Begins the Fire-Hunt
24 May, 2011
By Anwaar Hussain
This one will be as painful to read as it was to write.
There is this old method of hunting practiced in some parts of the world. It is called a fire-hunt. Two people are required. One goes ahead carrying a blazing torch (or a high powered flash light these days), while the other follows behind with his rifle. The two hunters thus move through the forest in tandem. When an animal is startled, he will stand gazing at the light, mesmerized and disoriented, with his eyes shining like bright diamonds in the darkness. This is called “shining the eyes.” The hunter with the rifle, thus seeing him, while the other shines him, levels his gun with steady aim, and takes a shot trying to put the bullet between the eyes.
With the Bin Laden killing, a fire-hunt has begun on the bewildered Pakistani leadership. Caught like deer in the headlights, the incident has had the effect of shining their dopey eyes. Presently, they are in an extremely high state of arousal caused by a weird mix of anxiety, fear, panic, surprise and confusion. Their eyes are now wide open and aglow, with their motor reactions dulled down. The kill shots, unfortunately, are not only being taken by the Americans, but by the Taliban too. Witness the endless concessions to the Americans by our so called leaders, while blabbering sweet nothings, and the revenge killings for Bin Laden by the Taliban, not to mention their recent attack on one of Pakistan’s major Naval bases.
In this fire-hunt, the befuddled Pakistani nation is the forest, of course. Rent by poverty, stung by endless power cuts, taken to the cleaners by state sponsored radicalism, they sway in the darkness in a now-they-fall, now-they-don’t manner. The Pakistanis never ask and are never told. Their opinion, in any case, has never mattered in this unfortunate country. The Mullah continues to thunder from the pulpits reminding them of their being God’s chosen people, their duty to maintain that status and the untold pleasures that await them in the hereafter if they but continue to heed the call. They switch on their TV sets and in beams into their sitting rooms foaming at the mouth patriots, with zero world view and infinite egos, telling them why Pakistan is the mightiest country in the world capable of going it alone if need be.
They watch in mute silence when strange logics are being hurled at the world in their name. They hear that Pakistan is an important and sincere ally in the war on terror because beauties like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Ramzi bin al-Shibh, Abu Zubaydah, Abu Laith al Libi and Sheikh Said Masri, not to mention a thousand other little serpents, have all been found, captured or killed on the sacred soil of Pakistan. They do not question that if on a street, strange strains of toxic germs are found only in one house, how the occupant of that house can proclaim any significance? Other inhabitants of that street will only cringe in fear and revulsion while even passing by that house. The inmates of that house deserve an instant lesson on hygiene, healthy living and a visit from the municipality, not medals. Now add to it the fact that the dwellers of that house are not only in the habit of occasionally killing each other, they are also, per chance, in possession of weapons with which they can put the entire population of not only that street but also the surrounding areas to eternal sleep, and one begins to form a picture of what the world thinks of us.
In the heat of the fire-hunt, no one tells the Pakistani nation that hating America is useless. Because if it’s not the Americans then it will be the Chinese or the Russians or the Indians or any combination thereof leading the world. Americans still read us the Miranda rights first which start with the words, “You have the right to remain silent.” The others will shoot first. No one admits that it is neither the Americans, nor the Indians, nor the Zionists who have brought us to this sorry state–it is we ourselves. That we have become such a threat to ourselves and the world that, rather than destabilizing us, the world would rather want to erect thick walls around Pakistan to quarantine us forever. Wherein, in time, we either obliterate each other in self feeding throes or come out as responsible members of the world community after the sure blood letting.
Everyone blames America’s presence in the region and Pakistan’s alliance with her in the ‘war on terror’ for the killing of 35000 Pakistanis by Pakistanis in the past 10 years. They say there were no killings in Pakistan before 2001. No one asks why is it that America’s close proximity hurls us into a frenzy of killing each other? America is the world’s sole Super Power and may go anywhere her interests lead her. Why must we kill each other every time she passes close by in the region? Why does her presence or alliance bring out the worst into us? Why will Pakistani Sunnis and Shias kill each other when America is our friend and will not when Russia or China become our friends? What is it in our association with America that forces us to kill our minorities, bomb girls’ schools, destroy video and barber shops and become a haven for scoundrels of every hue and color? Why do we allow hate to invade our every limb, nerve and sinew when America is around?
The world has almost put the lepers’ bells around our necks. No one asks why are we still following policies regarding the Taliban that has brought our nation to where it is today? No one tells the Pakistanis that these zombies are in fact nothing more than religiously inspired killers who kill and be killed following a ‘divine path’ of their skewed imagination. That, let alone theirs, a simple litmus test for any ideology is that if it asks for killing in its name, it is to be shunned like plague. For no God will ask one set of his people to kill another. That these snakes will bite the very hands that fed them–witness the attack on the GHQ and the killing of their ‘father’ mentor Colonel Imam.
No one asks that in the charade called ‘the in-camera briefing’ to the parliament, why the holy cows did not take the podium themselves, pushing their underlings to do the explaining? Why was the Army let off with, “we failed but did not really fail” and the Air Force with, “we could but did not” and “we can if told to”? Why are certain officials still enjoying the perks of extension in service with their heads still on their unworthy shoulders? Why didn’t someone from the parliament point out to the head of ISI that the simple fact that his boss did not accept his resignation, if he ever put it, was because the boss himself would then have had to resign if he had a shred of self respect left?
No one tells the Pakistani nation the solution to their malady. That as a first step they need to get out of their state of denial. That only when they take off the blinds and remove the rags from their noses will they see the rot and smell the stench. And that once they have seen the problem for themselves, how large it looms presently and how boa-constrictor-like it is choking the lives out of them with each breath they exhale, they would instantly know its architects, sustainers, sponsors and propagators. It is no rocket science thereafter. Incapacity above and justifiable discontent below will then naturally seethe until an outburst takes place. That, sirs, is called a revolution nothing short of which can now alter the course of Pakistan.
But for the spell to go, the blind and the rag have to go first. That is the condition. They will at once see that the floodgates of hate were purposely held wide open for them. They will then realize the reason for the strange comfort therein. They will know with horrible clarity that the helplessness of surrendering to this absurd hate is quite heavenly to those who are in its spell.
So yes! The fire-hunt has begun. The guns are leveled. The eyes are a-shining and the shots a-coming. We are left only with the ultimate question—how many more shots can it take before the rare species called Pakistan becomes extinct forever? Agreed that there will be no tombstone for Pakistan because there is no graveyard of nations where countries are buried when they die. However, after defanging it, the world would abandon it a la Somalia, scrapping at the bottom of humanity, crawling crab like, eating the dust of a beaten path travelling over which other nations will have long gone.