On March 13 2017 Punjab police introduced its first batch of specialized Anti-Riot Police Unit (ARPU). Their official website states,

“The government first sent 40 police officers of various ranks to Istanbul, Turkey, where they were trained by Turkish police in anti-riot exercise. The master trainers then returned to the country and trained more than 1,000 newly recruited anti-riot unit personnel.”

But as a very ordinary ‘mango’ citizen who pays his fair share of taxes may I ask – Why? Why exactly did we have to spend millions of tax payers’ rupees on training anti-riot police? Is it so we can avoid another model town incident that happened between PAT and the police? Or is it so we can have another one?

https://www.dawn.com/news/1176934

The answer lies in Pakistan’s growing phobia from its homegrown internet warriors popularly referred to as “liberals”. I never thought we accounted for much, until a few weeks earlier when the Federal government decided to launch its crack down on ordinary civilians. Earlier this year the Interior Ministry had put a ban on anyone criticizing the army on social media platforms. Just a few days later though, the army itself went on to criticize, or rather publicly humiliate the civil government on Twitter. Ironic, isn’t it?

Credit: © igor / Fotolia

There are potentially deeper and much more subtle consequences to all this. Do not forget, we are now allies with some of the most oppressive regimes in the world. We’re in bed with China, Turkey and our Holy godfather, Saudi Arabia. While it’s great that we are importing buses and car-sharing services from Turkey, we recently also went to them to train our law enforcement agencies against riots. Maybe those young doctors should be taught a lesson, the next time think of protesting, or maybe our nurses have gone a bit too out of control. Pakistan went from being one of the most repressive states in the 80’s, to become a state where a military dictator was regularly criticized for his actions in 2000’s, but the current government may differ from my opinions on this. Nawaz Shareef, our most recent ex-Prime Minister of Pakistan, was a state level minister in Zia’s era. He and his family benefited a great deal from his policies, and went on to build a massive steel empire along with many other businesses.

It, therefore, comes as no surprise that his ruling style is strikingly similar to Zia.

He likes to tell us what to post on Twitter and Facebook; he also just told us when to eat (by banning public eating in Ramadan). It’s not hard to assume that soon he would tell us what to wear, when to pray (and to whom or how to pray), and if that doesn’t satisfy his obsession with his Arab overloads, he might soon ban women from driving in Pakistan. Of course none of that is possible for now as he was released from his duty as Prime Minister, but never doubt Mr. Nawaz, as he might return sooner than we think.

Sept. 26, 2014. – AP Photo

And then we have our friends from the north, passionately trying to drill a hole through us to reach the warm waters of Gwadar. Now, I never said trade is a bad thing, but maybe let’s just keep our relations here very professional, or at least that’s my two cents on the matter. Our friends from the north strictly believe in a one party system (oh and by the way, if we ever had one PMLN it won’t be you guys and you know it, it’ll be “Them” from Pindi). And it’s no surprise, that even before the first truck rolled into Pakistan through Khunjerab, our Interior Minister requested to import the popular Facebook ban from China. Way to go democratically elected PML-N and Chaudhry Nisar! Way to go!

Pakistan can potentially import a lot from our allies than just oil, buses, highways and other commodities in the coming years and with the absence of any solid opposition (no, Imran Khan is not a solid opposition – he has lost his credibility, he whines too much and is hungry for power to satisfy his narcissistic soul). In time we may import more bans, more restrictions on social media and maybe more religious clerics.

Photo credit : ‘Social News Daily’

Imagine Pakistan as a young couple, their house in a quiet suburb, surrounded by an old Arab couple, a middle aged Chinese couple, and a newly religious Turk couple. The Chinese only want our warm water, the Arabs want us to fight for them, you know, because they’re good at creating hostile situations such as bombing Yemen, isolating Bahrain etc., and lastly the Turks, well, they’ve enjoyed years of liberal partying and now want to get down and be a little religious, you know.

It’s only a matter of days until our young Pakistani couple with inbuilt western phobia will adopt something from their new neighbors.

                                                      Artist – Unknown
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