Pakistan is a donkey state
The key pillar of a democracy is the will of the majority. As the meaning of an Urdu couplet goes, the beauty of democracy is that we can always be ruled by donkeys as long as the majority is made up of donkeys.
So, if the base concept is the assumption that the majority should get their way regardless of the quality of their choices, everyone has to follow. By that token, I am now quite convinced Pakistan is a donkey state. Forgive me if I sound unpatriotic – I am not, I love my country (or what is left of it). What I have lost, is hope.
Salmaan Taseer’s murder, shocking as it is, was somehow not totally unexpected. The kind of threats he was receiving or the protests against him were no secret. All because his opposition to a controversial law and his support for a Christian blasphemy convict (where an official enquiry points to likely innocence), was in itself considered equivalent to blasphemy.
Coming back to donkeys. Not one of the political leaders have had the guts to publicly condemn the reasons for his murder while conveying their shock at the incident. Not one has said that the so-called fatwa issued for the governor’s head by small-time mullahs could be wrong. The murderer is being hailed as a Ghazi (conqueror) and given a hero’s welcome at court premises by educated lawyers who showered him with rose petals! No less than 300 lawyers have offered to defend him free of charge. Text messages are circulating on cell phones praising him for his heroic act and condemning those who oppose the assassination as equal blasphemers! Facebook has pages dedicated in his honour with thousands of fans. The largest Urdu newspaper runs a front-page story declaring, “There should be no funeral for Salman Taseer and no condemnation for his death.”
The voices of sanity are muted. From the public and civil society, no one can raise a moderate opinion without being subjected to condemnation and life threats. No debate on the blasphemy law will be tolerated. No discussion on rule of law (on the subject of this assassination) is acceptable. The sentence has been passed, the verdict carried out. The majority has spoken.
Those spending endless hours defending the country to the rest of the world saying extremists are in a minority and that there is hope; those social activists out there who still want to call out to Pakistanis to “wake up and shake it up;” who are we fooling?
I think it’s time to wake up ourselves. We may love the country, but make no mistake, this is donkey country.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.