Saturday, May 14, 2011

Lieven: Treatment of rivals

Lieven makes the following quotes about the Darwinian competition in Pakistani society.

"Muhammad Azam Chaudhary writes that:

The decision to go to the police/courts involves a risk of blemishing the izzat.  You often hear 'if you are a man, brave and strong, come forward and fight directly.   Why do you go to uncle police', and that the real badla [revenge] could only be inflicted directly or by close relatives and not by the police or courts.  But, on the other hand, if going to the police is only for the purpose of harassing the opponent and impoverishing him, it could become a source of adding to one's izzat, especially by winning a court case against one's rival.  This competition of winning the cases in the courts between rivals leads to .... 'addiction to litigation'.

"During a visit to Sindh in 1990, a member of a great local landowning and political family in Shikarpur told me:
If neighbouring landowners see that you are weakening, there are always a lot of people to take your place, and they will hit your interests in various ways, like bringing lawsuits to seize your land or your water.   If you can't protect yourself, your followers and tenants will ask how you can protect them.  A semblance of strength must be maintained, or you're finished.   The trick is to show your armed strength without getting involved in endless blood-feuds....  Such rivalries between families and clans are also conducted in the law courts, but the ultimate decision always lies with physical force....

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