VIP culture: 'Those who ride motorbikes may be shot dead'

Published October 10, 2014
This picture shows deceased Malik Tahir, who was shot dead by a guard of Former Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani's son. — Photo courtesy: Malik Tahir Facebook page
This picture shows deceased Malik Tahir, who was shot dead by a guard of Former Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani's son. — Photo courtesy: Malik Tahir Facebook page

Back in 1965, Abida Riaz, better known by her stage name 'Neelo', tried defying the orders of a VIP.

The governor of West Pakistan, Nawab of Kalabagh and a man with a thousand other titles to his credit – ‘Malik Amir Muhammad Khan Awan’ summoned her to dance privately for a party hosted in honour of the Shah of Iran, Light of the Aryans, and a man with a thousand other titles to his credit – ‘Muhammad Reza Shah Pahlavi’.

Neelo refused to comply.

The governor then sent his private guards to lift her from the safety of her house to do as ordered – dance on the commands of the inheritors of the world, like the poor of the wretched realm do.

Abida tried committing suicide en route, the only dignified response available to the lowly. The attempt saw her being taken to the hospital, where she was saved and spared the agony of 'mujra', though she was bedridden for quite some time.

Reminding her of her duty and her status in the world, Jalib wrote:

Tu k nawaqif adab-e-ghulami hai abhi
Raqs zanjeer pehn ker bhi kia jata hai

['You, that are unaware of the etiquette of slavery - know that slaves dance even in chains']

One would think that 49 years later people would have learned their lessons. But no, this nation is as obstinate and unchanging as they come.

Also read: 'If you are not a VIP, you are unworthy of criticising a VIP'

They think they can take out a few rallies out here and there, raise a few slogans against the panjandrum, throw a couple of ministers off an airplane, and voila - VIP culture has ended.

Not so easy, sire.

In lawless countries, power is the only legal principle. There's no hypocrisy in sentencing the poor for the same crimes for which the rich would not have served a single day. Must we be reminded time and again that against our idealistic whims and wishes, the lords of the world walk free, every time?

To remind you:

  • What transpired in the bakery-beating case, incriminating Ali Imran Yousaf (Shahbaz Sharif’s son in law)?

  • What happened in the Shahzeb murder case?

They walk free because the law has loopholes. They go scot-free because they can afford to.

They are freed because the poor are somehow the only ones who take Diyat, falling for the lofty ideals of ‘Fi Sabilillah’ (more often than not, it is an offer which cannot be refused).

The rich and powerful are exonerated because the evidence is always smudged, and the witnesses either turn hostile or refuse to testify at all (no points for guessing why).

Also read: A pie for an eye

The proletarians cross the drawn lines, and then the patricians, rightly, put them back in place. Thus, good on you Abdul Qadir Gilani, for reminding Malik Tahir and the like, that the commoner ought not to overtake the cruisers of VIPs.

Faiz Ahmed Faiz would have scoffed:

Yeh galion ke awara bekar kuttay
K bakhsha gya jin ko zoq-e-gadai
Zamanay ki phitkar sarmaya in ka
Jahan bhar ki dhutkar in ke kamai

[These useless stray dogs (refers to working classes), which were born mendicant, inherit only the drubbing of the society, and earn merely the chastisement of the world.]

Good on you, Mr Gilani, that you reminded the underclasses of this place of theirs, in a truly fitting manner.

Next, the influential should lobby for a law analogous to the ignominious crawling order of General Dyer. Unlike the General’s orders which were restricted to a single street, though, this law must order all plebs to start crawling as soon as they see a VIP.

This would serve as a potent reminder to the nation that they were never truly liberated.

In his defence, Abdul Qadir Gilani may have been a little over-paranoid, extra-cautious after his brother’s abduction.

Tahir, meanwhile, forgot that in Pakistan, debates of reasonable response or sanity take a backseat where the VIP are concerned.

Know more: Aggrieved family wants Qadir Gilani behind bars

The naysayers may question if this 'VIP justice' was the only viable option. They will haggle over the various details of the incident and intricacies of law.

  • Was Gilani present in the vehicle?

  • Isn't the guard solely to blame? Isn't his confession enough?

  • If this is standard protocol, shouldn't the blame lie with the motorcyclist who "irritated the guards"?

The truth is, these questions are too petty to ask.

Only a single person was murdered, just one son of a lesser God; an insignificant number from an undistinguished heritage in the Pakistani game of death sums; to infuse such a valuable lesson – don’t let the western ideals, or even Islamic ones, pollute your minds.

It's ideals like these which caused David Cameron, Prime Minister of United Kingdom, to be thrown out of the hospital wards by a concerned surgeon for not observing hygiene protocols.

To think we can do the same to our PM – what rubbish.

To think one was emancipated merely because he had heard a certain discussion about it in the media, and seen the defenders of human rights get some talk-time – what gibberish.

To think we had inherited 'democracy', the saviours of which were going hoarse in the recent past in assemblies, of true American form – what absurdity.



Misery and despair
Updated 12 Jul, 2024

Misery and despair

Is a life lived happily and respectably too much to ask for from your country?
Temporary extension
12 Jul, 2024

Temporary extension

THE cabinet’s decision to allow ‘legal’ Afghan refugees — meaning those with Proof of Registration cards —...
Anti-smog strategy
12 Jul, 2024

Anti-smog strategy

BY acknowledging that smog is a year-round problem, and not just a winter issue, the Punjab government has taken the...
Population crisis
Updated 11 Jul, 2024

Population crisis

Moreover, successful programmes, such as Lady Health Workers, can be utilised to provide information and reproductive health services to women.
Taxing agriculture
11 Jul, 2024

Taxing agriculture

OUR inability to collect sufficient tax revenue is resulting in persistently high fiscal deficits, forcing ...
Negligence at PHOTA
11 Jul, 2024

Negligence at PHOTA

THE impression that the state is being careless towards aspects of organ trade control is damaging. Recent news ...