Tsunami of Ha­tred

Southasia - - The Last Stop - By Anees Jil­lani Anees Jil­lani is an ad­vo­cate of the Supreme Court of Pak­istan and a mem­ber of the Wash­ing­ton, DC Bar. He has been writ­ing for var­i­ous pub­li­ca­tions for more than 20 years and has au­thored sev­eral books.

Aj­mal Kasab was hanged in Novem­ber 2012 and Afzal Guru in Fe­bru­ary 2013. In­dia in a civ­i­lized man­ner of­fered the re­mains of Kasab to Pak­istan that it, for rea­sons known to it, de­clined. As op­posed to this civ­i­lized be­hav­ior, Afzal Guru’s fam­ily, de­spite its in­ter­est in his body, has been de­clined the priv­i­lege and Guru has been buried within the Ti­har jail.

In­ci­den­tally, both the above hang­ings, de­spite be­ing linked to Pak­istan in one way or other did not at­tract any at­ten­tion, whether at the govern­ment or pub­lic level. Even the at­tack on the Pak­istani pris­oner, Sanaullah in the Jammu jail was hardly taken no­tice of. This was in sharp con­trast to the reaction in In­dia where many po­lit­i­cal party work­ers were shown thrust­ing sweets into each oth­ers’ mouths; the less said the bet­ter as far as the In­dian elec­tronic me­dia is con­cerned.

Now Sarab­jit Singh has been killed by his in­mates who, like him, are on a death row and thus hardly have any worries be­ing brought to jus­tice. There is no ex­cuse for any pris­oner be­ing killed in a prison any­where in the world and the prison au­thor­i­ties are re­spon­si­ble for this neg­li­gence, just like the ones in Jammu are for Sanaullah.

I can un­der­stand and ap­pre­ci­ate the reaction of Sarab­jit’s fam­ily. It is also the job of the Govern­ment of In­dia to protest as an In­dian in­mate has been killed in jail in cold-blood. How­ever, what is the me­dia get­ting so ex­cited about?

Sarab­jit was con­victed for be­ing in­volved in ter­ror­ism, just like Kasab. His case was re­viewed twice by the Supreme Court of Pak­istan and a brave lawyer was fol­low­ing his case till the day he died. I won­der if any lawyer in In­dia would be this bold to rep­re­sent Kasab. What to talk of him, even Afzal Guru was mainly con­victed due to bad le­gal rep­re­sen­ta­tion as he was not di­rectly in­volved in the at­tack and thus could and should not have been hanged.

The peo­ple who are re­gard­ing Sarab­jit as a hero fail to see the di­chotomy. He was an In­dian but in­volved in ter­ror­ism in Pak­istan. I thus do not see any dif­fer­ence be­tween him and Kasab. One was killed of­fi­cially and the other un­of­fi­cially and this is where the dis­sim­i­lar­ity ends.

In­dia is, rightly, an­gry with the Novem­ber 2008 Mum­bai at­tacks. The In­dian govern­ment acted with ma­tu­rity af­ter the at­tacks un­like the reaction of its pre­de­ces­sor fol­low­ing the De­cem­ber 2001 Par­lia­ment at­tack which lined up hun­dreds of thou­sands of troops on the bor­der, which were uni­lat­er­ally and un­con­di­tion­ally with­drawn. This was not a ma­ture reaction as it would not be in any­body’s in­ter­est if the two coun­tries had gone to war over the is­sue.

In Fe­bru­ary 2007, the Sam­jauta Ex­press was bombed by Hindu fun­da­men­tal­ists near Pa­ni­pat and 68 Pak­ista­nis were roasted in­side. The cul­prits have yet to be con­victed de­spite the pas­sage of six years. Pak­istan did not line up troops on the bor­der de­spite a mil­i­tary Gen­eral at the helm of af­fairs and nei­ther the me­dia nor the pub­lic went berserk talk­ing about teach­ing In­dia a les­son. Ter­ror­ism is a univer­sal prob­lem and Pak­istan is one of the worst suf­fer­ers in the world.

We are neigh­bor­ing coun­tries and there is no rea­son we should not com­mu­ni­cate about th­ese is­sues. The sane voices should stand up against this `Tsunami of Ha­tred’ to plead peace, san­ity and ma­tu­rity. It is dif­fi­cult if not im­pos­si­ble for Pak­istan and In­dia to go to war af­ter be­com­ing nu­clear pow­ers and this con­stant itch­ing to teach Pak­istan a les­son is not go­ing to get us any­where, ex­cept per­haps bet­ter TRPs.

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