Friday, October 08, 2010

Why a State Matters

Karachi saw Abdullah Shah Ghazi's mausoleum being bombed by suicide bombers yesterday. I a regular follower of that route and I know how crowded it is even on normal weekdays forget about Thursday which enjoys significance amongst shrine-attendees (because its day before Friday, the sacred day of muslims). The suicide bombers not only hit a shrine, they also hit the most popular place karachiites love to visit - that too in the most posh of localities. Karachiites being shocked is an understatement.

Before that, it was Daata Darbar where suicide bombers struck in Lahore - a source of 'shirk' as the attackers would say so it had to be dealt with. Rehman Baba shrine near Peshawar has been bombed twice. Allied to this is the issue of murder of notable scholars. Just recently, Dr. Mohammad Farooq, vice chancellor of Swat University, who openly opposed suicide bombings and terrorism carried out in the name of Islam, was killed in Mardan. Before that we had Mufti Sarfaraz Naeemi, a very popular religious scholar in Lahore whose academy was hit by suicide bombers and he was killed. He too openly condemned militaristic acts carried out in the name of Islam and especially had a distaste for suicide bombings.

Behind all these acts, lurches a philosophy of 'Prevention of Vice', apart from the modus operandi for the implementation. Some people say that 'evil has to be stopped by hand'. Unfortunately, this is what happens when individuals or entities take this responsibility upon themselves to prevent vice and promote virtue. According to opinion, visits to shrines and placing offering are unislamic and this have to be stopped. Attacks on shrines are exactly for this purpose. The scholars were killed not because of any vice but having ideas that may lead to acts that perhaps hinder the 'good causes'; like jihad. What would Dr. Mohammad Farooq know about jihad, who has written 5 books on it, as compared to good old medressah produced talib who perhaps does not even know any other thing than rote learning of Quran?

Taliban attacked various shrines in Swat. For them, person of opposing sect is also not tolerable. Pir Safiullah, a barelvi, the opponent of Taliban, his grave was dug up, his head chopped and his body was hung by the pole. Taliban go with the same argument - stop the evil and impose their version of Islam as only they are the custodians.

Lal Mosque brigade thought the same - stop the vice as they were mandated to check it in society. They do not understand that taking law in their own hands is not productive for the society. Take for example the case of 2 brothers that were lynched in Sialkot. People took them for robbers and hung their bodies on poles after killing them. The whole nation was shocked. Why? because people are not supposed to take law into their own hands.

People of a society, collectively, assign the responsibility of governance and dispensation of justice to Govt, The State. They abide to be governed by Laws and Constitution. Why? because this is how order is maintained in a chaotic environment. No doubt there are weaknesses in a system and that is why people choose their elected representatives to bring the change.

But choosing the path of Lal Mosque brigade, the Taliban - by enforcing change, and a change that favors their own opinion, is downright oppressive and extremely dangerous.That is why the entity called State gains more importance wherein people live according to agreed upon code of conduct. That is why, it is even more important, that no rule or law be made that somehow infringes upon the rights of people based upon, if not any other criteria, then religious beliefs of majority people. Am I calling for a secular constitution?! Is it 'Damn You' I hear?! Shit.

The point is - that we pakistanis live under a constitution in which it is stated that we are an 'Islamic Republic'! We are not infidels for heavens sake. This has to be told and reminded to people like Taliban, Lal Mosque types, right wingers and ordinary people alike! No body should try to take law in their own hands. The Objectives Resolution in 1973 Constitution of Pakistan states that all authority and sovereignty belongs to God, that He has delegated this authority to the Pakistani state through elected representatives, that people will according to Islamic teachings, minorities will be given their rights and everyone will enjoy the universal fundamental rights. Why would anyone rebel against it?!

Try to improve upon the system ladies and gentlemen... not fight it.


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