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Those Getting Killed or Disappeared Should Also Be More Considerate of the Rest of Us

I cannot speak against the murder of Hayat Baloch or the kidnapping of Taj Joyo's son in Pakistan because it will hurt the fragile pride of the country and I do not wish to partake in the dishonour.
Aug 23, 2020 | Wusatullah Khan

It is true that a day before the 74th Independence Day of Pakistan, Hayat Baloch, a student of Karachi University, was dragged out of his house in Turbat, on to his front lawn, by the armed Frontier Corps (FC) on the suspicion of involvement in terrorism. The forces then tied him up and pumped eight bullets into his body while his parents, pleading for mercy, watched in horror.

I too want to condemn the brutal killing of Hayat Baloch. But the problem is that Turbat is in Pakistan and I am an insignificant part of the Pakistani media. That is why I cannot make any irresponsible comment which might hurt the dignity of any institution in Pakistan.

All I can say is that Hayat Baloch’s murder is tragic but such ‘mistakes’ are bound to occur in the war against terrorism. I hope that the organisations responsible for implementing the concerned law will be more cautious in following their professional duties so that such unfortunate incidents may be avoided in future.

In fact, I am waiting for the news over the next few days of Hayat Baloch’s family forgiving his killers without any pressure, in the larger interest of the nation and for the sake of Allah, setting a great example of love for humanity as well as the nation.

Had this incident in which someone was dragged out of their house, tied and then shot dead happened in a Srinagar street or at a check-post in West Jerusalem, I would have exhausted my pen in making these pages bleed with soul-stirring elegies, lamenting this brutality and mourning the violation of human rights. I would have screamed till I was hoarse, trying to awaken the Islamic world from its slumber.

But Hayat Baloch is equally to blame. He was killed at the wrong place by the right people. Therefore, no patriotic writer, other than me, can do much about it.

I also want to express solidarity with distinguished Sindhi intellectual and writer Taj Joyo. His son, Sarang Joyo, was allegedly kidnapped in front of his children and his house was vandalised without a warrant.

Two days after the incident, the Pakistan government announced the Tamgha e Husn e Karkardgi (Presidential Pride of Performance medal) to Taj Joyo for his literary and cultural services to the nation.

Joyo sahib refused to accept the medal as a mark of protest. I actually believe that the honour should be bestowed on these ‘magicians’ who make humans vanish so neatly that even the state is left bewildered.

But I cannot write all this because it will hurt the fragile pride of the country and I do not wish to partake in the dishonour.

I wish Joyo sahib’s son and hundreds of others like him had instead disappeared in Egypt, Iran or some country of central Asia, for it would be so much easier for me then to publicly mourn the violation of human rights.

A killer hailed as a hero

On July 29, a person called Faisal alias Khalid allegedly shot dead Tahir Ahmed Naseem, a person accused of blasphemy, inside a high-security courtroom in Peshawar. But the Peshawar police squad who arrested the alleged killer proudly clicked selfies with him which were circulated on social media.

Imran Ali Shah, a member of the National Assembly of the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz), while addressing the assembly session, demanded that a special order be issued by the president pardoning the accused, who was hailed as a ghazi or hero. Or, he said, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government should provide compensation to the victim’s family on behalf of the accused. Otherwise, Shah was ready to pay the compensation by selling his property.

Also Read: Pakistan: Teen Celebrated, Called ‘Holy Warrior’ for Killing ‘Blasphemous’ American

Imran Ali Shah is no ordinary person but a member of an institution of Pakistan which frames laws to protect the lives, property and fundamental rights of 220 million citizens.

But since it is a sensitive matter, I do not want to make an unnecessary comment on it.

People chant slogans in favour of a man who, according to the Pakistani police, is suspected of killing US national Tahir Ahmed Naseem during a proceeding at a judicial complex, in a protest rally demanding his release, in Peshawar, Pakistan on August 5, 2020. Photo: Reuters/Fayaz Aziz

Imagine if the victim, Tahir Ahmed Naseem, were an Indian citizen, killed by Shyam Das in a crowded Jaipur courtroom, whom the policemen later garlanded and took selfies with. Imagine, the following day, some Shiv Sena MP (say ‘Krishna Hegde’) announced in the Lok Sabha that he would bear all expenses of the case on behalf of his ‘hero’ Shyam Das.

Had it been the case, I would be so vicious in my attack, both in writing and in speech, against India’s self-proclaimed secularism, Hindu parochialism and anti-Muslim sentiment, meanwhile, hailing the two-nation theory and cursing the Hindutva ideology that it would give a run for money even to the staunchest and most narrow-minded socialists.

We, the journalists, politicians, poets, judges and intellectuals, are ready to sacrifice our pens and our tongues at the altar of humanity. But the ones getting killed or disappearing must also spare some thought for us.

Wusatullah Khan is a Pakistani journalist.

This article was originally published in Urdu on BBC and is translated and published by The Wire with the BBC’s permission


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