It is tactically impossible to make clear sense of the two diverse fevers, which shook this massive population of over 200 million to their very core last Friday and yes, two fevers not one!

Firstly, let’s take a look at the larger fever that was, make no mistake about it, one of absolute and total fear: this gripped the vast majority of the population, sinking its extremely sharp teeth straight into their jugulars, threatening, as it did and still does if only they are prepared to pay serious attention to something that has simply gone underground and not gone away, the lifestyles they take so complacently for granted and no, this is certainly not an exaggeration and I will elucidate shortly.

The smaller fever, vitriolic, volatile and vicious in the extreme was, as was obviously intended, the attention grabber it was designed to be and that, due to its dangerous nature is not going to be forgotten, especially by those suffering its consequences, any time soon and will, undoubtedly, resurface as soon as prevailing circumstances combine, or the pot stirred enough, to encourage a repeat performance which, now that the ‘practice run’ is done, weaknesses identified and analysed, is, unless stopped in its tracks, liable to be both lethal and extremely contagious and have the potential to rip this increasingly fragile country of ours apart at the very seams of its existence.

There is no doubt about it that the film, which resulted in this latest outburst of violent unrest, should not have been made, but it, therefore, immediately became known just how despicable its contents were to the entire Muslim world. And laws should have been enforced to ban the film and to destroy all evidence that it had ever existed. This, however, did not, as we all know to our cost, happen! 

The result was inevitable and - this is pure supposition on my part - intended as, taken it conjunction with the French magazine cartoons, it appears that ‘someone’ was, and is, out to destabilise the Muslim world as much as they possibly can and American moves, such as to broadcast images of American President Barack Obama on national media condemning the film and its contents, did little more than add insult to injury thus further fuelling the conflagration.

Friday, for those who were not aware, was the annual ‘International Day of Peace’ and also, as we all know, suddenly announced as a National Holiday in Pakistan, a day on which everyone was requested, by a government that rarely gets anything right, to celebrate a ‘Special Day of Love’ for Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) by holding peaceful protests against the despicable film. This government move was met with derision by many who viewed it as blatant encouragement to hit the streets and let rip in the manner they know best, with smashing and burning everything in sight right up there on top of their agendas, irrespective of which innocent person and, don’t forget it, brotherly Muslim, they happened to belong too as, unlikely to be able to ransack the preferred targets of the Egyptian and American Diplomatic premises although they would, and did try, they would take this proffered opportunity to unleash, accompanied and encouraged by paid goons, destruction on anything which caught their combined fancies. 

Burning cinemas (the offensive film was on YouTube where users had the option to watch it or not), burning banks, burning police posts, burning shops and looting as they went, a rabid section of society ran wild and did just about everything except show love for our revered Prophet (PBUH) and, what’s more, carried out their mindless destruction and confrontation, which, to peace-loving Muslims and also to peace lovers all around the world, achieved absolutely nothing other than to further besmirch the reputation of Islam and of Muslims everywhere. 

The vast majority of the population, however, elected to stay at home quivering in fevered fear at circumstances over which they feel they have absolutely no control. What’s more, circumstances that they so naively feel will disappear as the smoke and broken glass of this latest conflagration dies down and is swept under the carpet until the next time when, unless sanity prevails that is highly unlikely, the eruption will be larger, longer lasting and, as the fever of hatred and uncontrolled criminality spreads, subject to repeat performances for any reason or for no particular reason at all.

How in excess of 200 million people can allow - although it is pertinent to point out that the government and army did attempt, even succeeded to some extent, to control the situation - such a small percentage of miscreants to hold their world hostage is a situation worth thinking about as, on the surface at least, it appears that we have become a nation of self-centred, insular cowards who much prefer to be controlled by the kind of violence leading to civil war than to stand up and speak out for the human right of peace that all humanity deserves. 

The writer is author of The Gun Tree: One Woman’s War (Oxford University Press, 2001) and lives in Bhurban.Email: zahrahnasir@hotmail.com