Schoolboy Aitziz Hasan (age 15) and Karachi cop Chaudhry Aslam Khan
Try to write honestly about violence in Pakistan and the accusations of being some “foreign agent” come flying. This is somewhat hilarious given that two of my family were unlawfully killed at the hands of US, Brit governments and I spent years in litigation (but that’s another story). If I am an agent of anything, I try to be an agent of the truth and expect the flak that comes with it.
My bottom line is that I condemn ALL violence whether state, group, individual.
Another day in Pakistan and more death and destruction. Today there are two drawing much media attention, the first is Aitzaz Hasan, the teenager killed tackling an individual strapped to a suicide vest, the second a high ranking police officer Chaudhry Aslam Khan, known for his tough stance on insurgency.
I am appalled and deeply saddened to hear of the death of a brave young schoolboy who gave the ultimate sacrifice, his life to prevent his classmates from being blown up. This youngster deserves to be showered in awards but no amount of shining plaques will ever diminish the suffering of his family and friends. A personal loss and a loss to Pakistan, the loss of hope that a child can go to school and simply complete his studies in peace.
Full story can be read here http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-25663992
I have got to ask the question though… what drove another person to believe that the only meaning to his/her life was through detonation and the killing of others… another who somewhere along the line lost hope, at least on this earth.
Then there is the killing of “Pakistan’s toughest cop” subjected to repeated attacks who died in Karachi when a vehicle packed with explosives rammed his car. Initially there was a twitter battle regarding who might be responsible, Tehrik-i-Taliban (TTP) or political party Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) who were alleged to have added him to a hit list after multiple operations in Karachi. TTP quickly released a statement however as follows :-
TTP Mohmand Agency claims the responsibility of FIDAI attack on CID S-P Chaudhry Aslam ,who was involved on torturing Mujahidden in prison and killed many of them while torture. This attack was to avenge killing of our friends by him.
We warn all those who torture our friends in jails, If they don’t stop their unlawful activities, we inform them that their future well be worse than Chaudhry. This attack we title with the name of our friends killed in Karachi in prison, Dr. Maqbool, Abdurrahman and all those who have been killed by forces in torture centers.
Tehreek Taliban Pakistan Mohmand Agency.
Ehsanullah Ehsan (Mohmand Agency, TTP)
Investigative journalist Umar Cheema tweeted that Aslam was “one of those fallen figures whose martyrdom should not be disputed” also saying that “it was an honor to hear the widow of Chaudhry Aslam. She sacrificed her time and prime for letting Chaudhry Aslam to become what he is being mourned for.”
The Independent stated;
Since 2008, Mr Aslam had taken on and taken out countless numbers of criminals, including the 2010 killing Rehman Dakait, a notorious gangster from Baluchistan.
Yet his methods had also sparked controversy and he had been accused on a number of occasions of being involved in extra-judicial killings, or “encounter”. Once he was suspended. A series of investigations had cleared him of wrong-doing but the accusations did not stop. He always denied them.
“I have never staged fake encounters in my career, nor have I been involved in extra-judicial killings, he once told a local paper. “All encounters that I have been involved in have been in self-defence.”
Mustafa Qadri (researcher, Amnesty International, Pakistan) had a different take on how Aslam should be remembered responding to me by saying, “likely Aslam did torture, also worked closely with MQM, other political parties and yes even some militant groups… ‘honest’ cop no, brave definitely.” He went on to say, I fear hagiography (turning someone into a figure beyond reproach) will trump honest reflection on Chaudhry Aslam and more importantly how we define ‘good’ and ‘bad’ violence.”
One of the most disturbing aspects of Pakistan is the imbalance when considering sources of violence. Yes there is great focus on insurgents who more often than not claim their acts of aggression however there is little condemnation in the media regarding state violence, allegations of enforced disappearances, military operations targeting civilians, state supported drone attacks and torture chambers. Pakistan remains in bed with the US supporting its War on Terror but it is the Pakistan people suffering and dying every day.
State agencies must themselves be governed by the law of the country and not made a special case or the moral arguement is completely lost. There is no question that teenager Aitaz Hasan was a hero tacking a bomber but address the state terrorist apparatus too and their role in radicalizing youth or more young kids will die needlessly!
Ex-military ruler Pervez Musharraf
TTP also made comment on ex- military ruler Pervez Musharraf who now faces allegations of treason but missed attending court due to health problems http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-25663987
There is continued anger over his past support for US drone strikes and fierce military operations. The translation I received read;
Musharraf is now calling for help but no one is ready to help him. There was once a time that he used to frighten his own people by waving his fist that they are unaware of the power of the state but now he is so weak. It was him who was unaware of the power of The ALMIGHTY. He used to address the nation in the voice of God. Hadn’t he thought of the power of GOD when he was frightening the students of Jamia Hafsa from the power of the state. It is such a shame that he has been welcomed by cases and he has nowhere to run. Now he must have acknowledged the power of mullah. It is very likely that he will be saved because no one can dare to challenge the army. Here the constitution is only what the army wants. Who doesn’t know that Musharraf’s arrival to hospital instead of the court was a drama. Now if the commando escapes with the help of establishment, he won’t be able to escape the justice of ALLAH SWT who is the Lord of this universe.
This is a time for people to listen to each other and face up to uncomfortable truths. There appears to be a distinct lack of strong, honest, mediators with common sense to initiate dialogue (now needed more than ever)… Perhaps that’s part of the problem… mediation is left to the war mongers, the vengeful agitators! Journalists are killed for reporting honestly trying to better inform the public and the status quo remains intact. Pakistan has become a ginormous charnel house built on the cries of the suffering and the bones of many innocent civilians.
Carol Anne Grayson is an independent writer/researcher on global health/human rights and is Executive Producer of the Oscar nominated, Incident in New Baghdad. She is a Registered Mental Nurse with a Masters in Gender Culture and Development. Carol was awarded the ESRC, Michael Young Prize for Research 2009, and the COTT ‘Action = Life’ Human Rights Award’ for “upholding truth and justice”. She is also a survivor of US “collateral damage”.