Original Article: Daily Times
Date Published: September 20, 2012
Original Link: http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\09\20\story_20-9-2012_pg3_3
There is a great deal of talk about ‘justice’ and its dire need in the ‘land of the pure’. What boggles my mind often is how you initiate any such so-called justice, when you have wounds of inequality, corruption, inequity and unfairness since your country was created. Where do you begin I ask often and get those very same empty stares that are a norm when there is no answer.
Consider this if you will. By the way, I am not a civil engineer and if I err somewhere in the intricate details, my humble request to my tech savvy readers is to overlook it. You have a building with major structural issues, yet you try to do some cosmetic repairs here and there. Then some new pied piper comes along and peddles the narrative of fixing the building from the top down. He feels that the issue is with the top. The top is where all the faults of the building are. A huge storm of passionate crowds fed on fantasies all these years tends to follow the mesmerising tune. Let us admit, everyone loves fantasies, because it takes us away from the cruel and ugly real world we live in.
If this example is still murky, let me add some real characters to it so that things become a bit clearer for everyone. There is an angry middle-aged man peddling such fantasies nowadays. The same nonsense of justice and ‘unmatched accountability’ that every military despot sprouted in front of a spellbound nation, glued to its idiot boxes. The usual defence about the ulterior motives of those conniving characters follows, but even if in this environment, a khaki or a non-khaki takes the people into a ‘field of dreams’, people in their desperation are sucked into the usual rhetoric without fail.
What I raise as a simple and logical question is what your meaning of justice is. In my flawed opinion, it is nothing more and nothing less than ‘political victimisation’. The holy ‘Hall of Justice’ in Islamabad is backlogged for years. Every Tom, Dick and Harry wants the ‘ultimate jurists’ to take his case and add it to the ‘Wall of Fame’ as the ultimategift to the entire mankind. With the burden of these cases, it may take a few more decades for our ‘guardians’ to dispense their landmark rulings. Until then, the base of the building may cave in and then everyone starts playing the usual blame game.
Simply speaking, the angry middle-aged man is offering a cosmetic, or let us say, knee-jerk retrofit from the top. My two cents worth on this is it is bound to fail. Period. The real rot is at the bottom. The injustice began at the time of the ‘holy division’. You cannot just ignore all that, focus on the present and briefly touch the very recent past. After adopting the One Nation Theory, the most important step is to account for every single historical wrongdoing since the inception of Pakistan.
Taking a cue from South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), we need to form one in Pakistan. It should consist of unbiased academics, historians, artists, politicians, professionals, jurists and religious leaders, all of them under oath with a singular objective to heal the entire nation. The commission should start from 1947 onwards and work its way up one year at a time. Whoever is responsible for atrocities, wrongdoings, injustice, inequity and plunder should be exposed without fear or favour. Let the people see the truth. Let the people reconcile with the past. Without accountability from day one, we are fooling the entire nation. If the creation of Pakistan was a mistake, then let us admit that and let us show the world what we have learned from our mistake. Wise are the ones who learn from their mistakes and foolish are the ones who cover up and pretend that they are perfect and could never commit any mistakes to begin with.
The constitution should be amended to allow our own TRC to uncover all skeletons hidden in the closet since the birth of Pakistan. The commission should have a certain timeframe like a maximum of two years to go over the entire 65 years of blemishes and atrocities. The recommendations should be forwarded to the entire nation online. One might argue what is the point. Most wrongdoers may be dead; the ones who are alive are perhaps ‘well-connected’ and nothing substantive will happen. The idea here is to find and relay the facts. The people are the ultimate judge. If the wrongdoers who are around accept their culpability in person, they should be granted amnesty, under certain conditions. As reprehensible as it may sound, incarceration of some or perhaps the death penalty for a few will not rid the wounds of many. Only acceptance and repentance will.
I am often amazed at the so-called patriots advising on Twitter that a ‘few should be hanged’ in public and a ‘few should be shot at a close range’ to be taught the ultimate lesson of ‘self-correction’. I often wonder what the founder of our nation would have thought of such utterances. The so-called ‘senior’ anchors ‘retweet’ for this garbage to echo as the ‘voice of the nation’. Now I will do an act of injustice to my English only readers quoting from the maestro Ghalib’s famous Urdu couplet a very apt line. I sincerely apologise as no phrase or translation in English can ever capture the essence of this line, which goes as following, Dil key behlaney ko Ghalib yeh khayal acha hai (To console the heart, this thought is good).