Lessons for “bloody civilians”
They pointed their guns at me, and started comparing my face with different photographs of wanted terrorists.
“What do you do?” an officer asked.
After an anguished bit of silence, I replied.
“I’m a teacher.”
“Teacher of what?”
“I teach film.”
“Sir jee he is lying! Who on earth teaches films after all?’’
This was about two weeks back, while I was entering the Lahore Cantonment, when army personnel stopped me at a check-point. The minute I was about to leave after the usual investigation, I heard an army officer say something out of the blue, that offended me to the core:
I instantly turned back and strictly asked the reason for their immoral stunt, also impelling them to apologize. They did not expect such a reaction, and thus resorted to harassing me in the way I’ve mentioned above.
What had given the courage to this uniformed gang to affront the people? Our people’s almost sacred love for the military!
A constant delusion of Pakistan’s majority regarding their armed forces has been the most effective tool for the military forces to keep their hegemony alive. This delusion is the upshot of our state’s policy of distorting and narrowing the history since its inception in 1947.
“Hindus are our worst enemies, India is behind every misery, Islam is the center of the universe and Pakistan is the greatest nation” are the compulsory clichés of our curricula and hence the first few things our children begin to learn and believe in. Why are we surprised over this hate culture which culminated in an era of terror and horrid bloodshed? What else can be expected from a generation which has grown up in the siege of state-sponsored illusions and cultural narcissism?
On the one hand, the content of our state-prescribed text books inject our minds with hatred for almost everything that has officially been declared “against the religious and national sentiments” of the country. On the other hand, they continue to preach the ‘heroics’ of Pakistan’s military forces, with a strong emphasis on the “great nationalist” army dictators, portraying them as the protagonists of the state’s chaotic history. This nauseating propaganda is the foremost reason behind this delusional culture. People mostly see the military as the most “organized, committed and corruption free” national institution, ignoring a history of their crimes and failures.
An exaggerated fear of India’s conspiracies has been a stereotypical justification for supporting and strengthening the military forces since 1947, although according to all records outside of Pakistan, they have lost all four wars with our neighbouring country.
Pakistan’s military has also frequently imposed martial laws and emergencies. They had also inevitably brutalized the people of the former East Pakistan during the war of 1971. They, along with the ISI and CIA as their key backer, are responsible for producing and training the Mujahideen against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, an act whose fallout in the form of Islamic extremism keeps haunting us.
Pakistan’s military has also turned out to be a trained syndicate which is the major stake holder in every immense business of the country ranging from commercial banks, housing societies, airlines to hospitals, schools and super stores, not to mention the greater percentage of GDP our poor country spends on defence every year. This haunting tale that has left Pakistan as a traumatic state, doesn’t merely end here. The vicious circle has reached to a point where they feel pride in calling us “bloody civilians!”
If the Pakistani masses choose to shut their eyes from reality, we may soon see a time when our children will be forced to memorize that India was once a part of Pakistan!
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.