I am one of the ‘entitled millennials’ whose conscience got pricked by Mohammad Jibran Nasir
There was a post making its rounds on Facebook that caught my attention, which said,
“If you were to meet your eight-year-old self today, what advice would you give?”
And then a slightly more chilling question,
“What would your eight-year-old self say about you?”
I remember myself at eight, naïve and highly impressionable, living in a world of make-believe, convinced that life was as simple as being one of the good guys and standing up against all forces of evil.
But with time and growth came the realisation that things aren’t so simple.
This is a blog I may perhaps be better off not writing. I should turn my back on this. I tell myself ‘this’ does not concern me. Politics is not my field. I have very little understanding of it.
But that’s the thing; it absolutely does concern me.
Because, I am tired of my life being crippled by the savage kind of privilege that makes you believe that something doesn’t matter because it does not affect you personally.
I am one of the entitled millennials, living a life of privilege. I have lived quietly in this city, keeping my head down. I am one of those people, who if they were to get an off for ‘some protest or another’, they would simply be happy with the prospect of a holiday and not bother about discovering any more.
But I can trace the beginning of my social awareness to one event. The time in 2013 when Mohammad Jibran Nasir announced he was going to run as an independent candidate for the elections.
I have never met him. But the idea of someone having the audacity to take that step, with no political background or ‘family dynasty’ backing him up, threw me. For the first time, I was forced to wonder, am I living in an all too blissful comfort-zone?
I have followed him throughout the years on social media and heard him speak and act uprightly. I remember his videos from 2013. The guy who reached out to the people then was young, passionate and vibrant.
But the man who recently announced his independent candidacy looked haggard, as if time had weighed heavily on him. And indeed, it has. Since the campaign against Abdul Aziz of Lal Masjid, he has faced numerous death threats and eviction, and given the reactive and intolerant natures of us Pakistanis, continues to face abuse daily on social media for his outspoken critique.
Have filed my nomination papers today for NA247 & PS111. Thank you to everyone who came to show their support. RO was surprised glancing over my asset statement remarking "you almost have none". I replied the assets we need to bring change are found in character not in the bank pic.twitter.com/D6nKibkpOL
— M. Jibran Nasir (@MJibranNasir) June 8, 2018
However, I began to notice how whenever he would post about a cause, the movement would spread like wildfire on social media. This is the same social media that was available to us long before Nasir was known to so many. However, there were few individuals who were rallying for a cause as fervently and giving others the opportunity to rally behind them.
These would make perhaps the most profound reasons to vote for him: he is someone who makes the best of the resources he has, and proves that you don’t necessarily need ‘power’ to help people. He gives a voice to the voiceless, without any security escort by his side. He doesn’t shy away from talking about issues that are less than popular including enforced disappearances, minority rights, child abuse and so on.
The support he offers his fellow citizens is widespread: from campaigning for justice to setting up heatstroke shelters. Moreover, having recently filed his nomination papers and declaring his assets unflinchingly this early on, is not only proof that he is all for transparency but totally committed in every way.
Alhumdulillah I have cleared the scrutiny stage and my papers for PS-111 have been accepted. No objections were raised by any govt body including FBR, NAB and Statebank. Scrutiny for NA-247 will take place later this week. pic.twitter.com/v7S7lRUbiA
— M. Jibran Nasir (@MJibranNasir) June 12, 2018
A friend who lives abroad once told me that when faced with an issue regarding community development, she didn’t hesitate to write to her local MP. I cant imagine doing that here. I simply wouldn’t be comfortable. But that may change if someone like Nasir were to be the MP.
There are many achievements that speak in his favour not least of all, the case of the murder of Shahzeb Khan and attempted murder of Khadija Siddiqi. But for me, it were more subtle things I noticed that convinced me; if there is one man who cares about others more than his own ego, it is him.
SC has changed our appeal in #ShahzebKhan csse into SuoMoto, has suspended order of SHC removing terrorism charges from case, nullified their bail & ordered their arrest directing SHC to decide the appeal on merits in two months time. Alhumdulillah. Thank you everyone for support
— M. Jibran Nasir (@MJibranNasir) February 1, 2018
Appeal to CJP Saqib Nisar for #JusticeForKhadija. What kind of judiciary is this which only gives justice when media & civil society pressure is there? You are summoning heads of all depts demanding reforms but what about setting your own house in order https://t.co/8NtJUdq8FR
— M. Jibran Nasir (@MJibranNasir) June 4, 2018
It is him not shying from duties that most would consider ‘lowly’ and actively participating in cleaning drives of government hospitals. It is him refusing to attack other people’s personal lives (even though it’s something we and our politicians engage in daily), and even walking out of a live TV show because another interviewee’s personality was being attacked.
Jibran Nasir accompanied us to clean Jinnah Hospital Karachi. Today he is Fighting a war to free Pakistan from religious…
— M. Jibran Nasir (@MJibranNasir) December 14, 2014
— M. Jibran Nasir (@MJibranNasir) December 14, 2014
More people need to respect privacy like Jibran Nasir and put personal preferences of other people above their own popularity
— Maryam (@maryamful) December 3, 2015
The focus so far has been one man but that is solely because through his initiative, I have gained insight into a lot of the issues the country is facing. However, I must emphasise that this blog is not about glorifying any individual. Glory belongs only to the Creator. All the creation can do is try.
This is a man who is trying.
I would tell my eight-year-old self to side with him and to use my right to vote well and cast it in his favour. I would tell my eight-year-old self that sometimes, it’s about trying to recognise the one who is doing good and is on the side of good.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.