The curse of lying
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
By Dr A Q Khan
Even a child can differentiate between truth and a lie. As we all know, its opposite is lying. A lie is defined as something which one says despite knowing it to be incorrect and being against one's conscience, belief, knowledge and iman. There are various proverbs on truth: "Nothing can harm the truth," "The truth shines, the lie is black," "The irony is that those who speak the truth often end up in trouble, while liars get away."
In the Quran, Almighty Allah pronounced a curse on all liars in Surah Aal-e-Imran, Ayat 61. As if once is not enough, in the Surahs Shura, Naml, Taha, Tur, Saf, Munafiqun, Raad, Baqara, Zukhuf and Taubah, and ten times in Surah Mursalat the Almighty has pronounced a curse on all liars. In Surah Baqarah, it is not only the telling of truth that is stressed, but also the need to keep a promise.
However, when we look at our leaders and examine their behaviour, we hang our heads in shame. They seem to be neither afraid of Almighty Allah nor of his painful punishment.
Public representatives are answerable to Allah Almighty and the trust the voters have placed in them is sacred. If public representatives or those in authority indulge in lying or do not keep their promises, the wrath of Allah Almighty will definitely be upon them. To claim that, since they have been elected by the people, they are innocent of the misdeeds they are accused of, is misleading, a distortion of facts and nothing less than an insult to the intelligence of the public. No law, legal or moral, can justify wrongdoing of any sort.
Persian, which is full of wise proverbs, has this to say about lying: "Darogh go ra hafiza na bashad" (a liar has a very short memory). Under certain, compelling circumstances one could image a "white lie" being permissible. "Darogh-e maslehat-aamez ba az raasti fitna-angez" (it is better to tell a white lie to avoid mischief that could be caused by truth).
The most fertile field for lying is politics. Public representatives make false promises and tell blatant lies without batting an eyelid. How can the public forget the unfulfilled promises made by Mr Asif Ali Zardari, Mr Yusuf Raza Gilani, Raja Pervez Ashraf and others at the beginning and during their terms of office?
This phenomenon is rampant in international politics as well. We all remember how the so-called "custodians of civilisation" lied to the world about the presence of WMD in Iraq and attacked that country, killing almost one million innocent citizens on that pretext. Even more unfortunate was the fact that many other countries jumped on the bandwagon of lies.
When the 9/11 fear gripped the whole world, an attack took place on the Indian parliament. Strangely enough, not a single parliamentarian was present and no lawmaker was hurt. Pakistan was immediately blamed. No-one knew how Pakistanis managed to reach the Indian parliament, who they were and why the Indian army and other law enforcing agencies failed to stop them, but Pakistan was blamed all the same.
Immediately after the Mumbai carnage, Pakistan was targeted and threatened with military action. Fortunately, good sense prevailed. Otherwise both countries would have suffered major destruction. One lawyer disclosed that Ajmal Kasab was already in Indian custody before the event. He had been arrested in Nepal and the Indians were keeping him for "later use." It is surprising to note that the attackers were so familiar with every nook and corner of the hotel, whereas the security personnel were not, which indicates that the attackers had not just "come from Pakistan," as claimed.
The attack on the Samjotha Express, as was proven later, was planned by Indian army personnel. When an efficient police officer, Karkare, exposed this, he was brutally eliminated. An honest Congress legislator, A R Antule, resigned, but no action against the perpetrators was undertaken and the lies continued.
The demotion of the Babri Masjid by the BJP is another example. The enquiry commission put the blame squarely on BJP leaders Advani and Vajpaee, but no action was taken and they continued to lie about it. Whether it be the BJP or Congress, Indian animosity towards Pakistan continues to be their main policy and every possible incident is twisted in such a way as to make Pakistan the culprit.
Our leaders fail to understand that the Western countries will never help us in our dispute with India over Kashmir, in the same way as they will never help the Arabs in the dispute with Israel over the genocide of the Palestinians. They will simply continue to lie to the whole world and shut their eyes to reality.
Here are a few quotes from Western writers and philosophers relevant to the topic under discussion:
"One of the most striking differences between a cat and a lie is that a cat has nine lives, a lie only one." -- Mark Twain
"The most common lie is that one tells to oneself; lying to others is relatively an exception." -- Nietzsche
"Truth will come to light, murder cannot be hidden long." -- Shakespeare
"Truth is so obscure in these times and falsehood so established that, unless we have the truth, we cannot know it." -- Pascal
"Hard are the ways of truth, and rough to walk." -- Milton
The last one very aptly applies to our chief justice and our judiciary.