It’s too early to speculate on the whys and hows of Murtaza Razvi’s tragic and sad torture and murder. Instead, I just wanted to take this opportunity to present the last three political pieces he wrote, just to give you a sense of the man and his views. These are in reverse chronological order.

From a piece on April 6th, on the parliamentary review of relations with the U.S.:

The question is: do we want such sovereignty, national honour and integrity as we have been practising to define our march forward in a world that is increasingly interdependent? It is in the pursuance of such isolationist internal and external policies that we have wreaked havoc at home and lost many friends, including China, of late. Depending heavily on the US and its regional allies economically, especially the Gulf Sheikhs and international market mechanisms, can Pakistan base its foreign policy on the mere wishes of its politicians to score brownie points with the generals and the electorate in an election year?

We will be deceiving ourselves by focusing on the half truth that the US needs Pakistan; we also need the US and its allies for our own sanity and a chance at survival. The lunatic fringe sympathetic to the Taliban and the like is only a fringe. The politicians and the generals are doing Pakistanis a disservice by mainstreaming their ruinous agenda in foreign policy considerations. Let the think tanks, foreign policy academics and economic managers guide the PCNS in its deliberations.

From a piece on March 9th, on the increasing attention to Balochistan given in the electronic media:

The state really has little defence in the face of such critical contradictions, which reveal total apathy to the condition of the people of Balochistan. Add to this the disappearances of Baloch youth, leaders and their mutilated bodies, and you have what you have: a rebellion against injustice with a popular appeal.

These well-founded grievances need to be heard by the Pakistani public, and the media is doing well to mainstream the dissident Baloch leaders albeit a bit late in the day.

Unfortunately, the precarious situation on ground does not permit TV crews to be there and bring documentary coverage of the actual situation and happenings. And ensconced in their ruling privileges, those in the Balochistan government remain equally apathetic to the woes of those who elect them.

From a piece on February 24th, on the failure of Islam to hold Pakistan together:

Islam as a state ideology has failed to unite Pakistanis as a nation, because religion has not done so since the abolition of the classical Muslim Caliphate, which clearly had run its course centuries ago; or else Muslims from Morocco and Bosnia to Brunei and Indonesia would form a single nation state today. Turks and Arabs would not have fought amongst themselves wars of conquest, and of deceit, respectively, the latter in cohorts with Britain and France in the 20-century; last but not least, there is not even a concept of a single Arab Muslim nation, let alone one great Nation of Islam.

This is because people will be people, and no two communities’ much loved and practised Islamic ideals really match for them to embrace an umbrella divine law under which everyone can live happily ever after. It hasn’t happened and it won’t happen for a long time. Why? Because all so-called ‘divine law’ is based on the interpretation of the divine sources by fallible, albeit great men of learning, who too could not but disagree with one another in their own historical times and spaces.

I always looked forward to reading Razvi; he was clear, forceful, and intelligent. He argued from a socio-political persuasion that is fast becoming extinct in Pakistan. He will be missed.

Interestingly, after Salman Taseer’s assassination, Razvi penned an article that concluded thusly:

Back to Mr Taseer’s assassination, it was rather uncanny to overhear a conversation that I did between two security guards outside the building they were deputed to guard, within minutes of the news of Mr Taseer’s death breaking. One guard congratulated the other on the assassination while the other responded by saying that the killer was indeed a very courageous man, God be praised.

This is not the country that makes one feel very safe.

Indeed. My thoughts and condolences to his family and friends.

Update: The articles I linked to were the ones that appeared in Dawn. In fact, the last piece Razvi wrote actually appeared in the Indian Express, where he opined on the Indo-Pak peace process (via @cyalm).

Earlier, Singh’s offer to transmit up to 5,000 MW power to the energy-starved west Punjab in particular was a gesture that was widely welcomed in Pakistan. The national grid’s shortfall, which covers Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan, Sindh and Punjab, is touching the precise 5,000 MW figure. Pakistan has accepted the offer with much gratitude. Such confidence-building measures, whose fruits the public will reap directly, will help the democratic government at the Centre and particularly in Punjab, from where the army draws much of its muscle power, pull the rug from under the feet of anti-India extremists. Rogue elements in the army, too, who may have sympathy for the likes of Hafiz Saeed, will be forced to look the other way because the army as an institution never acts against public sentiment in Pakistan.

The strengthening of India-Pakistan relations, despite many unresolved issues between them, can work wonders for redefining Pakistan’s national security prerogatives over the medium to long term. If progress continues to be made in bilateral relations, the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) can rightly claim credit for it in what is now virtually an election year in Pakistan.