Those who manufactured the killer doctrine of Houbara Bustards as the corner stone of our foreign policy must be credited for their honesty, if not for their wisdom. Perhaps it is now for the Interior Ministry to follow suit and declare that just as the rich Arabs have been allowed to kill our birds, the rich Pakistani ruling elite has been licensed to kill our children.

The 20 million guns in the hands of trigger-happy Pakistanis have given birth to a new breed of assassins. They are the Kanjus, the Jatois, the Talpurs and the Abros – of the rich ruling militant families of Pakistan. They use both licensed as well as unlicensed Kalashnikovs and pistols to assert their status. They can kill at will and also go scot-free through a legal system that has a special affinity for the rich.

The Qisas and Diyat law, apparently intended to please the religious right, provides an excellent escape route to those who can pay. It adds to our religious façade and takes away the need to think twice before pressing a trigger. As long as the heirs of the murdered are willing to accept (often under duress) a financial compensation, the killer can walk away with a grin and a victory sign.

While it may be personally fine to forgive a murderer (with or without any compensation), the fact remains that every murder is a crime not just against a victim but also against the state. The most sinister use of this ordinance has been in honour killing cases where a male member kills a female relative and is then let off by the victim’s heirs.

The ‘fasad fil arz’ provision of the law is totally cosmetic, almost impossible to prove and of immense comfort to the rich assassins. It ignores the fact that every murder is inherently a manifestation of ‘Fasad fil arz’ and ought to be treated as a crime against state. The law that lets off murderers on the strength of their wealth is neither religious nor rational. Will those who sit in the parliament be inclined to review this law?


Lahore, October 29.