One of these was Thursday’s incident in Gujrat, when a man was bludgeoned to death over a minor traffic row. Eyewitnesses say that the victim, Tariq Mahmood, narrowly avoided a collision with a motorbike. An argument ensued after which the bikers, whose apparel indicated their association with the legal fraternity, started hitting the car driver. Mahmood took refuge in his car but the enraged bikers, joined by three of their colleagues, broke the car windows, pulled him out and beat him with bricks until he was dead.
Couple of things to note here: There was no actual accident - only a near miss. Then, those attacking the car drive are lawyers!! Yes, you read it correctly. This public lynching was done by those who at least have some knowledge of the law, and probably appear in at least some courts. And then what kind of rage are we dealing here? This is not simply the fact that the argument got heated. The car driver took refuge in his car, but the attackers pulled him out and beat him until he was dead. One may excuse this as a one-off incident and we can call them monsters. But what about the bystanders?? No one intervened to stop this brutality? What about the cops? Eye witnesses say that they refused to intervene as their duties were limited only to checking vehicles. Forget about the cops: I'm just curious here: Would you allow a person battered to death in front of your eyes? Will you at least make an effort to intervene (remember, the assailants did not have any guns)?
Unfortunately, this is not a unique incident. Pakistan is already reeling from the video-taped lynching of two teenage brothers in Sialkot earlier this month, when they they were mistaken for robbers. They were "beaten with sticks and rods before being strung up on metal poles in broad daylight as a large crowd and several policemen looked on." Forget about those who had sticks and rods and lets forget about the cops. The former can be described as monsters and the latter as massively corrupt. What about the onlooking "large crowd"? Why didn't people step-in from the crowd to stop this insanity? What kind of society can produce such a silent crowd in the face of lynchings of teenage boys?
Lynchings have taken place even in Karachi. In 2008, three robbers were beaten and then burnt alive in front of a crowd (two died on the spot and the third died in the hospital). Pakistaniat (A fantastic blog about happenings in Pakistan), after some contemplation, posted the pictures of the burning human bodies - with a crowd of onlookers (reader discretion is advised).
Read the Dawn editorial here.