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Sahiwal massacre: Another JIT, another band-aid solution

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I struggled for six hours to control my anger before sitting down to write this public statement on Sahiwal incident. I will try to be objective but if I cross a threshold of decency please accept my apology in advance.

Let us analyse what might have happened in Sahiwal by imagining the whole situation. CTD must have got a tip from some intelligence agency that there is a movement of a terrorist on GT Road. Some high official in CTD issued orders for an operation to apprehend these terrorists. Personnel was selected and weapons issued to them. When orders were issued those engaging in this operation must have been told it should either be an arrest or a kill. They must have been told to ensure no innocent civilians get hurt or killed if the situation gets out of hand. Then a command centre must have been established so that minute by minute supervision is conducted of the whole affair. After stopping the car, the CTD special operation commandos must have informed the command centre that they will have to engage in the live fire as they expect retaliation from the suspected terrorists. Only after the issuance of the order, they would have opened fire.

I am not sure all that I narrated above happened but at least such is the normal procedure to conduct an operation in a well-run country whenever a lethal tool of a state organ is unleashed. This does not require rocket science or any special intelligence but the reality is that our state is broken and those that are entrusted to run it are all busy in a game of power. The result of Sahiwal CTD operation is that four citizens lost their lives and three children are orphaned. What will happen next? A lot of selfies will be taken by the laadla government officials and everyone in a position of power will issue a statement of condemnation as well as fake promises of ensuring such events do not happen again. After all these high sounding statements this incident will be added to 100s of other such incidents when the state failed to protect citizens. Everyone will forget about it and we will all move on. Judges will be busy building dams, visit hospitals, and control population. They will have no time to visit police stations and reform judiciary as it is not something that attracts media and excites people.

Information Minister of Punjab announced in a talk show that government will pay compensation for those who lost their lives but he did not inform us what is the going rate of a citizen’s life in Pakistan. PM and CM fired former KP IG Nasir Durrani who was appointed to reform Punjab police. We might have saved these lives today if he was allowed to function and reform the police. Should Imran be prosecuted for dereliction responsibility and mandate? But then they have no sense of responsibility or burden of a mandate rather they were selected to be the laadla.

We are a band-aid nation and our new band-aid solution for all our problems is Joint Investigation Team (JIT). The government formed a JIT for Sahiwal incident in which ISI and MI are present, although no one knows what their expertise in a police operation is. This brings us to the debate I initiated some days ago that military rulers are as incapable as their protégés to run the government. Since then I have heard from a former federal minister who agreed with my proposition. Shehbaz Sharif has announced that Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Bajwa is the real PM while the one sitting in PM house is a fake. Former ambassador, during General Musharraf tenure, Ashraf Jehangir Qazi had penned an op-ed in DAWN on the good governance of military governments. And former Chairman of Senate Raza Rabbani has declared in a Geo interview that government is operating in an incubator. The debate continues as we wait to hear more voices about it.

Some of you may feel that I am unreasonable to mix Sahiwal incident and the manufacturing of laadlas. But I strongly feel that there is a link between the two. Sahiwal incident is a reminder that such factories have to be permanently closed if we want good governance in this country and allow sovereignty of people to elect their rulers. Only those that are elected by people fear the accountability from them and perform. Those that are selected form JIT and include their masters as part of it.

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