Indian rhetoric and Kashmir
With Indian military and political leaders continuing to issue provocative statements, their opposite numbers in Pakistan have made it clear that “irresponsible rhetoric [has] implications for the region”. According to an Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) press release following the Corps Commanders Conference earlier this week, “Pakistan Armed Forces are forces of order and peace and fully prepared to thwart any misadventure, whatever the cost”. Pakistan Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa also commented on the situation in Kashmir, saying, “Repression of Indian occupying forces can never deny Kashmiris their right to self-determination as promised by UN resolutions. Regardless of the ordeal, their just struggle is destined to succeed.” Earlier, another ISPR statement had rubbished belligerent Indian statements as “routine rhetoric for domestic audiences to get out of ongoing internal turmoil”, a reference to problems in India-Occupied Kashmir and nationwide protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act.
Prime Minister Imran Khan also spoke against India’s anti-Pakistan rhetoric. “You need to brush up on history. It seems your degree was fake,” said the prime minister, during a speech in Mirpur, in a reference to long-running allegations regarding Indian PM Narendra Modi’s education. But Imran also used some aggressive language of his own, which will undoubtedly worry doves on either side of the border. In case of an Indian attack, he said, every Pakistani “will fight to their final breath” as “none of us fears death”. He warned, “If you are under the false impression that you can take any action against Pakistan to strengthen your Hindu voter base, it will be the last mistake you make.” As for Kashmir, Imran observed how Modi’s lockdown had led to unprecedented international discussions on India’s illegal actions. “The entire world now demands an end to this oppression,” he said.
Unfortunately, while Imran may be able to get Pakistan’s point of view across to world leaders, it is meaningless until world leaders actually push Modi to tone down the rhetoric and end the oppression.
The National Assembly yesterday passed a resolution calling for public hanging of those convicted of sexually assaulting and killing children in view of the increasing cases of such offences in the country. The sentiments of the members who asked for public hanging deserve to be respected. However, it is a knee-jerk reaction, based on emotions, to the growing problem of crimes against children. The hand-written resolution referred to the “brutal killing of 8-year-old Iwaz Noor in Nowshera”. PPP legislators did not support the resolution. Raja Pervez Ashraf, PPP leader and ex-PM, said, “Ramping up the severity of punishments does not result in a reduction in crime. We cannot put public hanging into practice as it violates the laws of the United Nations.” Federal Minister Fawad Chaudhry also opposed the call for public hanging. He wrote on Twitter, “…Societies act in a balanced way. Barbarism is not the answer to crimes.”
We agree with this stance because all aspects of a decision should be taken into account before deciding on that particular action. Harsh punishments are indeed needed to act as a deterrent to rising incidents of rape, assault and murder of both females and males. Even capital punishment becomes necessary in heinous cases. Experience, however, shows that public hanging of criminals results in brutalisation of society. Since large numbers of people assemble to witness public executions, it apparently gives the impression that public hangings might deter the potential evil-doers. This usually is not the case, however. In many countries of the world, public hanging was put into practice in the hope that it will have more impact as deterrence than executions within jails. This proved a false hope. So the practice was abandoned. In the contemporary world, especially when human societies are fast returning to the state of nature where man’s life has again become short, nasty and brutish public hangings would make life nastier and more brutish.
An effective prescription