Side-effect - Harris Khalique - Friday, April 29, 2011

Pakistan may not have the satellite-driven drone attack technology that the Americans possess. We do not have the slick unmanned aerial vehicles, which view, lock and eliminate the target from thousands of metres above the ground with a unique combination of callousness and precision. But who says Pakistan does not have its own drones?

Many of us know that American drone aircraft have two primary types, ‘Predator’ and ‘Reaper’. We have our own ‘predators’ and ‘reapers’ who do not hit from up above the sky but roam about freely on the ground. Last week, when various segments of the right-wing party cadres and the youth who follow Imran Khan under the banner of his own designer Tehreek-e-Insaf, gathered in Peshawar for a sit-in against the American drone strikes, Pakistani predators and reapers kept on killing, marauding, cutting, collecting and hoarding, without any fear or hindrance across the country, as ever.

When the analysis of the sit-in, which also threatened to block the ISAF-Nato supply lines, continues unabated over the media, Pakistani predators have blown up another government-run primary school for girls in Adezai, just a few miles away from where the sit-in was staged. Five explosive devices were needed to pull down the three-storey building, funded by profane German taxpayers’ money. This is the second school to be blown up during the past couple of weeks in the area and an addition to the hundreds of girls’ schools destroyed in the province over the past few years. Predators also attacked two buses carrying naval personnel in Karachi. In the same city, a card playing club was bombed causing numerous innocent deaths. This is where men used to come for some respite in this exacting metropolis. On the whims of yet another kind of malicious and halfwit predators, considered political leaders in this city, people were perpetually targeted to be killed with precision.

Mukhtaran Mai, whose body and soul were ravaged by the predators nine years ago in a remote village outside the city of Muzaffargarh, found new reasons this week to fear for her and her loved ones lives because the predators are set free by a lopsided investigative and legal system. She is the victim of a state that largely keeps both reason and human dignity subservient to primeval beastly norms. The state that breeds, nurtures and let loose predators in this society while also keeping a special pedigree under direct supervision which could be used in places like Balochistan.

While the acquisition of mini drones from the Americans is being talked about by some officials of the Pakistani government, there are mini predators of local variety that already exist. In fact, they have penetrated Pakistani neighbourhoods and villages. One such example is the death of a six-year old girl Laiba, a housemaid, at the hands of her predator employers in a suburban neighbourhood of Lahore. She being only six, pissed in the kitchen for some reason. The employer couple beat her to death and threw her body in a ravine. Employed at six? Yes. That’s where the role of the reapers, the more sophisticated Pakistani drones, comes to light. The reapers are members of the extortionist rich class who cut and collect all that grows from the seeds sowed by the wretched poor class.

Any outside intervention could only be stopped if we are strong from within. That strength will only come from redefining the archaic security paradigm, devising new economic policies and promoting rational thought. Whipping up raw emotion is the trait of moron politicos faking visionary statesmen.

The writer is an Islamabad-based poet, author and public policy advisor. Email:

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