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Lessons from the Islamabad Fiasco

by Abdul Majeed

(This is a useless post because Pakistan and Pakistanis have steadfastly refused to learn any lessons from the past).


On 15th August 2013,a middle aged man in the Capital of Islamic Republic of Pakistan started aerial firing in the middle of the city. He started firing into the air in the central Jinnah Avenue neighbourhood — less than a kilometre from the presidency and parliament buildings — after being stopped for a traffic violation on Thursday afternoon, police said, according to the report published by AFP. He was holding a Sub Machine Gun in one hand and a Klashnikov in the other. He was accompanied by a Burqa clad woman and two children in his car. Negotiations were started with the man by Islamabad Police but to no avail. The saga continued for more than five hours and most of the electronic media was transfixed on this issue for that duration. It was described as a Bollywood movie sequence by one channel and a Hollywood scenario by another. Later, different TV Channels interviewed the guy and his wife alternately. The drop scene occurred when a local politician Zamurd Khan physically tackled the guy and brought this fiasco to an end. Some of my observations about this are as follows:

State, What State?

In the last two months since the new government took over, an average of four bomb blasts have taken place per day in the country. A Jail containing dangerous militants was broken with expertise, foreigners were killed at a trekking camp thousands of feet above ground, police officers have been killed mercilessly from Quetta to Chilas, a national heritage site in Ziarat has been burnt to ground, a Judge has been killed within court premises, a bomb even targetted the foodstreet in Lahore. In this background, a mentally unstable guy starts shooting in the air with a submaachine gun in the middle of the Capital, and it takes five hours to bring him down. Writing on the wall says that Capacity of Pakistani State to protect its citizens has eroded. We are each, to our own now.

Emergency Response?

Considering the fact that state has abdicated its responsibilities, the lack of a “hostage specialist team” to deal with such incidents is alarming. Hundreds of kidnappings have taken place in major cities of Pakistan(Read the latest report by BBC on “Flash Kidnappings”) and terrorists have used hostages as bargaining chips previously. Why can’t our police force have a specialist unit to deal with such situations by now. Oh Wait, we do have an “Elite Force”, most of whom are performing “Protocol Duties” alongside VIPs.If political parties in Karachi can have “Target Killer” Squads, Why can’t the Police and Rangers hire a few snipers?

Common Sense

For a ratings-hungry electronic media, this incident was like manna from heaven. Sikander and his enatrouge were enacting a wet-dream of a news program director. The mature response from the media would have been to kill the coverage after the initial hour because people who pull such stunts are craving for attention. It doesn’t take a post-graduate degree in psychology to figure THAT out. But No Sir, our media is not a mature institution and  they proved last night that they would go to ANY lengths to increase their ratings. Non-Stop coverage was accorded to Sikander and his stunt, while thousands of lives were being endangered by floods in different parts of the country. Evidently, Sikander’s marital details and pictures were more important that the hundreds of protestors dying in Egypt. The worst aspect, in my humble opinion, was the attitude of anchors towards Sikander and his wife. First of All, talking to such people on live Telly is a major blunder, then acting as a trauma counsellor or a psychiatrist is not the job description for news anchors(last time I checked). This was an unnecessary action by our erstwhile “Free Media” that considers itself “Free” from even ethical boundaries. It proved that even Media is failing badly as an institution, like the rest of our country(Amir Liaqat dug the grave of media sensibility during his Ramzan Shows). The Laal Masjid Incident many years ago was the starting point for 24/7 media frenzy, It has sadly not died down after so many years.

Brave or Foolhardy?
I remember what a friend of mine once said to me during my newfound activism days: “There is a thin line between bravery and being Foolhardy”. Zamurd Khan and Nabil Gabol, two politicians from different parties, crossed that line last night. Getting up close and personal with a volatile person who was armed to the teeth is not a sign of bravery. While a foolhardy act did bring down the scene, it was extremely dangerous and uncalled for. We, as a nation, have resorted to hero worship, and the lionization of Zamurd Khan is one latest example.

Nation of Voyeurs
This is not the first incident or instance that people gathered at the scene just for the sake of watching the proceedings. At every traffic accident, skirmish or even a punctured tire, Pakistanis are in a habit to gather around that place to “watch”. While a burst tyre is not a risk to life in most cases, watching a “Police Encounter” is not a mature reaction. There was media outrage when cameramen and reporters were forced by the police towards the periphery.!! This appetite for “Voyeurism” is very unhealthy.

The Aftermath
The “demand” of the the clearly drugged man was “Imposition of Sharia” and “Dissolution of Current Government”. It was said in hushed tones by many right-wing commentators(I’m looking at you Javed Ch and Talat Hussain) that the “demand” was right but the “methodology” was incorrect. It shows the mental level of those anchors and many of their viewers that ANYONE with a demand for Sharia imposition HAS to be right. Thus, there is a constant confusion in our society about rights and wrongs as TTP and their ilk are also demanding the same thing, while taking part in atrocious activities. Sikander and his (alleged) wife have been arrested and would be presented before court some day. Based on recent judgements and actions of our courts, they may be released.!! After all, Sikander is not a bigger terrorist than Hafiz Saeed or Malik Ishaq, who are rotting in Jai…Oh.

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21 Responses to "Lessons from the Islamabad Fiasco"

  1. M Ali Khan Pakistan Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    Our azad media can be described in three phases

    Mush era media liberalisation led to a gradually growing, and controlled, free media.

    Supreme Court crisis led to first foray of media taking matters into their own hands, and Lal Masjid made them go bat-sh*t insane as they made an otherwise villainous maulvi duo into demi-heroes and permanently damaged Mush’s repute.

    as media further expands, now at an increasingly hyper pace with every nook and cranny now having a TV channel, now its all about the battle for ratings. who gets to be the most outrageous, the most insane, the most crazy to win ratings from an increasingly agitated public.

  2. mark Germany Internet Explorer Windows says:

    to the PTH

    A people and a nation heavily maddened by this religion exported from Arabia.
    True God will destroy this religion with the very help or “help” of its followers.
    7th century tribal craziness and fascism in the 21st century.
    The situation is now so bad that only true god himself can save us from this evil ideology from Arabia.
    And he is going to do it.

  3. Proletarian Pakistan Google Chrome Windows says:

    Sikandar was a victim of the lies Pakistanis are fed since childhood about religion.

  4. Kamath. Canada Safari iPad says:

    The man could be mental patient with guns . So let us not jump in to conclusion here. This obsession with religion, may be simply something where he derives his inspiration.

    But, someone old tell me how there re o many assault weons in the hands of an civilians!i. That is a danger to the society itself!

  5. mark Germany Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    to kamath

    There are no civilians in Pakistan.
    They are all armed with weapons or islamo-fascist propaganda.
    It is militarized society.
    Bombs, bullets, anger, irrationality or hate are the weapons which every pakistani carries with him.
    They are not a civilized people – they are bootlickers of arab imperialists and islamic fascists. That is no sign of civilized behaviour.

  6. probono Pakistan Internet Explorer Windows says:

    The comments amply describe the state of this nation, in one word, PATHETIC. Like the party they voted for PML N,the people are no different. This fiasco reveals the state of mind of Ch. Nisar and his PM. Totally unprepared and highly confused to handle simple situations mostly expected to be the level of a DSP and in this case the SSP. This SSP happened to be a Doctor and had the looks of a retard. He gave immense confidence to the criminal by his looks and conversation. It was he who had to make a decision instead the head constable of Islamabad Ch. Nisar was asked for advice. When you have doctors to command forces faced in such situations then this what you get. This SSP should be sent packing and this practice of Doctors induction through personal connections must stop. The other thing is the media and the locals. Apparently there are NO SOPs to control these two in such situations or this goofy SSP had totally lost his mind. Then after the capture of the criminal (Thanks to Zammurad Khan)I saw policemen firing in the air. Why it was the govt ammo that he was wasting. This means NO DISCIPLINE. This effeminate toupee wearing Interior Minister must be told to RESIGN.

  7. Khalid Khalil Pakistan Google Chrome Windows says:

    fear of mistake is one of basic causes of inaction for a government employee, including police. common mode of thought is “if i act, there will be mistakes, if there is a mistake, i will be punished. so avoid taking action…” police had the capability of handling the situation as a minor incident. but, i think, they had in mind their bosses, courts and media. the attitude of interior ministers, federal and provincial, confirms that their fears were justified. they are denied the protection that law provides them in such situations. ministers always behave like kings.

  8. probono Pakistan Internet Explorer Windows says:

    One most important comment I wish to make about this pervert electronic media. This ill trained uneducated and morally degenerate circus called media is in its most corrupted form in Pakistan. There is no such thing as AZAD MEDIA. Freedom ends where rights of others and freedom of others starts. This myth must be decimated. Extreme damage it has done to all aspects of our social life will do more harm. Nowhere in the world they are allowed free hand the way they are doing here.Last RAMADAN was a case in point. E Media proved to be the scum of the earth and all civilized people know how scum is disposed off.

  9. akb Pakistan Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    Notwithstanding what that maniac was upto it is perplexing to note thatt ven Muslims are afraid of their own religion (the so called liberal ones) and hate to see it or it’s tenets enforced amongst them.
    Sure there are sectarian differences among Muslims but it is also true that all sects unanimously agree on most of the fundamental tenets of Islam…..(apart from contentious views on Islamic personalities) which could atleast be enforced in Pakistan. This attitude of some Muslims in itself is denial of their faith and the Quran

  10. mark Germany Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    to akb

    your post confesses that islam is a totalitarian ideology. Muslim liberals are hence afraid of islam. The only ones who are not afraid of the success of islamic fascism are those muslims who believe that getting kiled during the killing of others will bring them into allah’s supposed paradise.

    The only agreement among all muslims is about exterminating non-muslims. That is the only agenda that unites them or can unite them.

  11. probono Pakistan Internet Explorer Windows says:

    To mark

    Like most of your kind you expose your ignorance by jumping to silly conclusion about a religion you have no knowledge of. First read Quran ,understand it and then propound your theories.
    Following your level of thinking we could safely assume that homosexuality is part of your faith. Gay marriages and violating young boys in your Churches is common and legalised in most of your so-called civilised and developed societies.

  12. mark Germany Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    to probono

    I have read the kuran and found many sentences therein which are outright fascistic, totalitarian and arab-imperialist. To recognize fascism one needs some political and social intelligence and knowledge which muslims do not and cannot have, since they are indoctrinated to glorify the kuran or face violence and hate and a life in allah’s eternal hell.

    Talking to muslims is like talking to a zombified people. You are one more of that sort on the PTH.

  13. probono Pakistan Internet Explorer Windows says:

    You are plain lying. Obviously Muslims do not possess that kind of Christian intelligence and knowledge that your society has. Most of you do not know whom to send the Father’s Day card.You make your women naked. How silly it looks when in winters even they are required to show as much of their body as possible and now same with boys for the pleasure of men. Instead of being ashamed by looking inwards you are pointing fingers. Read and understand Quran and you and your family’s life will change.

  14. mark Germany Internet Explorer Windows says:

    probono writes:

    “Read and understand Quran and you and your family’s life will change.”

    It will change towards more fascism, machoism and misogyny.
    It will change towards more superstitions and bootlicking of arabs.
    It will change towards faster overpopulation and bloody conflicts.

    The more the kuran is believed in and obeyd the more confusions, fascism, conflicts and bloodshed it is resulting in.

  15. alex Russian Federation Internet Explorer Windows says:

    very nice post, we certainly adore this website, keep on it

  16. mansoor tariq Pakistan Google Chrome Windows says:

    i would like to say it a publicity stunt like mukhtara mai , malala , and some other people. or we can say it a psycic case

  17. mark Germany Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    mansoor tariq is trying a publicity stunt by mentioning the name of Malala.
    He thinks that since she is now known and important then he too can become known and important by slandering her.
    If Malala comes to know you she will spit on your behaviour, but actually you are not worth even of her spit.

  18. mark Germany Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    The pakistani newspaper “Nation” reports:
    “Medical reports have confirmed that Mohammad Sikandar, the gunman who created mess in front of the Parliament House for over five hours on Thursday last, suffer from personality disorder and has been a drug addict.”

    Anyone with the name Mohammad is bound to suffer from such megalomanic and personality disorders.
    Mohammad, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, Mohammad Zia ul Hak, Mohammad Khomeini, Mohammad Ali, …. and so on … the list is very long.

  19. Rex Minor France Google Chrome Windows says:

    The author blmes the media for giving attention to the story, uses the term ^¨bravery^ for civil courage, and tries to wrap up the events in his country since the new Government took over in a package deluding his readers to hope for education standards when none exists in the country. Pakistan is a lawless country since those who organised the colony are no longer there. No one is going to help the people who are not prepared to rise above their shadows. Religion is your faith to give you spirtual guidence, science is to explore the mechanism of how things are formed and progressed but it is your brain and the mind as well as the heart which guides one to discover what has not yet been discovered by the previous genezrations. There are no short cuts in life nor 100 percent explanations for every event. Pakistan does not have qualified and experienced Psychiatrist not education research facilities.
    Neither the complaints nor this bitching will resolve the issues. Action is needed and not by the Government but by the npeople themselves. Remember that most countries have experienced revolutions and civil wars before they learned what PEACE is.
    Rex Minor

  20. probono Pakistan Internet Explorer Windows says:

    to mark from infamous Germany,

    You come from a country that once killed innocent people because you hated their faith. You don’ t seem to have learnt your lessons and need another strong kick in your behind. You people are an ugly spot on the face of Europe. Look around and you will find many of your kind have been reformed when they accepted Islam. As it is the leftovers like you will soon follow them. You are the outcast of Europe HOLOCAUST is your dirty past and rest assured unless you reform you will end up similarly.

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