Just wondering a cricket Stadium in Lahore will be renamed after whom if the Libyans topple Colonel Qazafi, the longest ever ruler of a country in modern history who so far stands as a hero in Pakistan. Will it not be a shame for the residents of Qazafi towns or colonies in Lahore, Karachi and Faisalabad if their hero goes to gallows or runs away with looted national wealth of his country?
Colonel Gaddafi, as called in the Western media, was ‘the mad dog of the Middle East’ for the former U.S. president Ronald Reagan. His shallow anti-Israel and anti-U.S. stance, however, made him a public hero in Muslim countries, including Pakistan. The 1970s Libya under his rule was a replica of today’s Pakistan. The political historians criticized Mr. Gaddafi for turning the then Libya into a safe haven of the anti-West radicals. As today’s Pakistan is the hub of extremist groups ranging from al-Qaeda, the Taliban, Lashkar-e-Tayyeba, Jundullah, Eastern Turkestan Movement, and Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan with their dreadful influence in the West, Afghanistan, India, Central Asia and China, Libya under Gaddafi played that role while sheltering and financing self-styled libration and rebel movements in west African countries Sierra Leone and Liberia, engaging in territorial disputes with neighboring Chad, financing the “Black September Movement,” the 1972 Munich massacre and kidnapping of the Saudi and Iranian oil ministers in the 1970s and facing terror charges in the Lockerbie ‘terror in the sky’ killing 270 passengers as a planted bomb blew up the plane. These are just a few to name, making Gaddafi what president Reagan called a mad dog.
Pakistani leaders and media, however, revered Qazafi naming the Lahore Cricket Stadium, scores of townships, town halls, roads and streets after him. The state-level respect seeped into the masses too when many parents named, and keep naming, their sons as Qazafi. To their dismay, the Libyan dictator and hero of Pakistan stands in trouble today for his idiosyncratic style of one-man rule. Libyans have reportedly stoned their TV sets when he was boasting in his second TV appearance amid popular uprising, calling himself, ‘history, liberty, glory and revolution’.
That reminds me his interview with a BBC journalist, John Simpson, who noted how Gaddafi kept breaking the wind while stressing on what he was saying. Mr. Simpson was asked recently how he kept his face straight during the interview when the Libyan leader was ‘driving on a punctured tire.’ Simpson replied:
“Because I didn’t know at the time. The cameraman picked it all up from a little microphone on his robes. He asked me if I knew what had happened and I said no. I didn’t believe him when he told me and then we listened to the recording and it was obvious. Gaddafi was actually doing it to add emphasis to what he was saying.”
Someone said well while referring to Mr. Gaddafi’s Feb 22 Green Square speech: “I wonder if the Colonel managed to restrain himself during this afternoon’s rant.”
Mr. Gaddafi also felt pressure when another Pakistani 'hero' Dr. Qadeer Khan allegedly provided nuclear assistance to Tripoli. the Libyan leader then embarrassed Pakistan while admitting he got the help from Pakistan.
If Mr. Gaddafi follows his former Egyptian and Tunisian counterparts, he will be leaving Libya without a network of institutes to fill the vacuum. Like the military establishment in Pakistan, the junta led by Mr. Gaddafi didn’t favor a system that could survive without him. The hope is his Pakistani benefiters like Maulana Fazlur Rehman, leader of his own faction of Jamiat-e-Ulama-e-Islam (JUI) too is de-linked from Libya’s national exchequer which Mr. Gaddafi has reportedly used as his personal wealth for funding terror and fake slogans of Islamic socialism.
Pakistanis will also be looking forward to see whether the state will rename all those sports complexes, schools, hospitals, roads and streets that were named after Mr. Gaddafi, and if possible other Arab autocrats.