Heroes and murderers

The cowardly Taliban cannot replace our heroes, revered for courage and chivalry 

Heroes and murderers
That Chaudhry Aslam was a brave, determined, and dogged policeman is an acknowledged truth. He had been threatened by the Taliban, and despite surviving numerous attempts on his life, he refused to relent in his fight against the cowardly terrorists who threatened the citizens of Karachi.

I never had the honor and privilege of shaking Aslam’s hand. Nor can I come close to his courage and determination. But I have known people of his kind. They don their uniforms and serve silently. Devoting their lives to the ideal of a better, freer society, they provide inspiration for the rest of us.

No less courageous was the 15-year-old Aitzaz Hasan, who wrestled a suicide bomber, accepting his own death to save the lives of others – the boy whose murderer has been tentatively identified as the son of a cleric. These are the kind of people who become the subject of ballads and folklore. These are brave, patriotic Pakistanis.

When I was a child, our police force had a fairly good reputation. In time it became the dreaded, corrupt and cruel ‘Puls’ – a colloquial pronunciation of the word ‘police’ that carried all the hate and terror that police personnel began to represent.

However, a decade or more ago, I learnt to my surprise, the Police Service had become the first choice for those appearing for the coveted Civil Service Exam. Of late, officers of that era are rising to mid-level and senior ranks and it shows in their performance as well as that of the police personnel they command.

They are still policing us, sacrificing everything including their lives for our safety. While not all of them can measure up to the standard set by the likes of Aslam, there are many more Aslams to pick up the gun he dropped when he died. As one soldier to his better, I salute him, as much as I salute the that brave young boy Aitzaz, who, not having been trained for it, saw a threat and reacted with that indomitable courage which is gifted to very few. May they rest in peace.

But what of their murderers? Those cowards who hide in safety, corrupt the innocent minds of the youth, sending them out to kill, and die in the process? The self-styled guardians of Islam. What of them?

Why is it that they still have followers and supporters? Where do the Munawar Hassans and Fazlur Rahmans find their religious and respected titles of Maulana or Maulvi? The same titles that give them the authority to aver that people like Hakimullah Mehsud are martyrs and Chaudhry Aslam are not.

I must admit that my study of history is of vintage, including that of Islamic History. But I can still recall tales of courage and chivalry.

There are people like Hazrat Omar (RA), whose courage and justice drew the respect of all. Hazrat Ali (RA) was about to kill an enemy in battle when the soldier spat at him. He spared the soldier’s life lest people accuse him of vengeance. Hazrat Hamza’s (RA) courage in battle and derring-do generated tales galore. Hazrat Khalid bin Walid (RA), the greatest boy general of that era, would take the field against an enemy ten times his force and defeat him by his strategy. Then there is the story of Salahuddin Ayubi, who was not fighting a Jihad, but merely fighting for his homeland against an invasion by crusaders sent forth on a holy mission by the Holy Church. And yet, when King Richard lost a horse in battle, Salahuddin sent Richard a replacement from his own stable. When Richard fell ill, Salahuddin’s physician treated him.

[quote]The TTP will bring about its own downfall[/quote]

These were revered soldiers of Islam, combining courage with chivalry. Who is it that claims their place today? The cowards of TTP? Will our Munawar Hassans and Fazlur Rahmans hold up those like Hakimullah Mehsud as a beacon of example for the Pakistani youth to aspire to? Or will our youth find their inspirations in Chaudhry Aslam and the young Aitzaz?

The TTP is erring and will continue doing so. Despite the timidity of our elected leaders, the TTP will bring about its own downfall. Five years ago, the police had to search for a Chaudhry Aslam. Today, his death has inspired hundreds of young men to emulate him.

Five years ago, even an intrepid Aitzaz would not have recognized a suicide bomber’s vest for what it was. Today, he can recognize it and, inspired by him, hundreds and thousands will seek the opportunity to do as much as Aitzaz, maybe even better.

Throughout history, when evil seems to flourish, it invariably brings about its own destruction.