In the recent past a new breed of power player has emerged on the word stage of geopolitics. Where the “one’s” who mattered first wore saville row suits, these now come clad in Jubbah and the famous head dress and sunglasses. I speak of the Sheikh’s who in various guises and forms are now claiming leadership of this region via the only power they wield, that of the black gold.
Used to be a time when any atrocity in the developing world would catch the western NGO’s eye and such a hue and cry would be made that the poor third world leaders had to explain cases which were under authority of the local police. However such cases were mostly from places where no oil flowed to grease the wheels of big politics.
Consider the following case, a certain Mukhtar Mai who was trumpeted throughout the world as the portrait of the conditions all women live under in Pakistan vs the Lady known as G from Saudi Arabia. Both victim’s of gang rape, both sought justice but found none. However the difference lies in where they reside and how the world has treated their case. Where Mukhtar Mai became the calling card of women’s lib organizations in Europe and the U.S, those that were South Asian inclined anyways. Lady G’s voice has almost been reduced to a whisper, with the initial outcry following her sentencing to three months in jail and 90 lashes, to her lawyer being barred by the court, to the newspaper columnist being fired for writing about her. Currently there is not a snippet of information on her condition or situation coming out, no visas are being issued to usher her to the big apple, there is just an eerie silence.
The fact to note here is that Lady G belongs to the holy land of Saudi Arabia, too holy for us to ever question its archaic rules and practices and too rich for the west to condemn as it is the main supplier of what they guzzle, oil. In this country, women are not allowed to be in the presence of a na-mehrem which was what LAdy G was sentenced for, the fact that these Na-mehrems took her at knife point and violated her 14 times at a farm obviously does not matter. Even to date the Saudi government has not been questioned by any world leader, or even politely asked “what the hell are you doing”
These are the same people who can be seen roaming our land with servants carrying hawks on their forearms, Pakistan being the wildlife sanctuary or hunting ground dependent upon their moods. They also now provide palaces for our outgoing leaders and solace for the incoming ones. Their security officials conduct press conferences in Karachi on how things should be run, their various princes the many 100’sÂ that there are, buying up nearly all that is at sale in Pakistan. The various companies being privatized, property, stocks everything. The reason mentioned is that post 9/11 they do not feel secure in the west and thus moved their capital here, close and subservient to them. We offcourse welcomed them like old dogs do new masters, with our tongues out.
Our leaders wise as they are, are however now faced with a new problem. As at first they had to appease those in the west only, but now the Holy ones are also in the picture, ready to barge in with this deal and that at every event. The result of this dual pulling of forces from either side is that of two hands pulling a rubber band, the end is known to us all.