The current buzz word in Islamabad is miscreant. From the commando-in-control to his lowest grovelling flunky, they all appear to be banding this word about with complete abandon. Newspapers are currently littered with their condemnation of miscreants who seemed to exist everywhere, from Gwadar to Gilgit.
As Zubeida Mustafa, a senior local journalist, recently commented.
Officially it is said that the army is trying to root out the ‘miscreants’ and ‘saboteurs’ who are accused of creating trouble in different regions of Balochistan. These are the terms we are quite familiar with in Pakistan. It was bandied about a lot in 1970 during the civil strife in East Pakistan and the province was the target of army action... They are again doing the rounds.
Have you ever wondered what exactly the word means?
While miscreant was apparently borrowed from Old French, it roots lie in Latin. As your Blogger once studied Latin (don’t ask me why) the task becomes slightly easier. Mis is from the Latin word minus – expressing a negative force - and creant from the Latin verb credere – to believe. And so as minus + belief = disbelief, miscreant must mean ‘a disbeliever’
The Concise Oxford Dictionary (COD) informs us:
adjective: 1. Behaving badly or unlawfully 2. Heretical (now archaic).
noun: 1. A person who behaves badly or unlawfully.2. A heretic (now archaic)
Apparently with the passage of time the term miscreant, as the COD tells us, evolved to its current meaning: ‘a person who behaves badly or unlawfully’.
Well, clearly there is no shortage of such people in Pakistan. Having been ear bashed by the wretched Islamabadis for so long I believe it time we all made our own list of notorious local miscreants.
So here is your Blogger’s list of Pakistanis who have behaved ‘badly or unlawfully’.
The Miscreant ‘Badshah’ - Pervez Musharraf
Charges: Overthrowing a legally constituted government, subverting (at military gunpoint) the nation’s Supreme Court to legitimise his unlawful coup d’etat, foisting us with a rigged referendum and a series of manipulated elections and ruling the country in complete disregard of the law (instant examples that come to mind range from the substantial to the individual - from violent suppression of rights in Balochistan to the unlawful detention of Mukhtaran Mai and the mindless declaration of innocence for the chief suspect in the Shazia Khalid’s rape case- in complete contempt of judicial procedure).
The Miscreant 'Once & Hopefully Never Amir-ul-Momineen’ - Nawaz Sharif
Charges: Conniving with generals to rig national elections (1990), subsequently indulging in massive corruption to benefit his family and then blatant disregarding constitutional and other laws of the country (including the criminal intrusion into the sanctity of the Supreme Court).
The Miscreant ‘Queen’ - Benazir Bhutto (and her Consort)
Charges: Corruption, dishonesty and cheating (the lady ought to know that taking massive commissions on government contracts is highly illegal). Ignoring her poor supporters and acting as if it was her hereditary prerogative to misrule Pakistan.
The Miscreant ‘Junta’ - The Generals Incorporated
Charges: For having constantly foisted themselves as the saviours of Pakistan and simultaneously indulging (‘behaving badly’) in feathering their nests through prodigious property grabs and other deals which they ardently maintain they are entitled to simply because of their ‘superior patriotism’.
The message for them ought to be: Gentlemen, you volunteered to join the army as a career, which means (as it does in any other country – from the USA to Papua New Guinea) that your job does necessitate, on rare occasions, risking your lives, if called upon, to defend your country. It is, as in any other country, just a job and you actually get paid for doing it.
And furthermore you people should stop blaming all and sundry for Pakistan’s problems and earnestly accept yours and your predecessors’ role in buggering up this country since 1953 (That year that subsequently self-appointed Field Marshal fellow was not only the C-in-C of the Army, but Minister of Defence and the then Governor-General’s forceful associate).
And my dear generals also do try and remember that the country is not solely your property, as there are 165 million other people who also live here.
The Miscreant 'Chumchas’ - The Urban Politicians
Charges: For placing their corrupt and criminally rapacious self-interest before their responsibility to the people of Pakistan, whom they raucously claim to represent. They have indulged themselves with industrial units, co-operatives, bank defaults, share market and property scams.
The Miscreant ‘Grungy Lot’ - The Rural Politicians
Charges: For having sworn fealty (via the military agencies) to the establishment, thus enabling themselves to be the largest fish in their little rustic ponds via the charade of rigged elections. They have habitually linked up with the local police to terrorise all those who oppose them. Their favourite criminal sideline is to sell government jobs and to occupy land belonging to the government or to someone powerless to oppose them.
The Miscreant 'Bunglers’- The Bureaucrats
Charges: For copiously ignoring their job-related responsibility to the citizens of Pakistan and instead indulging in corruption, corruption, and more corruption followed with a sickening amount of self-promotion and an overdose of demonstrable incompetence.
The Miscreant 'Criminal Force’ - The Police
Charge: For not arresting and placing themselves in jail (full stop)
The Miscreant ‘Greed Incarnate’ - The Business Elite
Charges: For blaming everyone else and ignoring their own role in impoverishing Pakistan. For taking every known possible shady shortcut, for bribing bureaucrats to change rules and conditions to win contracts, for constantly spilling crocodile tears as they get richer and the poor get poorer, and for turning a blind eye to every injustice that takes place in this country simply because it has got nothing to do with making money.
The Miscreant ‘Hypocrites' - The Mullahs
Charges: For creating a mythical and glorious past which in actuality never existed. And for taking advantage of the gullible and illiterate masses by using this myth to further their own political and largely corrupt financial ambitions.