Monday, July 26, 2010

Judiciary, Media and Shrines

July 12, 2010
Judiciary, Media and Shrines
By Saeed Qureshi
Why has the Pakistan government chosen to be at warpath with the judiciary and of late with the media? This is a million dollar question that begs detailed answer. The Don Quixote of the present government Babar Awan is fighting multi-directional war with every contender that in his skewed perception was not toeing the government line. In addition, the government is sweeping all the corruption cases under the rug and forgets that a discredited and corrupt lot of people runs the government.
The latest antics like the resolution passed by the Punjab Assembly curbing media’s freedom cannot be expected from an elected provincial government. Yet, Babar Awan the lone crusader for the incumbent government is publically shielding the proponents of this sleazy resolution. These and other farcical gimmicks would in the final run undermine the leftover credibility of the ruling junta.
Can you believe that the worthy prime minister is not aware as to who wrote the letter challenging the appointment of the chief justice of Pakistan? Not long ago, it was the prime minister himself who restored the sacked judges with a stroke of pen. Now he says he does not know who and why someone wrote this nasty letter. Is someone down below or high above bypassing him? If it is the law ministry then the law minister should be arraigned and asked how dare he could do such a nefarious thing. Well it is on record of the apex court that the letter was written by the NAB’s (National Accountability Bureau) prosecutor General Irfan Haider and is part of the official record presented in the Supreme Court.
Theo government has divided the judiciary, the lawyers by bribe and favors to buy their support and loyalties. Now it is coming down with a very hand on the media. So with these malicious steps, the civil society has almost been half debilitated. Yet with onerous dubious distinction, Babar Awan is floating over high and low in the land of Pakistan to do things, which are blatant infringements of the law of the land and the constitution of Pakistan. The courts have been derided, bypassed, and made to look mere retail shops for dispensation of justice. One man under the express or tacit orders of his boss is out to wreck the judicial system of Pakistan, which was restored after great sacrifices and rigorous struggle. Now he is tilting at the media.
Former president Musharraf seemed prone to making amends when he was convinced these were inevitable. His revival of the political system, freeing the media, holding of elections and mending fences with political forces via NRO demonstrated that the chickens finally were allowed to come home to roost.
In addition, the existing government whose leaders had insignificant role in the revival of democracy, civil society, media’s freedom, and judiciary’s independence are now on the rampage with these institutions and wrecking their strength and vitality.
The nation of Pakistan is dying socially, economically and physically. The hope for most of the distressed Pakistanis to survive and subsist is fading. Tell me one project or plan that the government has came up so far, that addresses the meanest problems of the impoverished and downtrodden people of Pakistan? In my earlier article, I have exhorted optimism about a better Pakistan. That is true but how long the ashes would accumulate on which someone would build a new Pakistan.
Now the attack on Data Durbar in Lahore immediately seized the attention of the prime minister of Pakistan who on the other hand does not know who wrote the sinister letter to the supreme challenging the authority of the chief justice to be sitting in his office. The reason is that the prime minister and his family are the part of the shrine system that has been exploiting the gullible people for centuries.
The prime minister’s knee jerk reaction to the Data Durbar attack is fundamentally to lament the desecration of the sacred places but more to forestall the impending threat that can come to the shrine culture in Pakistan. It is an SOS response to the threat posed to the self-preservation and to the survival of the institution, he belongs. It is so because there have been countless terrorist incidents in Pakistan but seldom has the prime minister moved so swiftly and as decisively as in case Data Durbar. His decision to convene a national conference on dealing with terrorism should have been taken long ago.
The great mystic Data Ganj Bakhsh Abul Hassan Ali Hajvery (990-1077 AD), came to India almost a millennium ago. He was a mystic but more than that, he was an outstanding theologian, a learned preacher and eminent scholar of Islam. He would not want a shrine, a tomb, and a mausoleum to be erected on his grave becuase as a scholar of Islam he knew that it was not permitted in Islam. It is strictly prohibited in Islam because Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) decreed not to worship graves and create mediums between God and his creators. God does not accept solicitors because he is closer than our jugular vein. Islam even decrees not to build a permanent grave with stones or bricks.
However, here in India and Pakistan there are countless shrines that are centers for redressing all kinds of people’s problems. Paradoxically, the problems instead of abating or diminishing continue to soar and compound. So the institution of Dargas, Durbars and shrines must be abolished because these are run by the people who are filthy rich, role in sea of money, are the most privileged, travel in slick posh limousines, eat fabulous foods, and take part in politics.
Although they are steeped in materialism and worldly pleasures up to the neck yet they are believed to be the deities of God sharing almighty’s powers. Even in this age of science, reason, and enlightenment, we can see them ruling the hearts and minds of the credulous and superstitious. Yet a real spiritual leader would be more of a thinker, an intellectual, a reformer and not an exploiter or fond of raising mausoleum on his burial place that is turned into venues of exploitation with claims of redressing the needs of the people.
To believe in a human being who is made of flesh and blood, who eats more than the common person, and marries many women, is a cruel and abominable joke with the pristine, pious, and simple teachings of Islam. Islam has been made to look symbolic than an embodiment of eternal codes of life for the salvation and betterment of humans for all ages and regions.
Not only that the institutions of superstition, bigotry, but their foster brother feudalism should also be dismantled finally. Both exploit and enslave the human beings, one in the name of having divine powers while the other through straight oppression and sheer highandedness. This is the biggest paradox in Pakistan and if the people do not relinquish or untangle these nooses of bondage and enslavement there is no way that Pakistan can shape up as a modern, enlightened, progressive, democratic, Islamic state. Islam essentially is a secular religion that allows full freedom to all sects, denominations, and faiths to follow their creeds and dogmas.
Bigoted Islam that is depicted to be ridden with cast, (Syed and others), sectarianism (Shias and Sunnis), and sainthood of shrines cannot cope with the monumental challenges that are raising their heads every now and then. One of these formidable challenges is the clash of civilizations in which Islam has been portrayed to be challenging the West synonymous with Christianity and Judaism.
Nevertheless, apart from this clash of civilizations or religions, the world at large is moving fast on material and technological tracks. If we remain bogged in the primitive and shrine based faith, priesthood, sainthood, fake mystics, shamans and ascetics, the cult of imposter and worldly holy men; then we cannot get rid of the shackles of mental and material backwardness. That is what our country is plagued with and that is what is at the root of its poverty and lack of development. Let us venerate what Data Ganj Bakhsh said.

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