By Minerwa Tahir
KARACHI: There’s a province in Pakistan whose people are one of the most resilient in the face of war damages. For decades, they have witnessed their loved ones getting killed by one side or the other. Despite serious challenges in the face of terrorism and the subsequent war on terror, the people of this province are out on the streets today waging a struggle for their rights in the federal capital.
Similarly, there are challenges that the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP) police are facing – yet are striving to perform to the best of their abilities. To laud the efforts of the K-P police, I do not feel the need to compare it with that of any other province. Each province has its own set of dynamics and it’s difficult to come up with a uniform yardstick for drawing parallels. Nevertheless, it was heartening to see the KP police chief give a professional briefing after four-year-old Asma’s case was solved. But there’s a problem.
When Zainab’s killer was caught, the CM of Punjab put up a show. Criticism followed over what was seen as blowing one’s own trumpet. All the efforts of the authorities that led to the arrest of the culprit pretty much went down the drain as the CM offered an opportunity for the focus to be shifted to the public boasting.
While the Punjab CM did this on national TV, PTI chief Imran Khan is resorting to the same tactics on social media. One feels amazed at our leaders resorting to all sorts of mediocre point-scoring behavior that ends up damaging the efforts of hardworking democratic institutions. In one of his tweets, Imran mentioned that “just one spot of blood” was used to find the culprit in the rape and murder case of four-year-old Asma. This is self-destructive because everyone knows that the sample was sent to Punjab Forensics Science Agency, which confirmed the DNA sample matching. KP police cannot be lauded for something they haven’t done. By doing that, one shifts the focus to falsely attributed achievements.
Similarly, Imran tweeted about the Mashal Khan case verdict. He stated “this is the first time in Pakistan where police has been successful in bringing the main accused plus other mob [members] to justice.” It’s shocking to see Imran bury his head in the sand like that. Is there anyone who would miss how the PTI chief has chosen to ignore the fact that it was the same “misali” police in whose presence the lynching took place? And that Arif, the mastermind of the lynching, who happens to be PTI’s tehsil councillor, is still at large? He fails to hide the malice in his words by purposely forgetting to mention Arif.
Perhaps Imran should focus on the actual commendable efforts of the KP police, such as, for instance, their success in bringing down the amount of crime in the province over the years. Blowing their achievements out of proportion and appreciating them for things they haven’t done will be of little help. Perhaps it is time to focus on actually strengthening our democratic institutions instead of filling them up with misplaced pride. And the first step will be acknowledging our failures.