Monday, August 30, 2010

Street vigilantism and our society

By Noor Muhammad

Broad day light mob - lynching of two teenage brothers in Sialkot, Punjab, has dusted Pakistan’s archived collective conscience, yet again. The social networks, newspapers, television channels and websites are buzzing with terms like ‘inhumane’, ‘brutal’, ‘heinous’, ‘God’s wrath’, ‘punishment’, ‘innocent’, etcetera.

There seems to be a consensus in the society, at least among those who express their views openly, that the group of people who disgraced humanity in Sialkot by beating, dragging, lynching and, again, beating bodies of the two young lads, are not desirable human beings. A friend, hurt by the pain of this tragedy, said that he would ‘not hesitate to burn the culprits alive where bodies of the innocent boys were hanged’.

It is not for the first time we have reached such a consensus. Every tragedy makes us shriek with pain and soon afterwards the silence of death sets in, only to be broken by another sordid event.

Hundreds of thousands of words have been been written about burning, shooting and dragging-tied-to-a-jeep-till-death of ‘bandits’ in Karachi, throwing of a daughter of Pakistan in front of dogs in Karachi, slaughtering of children in Punjab to please the ‘lord’, whipping a girl in Swat by a different breed of sadists and murdering of the Butt brothers in Sialkot, recently. Words seem to have lost their meaning. They do not seem to inspire any sustainable curative action at mass level.

Some of us are content blackening pages against violence but deep down we all know there is no satisfaction is bashing the criminals and crime. As claimants of the crown of creation we need to move beyond feeling bad, or even disgusted and infuriated, about crimes, that too extra judicial murder under the nose of law.

If we want to slow down Pakistan’s never ending downward spiral, we will have to be more than sorry for the society. We need to own the society with all its evils and then take concrete steps to reshape social fabrics, towards prosperity, tolerance and respect for life and honor of fellow citizens. Majority of Pakistan’s citizens are God fearing, law abiding and downtrodden people toiling daily and night to make ends meet, dangling between this and that disaster. But there is no dearth of sick minded criminals who incite the law abiding people to violence and make a joke of our nation every now and then. Majority of our people, lacking critical minds, tend to follow the mob instead of displaying the honor and grace to stop injustice.  

Our society, as we have shaped it, or allowed it to shape itself, demand more from us. We need to be available for our society. We need to make the society better for our own sake because only the fools will be content sitting in houses of glass while stones, sticks and bullets fly outside.  

Every incident of mob-justice, or street vigilantism, exposes the hollowness that governs minds and hearts of a section of our society marooned by the absence of collective critical conscience. It also strips naked the majority’s inability to come out with solutions for curing the ailing society.

We have failed to transform our rejection of violence into a process of change. We have not been able to inspire trust in the judiciary and state law. The ascent of criminals and forgery experts to top parliamentary slots is a good enough reason to annihilate credibility of our legislators, laws and the legal system.

Another problem with our society is that despite of being a parliamentary republic our state has not been able to lead the masses to modernity of thought. Our society is largely primitive and our people are unaware of laws of the ‘republic’ they live in. Even today our instincts are medieval and our methods outdated.

Criminals get executed across the world. Some are hanged, some shot, others left to rot in jails for life and still other killed ‘sophisticatedly’. There is no disagreement that crime and criminals need to be kept away from society and punished. What we need to learn is that the process of justice has its own requirements and before executing someone the crime must be proven, with credible and qualified evidences.

There are anecdotal evidences and examples in Islam, faith of the country’s majority, where even the Caliphs followed proper legal procedures to get justice.

There is a lesson for all of in each tragedy of street vigilantism. The state, its government and judicial system need credibility to be effective. A state in which the citizens don’t trust is likely to be a hub of vigilantism. The judiciary, government, military and civil establishment and the rest of us need to search our souls and see how we, all, have been eroding credibility of the state through our actions and words. This would help us understand what’s wrong with us and how have we all, indirectly, become spectators to mob-lynching. We definitely would not like to stay in the audience.

Not published anywhere :-p


اگر ممکن ہے تو اپنا تبصرہ تحریر کریں

اہم اطلاع :- غیر متعلق,غیر اخلاقی اور ذاتیات پر مبنی تبصرہ سے پرہیز کیجئے, مصنف ایسا تبصرہ حذف کرنے کا حق رکھتا ہے نیز مصنف کا مبصر کی رائے سے متفق ہونا ضروری نہیں۔

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اگر آپ کے کمپوٹر میں اردو کی بورڈ انسٹال نہیں ہے تو اردو میں تبصرہ کرنے کے لیے ذیل کے اردو ایڈیٹر میں تبصرہ لکھ کر اسے تبصروں کے خانے میں کاپی پیسٹ کرکے شائع کردیں۔