Time to Step into 2011
A brief overview of some of the main events of 2010 that I covered in my blog.
2010 had been another volatile year in the history of Pakistan. One of the rather surprising event was a deadly attack on the Ahmadi mosques which claimed 70 odd lives. Surprising because it was the first major and well planned attack on the members of Ahmadi community. I blogged about it and received fiery comments. Some of the readers were perturbed that why people were making an issue out of it when ‘Muslims’ were equally targeted by the militants in Pakistan. It was not about comparison. If the bloggers and columnists had not vehemently condemned that gruesome attack, the likelihood was that it would have been swept under the carpet because we know how minorities and their issues are treated in Pakistan.
In May, another absurd event took place when the Lahore High Court banned Facebook, Wikipedia and some other sites in Pakistan based on the derogatory caricatures of Holy Prophet (PBUH). I thought ignoring such online content was the best option. The rationale was that various such incidents take place daily in the cyber world so was it possible to police each site and stop the access? How would have been if the court had ordered people to employ self censorship and stop visiting such sites which outrages them. But expecting such rationality from the far right panel of LHC is like expecting the sun to rise from the west.
In June, finally after prolonged speculation the cover over the fake credentials of parliamentarians blew away. A statement by CM Baluchistan Aslam Raisani, ‘Degree is degree, authentic or fake‘ was a slap on the face of all those Pakistanis who earned their degrees by hard work. Ironically, the founder of the nation, Jinnah was a Lincoln’s inn graduate and a practicing lawyer. Majority of the political leaders who helped create Pakistan were graduates of Aligarh, while the present lot can’t even pass BA- this tells a lot about the mess we are in today.
On July 28th Pakistan’s aviation history witnessed the deadliest crash when a private airliner went down in the mountains of Margala in Islamabad killing all 152 passengers on board. Tragedies always leave painful tales behind, however, the callously shameful act was inscribing the word ‘kafir’ (infidel) on the coffin of a young Hindu student and activist Prem Chand. I’ve no words to express my disgust.
Like everything else Pakistan cricket hit all time low with a string of spot fixing, match fixing allegations. As a result three cricketers including one of the emerging fast bowlers Muhammed Amer was banned. What a silly chap! With loads of talent he could have been a superstar in no time but alas! As if that was not enough a few months later our wicketkeeper ran away on the pretext of threats to his life and family abandoning the series against South Africa in UAE.
The monsoon in 2010 brought the worst floods in the country. The sluggish response by the government was criticized and it was only after a number of appeals the international community realized the extent of damage. According to an estimate 2 million hectares of the cultivated land was completed submerged. The agricultural loss alone was estimated to be Rs. 249 billion. It was in addition to thousands of homeless people struggling for their survival.
The lynching of Sialkot brothers in a broad daylight by a mob was a chilling reminder of growing lawlessness in our society. Despite the arrest of culprits who were identified in the video, it seems the case isn’t making any headway. There is no follow up in the media either.
The case of Aasia Bibi, a Christian woman accused of blasphemy also attracted media attention when she was sentenced to death. The president pardoned her death sentence but the right wing parties and group threatened to take to streets in case she was pardoned or blasphemy laws were amended. This case made it clear that Pakistani society is divided into two sections; the liberals, (not necessarily non-religious or non-practicing Pakistanis but sure they are in minority) and the rightists.
The CIA led drone strikes in the tribal belt of Pakistan gained momentum and 111 strikes were recorded in 2010 as compare to 52 in 2009. The debate whether or not these strikes are helpful in rooting out militants is still on.
In short, its apt to say, don’t look back at 2010. Let’s see what 2011 holds for Pakistan. At this moment I only wish peace and an ODI World Cup win for Pakistan. Am I asking for too much?
Happy New Year all!