One Part Brave, Three Parts Fool?

One Part Brave, Three Parts Fool?

It doesn’t get any better than this! Pakistani political opera can out-sell any of Ekta Kapoor’s half-witted soaps for more kinks and whims that she could ever imagine to cook up. Yesterday’s attack on the federal capital by a solitary gunman, Sikander with his wife and children, held the capital hostage for five long hours as police watched the pseudo superhero with ignonimous helplessness, was one such example. Last I saw such power- show against all the law-enforcing agencies was Dog Day Afternoon staring Al Pacino. But where we live, these fantastic notions do get the potential fodder to take the form of reality.



Wait, this wasn’t it! We witnessed surprising acts of bravado and heroism while Zamarud Khan entered into negotiations after MQM ‘s Nabil Gabool gave up convincing the man to disarm and surrender himself. Zamarud, with master-of-deception looks, appeared all amenable and acquiescent minutes before attempting what no policeman could do in five hours. With his epic moves that yielded a little less than a similar epic result, he was convinced to take Sikander down as he lurched forward to grab him in his heavy folds. Ah, it would have panned out if Sikander, more slender and more swift than Mr. Zammarrud had thought himself to be, had not lunged back out of the radius.


And while the police officers came out of hiding to knock the fleeing man down, Mr. Zammarrud’s maneuvers provided them with the strategic advantage of separating him from his wife and children- something Islamabad police could just not do on their own. One must acknowledge, PPP leaders do make perfect heroes and icons, and Zamarud Khan is today’s.



Where I can’t be enough thrilled at the theatricality of the entire situation; a lone man with machine guns, entering Islamabad’s red zone with his wife (our Mrs. Smith? – quite passive though), on the mission to dissolve parliament and impose Shariah system in the country, the last scene of the saga certainly was the show-stealer.  Forget all these questions; 1) What serious security lapse could have led to this? 2) How come the entire police of the city could not disarm one man? 3) Was the man even in his sane self to throw himself in the paws of danger for something that hecould never be successful at 4) Why were the hidden police officers waiting for Zamarud khan to lung on Sikander, before they made their moves. 4) Was Zamarud Khan even least trained to make such risky moves, putting everything at stake considering if his luck had gone otherwise.



Yes, just forget about these question, for these will spoil the savor of something you don’t see everyday. Indulge in the melodramatics of the entire situation. Not everyone around the world gets to watch this. And while our media lets you dwell over Sikander’s wedding pictures and personal life , dissociate yourself from sensibility, and simply enjoy this mindless entertainment with an equally absent mind and reason.

Madeeha Ishtiaque

The content writer & person-in-charge of the The News/Geo International Blog. She monitors the social media activity on The News. Follow her on twitter @charmed0000

  • Peter Pan

    Great piece. However, the Islamabad incident points to a deeper problem.

    One TV news reporter from the scene repeatedly kept saying that when he asked the police officers why they do not move to end this they said “we do not want to be subject to a SUO MOTO action by the Supreme Court”.

    This shows the state of demoralization of the police and other security agencies.

    Likewise, Mr. Najam Sethi in his TV program Apas ki baat, said recently that this demoralization and low motivation prevails in all security agencies in the face of the double talk and mixed messages from our politicians, particularly the PTI, on the approach to be adopted towards the Taliban and associates.

    These guys are playing with fire!

    Unfortunately we have political midgets posing as Statesmen. Rather like a chicken trying to be a peacock!

    • Anonymous

      Hashim Sb

      The Supreme Court ought to take Suo Moto notice of not only what happened but also the media reporter’s comments.

      The use of Suo Moto in actual human rights issues like missing persons and the cases like Sarfraz Shah killing (the young unarmed man shot by the rangers in Karachi whilst pleading for his life) should not be the reason to criticise the SC as that is exactly the likes of you and I want the check on unbridled powers of supposedly law enforcing institutions.

      In the case to hand, one can see good reason for not shooting the man as he was not being an immediate threat but the relaxed scenario with no cordons and all live broadcast with civilians reaching the gunman, is farcical. Good thing being no loss of life.

  • M.Saeed

    It was indeed a drama in real life!

    The solitary gunman had taken the entire police and paramilitary force for rides almost for 6 long hours, without even a smirch on his forehead!

    The live telecast was in the drawing rooms of the world watching with awe and amazement. And, that man Sikander had not a slightest wrinkle of worry on his forehead, as he was seen puffing leisurely with occasional gulps of energy-drinks from cans, not worried about his children playing around, even on top of his snatched-on-gun-point carnage-car.

    Zamurad’s heroic was a dangerous move. He got easy topple and missed a fatal hit by a whisker. That could have triggered some grave chain-reaction of tragedies that some-how got off. It was definitely not “all is well that ends well”. Thorough investigation is called for that must roll heavy heads that failed their duties.

    Besides, it is a warning-bell for those holding the security forts, to rise from their slumber and make haste in moves that should check this incident becoming a new norm of terror.


    “One Part Brave, Three Parts fool?” Exactly.

    I am glad Sikander was alert enough that he did not open fire on Zamurrud despite Zamurrad’s foolish bravado — and was captured alive though wounded seriously — Sikander badly needs therapy and committing to a psychiatric ward for prolonged therapy — not jail.

    The behavior of the wife was indeed weird — well dressed — as if for a Mushaira — a “passive” “Mrs Smith” was seen admiring her i phone more than being worried about hers and her husband’s safety.

    I am glad that for the good judgment of Chaudhry Nisar Ali khan — not to open fire on the armed man — it ended well for Sickman Sikander and foolhardy Zamurrad.

  • Anonymous

    ‘Theatricality’ indeed – is it that nothing was learnt after Lahore and Mumbai attacks as live broadcast from all angles was conveying te impression of a stage. How and why were the civilians like Messers Gabol and Khan allowed in the cordon along with live cameras? Another 15 minutes of fame for Mr Khan but at what and whose cost….

    Madeeha, is the suggestion ‘enjoy this mindless entertainment with an equally absent mind and reason’ supposed to be an indictment of the public and the new media (so impatient after only 6 hours for resuts)?

    • S Nasrullah

      Mr Zammarrud Khan has elaborated his voluntary action to stop the agony of Administration impasse and Police paralysis. In his own words, he could not tolerate a lunatic gunman holding the Nation on ransom. The armed man with two most lethal weapons posed huge threat to the lives and properties of the many and as a public nuisance, he was told to stop his nefarious activity and his blatant disobedience required strong arm tactics to save the public sanity and State security.

      Recently, in New York, a young man was seen in hot pursuit of another and firing his automatic weapon in the public place. The fully alert Police cautioned the young man to throw his gun and put his hands up and when the frenzied young man countermanded, the Police sharp shooters killed him. Nobody can take law into their hands and hurt others.

      In his Press Conference, the scaramouche Interior Minister, owned and justified his action not to shoot the criminal but to capture him alive. But in the end, the Police had to shoot him down to nab him; only after the brave attempt by Khan to nab him through an act of surprise, that unnerved the gunman.

      • Anonymous

        Nasrullah Sb

        How can Public sanity and State security be threatened by a lone gunman surrounded by police aiming to take him alive and only 5/6 hoyrs having passed? With respect sir, in this case the media hype and desire to have the guy shot ( live broadcasts and cynical ratings game I guess), is in this instance more likely to damage sanity and security. I thought lessons had been learnt by the police and the media how to manage after Manawan incident in Lahore.

        I no fan of the current Interior minister but glad to learn that he owned up to the failures and hus orders not to shoot. More if concern should be whether Messers Gabol and Khan had been cleared to enter the cordon and by whom. If they breached it without consent then they broke the law – their backgrounds should have made them more conscious of following the rules. Why should the rest follow – perhaps everyone should become a vigilante too!

  • S Nasrullah

    One mad man holds the entire Islamabad Administration on ransom. We had one Dr Rizwan, SSP (OPS) interacting with the deranged desperado Sikandar, while his wife was freely making rounds between her husband and the police officials. Time and time again, Sikandar came out of his car standing alone and signalling the bystanders to retreat. He was holding both lethal weapons in his hands, but he was uncovered and the kids in the car and his wife in negotiations with the Administration officials were in no jeopardy and any Police marksman could have felled the culprit without causing collateral damage. It reminded me how the Cops in New York ordered the fleeing young man firing at another to disarm: “Drop the gun or Drop Dead”. And when the gunman ignored the police warning, two marksmen brought him down – dead. The ordeal was over in minutes. The US Police have taken time only in cases of hostage situation when the lives of the hostages were precariously hinged at the moods of the murderous criminal. The police played time to reason out the aggravations and swiftly plan rescue operations. In such a scenario, Ms Madeeha’s contention :” And while the police officers came out of hiding to knock the fleeing man down, Mr. Zammarrud’s maneuvers provided them with the strategic advantage of separating him from his wife and children- something Islamabad police could just not do on their own” seems factually incorrect.

    A new Rehman Malik in that effeminate Chaudhry Nisar is distinctly visible. By bragging that “I ordered the Police not to open fire” what are you trying to imply. You would want the country, already considered a failed State, to get the worst publicity that a lone gunman can jeopardize the security of the State and imperil lives of the people of Pakistan paralyzing the Administration around the Red Zone with the impotent LEA standing like statues from Madame Taussad. That SSP ( Ops) should be dismissed from the service for his inability to overpower a lunatic gunman with his trained instincts and professional agility. Why did it require a PPP Politician, Zammarud Khan to lunge at the criminal to nab him. When a PIA F-27 was hijacked and the hijackers demanded the PIA Top Brass for negotiations, Air Marshal Nur Khan did exactly what Zamarrud Khan did, but with greater degree of success, by grappling the hijacker to the ground before the Commandos took over from A.M Nur Khan. In the process, Nur Khan was hit by a bullet. But then Nur Khan belonged to a superior category of intrepid personalities.

    The question arises that what was rapid Response force, the ISI, the Military and the SSG of the Military Wing doing while the grisly drama was being enacted at the Blue Area in Islamabad for Five hours. God forbid, if there were trained group of men (saboteurs) had such field day with insipid police to counter, they would have done untold damage to the security of Pakistan. It was a shameful day for the LEA, the Interior Minister and the PML(N) government. The coward Police knows only to brutally beat the unarmed civilians and in rare cases like this they show their true grit ( inaction). The Abbotabad incidence clearly manifested the state of preparedness of our armed forces and this drama is a sequel to the lethargy of the regime. God save Pakistan.

    • Anonymous

      Perhaps another look at the footage – the guy was not planning to shoot or Zammurad Khan would no longer be with us. Surely Mr Khan ill now avoid justifying and making a political capital of his stupid actions and certainly not so by using the children in this episode – too much to hope for when the whole action of his appeared to be a stage show.

      • M.Saeed

        The unruffled cold-blooded behavior of Sikander was perplexing. He was seated in car as if on somepicnic, having snacks, cigarettes and energy drink-cans while his little son happily frolicked on the roof of the car. It was clearly a no shoot-out scene of any terrorist known to us so far. Perhaps, a lunatic, or an acute schizophrenic!

  • M.Saeed

    We all commenting here are acting experts and not caring to wait for the official announcement. The matter was being handled by our experts very carefully with everything in control except when the lone-super-man intruding to do the unthinkable at his own. On the other side, all the media-channels always keen to amplify their ratings by any means, were providing “Free-Live-Shows” in their mad-race in providing entertainments to the newly democratized people, who thronged to the scene unhindered to enjoy the show, barricading the planned and under execution official course of action.

  • Anonymous

    NASAH Sb

    In the context of system failures, what happens now is the real show – why cordons were broken by almost any spectators? why the media was creating a suspense like situation in an almost perpetual live broadcast instead of simply making an hourly reports?

    The results – perhaps many now think that 5/6 hours amount to an eternity in such hostage like situations and hasty decisions should be the norm and it is OK to take the law in ones own hands because every second rater lawyer cum politician cum legislator can do it then why not them – with that ultimate reward of 15 minutes of fame (and if they die in that misdeed then te title ‘shaheed’ plus those hours we have discussing! – oh how the term ‘shaheed’ has been cheapned in Pakistan by the self serving!)

  • S Nasrullah

    NASAH – you and your pontific, holier-than-thou, convoluted logic highlighting rigidity and fixity born of advancing age that you can’t see anything beyond your nose. In all democratic countries, the Police and the LEA agencies are mandated to preserve and protect lives and properties of people. Police have the mission to neutralize any wicked person holding lethal weapons and capable of wreaking harm on numerous people. They have to act on the spur of the moment, and they normally use Darts or Stun Gun to immobilze the culprit. For, dead men tell no tales. It is irrelevant if the person was demented or neurotic, which is clinically determined once the criminal has been captured. Would you give carte blance to a neurotic to indulge into destruction and death?
    Sikander was not only holding the most lethal weapons in both hands but that the occasional burst of fire confirmed his trained handling. He had carjacked and ran a Police Checkpost which manifested his criminal intent. As is said: ” A barking dog seldom bites” but it is also true that the same canine may stop barking and start biting. If one watches the TV footage of that weird incidence intently, after the unsuccessful attempt of Zamarrud Khan to nab Sikander, the man backtracked and fired a few rounds before the snipers peppered his lower body.
    In the Press Conference, the Interior (decorative) Minister said plainly that he did not want the kids of the criminal to see their father being killed by sniper bullets. Not a word about Sikander’s mental infliction. All the rationalization of the episode dubbing the criminal as mentally sick and innocuous was doctored footnotes to justify the blatant blunders of the Administration and the LEA.. Was Sikander a droner at the Speaker’s Corner in Hyde Park to drawl his insanity to a curious crowd? Essentially, the man had occupied the center stage of that despicable drama for Five Hours with impunity How much longer the government was prepared to test the patience of the public?
    If Zamarrud Khan was from PML(N) the entire government machinery would have been singing paean of praises for the stout hearted Emancipator for his fearless and intrepid act of valor. I have no love for PPP but an act of bravery, at the peril of ones life, can never be scoffed.
    Your deduction, very vile and vicious, that ultimately police shot him is inane and pointless.

    • Anonymous

      Nasrullah Sb

      ‘In all democratic countries, the Police and the LEA agencies are mandated to preserve and protect lives and properties of people. Police have the mission to neutralize any wicked person’….but without endangering others as you know.

      Should the police have put it out on live media what their strategy was and that they had judged Sikander was no immediate threat to people around him and their plan was to tire and stand him down?

      Had Zamurrad Khan been shot by that trained gunman along with te children and spouse safe until then, which he could very easily have done when he was was bactracking (raising his hands in air), would you still have called an act of bravery?

      Its immaterial how PPP or PML-N may portray this – if intelligent observers do not see the problem with how things played out at the end then we are in more trouble. You are right though – ‘dead men tell no tales’…

      • NASAH (USA)

        “if intelligent observers do not see the problem with how things played out at the end then we are in more trouble”.

        Exactly Qalim sb — and Pakistan was for 6 hours in more trouble — partly because of the foolishness of Zamurrad — who — as a lay person — not a doctor — should not have been allowed to break the cordon.

        Sikander was no terrorist — he was a patient — in an altered mental state of Acute Psychosis — brandishing 2 deadly weapons in public — but ‘luckily’ with his family — perhaps influencing his decision not to aim the guns on people but in the air.

        In a trigger-happy country like Pakistan — I am amazed at the incredibly SANE decision of the Interior minister to hold fire for 6 hours — not killing a mentally disabled helpless man — in front of his wife and children.

  • Anonymous

    After watching Hamid Mir’s program on the events:

    1) Zamurrad Khan’s (everyone else’s) Imaan is sufficient to curtail all terrorist and criminal actiobs – so time to save money and abolish all law enforcing agencies.
    2) Geo reporter Rana Jawad is well qualified to judge a negotiated plan to move Sikander, as haphazard – he should be heading the appropriate authority negotiating with any hostage taker – oh hang on this can’t be because of point 1 above. But WHY did police and government not confide in Mr Jawad, the qualified national psychiatrist working to save nation’s sanity.
    3) All day to day government decisions must now be taken by government informing and getting media approvl before hand to avoid te sarcastic wrath if honoyrabe Mr Mir and his co anchors. In fact why not pass th government over to te anchors?!

    Expecting all those moaning about the SC interference in executive matters to raise their criticism against the media excesses is likely too much – almost ALL politicians, even judges appear to appease media excesses abd justify it.

    Police – not normally our favourite institution, seems to be blamed by the media that they did not have a cordon tape on but at the same time when the media personal were asked to move back, police are being accused of assault on the press.

    Grow up guys – you are bringing journalism into disrpute by hubris and believing in self created myth of fourth pillar of state….


    It ain’t but quaint — “Informing the National Assembly about the Islamabad gunman, Nisar said there was still no link uncovered between Sikander and a militant group.

    He added that doctors had not given permission to interrogate Sikander and efforts were underway to gather all information so a conclusion to the incident could be reached.”

    “agay agay dekhiye hota hai keya”

    The only True Professional in this medico melodrama — are the Pakistani DOCTORS!

    • S Nasrullah

      NASAH – FYI the Pakistani Media have confirmed Sikander’s link with banned LeT with which he was associated for a decade and then revoked his membership on the suspicion of his double-cross. It is here that he learnt the drill to operate lethal weapons. Twenty days before the incident, Sikander had met two people who are whisked away by the Intelligence agencies to unknown place for interrogation.

      The wife of Sikander reported to the Police that she along with her two children were hostages that Sikander intended to use them until he accomplished what he was gunning for.

      • Anonymous

        Whilst a free and thriving media is a good thing, the responsibility load also increases beyond the usual rhetoric of the benefits of a free media. With hubris and belief in own myth of being a fourth pillar of the state and becoming a law unto themselves, the media itself threatens te very freedom it and we value.


    My dear Hashmi Sahib — it is time to rise above PPP, PML(N) or PTI politics — and see Sikander as a patient in a very dangerous state of altered mind — armed with two deadly weapons — Zamurrad’s bravado was utterly foolish and totally uncalled for.

    It’s such a relief to see that Zamurrad is alive and the patient is under proper medical care – not dead.

  • Anonymous

    Hashmi Sb

    Please accept that criticising Zamurrad Khan has nothing to do with party politics – one can understand the reasons behind his actions but they do not absolve him from acting responsibly and within te bounds of law. Will you be allowed to act in such a manner in the US and get away with it? And is a seige of 5/6 hours that uncommon? Comparing inhuman convicted terror killers with a possible showman nut yet to do any damage is not a rational argument.

    Just shows te impatient nature of Pakistanis in some matters – tolerating many maniacs spreading terror across the country for years but egging the live culling of an insignificant nut fir the satisfaction of media junkies out for a picnic!

    • Farooq Hashmi

      Different views, and different individuals ! My dear friends_____ Dr. NASAH, Mr.Qalim and Mr.Raj Chouhan_____ let’s give our minds a little sabbath till the investigation has it established if Sikander is a terrorist or mentally deranged person.

      • M.Saeed

        Initial medical reports have confirmed that, Sikandar is not mentally handicapped. Besides, only a month earlier, he was caught trying to cross LOC in Kashmir to Indian side in the “company of” his 5 years old son! He had successfully crossed all security barriers and was apprehended by the Border security of the Army. Obviously, he had used his innocent son as a certificate of his own clean intentions.
        Is it still a question on his mental condition, or criminal inclination beyond all limits of humanity?
        BTW, the man who armed him with the lethal guns has been apprehended and under active investigations by the authorities at some highly protected secret location.

  • Anonymous

    Seems many here and in the country are trapped in ‘Truman Show’ like scenario and don’t realise it yet!

  • Gohar

    so do you think all the rest are jalim jamana ( or zalim zamana) ? ..then why some people say that doctors are very ‘jalim’ b/c they charge too much for their ‘services’ ….Dr. NASAH may be the exception on this ..

  • Gohar

    …It’s b/c his children & wife were unaware of the brutal drone hovering on them …