Angry Pakistan: Can We Disagree Without Being Disagreeable?

Posted on September 26, 2007
Filed Under >Adil Najam, Politics, Society
Total Views: 46992


Adil Najam

The picture of lawyer Ahmed Raza Kasuri with his face blackened by spray is now everywhere. So are links to the video of Geo News show “The Great Debate” where Ahmad Raza Kasuri not only lost his cool but also all sense of decorum and decency that is demanded not only by his profession, but by mere humanity. The face of lawyer Muhammad Khurshid Khan, who had sprayed the black stuff on Mr. Kasuri, has been granted bail but his face is equally blackened by this vile, childish and dishonorable act.

As a post on the Islamabad Metroblog pointed out, had this in fact been the work of an impetous youth there might even have been some excuse. Coming from a ‘senior’ gray-haired lawyer and directed at another ‘senior’ gray-haired lawyer, it was just despicable.

Irrespective of what their political views might be, the actions of both Mr. Kasuri and Mr. Khurshid were vulgar. There is absolutely no excuse for either. It does not matter what the issue was. It does not matter how heated the emotions were. It does not matter who ‘started’ it. It does not matter whose views are right. The actions of both are just plain wrong. And what is wrong is wrong. No excuses. No taking sides. Only condemnation. (The same is, in fact, true of the attack on lawyer Naeem Bokhari in court recently).

This post is really not about the views that the two men hold on Pakistan politics and the Presidential elections. We wish to ask a set of much deeper and much more important questions:

Are we Pakistanis, as a nation, capable of decent civil discourse? Are we capable of honestly disagreeing with each other without becoming disagreeable? Are we able to partake in a honest discussion without getting our own egos offended and without getting down to marna maraana? Why must our anger trump everything else? If, in fact, we have trained ourselves to repel discussion and discourse and seek solutions rooted in violence – either physical or verbal – then how can we aspire for true democracy?

Extreme anger and abuse like the one we heard from Mr. Kasuri and saw from Mr. Khurshid is not just the domain of lawyers. We have seen it often – from cricketers, from actvists, and from society – and we also see it here at ATP in a milder, but equally disturbing form. We have mildly cribbed about it here before, but to little avail. Moderation of this blog is the most (and only) thankless job of running It takes up a huge amount of time, and it is emotionally draining. Sometimes we feel like giving up and have even thought of just banning all comments all together. And in the process, no one is ever happy with us.

What gets to us is not that people do not agree with us (most comments, most of the time, do not). What gets to us is that people seem incapable of disagreeing with each other without being disagreeable. We seem to be perpetually angry. About everything. We fail to realize that the violence of words can be as painful as the violence of hands. It is as if we are incapable of telling someone that we disagree with them without adding a string of insults. Oddly, many of the same people who seem to think that insulting someone is ‘funny’ (they add smileys to the comment and think that will mellow the pain), are the same who get most easily offended. Nor is this a matter of “left” or “right.” It is a malady that effect all types, and equally. If you look through the archives you will find umpteen comments where people will (seriously) argue for tolerance by suggesting that they intolerant should be eliminated (killed)! Too many seem to show their opposition to violence by advocating more violence.

Even on mild things, note how people are hesitant to show even the most basic respect to the people they disagree with. Its not enough for you to say that you do not agree with me, you also have to question my patriotism, by links to ‘foreign hands’, the lack of tarbeeat from my parents, the inappropriate of my religious convictions, my inherent stupidity and idioticity, and my damn my previous and future saat pushtain. And all because I said that I like pakoras better than samoosas. Give yourself a break, yaar!

This example is fictional, but the problem is not. Just read the comments and note the underlaying overlying sense of anger and frustration that seems to permeate everything. All this makes our life difficult. But that, too, is not the point. After all, that is our own doing. We have chosen to have the moderation policies that we do, knowing full well that many people be angry with us. Those who we agree with as well as those we do not agree with. As Munir Niazi said:

Kuch saanouN marraN da shouq ve see

The point is deeper. Why are we so angry and what does it mean to our collective national future? One could argue that part of the anger comes from the institutional failures around us. Not getting and not expecting justice from the institutions around us, we choose to take things into our own hands. Not used to getting fairness from others, we are eager to assume that everyone will be unfair to us, unless we trump them by being even more unfair. Or, maybe, it is just because we grew up in a place with too much sun. Personally, I doubt if any of these explanations – particularly the last one – is totally valid. I cannot believe that it is “genetic” but I do fear that as a society we have now been trained to be this way and are in danger of seeing this perpetual anger as the norm rather than as an abberation.

If it is so, it is truly truly dangerous. Anger is never a solution. It can lead to horrendous injustices. If we look around us in society. On talk shows. In the daily newspaper headlines. In current events. In the baazar right before aaftari. I suspect you will find a lot of anger. Too much anger. Needless anger. Sometimes violent. Always distasteful. But you will also find a great acceptance of anger as the “normal” way of doing things. That is what is truly truly scary. There is nothing “normal” about the anger that surrounds us everywhere. Until and unless we accept that fact, we are unlikely to be able to do anything about it. And if we do not do something about it, only worse things will happen to us.

P.S. Before someone says this, let me acknowledge that even if our anger can sometimes be excessive, it is nt something unique to us. Many others can also be as or more angry than us. Yes, they can. But so what? That is no excuse. Plus, we are concerned here only about “All Things Pakistan.” Its Pakistani anger and the repercussion of Pakistani anger that keeps me awake (sometimes, quite literally).

65 Comments on “Angry Pakistan: Can We Disagree Without Being Disagreeable?”

  1. Danial says:
    September 26th, 2007 2:20 am

    Absolutely disgraceful.

  2. Aqil Sajjad says:
    September 26th, 2007 3:02 am

    An excellent post.

    One more explanation (again, not totally valid) is that we grew up without learning how to exchange ideas and disagree without being disagreeable.

    Our educational institutions generally don’t have debates (only speech competitions labled as debates) on hot topics where students have passionate views but are required and taught to debate with some decorum. Our social science courses are mostly about indoctrination of a single ‘correct’ view. By the time we grow up, we have not developed the habit of engaging in a constructive discussion where we exchange views, learn from each other and try to understand where others are coming from even when we disagree with them. With this background, we come to our blogs, political talkshows, conferences and discussions in an authoritarian political dispensation where we vax endlessly about democracy but are often ready to explode with anger the moment there is a major disagreement.

    My own behaviour has not been examplery; unfortunately, I was never taught how to discuss, and am too old to try changing my habits now. If someone reminds me of manners, I will get even more angry because, hay, I’m a grown up so how dare someone try to tell me to behave?

    I can not think of any magical solution, but all I can say is that we need more and more debates and exchanges of ideas in order to learn. It should start from schools. There should be proper debate competitions where opposing teams take different positions on the topic and also respond to each other’s points rather than just delivering monologs that put everyone to sleep. There should be regular class discussion periods for topics other than those in the curriculum. We badly need local radio and TV stations for discussing and debating local issues. People should grow up with all the exposure to debate they can get at the very grass roots level and not under the kind of censorship oriented regimes we have had (our civilian govts included). Debate, debate and more debate and perhaps we will gradually learn.

  3. Haris says:
    September 26th, 2007 4:04 am

    You must realize that we are not living in times. Infact this is the most frustrating and desperate time the nation has ever witnessed and in such times why do you expect normal behavior from others?

  4. Viqar Minai says:
    September 26th, 2007 4:19 am

    I do not wish to comment on the incidents related to Mr. Kasuri other than to agree that what was done to him, and what he did on TV show, was absolutely disgraceful.

    But the author has raised a very important issue; that of our anger and, in particular, the manner in which it gets expressed in our discourse. Before saying anything further, let me admit that I may have occasionally breached the bounds of civility in expressing myself in this, and other, discussion fora. For this, I tender abject and unconditional apology to all those who may have been affected. I realize that a mere apology does not always help much, but admitting mistake and expressing sorrow and shame is a lot better than standing one’s ground and further compounding the pain of those one may have already aggravated.

    I also wish to point out that, perhaps, anger is reaction to genuinely felt pain at the action of someone else. Not that this justifies insulting and vilifying someone’s “saath pushtaiN” as Adil has aptly pointed out. But there seem to situations every now and then which can pain and anger people. Up to a point, I think it is normal to feel – and express – anger over such situations, rather than internalizing it. Equally, if someone remains totally wooden and unaffected at unjustified provocations, at least I felt that there was something unnatural about such stoic behavior.

    This brings me back to the question that I wish to ask; is it wrong to expereince anger, and to express it? And what is appropriate reaction to register the fact of one’s hurt and displeasure?

    For instance, right now I am extremely hurt and disgusted at the timing, location, and crass opportunism of BB’s statement that she will provide Western investigators access to Dr. A. Q. Khan.

    Am I alone in this? Do people who feel angered by such actions have the right to “vent” themselves?

  5. Aqil Sajjad says:
    September 26th, 2007 5:10 am

    I must say that Munir Malik conducted himself very well. Trying to put myself in his place, I find it hard to imagine how he kept his cool.
    While we should express our strong displeasure at Qasoori’s behaviour and the blackening of his face, we should also commend those who set a good example.

  6. Usman says:
    September 26th, 2007 5:27 am

    It proves that ARD and opposition knows nothing but violence !

    What if Munir Malik had gone blind?, this is such an irresponsible behavior and in no state (condition) should one be allowed to do so.

  7. Din says:
    September 26th, 2007 5:32 am

    Good article Adil bhai.

    I think one problem in our culture is that a lot of us are raised by our parents ( and we raise our kids) so that we/they think that to respect parents we have to agree with them. And I think that sets the basis of our interaction with the rest of humanity for the rest of our lives. Of course this is just an observation. It would be an interesting research topic…

  8. Daktar says:
    September 26th, 2007 5:45 am

    Excellent essay and very aproriate header with Sultan Rahi.

    You are right we are too angry and sometimes its not even clear why we are angry. Maybe too many Maula Jatt films!

    But really, to be angry means to loose control. There is nothing wrong with having strong feelings and even anger but when we let anger control us we end up doing bad things. Just like Kasuri did, or the guy who sprayed him did, or many people (sometimes I also) do here in the comments. I guess this anger is also related to a lack of self confidence so that anyone disagreeing with you is seen as if they are attacking you or ridiculing you.

  9. Adonis says:
    September 26th, 2007 6:05 am

    How can one expect decent ‘civil’ discourse in a society ruled by military?

  10. JayJay says:
    September 26th, 2007 6:09 am

    While Adil Najam has avoided it but there is no harm in admitting our society, as a whole, is more violent and intolerant that most of other nations. It is reflected in both our personal and private lives. Our general attitude towards the weak, violence against women, unkindness towards children, bigotry towards religious minorities, cruelty towards animals, all speak of the intolerance and viciousness of our attitude towards the life. It is sad that lawyers have shown themselves to be no different to illiterate fanatics during recent incidents.

    In our country every debate or argument is judged on the sole criterion of interlocutors

  11. Beej Kumar says:
    September 26th, 2007 6:32 am

    Adil, it may be difficult to make the connection but the mindset that reacts (violently, in case of this lawyer) to what it disagrees with (politically, in this case) is but a ‘logical’ extension of the mindset that expects others’ comments to ‘stay in line’ (for example, on this web-site – but in reality, all around us, perhaps all the way to the mindset that requires the beheading of others).

    My position is – leave the comments alone (with the exception of any computer-generated spam, of course).

    Moderate minimally – not only it would make your ‘job’ easier, if individuals make foolish comments, let such people and their comments stand out as such. It is one of the greatest mistakes to assume, like the various Pakistani dictators (who perhaps think of themselves as reformers) have been doing for six decades, that the ‘corrections’ make the product better – the truth is otherwise and the track record speaks for itself.

  12. Rafay Kashmiri says:
    September 26th, 2007 6:35 am

    Right of Expression is also Democracy no ??? verbal or physical
    responsibility is on both the sides, I have seen many of the posts quite indecent but they pass, they are still there, the best is always peacful expression.

  13. Beej Kumar says:
    September 26th, 2007 6:37 am

    Somehow, the long dashes and bakward- and forward- single-quote marks do not translate well in the posted comments. My apologies and I hope the web-site can fix the bug in its code.

  14. Deewana Aik says:
    September 26th, 2007 6:44 am

    “sometimes its not even clear why we are angry. Maybe too many Maula Jatt films!”

    Too many Maulana Jatts actually. Rest of the society just followed them.

  15. Deewana Aik says:
    September 26th, 2007 7:33 am

    There is an Arabic saying “annaso ala deenay malookay him” …people are on the religion/mindset of their kings/leaders…

    The solution is obvious…get the leaders (religious, political, military) to do right and people will follow.

  16. Deewana Aik says:
    September 26th, 2007 7:36 am

    “I hope the web-site can fix the bug in its code.”

    we have been asking for this for a long time…lagta hai spray karna paray ga hamain bhee…tang aamad bajang aamad :)

  17. Qandeel says:
    September 26th, 2007 7:43 am

    Hello Adil,

    I thank you for bringing up this topic! The question has been on the back of my mind for eons. Why oh why is it so difficult for us to be civil when disagreeing with someone?

    I think it might come down to some kind of a sick mix between a “siege mentality” and social frustration: there is so much friction in our country where one Pakistani is pitted against the other, based on differences ranging from class to creed, etc – all this has instilled this ‘siege mentality’ in us where we think along lines of division. There is little sense of one-ness and I think thats part of the reason why we enjoy attacking one another. Now couple this with social frustration, where most of us can’t really voice our opinions, wants, needs, etc – let alone have them fulfilled – renders us frustrated, a people who find outlet only in being aggressively opinionated, etc. You see?

  18. Rafay Kashmiri says:
    September 26th, 2007 8:38 am

    Tolerance, patience, passion, respect for others, self-respect and acclaiming HAQ (TRUTH) without distinct, thats a good
    nation or community,otherwise its all bla bla bla.

  19. Mutazalzaluzzaman Tarar says:
    September 26th, 2007 9:50 am

    I fully support Kurshid Khan’s actions. I applaud him for doing what many Pakistanis wanted to do themselves. Kasuri is a pompous windbag who needs to be brought back to earth. He thinks he is a bigshot because he plays in the lap of the dictator general. We will see what happens when the dictator goes.

    It is all good and fine to talk about civility, composure, calmness, etc when there are abuses by both sides but the abuse has all been one-sided. It is time for payback. Pakistan has been used and abused for almost its entire history by adventurous, self-serving generals. The time to be civil is gone. It was only one-way traffic thus far but not any more.

    This reminds me about some gentleman on PTV who was hosting a current affairs show. Instead of discussing the events of the time, he had the gall to quote scriptures etc to preach patience. Wah bhai wah. First you stick a dictatorship on our head and when we complain, you preach patience. Subhanallah, how gentlemanly of you. It’s pretty easy to preach patience and tolerance to others when you are the one inflicting the pain and imposing yourself on people.

    Khurshid Khan is a hero. He came on TV and explained his position. He was rational (or as rational as you can be when dealing with treacherous scum like Kasuri) and gave a very good account of himself. He has my full support.

  20. September 26th, 2007 10:31 am

    Adil – this is such a serious issue and than you for bringing it up. People who like serious arguments and discussions shy away from a discussion within the Pakistani community because they fear mud-slinging matches. This is noticeable from a lack of thoughtful people in Pakistani politics, on this online forum, and even in our mosques and mohalla committees. Ghunday take over rather quickly. That is why I strongly support moderation of ridiculous comment son this website. If you don’t protect your members, they will shut up or leave.

    Somebody brought up earlier how we think ‘pleasing’ our parents should mean agreeing with them. An interesting aspect of our life to look into!
    Similarly, I remember from very early days being taught in schools that being good muslim meant having the courage to break down idols of other religions with a single sway of hand/sword. It seemed a small thing then but I realize how it could develop into a habit that winning and agreement does not mean convincing the other party that your argument was right, but to completely dismantle their self-respect and to leave them in tears for having tried to argue with you.

  21. Wasiq says:
    September 26th, 2007 10:33 am

    What everyone is missing out on is that Mr Khurshid has been treated for psychiatric disorders and is, therefore, unstable.

    It is one thing for an unstable man to do what he did.

    Mr. Kasuri is a highly paid lawyers for the government (which is his only client, it seems, since he started working for Pakistan’s spooky agencies during the Zia era). His behavior reflects on his employers and shows how hysterical dictators and their supporters become when confronted by popular forces.

    Military rule has polarized Pakistan. This is just a reflection of the sad state of polarization in the country. We need to calm down in our discussion of Pakistani politics and take out the abuse, hysteria and hyperbole.

  22. Ayesha says:
    September 26th, 2007 10:47 am

    Thank you for a powerful post. The anger is a product of our national psyche, the failures, the half-successes, the frustrations and also of our lack of patience and accommodation.

    But the question is: how do we channel this anger towards positive avenues? For one, we need to acknowledge it is there (which most of us seem to do) and then figure out how to deal with it. Its not going to go away overnight and then the next best thing is to make sure we can use it for the good – as much of an oxymoron as that maybe.

  23. Sharuk says:
    September 26th, 2007 11:15 am

    You can expect this kind of nonsense with average joe/bashira but the sad part is that these people are well educated morons. They don’t care if they are rude to other people. These people fight for peoples right in court. if they can’t talk decently on national tv then I just wonder how nicely would they talk in front of judge.
    Spraying in someone’s face doesn’t answer anything either instead it says that I give up.
    We live in delusion that these lawyers will give us “INSAAF”.

  24. ali m.m. khan says:
    September 26th, 2007 11:35 am

    I have a question ….Was the show aired in its entirety? If so can someone pls upload the whole show here..OR did the show come to a premature end ?
    No doubt it is quite disgraceful with all the bleeping but pray please tell what was being bleeped out?
    Although this mans’ face was blackened, it is his tongue which truly reflects the colour sentiment.
    Also, good manners and social decorum is taught firstly at home and then at school.

  25. H.M says:
    September 26th, 2007 11:39 am

    An excellent article.

  26. ahsan karim says:
    September 26th, 2007 11:50 am

    It was heratening to see the face of this blacksheep being blackened.This bugger is from the lot of those cronies of last century whose religion is hypocrisy.He is famous for making stories and he boostes about sending the most papolour leader to gallows .History has already put his name in the list of traitors i e mir jafar , sadiq and company,very soon he will meet his miserable end as like all those who were part of conspiracy to to eliminate BHUTTO THE GREAT.

  27. ali m.m. khan says:
    September 26th, 2007 12:00 pm

    excuse my repeted interest and posts to this episode…but has any body read faiz ahmed faiz “AWARA KOTAY” Yeh galoon kay awara kotay…..if not then pls do so it is baout politicians

  28. Nadeem Ahmad says:
    September 26th, 2007 12:48 pm

    Lately I have started to think if there is some immaturity syndrome that our soil breeds and our souls imbibe…..

    What a shame…

    and above all….

    these so called pseudo intellectuals are not even ashamed!!

  29. zakoota says:
    September 26th, 2007 2:00 pm

    I fully support the the action of the lawyer who sprayed Kasuri’s face, very rightly done! hats off to his boldness. We need brave people like this in Pakistan. Infact, I think faces of all those people who are working with anti-Pakistan forces should be getting similar kind of treatment, whether they are politicians, military men, lawyers, etc. I think this is minimal punishment for their “big” crimes.

  30. Roshan says:
    September 26th, 2007 2:03 pm

    It is absolutely childish on behalf of Mr. Qasuri and Khurshid. Even the poor and uneducated people who are suffering from hunger (Atta Crises) are not behaving the way these two educated and well to do baboons have shown their buffoonery.
    I apologize but sometimes we behave in the same way in our comments on ATP. I am sure, if we are sitting together in a room, there will be an ATP brawl. Sorry ATP editors we leave such a huge task for you to edit which we spill on each other.
    I think we never learnt from the very beginning (home, school, friends and even in the larger society) that how to present our point of view and listen to others’ argument. Though we are very perfect in the art of ‘offending and reacting’ but weak in tolerating others.

  31. Daktar says:
    September 26th, 2007 2:13 pm

    lo, karr lo gall.
    There are people even here who confuse violence with ‘bravery’ and misbehavior with ‘guts’

  32. harris junied says:
    September 26th, 2007 4:21 pm

    hats off to khan for disgracing this filthy arrogant brat,who is a nasoor to the civil society.

  33. chief sahib says:
    September 26th, 2007 4:38 pm

    I once heard this light hearted description of american politics

    “It’s [american politics] like the Jerry Springer Show, might be vilely entertaining to watch but you never want to be on it”

    i had to recheck this youtube clip to make sure that this wasn’t a desi version of Jerry Springer.

  34. pejamistri says:
    September 26th, 2007 4:51 pm

    I am amazed that the so-called intellectuals of this country takes such matters to show their intellectualism, see what Nasim Zahara, Adil Najam ,Shereen Mazari and many likes of them on this site as well. They try to pretend as if they are living in a society which is full of social justice and humiliating even an animal will cause an uproar. I would have loved them if they were sincerely upset about that. Unfortunately they are not as how can you be upset about someone spraying a black pain on one’s face while you never get upset for so many people being killed every day on account so many reasons. How can I be upset about such a trivial action by a person when I am not upset for the death of 10 people in road accident that happened due to say a bad road, no signal or even collapse of a newly built bridge.
    Let me make my point clearer , if I show a concern for stray dog who is dying due to lack of food , in a society where a human baby is dying for the same reason at the same time, then I am at least a hypocrite if not a criminal.

  35. zakoota says:
    September 26th, 2007 5:27 pm


    I think the people on this forum understand the difference between violence and misbehavior pretty well. If you take this incident as an individual action, the lawyer (Mr Khurshid) might have done wrong but if you take circumstances under which he initiated,then I guess its fully justified. Under a dictatorship and almost a no-law society (where people like Kasuri are fully protected no matter what they do), if someone takes an action to save the integrity of an institution, I would call him bold and brave.

  36. Shaji says:
    September 26th, 2007 5:55 pm

    hHahahaha… Adil Bhai, does it hurt to be put in the same intellectual standing as Nasim Zahra and Shireen Mazari?

  37. Mutazalzaluzzaman Tarar says:
    September 26th, 2007 10:47 pm

    “pejamistri says: Let me make my point clearer , if I show a concern for stray dog who is dying due to lack of food , in a society where a human baby is dying for the same reason at the same time, then I am at least a hypocrite if not a criminal.”

    very well said, pejamistri. people here complain about black paint being sprayed on the dictator’s paltoo’s face. yet they are surprisingly quiet when it comes to the dictator-ordained murder of good, honest men like Hammad Raza and Raja Riaz. they complain about foul language yet when honest men who stand for democracy are gunned down like worthless critters, the same people shrug their shoulders and move on. they can only express their outrage on non-issues. talk about addressing real issues and you start getting hollow lectures on restraint, civility, tolerance, patience, etc.

  38. Razi says:
    September 26th, 2007 10:48 pm

    We are a nation always full of an anger and ready to demonstrate our agression at the drop of a hat. We take pride in putting a threatening look on face (just like the picture of the Policewala glaring at me while twirling his moustache).

    We display tanks and planes and submarines as pieces of art on public display. We drive around chest full of pride accompanied by gun totting body guards. We take away lives for the cost of a cell phone. We have no respect for the rights of others. We drive on the wrong side of the roads, most without valid papers, park illegally….and are fluent in the ‘wrong’ kind of language. We have scores of education institutions but no education…..we have millions of ‘visible’ Muslims but no followers of Islam. Yet we are quick to blame our government and so called leaders for the problems around us. Pakistan needs a revolution at all levels, not just the government and its machinery.

  39. Ahsan says:
    September 27th, 2007 2:48 am

    Every society has some rules of descency. A few of these rules are adopted as laws and an indidual should obey these laws. But, basically, each indidual is free to use or misuse the descency rules. Some of the ATP writers are condemning the ink throwing on Kasuri’s face and some others condoning it even if it may be condemnable by law.
    The descency rules are there for each individual to appericiate its utility. These rules are variable in different groups of the same society and they may have different applications according to time and people.These rules can not be enforced by an authority.
    In my opinion that the moderaters at ATP are wasting time in trying to mederate the writers according to their descency rules. It is the responsibility of each individual to be descent or not to be.

  40. Aqil Sajjad says:
    September 27th, 2007 2:49 am

    Am I the only one thinking that PPP is fielding Amin Fahim as a presidential candidate instead of backing Justice Wajeehuddin only to divide the opposition?

  41. Adonis says:
    September 27th, 2007 3:02 am

    Aqil Sajjad,

    PPP and JUI (fazal) are basically B-teams of the regime. So characterizing them as opposition would not be correct.
    The ‘real’ opposition is quite united.

  42. Qandeel says:
    September 27th, 2007 5:03 am

    Pejamistri and Tarar,

    Yes, spray painting pales in comparison to the more horrendous ‘crimes’ being committed in our country, but I don’t think Adils intention was so much to deplore the nature of this act, rather it was to emphasise how most of us resort to unseemly means when expressing our disagreement over something. The spray painting is just an example, highlighting our general inability to maintain a civil discourse to resolve conflict. The degree of the acts may vary but they all demonstrate the same thing – we can’t disagree with someone in a respectful manner. And as such, it is a very relavent and important point (I think). I mean, it seems like a blatantly obvious thing to say, but unfortunately its something we always need to be reminded of… respect one another! It might be the only dignified way we can work together effectively and even progress.

  43. Adonis says:
    September 27th, 2007 5:16 am

    I am not sure if spray painting can be categorized alongside physical violence. Acts like spray painting, egg, tomatoes and pie throwing have been a largely accepted expression of social disapproval in established democracies of the world.

    It would have been indeed a cause for concern if somebody had shot or beaten up Mr. Kasuri. But so much brouhaha on a mere spray painting? Come on, its just balderdash.

  44. Aqil Sajjad says:
    September 27th, 2007 5:29 am

    What if the spray paint had gone into Qasoori’s eyes? That could have done more damage than a beating.

  45. chirand says:
    September 27th, 2007 5:33 am


    I have a feeling you would’ve even justified someone shooting or beating up Mr. Kasuri if it agreed with your perception of him?

    Can you tell us how you feel about the beating up of Naeem Bokhari?

  46. Adonis says:
    September 27th, 2007 5:53 am

    Aqil Sajjad,

    I have not seen the label on the paint, but generally commercially available spray paints can be easily washed off without any long term damage even if they get into eyes.


    Beating up Naeem Bukhari was a horrible and indefensible act.

  47. Viqar Minai says:
    September 27th, 2007 6:39 am

    Fielding Amin Fahim as PPPP’s candidate is a master stroke which accomplishes multiple goals in one go:

    -It ensures the General victory as long as, at the end of the day, his candidacy has not been invalidated. Even if the rest of the opposition does not resign, with PPPP voting for Fahim, there is no chance of Justice Wajih’s success; not unless a majority of PMLQ expenriences a miraclulous conversion on the road to Damascus.

    - It provides a perfect excuse for PPPP legislators not resigning from the NA, thus facilitating the sham election to go ahead

    - It weakens the chances for the success of any future litigation against the sham election; the govt can now argue, with some credibility, that the election procedure was constitutionally valid and even some opposition parties took part in it. This argument could not have been made based solely on the candidacy of Justice Wajih who is nominated as the candidate of the legal community, and not of any opposition political party.

    A more damaging broadside to the aspirations of millions is hard to imagine; and that too by the political party which claims to be the champions of the masses.

  48. Israr says:
    September 27th, 2007 9:27 am

    If there is no sense of law and justice where is one supposed to go, just pray ” allah in logoon ko gharat karay ” I this is cool, those who are blatantly playing with the public and spreading lies UNN KA MUNH KALAA, I think we should literally publish a monthly list of TEn most Kalaa Munh and than whoever spray paints there face black and publishes a picture of them gets 100 dollars reward. Tolerance of injustice is not tolerance,civily is in the face of civilty

  49. Deewana Aik says:
    September 27th, 2007 9:31 am


    hear hear…

  50. Aamir Ali says:
    September 27th, 2007 1:18 pm

    This attack on Kasuri and the attack on policemen and Naeem Bokhari shows that the “lawyers” are in fact political mobs. I think if the SC rules against these “lawyers” they will burn the building down.

    Anyone who praises physical attacks like these is not a believer in law or civility.

  51. September 27th, 2007 3:57 pm

    The thing that amazed me with Kasuri was just 10 mins before he said those bad words, he was on the podium lecturing the audience about how JAZBATI we are as a nation and we avoid discussion and try to get into confrontation on any topic and we don’t know how to initiate a dialogue.

    This is another dilemma of our society where we give talks and lengthy lectures on the freedom of speech and dialogue but then unfortunately we are the ones who breaks those principles within no time after being done with the lectures.

  52. Sarfraz MIirza says:
    September 27th, 2007 10:00 pm


    No Wonder The Holy Prophet said

    ” The bravest among you is not the one who fights in all the battles but the one who CONTROLS HIS TEMPER”

    Ref ” The Seerah ” By dr Fazal-u-Rehman

  53. Deewana Aik says:
    September 27th, 2007 10:07 pm

    …and there are times when the prophet got a person

  54. Sarfraz MIirza says:
    September 27th, 2007 10:09 pm

    Oop’s pardon me !

    Dr Fazal-u-Rehman

  55. Sarfraz MIirza says:
    September 27th, 2007 11:10 pm

    Mr Deewana Aik

    I thought the topic under discussion , here, was ANGER and not the

    ISLAMIC JUSTICE OR PENAL CODE .( no matter how midevial and barbaric the Islamic penal code may superficially seem to others )

    But you have the right to criticize not only The Prophat but God Almighty Himself .And I for one, not only will respect but by ALLAH I will even defend your freedom of speech and your right to say whatever you feel like about anybody including myself .

    Opinions dont make facts ,be they mine or yours or anybody else’s . After all nobody has seen Allah or the Prophets and has come back to tell us that there is ,or there is’nt any God and either or neither were there any prophets .So your opinion is just as valid as mine .We both must respect each other’s opinion in spite of not agreeing with each other .I am the least qualified to know the truth or to judge anybody .

    That is the whole point here .No show of anger , cynicism , circasim, patronization , criticism,I know it allism , you are wrong and I am rightism .

    May you be blessed by whomever you wish to be.Be it Allah ,Bhagwan , Rama , Budha ,The Lord Jesus Christ etc etc .

  56. Khairulbashar Siddiqui says:
    September 28th, 2007 2:07 am

    I am impressed by your article.
    This problem is partly due to religion and partly due to economics. If all of us believe that there is nothing black and white, but all grey with different shades, we might be better off.
    Increasing enterpeneurship in Pakistan will help to solve the problem. Building institution will solve the problem. I hope that more NGO’s will work in pakistan. I hope that we living abroad will go back after retirement and do this Jehad-e-Akbar

  57. Khairulbashar Siddiqui says:
    September 28th, 2007 2:45 am

    First I wrote my comments after reading Adil Najam’s post. Then I read all other comments. It is surprising. We have a vast difference of opinion. In one way it is good. If we all believe tht we all have to die one day, and we have to be really accountable for our deeds and our tongue along with our behaviour , the problem really goes away. We are all human. We change our view points all the time. Our knowledge is a blessing by itself. People who are angry and try to hurt others by their tongue or behaviour are either poor in wealth or knowledge. If we build a society with good education and economic justice, we will solve our anger problem. Believe it or not, our nation can not handle so called western democracy. Here it is also the game of riches. Poor have to just follow. But they have created a system in which their basic needs are fulfilled. If we are all serious, plan to go back after retirement, start a real education center, not for money. Whole society will change. It is a long process, but it can be done. In Austria-Europe , Education was compulsory since year 1717. Europe did not become civilized in one day. America is still not civilized, that is why religious fanatics have won the election. Democracy will not build Pakistan. See people in assemblies, they are all sons and daughters of those who have sold their own nation after 1857 for Land and Jagir from British. No matter which party they belong to, they have looted Pakistan together and real good. Come on wake up. Don’t make judgement in “BUGHSE-MAAWIA”. Pakistan is in direct threat by west. No body in west want to see a stable Pakistan. So any body knowingly or innocently destroy the peace in Pakistan is actually an agent of so called WORLD POWER. Again I hope that I did not hurt any body’s feeling. May Allah bless us all.

  58. Human says:
    September 28th, 2007 5:02 am

    Vulgar display of power….

    read this…

  59. Ismail says:
    September 28th, 2007 3:18 pm

    Once again, the reactions to the Supreme Court verdict both by those who like it and those who don’t like it shows that we are incapable of decent debate and civil disagreement. The performance of the supporters and opposers on TV shows today has been depressing and sad. This is part of the real hurdle to democracy in Pakistan. The inability to tolerate a contrary view.

  60. Deeda-i-Beena says:
    September 28th, 2007 10:35 pm

    Is there some relation between Lack of(TRUE) Education and Preponderance of Intolerance?
    Education is not just obtaining a degree. It is training a mind to accept contrary viewpoints.
    The two lawyers represent the most highly educated class. All lawyers have had at least 16 years of Education. By training they must accept contrary arguments in the course of their professional work and observe the courts decorum.

    Then why this behaviour? I revert to my original question above: Are they (and other educated performing similar behaviour) Truly Educated?
    The larger issue is what is the difference between them and those who missed out on education?

  61. AUK says:
    September 29th, 2007 2:33 am

    To the board; your silence here is deafening. Are we going to get a thread on the subject or not? It has been over 20 hours and nothing so far. Thanks

  62. Sami says:
    October 1st, 2007 1:19 am

    You are right. People thsi angry CANNOT have democracy. You see the lawyers or the govt there is no room for tolerance and if you cannot tolerate disagreement then you cannot and will not have democracy.

  63. Hamid Shafiq says:
    December 30th, 2007 10:45 am

    The picture is very good and impressive and i salute to advocate who did this thing. Because this is the first action which impress by American nation and after this one of american woman try to spray red colour on Condaleza Rice but her effort are in fiasco. I think the black sheep must be disgraced because if some body try to fail the normal people movement must be kick out from the country.
    hamid shafiq
    Salute to laweyrs movement for freedom of judeciary and media

  64. April 5th, 2008 8:42 am

    Mr. Adil, you’ve yourself said in the begining ” Mr. Ahmed raza Kasuri not only lost his cool but all sense of decorum and decency that is demanded not only by his profession but by mere humanity” and it ‘s not confined to this very show, he displayed such arrogance whenever he appeared on the small screen, therefore, about what the lawyer did to him, one can only comment: he (Kasuri) only asked for it!

  65. Watan Aziz says:
    September 25th, 2010 10:23 pm

    One could argue that part of the anger comes from the institutional failures around us. Not getting and not expecting justice from the institutions around us, we choose to take things into our own hands. Not used to getting fairness from others, we are eager to assume that everyone will be unfair to us, unless we trump them by being even more unfair.


    But this is basic human nature. This is common across all humanity, nations, income, education, religion, etcetera, etcetera.

    Nations and people do irrational things when given a lack of choices or options. And with increased level of restricted choices, the level of violence increases.

    This is why it is so important that there be a healthy conversation, dialog and vigorous discussions.

    And only, open and free societies offer this. Democratic ones. But democracy is a good vehicle when running on strong threads of active and independent judiciary.

Have Your Say (Bol, magar piyar say)