And I say he has every right to be Shahid Afridi. A star this big deserves a few tantrums. And his performance to glory ratio is still a great average. Nor is the “other side” in this case – the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) – a great horde of angels. So, I say, Let Shahid Afridi be Shahid Afridi. Let the man have his tantrum!
There were two performances in the Pakistan parliament today. The presentation of the 2011-2012 budget by Finance Minister Hafeez Sheikh and the protest tamasha by the parliamentary opposition. Personally, I was disappointed in both performances. But much more in the later than the first. But maybe I am being a ‘harsh grader.’ So I do want to find out how our readers feel, so here is an ATP Poll. What was your reaction? (Please note there are two seperate questions, requiring two answers.)
Pakistanis have gotten used to feeling unsafe and afraid. Today they are feeling even more unsafe and afraid. And that is no accident.
Afraid and unsafe is exactly how the butchers who tortured and then murdered Syed Saleem Shahzad want us to feel.
Those who brutally murdered journalist, and author of the recent book Inside Al-Qaeda and the Taliban, Syed Saleem Shahzad clearly wanted to silence him. But the calculated and staged ‘delivery’ of his murdered body was meant to do more than just silence a journalist. It was an attempt to silence a society.
The message to Saleem Shahzad was cold and bloody and brutal. The message to Pakistanis – and not just journalists, but all who may dare to ‘speak up’ – was equally cold and bloody and brutal. Of course, nothing can compare to the fatal, ultimate and irreversible wounds that were inflicted on Saleem Shahzad. But the chill that ran down the spine of all Pakistanis was also real. Let us not doubt for a moment that this was a calculated act. That this chill is exactly what his murderers wanted to deliver.
Murder, as an article in Dawn pointed out, is “the severest form of censorship” on he who is murdered. But it is also the most chilling of messaging for all others. What was delivered to Pakistanis today was not just the dead body of a journalist, but the proverbial “horse’s head” (as in The Godfather) – a promise to impose censorship “by all means necessary.”