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Sheer madness

December 23, 2012

WHERE is this society headed? Two gruesome incidents that occurred on Friday clearly indicate the depths we have sunk to. In the first, a 1,000-strong mob beat to death and later burnt the corpse of a suspect for allegedly desecrating the Quran in Sindh’s Dadu district. The mob prised the victim out of police lock-up and decided to dispense ‘justice’ themselves. Meanwhile in Karachi, in an apparent revenge attack, the associates of an ANP leader shot earlier in the day barged into the emergency department of the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre and killed one of the suspected assailants. Firing into the air, the enraged men had arrived at the hospital where the body of the slain ANP leader was brought and, upon discovering that one of the suspected assailants was in the same facility, shot him while he was in the casualty ward.

One can imagine the sheer terror that must have overtaken the patients, doctors, and others present at the hospital. Doctors are often manhandled by emotional attendants. Also, in Karachi it is normal for political activists to resort to heavy gunfire every time a fellow worker is brought to hospital for treatment or autopsy. The JPMC was also targeted in the past, when a bomb went off on Chehlum in 2010. But this is a frightening new development — perhaps the first time a victim has been shot inside a casualty ward in the city. Yet no satisfactory steps have been taken to improve security for doctors or patients at the facility. As far as the lynching case is concerned, suspected criminals as well as alleged ‘blasphemers’ have been meted out similar treatment by charged mobs in the past. Both incidents are indicators of the madness and zea-lotry that is now swee-ping across Pakistan. In this violent, brutal society, logic and sanity are fast becoming nebulous concepts.