Although I am an Indian,. I have lots of Pakistani friends and acquaintances, with whom I used to regularly chat on skype and whatsapp.
Of late, however, these contacts have dried up or snapped, and this seems to be due to recent developments in Pakistan where the military and police have unleashed a reign of terror after the events of 9th May. Thousands of people have been arrested, beaten, ‘disappeared’ or even killed, the media has been largely silenced, military tribunals set up which will dispense kangaroo justice, and fear haunts the land.
In this situation, my Pakistani contacts, who told me that whatsapp and skype are being closely monitored by intelligence agencies, seem to be scared that if they talk with me or message me they may be arrested on the charge of communicating with an Indian RAW agent ( after all, every Indian is a RAW agent ! ). So now they don’t take my whatsapp calls or respond to my messages. One female Pakistani journalist, with whom I used to chat daily, has even removed her number and name from my whatsapp contact list.
In my articles and tweets I have been harshly criticising Pakistan army chief Gen Munir and the Corps Commanders, who have imposed fascist rule and a kind of martial law In Pakistan.
I have also strongly supported Imran Khan, who has now become persona non grata with the Pakistan Establishment
I could do so sitting safely in India, but if I had done so in Pakistan I would have been ‘disappeared’ a long time back. Naturally Pakistanis who communicate with a person critical of that holy institution, the Pakistan army, are themselves suspect, and are in danger of being arrested or ‘disappeared’.
I can understand all this. Maybe I would have done the same had I been in their place. I remember the lines in Hindi poet Shyam Narain Pandey’s famous poem ‘Haldighati’ :
” Tha shor maut se bacho bacho
Talwaar chali, talwaar chali ”.
But I have also advised all Pakistanis to silently knit the names of their oppressors, like Madame Defarge in Dickens’ novel ‘A Tale of Two Cities’