Why do most Pakistanis always favour the ‘wrong’ side of any issue?

Published: November 12, 2017

Women, children, minorities, everyone is treated like the enemy, while the real enemy roams free.

Most issues aren’t black and white – they’re grey. More often than not, we read about an event or hear about it in the news, and while our personal views dictate what side we’re on, it is not unfathomable that other people might not see it the way we do.

However, have you ever read about an issue and thought, “wow, this seems pretty black and white to me”? And then seen the reaction of people around you, as they somehow invent new colours just to add more sides to seemingly uncomplicated issues?

This is quite frequently the case in Pakistan, where we often find ways to blame the victim and make the perpetrator seem justified in his or her actions. Here are only some instances where the majority has taken a rather unconventional stance on ostensibly obvious issues:

1) Qandeel Baloch

Qandeel was a young woman who was mocked on social media on a regular basis – but she was also slut-shamed and demeaned on an equally regular basis. Even after she was murdered in the name of honour, people went to the extent saying that she was to blame, as her actions left her brother no choice but to murder her. ‘Asking’ to be murdered – only in Pakistan, ladies and gentlemen.

2) Malala Yousafzai

Malala’s biggest mistake is that she revealed what happened during the Taliban’s regime and, after they tried to murder her, received international attention for it. People in Pakistan hate Malala – especially because she gets to live in the UK while we are stuck here. Why doesn’t she come back to Pakistan? It’s not like we hate her here and almost succeeded in murdering her. Why doesn’t she do more for Pakistan? It’s not like she’s still a teenage girl while the grown men we call politicians have failed to do anything remarkable for the country in decades.

Only in Pakistan would you see that when the Taliban tries to kill a teenage girl and fails, the people support the terrorist organisation and demonise the teenage girl. You may believe that Malala is part of a western agenda or a yahoodi saazish (Jewish conspiracy), but ultimately, a Pakistani girl was almost murdered in her own land, and perhaps we hate that she lived to tell the tale.

3) Mumtaz Qadri

You would think that if a guard, sworn to protect someone, ends up murdering them in broad daylight, we would obviously have issues with that, right? Wrong.

Qadri killed the very man he was supposed to protect, Salman Taseer, in cold blood, but Taseer had also spoken out against the blasphemy law being unfairly used against minorities, a crime which a significant majority in Pakistan felt that he deserved to be killed for. Qadri was lauded as a hero for murdering a man, and when he was finally hanged for his crime, he was labelled a shaheed (martyr). One cannot make this stuff up.

4) Malik Ishaq

Even though Ishaq has confessed to his involvement in the killing of over a 100 people, and is also the prime suspect for the 2009 attack on the Sri Lankan team in Lahore, he was granted bail. This resulted in the victims and witnesses hiding and being imprisoned in their own homes out of fear. When he was released from prison after serving jail time since 1997 for allegedly killing 70 people, he was greeted with garlands. We just have one question – why?

5) Good Taliban, bad Taliban

The siege of Lal Masjid in July 2007 was perhaps one of the most eye-opening events that have occurred in our recent history. Islamic militants were fighting the state led by then president, General Pervez Musharraf, and for a long time, a large part of the public felt sympathy for, and identified with, the militants. This is a problem that Pakistan has struggled with for longer than a decade, that there are two kinds of Taliban – the bad Taliban, who are trying to kill us, and the good Taliban, who are trying to kill other people.

For the longest time, we actually bought into the narrative that there exist two sides to the Taliban, even as they bombed our land. We were in denial – how could the Taliban, a group we had loved and supported for so long – try to kill us? The Army Public School (APS) attack (#NeverForget) was one of strongest wake up calls for the nation that the Taliban were actually the enemy, but shamefully, even then people tried to justify their actions and continued with the narrative that not all Taliban out there were bad and ‘talks’ would make things better.

Israel is bad, India is bad, but when it comes to terrorists, #NotAllTaliban.

6) Hafiz Saeed

Isn’t Hafiz Saeed a terrorist?  We googled it to be sure – and yes, not only is he one of the most wanted terrorist, his organisation is also banned by the United Nations (UN). Well then consider our surprise when we find out that in Pakistan, Saeed is as good as a free man, or probably better actually. People like Hamza Ali Abbasi may consider him to be righteous, but Saeed’s resume as a terrorist speaks otherwise.

When Pakistan is accused of sheltering terrorists, we automatically deny it. Yet, Saeed being allowed to live freely in Lahore and even contest elections, certainly affects our credibility and cements our reputation as a state that harbours terrorists.

7) Polio

Pakistan remains one of only two countries in the world to still have polio. Even India, with its high poverty rate and its extremely dense population, has managed to eradicate the disease. However, in Pakistan, not only do we still prevent our children from getting the vaccine, we brutally attack, and even kill polio workers. This is because amongst many other reasons, we believe that these vaccines will reduce male fertility, and of course, children’s fertility is more important than their mobility, which is what they eventually end up losing if they are infected by the polio virus.

8) Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy winning an Oscar

Most people in the world are happy when films from their country get global recognition, or when their people bring home Oscars. So of course Pakistanis feel the opposite. Sharmeen has won two Oscars for two of her documentaries highlighting women’s issues in Pakistan. But it’s all western propaganda, don’t you know? They’re trying to defame Pakistan by highlighting its bad side.

By now, a pattern is obvious – crimes against women are okay, even encouraged to an extent, but speaking up against them is what gets you in trouble. In Pakistan, we love criminals and applaud them for the crimes they commit, but if a woman were to, say make a documentary about it, that is when we lose our minds.

9) #MeToo

In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal in Hollywood, there was a global movement –  people, mostly women, from all over the world spoke out against sexual harassment by participating in the #MeToo campaign. It was an eye-opening endeavour which proved that women do not exaggerate when they say harassment is endemic in the system.

Pakistanis, unsurprisingly at this point, had a problem with this too. Yet again terming this as a “western propaganda”, women were told to dress “appropriately” to avoid being harassed, and to stop talking about it since it brings ‘shame’ to their honour. This movement was futile – a useless cry for help – as “boys will be boys”. Why talk about things when you can just shut up and stay at home?

The pattern is clearer now. It reveals not only a deep reverence for the religious zeal left behind from the Ziaul Haq era, but also a deep discomfort when it comes to talking about the very real and problematic issues that plague our society. By not talking about issues, we are hurting the victims and helping the perpetrators – as evidenced by the child sex abuse incidents in Kasur alone.

Every day we hear about women being attacked, beaten, raped, even murdered, but we don’t have any empathy for them. If women like Malala or Sharmeen try to highlight these issues, we turn on them instead and ask them to focus on the “positive  side” of things.

But we do find it in us to sympathise with murderers and terrorists. How must Mumtaz Qadri have felt, poor man, when he heard a man express an opinion different from him? It must have been so hard. How must those poor Taliban feel, as they bomb us and kill our children? Our sympathy and empathy arises in leaps and bounds for them.

It would be an understatement to say that seeing such reactions from a significant group of fellow Pakistanis is downright disappointing. When will we stop blaming everyone but ourselves for our problems? Women, children, minorities, everyone is treated like the enemy, while the real enemy roams free. Perhaps everything is a western agenda, or perhaps nothing is, but the point at the end of the day is that for some issues, there are no blurred lines – there is only one stance, which is moral, humane and rational.


Blogs Desk

Blogs Desk

The Express Tribune Blogs desk.

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

  • ThePrincekhan999

    So The Right Side Of An Issue Is Anything Which Fits The Ultra Liberal Narrative of NGO Aunties

    Like If I Say Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy Exploited The Acid Attack victims Took Money From A Donor In Her Name And Did Not Forward It To Her I Am On The “Wrong Side”

    Wow What A LogicRecommend

  • umar

    Very well said, why do we always try to find other side of picture and then get lost in to itRecommend

  • Shah Saeed

    So if we commit the sin of calling out Aunty Sharmeen for equating rape with a facebook friend request we are on the wrong side

    these all knowing self righteous desi liberals need to get a lifeRecommend

  • Milind A

    It took a couple of Pakistani women to exhibit integrity/ thinking and analyze issues dispassionately and objectively, something which Pakistani males are incapable of.
    Bravo ladies!!! Pakistan would be better off, if the males are locked up in burkha (after all who wants to look at fiercely bearded males) and the ladies get a free hand to rule it.Recommend

  • umar f

    Great article. This is what confuses me as well. Pakistanis are the most hypocrite people i have seen. Foreign embassies should ask Pakistanis questions related to these people as part of the process to decide whether to grant a visa or not.Recommend

  • Mubeen Ur Rehman

    The writers of this article considers themselves always on the right side.. and rest of Pakistan is always wrong. Getting cheap popularity by writing such articles will simple wont work.Recommend

  • Eddied

    very accurate article that identifies the hypocracy of these so called religious fanatics who are dragging the country backward..Recommend

  • Amir Sultan

    This is the kind of article you write for cheap publicity. Devoid of content and drawing no conclusion. I agree with most of your points but what is the aim here???Recommend

  • Baba

    So if you side with Pakistani Liberals then you are on the “right side” and if you side with the conservative Majority then you are on the “wrong side”. OK nice Propaganda.Recommend

  • Manju

    Hope for a better Pakistan seems to be in the hands of Women of Pakistan.I guess sanity and peace would come back to Pakistan only if women take over the charge. Bravo Authors.Recommend

  • Talha Usman

    its great ..best of luckRecommend

  • jiyala

    Because, unfortunately, we’re part of an ultra conservative qoum. We’ll keep siding with the wrong because, in our twisted view, we’re siding with the the right. Call me pessimistic but I don’t see that trend changing in decades to come.Recommend

  • furqan hakeem

    They are google junkies who doesn’t know ground realities and reason behind the negativity they think they found!Recommend

  • fze

    What else do you expect from a shallow nation which is devoid of analytic power. Majority are blind followers and the rest are afraid to stand in front of the majority. The result is in front of us. No hope, no scope.Recommend

  • Yousaf Haque

    @Mubeen ur Reham dear,no one has stopped you to write a better article if you think this one is just for cheap popularity and does not serve the ‘purpose’Recommend

  • Rana Umar Khan

    Some points are written with the assumption that whatever whole world claims to be true, is true. Try googling some more. It is a poorly researched article.Recommend

  • https://forum.xda-developers.com/member.php?u=7458877 wahaj sheikh

    True story in Pakistan people dont have mind all they follow what other follow, a bad person is a good person and good person is bad person, blind peoples hypocrites😤Recommend

  • Patwari

    Keep in mind it’s people like YOU who have a near death
    choke hold on Pakland.
    Keep it up and the “LOANS” from various countries, IMF, APB
    Saudia, Germany, Japan will eventually dry up. Begging bowl
    will be empty.
    Then YOU ALL will be starving and killing each other. Nothing
    else will be there,…to do.Recommend

  • Patwari

    Sorry, your pathetic analysis is just that. Keep, praying,
    go to your local khawariji/wahabi mosques and let the
    mullahs guide you.
    Say, YOU can start a madrassa in your house.Recommend

  • Patwari

    You are making up and inventing things to fit your narrative.Recommend

  • Parvez

    What you girls have gone and done is to hold up a very large mirror to the people of Pakistan and said take a good look ……. bravo.
    Many will criticize you for all the wrong reasons but will not muster up the courage to take a good long, hard look at themselves in the mirror.Recommend

  • Patwari

    You are mangling and twisting the debate. Keep hating Malala, Keep hating
    Sharmeen, Love the murderer Qadri, Love the extremist/terrorists. And
    keep loving the Burqa Mulla. Keep living in a Khawariji/Wahabi daze.
    Help Pakland go back to the 7th. century.Recommend

  • Patwari

    To educate the masses. Enlighten them somewhat, maybe just a tad.
    Someone has to get the courage and nerve to speak out.Recommend

  • Patwari

    Agree with you on most of the comment. There are males who DO
    stand up and try to build awareness. Like Salman Taseer, the CM
    of Punjab who was murdered. So, they are either killed, OR they
    are made to “disappear”. Enforced disappearance.
    This happened to 5 male bloggers just in this year. Four were released
    after their “disappearance”. One is still missing, presumed dead.
    They may be released after severe torture, in a few months, or years,
    or they are never heard from again.
    Just like in Hindustan, exact same scenarios, including fake “encounters”.Recommend

  • Atif Naveed

    Like US every nation has liberals and conservatives.We should not worry about that,this is part of human social evolution .Everything drives from our needs and environment.Basically it is rivalry of have and havenots. More you are in have part of the society more liberal you are ,more you are in have not part more conservative you are.So if you want to make Pakistanis more Liberal nation , add more people to have portion.Recommend

  • Sohail Rahman Khan

    I wish everyone in Pakistan has the sense as you guys .. I dream of that day !!Recommend

  • Trey

    Unfortunately, intolerant religious nationalists, the rightwing conservative majority and misogynist and extremist sympathizing trolls are not going to like this list and being called out.

    Here’s hoping the writers stay safe.Recommend

  • ThePrincekhan999

    See When You So Called Liberals Have No Argument Left,You Start Calling Other People Names.

    You Are No Different From These Mullahs.Because Like The Mullah In His Mosque You Also Think That Only Your Views Are Right And Everyone Else Is WrongRecommend

  • ThePrincekhan999
  • ThePrincekhan999

    Oh Puhleez If I Wanted To Learn Hypocracy I Would Just Read The Justification You Gave On This Blog


  • truth is god god is truth

    What else you can expect when people still believe earth was spread out like carpet.Recommend

  • sane_voice

    The main problem is the refusal to believe that something so bad can happen and trying to see if there was a problem at the other end. It is basic human nature and universal.Recommend

  • peter pan

    Agree completely – this what a reactionary society is about!!Recommend

  • Faizan Ahmed

    Starting a madrassa in the house is a bad thing??? no wonder ur a patwari…Recommend

  • syed Bacha

    Interesting, heart touching after long. Dear very less knows your valve there any way keep it up. We should try to reunite the minds togather. Recommend

  • Gratgy

    Are you the same Patwari, for once you seem to be making senseRecommend

  • Shah Saeed

    ROFL I Rest My Case You Just Proved My PointRecommend

  • shaan

    Since Pakistanis are purest of pure and they are aliens to earth they belongs to Mars clouds.Recommend

  • Fahim

    Pakistanis have a different opinion about it which is different from dining room talk and elite club partiesRecommend

  • I am a Khan

    depends on what you consider to be wrong…Recommend

  • Haneef Awan

    “Isn’t Hafiz Saeed a terrorist? We googled it to be sure.”
    Really are you serious ? Dalai Lama is terrorist for China, Golan is Terrorist for Turkey, Modi is terrorist for us and so is Hafiz Saeed for IndiaRecommend

  • Singh

    A very good article, you admit or not.Recommend

  • Patwari

    Yep. Love being a Patwari. Thanks for mentioning
    it. Better than a khawariji/wahabi mulla who say it’s
    OK to beat your wife “lightly. And the World
    does not rotate. If you stand in place long
    enough you will see China passing by. Or it’s
    unIslamic for children to build a snowman. Or
    when women drive a car, their brain shrinks a 1/4 size.
    Say, you can start two madrassas in your house.
    One on the roof and one inside.Recommend

  • Patwari

    Say, get yourself a Wahabi cloak. They sell them in Saudia.
    They might donate one to you. Or buy a second hand used
    one in Anarkali.
    Wrap yourself in it and see if you can find more Fake news/videos.Recommend

  • Patwari

    You never had a case. Just a convoluted, fizzing
    confused, narrative. Something to do with your
    hate for the truth…and liberals. Your idol Zia ul Haq
    would be turning in his grave.Recommend

  • Patwari

    Need to stand up and be counted for the truth.
    And at least, stand abreast with the people who
    have the courage to speak out.Recommend

  • Eddied

    clearly you didn’t understand the original post and you do not umderstand this one either…you are the hypocrite…Recommend

  • vinsin

    That is fact but in Pakistan or say many Muslim majority countries liberals dont have any political power or clout. Non-Muslim majority countries are mostly non-secular too. Your argument has some truth but not entirely. Many countries are poorer than many middle east countries but are more liberal.

    Education, society, norms, culture and religion all play important role. Pakistan was created by educated and rich people of subcontinent and they were not demanding liberalism but conservatism.Recommend

  • vinsin

    How are you in wrong side? Where she wrote that? Have you read the article? Question was do you feel bad or proud for her winning the Oscar?Recommend

  • vinsin

    Where that is mentioned in the article?Recommend

  • ThePrincekhan999

    Yeah No Answer So Get Personal SmooothRecommend

  • Rex Minor

    However, have you ever read about an issue and thought, “wow, this seems
    pretty black and white to me”? And then seen the reaction of people
    around you, as they somehow invent new colours just to add more sides to
    seemingly uncomplicated issues?

    When an issue looks pretty black and white to someone than the person should realise that he or she should continue with studies at least to a research status. Sorry but i have a completely different reading of the issues but than I am not a Pakistani.

    Rex MinorRecommend

  • Gratgy

    Thank God, for a moment there I thought I was going mad when I understood your comment.Recommend


    R u nuts hafiz saeed is declared terrorist of united nations niether dalai lama nor golan or modi had been declared terrorist by world.only hafiz saeed had such owner , no wonder the above article is true as pakistanis r living in there own convoluted truthRecommend

  • PatelPara

    Why do most Pakistanis always favour the ‘wrong’ side of any issue?

    let me ask this.

    Why does Pakistani media always favour the ‘wrong’ side of any issue?Recommend

  • PatelPara

    Even better question. how does the media decide what is right or wrong?

  • Tommy Gunn

    I’ve always found Pakistani women to be more reasonable, progressive & level-headed than Pakistani men. This article further validates my opinion.Recommend

  • Ghazi Gul

    They don’t. The see the truth through the charade, facade, lies, smoke and mirrors.Recommend

  • James Kapoor

    It is the mindset that has been cultivated via madarsa teachings, distorted history books, one leg is Arab and one leg is South Asian, country for Muslims killing millions. Everything is contradictory in Pakistan. People are confused whether religion comes first or country.
    Whether terrorists are good or bad? Should we call them freedom fighters or rebels?
    A country struggling to find it’s identity is int’s narrative but unable to do so.

    What will one expect from such a confused state of affairs and people?Recommend

  • Rex Minor

    what difference does this knowledge make for a family which is struggling to live a regular working life.

    Rex MinorRecommend

  • Misanthropia

    Pakistanis should know that us feminsts anywhere are like the Babadook. The more you try to bury us, the stronger and louder we get. You’ll only bite off more than you can chew agar hamaray muun lagnay ki koshish ki :)Recommend

  • Shah Saeed

    It is implying that SOC is a hero but 2 weeks back she did exactly what i have writtenRecommend

  • ThePrincekhan999

    I Can Talk About Contradictions In India But That Would Just Be Wasting BandwidthRecommend

  • ab

    It is good to see that we are affecting the liberals and their double standards.Recommend

  • Saher

    While I agree with most of what you have written except for the QB part.
    Also, as you said: Sharmeen has won two Oscars for two of her documentaries highlighting women’s issues in Pakistan
    Why doesn’t she make documentaries on the accomplishments of the very talented people of Pakistan? Or highlight the positive stuff in Pakistan instead of focusing on the issues only? Probably because that way she won’t get as much praise and hence an oscar. Only the plight of the victims sells like hot cakes and she knows how to use it to her benefit.Recommend

  • vinsin

    Where and how that is implied? That is your thinking, not mentioned in article.Recommend

  • Sane Sid

    Why is that Pakistanis think only they are right and the whole world around them is wrong. Why do Pakistanis feel that the whole world is conspiring against them…… there are other Muslim nations which have a robust foreign policy and share healthy relations with all other countries of the world…. except pakistan ofcourse…… any answer to this????Recommend

  • AnisAqeel

    Excuse me to interfere, Modi was an announced terrorist and was banned to enter the USA but after he became PM of India, that status was changed.Recommend