Few nations in the world have suffered and continue to suffer as much savagery and violence as Pakistan. But what makes Pakistan conspicuous is its lack of imagination and insistence to stick to the age-old, tried-out hackneyed responses. It continues to insist on ‘doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results’ – often termed as a state of insanity. It may therefore be sad but reasonable to suggest that we are likely to see much more violence and bloodshed in the days to come. Unless we change our methods and processes, the results of our ‘more of the same’ efforts are not likely to be any different.
Increasingly it appears to be a foregone conclusion that the state has abandoned its responsibility to protect the life and liberty of its citizens. Instead it has opted to protect the territorial integrity of Saudi Arabia at all costs. If the Islamic Republic wishes to say goodbye to violence and militancy, its first act must be to reverse this order.
The second act must be to disband and stop active patronage of militants – both religious and political. Hanging a low down operator after 18 years and not touching those who planned and ordered the killing gives a clear message that the rulers are themselves accomplices of a broader militant consortium. The Pakistani ruling class supports at least 500 well-armed private militias. Violating Article 256 of the Constitution (that prohibits all private armies) is considered a ‘democratic’ right and a fashion statement. The state ought to have learnt a lesson from the recent events in Badin, where the entire district police was rendered helpless when pitted against a single private militia.
The third act of our leaders ought to be to reform the police and disconnect it from the clutches of the politicians. This ought to be done through an Act of the Parliament. There is no need to create additional police units under fancy new titles. Instead the 40% police deployed exclusively for the protection of a few hundred VIPs must be withdrawn to serve ordinary citizens. The police has been rendered so helpless and dysfunctional that the IG Police had to request the Sindh High court to order a ‘Wadera’ to surrender his weapons and disband his private militia. Will the police next be asking the courts to request the thieves not to steal or muggers not to mug.
The fourth act of the state must be to legislate new laws and strike down those that differentiate citizens on the basis of their faith. A state that cannot perform its day-to-day functions must not assume additional responsibilities on behalf of the Lord. The state must declare religion as a private matter between an individual and his Maker that requires no governmental intervention. The requirement of declaring one’s religion or sect ought to be removed from all official documents and transactions.
The fifth action requires that the law-enforcing agencies adopt a proactive approach instead of reacting after every incident. Eliminating instruments of violence and creating effective monitoring systems are essential to war against terror. Currently the majority of weapons in the hands of civilians are supported by no licenses , fake licenses or licenses of highly dubious origin. The state has no record of how many licenses it issued and to whom. The Punjab government admits that it has no clue of 900,000 licenses that it issued (as bribes) to its cronies. The figure for other provinces is yet higher. The KPK has recently issued 500 Kalashnikov permits to its doctors, while licenses for similar killing machines can be easily obtained for a ‘price’.
No citizen, regardless of his rank or status must be allowed to possess, carry or display any weapon of any bore – licensed or otherwise. Import, sales and possession of all kinds of weapons require a complete ban. As long as the state does not understand and implement these basic prerequisites, it can be sure that whatever else it might do, the results will not be any different.