Saturday, January 10, 2009

Unity, Faith, Discipline

On January 8, a Pakistani TV channel Dawn News broke the news that Ajmal Kasab, the sole surviving attacker from the Mumbai Carnage, is indeed a citizen of Pakistan. Minutes later, an Indian news channel repeated the item and also disclosed the name of the "anonymous" informant. He turned out to be Mr. Durrani, an ex-military man and an advisor of the PM. Quite rightly, the PM fired him and while the Interior Ministry denied the confirmation, another minister and a government office confirmed it.

What I find rather obscene, Dawn News flaunted the entire thing as somethig to be proud of, while another Pakistani channel Geo News tried to jump ahead by reminding the audience that it had comfirmed Kasab's nationality on its own even before any government official did so. I feel that a minister or a government department did not have the portfolio on this issue. I do not like their jumping out of the queue to do something which was the prerogative of another ministry in the first place, and required the sanction of the PM in the second.

Mr. Durrani, moreover, had no business doing this trick in any manner. An advisor is supposed to advise the PM, and rather than attempting to oblige the people directly, he should have done his job well and stayed loyal to the man who was paying him (and I truly hope that the man paying him was our Prime Minister)!

It might be difficult for some to understand that decorum must be observed in affairs of the state. This utter disregard for decorum is a hypocrisy which has a long history in the West, and some liberals might not even be aware of it because they see the West with Western eyes, and it is usually difficult to see one's own faults that way. Nor is it generally understood how and to what extant this hypocritical attitude is responsible for the mess in which the world is today.

Short of going into an outline of history, I would only like to say that I do not consider myself to be among the oppressed victims of some mythical establishment that I might be awaiting an independent media to liberate me. I am one of the many Pakistanis who are saying, "I am not a Pakistani, I am Pakistan."

I have a right to know things but I choose to be informed in a manner consistent with my self-respect. I choose to be informed by the Prime Minister, and not by one of his subordinates. "Our watchword should be unity, faith and discipline," said Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan. I choose to remember it.

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