Benazir’s Punjabi Volunteer

Everything worth saying about Benazir's assassination has already been said many times over, and by bloggers much more capable than myself, so I had no plans to write about the incident – until i came across the phrase "punjabi volunteer" for the 4th time in an hour. Seeing a phrase once or twice in an hour is understandable, 4 times is probably no coincidence. Google for 'punjabi volunteer' (with quotes) and 'benazir dead punjabi volunteer' (without quotes) to see what I mean. 1840 results on Google so far.

In these difficult times, its frustrating to see not only Indian or American websites (that would make sense) but a lot of Pakistani sites and blogs (and prominent ones at that) just copy/pasting the phrase without thinking twice. My questions to all those people regarding the use of this phrase are:

  • Are 'terrorist' and 'punjabi' synonymous?
  • Did the 'punjabi volunteer' give up his life for Punjab? If not, then what exactly was he fighting for?
  • Of course he was a volunteer, aren't most of the suicide bombers volunteers, fighting for a reason, however pure or twisted that reason is?
  • Would anyone have used 'pathan volunteer' (which was more likely) or 'sindhi volunteer' if that had been the case?
  • Another phrase being used is 'Lashkar-e-Jhangvi's punjabi volunteer'. Last time I checked, Jhang was in Punjab. Isn't it a bit redundant?
  • Are Pakistanis really that gullible to forget the 100+ years of British 'divide and conquer' rule?
  • I hear the killer was Al-Qaeda, so does this make him a "Punjabi Al-Qaeda Lashkar-e-Jhangvi" bombing?
  • Why not use the phrase 'Pakistani volunteer', as opposed to an 'Afghan volunteer' or an 'Al-Qaida volunteer' to stress the fact that we are still capable of killing our own leaders/rulers, no matter how corrupt they are, while ignoring the elephant in the room?

My paternal family migrated from India, and are settled mostly in Karachi (with some Lahori exceptions). My maternal relatives are mostly from NWFP, with many (again) who migrated from India and ended up in Karachi and Lahore. I was born in Lahore and have lived here ever since, though I can't (or don't) speak Punjabi, and preferred to call myself a Pakistani. Musharraf is a Formanite, so am I, does that make all Formanites including me pro-Musharraf? Benazir's killer was a Punjabi, so am I (partly at least), what does that make me? I think its time to have an identity crisis for me.

Please Pakistani bloggers, words are dangerous, use them with care… and please stop copy/pasting blindly. Thanks.

PS. The above rant is written minus the generous sprinkling of F-words as originally intended.