Tuesday, the 16th of April was an extraordinary day in Pakistan. The sun rose to bring into view a brutal attack on the convoy of PML-N leader, Sannullah Zehri in Khuzdar, Balochistan.

Though Zehri survived the assault, unfortunately three members of his family lost their lives.

Police pointed the finger at the Baloch insurgent group, the Balochistan Liberation Front (BLF) that has already threatened to thwart the election in Balochistan.

But the tragic episode rudely brought home a stinging realisation to the PML-N: Keeping mum about armed militant threats may give it space to hold rallies and corner meetings in the Punjab, elsewhere it is as venerable to the psychotic rage of extremists as are secular parties like the ANP, MQM and the PPP.

The PML-N has to realise that by remaining awkwardly vague about its stand on the threat faced by secular parties from those who slaughter indiscriminately in the name God, it cannot remain unharmed in a country now overflowing with mad men of all shapes, sizes, hue and colour.

If those who mercilessly cut down Zehri’s family members belonged to an outfit that evokes hatred in the name of Baloch nationalism, the same Tuesday witnessed yet another bloody attack on the ANP by those who consider themselves to be the only true Muslims in this country.

Ever since the TTP threatened to attack leaders and rallies of the ANP, MQM and PPP, it has planted a bomb in front of almost every little step that the ANP has taken.

On that eventful, gory Tuesday, the extremists were at it again blowing up a small ANP rally in Peshawar that was also being attended by veteran ANP leader, Ghulam Ahmed Bilour. His younger brother, Bashir Bilour, had already been killed by the extremists.

Bilour only barely managed to escape the onslaught, but the attack put to death 17 people, including eight children.

It is perfectly reasonable to ask exactly how killing innocent men, women and children pleases the Almighty and benefit the faith that He bestowed upon us Muslims through his last Messenger?

Equally rational is to question the sanity of men who slaughter unarmed civilians in the most sneaky and cowardly manner and then claim that their faith and God ordains it?

But even more pressing should be the question seeking an enquiry into the state of mind of those who, despite the ever-increasing episode of mindless bloodshed that our TV screens are usually splattered with, still manage to actually end up blaming the victims.

And here I am not only talking about the confused urban middle-class kids who move to and fro from their Xbox consoles to their laptops, bashing out ill-informed and knee-jerk gibberish on Twitter and Facebook — reactionary nonsense that sounds as foul as their fast-food burps.

They are simply mimicking all those noble men and women who appear on TV with the sole aim to obfuscate the obvious truth about the sheer brutality of the madmen.

They do this with reactive rhetorical arguments studded with pointy terms like geo-political situation, Islamophobia, drone attacks and corruption, etc.

If they can’t get themselves to forgive the ‘last five years of record-breaking corruption,’ of ANP, MQM and PPP leaders who have so far been killed by the extremists; and, in a way, see the killings as God’s retribution against these awful, awful politicians, what about the men, women and children who had absolutely nothing to do with what the satanic politicians were up to?

How is the mass murders justified? In this case, of course, expect the drone argument to sprout like a wild flower, and angry laments about how we are fighting someone else’s war to kick in.

So about 49,000 Pakistani civilians, politicians, cops and soldiers have been massacred by those who kill indiscriminately just because drones chase them and we are fighting an alien war?

Ah, if it was all that simple. TV channels showed the heartbreaking scene of a nine-year-old child weeping and beating himself at the site where our anti-imperialist heroes tried to blow up an aged leader of the ANP.

No one knows if the kid was doing so because he had lost a relative or a friend in the attack, or was he in shock, but imagine a son, brother, nephew or close relative of yours as young as that unfortunate boy going through a similar episode.

The extremists are what they are and they take pride in their madness. That’s why to me more disturbing are apparently sane men and women who seem to muster their sadness, outrage and tears only if a tragedy comes with the words drone, America and Karachi gangs. As if all other acts of murder and violence are justified and not worth outraging about.

The lives of the loved ones of the 49,000 Pakistanis killed since 2002 have been shaken. On Tuesday, everyone else (especially in Karachi) was shaken by an earthquake (about 5.9 on the Richter Scale).

Amazing how well Karachi managed to survive the quake, with all those tall buildings and congested apartment blocks.

On the night of the earthquake, a famous TV anchor did us all a great favor by talking to a seismologist. But, alas, since for some strange reason any talk about science on local TV channels requires to be balanced out by the musings of a religionist, the anchor then promptly called in a cleric to give that inevitable religious twist to the topic.

His mighty insight: The Almighty creates earthquakes in societies that listen to music and have become obscene.

How conveniently we trivialise the glory of the Almighty and how quickly we reduce science to mean nothing but a heap of secular, Western nonsense.

So remember, the next time you switch on your Ipod, you might be inviting an earthquake. Meanwhile nothing of the sort happens when men slaughter women and children in the name of God.

Of course, nothing obscene about that, no?

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Comments (70)

Nony
April 21, 2013 5:37 pm
i have myself listened to many of them during khutba of friday prayers saying Pakistanis are suffering because God is not happy with them (as if God personally told them). As per them God gets offended due to women not wearing a Burqa or men not having foot long beard and then he calls for floods, earthquake and sometimes President.
FR
April 21, 2013 12:01 pm
Sry - NFP has brought to light the insecurities and moral dilemma of a nation that has been interminabley fed one-sided and twisted version of history. To add to NFP's list -"beruni hath" and "Indian conspiracies" are also welcomed as worthy explanations for the random violence that pepper our everyday life. While drone attacks seem to favorite drawing room discussions the fact that Pakistan has yet to experience a single Muharram without some senseless act of sectarian violence escapes mention and those who venture to discuss may face the "apt" question - "Why don't you criticize Indian atrocities in Kashmir?"
AHA
April 21, 2013 12:10 pm
NFP, this is a masterpiece. Let us look at this: "How conveniently we trivialize the glory of the Almighty and how quickly we reduce science to mean nothing but a heap of secular, Western nonsense." It seems people have not noticed this, but you have subtly extended the reach of your debate.
rana1
April 21, 2013 6:02 pm
well in the light of quran earthuakes were a punishment for the people who did not follow the rules of ALLAH.e.g SODOM N GOMMORAH ,The great flood during prophet Noah and then some tribes were erased from the face of earth for defying GOD. Maybe NADEEM its time for this to culminate in many parts of the world including pakistan and afghanistan whose people are killing each other using the name of ALLAH, or on behalf of some fascist groups or beliefs. ALLAH abhores killing under any name except if its a true jihad.
pathanoo
April 21, 2013 7:06 pm
Only from the pen of Nadeem paracha come such powerful, honest analysis. I always wonder why most Pakistanis, at least who comment here, invoke Insallah, Islam and Allah to solve these problems when it is clearly in their capacity to get rid of these terrorists....Just stand up to them; eliminate them. God only helps those who help themselves.
Zaheer
April 21, 2013 12:13 pm
I couldn’t control myself laughing at “The Almighty creates earthquakes in societies that listen to music and have become obscene”. That is outrageously hilarious.
RSS
April 21, 2013 10:04 am
Plenty...!
Sh
April 21, 2013 10:03 am
lolz :D
bkt
April 21, 2013 10:01 am
Afghanistan gets a lot of earthquakes a lot of the time. Perhaps the almighty really is trying to tell us something our maulvis don't want to hear?
shariff
April 21, 2013 9:59 am
very confused!!!!!!
T. Celtic
April 21, 2013 9:59 am
"It means millions of Muslims believe in the above kind ideology" No. They don't. You don't know what is in their minds. You are projectingyour own prejudices, if you but knew.
LOL
April 21, 2013 9:55 am
"Balochis insurgents need to be tackled politically..they have some genuine grievances" "tackled politically" has never been, never is, the solution to murder, whatever the grievances.
ScimitarBlade
April 21, 2013 9:48 am
Drones constitute an illegal foreign invasion of an UN sovereign state. An urgent matter for Pak Foreign Office and the UN to attend to. Failing which the Constitution requires that Pakistan’s Military be used in all its modalities and with full force to destroy and eliminate the intrusion with extreme prejudice and deadly force. Protecting ALL citizens and territory of Pakistan from foreign invasion is the primary and mandatory duty of the military under the Constitution. Not to do so amounts to dereliction of duty and cowardice, tantamount to treason. Gangster and crime activity is a local affair with foreign agent involvement, requires law enforcement by the police and security forces, including the ISI. Please appreciate the differentiate between the two types of infringements of peace. The first is a de facto declaration of war. The second is organized crime and covert agent provocateur activity. Each requires a different approach.
Moderate Muslim
April 21, 2013 8:47 pm
That is the problem my friend. What exactly is true jihad? If it entails killing others then, it is barbarism regardless of the interpretation that one wants to make from the religion. Enough is enough.
Karachi Wala
April 21, 2013 10:58 am
Nice try once again by NFP but seems it is getting a little too late now. Political parties in general PML-N and PTI in particular, have done what for years religious parties could not do.
Muhammad Omer Farooq
April 21, 2013 10:37 am
A critical and a very serious analysis of the whole situation. I guess it is because of witnessing the heartbreaking scene of a nine-year-old child weeping and beating himself at the site of the blast that took place at ANP rally. Where i completely share the view, i highly doubt that it will make any difference to this insensitive Nation, confused in their thought process.
WALEED FAKHAR
April 21, 2013 8:01 am
HEHEHEHE
Shruti
April 22, 2013 11:05 pm
and sometimes the President :D :P. Good one Nony!
Shruti
April 22, 2013 10:46 pm
Mr. Paracha, lovely piece of writing.
G.A.
April 21, 2013 1:11 pm
This social media generation seriously needs to stop putting so called Islamic scholars on a pedestal they don't deserve. Never have I ever seen or heard these YouTube 'scholars' asking Muslims to try and excel in studies or try and reach the moon and the stars. The world is so far ahead in inventions.
rana1
April 21, 2013 6:18 pm
dim wits,half wits,imbeciles and even uneducated idiots dont blow each other ONLY religious nuts and mercenaries(born as muslim with no value or knowledge of islam) paid by religious nuts and enemies of a system kill others and get killed. Lets face it MUSLIMS are on sale OR are getting paid to do anything under the sun today.(just like their leaders)
maximusMinimus
April 22, 2013 1:47 am
Tsunami of Beer! Woo-hoo!
rana1
April 21, 2013 6:21 pm
if you read and believe in the hadiths, a time will come wherein Saudi arabia will be in turmoil and a large area of it will sink in the earth and ONLY mecca will stand.Rest ALLAH knows how true these hadiths are.
Capt C M Khan
April 22, 2013 7:20 pm
@ abbas, You are defending the CORRUPTION of Pakistan? You are enjoying life in Montreal and are least bothered about your Shia brothers being used as Target practice by the other Pakistanis. If I write Shame on you for this act of yours Dawn will not publish this comment.
Aamir
April 21, 2013 3:15 pm
I agree, Alqaida and Taliban invasion is a threat. Pak army must step up and take action against them asap.
Aamir
April 21, 2013 3:09 pm
yes, elaborate please
Jamal
April 21, 2013 3:01 pm
And you are an idiot... How about this for an uncalled for comment?
London_Laddy
April 21, 2013 2:59 pm
Well said NFP! This is "more of a cauldren of dim-wits, half-wits, imbeciles, religious nuts uneducated idiots all mixed in one"
Hindu
April 21, 2013 2:18 pm
Interesting thot there by the cleric. Wonder if he is right given that no natural or man made calamity struck Saudi Arabia...
Almanaar
April 21, 2013 1:54 pm
NFP is right about the religious extremism, he is right about us that we moan only Karachi gangs or drones. He is right about us giving an event as simple as an earthquake, a religious spin. But he is not correct about the fact that TTP or the home grown terrorism. My simple question to NFP and all the people who think TTP or some other groups are solely at fault for these things IS, why they never EVER try to hurt direct Western Interests? I mean I never saw them going after American or British embassies, right? Or any other western businesses. And please KFC or McDonalds do not count as western businesses. Although they had been hurt in the past but not in the recent memory. Not that they should.
Shaz
April 21, 2013 1:47 pm
Perhaps if you read all EIGHT words in the sentence the meaning may be clearer to you!
Aamir
April 21, 2013 3:25 pm
unfortunately that is exactly the solution presented to us by our pious media, IK and PML-N. Taliban and extremism is not a threat in the eyes of these forces. PPP ANP and MQM who clearly stand against extremism are being slaughtered. We have to decide who we want to stand with. People who side with extremist forces or people who are against them. In the end I'd say I object to that nickname 'halal'..
Patriot
April 22, 2013 12:21 am
I am little disappointed that NFP has blamed the BLF for attack on Sardar Zehri. This is far from truth and someone needs to understand dynamics of tribal culture in Baluchistan and apparently NFP needs to go Khuzdar to further investigate.
Pizza wala
April 21, 2013 11:46 pm
exactly......what do they mean when they say "listens to music".............how do they define music?
HNY2013
April 21, 2013 11:51 pm
They didnt blame India/USA/Israel for the earthquake?
RSS
April 21, 2013 4:02 pm
What facts, please?
Osaka S.
April 21, 2013 3:57 pm
That is not what he said. Drones represent the invader...
simple
April 21, 2013 5:02 pm
Saudi Arabia itself is a "calamity". How can calamity strike calamity?
Zinc
April 21, 2013 4:27 pm
lol, Karachi walay, I am Karachi wala as well, However you are a definitely from muppetabad side of the city, My friend PML N is pro establishment Party , have you ever heard the name IJI ,and same is the case with PTI, they are conservative parties with fancy outlook
caz
April 21, 2013 9:42 am
The psychotic rage of the (islamic) terrorists reflects their mind trapped in the cage is devoid of the ability to reason. It is an epidemic in the miscreated country pakistan. It is the product of a desert tyranny fuelled and funded by the retarded, insecure and despotic beduins of saudi, who strongly influence our venal military led ruling elites, with their petrodollars.
Immigrant canadian
April 22, 2013 2:29 pm
@abbastoronto, if you are so sick of how things are run in Canada, please leave. I can picture the image of a disenfranchised "citizen" on your rants.
malik
April 21, 2013 4:17 am
So what will happen if we enjoy a drink?
Alan
April 21, 2013 4:18 am
A really heart felt article by NFP. Completely agree with it. All civilized people need to stand with ANP and against TTP at this time.
Nony
April 21, 2013 4:33 am
"It is perfectly reasonable to ask exactly how killing innocent men, women and children pleases the Almighty and benefit the faith that He bestowed upon us Muslims through his last Messenger?" No one has right to announce on behalf of God whether He is pleased or not, does God speak to Pakistani clerics and give them a list of acts he is happy with or not ? We have to stop this stupid act of clerics who act as god for us.
observer
April 21, 2013 4:52 am
Thought provoking article.
RAW is WAR
April 21, 2013 5:00 am
"Equally rational is to question the sanity of men who slaughter unarmed civilians in the most sneaky and cowardly manner and then claim that their faith and God ordains it?" Dear Nadeem, Now we have terrorists incidents running into hundreds of thousands of them. It means millions of Muslims believe in the above kind ideology. Time for introspection.
Nony
April 21, 2013 5:00 am
Most dumb speaches about scientifically proved facts are given by clerics on Pakistani TV channels with huge viewership, and acceptance of those views makes us ignorant and utopian nation. We have only learnt two things: put blame of all our failures on other nations and put blame of failure to cop with natural disasters on God. And that is true Dawn so you got to put this on.
Sapna
April 21, 2013 5:13 am
I have just switched OFF my iPod now I can tell you.... many thanks indeed for that "warning" NFP !!
Imran
April 21, 2013 5:30 am
Pak Military has to decide now,,,it's about time...otherwise it will be too late. These Fanatics TTP need to be crushed with iron hand. Balochis insurgents need to be tackled politically..they have some genuine grievances.They are two different political situations and need to be tackled differntly
ubed
April 21, 2013 5:42 am
this is such a moving piece, kudos to you my friend.
arshad hussain
April 21, 2013 5:42 am
its very good article based on striking facts.
Feroz
April 21, 2013 5:55 am
The mind accepts what it is conditioned for and tuned to. The worst form of indoctrination and radicalization happens to a young child in his own home, not just in a Madarasa.. You will not find a child brought up and taught all religions are equal in the eyes of God and that Hindus, Sikhs, Christians and Buddhists are equal in HIS eyes --- ever getting radicalized or violent or hating others. Like charity beginning at home, breeding of Saints and monsters also happens there.
Capt C M Khan
April 21, 2013 6:23 am
NFP these are NOT ELECTIONS but... TALIBAN SELECTIONS. All state pillars are doing their best to knock out the three secular parties PPP, ANP and MQM before the elections. TT are smiling all the way. Biggest disappointment have been the Army. I see very bad days ahead for women of KP, unemployed, uneducated and of course the four million minorities including our Shia brothers.
halal
April 21, 2013 6:30 am
what is wrong if some people think they are not wrong while being wrong. these people need to be corrected. when we build Mosques and Madressas with the help of black money this is the out come. Answer to this problem is simple Tributes for mosque and Madressas should only be accepted from pious money as Quran's teaching Give Zakoth from your pious earnings. spending black money for this cause will not pious the rest. it will corrupt the system. now think about that.
Sry
April 21, 2013 6:59 am
Totally agree with the beginning; about how Nawaz league needs to wake up and recognize militants as out-and-out enemies of the Pakistan. And also the part criticizing apologist elements in the media who are misguiding public opinion regarding home-grown terrorism, and focusing only on American imperialism/terrorism (which is out of our control anyway). But I don't think that laying off "Karachi gangs" is a reasonable suggestion. Just because they happen to have no religious leaning doesn't mean they should escape scrutiny. They kill people, and so, they ought to be criticized harshly; as do the politcal parties & administration on their inaction against the thugs terrorizing the city.
Tania A. Ali
April 21, 2013 7:00 am
NFP remains to be a puzzle for most of his readers. But he really isn't so. Two days ago one saw him battling with his trademark wit and sarcasm the right wing trolls of Indian leader Modi on Twitter. He simply demolished them one by one. NFP abhours extremism and reactionary-ism no matter what ideology or faith it pretends to flaunt. And kudos to him for doing this. His message is simple and clear: Violence and terrorism, hate and bigotry are the product of disturbed and imbalanced minds. By the way, his dig at the cleric and the anchor who wanted to give the earthquake a religious twist was hilarious. :) I'll make sure to put my iPod off, in case it invites another shaking.
Lalat
April 21, 2013 7:03 am
Earthquake followed by tsunami !!!!!!!!
Tania A. Ali
April 21, 2013 7:04 am
Sry, By no means is NFP asking anyone to forgo the violence of Karachi gangs. Read that sentence again: He is simply saying that whereas many of us are only willing to show outrage if an act of violence comes with the words drone, America and Karachi gangs attached to it, but suddenly go quiet when violence is done by fanatics.
H Khan
April 21, 2013 7:12 am
NFP is as confused as those he criticises.
Tahir
April 21, 2013 7:31 am
Wow, and your 7-word sentence is oozing with clear wisdom and intellectual complexities. Kindly elaborate beyond 7 words. Thanks.
Pizza wala
April 21, 2013 11:32 pm
the next time you switch on your Ipod, you might be inviting an earthquake. lololololololololololololololol
Joe
April 21, 2013 9:01 am
Yes, YES! Time for introspection. And has been, for some time.
Tahir A
April 21, 2013 9:05 pm
Agree with you entirely. In the meantime we need to get rid of millions of bogus religious demagogues that have pirated our freedom to think with a broader horizon, Insh------- sorry!
Al Rume
April 21, 2013 10:02 am
No verfiable reference has been made to any named cleric. It is only the opinion of the author. No substance to the charge.
a.k.lal
April 21, 2013 9:15 am
sir --a road branched in two and you took the less travelled one, jihad, killing, kidnapping,arson etc in name of religion.
abbastoronto
April 21, 2013 8:58 pm
“ .. Senseless Murders, ever-increasing episode of mindless bloodshed that our TV screens, blaming the victims, obfuscate the obvious truth, corruption, 49,000 killed, divine explanation of natural disasters, …” Since when NFP started writing about the West, about here in Canada? Well, now for a view from an old hand here for the last 46 years with a ringside view of Democracy in action, of a political system having sent no less than 20 Lawmakers to Ottawa, Queens Park, and even to Washington DC, including 6 Federal and Provincial Ministers and a US President. First a bit of lore. “Le XXIe siècle sera religieux ou ne sera pas”: prophesied Andre Malraux (d 1975) a Minister in de Gaulle’s Cabinet and the darling of the godless Left. (The 21st century will be a religious one, or it shall not be). Indeed. The world has become increasing “religious” since he departed. Even the Democrats in the US and Liberals in Canada have started talking about god, not to speak of the Tories. Our illustrious Canadian Tory PM Mr. Harper belongs to the “Rapture Christians” (Google for details, for short Canadian Taliban would be a close) and a habit of invoking god in everything, including natural disasters. I wonder if Pakistanis have learnt of obfuscating truths from the Tories, British or Canadian. Corruption – in Pakistan people steal rupees, here they rob in Dollars in broad daylight. Elsewhere I detailed earlier how an MP (from our own Party, lol) made sell a $40 Million factory of one of my client’s to his (MP’s) father’s team for $1 after having maneuvered the government to confiscate it because he was late in making a debt payment on a government owned bank. Also, the said party was given grants for a make work project. Pakistanis are amateurs at this game played in Democracies. Not to speak of America where the Republicans have transferred over $15 Trillion (15,000,000,000,000) from the pockets of ordinary American into Republican pockets via Iraq, all while waving the flag. Killing – well, Pakistan has seen nothing yet. Barely 3 generation ago the West went through the carnage galore with 120,000,000 dead within 31 years 1914-45, or 1 in 4. Now let us see, that would be 45 million (=4-1/2 crores) in Pakistan. So you have 44,510,000 more to go with only 49,000 dead. The price of Freedom is high, so learn to pay it. While today I am in peaceful Montreal (bombs were exploding in letterboxes here 40 years ago in name of Free Quebec), after having lived a year in a city with murder rate 5 times that of Karachi, and having been held at gunpoint at a petrol station. This is not to belittle the problems in Pakistan, but simply to highlight that price of peace is freedom (including freedom to kill and also to defend yourself). Learn to pay the price. The alternative is peaceful India with no freedom except fantasy peddling Bollywood and to rape innocent girls local and foreign. Thank you mother and father for having moved to Pakistan in 1947.
Ritu Shah
April 22, 2013 5:50 pm
Mr. Abbastoronto, clearly you don't know the meaning of freedom. I have nothing else to say.
Sadia
April 21, 2013 12:28 pm
and that, you think, is the solution to the menace of terrorism? WOW!
kafir
April 22, 2013 2:15 am
But ur name suggests u are a Kafir, so even this act of urs wont help u :P
Liberal Fascist
April 22, 2013 2:21 am
Yes you are confused, Shariff!!!
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