Rab Nawaz

It is heartening to see the way our nation has venerated the tragic yet heroic deaths of Chaudhary Aslam, a senior police official from Karachi known for his daunting resolve to fight terrorists, and Aitzaz Hasan, a ninth grade student from Hangu who fearlessly embraced death in an attempt to stop a suicide bomber from entering his school. These two remarkable individuals, along with many others, have left an indelible mark on our harrowing journey to overcome our own Frankensteinian faults. Although we must continue to pay homage to their spirits, our responsibility extends far beyond that. We must ensure that their sacrifices do not go in vain.
There is hardly any doubt about the identity of their killers – in fact the Taliban are almost shouting in our faces claiming responsibility of these heinous acts. While some of us are responding by vowing to stand for what Chaudhary Aslam and Aitzaz died for, others have still not awoken from their slumber. Among the ruling parties, the one holding power in KPK is confused and least upright in its stance. One must question why the governments in KPK and the center are still so apologetic towards the militants. Why they cannot even name those who have unleashed this barbarity against the people of Pakistan. Why is the nation still being fooled on the hollow pretexts of ‘negotiations’ when it is all too clear that such promises have time and again not materialized.
Chaudhary Aslam and Aitzaz Hasan personify our daily fight against the monster that we have been breeding for decades: the former at the level of the state and the latter at the societal level. Dozens of outstanding examples can be mentioned in both these categories. A great number of valiant soldiers and unarmed civilians have chosen to stand and face death while they could have escaped it. It is unfortunate that they died in a war that we are still not able to fully accept and face. But we do hope that their spirit will help us carry on this struggle reminiscent of the following words:
Rise and Rise
again and again
like the Phoenix
from the Ashes
until the Lambs
become Lions and
The Rule of Darkness
is no more.

The Web of Censorship
It has been almost one year and five months since YouTube has been blocked in Pakistan. In multiple surveys a vast majority of internet users have expressed their opposition to the ban. An even greater number (82%) have been using proxies to access the blocked content. These statistics are clear proof of the redundancy of official maneuvers to censor the web. Within a year, Pakistan’s status on internet freedom moved from ‘partly free’ to ‘not free’, and now ranks among the top ten most censored countries in the world. Unmoved by this burden of shame, our IT minister has even threatened to ban Google. The government must realize that access to the internet is a human right, and denying this right in any way to over 20 million internet users in Pakistan will further weaken the fragile democratic process, if not worse.

Leave a Reply