Pakistan: Reign Of Fear And Hate In Public Against Misuse Of Power By State Must Come To Halt – OpEd


Of all the forces that contributed to shaping individuals, communities, and nations throughout history, the concepts of power, fear, and hatred played a considerably significant role.

Hans J Morgenthau has well explained that. He was a German-American jurist and political scientist. He was one of the major twentieth-century figures in the study of political science and International Relations. He stated that “human nature and mindset revolve around the pursuit of power.

In an educated and enlightened society that is equipped with hardworking, honest, and intelligent leadership, power will be used positively, for the welfare and betterment of people.

But when a society is dominated by power-hungry, corrupt, incompetent, and dishonest people, the outcome is the negative use of power and the ultimate failure of the state.

In a modern nation-state with democratic and constitutional dispensation, the sustainability of a political culture demands dynamism and transparency in the delegation, distribution, and utilization of power between the public and the state institutions entrusted with managing social affairs within the constitutional principles in the country.

How fear is used by the oppressors (state)

But throughout history, fear has remained a weapon of the oppressor, while hatred has been a weapon of the oppressed. The former underlies the inferiority complex and insecurities, while the latter reflects the inborn human urge for freedom. When the oppressor tends to overpower through brute force, coercion, or manipulation, the oppressed initially receive it or observe restraint due to perceived weakness. 

The public in return begins to question the overstepping and authoritative power of the government. This creates fear and insecurities in the hearts and minds of the oppressor (state). In return, the government translates this fear into an environment of fear and intolerance for the public by resorting to the use of brute force to suppress their voices for their inherent rights.

Further, fear, mainly in the minds arising from ignorance, cedes the powerful enough time and space to extend authoritarian control in the lives of people. This fear exists as long as ignorance thrives in public life. However, as ignorance ends, fear begins to turn into hatred (public)for the powerful (state). This hatred runs in the hearts and minds of the people to such an extent that it turns into the strength of the subjects. The hatred-turned-strength encourages the public to resort to resistance in the face of state oppression.

The misuse of power by the government induces fear among the people; fear generates hatred in them against the government; hatred breeds public resistance; and public resistance ultimately causes rebellion; History stands testament to the fact that oppressors or states’ brute force ultimately succumbs to the steady power of hatred and public resistance. As a result, the state institutions (law enforcers), begin to encroach on public freedom of speech, thought, movement, and gathering. The combination of power and brute force ultimately suppresses the voices of the public for their just rights.

This anti-public behavior of the state or its institutions has been well defined by Margaret Atwood, who stated about security forces that, “having handed the keys to those who promised to be our defenders but who have become, inevitably our jailers”?

How to manage a crisis 

Consequently, the country is engulfed by multiple crises. The crisis as per Oxford’s definition, is “a decisive moment, time of danger and great difficulty, the turning point.” A crisis also means a situation when there is a grave danger and threat of 
outbreak of violence, intolerance, hatred, fear, and anarchic conflict between the state and its citizens in the country. 

The fundamental elements contributing to a crisis include fragile decision-making, weak nerves, confusion, dearth of courage, loss of time, and control over events along with meager leadership qualities. 

Management of crisis means when the parties concerned are mindful of skillful decision-making, timeline, patience, perseverance, shrewdness, using diplomacy and best practices. Crisis management mechanisms can only take place when there is awareness about a crisis, insight, analytical skills, critical thinking, teamwork, the right kind of choices, and institutions have control over events.

How hate is changed into rebellion

Frantz Fanon is an authority on the topic. He was a 20th-century philosopher. Many political leaders and revolutionary movements have taken advantage of his writings. His book, The Wretched of the Earth, holds the status of a scripture for oppressed and revolutionaries all over the world.

Fanon writes in his book that the local population in every city is divided into two parts: one, an area where the rich and successful people and those in authority live and where foreign rules apply; two, miserable settlements where the poor and subjugated people live. This class division naturally gives rise to racial problems. Fanon believes that the oppressor often uses religion to try and legitimize his oppression, besides giving legal color to his self-imposed supremacy by calling racial discrimination a law of nature. He succeeds in persuading poor people that God does not like worldly comforts and wants the poor to embrace hardships in this world, so that they may have a permanent abode in the paradise. On the contrary, a revolutionary wants to enjoy paradise while living in the world. He wants to face reality rather than an imaginary paradise. He prefers the sorrows and happiness of the earth to the paradise of fools.

Fanon says that the neo-colonial powers use a language in which the native people are identified as animals, beasts, and uncivilized beings. They make fun of local people’s dress, traditions, and religious beliefs. Their only aim is to ridicule the local population and prove to them that they are inferior, uncivilized, and inhumane. This behavior causes resentment, rage, and tingling in the local people, and this resentment gradually turns into hatred. When common people also join the struggle for freedom, this hatred takes the shape of revenge, and the anger accumulated over decades and centuries boils over in the form of terrible violence that consumes the culture, religion, language, and tradition imposed in the name of power. This is how people avenge all the abuses inflicted on them over decades and centuries.

Fanon believes that this revolt of the indigenous people takes the form of a revolution. They put their lives at stake for a bright future because they want to establish a society based on justice for their future generations.

How to handle the situation

Having said this briefly in the above text about brutal misuse of power and intolerance by the state and its institutions creating hate, fear, and a combination of two genesis crises and crisis causes violence and rebellion in the public against the state. 

Today, Pakistan has been suffering exactly from the same situation. Our ruling elite class both civil and military that are responsible for our plight, winding cracks between the state and its citizens. If we look at our society, anger is brewing in the bones of every citizen, and every ordinary man is burning with hatred because of the injustice and cruelty done to him particularly the Pashtoon and Baloch population in the country. Is it not true that the lava of anger accumulated over decades among them has turned into violence being witnessed in parts of the country?

I must mention the peaceful sit-in and non-violence protest of the people of Chaman district at the Pak-Afghan border point which has been continuing for the last 62 long days and all economic activities including the movement of people and trade between the two countries have come to a complete halt. Thousands of people have become jobless and their families have been suffering from hunger for the last two months. The government has denied their simple demands for their centuries-old free movement at border points through simple documents instead of passports and visas. The government despite losses of billions daily and the suffering of the Chaman people is least concerned. Ultimately the nonviolent movement of Chaman will turn into hatred and violence against the government.

Further, in recent days, Islamabad has witnessed recent scenes that are not just deplorable but a blatant violation of the constitutional right to peaceful protest. The Baloch community, long marginalized and voiceless, took to Islamabad’s streets to raise concerns over enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings in Balochistan.

It seems that the government is less interested in listening to the unarmed, nonviolent, and peaceful protest of the Chaman’s people and Baloch protesters in the capital. Consequently, people think that the cruel injustice done to them all these decades, particularly in recent days is due to their ethnicities, and ultimately their hatred turns into rebellion. They will appear desperate to destroy every rotten tradition imposed on them by force. Those who have exploited their rights and resources inflicted cruelty on them poisoned their lives, and divided them based on religion, language, and race — their time of reckoning is coming soon.

It is high time for both the state and its citizens to keep their minds open for dialogue, remove the reasons for mistrust holistically, and an end to the repetition of mistakes by the government and misuse of power against their own people by the state or its institutions. The best course of action for the state is well explained by Malcolm X. He says, it is better to “put the gun down” but not to gun down the innocent people”. 

Without transforming the minds of the ruling elites and the public, a viable democratic dispensation, healthy economic, political, and social order and a better future for the country is unlikely. Therefore, hate, fear, violence, and brutal use of force in all shades, ways, and means should be ended, as it is used by the monsters in the corridors of power for their lust for power and a culture of greed, accumulation of wealth by unfair means which naturally breeds violence, hate and extremism in the society against the state.

In Pakistan, there is an urgent need to transform the mindsets of political, judicial, administrative, and military leadership including the people who run the state affairs both civil and military from, colonial, feudal, authoritarian, greedy, and corrupt into responsible, visionary, pro-public, inclusive, honest and wise.

Right now, the only way forward for Pakistan peaceful, prosperous, and vibrant nation is, to use power by the state apparatus positively, take immediate steps toward a peaceful resolution of the conflicts, listen to the voices of the public for their rights within constitutional boundaries, prevent the country from further descending into economic, political and social anarchy.

Sher Khan Bazai

Sher Khan Bazai is a retired civil servant, and a former Secretary of Education in Balochistan, Pakistan. He can be reached at [email protected].

One thought on “Pakistan: Reign Of Fear And Hate In Public Against Misuse Of Power By State Must Come To Halt – OpEd

  • December 26, 2023 at 9:40 am
    Permalink *Conclusion* The whole nation is haplessly watching the same old putrid political experiment being repeated, suppression of political dissent by the state oppression, use of force and immoral techniques to silence the people, crippled economy, slaying inflation, treating the constitution as wax nose, lawlessness, unending terrorism, fissures in senior judiciary with questionable dispensation of selective justice, overstaying and highly politicized and biased caretakers governments busy in foreign tours, enjoying undue and controversial media spotlight day in day out, and doing everything way beyond their constitutional obligation that was to be performed in three months and not in years, putting on sale precious national assets and resources without due process and approval by an elected government are only a few example to point out the state of denial and the murky environment in which we are forced to live. On the foreign policy front, Pakistan seems to have lost stature and credibility to be of any value, and our response to the ongoing genocide of Palestinian Muslims is as deplorable as has been the case of mere lip service to the too obvious abandoned Kashmir cause, although the paid professionals and denial mode elite are prone to jump and prove it wrong by untenable flimsy narratives. *The powerful elite club in Pakistan needs to remember that “each time history repeats itself, the price goes up.”*


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