It comes as a shock to hear that the murder of Sabeen Mahmood and the massacre of 45 Ismailis were two different dastardly acts that were allegedly committed by four individuals who never went to a madarasah (religious seminary) but were educated in a top business institution and privately operated engineering colleges of Karachi. Eight others of the gang – including the real mastermind – are yet to be apprehended. In case this is true, this only just goes to show that our education institutions, including the well-known liberal institutions mirrored on western style of schooling, have been infiltrated by teachers with an intolerant bent of mind. And, it is easy for them to identify students who can be moulded to participate in such undesirable activities.
The alleged criminals were no unemployed lot; they were armed with degrees from the premier institutions. Therefore, a bad economy or unemployment cannot be attributed as a principal reason for these heinous crimes. However, the Board of Governors of all institutions of higher learning need to place filters so that such teachers are not hired. And, institutions which are meant to create a merit based tolerant society do not become a nest of such activities. Young people especially with loose family links do look up to their teachers as mentors. Thus, it is essential for parents to keep a close watch on their young children. We need to learn a lesson from the West where family ties appear to have broken down. Parents and teachers cannot and should not shirk their responsibility of teaching tolerance of opposing views and that no one other than the state has a monopoly on violence.
Your right ends where my nose begins. And, standing up for rights of others even if we differ are laudable principles that need to be inculcated in our society. Yes, the establishment and the state indeed made mistakes in the past. And, there is not much faith in our law and order enforcement institutions. But this scenario in our country needs to change. The state and society at large need to stand up for the weak – the aged, the women, minorities and children. Only then will democracy flourish. Politicisation of police and civil administration has resulted in weakening of governance and collapse of the infrastructure of Karachi. Army (Rangers) alone cannot improve it. The political forces need to change and lend a helping hand to the state institutions for improvement. Social boycott of the corrupt and wrong doers may also be needed. So let us do it to create a better future for all.
The text appeared as the editorial of Business Recorder today