Silence is no option; bole kay lab azad hain tairay! -by Dr Amjad Cheema

Firstly I would like to salute Bashir Bilour & all those who continue to make ultimate sacrifice while standing up against forces of darkness. Day in & day out humanity is being massacred by these forces of evil. Make no mistake that that greatest threat Pakistan facing today is religious extremism. Sorry I disagree with those who are shouting “corruption, Corruption, Corruption” as the only evil. We can always tackle it with continuation of a democratic process. It’s the religious extremism which has become an existential threat for us. What we are facing is a war between modernity & a medieval mentality; it is a clash between freedom & forces of oppression. The kind of Sharia Taliban want to impose on us is a collection of draconian laws of barbaric past of humanity. What they are preaching is utterly alien to the future of mankind. I do not know how long we are going to lose our love ones to these barbarians but one thing I am certain that that their ultimate victims would the one who, at present, are trying to be their apologists. Here I would like to quote famous statement attributed to Pastor Martin Niemöller (1892–1984) about the inactivity of German intellectuals following the Nazi rise to power and the purging of their chosen targets, group after group.

“When the Nazis came for the communists, I remained silent; I was not a communist.

When they locked up the social democrats, I remained silent; I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the trade unionists, I did not speak out; I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for the Jews, I remained silent; I wasn’t a Jew.

When they came for me, there was no one left to speak out.”

Whereas most of our elder politicians have been equivocal about this threat, it was heartening to hear young Bilawal when he minced no words while prioritizing this threat. Perhaps he was also the only one who could vociferously condemn the assassination of Salman Taseer who in words of Declan Walsh was left hanging in a lonely wind.

We however need the will at a higher level to fight this menace. Unfortunately a confusion game is played after each & every such incident & conspiracy theories are invented. Children of Zia from urban middle class are in abundance on internet to try to justify this massacre of humanity in the name of Jihad. If it’s Yahood o Nisara then why they not attack PMLN, PTI or JI? Why their victims are mostly ANP, PPP, Shia Muslims & our security personnel? Others would blame the participation in war on terror. It would be very naïve to assume that this war will end after NATO forces had pulled out of Afghanistan. Taliban agenda is crystal clear from the letter published by Salim Safi the other day. They are attacking the very

foundations of our state. Our enemy is within us & one does not need to be an Einstein to recognise it. I do not know how many Malala’s, how many Bloor’s, how many Shahbaz’s & how many Benazir’s will we have to sacrifice before realising it?

The seeds of this religious extremism were sown in 80’s when Jihad e Afghanistan was launched. In fact it was the dirtiest war of 20th century; a Frankenstein was created which is now eating its master. They say that as you sow, so shall you reap. Benazir Bhutto said in 2001 that strategic depth created has become a strategic threat for Pakistan. Kiani is still not ready to recognize its face when he remarks that the enemy is amorphous. To me it’s our rulers who are rather amorphous. The enemy has a very clear face & clear agenda; it’s our rulers & leaders who are unable to come to a clear position. Bilawal’s speech is a ray of hope, he said what we wanted to hear from him, and now action should follow the words. I might be dreaming; but there is no harm in dreaming as dreams sometimes become true!



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