Crimson are the streets of Punjab. The blights of sectarianism, fundamentalism, extremism (and every other “ism” that is hideous and horrendous) are soaring and my land is bleeding. As the curtain rings down over Punjab government’s five years, a question racks my mind. Did the Zardari-flaying Shahbaz Sharif play his part in curbing the leviathan of religiosity?
Badami Bagh incident and Gojra massacre are the major blotches on the Punjab government’s performance-card. Following every such act of bloody-mindedness, heads were hung low…….platitudinous, hackneyed speeches were regurgitated…..mind-numbing melancholy was simulated. Unfortunately, histrionics don’t bring about change…concrete measures do…and those were never taken.
Minorities brutalized, ministers (Rana SanaUllah) visualized hobnobbing with terrorists, murderers patronized and extremists let off the hook (all seventy in Gojra massacre; Badami Bagh will be no different). This is the sorry tale of Punjab over the past five years.
The tale begins from the very beginning. In 2008, a group of PML-N stalwarts called on Maulana Ludhianvi (of the defunct Sipah-e-Sahaba) and requested him to withdraw from Bhakar by-election in favour of Shahbaz Sharif. The Maulana complied. That is how the CM became the CM. On the shoulders of an outlet that few peace-lovers would like to be associated with.
In 2009, grisly devilry was perpetrated in Gojra and Christian houses were torched. Again histrionics abound, but no concrete steps were taken. The murderers still roam the streets of Punjab.
Then there was the Badami Bagh incident. Shahbaz Sharif flashed on T.V screens with all the pomp and ceremony and announced a judicial enquiry….well-done….great idea….we ought to have enquiries for enquiries always produce results. We had an enquiry in Sri-Lankan cricket team attack, but where are the perpetrators? Behind bars? Under the shadow of the hanging board? Oops! they’re sitting beside the Sharifs adjusting seats…vintage irony. Rumours are afloat that a business-giant who basks in Khadim-e-Aala’s love sponsored the barbarism. Tongues are wagging, but no denial has been issued as yet. Khadim-e-Aala, truly an apostle of love!
To prevent such atrocities we ought to bring the guilty to justice; we need leaders that can lead. Here those supposed to lead against these bloodhounds are busy appeasing them…..busy seat-adjusting. Because what difference would it make if terrorists are appeased; a few more throats are slit; a few more settlements ravaged? Because power is paramount….this is politics…Machiavellianism’s the way to go.
The recent dalliance (seat-adjustment) between PML-N and Ahle-Sunnat-wal-Jamaat has shed the garb of liberalism that the Sharifs have donned since time immemorial, and is indicative of how factitious the Jalib-reciting man (read Machiavellian prince) is when he waxes lyrical upon social/religious tolerance and liberalism. Malik Ishaq was bestowed with a monthly ‘stipend’ during his time in jail; Rana SanaUllah for once spoke the truth and confirmed the disbursement.
Perhaps Malik Ishaq was more worthy of assistance from the open-hearted Punjab government’s coffers than the cantankerous young doctors. Perhaps all the Jalib-recitation was nothing but theatrics. Perhaps Jalib’s following words don’t resonate in the prince’s mind anymore.
Nishan kahin na rahega tumhara shaitano
Hamein yaqeen hai ke insaan usko pyara hai
Khuda tumhara nahin hai khuda hamara hai
Use zameen pe yeh zulm kab gaawara hai
As regards Locke, he can go down the drain with his wishy-washy liberalism mumbo-jumbo; let liberal-is-m be liberal-was-m. These acts call to mind the historic book ‘Guilty Men’ (that castigated the appeasement of Nazi Germany by British politicos) and with it echoes the slogan, ‘Let the guilty men retire.’ But wait a moment – in this case, who are these guilty men? Aah, the SHOs and the DSPs; who else? Certainly not Shahbaz himself…why would he be responsible? The HRCP’s report on Badami Bagh incident (which puts the onus on his government’s shoulders) must be bunkum. Right?
Machiavellianism aplenty, intrepidity is what the Khadim-e-Aala lacks. The lily-livered Shahbaz Sharif even cowered after the Shia attacks in Quetta and never confronted the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.…little wonder Ishaq is his election-pal. In the yesteryears, he shied away from openly denouncing the murderer of Salman Taseer.…why? Because that’s what Machiavelli taught in ‘The Prince’. Nevermind Locke and Jalib, they were dunderheads; their works, the products of a mangled psychology.
Such blatant two-facedness, still the media kept mum. Is it the terrorists’ terror or capital-fuelled yellow journalism? The answer eludes me.
Weren’t the Gojra and Badami Bagh incidents security lapses? Wasn’t the Punjab government guilty of failing to provide security? Aren’t the streets of Punjab blood-spattered? Yes, they are and the prince ought to retire: because that’s what Guilty Men ought to do…that’s what Vilasrao Deshmukh did after 26/11 (or is Shahbaz emulating Narendra Modi of Gujarat?)…that’s what men of conscience do. So to echo Cato and his Guilty Men, “Let the guilty men retire.”
Shahbaz Sharif, goodbye and good riddance. I hope never to see you governing again.