By Ali Dayan Hasan
On March 28 in Lahore, my friend of almost thirty years, Raza Rumi, journalist and much else, survived an attempted “targeted killing.” Miraculously, he emerged unscathed from the hail of gunfire intended for him. Raza is now in a secure location—outside Pakistan. He had no choice but to leave as the authorities felt no embarrassment in letting him know that they could not guarantee his life if he stepped outside his Lahore home. Some weeks later, the police “caught” the would-be-assassins who belong to the dreaded Taliban-affiliate Lahkar-e-Jhangvi. But police custody curtails neither the power of these terrorists nor the impunity with which they kill. The fact is that nobody can do anything to stop them and nobody will. Tens of thousands of our fellow citizens have already been killed by the same terrorists. On April 19, Hamid Mir, another journalist, was shot in broad daylight and survived. He too will live. But his attackers too, even if identified, will escape accountability.
I should just be grateful that my friend Raza is alive. I was. I am.
But then, to come to terms with my relief, I engaged in an act of self-destructive rebellion—foolhardy, irresponsible and potentially fatal. I went for a long drive through the streets of Lahore, alone. As people often do. As I did often until “security-related restricted movement” became an embarrassing part of my life. As Raza could have possibly, until recently, when the price of life became self-imposed house arrest or exile for him. (more…)