The Supreme Court snubbed off the appeal that challenged the acquittal of Aasia Bibi. Quite maturely, the media did not play with the issue in usual fashion. Maybe, they didn’t do that because there wasn’t much to report. Khadim Rizvi has been under a house arrest since November. Also, some 3000 of his supporters remain jailed. Hence, there wasn’t the racket we’d had expected of the snubbing. It was all relatively peaceful. Pakistan is not as crazy as it was a few months ago. (All puns intended) Hallelujah!

Or, is it?

Cheers and congratulations are pre-mature. After all, for anyone who’s looking through a clear lens, Pakistan just put a bandage on a broken bone. Let’s put a count on the tax payer money spent on keeping the baboons off the street. So, for now, this very expensive bandage has brought forth a sham relief but, as do bandages, this one too will be short-lived and will fail.

We are yet to see punishments to those who created havoc, introduced and propagated anarchy and caused problems to the lives and property of the laymen. As Pavlov rightly showed us, behaviour change does not happen unless reinforcement is followed by a reward or punishment. The government, on the other hand, remains handicapped to follow through its duties.

But, that said, there is something positive that comes out of this silence as well. Last time this happened, and the way the protests were broadcasted by local and international media, everyone was under the impression that the whole of Pakistan was going bonkers. That, the acquittal had touched a nerve that even the laymen was infuriated on and hence, the country had not hope for breaking the chains to bizarre religio-political manoeuvring. Then, it seemed that there were many hidden fundamentalists amongst us and, finally, they’d come out and were going to dictate on the place of religion in Pakistan. That was then.

Now, it was rather surprising to see that not many came out to protest. Maybe they were lazy or, maybe they were simply gullible and hence unless motivated by the exaggeration and misinformation spewed from the social media channels of the bearded baboons, chose to remain at home. Now there are both good things and bad things about this. One, their protests were superficial so, not all hope is lost. That, regardless of how utterly ridiculous the insistence of finding peace in someone’s death is, the wishes were whims. However, it is also to be noted that that we are so naïve that we can be puppeted by literally anyone who can harp onto some tunes we are familiar to. That, we’d rather resonate our biases then read and develop an understanding of the situation and carefully manoeuvre ourselves according to it. 

The government needs to learn how the society works and, before it is too late, actually do something about changing us. We all were furious when the naivety resulted in voting in favour of parties and leaders who constantly abused their powers. While, for some, that naivety has been conquered, another shadow has crept in: where we will allow ourselves to be manipulated by those who hold the monopoly over religious beliefs. This one will prove much hurtful to the country than the painful sight of seeing ill-equipped faces occupy offices of much importance and influence.

The American parliament just passed a resolution to give Aasia Bibi asylum. Justin Tredeau is actively making sure that Aasia unites with her family in Canada. Pakistan, all over the world is becoming a joke. In several of the previous issues of the magazine Economist, all of Pakistan-related discussions have been negative. Most have dealt with the Aasia Bibi case. Of course that doesn’t imply the Economist is being biased. It just means that Pakistan is finally doing something that deserves the attention of the world; unfortunately, its actions are making it a fool amongst the globalized world.

 I hope that a day comes when a head of Pakistan formally apologises to Aasia for keeping her in a jail cell on a case that was purely fictitious. Who can empathise with her when he/she thinks about how 8 years would have felt as a death penalty and extra-judicial killing loomed over Aasia’s head. Someone who’d feel her pain on finding happiness in the acquittal and then, instant gloom, on the reaction of her fellow countrypeople on her freedom. I hope a day comes when a head of the State does the same to everyone else who has been persecuted and jailed under this ridiculous law. 

How naïve of me to write that.

 

The writer is a Dissertation Researcher based in Finland. He conducts research on political, regional and societal changes with special focus on religious minorities in Europe.

 kureshiwrites@gmail.com

@makahsan