country and if the next day you were to fast or celebrate Eid.
The soft tools of the past are increasingly aware of their own power.
Thus, when Mufti Munibur Rehman, former chairman of the Ruet-i-Hilal moon observation committee was allegedly recruited by the army chief to defuse the crisis caused by the TLP-PTI impasse and which he apparently delivered, his anger was directed at a couple of ministers in particular and liberals in general.
Read: Red Zone Files: Does Mufti Muneeb see a future in the TLP?
I bet when he used the term bloodthirsty liberals he saw an army of Count Draculas with the blood of TLP protesters running down their chins. Otherwise, why would he be making fun of the Liberals? All liberals and all peace-loving Pakistanis wanted was to see the law upheld and peace restored.
Just as Mufti Munibur Rehman wanted when he approved military action against the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan who were destroying the country’s law and shedding innocent blood in the same name and for a cause similar to that of the TLP.
As for me, I hate labels and don’t even know if I’m a liberal, a leftist, or some other faith. But what I do know is that I hate to spread chaos by calling on the name of the divine and of his last beloved prophet (pbuh).
I would like to assure Mufti Munibur Rehman and some of my revered journalist friends, with whom I have supported the cause of truth and the right to express it freely, that thirst for blood is not part of my long and abundant list of failures.
For the avoidance of doubt, allow me the freedom to list some of my shortcomings. I feel pain like many Pakistanis. I know Supreme Court Justice Qazi Faez Isa was blasted and forced to swim in an ocean of fire for simply pointing out the most obvious reasons for the conflict and chaos in society in his dharna Faizabad TLP (November 2017) detailed verdict rendered in February 2019.
Do I need to remember at length what he said? If you need to refresh your memory, aube.com contains not only the detailed judgment, but also a succinct article containing the main âtakeawaysâ from the detailed two-judge judgment drafted by Judge Isa. Judge Mushir Alam was the other member.
Read: 10 takeaways from the judgment of SC’s Faizabad sit-in
One could argue that February 2019 was less than three years ago and the implementation of the verdict could not have happened in such a short time. The argument would have weight if the state hadn’t wasted so much energy and time harassing the judge for calling a spade a spade, instead of making a serious effort to learn from his judgment.
What is even more ridiculous is the state’s withered will to fight extremism in society and not realize the dangers until the nose begins to slip underwater. Then the state kicks in, and not just those on the front lines, but all citizens pay a heavy price for delayed action.
Watch the progress made in rolling out the so-called national action plan designed and agreed upon after the APS massacre in Peshawar in 2014, a tragedy in which terrorists slaughtered dozens of innocent schoolchildren with brutality frightening and ruthless.
The 20-point PAN, among others, called for combating hate speech and extremist content, prohibiting the glorification of terrorists in the media, dismantling terrorist communication networks and reversing the trend towards activism.
Just watch Nadeem Malik’s TV interview with current Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid when he was leader of the opposition, where he glorified the murderer of former Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer before the 2018 elections to understand what happened to the NAP.
The bitter, very bitter truth is that militant groups and extremism have been used as tools of foreign policy, national security and domestic policy, political engineering. This ‘roll them out, roll them up’ strategy has run its course as the malleable and flexible tools of the past increasingly realize their own power.
With tensions high between former on-page power centers turned into adversaries, who knows if the TLP’s latest round of unrest was once again intended to be used as leverage to open closed doors and options. If so, it was myopic to say the least.
Experience tells us that Dr. Frankenstein can create a monster but inevitably loses control of it. What was once an inexpensive option of inflicting maximum damage on opposing forces has become far too unpredictable, volatile, and therefore dangerous to deploy.
The only way to move forward is not behind the scenes deals which cannot be disclosed for fear of judicial review or shame or for whatever reason. Let us admit in the national interest that the hybrid system has been a dismal failure and that the only way forward is through a duly representative parliament and transparent decision-making.
The writer is a former editor of Dawn.
Posted in Dawn, le 7 November 2021