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Pakistan

When religion is supreme, justice can go wrong. Because a religious state doesn’t accept the divorce between what is public and what is private, it ends up confusing ethics with piety.

 

Monday was just another day for Prakash Kumar, 35, a mobile cell vendor in Hub town in Balochistan, when he uploaded pictures of the festival at Hinglaj Mata, in his home district of Lasbela, he had attended and posted it to his acquaintances on WhatsApp.

 

The rift was unnecessary, making sensibly handled closure all the more welcome. Eleven days after DG ISPR Maj-Gen Asif Ghafoor tweeted a rejection of a prime ministerial directive — a move that even at the time appeared hasty and ill-thought-out — the civil and military leadership have choreographed the end of a wrenching saga that at the very outset, some seven months ago, seemed vastly overblown.

 

So now we have it. The gloves are back on. The cat is once more in the bag. Having been duly plucked from amongst the pigeons. The latter after all, are not known for tweeting in Pakistan — even if they thought they saw a pussycat.

 

A week after the interview of former TTP spokesperson Ehsanullah Ehsan on GEO was banned by the electronic media regulator, another private television channel aired the interview of Noreen Leghari, a young woman radicalised by the Islamic State extremist group. Let us examine the issues that this raises.

 

It is not clear whether it was the resulting uproar, the government’s earnestness to not fracture the progress made in civil-military ties or something else that prompted the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) to “withdraw” its tweet about rejecting the government’s notification following the Dawn leaks report.

 

“You can’t clap with one hand,” one of the rapists in the notorious Delhi gang rape case had famously said after being convicted of rape and murder.

 

In two separate statements yesterday, officials from Pakistan’s neighbouring states respectively called out Islamabad’s ‘lies’ over cross-border death toll, and threatened to strike inside the territory to take out jihadists’ safe havens. Neither of these statements came from India.

 

It was said in a matter-of-fact way and caused few ripples. Indeed, both the speaker and the audience seem to have accepted it as an inalterable reality of the state here.

 

All is well in the circles of power – or at least it will be. A meeting between the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Qamar Javed Bajwa on Friday night has been described as “fruitful” by a military spokesperson.

 


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