Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Between a rock, rapists and conspiracy theorists

For us Pakistanis, indulging in conspiracy theories is a national hobby. Conspiracy theories are an accepted part of any conversation especially those dealing with the short-comings of the Pakistani state and its apparatus, which at times is quite annoying. However, one conspiracy charge has astounded me. In one Huffington Post blog explaining the recent harassment against Mukhtar Mai, I found this interesting piece of information:

[...],Ms. Mai has faced harassment by government officials, most notably by Minister Jatoi. In 2006, he visited Ms. Mai to ask her to reach a compromise with her attackers. In 2008, he again pressured Ms. Mai to drop the charges against her attackers, allegedly insisting that if she proceeded with the case, he would ensure a verdict in favor of her attackers. Most recently, in February 2009, Minister Jatoi's associates engaged in a media campaign against Ms. Mai, stating that her attackers are innocent and that the entire case is a "fraud" and a "western agenda."
Listening to Minister Jatoi, it seems like the whole Mukhtar Mai affair is simply another hatched CIA plan to defame the "good" name of Pakistan. Of course this charge is not to be taken seriously, but the fact that it was even raised and by a minister at that (someone who is supposed to represent the public) raises interesting points in general about this society and specifically the political elite.

1) Despite that fact that Pakistan has greater representation of women in parliament than many western democracies, there is no respect and sensitivity towards issues affecting women today. This is both sad and disheartening, but it does represent a political reality. Female representation in parliament means nothing if the status-quo remains with regards to women's rights in Pakistan. What is even more disturbing is that many of these female representatives don't consider this a priority and correct me if I'm mistaken but there has been no outcry in parliament about this.

2) Feudalism and misogyny have a long and connected history in Pakistan. The fact that this claim was raised by a feudal lord is only a manifestation of this. As long as there are people who believe that they have an intrinsic right to rule over others simply due to their status (political, social, cultural and financial) there can be no progress in this regard. I'm aware that this is not only limited to women, but considering that in the feudalistic power structure women (especially serfs) are placed below their male counter parts makes it an important roadblock towards empowerment of women

3) once again the Pakistani political elite have proven that they have no regard for their own anyone really surprised??????

4) It seems that every time someone tries to upset the status quo especially with regards to social and political mores, the CIA is involved. If CIA interference and involvement in this issue is to be believed it is more likely that this agency is investing million of dollars in ensuring that incompetent, narcissistic, nepotistic and corrupt idiots such as Mr. Jatoi remain in power. I don't think we need accounts of a rape victim to bring dishonor to Pakistan when idiotic politicians like Mr Jatoi do such a good job on their own.

So kudos to Mr Jatoi for convincing this conspiracy theorist that CIA dollars in Pakistan have clearly not been wasted.