Raza Habib Raja
During the past one week, events have occurred that have shocked me despite the fact that over the years I have become used to hearing adverse news about Pakistan. First workers carrying out Polio vaccination were killed all across the country. A young girl aged only 14 was amongst the victims. She was killed by “soldiers of Islam” who thought the entire vaccination campaign (aimed for protection of Pakistan’s children) was a grand conspiracy of the West against God knows what.
Those horrific killings have been followed by two separate incidences. In a village near Hyderabad, a mob once again burnt a man alive for allegedly burning the Holy Quran. Such incidences have always shocked me and in fact my personal journey towards becoming a secular and liberal person had started with one such shocking incidence which took place in 1994 (http://pakteahouse.net/2012/07/08/i-am-ashamed/) . This time also there was nothing different as crowd once again dragged the person from the police station and burnt him alive. The incidence has once again pointed out that the problem is much deeper than the mere blasphemy laws. It is the entire mindset and repealing the laws alone will not change the mindset.
And then finally the week finished with the assassination of ANP minister, Bashir Ahmed Bilour. The slain minister was a vocal critic of Taliban and this perhaps became the reason for his assassination. Taliban have once again accepted responsibility and as I write these sentences, I am sure some of the idiots belonging to urban middleclass have already started to view this through their conspiracy theory paradigm. As time has dragged on, I have not seen any change in Pakistanis. Most of us continue to live in a parallel universe where everything is nothing but a deep conspiracy to destabilize Pakistan. Every stupid interpretation is contradictory to the past one but it does not matter because irrational instincts are driving our discourse.
Being way from Pakistan, for the past one and a half years, I feel even more depressed. May be when I was in Pakistan, I had somehow or the other gotten accustomed to what was happening around me. Being away, the situation appears so bleak that it is bordering on being completely hopeless. Pakistan is virtually slipping away into complete mayhem and yet concomitant with this drift is the strange state of denial. It seems that as the religious extremists kill us, we are supplementing their efforts by strangling ourselves with our own hands.
And yet I still want to hope. Being a student of politics (my majors is politics) I do understand the most of the progressive societies have evolved over time to reach their current status. Liberal values did not materialize out of thin air but slowly crept into the moral and social fabric of the society. At some point, due to complex interplay between various factors, these societies began a self-reinforcing drift away from religious and in some cases nationalistic fanaticism. Many a times, it was some horrific event ( such as war or civil war) which ultimately hastened that drift.
How much more Pakistan has to go through to understand? I want to hope and yet every incidence leaves me shocked and yet baffled. Shocked over the horrific nature of the event and baffled as to why Pakistanis simply don’t get it. We are still not even able to acknowledge that there is a problem and it is not CIA or USA but the menace which our security forces created. That Frankenstein monster is now out of control and needs to be fought with. And yes we need to take a military action as you cannot negotiate with irrational actors. And yet, many Pakistanis think either CIA s involved or that military action would be against “our own” people.
Pakistan, will you wake up?