Ante Mortem by Sir Khadim Hussain Zia

I still remember the glitter of hope that shone in the eyes of people when they folded their sit-in after they were ensured security following the last deadly blow of extremism which claimed 86 innocent lives. The glitter of hope shone in an optimistically deceitful way, which has now become a feature of our people as we seem to overlook the desperate threats that await us, blinded by the deceptive clam that follows the storm. You would believe for a moment that the hopeful gleam in the eyes of people had conspired with the vengeance of gloom throbbing in the hearts of the terrorists, committing that “That’s it! No more of the suffering,” and the fleeting clam following the storm had almost pounded nails in the coffin of their suffering until the eve of Feb. 16, 2013 when these deceitfully optimistic or recklessly hopeful people were, yet again, caught by surprise in the middle of their everyday chore, bargain hunting for their weekend recreation. Ladies doing errands, merchants grinning at the bargains, children awed in wander by the pleasance of the free evening, and some young rosebuds clinging to their school bags, scheduling their weekend hours between their homework and games, when they were precipitously given the surprise “Bhooom!” at their back, frightening and freezing them to death.

Yet again the birds of peace dwelling on the branches and giggling the new spring melody were thumped to fly away. Yet again the heaven of Quetta was smoked with the smog of fear and terror. And yet again, as I am writing these lines, we are haunted by the malignant tentacles of religious extremism.

Sitting in solitude at the dissection table of the fresh tragedy, I am picking and examining bits and pieces of our social, religious and national comportment that have been blown and defaced. And as I am doing this, I keep asking myself, “Why on earth do I need to do this unusual postmortem? After all, the very cause of the fatality, the very instrument of this inhuman mayhem (perhaps I am wrong to regard it inhuman, for it takes only a human ingenuity and resourcefulness to wreak a mutilation of this magnitude) is mere evident and ever was from the moment these bits and pieces were being collected.” But I can’t but convince myself that it is this microscopic and painstaking postmortem that is much requisite at the moment which can turn in to an “ante mortem’’ cognizance about the defacements that await us at the edge of the abyss of sub sequence. I wish the wholes of negation to the slightest of the probability of a sequel of such horrific episode, but the realistic self within prompts me of the dangling sword of Damocles that sways on our heads, owing to our very social, religious and national demeanor.

I have witnessed proceedings of all such processions and sit-ins, and have shaken a head of grief at every of such unfortunate junctures that have got us to heave our grief at the world’s face. Not stale enough, the dragging and up-to-the-minute of which is the instance of our protests on the Hazara Town tragedy of 16 February, 2013. Apart from the gravity of this havoc that has torn anguish in countless hearts, myself being one of them, I figure it’s high time we apprehended causality of our tendencies and analyzed causes and effects of our sufferings rather than merely mourning them. The instant postmortem has led me to a crucial finding that we, at the hottest instant moment, are reminiscence of a patient who is suffering from a fatal wound in the eye, blurring his vision, (a metaphor of our vision as a nation), but is perseveringly being medicated with Antiarrythmics and Beta Blockers (Anti-arrhythmia drugs help keep abnormal heart rhythms under control and Beta-blockers relax the heart) in the stead of the medicine that should heal the sight wound and secure his vision. As a result of the primary misdiagnosis, the secondary atrocity to the patient is the irony that when the patient fails to respond to the “Beta Blockers” to fetch him cure to his eye wound, the physicians increase the dose of the “Beta Blockers”. The patient previously taking 20mg dose of the drug must now take 100 mg dose of the same ill-prescribed medicine, needless to say that slightest of the idea does not cross the physician’s mind to reconsider his prescribed medication.

To be more elaborate, every time I attend such outburst of emotions in the processions post such havocs, I haplessly witness the same ill-prescribed, illogical, dogmatic, extremism-oriented and heart relaxing Beta Blocker like slogans and catchphrases raised in the euphoria that it shall be the antidote to the cancer of extremism. The dose of these Beta Blockers, these slogans is so hallucinating that it takes hell of a time and temperament for its jubilation to fade away. And as this ill medication continues, we, the patient, are losing our vision as a nation. Our pathway, trailing civilization is clinging to a blur of pathlessness.

I am done with my postmortem of the chunks of our social, religious and national demeanor that have once again littered the streets in Quetta, and am in tears. You would also vomit this sour acidic filth were you so closely examining those bloodshed torn lumps that portrayed no identity. I wish that we’re done with the post postmortems and that these become the “ante mortem’’ cognizance to lead us through this difficult time.

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