Where are we going?
Independence Day is around the corner and yet I feel sad. It is a joyous occasion but I feel empty. How can I feel happy when our nation is bleeding? It saddens to me to see how we are on the path to self-destruction with no care for what happens for our future generation. I thought that terrorism was our only problem but now we are suffering the wrath of God as Pakistan has been devastated by floods.
Our founding fathers toiled day and night to give their future generations a place to call their own. If they were aware of our current situation they would have turned in their graves. We barely had much to start out with but our will power and determination was in our favor. There was a time we were considered to be an Asian tiger. Somehow, along the way we totally lost the plot and suffered one setback after the other. We have been through a lot: the 1965 and 1971 wars, we lost East Pakistan, we have suffered through natural disasters, famines, droughts, battled the evils of dictatorship, borne the brunt of the Afghan War, sanctions, the War on Terror and God knows what else. We have been digging ourselves into a deep ditch. If this is what it is like right now, I don’t know what the future holds. I have never felt as hopeless in my lifetime as I am now. The situation keeps getting worse and there is no one else to blame but ourselves. I keep clinging on with the slightest hope that we can get out of troubled waters.
We may pin our problems on to Blackwater or some other external agency but we know that the problem lies within. It is disheartening that there is no unity amongst our people. We are classified as left wingers, right wingers, Nihilists, anarchists, socialists, communists (though I doubt there are many here) depending on our point of view.
A divided country
We also tend to discriminate in so many other ways – that are not even remotely funny. The irony is that we are a Muslim country. Pakistan means the ‘Land of the Pure’ and yet some of our acts are anything but pure. We tend to be so self-righteous and preachy and yet we don’t do the right thing. How can we be Muslims if we murder each other in the name of religion? Why are Shias, Ahmadis and the Christians considered to be a threat? Do we not consider them to be Pakistani? Do they not deserve to live here? Pakistan is a land for everyone and not just for Muslims alone. The sad part is that the leaders of these groups roam around freely with the patronage of some of our political leaders.
There should be no interference in the natural order of things as it creates nothing but chaos. Some of us are so busy killing each other and lending support to these terror units that we fail to see how we are letting ourselves down. We are ready to blame everyone but ourselves for our problems.
The key is not to impose your way upon others or judge them. Is it necessary to impose your way of life on others?
Less Pakistani than you
Furthermore, we have seen how our leaders didn’t do anything when Ahmadis were attacked and butchered in their own places of worship. The government didn’t provide them with enough security nor did they fail to prevent the attack at the hospital where some of victims were being treated. There were exceptions to the rule as a number of people from civil society took a stand against the horrific attacks. Prominent activist blogger Sana Saleem has tackled this issue quite a few times on her blog. Some members of civil society even held a candle light vigil at the press clubs in the metros. It was sad that the turnout was not high and shows how little we care for our minorities. We also can’t forget the Gojra incident nor we can forget what happened to two Christians who were murdered outside a court of law on the pretext of blasphemy.
The worst thing is that a majority of our people didn’t do anything about it. There is a minority who condemned it but overall nothing came out of it. When the Data Darbar was attacked it was condemned. The Punjab government compensated the victims (even though the checks all bounced). The fact is that we have made it clear that we don’t care much about our minorities and we treat them like B class citizens. No one bothered to compensate them nor were the attacks widely condemned.
Polishing banned minarets
It is odd how we fail to look at ourselves in our own domain and yet we fight for our rights when we are living as expats in foreign countries. We make a big deal when the West starts imposing restrictions in their domain. A big hue and cry was made when burqas were banned in France and minarets were banned in Switzerland. I don’t think anyone realised that we were asking for a bit too much on their territory. They have already been accommodating enough and yet we never seem to be satisfied. We haven’t exactly been too kind to the minorities in our country.
We expect the West to care about our religion and then we go around persecuting minorities ourselves. Are the Mullahs so insecure about that they want to eradicate minorities? Do they actually think that a Muslim is going to leave his religion and embrace a new one? Is this how little they trust us? Who died and appointed them as our moral guardians? Are we unable to make our own decisions?
My advice to all these people is to stop shoving religion down our throats. Murder is a sin and there is no justification for it. These men will not go anywhere nor will they benefit our religion.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.