The ‘Chottus’ and the ‘Barrus’By Naeem Sadiq

Chottu is an enterprising individual. He operates out of his Corporate Headquarters in Kacha Jamal area of Rajan Pur forest. He was a petty thief in 1987. He is now the Chief Executive of a private militia which can easily take on the entire police force of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. In an an-going encounter that has already lasted about 2 weeks, he has killed 7 and captured 25 policemen. The police in Pakistan, trained only to protect the ruling elite is not used to fighting criminals. It must therefore now look up to either Army or Allah for help.

We have buried our heads in the sand, never admitting the existence of hundreds of ‘Chottus’ and ‘Barrus’. Both plunder the poor of Pakistan. The ‘Chottus’ seek refuge in domestic sanctuaries while the ‘Barrus’ invest in off-shore companies. They operate their private militias and control their autonomous territories. They have been allowed to grow into such formidable militant entities despite Article 256 of the Constitution, which categorically states that ‘no private organisation capable of functioning as a military organisation shall be formed and any such organisation shall be illegal’.

It is not wise to first allow a problem to grow into the size of a monster and then be forced to undertake huge expeditions, ‘Zarb-e-Aahan’ being the latest of the series.

What stops the government to launch a ‘Zarb-e-Aman’, that should begin by a proactive demand for surrender of all weapons and abolition of all private militias. Must we remain endlessly engaged in reactionary conflicts and become voluntary hostages to the ‘Chottus’ and the ‘Barrus’ of our own creation.

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