Pakistan ka matlab kya…who cares?

Published: April 1, 2011
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The urban youth are starting to challenge the official narrative of history.

Six odd decades after independence, we are still squabbling over the ideology of Pakistan, what it represents and what it means to be a Pakistani.

With the rise of social media and greater access to information, the urban youth are starting to challenge the official narrative of history. And hence, today the battle of the ideology of Pakistan is in full swing.

To me, Pakistan is an undeniable truth, much like Israel. Pakistan is a sovereign country – whether one agrees with the original ideology it is based upon is irrelevant. Like Israel, Pakistan is on the map and must be accepted.

Pakistan was carved out of British India, and while I understand that maybe an ideology was a necessity in Pakistan’s creation, I strongly feel that it has no use today.

Ideologies are obsolete

I am not talking about a specific ideology, rather calling the idea of having an ideology as obsolete.

Here’s why:

I am a third generation Pakistani.This is to say that I was born and bred as a Pakistani to parents who were born as Pakistanis themselves. I have always been a Pakistani and know not what it means or feels to be Indian, Afghani, Iranian, Arab or any other ancestral nationality. My CNIC, driving license and passport are green and the world makes sure to remind me of that at international airports.

Pakistan for me is geography, a place where I was born, a place where I will live, and a place where I will most likely die.

After Bengal split, the concept of ideology was reinforced on us because it was thought that Pakistan could only stay united under the banner of Islam.

This forced us to shy away from the mistakes we made in the past and continue to make today in Balochistan. The Aghaz-e-Haqooq-e-Balochistan by name is recognition by the federation that it denied justified rights to the people of Balochistan. These mistakes had nothing to do with ideology.

There is still hope

Anyone who saw the cricket love fest over the past few weeks would agree that Pakistan in itself has the power to unite. Living in Peshawar, I celebrated Imran Khan’s cornered tigers just like any other kid in Lahore, Karachi, Islamabad or Quetta and I cheered Lala’s boys like everyone from the Durand line to Dhaka.

Despite all its failings, Pakistan has united us – there is enough to embrace without a jaded ideology.

If we do away with the question of what Pakistan was meant to be, maybe we can resolve each individual problem on its own merit. It is time to break the shackles of the past in pursuit of the future.

It is time for Pakistan to elevate itself from being an ideological project into being a geography reality; and it is time for us to stop trying to be more than who we are – Pakistani.

Hassam Durrani

Hassam Durrani

An engineer who blogs at slothsville.blogspot.com/ and tweets @hassamkd

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.