Jahalat Compounded: Do We Really Want These Guys In-charge of Our Mail and Our Children?

Posted on November 7, 2008
Filed Under >Adil Najam, Education, Law & Justice, People, Politics, Society
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Adil Najam

Jahil ko agar jhl ka inaam diya jaaye
batlao kay iss jhl ko kiya naam diya jaaye

Just two months ago, we at ATP were aghast at a statement from Senator Israrullah Zehri (BNP-Awami) who, along with Jan Mohammad Jamali, not only defended a horrendous and barbaric murder of young girls as part of their so-called “tribal tradition.”

While there were Senators who condemned this jahalat by these dishonorable Senators, it was disappointing not to see any action being taken at this outrage despite the fact that the senators remains defiant and unrepentant in their jahalat. Now it seems the PPP government has taken action. But what an disgusting action it is. Seantor Zehri seems to have been “rewarded” – but for what? – by a Cabinet appointment.

Even more disturbing than Mr. Zehri’s appointment is that Mir Hazar Khan Bijarani, the new Miniser of Education – yes, education! – seems to have jahil views not very different from Mr. Zehri. Is Vani really what we want to teach our children!

But, first, more on Senator Israrullah Zehri. Luckily the Cabinet is so overweight (55 Ministers) and the post he has been given (Postal Services) so inconsequential that his warped sense of right and wrong may not be able to do too much damage. But in the name of all that is good, why O’ why would anyone make someone with such unrepentantly ignorant views a Minister of anything? What possible good can come out of that for anyone?

At the time of his original – and shameful – comments, we had argued:

[They have] not only shamed the Senate and all of Pakistan, they are in fact abusing and shaming the culture and traditions of all Baloch.

Now,at his elevation to a cabinet position one can only say that this act has doubly shamed the government, the Prime Minister, and, indeed, all of Pakistan. His shame remains what it was, but added to it now is the shame that the PPP government would so disregard human and women rights as to make such a man a Minister – even if it is of “Postal Services”!

The shame is further compounded – indeed, the jahalat is compounded – because he is not the only one with such public views who has been inducted into the cabinet. Even more disturbingly, it the new Minister of Education – yes, we have said it before, and let us say again, eductaionMir Hazar Khan Bijarani is someone who not only supports the practice of Vani but has actually facilitated it!

In writing about the Zehri story, we had argued that:

Those who think they can “restore” their honor by murdering others have no honor to begin with. There is no honor in murder. Ghairat cannot be gained or regained by butchering the weak. Indeed, murder is beghairati personified. And let us never – never – let anyone confuse criminality with culture.

And its not just us who thinks that such actions are criminal. The Supreme Court of Pakistan thinks the same too. Indeed, the first time we had written about Mir Hazar Khan Bijarani, the new PPP Education Minister – as an teacher myself, I cringe at that thought each time I think about it – on Pakistaniat.com (August 16, 2007) was when we quoted from a Daily Times story about how the Supreme Court had ordered “the arrest of the members of a jirga, including PPP MNA Mir Hazar Khan Bijarani, that decided to hand over five minor girls for marriage to a family to compensate for a murder in Jacobabad. Three of the 14 jirga members are already in police custody and the court ordered the arrest of the other 11.”

Guess who the (then just-restored) Chief Justice of the Supreme Court was then? Guess who in the Cabinet will be working for him to be be restored!

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The Dawn story on that particualr episode is worth reading – read today, it gives some great insights into not only the politics of then, but the politics of now:

arrest of 11 members of a jirga, including PPP MNA Mir Hazar Khan Bijarani, for handing over five minor girls to the family of a murdered man as compensation to settle the dispute in Jacobabad. A five-member Supreme Court bench comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, Justice Javed Iqbal, Justice Sardar Mohammad Raza Khan, Justice Faqir Mohammad Khokhar and Justice M. Javed Buttar took up a complaint of a freelance anthropologist Samar Minallah against the handing over of five girls — Aamna, 5, Bashiran, 2, (daughters of Rahmatullah), Shehzadi, 6, Meerzadi, 2, (daughters of Hafeezullah) and Noor Bano, 3, (daughter of Yar Ali) — to the family of the murdered man as compensation.

The Supreme Court had in June last year frozen the jirga decision to hand over the minors and ordered police to submit an inquiry report within two weeks. The District Police Officer (DPO) Kashmore was told to conduct an inquiry and arrest the jirga members. When DPO Noor Mohammad informed the court on Wednesday that police had arrested three members of the 14-man jirga, namely Hafiz Qamaruddin, Yar Ali and Rehmat, the CJ asked why were influential people not arrested. “Are you afraid of them?” The DPO explained that he had assumed his duties just one and half months ago. At this, the bench said that police always picked up poor people and were afraid of arresting influential people.

The rest of eleven members of the jirga nominated in the FIR are Mir Hazar Khan Bijarani, Peer Bharchoondi Mian Abdul Khalique, Thull Tehsil Nazim Syed Ali Akbar Banglani, Ghulam Rasool Banglani, Syed Jalal Shah, Raza Mohammad Banglani, Qamaruddin Banglani, Hafiz Banglani, Habib Banglani and two others. The jirga presided over by Mir Hazar Khan Bijarani had ordered the handing over of five minors to the victim’s family and imposed a fine of Rs1 million on both the warring parties to settle a decade-old feud.

So, this then, folks, is your new Minister of Education. Mir Hazar Khan Bijarani. Jirga leader, Vani supporter, and according to the Supreme Court of Pakistan, a criminal.But the real crime here is giving him charge of education. Making him incharge of the most important national resource we have. Our children and what goes into their mind!

To repeat what I said at the beginning:

Jahil ko agar jhl ka inaam diya jaaye
batlao kay iss jhl ko kiya naam diya jaaye

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