THE LEOP­ARD CHANGES ITS SPOTS, QUI­ETLY

Tehelka - - POLITICS -

HE AJ­MAL KASAB story seems to be the flavour of the week in the In­dian me­dia. What at­tracts at­ten­tion in Pak­istan, how­ever, is its sheer ab­sence from both the print and elec­tronic me­dia. Kasab al­most seems like a ghost that no one wants to re­mem­ber and most want to put be­hind them. Bar­ring ini­tial re­ports of his hang­ing, there was not much in the Pak­istani me­dia. Some re­porters claimed this was due to spe­cific in­struc­tions from cer­tain quar­ters to down­play the event. Con­se­quently, there was no real ex­hi­bi­tion of how peo­ple felt, in­clud­ing from Kasab’s par­ent or­gan­i­sa­tions — the Lashkar-e-Toiba ( LeT) and its sub­sidiary Ja­maat-ud-Dawa ( JuD). Ac­tu­ally, there was a state­ment from the Tehreek-e-Tal­iban Pak­istan ( TTP) and the LeT lead­er­ship. While the TTP threat­ened to avenge Kasab’s death, some uniden­ti­fied LeT lead­ers talked about his death in­spir­ing oth­ers. The state­ment did not at­tract much at­ten­tion as the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s top lead­ers such as Zak­iur-Rehman Lakhvi are in jail.

Kasab’s hang­ing did draw some na­tional and in­ter­na­tional me­dia to his vil­lage, Faridkot. But they were shooed away by the vil­lagers; some even say­ing that Kasab did not be­long to Faridkot and the en­tire me­dia ef­fort was in­deed to ma­lign their vil­lage. Kasab as a con­spir­acy con­tin­ues to be a pop­u­lar myth among or­di­nary Pak­ista­nis. In the wake of Kasab’s hang­ing, I had a chance to dis­cuss the mat­ter with a 27-year-old man from a Sufi fam­ily in Okara, who was of the view that the dead Kasab was some­one’s con­spir­acy since the real Kasab was alive and lived hap­pily in Faridkot. The youth switched off com­pletely when told that the first one to dis­cover Kasab was the lo­cal me­dia, hence, there was no in­ter­na­tional con­spir­acy to it.

Given the com­plete black­out of the in­ci­dent, it is cer­tainly hard to as­sess the real think­ing among many, in­clud­ing the

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