There is no denying the fact that Asma Jahangir was one of the most resounding voice against the military dictatorship and military generals who would not accept civilian & constitutional rule. When she would roar on television channel in her loud asserting voice and tell the metric fail generals to shut up, nobody dare speak in front of her. Those retired tinpot generals who would try raise their voice over her will not succeed and she would complete her argument ignoring any pressure.
There is also no denying the fact that she was one of the most vocal voice for the women emancipation in Pakistan’s urban conservative society. She would take up the cases of poor & disadvantaged ones and over the years she helped thousands of less privileged women across the country.
And finally there is no denying the fact that Asma Jahangir was the symbol of Liberalism from Pakistan for the world.
I am sure one can write several books on the contribution of Asma Jahangir to our society. You would have already read so many writings in praise of her. Even the likes of Salim Safi, Sameea Rahil Qazi & many more such people are recounting her good qualities.
And it is even more telling that the deobandi/wahabi extremists have muted response whereas the jokers like Zaid Hamid are cursing her.
I don’t intend to discuss Asma Jahangir’s negative impact specifically on the liberal movement in Pakistan in this article instead I would rather discuss in general terms how over the last twenty years Pakistan’s liberal section has been marginalized and transformed into pseudo liberal holding a lot of commonalities between themselves & deobandi/wahabi conservative section. It is obvious from the fact that the current anti-establishment, liberal & democratic leader of Pakistan’s liberal community is Nawaz Sharif. It is even more ridiculous in the light of the last 5 years of Nawaz Sharif’s rule in federal government & his brother’s rule in Punjab. Both of these have brought back the black days of General Zia against whom Asma Jahangir fought. It is a shame that instead of exposing the nexus between talibani military establishment & urban middle class lead by Sharif brothers, Pakistan’s pseudo liberals like Asma Jahangir provided the necessary facade to hide this nexus and deliberately diverted the attention of people to non-issues.
In the last 5 years, Talibani military establishment in Pakistan has regained their full strength which was weakened during the last two years of Musharraf’s rule & 5 years of Zardari’s rule. While people were being hoodwinked by the social media campaigns and judicial circus, the extremists were recovering from the damage caused by Zardari’s successful action against them which included death of OBL.
At the same time Pakistan’s urban middle class was being transformed into ultra conservative section reminiscent of General Zia’s time. Re-introduction of cosmetic Islamism in general life from prayers break to Azan, Ramzan and on other such occasions implementation of draconian laws/rules of Saudi Arabia were completely ignored by our pseudo liberals. With those lame efforts to get rid of discrimination against Ahmedis more hatred was created against them on purpose. Our liberals instead of condemning Nawaz Sharif government to deliberately fanning hatred against Ahmedis they themselves tried to fan it.
Similarly when people were murdered in straight shooting by the police in Lahore our liberals came in support of Punjab government and actually condemned those victims for their religious beliefs.
In Kasur incident when it was required to develop a public pressure to investigate on the allegations of child pornography racket in Pakistan where more than 17,000 cases have been reported of child rape, our liberals decided to make fun the joker Dr. Shahid Masood.
Asma Jahangir was the undisputed leader of our pseudo liberal section. This section was developed with the help of Saudi/ME money over the last twenty years. The pseudo liberal views propagated by this section were aligned with the Islamist ideology to support them against other sects of Islam. Affected with what I call acute lack of sense of proportion syndrome, these people will try to equate the non-extremist sects of Islam & even religions with the extremist Islam. In the name of neutrality they will ignore the influence of Saudi establishment in Pakistan.
You would never ever have heard Asma Jahangir or for that matter any other pseudo liberal against Tariq Jameel, Siraj ul Haq or Tahir Ashrafi as they speak against Tahirul Qadri, Khadim Hussain Rizvi and Shia leaders. Similarly on Mumtaz Qadri every pseudo liberal tried to raise his voice against him and wanted get him hanged as well as showing that how extremism is growing in Pakistan. The fact was that no liberal ever took the name Asia Bibi of whom the real issue was centred. On every anniversary of Salman Taseer these liberals will curse Mumtaz Qadri but will not dare utter name of Asia Bibi for whom Salman Taseer gave his life.
The pseudo liberalism is not limited to deceiving people about extremism, it also has a political dimension.
In the past twenty years military establishment had realised that PPP is the only force in Pakistan that can challenge their supermacy at anytime. The return of BB was proof of PPP being the force to reckon. When Nawaz Sharif was asking forgiveness from BB and Musharraf was asking for help from her. Taliban military establishment realized that they need to get rid of BB and weaken PPP.
Pakistan’s pseudo liberal’s help was imperative for the plan to weaken PPP, BB’s death was not enough. Military establishment saw that in 2008, to their utter surprise PPP got the victory despite the death of BB. And when Zardari turned the table to become the president of Pakistan, military generals of Pakistan panicked. It was the time when they needed full support from the pseudo liberal headed by Asma Jahangir to come to their rescue. Remember how the campaign was ran against Asif Zardari on Swiss accounts. Compare the views of Asma Jahangir on the Swiss accounts Vs Panama case. It was a very concerted effort to malign PPP in such a way that on one hand Taliban were doing bomb blast to send the message to the people that you are not safe in PPP’s government on the other hand pseudo liberals were helping establishment to prove PPP and Asif Zardari as the most corrupt, incompetent and worst government in the history of Pakistan. Just recall how feeble Asma Jahangir’s voice was when not one but two PM’s were removed by IMC on frivolous grounds. Zardari was and even now portrayed by these liberals as corrupt & incompetent and they make fun of him, on the other hand an admittedly corrupt and incompetent person like Nawaz Sharif is portrayed as great leader. This is not without reason, it is part of the military establishment strategy to weaken true liberal forces in Pakistan with the help of these pseudo liberals.
(To be concluded)