THERE is a lesson for Pakistan to be learnt in the manner the British handled the thug problem in India in 1830. The people of thug-affected areas were too fearful of thug gangs to act against them.
Governor-General William Bentinck (1827-35) set up the ‘Thuggee and Dacoits’ Department, while the government passed Act XXX, aimed at thugs.
Under this act all that it took the courts to convict a suspect as a ‘thug’ was for him to be identified as one by an approver.
There were between 30-35 thug gangs operating in central and southeast India who were committing 10-20 murders every day or over 5,000 murders every year.
As validation for the Act, the British Raj effectively created a ‘fiend in human form’ image of the thug. The conviction carried the mandatory sentence of death by hanging.
The thugs disappeared within a year after seeing the quick trial, conviction, and hanging of those who were caught.
There are in Pakistan those who have taken up arms against the state of Pakistan and who attack defence establishments of the country, blow up mosques and girls schools, carry out suicide blasts against civilians in marketplaces, and seek to murder a girl as a threat to their evil designs.
The country’s parliamentarians have to muster the courage of Malala Yousufzai and act to define what is meant by the ‘Taliban’?
The parliament can pass an act declaring: ‘Taliban’ should be awarded a mandatory punishment after due process.
S. K. HUSAIN