10 things Pakistanis hate to hear
One of the biggest disadvantages of living in a nation as homogeneous as ours is that it is very seldom that you get to hear alternative narratives on history, religion, culture and society in general. People who try and present narratives that are different from the main stream are labelled as agents, heretics or even worse, traitors.
Here I have made a list of ten things that average Pakistanis just don’t want to hear.
1. America and Israel cannot be blamed for all the miseries of the Muslim world in general and Pakistan in particular. For a country that was hand in gloves with the Americans just until the early nineties, our youth has an amazing tendency to blame all national problems on American polices. Right winged politicians are always busy in concocting this feel good account that we are perfect, peace loving people who are being pushed to the brink of collapse by Zionist and Kaffirs (infidels).
2. We live in an amazing country in which supposedly educated people like Aamir Liaquat preach in their honey laden voice that Islam is the most peaceful religion in the world and then go on making hate speeches against Ahmadis. If you really want people to respect Islam, remove discriminatory and archaic laws like the blasphemy and Hudood Ordinance. Learned scholars like Ghamidi have elaborated numerous times that blasphemy law has no relevance in true Islamic jurisprudence (of course now he is hiding in Malaysia, scared for his life ─ a fantastic indicator of how we deal with diverse opinions).
3. Minorities are persecuted in the bastion of Islam that our mullahs have created. Somehow, we as a nation are steadfast in the belief that the state of Pakistan is benevolent towards its minorities. Talk about the persecution that these minorities face starting from the constitution to the school textbooks and people will label you as anti Pakistan.
4. Women can date and marry according to their own will and this includes your female relatives (the last part infuriates them like anything). Somehow the 20-something on a date does not believe that his sister has the same rights as him. And this logic extends to family elders as well because in their patriarchal minds, killing their daughter would not shame the family name in the same way as if the same daughter went out on a date or married according to her choice.
5. The army is as much to blame, if not more, as the politicians for the ills of the country. Although recent years have seen a slight change in the national mindset with the army getting a bit of stick as well but still, for a common man, the army is all about national honour and so on and so forth.
6. Honour definitely comes after nutrition on the list of necessities. We are a nation so obsessed with national honour and pride that we are blinded to the simple fact that countries dependent on foreign aid for their economic survival cannot show much spine despite their nuclear arsenal and Zaid Hamids.
7. Hate Zardari all you want but we are a corrupt nation to our core. Somehow in the perfect world created by Ansar Abbasi and Shahid Masood, we are so happy to externalise all of our flaws onto a single person and party, that we never want to face up to the bitter reality. We were corrupt a long time before Zardari and we will be corrupt a long time after him.
8. Our culture and traditions have much more in common with India, especially the northern India, than to the puritanical strain of Islam that has influenced us deeply for the last three decades. For some strange reason people are much happier in telling how their ancestors were Arabs rather than admitting that their forefathers never left the subcontinent and converted to Islam from some local religion. The ‘Allah Hafizians’ take particular exception to this.
9. Every individual and institution that talks about plurality, regional peace, women rights and secularism is not funded by the United States and does not have an ulterior motive. People like Marvi Sirmed and Dr Hoodbhoy are a classic example of this: despite of their intellectual soundness and rational arguments they are conspicuous punching bags for the defenders of national honour who incessantly label them as foreign spies and agents.
10. Theocracy is nothing but a tyrannical rule of the clergy and the only system of governance for modern nation states is democracy, superiority of constitution and dichotomy of power amongst various pillars of the state. This again irritates the ‘Allah Hafizians’, Napoleon Guls and Ali Azmats who want to rid the world of democratic evils and establish an international caliphate.
P.S. You think I am kidding? Wait till you see the comments…
Read more by Omer here.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.