Que sera, sera

“…And Man saw that all is passing in this mad, monstrous world, that all is struggling to snatch, at any cost, a few brief moments of life before Death’s inexorable decree. And Man said: ‘There is a hidden purpose, could we but fathom it, and the purpose is good; for we must reverence something, and in the visible world there is nothing worthy of reverence.’ And Man stood aside from the struggle, resolving that God intended harmony to come out of chaos by human efforts.”

These lines from Christopher Marlowe’s famous play ‘Doctor Faustus’ have a different context yet they remind me of a brave Pakistani teenager, Aitzaz Hasan – a 15-year-old boy who embraced martyrdom when he confronted a suicide bomber who wanted to bomb his school in Ibrahimzai, Hangu. The list of brave people in Pakistan is long: brave teenagers (be it Shaheed Aitzaz or the living legend Malala), brave leaders (Shaheed Benazir Bhutto, Shaheed Salmaan Taseer, Shaheed Bashir Bilour), brave cops, brave soldiers… and it will get longer if our state keeps paying lip-service to the bravery of these people without doing anything substantial to address the issue of terrorism, extremism and religious intolerance. I am not sure if God intends “harmony to come out of chaos by human efforts” in Pakistan but I do know that Aitzaz Hasan’s martyrdom has had no effect on the terrorist sympathisers/appeasers at the state level.

A posthumous bravery award, tributes from the army chief, prime minister, etc., mean absolutely nothing if the state is unwilling to take action against the Taliban and their terrorist allies. Why should the sacrifice of a 15-year-old boy, who had much to see, go in vain? As much as it pains me to say it, young Aitzaz’s huge sacrifice will eventually come to nothing because of the flawed policies of our military establishment and the cowardice of some of our politicians (read the ruling party at the federal level and the provincial government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa). The military considers the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) an enemy but terrorist outfits like the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) are not considered enemies despite the fact that they are operating alongside the TTP. Terrorist outfits like the LeJ, Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (LeT), Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP), et al, are as bad as the TTP, yet the military is not willing to go after them because of vested interest. Our political leadership is not ready to confront the menace of terrorism either out of cowardice or reasons best known to them -- and them alone. The people of Pakistan are constantly being misled by leaders like Imran Khan who still have the audacity to say that we should ‘talk’ to the Taliban. What good talking to these monsters will achieve is beyond my comprehension but one thing is clear: we cannot go on this path of self-destruction.

The lyrics of ‘Que Sera, Sera’ (Whatever will be, will be) remind one of life in Pakistan. We really do not know what awaits us: whether we will live to see tomorrow or not, whether another young Aitzaz will have to tackle another suicide bomber to save hundreds of lives or not, whether this state will continue to self-implode or get its act together or not…whatever will be, will be. Here is to hoping that our military and civilian leadership get their heads out of the sand in 2014 and save Pakistan before it is too late.

(Originally published in Mid-Day)


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