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Everthing affects everything

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suicide

For months I’ve been planning to write about this subject, but something always held back my fingers from writing my heart away.

Until now.

It is time. It is time for us to talk about suicide.

Suicide rates have been increasing at an alarming rate

After the suicides of Robin Williams and Chester Bennington, a series of suicide attempts followed and in the year 2018, a great upsurge has been observed in the suicide rates around the world. The thing is that when celebrities take their own lives, it results in huge media coverage around the world, but it also triggers, to follow, many people who are at brink of suicide themselves. A study released in February by researchers from Columbia University said that there were 18,690 suicides in the four months after the death of Robin Williams in August 2014, an excess of 1 841 cases — nearly a 10% increase, based on previous monthly suicide data from 1999 to 2015.

Suicide stats

US suicide statistics as provided by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP.)

A chain of celebrity suicides have left the people wondering

Speaking of the contemporary year, Tim Bergling, better known by his stage name Avicii, died on April 20, 2018, at the age of 28 in Muscat, Oman. TMZ reported that the cause of death was a suicide due to self-inflicted injuries. Some sources claimed he had died of blood loss after cutting himself with broken glass from a wine bottle. Just after one month on June 5, 2018, Katherine Noel Brosnahan, known professionally as Kate Spade was found dead in apparent suicide at the age of 55. She was  an eminent American fashion designer and businesswoman and was the founder and former co-owner of the designer brand Kate Spade, New York. CNN reported that after Spade’s death, suicide hotline calls rose by 65 percent. Two days later, on June 8, 2018,  Anthony Bourdain committed suicide at age 61. Anthony was a gifted chef and storyteller who used his books and shows to explore culture, cuisine, and the human condition.

READ MORE: An ode to the women of Pakistan

acivii

Avicii was one of the most talented DJs in the world.

Coming to my homeland, the great Pakistan

Coming to my homeland, the great Pakistan, on 31 May, 2018, a boy named Ammar jumped off from the 4th floor of Centaurus shopping mall at Islamabad. Since suicide is considered as a taboo in this country, Ammar’s family tried to cover this incident by giving different statements first saying that the boy did not jump, but fell to his death, later claiming that he was under the influence of spirits and demons, which forced him to perform this action. However the CCTV footage clearly shows that it was no accident and Ammar jumped in all conscious. Reports are telling that the boy was suffering from chronic depression and attempted suicide twice within the past few months. He was also bullied by his college fellows who made fun of his voice and dark complexion.

Moving towards the birthplace of Islam, Mecca, a frenchman committed suicide by jumping off from the third floor of Grand Mosque, just meters away from the Holy Kabbah. The unfortunate incident happened on June 8, 2018.

suicide

Suicide statistics as provided by Statista

It makes one wonder, why did they do it?

After hearing or reading about such appalling and devastating news, it makes one wonder, why did they do it? What was hurting so much inside of them that they chose death over life? Taking your life requires so much courage and vehemence, not everyone can do such a thing. I feel sorry for these people and it breaks me because I always say to myself, if only I could help them, if only I was there I would’ve talked them out of this thing, and not being able to do anything makes me feel so helpless and impuissant as if I am paralyzed.

There is this phenomenon that, Everything Affects Everything

Within every 40 seconds each day, someone out there in the world commits suicide. There is this phenomenon that, Everything Affects Everything, which simply implies that whatever action you do will affect another human being and then this cycle will continue. Sometimes you may think that there is no reason for you to live, you think that your actions are not affecting anyone so you may as well kill yourself because it will not affect anyone but my friend this is the point where you’re at fault.

You see, when you get out of your home daily for school, you feed that stray cat some leftovers of the breakfast, you reach the bus stop where your friend always wait for you, you go to school and you’re in the school’s football team, and not to your surprise you’re the best player the team has got. You’re probably the Messi or Ronaldo or Salah of your team. Now imagine if you supposedly kill yourself, that stray cat won’t be fed anymore by anyone, it might die as well; your friend who always used to wait for you at the bus stop may be so heartbroken from your death that he might not have the energy to come at the same bus stop daily because he will miss you, so he might as well change the school bus; the football team which you were in, they won’t be the best team of the district anymore because you were the one who raised them to the heights of success and glory. Your mother will lose her sleep and diet. She will cry days and nights for you, which in result will have an adverse affect upon her health and she might go to a depressed state or become sick. Your father will be devastated and he won’t be able to perform well on his job like he used before. Your friends will miss you every day when they’ll pass by your home or see your old Instagram feed. Everything will be affected by your death. Everything.

Sure, Robert Frost said that, “In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.”  Certainly it will go on, certainly the sun will shine the next day and the birds will continue to sing but your action will have consequences, upon you and upon everything surrounding you: your family, that stray cat, that football team, your friends, your school, everyone and everything will be affected by it. So next time you get the thought that your death won’t affect anyone, think again.

suicide

A concept reiterated by Netflix Show 13 Reasons Why

I sometimes wonder how do people ravage the lives of others and sleep so peacefully.

I sometimes wonder how do people ravage the lives of others and sleep so peacefully. How do they live with themselves knowing that they have caused hurt to someone else that they have brought pain and tears to them. Making a mess of someone’s life is not a joke. It’s funny how people think that their actions are not affecting the people around them, or even if they do they act oblivious to it or they just don’t seem to care at all. People ruin each other. You do not know what is going on in anyone’s life but your own. And when you mess with one part of a person’s life, you’re not just messing with that one part. Unfortunately, you can’t be that precise or selective. When you mess with one part of a person’s life , you’re messing with their entire life. Everything affects everything, my friend.

They say death brings an end to pain and misery but what about the misery it brings to the loved ones of the deceased?

They say death brings an end to pain and misery but what about the misery it brings to the loved ones of the deceased? Ever tried to wonder why people kill themselves? Ever bother to ponder upon it? Let me tell you why. You see many suicidal deaths that  occur daily are of teenagers or of young adults. When you’re a teenager, you’re vulnerable to, well, literally everything. And some of us are born a little too sensitive, some of us are born over thinkers and worse some of us are born empaths. What goes inside the mind of a suicidal person are a series of thoughts, it’s like a spiral that goes all the way down and as you move down it tightens and then it feels like you’re choking on your very own thoughts.

READ MORE: German diplomat Martin Kobler highlights the looming water crisis

Over thinking leads to suicidal thoughts

Over thinking leads to suicidal thoughts. Depression also tags along with over thinking and then voila! There you go, a completely messed up mind. Everyday a suicidal person wakes up and does not have the energy to get out of bed, suicidal people lay for minutes or even hours on bed thinking is it worth getting up and dressing up for school or not? They do their actions like normal human beings, for example, they’ll take a bath, eat their breakfast and take the school bus, do their homework like all the other normal kids but their mind won’t be present during all of this. In fact they’d be thinking something else, something completely different and sometimes totally irrelevant. They won’t find peace anywhere. They’ll continue to think that they are better off dead and this is especially because people make them feel like it. Their friends and family make them feel like this. Studies have shown that so many depressed teenagers have already decided how would they kill themselves, it’s just in the back of their mind. All they need is that incident to take place, that extreme mental break down to occur or just that one situation to happen and then they’ll do it, they’ll take their life. You see these people are usually extremely sensitive and over thinkers and when you tell them to “just get over it and be strong, it’s nothing,” trust me it does nothing but simply exacerbate the problem. If you genuinely want to help a suicidal person then be there for them when they need you, check on them every now and then and don’t just say you’ll be fine, drag them out of their house and make them watch a movie with you. Tell them the positive and beautiful things about life. Tell them reasons to live. Tell them they are beautiful and a great company often. Be with them and divert their mind so that they won’t over think. Anxiety and depression are the leading causes of suicides among teenagers. These things eat you up alive and then happiness and peace seem elusive to you.

suicide

A lighthearted look at trends of how Indians have committed suicide between 2000 and 2012. Designed by Suren Makka

I’ve seen people joking about suicide and mocking it

I’ve seen people joking about suicide and mocking it. I do not understand that how do they even do it? Where do they find the audacity to mock the person who killed himself. You’re not supposed to hate the person who sins, you’re supposed to hate the sin. How can you even know that what was going on in that person’s life? If you think suicide is stupid then why not you try to behave and be kind to people who are suffering, who are going through mental trauma? Why not you people help these people before they kill themselves. You are the people who bully them, judge them, hurt them, pass comments and remarks on them whenever they are walking down the streets or hallways. A person who has anxiety or who is insecure about himself avoids going into crowds because he has the fear that people will judge him and laugh at him. He hears whispers in the hallways, when he walks through all these people he feels like everybody is watching him and judging him so he tries to walk swiftly just to get rid of their gazes. Kids at school, colleges and universities treat each other like trash. Mental illness is treated as a joke. When someone sees the scars on anybody’s wrists then they’ll laugh and joke about it and tease the person who has those marks on their hand. When someone tries to talk about mental illness and depression they give them a shut up call by saying that all this is bullshit. People really do not understand how the other person feels or maybe they just don’t try to. Maybe they don’t want to.

A Netflix original series 13 Reasons Why is based on the issues like suicide

A Netflix original series 13 Reasons Why is based on the issues like suicide, mental illness, sexual assault, rape, bullying and all these issues which teenagers face in high school and in colleges. I’ve heard people mocking Hannah Baker. It hurt me so much to hear all these remarks because people do not want to understand the hurt of others. They just don’t want to admit that they messed up the lives of others and they still do. How can someone be so heartless and impetuous in judging others? When you hurt someone you do not have a say that you did not. They say that this show sucks and is hyped, well I assure you people none of the issue discussed in this series is hyped. Every single thing is happening in our society which is discussed there but people simply do not want to admit that. Some people say that Hannah was stupid for killing herself. Sure she did the wrong thing but don’t you all see what were the reasons for her action? People never want to understand the reason. Hannah was an extremely sensitive person who was always nice to everyone and who believed in being good to others and that is where every single person took advantage of her. When a girl is nice to others everyone declares her as a slut *laughs ironically* I mean who are you even to judge anyone by the choices they make? People never look at their flaws, they think themselves as the perfect, pious human beings who ever lived.

READ MORE: Top 10 Universities of Pakistan

suicide

Suicide data as compiled by UN World Health Organization (WHO)

Dear people, you calling other people names can make them move one step closer in killing themselves

Dear people, you calling other people names can make them move one step closer in killing themselves, you slut shaming girls, body shaming others, judging others, raping girls, bullying others, taunting others and hurting others in any way can make them move one step closer in killing themselves, and who knows they might be already standing at the brink. Mental illness is a serious issue which must be taken into account. If you are facing any sort of crisis know that it’s never too late to seek help. Going to a therapist is not anything insulting. If you feel like you need help you have every right to seek a therapist or a friend or anyone you trust. We cannot afford to lose people like that. I guess we all have an element of humanity and kindness inside of us. Please please bring that out. Be nice to others. Love each other. Life is too short to spread hate. It’s okay not to be okay at times. We all have our dark days just never give up on yourself. Never think that you are not worthy of love. I ask everyone of you out there to help each other, love and respect each other and each other’s decisions and choices. Support them to achieve their dreams. Never make fun of anyone’s insecurities. It is never okay to hurt anyone.

To all those depressed people who are suffering out there

To all those depressed people who are suffering out there, I want you to draw a semicolon on your wrist and whenever you feel like self harming or killing yourself just look at that semicolon and know that you are the author of your story and you are strong and you are living to prove all these people wrong. Project Semicolon defines itself as “dedicated to presenting hope and love for those who are struggling with mental illness, suicide, addiction and self-injury”, and “exists to encourage, love and inspire”.

For those who need this:

Suicide Prevention Helpline Pakistan:

CONTACT NUMBERS:

042-35761999

111-113737

Remember you matter.
And you are loved.
And you are wanted.

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Opinion/Writings

Person of the Decade – Raheel Sharif

Bisouv, in its first public issue, salutes the many achievements of the former Chief of Army Staff Raheel Sharif.

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Raheel Sharif

Through storms of political biases, domestic and foreign insurgencies, and financial and social emergencies, Pakistan has emerged – every time a little stronger. And the people responsible for putting the country in these desperate of situations are plenty and the people responsible for taking the country out of them are, but a few. Bisouv, in its first ever public issue, salutes the latter and in this article, celebrates one of the few – Raheel Sharif.

Currently serving as the first Commander-in-Chief of the Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition, a 39-nation alliance of Muslim countries headquartered in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Raheel Sharif, a former four-star general and Chief of Army Staff (COAS) is arguably the most popular COAS in Pakistan’s history. Born in a country, in which to this day all shots are called, directly or in a de-facto martial law-style, by the military, Raheel Sharif was different – a general who ‘could,’ but never did.

MORE FROM THIS WEEK’S ISSUE: Blinding Justice and a Case of Uniforms

Under his command, the Pakistan Army carried out fierce anti-terrorism operations in North Waziristan in the Operation Zarb-e-Azb, which not only stabilized the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA,) but built the foundation for the government of Pakistan to merge the deprived province into Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa (KP.) Sharif was responsible for expanding the role of paramilitaries, mainly Pakistan Rangers, in the coastal city of Karachi – a move that saw an exceptional decrease in the crime rate in the city and later pulled out the city’s name out of the ‘Most Dangerous Cities in the World’ list. Unlike his predecessors, Sharif wholeheartedly supported the democratically elected government in the deprived, and the largest province of Pakistan, Balochistan and buried the hatred that former dictator Musharraf first initiated in 2006. At the request of the Chinese government and after the Pakistan government’s approval, Sharif created a new brigade-level military unit to help protect and secure the many projects under the Pakistan-China Economic Corridor (CPEC.) Sharif also helped develop Pakistan’s indigenous defence industry, which resulted in the savings of more than $1.14 billion, over a year and half time period

In other feats, under Raheel Sharif, the Pakistan Army operated strictly under its constituted jurisdiction and left foreign, social, and economic policies to the democratically elected civilian government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Under his tenure, Pakistan Army carried out first ever joint military exercises with Russia and supported the government deepen relations with China.

MORE FROM THIS ISSUE: Once a city of gardens, Lahore is now a concrete jungle

Reportedy, Sharif also thwarted a coup attempt in 2014. As disclosed by former United States ambassador to Pakistan Richard Olsen, former head of Pakistan Intelligence Service ISI Zahir-ul-Islam was mobilizing for a coup in September of 2014 during Imran Khan’s infamous Islamabad protest that lasted for months.

“We received information that Zahir-ul-Islam, the DG ISI, was mobilizing for a coup in September of 2014 [during Khan’s protest in Islamabad.] [Army Chief] Raheel [Sharif] blocked it by, in effect, removing Zahir, by announcing his successor,” Olson was quoted in the recently launched book ‘The Battle For Pakistan, The Bitter US Friendship and a Tough Neighborhood’ by Shuja Nawaz in its chapter titling, Mil-to-Mil Relations: Do More. “[Zahir] was talking to the corps commanders and was talking to likeminded army officers… He was prepared to do it and had the chief [Raheel Sharif] been willing, even tacitly, it would have happened. But the chief was not willing, so it didn’t happen.”

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Blinding Justice and a Case of Uniforms

Former dictator and president Pervez Musharraf has been sentenced to death by a special court in a high-treason case. What does it mean for Pakistan and its institutions?

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General Pervez Musharraf

‘Former Dictator Pervez Musharraf has been sentenced to death,’ read the English newspaper in bold against white, folded cleanly, and displayed on one of many wooden stands that housed every publication from Urdu masalas to the high-end European fashion magazines, ‘The time for democracy is now,’ read another. The Musharraf High-Treason Verdict had taken the country by a storm, so much so, it had everyone talking – some had been left appalled by the traitorous decision to hang the former Chief of Army Staff and President and some welcomed it with open arms, all in all, the public response was mixed, but for the first time in the country’s history, the powerful armed forces were being discussed and this time behind no curtains.

General Pervez Musharraf had been handed down a death sentence by a special court, in absentia, in a high-treason case that took six years to complete. The special court, in its detailed judgment that it published days later, directed law enforcements of the country to apprehend Musharraf, who is currently receiving medical treatment in the United Arab Emirates, to ensure the death sentence is carried out and if the convicted is found dead beforehand, “his corpse be dragged to D-Chowk [in front of the Parliament House,] Islamabad, Pakistan, and be hanged for three days.”

READ MORE: Remembering Pakistan’s first foreign agent Fatima Jinnah

The decision was first of its kind for Pakistan, a country more or less ruled, rather dictated, by the military for most of its history. “It’s almost unbelievable that a former dictator has been sentenced to death in a country where the military enjoy absolute immunity legally, financially, and socially,” commented one Mustafa reading the partially banned newspaper DAWN. “If anything, I am hopeful for the future of the country.” But not everyone shares Mustafa’s sentiments especially the military and the serving government.

The army’s public relations reacted angrily to Musharraf’s verdict, saying in a statement that someone who served the country for over 40 years, fought battles, and made sacrifices in the defense of the country “can surely never be a traitor.” DG ISPR General Asif Ghafoor went on to state that the verdict “[has] been received with a lot of pain and anguish by rank and file of Pakistan Armed Forces,” and noting the military expects justice will be dispensed in line with the constitution saying, “The due legal process seems to have been ignored.”

The serving government under the populist leader Imran Khan has also been critical of the court’s decision. Farogh Naseem, former Minister of Law, went on to say that the government is the process of filing a reference against Judge Waqar Ahmed Seth, one of the three judges responsible for handing Musharraf the death sentence, under Article 209 of the constitution in the Supreme Judicial Council for the inhumane comments that came with the detailed verdict. Imran Khan’s party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI,) however, wasn’t always in support of Musharraf, so much so, Khan had lambasted the former dictator in a number of public rallies and gatherings before coming into power. In a recorded interview with Hamid Mir, one of Pakistan’s top journalists and anchors, Khan can be heard saying that Musharraf should be hanged for breaking the constitution not once, but twice. “Khan had a change of heart,” commented a legal mind on the condition of anonymity. “The only reason the man is the prime minister of Pakistan is because of the backstage handshake his party has cemented with the military. How else could someone like Khan come into power after only five or six years of political rallies?”

READ MORE: Mr Khan, keep your Naya Pakistan to yourself 

All-in-all, the death sentence handed to Musharraf is unlikely to be carried out right away as he is currently not in the country and has no plans of coming back anytime soon to face the death sentence. Despite that, independent Pakistani analysts believe that for Pakistan, as a whole, the verdict is a good and concrete step towards a true democracy. “The Pakistan Army and its associated parties have been ruling the country directly and indirectly,” commented another legal mind on the same condition of anonymity. “The verdict has shaken the very foundation of this so called “democracy” and has the generals as well as the government running. This is surely a victory for the sane ones. No wonder the verdict has taken the country by a storm.” To some extent, it’s an open secret that the country’s powerful military has been calling the shots ever since Ayub Khan imposed the first ever martial law that the country saw and to this day, the military has never as much as flinched before branding the critical politicians and journalists as ‘traitors’ and ‘foreign agents’ working for either India’s RAW or Israel’s Mossad.

The public response to the verdict was mixed, it rather pleased the general population than anger them, as is Musharraf’s reputation in Pakistan with one section of the population hailing him as a hero who saved Pakistan from its most desperate of times and corrupt politicians while others look down on him as a traitor who sold, maimed, and killed his own people to please the West in order to solidify his position. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that after former dictator Zia-ul-Haq, Musharraf is the most hated leader in Pakistan and he has richly deserved the title: from the murder of former Governor and Chief Minister of Balochistan Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti in 2006 to his short-sighted diplomacy and politics, which pushed Pakistan into the whole Afghan quagmire resulting in the loss of thousands of lives, billions of dollars, and a broken international image that deprived Pakistan of tourism, international sports, business, and commerce.

The verdict has also developed major differences between the two most powerful institutions of the country: the military and the judiciary. The matter of the extension of General Javed Bajwa, serving Chief of Army Staff of Pakistan, was the first blow the judiciary had handed the military in Khan’s time ordering the government to ask the approval of the Parliament in order to get a three year extension in Bajwa’s tenure. In the past, as well, the judiciary and the military have been doubtful of each other – Musharraf himself was forced to resign as president following his dismissal of the then-Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudry.

Whatever may happen in the near future, the verdict has clearly suggested, rather shown, that no one is above the law in Pakistan – anyone, including General Pervez Musharraf, once one of the most powerful men in the world.

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Remembering Pakistan’s first foreign agent Fatima Jinnah

“They call her the Mother of the Nation,” sniffed Ayub. “Then she should at least behave like a mother.” For Ayub, well-behaved women didn’t make history.

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Fatima Jinnah

Soon after Liaquat Ali Khan’s assassination and Pakistan’s plunging into absolute political and economical abyss, The Mother of the Nation Fatima Jinnah decided to retreat to her Flagstaff House in Karachi. Her hair textured shades of grey and her eyes a little more tired than usual, Miss Fatima had fallen silent for a moment. With the memory of her dear brother fresh in her mind, she found herself aghast over the wreck they had made of her brother’s Pakistan, but the silence endured.

The silence endured Iskander Mirza’s mocking of the constitution, the silence endured the fading of the once-great Muslim League, the silence endured when the country entered its first martial law, and the silence endured the mistreatment of the East by the West. Miss Fatima was, in fact, one of the fiercest critics of the government’s neglect towards East Pakistan, so much so, when her good conscious couldn’t allow it anymore, she broke the silence.

READ MORE: Mr Khan, keep your Naya Pakistan to yourself

“The Big Stick” The Times called her as white-haired Miss Jinnah, 71, the candidate of five usually disunited opposition parties, entered the arena facing the powerful dictator Ayub Khan. Thousands over thousands chanted Jinnah’s name once again as Miss Fatima’s razor-tongued attacks on Ayub’s illegitimate reign left the authorities in utter shock. The eastern city of Dhaka cried END TO DICTATORSHIP as students enthusiastically proclaimed Miss Jinnah Week and in Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city, unrest forced the government to close all the schools indefinitely. Miss Jinnah’s sentiments saw the legal community come into one as well and when they did, they were quickly denounced by Ayub as “mischief-mongers.” In reply, the Karachi Bar Association overwhelmingly adopted a resolution urging “the party in power to get rid of the notion that wisdom, righteousness and patriotism are the monopoly of their yes men.” The media, for once, also refused to follow the dictator’s orders and the usually complaisant newspapers editors defied the regime’s attempts to make them endorse a restrictive new press law. Ayub soon started regretting ever calling the elections in the first place and on the other hand, Miss Jinnah was never stronger. It is often said, and advised, never to tackle a tiger into a corner for when the tiger stings, and it will, the hunter becomes the hunted. And Pakistan had found her tiger in Miss Jinnah.

In no time, Miss Jinnah had Ayub running scared for after six years of insisting that Pakistanis were not ready for democracy, Miss Jinnah’s fierce campaign had only shown Ayub that he was the only one not ready for it. Miss Jinnah had managed to focus every form of discontent in the country and political gurus predicted the election was hers. To brake her bandwagon, Ayub abruptly decreed that elections would be held January 2, instead of March, as originally scheduled. Explaining lamely that the situation is “a little tense,” the government also rescinded a law specifying that political rallies must be open to the public. And when it didn’t work, Ayub, as uniformed cowards do, set out to portray Miss Jinnah as pro-Indian and pro-Pakhtoonistan. Dozens of columnists were paid to paint Miss Jinnah in colors of blue and saffron. In one pamphlet, Miss Jinnah was accused of conspiring against Pakistan alongside Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan by trying to establish Pakhtoonistan and in another episode, full page government ads claimed “Miss Fatima Jinnah was greeted in Peshawar with the slogans of ‘Pukhtoonistan Zindabad.’”

At closed meetings with groups of electors, Ayub answered practical questions sensibly enough, but kept lashing out at the opposition with growing anger. “They call her the Mother of the Nation,” sniffed Ayub. “Then she should at least behave like a mother.” For Ayub, well-behaved women didn’t make history.

Despite the usual dirty tricks, Miss Jinnah marched on. To Ayub’s claim that he was trying to develop “basic democracy,” Miss Jinnah replied: “What sort of democracy is that? One man’s democracy? Fifty persons’ democracy?” As for Ayub’s charge that the country would revert to chaos if he was defeated, his rival snapped: “You can’t have stability through compulsion, force and the big stick.”

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The stage was set. It was the great Miss Jinnah against a field marshal who had never won a war, a president who was never elected, and an army chief only because his superiors had died in an air crash. Not in a thousand years could Ayub overtake Miss Jinnah but he did, anyway. Miss Jinnah lost the election amid allegations of mass rigging. Her only mistake was that she endured in silence.

And so did Pakistan. First, by perpetuating military rule, its democracy suffered. Ayub had given the armed forces a right, so much so, a privilege to rule the country. The army began to think that it was their duty and responsibility to take over the country whenever they thought right. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, a prominent figure in Ayub’s government, was only the first politician used and thrown away by the army.

East Pakistan, which gave Miss Jinnah a spectacular welcome and where Miss Jinnah secured an astounding victory in the polls would be condemned to the most brutal blood and gore just seven years later, tearing the country in two. Bengalis had dominated Miss Jinnah’s electoral alliance. It is now left for us to wonder what could have been, had they been given their say. And let’s not forget that East Pakistan’s situation was much like KPK’s today: Bengali rights groups were only ever addressed with a stick and abuses, their rallies were censored, their foreheads carved with the words ‘traitor,’ and their houses searched and ripped apart in the dark of the night.

In Karachi, where the Urdu-speaking community came out for Miss Jinnah in droves and where, like East Pakistan, Miss Jinnah had swept the city, the voters were rewarded by a ‘victory parade’ led by Ayub’s goons. They were beaten red and blue, their houses raided, and their places of work destroyed and sealed. Karachi soon erupted in ethnic rioting that saw over thirty dead. It would be the first of many.

The aftershocks of Miss Jinnah’s rigged defeat against the tyrant Ayub are still felt to this day. Pakistan and her people have suffered greatly because of one man’s greed but all hope is not lost. By not forgetting Miss Fatima’s struggle against dictator Ayub and by revisiting Miss Jinnah’s fierce campaign against him, we, as a nation, can learn from our mistakes and flourish.

A dictatorship, a puppet government, or a selected one can never be healthy for a young nation’s growth.

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About the writer: Shahzaib Awan currently heads the Bisouv Publications and House of Entremuse Media Group. He’s an ex-Aitchisonian and is currently studying Computer Science at Jacobs University, Germany.

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