August 17 was a day when for many people a dark long night of evil and vicious dictatorship came to an end, but I don't think it's the case. We are now in 2013, 25 years have passed since the plane carrying Pakistan' military dictator, Zia-ul-Haq exploded seconds after takeoff at Bahawalpur airport. 25 years should have been a long period to undo his evils but Pakistan has miserably failed to do so. Today whole country is on fire, thanks to religious and sectarian conflicts his government promoted which brought out the genie of hatred no one is able to put back in the bottle. Interference in other countries in the name of jihad didn't help Pakistan’s cause on Kashmir; in fact it got presented as a terrorist’s enterprise not an indigenous movement for legitimate rights of Kashmiri people.

Millions of Afghan refugees were allowed to settle all over the country. It might have helped some people to loot financial assistance received in the name of refugees, but a large number of undocumented refuges became a source of drugs and weapons menace. He encouraged construction of thousands of religious seminaries to prepare fodder for Afghan war. After withdrawal of USSR and USA in late 80s from Afghanistan, seminaries students were used to wage proxy wars in neighboring countries to settle old scores.

Despite several democratic and military governments in Islamabad, no one is able to purge the constitution from hudood and blasphemy laws. Thousands of women were put in jail who dared to report rape cases but failed to produce eye witness of four male Muslims. Same applicable for blasphemy laws which were used to settle personal score, evict people from property, damage businesses or simply to fan religious hatred against minorities. Hundreds were killed (though courts prosecuted a very few) by charged mobs and no one dared to touch the killers. Not long ago murderer of Punjab governor was garlanded by lawyers. A judge should have seen this as a murder case was forced to leave country.

In short, the long night of evil designs which started in 1977, some thought terminated on August 17, 1988, has in fact not yet came to an end. It produced a mindset which has gripped each and every segment of society, be it religious scholars, politicians, educationists, media gurus and anchor persons, lawyers and judges, army and intelligence officers, elite intelligentsia. No one knows how to reverse this mindset which is now on the offensive, soon to take over the whole region.


Saudi Arab, August 16.