Tsunami of Hatred

Written by Anees Jillani  •  May 2013 PDF Print E-mail

Ajmal Kasab was hanged in November 2012 and Afzal Guru in February 2013. India in a civilized manner offered the remains of Kasab to Pakistan that it, for reasons known to it, declined. As opposed to this civilized behavior, Afzal Guru’s family, despite its interest in his body, has been declined the privilege and Guru has been buried within the Tihar jail.

Incidentally, both the above hangings, despite being linked to Pakistan in one way or other did not attract any attention, whether at the government or public level. Even the attack on the Pakistani prisoner, Sanaullah in the Jammu jail was hardly taken notice of. This was in sharp contrast to the reaction in India where many political party workers were shown thrusting sweets into each others’ mouths; the less said the better as far as the Indian electronic media is concerned.

Now Sarabjit Singh has been killed by his inmates who, like him, are on a death row and thus hardly have any worries being brought to justice. There is no excuse for any prisoner being killed in a prison anywhere in the world and the prison authorities are responsible for this negligence, just like the ones in Jammu are for Sanaullah.

I can understand and appreciate the reaction of Sarabjit’s family. It is also the job of the Government of India to protest as an Indian inmate has been killed in jail in cold-blood. However, what is the media getting so excited about?

Sarabjit was convicted for being involved in terrorism, just like Kasab. His case was reviewed twice by the Supreme Court of Pakistan and a brave lawyer was following his case till the day he died. I wonder if any lawyer in India would be this bold to represent Kasab. What to talk of him, even Afzal Guru was mainly convicted due to bad legal representation as he was not directly involved in the attack and thus could and should not have been hanged.

The people who are regarding Sarabjit as a hero fail to see the dichotomy. He was an Indian but involved in terrorism in Pakistan. I thus do not see any difference between him and Kasab. One was killed officially and the other unofficially and this is where the dissimilarity ends.

India is, rightly, angry with the November 2008 Mumbai attacks. The Indian government acted with maturity after the attacks unlike the reaction of its predecessor following the December 2001 Parliament attack which lined up hundreds of thousands of troops on the border, which were unilaterally and unconditionally withdrawn. This was not a mature reaction as it would not be in anybody’s interest if the two countries had gone to war over the issue.

In February 2007, the Samjauta Express was bombed by Hindu fundamentalists near Panipat and 68 Pakistanis were roasted inside. The culprits have yet to be convicted despite the passage of six years. Pakistan did not line up troops on the border despite a military General at the helm of affairs and neither the media nor the public went berserk talking about teaching India a lesson. Terrorism is a universal problem and Pakistan is one of the worst sufferers in the world.

We are neighboring countries and there is no reason we should not communicate about these issues. The sane voices should stand up against this `Tsunami of Hatred’ to plead peace, sanity and maturity. It is difficult if not impossible for Pakistan and India to go to war after becoming nuclear powers and this constant itching to teach Pakistan a lesson is not going to get us anywhere, except perhaps better TRPs. 

Anees Jillani is an advocate of the Supreme Court of Pakistan and a member of the Washington, DC Bar. He has been writing for various publications for more than 20 years and has authored several books.

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