Punjab & the Mockery of Democracy


‘Civilization begins with order, grows with liberty and dies with Chaos’. Will Durant.

How do you manufacture a suicide bomber? A question I have often been asked because of the nature of my experiences, which I had to live through once upon a time. The question is universal – domestic and international. It is not merely driven by curiosity but inspired more by an apprehension; a fear of something that one cannot understand and what one does not understand one cannot remedy. An aberration without a remedy is a scary thought and makes it inevitable.

Is a suicide bomber inevitable, an outcome of a brainwashed mind, drugged into some incomprehensible stupor? It’s not as simple as that. Using the benefit of my own experiences in dealing with people who dealt in this absurdity I came to the conclusion that a suicide bomber was actually a result of justice denied. A skewed consequence of being given an unfair deal. A person who cannot reconcile with the way he is treated, or the prejudice he suffers and thus his sense of deprivation and injustice is easily converted into vindictiveness. He looks for the ways and means to punish the society that has so dispossessed him, holding him in contempt and scorn. He feels that there is no recourse to his predicament, no shoulder to cry on and like a pariah he shuffles anonymously around the fringes of civilized society. He remains a-nobody and nothing of significance.

This is when someone offers him an opportunity to be someone – to right a wrong, to be remembered as a hero, to be simply recognised and to find himself on the gates of paradise. Having discovered the purpose, he is motivated with a deadly cocktail of religiosity and drugs – one feeding on the other like a parasite in motion. He then sets out on his journey, in stupor and lunacy, to kill, maim and destroy so that he too can be counted amongst those who never thought he was worth the count. The suicide bomber hopes that he has attracted the attention he was always denied, that he has implemented the sentence that justice should have executed but had failed and that all this he did, in the name of the Almighty Allah who now had given him access to paradise, somewhat like a free ‘get-out-of jail-card’.    

In this vein and with a similar reasoning; the democratic order in Pakistan – its character and nature; its total disregard for propriety, moral assertion, ethical application, legality, rules or regulations and  has no respect for the people, their choices or their votes. The people disenfranchised, marginalized and excluded from the process of selecting people of their own choosing for governing the country cannot remain silent indefinitely.

‘It is the growing custom to narrow control, concentrate power, disregard and disenfranchise the public; and assuming that certain powers by divine right of money raising or by sheer assumption, have the power to do as they think best without consulting the wisdom of mankind,’ W.E.B Du Bois.

The farce that unfolded before the whole nation on the 22nd of July 2022 in the Punjab Parliament live cannot be condoned, nor is it acceptable. We, the people, are not cattle whose fate will be decided by a cadaver (Shujaat) or a crook, the likes of Zardari.

‘If dogs are governing a country, what can you hear every day other than horrible barking noises’ Mehmet Murat Ildan

If the demeanor and spirit displayed by the majority population in the face of highly unprecedented government rigging and interference on the 17th of July, 2022 is of any indication, then I think we are well on the way to manufacturing suicide bombers in the whole country. Course correction must be undertaken now, focus on doing the right thing is now of utmost importance; justice must be done or the consequences would be terrible. I know where these bombers might go or who they would wish to target.

There are hostile agencies waiting in the wings to exploit and manipulate a dissatisfied populace. Such polarization and division already exists and are already being translated into separatist ideologies, provincial unrest and nationalist movements. There is already a lack of identity and ownership in the country. Creating an environment which only perpetuates hatred and extremism is something which challenges common sense, rationality and logic. Is there no one who cares, is there nobody who is responsible enough to manage this chaotic situation and contain it – no one?   

‘An anarchist government somehow creates an impression in the hearts of citizens that no one cares’ Amit kalantri

Tariq Khan HI(M)
Tariq Khan HI(M)http://narratives.com.pk
The writer is a retired Lt General of the Pakistan Army. He is noted for his services as the Commander of I Strike Corps at Mangla and Inspector General of the Frontier Corps.


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