Culture of Violence

The Nation


Amir Mateen’s Press Gallery report on November 19, 1997, titled “There might be a larger game”, inter alia stated that, “I asked for it”, in reference to a scuffle that took place in the Supreme Court building which is now the subject matter of an enquiry by the Registrar of the Supreme Court.

Had Amir Mateen chosen to check the facts with me or someone else present at the seen before coming out with his report it would have unable him to write authoritatively about what was happening at a place where he was not even present.

During the course of the proceeding, I have been entertaining about 100 PML supporters who came to sympathize with their leaders facing contempt charges. I do that at my own cost and expense and there is no other place in the Supreme Court premises except to invite them to the Bar room. Same was the case on Tuesday, November 18, 1997, when not only parliamentarians facing contempt charges but also their colleagues and supporters were invited to join me for a cup of tea. Khayyam Qaiser, despite being an employee of the Prime Minister, is one of his sincere well wisher and does not consider me a stranger or a ‘turncoat’, as Amir Mateen has uncharitably chosen to describe me. He had hardly taken a sip of tea when Khawaja Asif stopped me and started forcing a message upon me for the Chief Justice of Pakistan.

I very politely requested him to communicate his feelings to the Honourable Chief Justice when he appeared in defence before the court but he insisted on my “very special relationship with the Chief Justice of Pakistan”. The message was that I and the Chief Justice had destablished the whole system and that both of us were to be minced. He insisted for himself a conviction by the Supreme Court as it would enhance his political stature. All this was stated in presence of Khayyam Qaiser who may not be able to speak the truth, although being a noble soul, since he is not a heavyweight in the Prime Minister’s empire. I was in a hurry to leave for the court but Khawaja Muhammad Asif would not let me do so. He called me names for which he is so famous in his circles and party. Above all the declared that I was the Chief Justice’s ‘tout’. The poor did not understand how evil and unfair was this expression. I confess I did tell me that an ex-employee of the notorious BCCI was not entitled to talk like that but he asked everyone to grab me and I have no option but to call for the security staff which mysteriously was absent. As has been rightly pointed out by Amir Mateen, I was calling for photographers right when I was being hit left, right and center. I am amazed over the satisfaction which appears to have thrilled Amir Mateen over my getting hit from left, right and centre. The shouting for the cameramen was not have a bruised face published in the Newspapers but to pin down the assailants. No cameraman was present but the Supreme Court surveillance system recorded the whole incident which shall prove during the enquiry who was right.

God Almighty gave me the courage to state before the court the bad expressions used by me, referred to above and also that I did not want any police action against a person who was a visiting guest and had come to take a cup of tea on my own invitation. The incident was shocking, and assault is shocking for everyone.

The shock is greater this time because the party of which I am still a member has tried to follow a culture which is not its own culture. The parliamentarian holding high positions and ministerial status did not feel satisfied with the oral altercation and wished that the dissidents be taught a lesson. This is disturbing because it shows the deterioration of political morality.

I have always been very proud of the superior culture of Muslim League, which myth has been broken by my own comrades. I wish and pray this type of conduct is contained and buried with this ugly incident and does not leave any traces behind of any kind.

We are already a torn society. We are deeply bruised by the ethnic divide, and the language of dissidents is guns, grenades and knives. The sectarian divide is more painful bullets are sprayed even when you are praying before Allah, this menace force the parliamentarians to pass a law declaring such violence as terrorism to be dealt with by extraordinary procedures. Khawaja Asif and Parvez Rashid have voted for this law. There vote shows that they did not support the language of violence and assault. Can this country afford a similar tradition to take roots in the political arena? If the political opponents of Khawaja Asif and Parvez Rashid became the examples and trend settlers for a tradition that those who disagree with you, or who are perceive to be your adversaries, could be hit left, right and centre. I wonder what is in store for us. I am a solitary individual and could just leave my matter to be dealt with by the Lord who sees us all, but those who are charged with the duty to save the value system have to ponder seriously. Is it not a message regarding everyone disagreeing that words should be replaced with weapons? Parliamentarians should be exemplary role models. What examples are we  furnishing? This change of culture requires a serious   deliberation by the lenders of the party who are standing in the shoes of the father of the nation. Quaid-i- Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah.