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Dr.Tanvir Hussain Bhatti's Byline from Lahore DEMOCRACY AND EXTREMISM
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DEMOCRACY AND EXTREMISM by Dr.Tanvir Hussain Bhatti
Democracy and extremism are incompatible. The plant of democracy withers away in the sickly sweet atmosphere of radicalism before growing to gigantic fruit tree with deep and firmly entrenched roots. A democratic society can never be an extremist society and vice versa. Extremism acts as blight that pervades the society and hollows its foundations. Therefore, it is a venomous recipe for a nation that does not permit its grooming on moderate and modern lines. Fanaticism is considered as an attack on the foundations of democracy. Therefore, democracy and immoderate zeal can never stay alive together as water and fire can

never co-exist. Democracy teaches its followers tolerance by indoctrinating to accommodate opposite point of view. While extremism trains its live wire devotees to adopt hardheaded approach without considering the views and sentiments of others. When extremism transgresses certain threshold level it generates violence. Thus violent behavior takes its birth from the lap of immoderation. Violence breeds violence and the vicious cycle never ends. If bloodshed and brutality is fire then fanaticism provides fuel for it. Democracy can act as fire extinguisher and a moderator by instilling the emotions of tolerance and forbearance. Therefore, establishment of democracy is mandatory to spruce the nation on balanced lines so that its individuals can patiently put up with the differing political, religious and social outlooks without behaving aggressively and wildly. To unite the dispersed individuals, with divergent opinions on life and off life, as rosary beads in a thread it is essential to bring them in the mainstream political life through instituting democracy through conducting free and fair elections under the aegis of a powerful, impartial and unprejudiced Election Commission. Western democracy engrossed in blind nationalism is extremely perilous for the global peace. The western countries practice democracy inside their borders but outside their boundaries their rulers practice rigorous feudalism to safeguard their vested interests and to extend their hegemonic designs in the world. They exploit the weedy nations under the guise of pseudo democracy. In Iraq and Afghanistan the western powers invaded to establish democracy and in Palestine and Lebanon they triggered gun battles among the political rivals to oust the democratically elected government of Hammas and the legislators of Hizbullah in the driving seat. These double standards reveal that these greedy crocodiles have nothing to do with democracy and for them their egocentric preoccupations are the topmost priority. The ulterior motive behind every war inflicted and every clash ignited by the West among the political rivals of the cashstrapped emaciated countries having advantageous geo-strategic location or rich natural resources is to advance their interests in the world. The phony champions of democracy are pampering handpicked stooges and autocratic rulers in several countries of the world who can look after their concerns in their respective regions. Therefore, in these developing countries the fate of democracy is in the doldrums. As a consequence of this dismal egalitarian culture the fanaticism is ruling the roost. Thus extremism is the byproduct of the follies of war monger counterfeit moralists and sham champions of democracy and human rights. The atrocities perpetrated by the brutal soldiers of the Allied forces in the Abu Ghraib prison and Guantanamo Bay have broken all the records of barbarity and savagery in the history of mankind. The POWs were inhumanly tortured and ruthlessly tormented for the sin of belonging to most backward countries of the world. Although the white soldiers belong to the most advanced and so-called civilized countries of the world. But these democratic countries have not trained their individuals to consider other persons of the world even human being. Therefore, whenever they got opportunity to inflict unjust wars on other countries to exploit their resources, their soldiers behave like savages of Stone Age. They consider their nation and everything of their country as supreme. This blind nationalism and canopy of ethnocentrism resulted in the ignition of two horrible world wars claiming millions of lives. Pakistan is paying a high price for the rabid policies of America in the region. Uncle Sam wants to extend it malicious hegemonic designs under the guise of war against terrorism. Before Nine Eleven there were no incidents of suicide bombing in Pakistan. But now hardly a weak passes without a suicide attack or a bomb explosion. Pakistan has been harvesting the bitter fruits of torrent of suicide attacks and bomb explosions due to providing undue support to America after 9/11. Twin suicide attacks on the PPPP rally that was arranged to provide red carpet welcome to Benzir Bhutto is the worst form of violence in the current spate of suicide bombing. This tragic calamity has resulted in more than two hundred casualties and gravely wounded more than four hundred people. The miscreants threatened Ms Bhutto for assassination because they consider that America is the intermediary of deal between President Musharraf and Benzir Bhutto and

both the leaders would work! for the accomplishment of American agenda in the area after the general elections. It is irony that our leaders think that road to ascending to throne in Pakistan passes through Washington and no one can remain in power without consent and pleasure of the White House. Electoral process is a way to establish democracy by choosing public representatives but an election that results in blood feuds and empowerment of the feudal lords is not democracy but demoralization and joke of democratic process. Votes in Pakistan are cast on the basis of caste, sect, and vested interests. Neither political parties’ leadership nor their blind followers bother to adhere to party manifestoes. Lavish spending of money and use of the services of police and other administrative machinery are the common ways to emerge triumphant in the polls. Some of the so-called public representatives hire terrorists and habitual criminals to intimidate their political rivals and to win the elections by forcefully casting fake votes. Several supporters of the candidates bring weapons at the polling stations; therefore, the flare-up of fights is very common on such emotionally charged places. During every election several people lose their lives due to firing among! the rival groups. This is not a democratic process to establish egalitarianism but a funeral of democracy. A government established through such blood-spattered elections in which there are uncountable incidences of violence can hardly put her foot down to bring true democracy in the society. Misinterpretation of the religious doctrine is the major cause extremism. The fanatics falsely justify commission of unjust injuries inflicted on the innocent people in the name of religion. No religion in the world teaches its followers bloodshed and ruthless murder of the innocent people. It is the dogmatic clergy that misguides the people that their sect is true while the followers of the rest of the sects are wandering in the dark land of bewilderment. Most of the children who join religious institutions belong to lower socioeconomic status. Several orphan and deprived children get admission in these institutions who teach only sectarian point of view. These students become fanatics after the growth of the bigoted ideas. They never encounter other sects due to ingrained hate indoctrinated by the uncompromising tutors. Therefore, they never learn to listen to others with patience and tolerance. These people are more prone to be misguided and misutilized by the troublemakers for subversive activities. Therefore, it is mandatory to bring all religious institutions under the direct control of the government. Their syllabus must be strictly checked and the detestation generating material should not be allowed to teach to the students. The degrees of theses institutions should also be recognized on equal footing to that of other educational institutions. FATA are the harbors of the scores of scoundrels because there is no formal check and balance. Terrorists, drug smugglers and other anti-state elements after committing some criminal activity flee to these areas and get sanctuary in theses lawless territories which are not under government control. They are still working under the dark law of jungle enacted by the colonial British. These areas should be brought into the mainstream political life by conducting the Local Body Elections and the General Elections. Seditious foreign elements dwelling in these areas must be sent back to their native countries because no country can afford to allow its land to be utilized for terrorist and rebellious activities. While peace loving and law abiding foreigners who have married in the local areas should be given nationality to ensure their meaningful participation in the mainstream national life. The literacy rate in the province of Balochistan and the Northern Areas is extremely negligible. The ignorant people are easily enticed by the anti-state elements because the majority of the illiterate people have conviction in superstitions, religious dogmatism and atrocious feudalism. There are ghost schools for the education of these areas and the numbers of high standard educational institutions is as scarce as democracy in a fascist country. Education brings open-mindedness in the society by creating awareness and by forming common mind. Therefore, it is mandatory to launch a Herculean campaign to open several learning institutions in these remote and far-flung areas of the country. The government should funnel massive resources for this purpose. In addition to this transportation and communication system must be improved to ensure easy access of the people to the basic amenities of life. The print and electronic media,

NGOs and charity organization! s can do an uphill task in this context by helping and creating understanding in the public about the importance of schooling. Various organizations should work in these areas purely on humanity basis. They should not work there to accomplish western agenda of making the people mental slaves of the West. Due to the mischievous activities of some of the NGOs the inhabitants of these locales look with suspicion upon all organizations and detest their actions it their vicinities. The Durand Line is a porous border and the offenders can easily cross the boundary after committing terrorist activities in the country. Although Pakistan has deployed 100,000 troops along the border but due to hilly terrain there are several difficulties for the army to check every movement along 2252 Km long border. A few months back when Pakistan decided to seal the border by laying mines and erecting wire fence the western countries and Afghanistan start crying. But after every terrorist activity in Afghanistan, the brittle government of Hamid Karzai with its jurisdiction restricted to Kabul and the war exhausted NATO forces point their blame fingers towards Pakistan instead of recognizing their perpetual failure to resist and defeat Taliban that are still a formidable force. The government should take bold steps to seal the border instead of time and again giving justifications to the retreating Allied forces and a lame duck fragile government. It can help to bulwark the free movement of reprobates and militants who want instability in Pakistan by creating an ambiance of terrorism. Democracy will only bear fruit when extremism would be eradicated root and branch. It is disparaging that our public is extremely indifferent to watch what is happening around them. This provides callous atmosphere for terrorism to thrive and offer opportunity to the vandals to commit most dastardly acts of brutality. Therefore, it is essential to create public awareness at the grass roots level. This is only possible when true democracy will be established at the fundamental level and the public will feel that they are the true owners of the country and the masters of their own destiny. At the union council level people must be trained to identify miscreants and inform the law enforcement agencies. Therefore, there is crying need to build trust of the public in the police that has been shattered due to undue excesses of some of the officials. The so-called political leaders have plundered enough public wealth. Now they should come down from high horse and serve the public instead of safeguarding their self-centered concerns. They should conduct APC to make certain the holding of transparent elections under the surveillance of impartial interim government so that genuine public representatives after coming to power can avert the menace of terrorism with full public backing. The political leaders should join hands with each other and with the public to liberate the country form the shackles of terrorism and the tentacles of extremism which are perpetually squeezing the country.

WRITTEN BY DR TANVIR HUSSAIN BHATTI Freelance International Columnist, Poet and Author of the Book “What Plagues Pakistan?” LAHORE. Pakistan
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