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    Article Details
    Caught in the vortex of time
    Wednesday, February 10, 2010 (15:08 PST)

    The murder attempt on Sheikh Rashid, a candidate of his own Awami Muslim League from NA-55 by-election scheduled for later this month, is another example of the deep-set violence syndrome that has come to symbolise our society. This follows the dastardly attack on a religious procession in Karachi a few days ago that resulted in the death of over 30 people and effectively reflects the barbarous and humiliating degeneration that we have come to suffer from, crossing the threshold to literally being at perpetual war with ourselves.

    If one were to look for reasons for this phenomenon, there would be many. It could be traced to the economic disparity that marks our society with large sections suffering from acute deprivation. For them, it is a consistent battle for survival from meal to meal while, on the other hand, the loaded segments are engaged in a crude and heartless display of their riches with scant respect for those who live each day of their life on the verge of extinction. There are hundreds and thousands who cannot access basic medial care. Consequently, countless cases are recorded each day of maternal and child mortality. This syndrome can also be traced to those who do not have the resources to send their children to schools. They are the ones who either languish on the roadside looking for petty morsels, or become easy prey to the culture of violence and extremism. Increasing unemployment is sowing seeds of disenchantment and frustration. Cumulatively, it could be traced to those millions who suffer because of reasons not of their own making.

    While all this contributes significantly to the emergence of the culture of violence, it is in the ignominious attempt to perpetuate the existing system that establishes unjust disparity between various sections of society that is principally responsible for this humiliating degeneration that we have sunk into. This is a kind of syndrome that is not accountable to any yardstick of law or justice. It operates by its own guidelines that are laced with the blood of the underprivileged of society. A continuation of this heartless dispensation is bound to provoke disaster of multi-faceted dimensions.

    Of late, the propensity to challenge the rule of law has become even more crude and blatant. There are unmistakable indications that the privileged sections of society, who are politically endowed also, are determined to devise devious ways and means to escape the law and continue plundering the wealth of the nation. They believe that law and punishment are only for the underprivileged. For them, it is only a means to spur them further on course to loot and pillage. The fear is that, if it remains unchecked, it could provoke violence of an unprecedented nature and form that would wreck the edifice of society posing grave dangers to the state. In other words, the machinations of this bunch of people that believes that it is immune to law and its dictates are damaging the fabric of society and, consequently, a workable mechanism has to be evolved whereby such people could be checked before they inflict irremediable damage that may even endanger the state.

    Another feature that has come to symbolise the ruling political hierarchy is its penchant to lie. This group is led by the irrepressible interior minister who likes the glare of the cameras. Not a day passes when he does not deny the presence of Blackwater personnel in the country.

    The moral deprivation of the leaders who rule was never more evident than it is now. The top leader of the country is claiming immunity from prosecution as the reason why he should be allowed to continue being the president. While there are numerous outstanding cases against him in the courts in Pakistan and abroad, he insists that he cannot be tried. Even after the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) was declared void ab initio by the Supreme Court and all the cases pending against him were reopened, he defies law by hiding behind his purported immunity -- I say 'purported' because there are legal experts who question this immunity and its applicability particularly when the cases stood reopened against him at a time when he was only a candidate to be the president of the country. Was he eligible at that moment to be the president of Pakistan? If not, can he remain the president of the country now? Even more important, should he be allowed to remain the president? If the answer to that is in the negative, how can he be asked to leave particularly in an environment that is symbolised by a blatant defiance of law? There are threats of using the Sindh card. There are threats of hanging people in the open. There are confessions of having thought of breaking up Pakistan. But the most humiliating of all, there is no one to take notice of these serious transgressions.

    There are people who take exception to the Supreme Court having set up monitoring cells to oversee the implementation of its judgement regarding the NRO. While such people may have their legal logic to back them, I believe that the Supreme Court did not have an option but to devise an implementation mechanism also together with the historic adjudication to ensure that justice is done. What has transpired since the announcement of the decision and the manner in which the rulers are trying to sabotage it only strengthens my argument in this regard. Not only that it was necessary to set up these monitoring cells, it has become even more incumbent upon the apex court to devise a foolproof methodology whereby its adjudication would be implemented in totality and those who have erred should be brought to justice without exception. Therein may lie the only rationale for the people to continue believing in the state and the promise of justice coming their way at some time in the future.

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