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When only death is not a sham

Enough is never enough, humanity is not a consideration, and human life has no value for the military and civilian rulers of our unfortunate nation. Hundreds are killed each month but the rulers do not as much as blink an eye. Nobody is charged or tried, although in most cases the perpetrators are known to the so-called law-enforcing agencies.

Be it the parading of a naked woman in the village on the orders of local elders or the killing of innocent people in a city’s streets by a mafia or sectarian massacres in military-controlled Quetta of innocent and poor Shias, all this happens because the law-enforcement and intelligence agencies are deliberately looking the other way.

Who does not know that the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi is killing Shias? This criminal fundamentalist outfit was created during Zia’s rule allegedy under the agencies’ patronag? How can we be sure that it does not continue to be supported by some elements?

Our suspicions are justified by the fact that few Jhangvis have been arrested or investigated for the first Quetta carnage this year. Have these heinous criminals been given the license to kill innocent citizens by the rulers? If no action is taken to arrest and prosecute the leaders of this gang as well as those who carried out these two attacks, would the people not have the right to question Zardari and Kayani? Zardari as he is the de facto head of government and Kayani as he controls the defence establishment including the ISI.

The killers are a law unto themselves or have powerful protectors. Therefore lawlessness continues unabated at the expense of minorities, and the poor are traumatised with the loss of loved ones. What is amazing is that the provincial and federal governments do not hold the law-enforcing agencies accountable for their gross failures, creating the impression that they themselves are involved in the problem.

The ongoing case in the Supreme Court on Karachi’s law and order shows clearly how uncooperative the Sindh administration is, how at each step the courts are being stalled. From a clean administration one would expect full cooperation; its absence shows just how unclean the affairs of the country’s premier city are.

The opposition parties are mere spectators. No dharnas are held by the major parties. Where is Imran Khan? Making a speech in Quetta is not enough Mr Khan, the situation demands action on the streets and at the same time in the courts against the perpetrators who are also known to you.

Mr Nawaz Sharif, why is the country’s largest opposition party inactive when people are being murdered? Are the minorities, Muslim or otherwise, not worth protecting?

All one hears from politicians on talk shows and in the press, day in and day out, is the elections, caretakers, Qadri bashing etc. The daily killings take less than five to ten percent of the politicians’ time. Is this not a shame? Do you need to be reminded that you seek the vote of the very people you help to obliterate, for if you do not actively help to protect them, then you are helping their killers? Or maybe we have forgotten that the large majority of our politicians do not care for anything other than their own personal interest and that is precisely why we are in this mess.

Some people and parties are trying to attribute the local mayhem to the Taliban; this is neither correct nor credible. Our pattern of violence of the last more than two decades has only changed periodically in intensity and not in its mechanism and methods; therefore there is no indication of a new player entering the fray.

While the present governments in the centre and the provinces, and the military, are responsible for the crimes being committed against humanity (and their unwillingness to act against the criminals is quite evident), it is also very clear that the opposition has done nothing actively to pressurise and force the governments to act.

The collective inaction, while people die for no reason or because they belong to a minority sect, is nothing but a monumental shame for which all are responsible. This sham democracy of ours is now fully exposed as it has failed miserably to work in the interest of the people and has only served to fill the coffers of the rulers and the establishment during the last five years.

The charade is based on a string of rigged elections since 1990 and an arrangement of power adjustment with the military; therefore it can be nothing other than sham.

The writer is an industrialist and former chairman of National Textile Foundation.

Farooq Sumar, "When only death is not a sham," The News. 2013-02-21.