A pure or senseless nation?
Oh, the disgust! Oh, the outrage over the barbaric killings of two brothers in Sialkot, my home city!
While police officers watching the incident without any sign of disapproval exposed serious flaws in the working of law-enforcement agencies, public views on crime and punishment cannot be ignored.
It happened a day after the country’s 63rd birthday, a day already mired in misery as hundreds of thousands of Pakistanis roamed the land in search of dry ground. It was exposed to the world when Hafiz Imran, a reporter for the private TV channel Dunya News, recorded a very clear footage of the callous incident.
The footage clearly showed the faces of 18 people who actively took part in the beating. It also showed that the police tied up both brothers. Their dead bodies were then carried around the city in a tractor trolley, escorted by a police car. After the killing, brothers Hafiz Mughees and Hafiz Muneeb were hanged upside down in an open street.
Photo: brothers Hafiz Mughees and Hafiz Muneeb.
The image of the brothers’ bloodied, beaten and bruised bodies is a tragic symbol of the nation’s mutilated conscience. The barbaric killing in broad daylight by the relatives of those four boys, whom the two brothers injured during a cricket match, has left the entire nation in a state of deep shock.
All over the country, people are condemning the barbaric act of those who took part in the killing. One wonders whether the broad distinction between humans and animals has actually vanished. The irony deepens when it is noticed that the police were there as spectators, watching the entire scene as if they were immune to the lynching.
Not only the president, but also the chief justice of Pakistan has taken suo moto action against the culprits. It is worth mentioning that some senior police officials involved in the case have disappeared from the scene.
But the lynching itself is nothing new. Read any report by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and you will see that this is a fairly regular occurrence. Christians, Hindus, homosexuals, suspected paedophiles and robbers have been killed at the hands of mob justice.
It’s true that Pakistan is passing through very difficult economical, political and environmental phases. Experts suggest that events like the Sialkot killing are products of the nation’s deep frustration and they could be very harmful; they say that Pakistan badly needs to develop into a mature, civilized and patient nation to get things on the right track.
But I do not completely agree with this. We are, and have always been, a barbaric, degenerate nation which takes pleasure in bloodlust. Our nation was forged during a bloody partition, in which up to one million people were massacred. One just has to read eyewitness accounts of the riots, the train butchery, the brutal rapes and slaughter of that period to get a feel of the heady, almost orgasmic, delight that the perpetrators of these crimes revelled in as the nation was born.
Barbarity and sadism are ever present in our society. We are a state in which some politicians can openly condone the burying of women alive by declaring it part of our culture. Our religious discourse often celebrates the brutality and violence of medieval Arabia. This has always been an ugly reality of Pakistan and always will be.
The Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a misnomer. Pakistan has never been a pure, peaceful Islamic state. And it never will be. Rather than drawing inspiration from the Holy Qur’an, our nation models itself on another book in which children become savages. Pakistan is not the land of the pure. We are Lord of the Flies.
What a shame that politicians have been busy telephoning the parents of the two brothers and assuring them that all those involved will be brought to justice. While I was writing these lines, Hafiz Imran, the whistleblower, was left with broken arms by unidentified motorcyclists outside his residence. Where is the justice? And we are a nation which collectively stands watching, like the mob in Sialkot.