When talk is cheap and action non-existent


Because what can you say in the face of Mardan?

Sometimes things are bleak beyond tears. The brutal, horrific murder of young Mashal, a student at Abdul Wali Khan University, Mardan, is one such. What do you say when young people upon whom your hopes were pinned as – perhaps – the bearers of change for the better, turn out to be more bestial and bigoted than their elders? If any of the many young men who beat Mashal their fellow student to death, read this, I hope they will think of what they and their mobster friends have done, just think. They not only turned upon their own, rejected the teachings of peace, compassion and tolerance contained within the creed they claim to subscribe to, but they inflicted immeasurable agony upon another human being and his loved ones, surely the thing condemned above all in Islam. They also presumed to tread upon the territory of God…whom they pretend to worship…by pronouncing judgement in a sphere that belongs to God alone. Did you see, they actually forced Mashal to recite the Quran before torturing and killing him? Did they see, do we see, that almost every verse of the Holy Quran begins with the words ‘In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful’? Does anyone understand what that means? My God, this has to stop, this spouting of the ‘b’ word. My heart goes out to Mashal who is now beyond fear and pain, and to his family who has a lifetime to live through it. And to this country whose men made up that vicious, murdering mob of…surely it is too kind to call them men.

Where is this country headed when such things can happen? What is behind this?

Young people need something to do. They need to keep not just their hands but their minds busy. It is in the natural order of things. And when they do not find these things they drag a project out from under a stone to involve themselves in, whatever that project may be. And this is what allows them to play right into the hands of people who need ‘martyrs’, or a mob to carry out their distorted mission whatever that is. It is this instinct that is used to gain support both for wonderful projects and for utterly devastating ones, such as this event in Mardan.

Imran Khan tweeted: “Am in touch with KP IG since last night on condemnable lynching of student in Mardan. Firm action necessary. Law of the jungle can’t prevail.”

No it shouldn’t prevail, but it does. Nor should this mindset prevail, but it does. Nor should young persons be so readily available to do the dirty work for murderers. Please condemn the mindset as well as the breaking of the law, the law of man and of God. Humanity has also been killed here.

We need an organised effort to harness this energy among the young and direct it towards something constructive, failing which they will expend it in acts of vandalism and violence, in anything that makes them feel part of a group, participating in what they are taught is the grander, larger scheme of things. We really need remedial action.

Clubs. I know that sounds gratingly out of context in the current context, as would be the mention of Jacuzzis following a death by drowning, but it is not. The word gets a rise out of people because they associate it with something frivolous and bad. Well, like everything else clubs can be relaxing, or they can run on a scale from pointless to outright debauched. But others can be constructive and productive, and useful and one should possess the understanding to perceive the difference. Clubs can and do exist for young people as places where they can read, meet each other and gain information, take part in activities and sports, and achieve something. They are in short a way of bringing young people together and harnessing the younger generation’s boundless energy and new ideas, which can seldom be harnessed at home, except where the family is unusually active and enlightened.

Education is crucial, but it is as important to provide avenues for using it, along with better attitudes and values, otherwise education is like painting your front door and leaving the rest of the house knee deep in muck.

There are clubs that help young people participate in social work. They aim to motivate young people to educating society and fostering literacy. Communities need and can use young people, to construct buildings, paint walls, teach school, dig drains, run radio stations, television shows, to cook and distribute food for the needy and run fund raising drives. Instead of allowing them to do little beyond pose for selfies and dress up. Not using this huge source of power is like a senseless reliance on nothing but WAPDA in the presence of boundless solar energy, like using solar energy for nothing but bombs.

Mr. Khan I appreciate your twitterings. But if you can expend as much energy into keeping young minds constructively occupied as you did with your hospital then you will have succeeded as a politician and a visionary, something that is not happening at present.