Saturday, March 19, 2011

Raymond Davis Case: Shariah Lends Saving Grace to Both Pakistan and America

By Saeed Qureshi

The PPP must realize that its government at the center is irredeemably weak and it must voluntarily dissolve it before incurring further ridicule and scorn. Its grip over the instruments of governance is loosening and it is metaphorically a lame duck regime that is mostly engaged in theatrics of broad grinning and making spurious claims about its achievements. By indulging in these fake polemics, it is becoming a laughing stock.

Its weakness was manifest from east to west when despite all legal, social, moral odds and prestige of the country; it had to plan clandestinely to bundle surreptitiously the CIA operative out of Pakistan. It had to fall back upon the seldom practiced Islamic option of blood or compensation money for the families of the Pakistanis killed in war. Judged by the fervor or scale of the present lot of rulers for their attachment to Islam, they look as heathen as the Arab Bedouins before the advent of Islam. What vice is left that has not caught their prying eyes to be tasted, swallowed, chewed and digested.

However, in the present times, any government even if it was as strong as the Roman Empire of yester years, cannot claim to have guts to indict, try and send an macho American assassin to gallows and if not gallows to jail for life term. With Americans, it is usually one way traffic in regard to the safety and well-being of their citizens who are as holier as Saint Patrick or Saint Augustine. The Americans have their typical criterion of justice and that can be summed up in one sentence: “tail you lose, head I win.”

So, momentarily, we may give the benefit of doubt to the shaky and ramshackle Pakistan’s government run by a Wizard named Zardari and a second fiddle prime minister Gilani. It is their best achievement of these three years, since they have been ruling the roost. To be honest and ruthlessly objective, the Islamic code of blood money, mercifully, came to their rescue and they took full advance of that caveat. If they have still stuck to the fulfillment of legal imperatives or heeded the clamors of rabble-rousing radicals, they would have landed Pakistan in an elephantine trouble because Pakistan seems to be of worth equal to one Raymond Davis.

If Jamaat-e-Islami and Imran Khan are blowing trumpets of bartering away national honor, of colossal injustice and infringements of the law, then certainly they are denizens of fools’ paradise. On what other count, our leaders have ever demonstrated that they have the strong spine to call a spade a spade in the face of the external overbearing powers, all the more United State of America which is not in the habit of listening to the bullshit of the client and appendage states like Pakistan. The myopic and moronic leaders as those belonging to Jamaat-e-Islami and Tehrik-Istiklal have been at the roots of the ruin and instability of the political systems in Pakistan.

It is easy to raise fiery slogans to incite the gullible people and bring them out in the streets but what next? A few foolish and easily swayed individuals lose their lives, the society undergoes upheaval, the country relapses to the abysmal situation and the leaders go back to their cozy mansions. This happened when these leaders went whole hog against Mr. Bhutto, They whipped a countrywide agitation and succeeded in dispatching him from power and finally got him hanged.

During their earth shaking anti-Bhutto campaign, the ilk of Mufti Mehmood, Shah Ahmad Noorani and other Muslim stalwarts promised to the expectant nation, the restoration of 1973 constitution, the establishment of Niazm Mustafa and revival of the 1973 prices of basic commodities. Nothing of that sort happened. Instead a person who was a little less than genocidal and heatless Hilaku Khan or “Taimur the Lame” replaced a visionary Bhutto. Ziaul Haq’s 11 years stint in power was a harrowing nightmare brought upon the wonderful people of Pakistan by religious zealots and political turncoats.

So these political and religious leaders in Pakistan are hypocritical and conglomerations of spoilers, who seldom let this marvelous country Pakistan, move in the right direction. They provoke and incite the people with the rosy and catchy slogans of reviving Khilafat Rashida in Pakistan or converting it into a paradise on earth. Inside they are always working for their narrow and smudgy motives and remain in league with foreign masters or with the army. They are errand runners, the bootleggers, the touts, and the apron strings who, instead of honoring the pledges made to the people, have been invariably, pushing the country back into mess, turbulence and poverty.

So if the nation again responds by strikes and agitations, to their frivolous, deceitful rhetoric and fuming demagogy, then there would be more miseries and ruination for the people and for the country. These leaders would again recede to their holes after wreaking havoc. They would sit back, wait for the new occasions to repeat their nefarious pastime, raise hell and heaven and mobilize people either in the name of Islam or national sovereignty with their tempestuous eloquence. Such treachery and ruse they have been practicing since the inception of Pakistan.

On the face, let us give some credit to the present administration of United States that they did not exert back-breaking pressure on Pakistan for immediate and unconditional release of their precious secret operative. The tone of Americans has remained conciliatory although in such cases the patience with Americans is always in short supply. But for two reasons they have demonstrated great deal of patience and restraint and did not go headstrong for unconditional release of the broad- day killer.

One was the extremely precarious and crucial role of Pakistan in tribal areas against the radical militants thus augmenting NATO forces in Afghanistan with crucial military back up and sparing them from Taliban’s cross-border incursions and onslaughts. The contribution of Pakistani armed forces in the American initiated war on terrorism has been monumental and excels that of NATO forces and even other armies in similar situations.

So it was a kind of a bitter pill that American administration swallowed by waiting for the Pakistani court to hand out a verdict favorable to America. After all the Americans is not that much imprudent or naive as to sacrifice and blow up the indispensable role of the Pakistan army in fighting the radical militants for one individual.

Secondly they knew that sooner, the American captive would be released. They were well aware of the public uproar especially from the rightist sections and religious parties for their capacity to mobilize the people for whipping up the demonstrations in Pakistan, not only aggravating the anti American sentiment but also weakening their surrogate government in Pakistan.

Thus they opted for killing the serpent and saving the stick at the same time. This was cleverly maneuvered by backdoor efforts, focused upon the court’s decision in the light of the Islamic Shariah’s injunction about forgiving the murderers in lieu of the money agreed upon between the parties. That shows that United States otherwise wont for quick fixes ,even arm twisting, showed respect not only for the judicial system of Pakistan but reverence and preference for the Islamic Shariah for settlement of such a highly volatile matter.

Mercifully, better sense prevailed on both the friendly countries and traditional allies in the so called war on terror. Their long standing mutual relations were saved from collapsing and possible deterioration. That eventuality would have been more lethal and detrimental to Pakistan than the United States.

The writer is a senior journalist and a former diplomat
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