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Have We Gone Mad? (Reader discretion advised)

Posted on June 9, 2011
Filed Under >Adil Najam, Law & Justice, Society
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Adil Najam

Stop the violence in Pakistan pleaseThis graphic video of the brutal murder of 19 year of Sarfraz Shah being confronted and shot dead by Rangers – supposedly because he was a robber refusing to surrender – is only the latest in a string of state and societal resort to violence that makes one wonder if we have gone totally mad: Lynchings in Sialkot, disappearances and killings in Balochistan, shaming of protesters in Rawalpindi, vigilante justice in Karachi, shootings over load-shedding in Multan, bombings of shrines in Lahore, slaying of a woman Minister in Gujranwala, slaughter of a Christian Minister in Islamabad, and a culture of anger and a validation of violence everywhere, including and most horrendously by those who are supposed to be the custodians of our safety and security.

We are including the graphic video of the brutal murder of Sarfraz Shah, but after the ‘fold’. Reader discretion is required. But if you can bear to watch it, then do so. Because it is well past time that we stop ignoring the rot that threatens our every pore.

What can one do except hold ones head in shame and sadness, and ask oneself: Have we gone totally mad?

Despite the anger and angst that swells within each vein, I would like to believe that we have not. I still believe in Pakistan and Pakistanis. Maybe I do so because I have no option but to believe so. But more than that I do so because I know that even though the insanity is all around me, there is even more disgust and dismay at this insanity. But it is no longer enough to show disgust and dismay. We must speak up – as so many actually are. And that is because I believe that we still have it within ourselves to rise against and reject this violence. If we do not, then who will?

110 comments posted

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  1. Yasir Hasan says:
    June 10th, 2011 6:22 pm

    I am not justifying the extra judicial killings, but the facts are that the person was not unarmed and was not innocent…as our beloved media is bragging so much about it…

    Can you answer these two questions….You can listen to the video as my observations are not based on the media or rangers/police reports, I have heard these two statements in the video….
    Q1 : In the video the guy said “Meray paas naqli gun hai”…
    So what the hell was he doing with the fake gun in public? Doing “innocent” things… A gun is a gun, if someone comes in front of you with a fake gun, will you ask him to confirm if it is real or fake?

    Q2: In the video the guy said “Mein Majboor tha”….
    Majboor for what? looting? What kind of needs a 19, 20 year guy can have which force him to rob people on fake gun spot?

    Let me take you to the other side of the world… see this video…

    Now, what do you say, should have been done with the fellow who killed the person in ATM???? A mad dog needs to be put to death, you don’t have to wait for him to bite and kill a person….the guy was caught by the police upon his neighbor information…Currently he is on bail (I read it in newspaper, but couldn’t find it on the Internet) and how long will it take to get the justice, you know the system….

  2. Monano says:
    June 10th, 2011 4:15 pm

    We all know that no matter how enhanced the readership this blog has, the message it or Adil Najam tries to convey, can not reach the masses, very much like Sarfaraz Shah and the rangers who ordered to shoot and then actually shot them. Had Adil Najam and thousands of emigrants like him stayed in Pakistan and become agents of change by being within the society, the incidents like these would have significantly reduced.

    The migrants to western countries, who were actually brains of Pakistan. evaded their responsibility, and left the unfortunate nation to brainless and heartless. That is exactly why we are faced with such madness the professor is whining about.

  3. Omar Khan says:
    June 10th, 2011 3:03 pm

    No doubt, the ranger personnel who pulled the trigger, and those who stood around him watching, have committed a crime. But to me, the real criminals are those who have vested such powers on them.

    I have personally faced the barrel of the gun to my neck on many instances while traveling on the Indus highway south of Peshawar. I have been lucky each time. Many others have been shot and killed. Nobody has the courage to ask any questions because no media reported it LIVE. An incident 2 years back involved an FC personnel shooting at a car in Hayatabad, Peshawar. A 6 year old girl was injured and doctors had to amputate her leg. An FSc student was shot in the forehead in Dir next to a check-point when he was shouted at to stop but he could not hear them because of ear-phones.

    There are countless examples of this high-handedness and trigger happy armed forces who are told that they can get away with it in the name of security, and they do. After all, it only takes a split-second for a suicide bomber to explode himself, so the response time of the security personnel has to be faster than this.

    The real solution is not to make “an example” out of these rangers personnel. For the real solution, we have to agree upon the real problem. We have to go back and see where we have gone wrong, and correct it from there. The root of the evil starts with our policy in the war of terror, when it started 10 years ago. In these 10 years, the real initiator (USA) and the rest of the world have moved on. We haven’t. We won’t. We would have, if it were not for the billions of $$$ given to us for the wrong motives.

  4. shahid says:
    June 10th, 2011 2:40 pm

    The video is awesome and chilling.
    It is indeed a cold blooded murder in broad daylight.
    The killers certainly need to be prosecuted

  5. shahid says:
    June 10th, 2011 2:34 pm

    In a most civilized society police brutality is possible; though highly regrettable.
    The question is whether the incidence is far too much in Pakistan.
    Lastly there is a way out in the form of good compensation in the form of hefty blood money.

  6. anwar says:
    June 10th, 2011 2:32 pm

    Ofcourse we have gone mad. It did not just happen. We let it happen over the years. We let the army carry out its bloody little operations in Dhaka and Karachi and now Waziristan. We created a monster and now we must tell it who is the master!
    It is high time for a political change!

  7. Shazia A says:
    June 10th, 2011 1:18 pm

    I agree with the title of this article/blog conversation on ATP…Have we gone mad? Yes, Prof Najam you have diagnosed the problem of a troubled nation suffering from what is known in Psychiatry as “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder” or PTSD for short.

    I have sympathy for the loss of an innocent life, documented and captured by a reporter and also for the 35,000 other non-documented and unrecorded ones. The only difference is this case is an eye-opener for our nation. A glimpse of what the other 35000 people went through.

    Take a moment and reflect….

    Let us not beat ourselves up, rather take a moment to find support in each other. Educate our masses, take help of our Psychiatry Physicians and we do have some of the best trained ones in Pakistan. Dr Mubasshir Hussain being one of them.

    So what are the signs and symptoms of PTSD?

    Symptoms of PTSD fall into three main categories:

    1. Repeated “reliving” of the event, which disturbs day-to-day activity
    * Flashback episodes, where the event seems to be happening again and again
    * Recurrent distressing memories of the event
    * Repeated dreams of the event
    * Physical reactions to situations that remind you of the traumatic event

    2. Avoidance
    * Emotional “numbing,” or feeling as though you don’t care about anything
    * Feelings of detachment
    * Inability to remember important aspects of the trauma
    * Lack of interest in normal activities
    * Less expression of moods
    * Staying away from places, people, or objects that remind you of the event
    * Sense of having no future

    3. Arousal
    * Difficulty concentrating
    * Exaggerated response to things that startle you
    * Excess awareness (hypervigilance)
    * Irritability or outbursts of anger
    * Sleeping difficulties


    Notice the last few symptoms…EXAGGERATED RESPONSE TO THINGS THAT STARTLE YOU, HYPER VIGILANCE…Our rangers, policemen and military personnel have been traumatized to the extent that they have a sudden startle reflex to any suspicious person or act, with a fairly high index of a “trigger response”. The seemingly insane killings of the foreigner group of people and the unfortunate young gentleman, was a similar response by the Rangers.

    After all, our supermen are human too. The response is not insane, it is a symptom of a stress disorder.

    So what do we do?

    My recommendations would be:
    1. Recognize this problem of PTSD in the community and also the first line defense personnel.
    2. Get professional help from our country’s Psychiatrists in helping educate people about PTSD. Hold group therapy classes. Discuss individual experiences. Support someone in your surroundings who has been affected by PTSD and is showing signs of stress.
    3. Warn people through media to avoid unusual behavior or display of weapons or hostility to the defense force. Highly likely that they might shoot-to kill by instinct.
    4. Teach people to co-operate with security check areas and personnel. They are there to help us. Redevelop TRUST, which will take time.
    5. Simplify life styles. Find satisfaction in the small things in life.
    6. Spiritual help and healing. Pray and connect with religion at a personal level.
    7. Forgiveness…as a nation learn tolerance and forgiveness.

    Our media should not to take this as a personal attack, after the loss of the two lead journalists. We should take these miserable incidents, killing of our own people, as a natural course of the disease any nation in the world would suffer had they been through what Pakistan has gone through in the last 5 years.

    I have the credentials to make this diagnosis, being a physician. I also believe that this is a treatable disorder with a good prognosis. We should take this opportunity to educate our people and our youth towards a better, brighter and safer Pakistan.

  8. Khan says:
    June 10th, 2011 1:08 pm

    Shez has some observations and I find those appropriate and worth paying attention to.
    The only way towards disintegration is from within and so far it is on schedule. Our media with ‘blade in their hand’ would do it ahead of the schedule but people who believe it can be prevented stand in ‘their’ way. This media and ‘N’ League are trying to alienate people from Armed Forces and both owe their existance to Generals.
    Warning from a neighbour should wake them up. The whole world is talking of 2012 or 2015 …25 etc and ‘some one’ wants to reach that deadline through our own people and through certain political parties. Such emotional reactions and false or incomplete ‘edited’ reporting indicates that ‘they’ have penetrated these areas.

    I am totally foxed at Chief Justice Supreme Court’s reaction. He has stepped out of line and is trying to pose as some kind of peoples champion. His interference in the Executive affairs and then sleeping over them has become too frequent and needs to be addressed at the appropriate forum. His utterances deliberately made and publicised are not in line with the dignity of office he holds. He is NOT a political leader or is he? He should know that he got what he wanted but those who fought for him got nothing. He has not delivered what was promised.

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