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In an actual democracy it may not have come to corruption, rigging or incompetence. A government may well be sent packing for sheer misuse of public funds. During question hour in the National Assembly last week, Federal Information minister told the house that his government had spent more than 500 million rupees on advertisements in the Electronic Media since June 2013.

This is not a new practice. The PPP government did it, PMLQ did it before them and PPP and PMLn took turns at it in the 1990s.

Why does a government need to advertise? It is not like they are in the selling business and need to introduce and market a product. If it is an awareness campaign against polio, dengue or terrorism then it is ok. It is fine when the ads are aimed at discouraging social vices. But a meager amount, if that, is spent on such justifiable causes.

Around thirty to a hundred million – based on different speculations – have been spent on ‘paid content’ aired on TV channels aimed at discrediting PTI, Imran Khan in particular. Similar amounts have been spent on ads praising leaders of the ruling party. I should be ok with it because that is what political parties do. They advertise their leaders and discredit opponents. But a political party ought to use only its own party funds for promoting it’s agenda.

When the government spends, from state revenue – money that is ours – on furthering the agenda of a particular political party, it is immoral, unethical, unjust and corrupt.

PTI advertises too, so do PMLQ, MQM, PPP and other political parties. It is acceptable as long as those ads are paid for from party funds generated by donations and contributions from the party’s supporters. Because that is what the contributors are contributing for; strengthening the party and furthering its agenda. But a state’s revenues are collected by the government from the people for the betterment of the state, not one particular party. I do not want a single penny – from the taxes that I pay – to be spent on discrediting Imran or the Sharifs for that matter, nor do I want it to be spent on singing praises for any tom, dick and harry. I want my money to be spent on Pakistan.

It is the government’s responsibility and duty to ensure optimum utility of state resources. 500 million could have been used in providing relief to flood victims or the people of Thar. It could have been used to provide better facilities at government hospitals and schools. A government hospital in Sargodha has seen more than 16 infants die within a couple of weeks. As per my information, less than five million spent on medical facilities could have averted this tragedy.

It is not your money, it is our money and you are entrusted with spending it on us. By making Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif look like heroes and saints or painting Imran a demon, you are not spending it on us. You are instead taunting us by burning our money away in front of our eyes.

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Blashpemy, Justice and Islam

The threat hangs over all our heads – not just the non Muslims. All you need to have me killed by an “angry mob” is accuse me of blasphemy. There is no need for any proof, a fair trial or even an actual occurrence that constitutes blasphemy. All you need is;

1. a statement from a local or regional “religious” person that labels my action blasphemous,
2. inciting locals of the area to stage a protest against my alleged act to re affirm their faith, and
3. inducting a few individuals in the crowd who would finish the task.

It does not matter if the person is qualified to give such a grave statement or not. He should have the appearance of a religious person. Being “perceived” as a scholar is just an added qualification. The guy may even be a drunkard boozer. Reality does not matter, what matters is perception. My act does not have to bear any semblance to blasphemy. If perceived as a scholar, he can even tag my criticism of Zia Ul Haq or laws made by him as blasphemy.

In matters of blasphemy an accusation suffices. You are then the prosecution, judge and the executioner. Fair trial is apparently not a requirement anymore. Chant the slogan “this is for Allah, or his Prophet S.A.W” and it will give this farcical act a legitimate face for the simpletons who are often the tools used in such acts that demean both Islam and humanity.

Allah has said in Surah Al-Maidah:

“ He who kills a soul unless it be (in legal punishment) for murder or for causing disorder and corruption on the earth will be as if he had killed all humankind; and he who saves a life will be as if he had saved the lives of all humankind.”

When interpreting laws, courts pay heed to the language used by legislators for it is assumed that the words used have been used for a reason. Surely Allah is the best and wisest of all legislators. Why then did He use the word “person” and not “Muslim”. In Islam the life of a non-Muslim is as sacred as that of a Muslim. Islam bestows the right to life and fair trial on all human beings without any preference to religious inclinations.

The debate pertaining to what legally constitutes blasphemy is a separate issue. Ending someone’s life on a mere accusation cannot be called fair under any law, especially not under laws of Quran. The mere fact that an accused belongs to a non-Muslim community does not justify doing away with principles of due process and equality before law as enshrined in Islamic teachings.

“Allah does not forbid you from those who do not fight you because of religion and do not expel you from your homes – from being righteous toward them and acting justly toward them. Indeed, Allah loves those who act justly.” Surah Al-Mumtahanah. Verse 8.

We, as Muslims, need to visit (I wouldn’t say re-visit as many of us may not have deduced our beliefs but only adopted them as they have been portrayed) our beliefs. We need to ask ourselves if such acts of violence and injustice are a service to Allah or an invitation to His wrath.

I am a conspiracy theorist.

I am a conspiracy theorist (CT), apparently and allegedly. It is the in thing for intellectuals or pseudo intellectuals of our country living anywhere in the world to tag, as conspiracy theorist, anyone who dares to suggest involvement of foreign elements in any activity that directly or indirectly brings harm to Pakistan. These conspiracy theorists – who are deemed and portrayed as completely detached from reality – believe in “preposterous” notions such as terrorism being sponsored and exploited, wholly or partly, by foreign elements like the CIA. Most contemptuous offence is met with when a CT questions the genuineness of the Malala story.

We CTs are truly an irrational, illogical, naive and closed minded people. Who in his right state of mind would ever think that the CIA or any foreign intelligence agency can be involved in any covert operation to destabilize Pakistan or cause any harm thereto. Our CT brothers and sisters from around the world have questioned the 9/11 story as well. They have raised very intriguing questions too, but all of those questions can be avoided very easily. Just remind us that we are conspiracy theorists and ‘poof’, any reason to answer those plausible questions vanishes into thin air. The fact that you have been labeled a CT is sufficient to render your assertions and inquiries invalid. Just because someone believes that you deem everything a conspiracy, even an actual conspiracy is not a conspiracy if you call it one. It’s simple really, if only we illogical beings could understand.

Has the CIA ever been involved in any covert political activity in a foreign territory? What if there are more than a thousand books and articles on how the CIA has manipulated “assets” in another country to overthrow regimes, destabilize countries and governments. These books and articles don’t mean anything. Do you know why? Because all of them have been written by conspiracy theorists. And the simple rule is: If a conspiracy theorist calls something a conspiracy, it has to be NOT a conspiracy. Too bad only “intellectuals” can comprehend this simple rule.

The fact that there were, and probably still are, hundreds of CIA agents in Pakistan does not mean they came here to engage in any covert act against Pakistan. Obviously Pakistan is the most happening place and CIA agents whimper all the time to their bosses to be posted in Pakistan so they can enjoy the weather and gol gappas here. Mr. Raymond Davis’s shooting and consequent efforts by the US to hide his identity as a CIA contractor are not proof of CIA’s presence in Pakistan. He landed in Pakistan by mistake and the US didn’t know that one of their contractors was in Pakistan. It was the shooting that brought this mistaken presence into their notice which they corrected immediately by taking him away. And silly old CTs thought he was part of a team that supplies arms and support to local terrorist organizations. Did the CIA ever fund or support any militant organization? The Afghan taliban in the 80s you say? No no, that was ISI. ISI is our local intelligence agency so you can blame and bash them for anything. Especially if you are living abroad, then it is really a shortcut to fame and social approval to bash Pakistan and ISI. It’s just not fashionable for “intellectuals” to question or blame CIA.

So when CIA has neither engaged in any covert activity in any country around the globe, and when there are no CIA agents present in Pakistan, how can one possibly imagine of their involvement in any activity within and against Pakistan. Oh my silly CT brothers and sisters, we are such fools I tell you.

I believe that we Pakistanis are responsible for a lot of Pakistan’s problems. But I also believe that foreign elements play a vital role in adding fuel to the fire of our troubles. But what do I know, I am just a silly old conspiracy theorist.