With Friends Like These

Aug 29th, 2012 | By | Category: Latest, Media Watch, Pakistan

Is safeguarding the life and rights of religious minorities a responsibility of the government? In the context of Pakistan, present or past, it appears not to be the case.

So is the targeted killing and persecution of religious minorities actually a credit to the government?

If you follow a certain Mr. Faisal Raza Abidi, it would seem so. For wherever Faisal Raza goes these days, he wears the badge of minority rights with great pride and greater pompousness. It’s quite mesmerizing actually.

For instance, I was dumbfounded when I saw him invoking the names of Shia leaders, at the top of his voice, to batter an anchor into submission. The fact that these leaders had been killed on the watch of a PPP government that seemed not in the least bit interested, or bothered, about their life or death, was lost on Abidi.

We have seen a lot in the last four years or so, granted. But vying for political mileage over dead bodies? That too of people you were sworn to and failed to, or didn’t want to, protect. I really cannot come up with an analogy.

You may ask what allows Abidi and company to get away this. How can they stand by and watch as their citizens are butchered and then shout about it on TV? Well, it’s the media, or a certain section of the media.

This is the section that lays claim to be the champions of free speech, of tolerance and are great friends of the minorities in Pakistan. They are also great friends of the PPP, but don’t say that out loud. Irony, isn’t it?

It’s peculiar how these mild mannered folk, who believe in tolerance and abhor abusive trolls, love the slightly less mild mannered Mr. Abidi. It’s also peculiar how they oversee, every day, what the PPP has done to minorities in Pakistan.

How? The “Deep State” (Establishment)! It remains the refuge of the PPP apologist. They hide behind it, pleading that their liberal party is helpless. They say the party’s hands are tied.

Yet there is much they don’t say.

They don’t say how there is more sectarian strife in the country today than when the military was directly in power, under Musharraf. They don’t say how the siege of Shia-Hazaras in Balochistan intensified under the current regime or how the PPP Chief Minister can’t even feign pity for them. Let alone the President.

They don’t say how this government has failed to control growth of sectarian outfits throughout the country, from Sindh to Gilgit to Balochistan. They don’t say that the PPP has failed to introduce stricter anti-terrorism legislation either. Apparently, the ‘Deep State’ wanted to do away with the third time prime minister clause instead? It also demanded public office holders be granted immunity from contempt proceedings.

It’s not that these people don’t have a voice. They speak ferociously enough, just not when the “secular” parties are involved. Just imagine, if “Sheeda Tully” was involved in forceful conversion of Hindu girls. But it was a PPP MNA, so he’s safe. Similarly, imagine if a ‘Right-Wing’ government were to incarcerate an eleven year old Christian girl on blasphemy charges. Now imagine the state of the self-proclaimed liberal anchors, writers, bloggers and activists! Exactly!

The fact is, an ulema council has actually come out to support the girl. In the meantime, former Prime Minister, upholder of the constitution and champion of the masses, Yousaf Raza Gillani has claimed credit for Bhutto’s Ahmadi achievement.

None of these champions of minority rights will ask the PPP why they have been this inhuman, this unmoved and this complicit in the atrocities committed. They will instead write one harrowing tale after the other, each ending before the victims can lodge a complaint against their government. A government that not only abandoned them, it persecuted them as well.

It is, however, a PPP government, so that must not make it to the papers. It doesn’t need to, man. You wrote a vague story from a distant land, such bravery would put a lion to shame. You outdid yourself sire. Your best article ever, for the third time this week! And it goes on..

Young “jiyalas” don’t grow up to be unbiased commentators. A Radio only broadcasts its feed. Institutes don’t fund themselves.

There is so much this county has given to minorities, isn’t there. And prominent among our many gifts – are friends like these.

Ali Ahmed

About the author

Ali Ahmed is a Lahori in Islamabad, a student and an entrepreneur. He blogs about Pakistan

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  1. my friend what to expect from a govt made up of thugs & beneficiaries of Mush’s NRO. they are here in power for one purpose & that we all know v v well. its so useless to to condemn them, they have lost their hearing, they hearing nothing wrong, they have lost their eyes sight, they see nothing wrong.
    i see condemning them is sheer waste of time, energy & effort. its time for change!

  2. Do we really need to fear for a rightist party in power, when this is what our so called ‘left’ is upto?

  3. A great article clearly illustrating the hypocrisy of PPP government

  4. PPP has always cashed in on the segment of the society which is just anti-right – not pro-left. So to make the most of this mindset they instill the bughze Muaviya in the so-called liberal section of the society whose stance is mostly against the certain values and usually not for any cause.
    The irony, as mentioned, can be witnessed among other ‘liberal’ allies as well. Just yesterday an MQM MP was shouting in a procession that Govt. had failed to protect their workers; while they are part of the government and have also made a national record of the holding the governor’s office for the longest time.

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