Pakistan – Christian killed in police custody???

by Omar Ali

Just a few quick points:

1. I have no special sympathy for PMLN. My point is that THIS is not a PML-N issue or PPP issue. Its an issue of how the “security” organs of the state are corrupt, brutal and incompetent AND every level of society is penetrated by fanaticism and intolerance. I know that a lot of PPP supporters would like to believe that this is a party based issue, but it seems to me it is not. PPP stalwarts have been involved in karo kari, ritual execution of fallen women and so on and “zardari key kaan per joon nahin rengi“.

2. I am also not convinced that THIS punjab administration is any worse than the last 5 or last ten in this matter.  Alleged blasphemers have been killed in police custody several times and I dont think that Shahbaz Sharif somehow especially orders them to be treated badly. Again, my point is not to defend PMLN govt’s failures, but to point out that these are systemic failures and I am not convinced that a PPP regime would do much better in Punjab. A lot of this is local level corruption and intimidation and it partly depends on who is the local strongman. The local MNA grabbing christian land or currying favor with local mullah goons can be (and frequently is) from ANY party.

3. Its not that PMLN represents some sort of pre-industrial ideology and PPP is the voice of the future. In actual fact, both are controlled by the same rich upper class looters and if anything, the PPP leadership is more feudal than the PMLN leadership. Its true that the PPP has historically attracted the liberal/secular left-of-center crowd while the PMLN was born as a right wing party created by the ruling establishment to specifically stop the PPP, but much water has flowed in the Ravi since then and the categories are not ENTIRELY what they used to be. Actually, I do agree with Dr. Buttar and Beena that in some way the PPP still remains a more progressive party, but just BARELY, very very barely. The difference is not enough to justify dumping everything on PMLN’s head in this case.

4. Finally, from a purely tactical point of view, the PMLN is the most popular party in Punjab. Labelling them as part of the right wing taliban crowd can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Its much better if a democratic Pakistan can accomodate both the PMLN and the PPP (and NEITHER will be revolutionary; that job will have to be done by someone else).

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