Social media fanatism for and against Khan?

The trends on social media often inform us a lot about the thinking of Pakistan’s relatively educated and young lot.  It tells us what concerns our people.

What I have observed so far, is quite hard to contemplate for me. The most viral posts on social media in Pakistan are religious, conspiracy theories or regarding one political party, PTI!

There are probably over a thousand things that are currently going wrong in this country, from corruption to failure of true democratic process, economy, security, and law and order. 

Our people are very much used to of being treated like craps by authorities and political leaders that with various injustices being done and being robbed of their civil rights every other day, doesn’t seem to surprise them much. All these things don’t make them speak out or condemn these things on social platforms! 

It seems, however, that every move Imran Khan makes, people give so much damn about it! - Whether in support of him, or against him.

I can understand supporters of Khan making zealous comments about his political moves; they are his supporters, right? But what is with his critics?

I don’t understand why they feel compelled to go out of the way to criticize or counter comment Khan and his supporters - Especially, when they remain mum on the face of political leaders, who are commonly known for treating Pakistan and its people like crap since ages. 

Wastage of eight billion of development budget being spent on pointless Metro Bus Islamabad project is, doesn’t get as much criticism as does Khan’s sleep-break, as he leaves its workers on streets for the night. 

If nothing else, I see PTI very successful in their contribution to democratic process. The true beauty of democracy is that it allows every single voice, no matter how insane and immature, to speak out for its opinions. And democracies around the world are best nourished, under the pressure of strong oppositions.

2306 hours
Sunday 17 August 2014

The police brutality

We all saw the disturbing scenes of police brutality in Lahore Model Town incident a week ago, where Punjab police mercilessly baton charged, even at apparently helpless protesters. There were some reports of point-blank shooting at protesters that resulted in 14 deaths and around 80 injured.

Though I don’t really buy the stance of Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT), but in a democratic setup, people have the right to protest for whatever they deem their cause is. The use of violence of this sort from any law enforcement agency is unacceptable. This is a gross violation of civilian rights.

Police personnel are public servants. They are supposed to serve the common man and protect their civilian rights. Police in Pakistan, however, seems to go the other way around. A common man is the one who suffers the most in their hands. They are known to be the most corrupt, inefficient, and a highly politicised institution in Pakistan.  If any injustice is being done to a common man, it’s nearly impossible to report it without a bribe, provided one is not putting fingers at some power group or anyone influential. Also, common men are often the ones, who are the first ones to be abused, tortured, looted, accused or even punished without trials, often in baseless cases, to succumb to vested interests of influential people. And our police not only facilitate these injustices, in some cases they are the perpetrators.

Punjab police is the worst. Terrible incidences of rapes, mob attacks and police tortures are surfacing in Punjab particularly, in the recent years. In most of these cases, police has either being mum, or have been facilitating these injustices.

This facet of police is not specific to Pakistan only and can be seen widely in the entire sub-continent. The roots of which can be traced back to colonial times. Back then, British established such police norms as their tool to control the multicultural Indians - who were always at row, either with their foreign occupants or among themselves, on the basis of ethnicity, castes or religion. Maintaining law and order of course was their only concern, instead of protecting civil rights of common Indians. But shamefully, even after independence, our bureaucratic set up is still sticking to colonial system.  The British lords are only replaced with local feudal lords. 

Anatol Lieven quotes in ‘Pakistan, A Hard Country:'

‘In 2009 I was sitting in the office of the inspector-general of police in one of Pakistan’s provinces, when a call came through from the province’s Chief Minister –who was roaring so loudly that I could hear him through the receiver from several feet away. He was complaining that a superintendent of police had arrested a bandit leader at the rural mansion of his parties’ provincial deputies. The unfortunate inspector had to promise an inquiry, the dacoit’s immediate release and the immediate transfer of the offending police officer to another province. And this Chief Minister, by the way, has a personal reputation for efficiency, hard work and relative honesty. A senior officer in Punjab told me that around half of the 648 station house officers in the province are chosen by local politician through influence on the Punjab government, to serve their local interests.'

66 years ago, Muhammad Ali Jinnah had rightly envisages this problem that’s crippling Pakistan’s society to date, and its future consequences. Only if we could heed Jinnah, he truly was a visionary leader.  He said in his famous speech to civil officers in Peshawar in April 1948:

‘You should never be influenced by any political pressure, by any political party or any individual politician. Start with that determination and enthusiasm – and I hope the other side will also realize what a terrible evil they are raising up and how it demoralizes the services to try and influence this department or that departments, this office or that officer-and if you stick to your determination you will have done a great service to your nation. Putting pressure on service people is, I know, a very common fault of politicians and those with influence in political parties, but I hope you will now, from today, resolve and determine to act according to the humble advice I am giving you.’

0023 hours
Friday 1 August