Guest Blog by Urooj Zia
The past few days have been bleak. Not because the issue of the suspended chief justice of Pakistan (CJP) hasn’t been resolved yet. Not because inflation continues to rise in the country, or that new taxes are being imposed, or that the I.I. Chundrigar road has been FUBAR-ed. No. The past few days have been bleak because of this.
First these “students” camped out at a children’s library in Islamabad because their seminary, which, incidentally, was made on (illegally) encroached land, had been destroyed (partially). They demanded that the seminary be rebuilt. But did the government take action against them? No sir! Officials can manhandle the CJP and his wife, they can strip naked a young man during a peaceful protest to search for his missing father, they can baton-charge and injure a bunch of lawyers during a peaceful march, but no one lifts a finger against these armed, danda-weilding seminary “students”.
Please note that I’m using the word “peaceful” time-and-again. A “peaceful” protest or march is when the participants are UNARMED, and aren’t harming anyone or anything.
The seminary students, however, were NOT peaceful. They were ARMED, and therefore, a threat to safety and lives and property. But were they taken to task? Naa-uh!!! The erstwhile minister saheb sent over to “negotiate” with them yielded, and amidst much fanfare, laid the “first brick” himself — the seminary would be rebuilt.
On March 28, these “students” stormed a house in Islamabad, and took a widow captive, along with her daughter, daughter-in-law, and a six-month-old baby. Why? Because, according to the seminary-wallahs, the widow was running a prostitution den from her house.
On March 29, all captives were released after a public “confession” by the alleged brothel-owner.
The police claim that they will “take action” against the students after April 3rd. Yes — give them time to escape, and then say you couldn’t find them. Blah.
My point is:
1) Even if the house WAS a prostitution den, so WHAT?! Pakistan is NOT a welfare state. Everyone therefore has the right to earn a living as they see fit.
2) Moreover, since prostitution IS against the law, it was up to the police to take action — NOT these so-called students. WHAT gave the seminary-wallahs the right to barge into someone’s home?
3) Why were law-enforcement agencies silent? Why was the government silent?
4) Why was everyone else silent? Why is everyone still silent?
Not so much as a *peep* was heard, either from the president, or from “civil society” organizations. Have we really become so apathetic?
Oh, and here’s a REAL gem: “The government is avoiding any action against Laal Masjid and Jamia Hafsa in view of respect for women and mosques.” – President General Pervez Musharraf.
I am angry — nay!
I am OUTRAGED. I PROTEST