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Pakistan: Farzana Parveen Stoned to Death - But Why?

| by Mahboob A. Khawaja

( May 31, 2014, London, Sri Lanka Guardian) Farzana Parveen just 25 years old was born alone and died alone. The autopsy will show she did not die by natural causes but was stoned to death. She did not commit any crime except the dislike of her own parents and family members to marry Mohammad Iqbal. They viewed it a matter of honor to conspire to kill Farzana. The spectacular scene portrayed on the global news media showed hundreds of spectators witnessing the most horrifying crime to human nature, not in darkness but in broad daylight right where freedom, human dignity, and honor of the citizens should have been protected - The Lahore High Court compound and police in attendance. Farzana’s soul must be wondering, why did the society not protect her against this shameful act of extreme violence? Where are the concerned citizens who claim to be believers- the Muslims and day and night talk about Islam as being the faith and value of the society? The truth is Farzana is not the first victim of such a horrible tragedy.

Every day countless Farazans become object of the powerful monsters of this beleaguered and mindless trend of the society. There is no Islam and no believing Muslims, as Farzana was being stoned to death, nobody came to rescue her. Her husband Mohammad Iqbal begged the spectators to save his wife but none of them offered to help save Farzana from the stoning. Is the Pakistan society fast becoming a morally corrupt - moral and dead-ended nation? Iqbal disclosed that “police did nothing during the 15 minutes the violence lasted at the Lahore High Court. “I begged them to help us but they said, this is not our duty,' he said. “I took off my shirt (to be humble) and begged them to save her.” Jill Reilly and Mia De Graaf reported in the Daily Mail, UK, that “The 25-year-old had offended her family by marrying Iqbal instead of a cousin selected for her. Honour killings are common in Pakistan, but the brutality of this case caused outrage around the world. Police said her father, two brothers and a former fiance were among the attackers. Muhammad Aurangzeb, Farzana's 20-year-old stepson, described how one relative had tried to shoot her, then grabbed her head scarf, causing her to fall over. While a member of Iqbal's party wrestled the gun away, a female cousin grabbed a brick and hit Farzana with it, he said.

'She was screaming and crying 'don't kill me, we will give you money',' said Iqbal. He said he tried to save her but the mob of more than 20 beat him back. At one point, six people were beating her with bricks as she screamed, he said, and he and his stepson begged police to help. Finally she stopped screaming.’

If the face of a human being is the mirror of the character, surely, Farzana appears to be a decent, pious and respectable young lady. She was legally married to Mohammad Iqbal and reportedly pregnant since three months. None of her characteristic deserves this inhuman and sadistic atrocity by so many people watching the vengeful drama of the few.

After the fact, women and men of conscience across the nation and globe have expressed indignation and protest against such a vicious cruelty carried out at the premise of the place where law and justice should have been fully guarded. Not so, this is Pakistan, an emerging nation of indifference perpetuating individualistic interest and choices to survive in complete disregard to the terrible consequences in-waiting for the future. Many observers point out a pattern of deafening sense of insecurity to public life and often ignored by the politicians.

Just last year in Kohistan tribal area of Pakistan, four young women were ordered by a tribal elder decree to be killed because they sang and watched as two men danced in a wedding party. The official investigating report never came to public attention as to why they were murdered? The official debated the question as how to conduct investigation in a region overwhelmingly without official presence or no formal law and order in the governance. But Lahore is not a remote village in Kaghan Valley but an ancient city of several million people – a gateway to Asia - and would claim to be civilized and honorable in matters of moral conscience and human values. It was no tribal Kohistan to underscore the official incompetence to investigate an inhuman atrocity. At a time after winning the freedom from British colonial subjugation, common folks used to dream of Islamic glory, human values and triumph for progressive social harmony and peace across the new free nation. It appears that the dream was shattered and misplaced by so many martial laws and criminal rulers, the nation feels terrible sense helplessness as if nothing could rescue them from the continued cruelty of the few and wide spread moral and political viciousness. It seems more and more as if Pakistan under corrupt and morally decadent leadership is replicating the history of Romans. Colin Wilson (A Criminal History of Mankind, 1984), explains how the Roman Empire declined once its sadistic and egomaniac leaders full of the sensation of power behaved like children, the Roman civilization collapsed into chaos, ruins and dark ages:

“The Romans were slipping into violence by a process of self-justification, and once a nation or an individual has started down this particular slope, it is impossible to apply breaks the Roman people were too unimaginative and short sighted to realize that, once murder has been justified on grounds of expediency, it can become a habit, then a disease.”

Pakistani nation claims faith in God as the core value of its nationhood but the real world affairs depict a different emerging picture. Last September, a church was burnt down by reportedly the Taliban mob in Peshawar – a place to worship God and killing 85 or so innocent citizens of the minority Christian community. The insane killers forgot that God is God of all the human beings, not just of the Muslims and God loves all of His creations. Those who violate the sanctity of the Laws of God must be held accountable and punished. Few weeks earlier, 10 international hiker tourists were kidnapped and murdered in the K-2 mountainous region. Did anyone investigate and caught the perpetrators of such inhuman crime against the foreign tourists? Does it not discourage the prospective tourists to visit Pakistan in future? In short and long terms, this loss of national image and human values is irreversible. Again in late 2013, Muslims of Shia minority were repeatedly bombed in Quetta. The mourners kept the burial of the dead bodies on display for days as a token of protest and asking the military to safeguard their lives from in-house terrorism. It was clear that the citizens of the country were left unprotected from the gangsters and criminal elements of the society. None of these development foster rational sense of a valued-oriented Pakistani society except indignation, stagnation and insanity. The global image of Pakistan and its political governance is under scrutiny and being undermined. The scope of sadistic cruelty and viciousness is enlarged every day as every day becomes a killing day of the innocent. Are there any responsible people in the political governance who should be held accountable for the security of the nation? For a decade, Pakistan has endured senseless killings of the civilian population. Do the Muslim people of Pakistan have any collective consciousness intact to realize that killing of one innocent person is equal to the killing of the whole of the mankind? For what reason are these killings carried out and tolerated by the rulers? Is Pakistan governed by politicians with no consciousness of the global reactions to their incompetence, foolishness and self-defeating criminal practices? For more than a decade, Pakistan is engulfed with a culture of deadly events, under corrupt and gangster dominated politics, society is embracing kidnapping, threats of violence, deaths of civilians, destruction of the habitat and lost sense of public security, diminishing trades and commerce, businesses, authoritarian trends in governance and sharp indifference to the sacred values of tolerance, respect for varied ethnic diversity and co-existence in One Nation framework. There is no political, moral or religious justification for the on-going killings. These appear to be inhuman and desperate acts of psychopaths and cruel minds that plan to undermine the interests and the present and the future of the nation.

The mob thought that they could annihilate Farzana Perveen for ever but they failed miserably as they just killed her body not the soul. Today, there are thousands and millions of rising voice of reason asking for justice and protection to the rights of women in Pakistan and throughout the world. Why should women be targeted anywhere on the planet for acid attacks, strangulation and draconian stone to death eventuality? If Farzana was alive, she would have asked - why am I stoned to death? What have I done wrong to deserve this terrible cruelty? Would any of the investigating reports answer her question? The prevalent culture of political corruption and mismanagement knows no sense of rationality to respond to public fear of the unknown and prolonged hatred of the crime riddled politicians.

The nation continues to be governed by uneducated, indicted criminals and insane people who have no sense of time, intellect and history. Pakistan is fast drowning in its own dreadful act of indifference, faltering security and sickening history of killings its own people. You need intelligent and morally and intellectually capable leaders, not Bhuttos, not Zardaris, not Sharifs but educated people of the new generation with an inward eye not to politicking but to safeguard the rights, freedom and security of the citizens and to transform the sadistic present into a promising future for all. To change and reform the political governance, Pakistani nation must think critically and see the mirror for the past misconceptions and errors of judgment and to pursue political activism to bring the new-age educated and intelligent people into political leadership role who could think right, share new visions and plan and implement new and creative ideas for political change to safeguard the national interest, freedom of the nation and its future. The rulers hold the absolute power in Pakistan. There is no democracy, no political accountability and no law and order normalcy and safety of the ordinary citizens. Do the politicians need a high power jolt to change the course of history-making for the people of Pakistan? If so, such a powerful jolt could come from the determination and resolve of the will of the people to ensure protection of the rights of all the citizens of the nation, their freedom and honor and human dignity. The voices of REASON must be heard loud and clear.

(Dr. Mahboob A. Khawaja specializes in global security, peace and conflict resolution with keen interests in Islamic-Western comparative cultures and civilizations, and author of several publications including the latest: Global Peace and Conflict Management: Man and Humanity in Search of New Thinking. Lambert Publishing Germany, May 2012).

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