By Ali Usman Qasmi
General Zia-ul-Haq must be grinning in his grave (literally) for coming to the rescue of the Americans even after his death.
It was during the Zia regime that the ‘Islamic provision’ of Diyat was added to the Pakistan Penal Code. Ever since its promulgation, numerous men accused of murdering female members of their household have escaped punishment simply because other male members of the family – who happen to be the legal heirs of the ‘shameless’ female victim bringing dishonour to the family – pardon their male kin for performing the heroic act.
In a recently published research article, renowned expert of Pakistan’s Shariat Laws Tahir Wasti has argued that despite there being specific provisions in the Islamic jurisprudence for the prosecution of criminals by State even if the legal heirs have arrived at a negotiated settlement, the trend in Pakistani courts has been to let the murderers get off the hook. The same has happened in the case of Raymond Davis’s release from prison.
Given that this has been the general trend established by the Zia-interpreted Shariat laws of Pakistan, why is there so much talk of ‘another surrender’ and ‘darkest day in the history’?
May be we are upset because the families of victims have now got what the overwhelming majority of Pakistanis want: an overnight fortune worth millions of dollars and immigration to US. Or maybe there is resentment against the families of the deceased for the fact that they did not live up to our expectations. We wanted them to stand up to the Americans in the face of threats and temptations. For our satisfaction they should have stood tall at the expense of their own misery. Their ‘defection’ to the US makes us realize that we are too human to resist worldly endearments; that the rhetoric of anti-Americanism is shallow in the face of green temptations; and that emotionalism fizzles out quickly while we expect it to stay firmly entrenched regardless of the ground realities.
Let us admit it that we all expected the families of the victims to act according to the whims of our imagination. Now that we have been pinched by reality, it is hurting us bad.