Public display of chutzpah – 16 Jun 2022

The violation of the Constitution used to be benignly labeled as ‘Doctrine of Necessity’

Growing up in Charsadda, as a young student we liked to repeat a joke everytime we came across any man with a beard who would either drive his car carelessly or indulge in some ridiculous act. The joke was just four Pashto words but the story and history behind those words was common knowledge and so people understood the context everytime we uttered those words, which are Sheikh pa ghalata de. It translates literally as “the bearded one is in the wrong”.

Attaullah Tarar sports a beard and shaves his mustache. Muslim men do this keeping in line with the seriousness and depth of their faith. However, he has indulged in uncouth and irreligious behaviour. Fathers who may have asked their sons and daughters to keep watching and reading news so as to prepare for the CSS exam must have felt very uncomfortable watching this public display of an act, which is usually the stuff of adult entertainment.

There is another Charsadda joke. Whenever any bearded man indulges in some irreligious or immoral behaviour, the oft-repeated joke is that he is exempt from any repercussions because he holds the licence for being ridiculous and immoral, which is an indirect reference to his beard. It was a double-edged sword. One, anything the labeled pious did was right by default. Two, don’t dare criticise the bearded ones as their self-righteous mindset is unstoppable and dangerous. Perhaps this second joke is more relevant here. Because we have kind of forgotten that the same Atta Tarar some weeks ago openly threatened anyone who may dare call him a lota.

Public display of disrespect or profanity toward any faith or God is regarded as blasphemous. The people who adhere to the faith that is targeted by the blasphemy feel humiliated and resentful. One could argue that faith is a sacred as well as a private matter because it is one human’s connection and contract with his Creator. We can disagree with an act of blasphemy but we are not to judge someone’s actions or validity of their faith because that work is reserved for our Creator.

An elected or a government official takes oath of office to protect a document where the rights of the people are enshrined. That is a contract between the official and the state as well as the people. Disgracing the Holy Book is wrong and immoral but that is for the Creator to punish not us because that is a violation of the relationship between man and his Creator. Disgracing the sacred document called the Constitution is a violation of the contract made with the people. Even the Holy Book emphasises on the rights of the people more than on the rights our Creator has over us. It is called Huqooq-ul-ibaad i.e. the rights of the people.

The bearded spokesperson of the Punjab government has openly displayed filthy profanity for the very document, which enshrines the rights the people have over him as a government official. It is not the violation of a specific right but rather the wholesale mockery of whatever rights the people may think they have.

Perhaps, this public display of chutzpah is coming from a greater belief of impunity. This middle finger is not only a mockery of the supposedly sacred document but also an indication of massive support from those who are usually in the business of raising the finger as a third umpire. Speaking of which, there was a lot of noise when Imran Khan some years ago had said that the third umpire had raised his finger. Somehow, there is not much noise at this finger raising as if it is some sort of a halal finger.

The violation of the Constitution used to be benignly labeled as ‘Doctrine of Necessity’. That is obsolete now because now our politicians just middle finger the Constitution. Ah, those good ol’ days!

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