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Pak Tea House » Egalitarian Pakistan, Liberal Democratic Pakistan, minorities, Opinion » Are There Any Liberal “Extremists” in Pakistan?

Are There Any Liberal “Extremists” in Pakistan?

Raza Habib Raja

Lately one of the phrases being repeatedly used at the mainstream media is of “liberal extremism”. I have repeatedly heard and read that our society is polarized and both the “extremes” are equally harmful. A few columnists and anchor persons continuously point towards the “dangers” emanating from liberal extremists. Some or the other our media is trying to project itself as striking the vital middling position and professes “miana rawi” or moderation in opinion.

This term is no longer just restricted to the media but has also found its way in everyday conversations and drawing room discussions.

Well at least semantically a phrase like liberal extremism or liberal fascism can only be termed as an oxymoron. From a philosphical point of view you can not be a liberal and a fascist at the same time. However, since in everyday political terminology the word liberal corresponds to certain postions, therefore at least theoratically it is possible for someone to be a “hard core ” liberal. Even from that angle, you can only be called an “extremist” if you are ready to resort to violence or take extremely inflexible and fringe positions.

It is important to know as to what liberal values espouse. Well liberalism is not a strictly defined doctrine and has meant different things at different times and places. However, broadly speaking we can say that ideas with liberal underpinning are: individual liberty; women liberation, religious tolerance; preference of self introspection over irrational patriotism; separation of state and religion, increased role of state for levelling income inequalities, less ambitious external policy; and a passive yet alert military with no expansionist aspirations built around romantic nationalism.

In Pakistan those who espouse these values are rare and in media restricted to merely English print media. Moreover, they do not use violent tactics the way religious fundamentalists use and therefore to call them as fascists is a gross exaggeration. In addition, the local category of liberals is fully cognizant of the fact that Pakistan suffers from acute religious sensitivity and therefore while projecting their point of view in the public sphere, they often carefully word their opinion. They have to otherwise they run the risk of being slain! In fact even their vocal opposition of blasphemy law was mostly on the ground that the said law was against the “true’ spirit of Islam rather than on the fact that there is no place for religion inspired law in the matters of state.

The fact is that liberals in Pakistan are not the “hardcore” variety but rather close to centre and who often have to argue from position of severe disadvantage. Media does not give them the space and when they speak they have to tread very carefully and consequently often end up projecting a much compromised point of view.

And despite this a sizeable number of people categorize them as some kind of fascists or Western elitists. This in my opinion just shows as to how orthodox and schizophrenic our society has become. Here some of the people claim to be following a “balanced’ middle simply on the grounds that they do not out rightly support Taliban and suicide bombings. Yet a substantial number of such people may be giving what is known as “soft” support to the militants through conspiracy theories and apologetic defense of “reaction” against US drone attacks. In my books this mindset is also ultraconservative and extremist though its manifestation is in a different way.

The central issue in my opinion is that in Pakistan, on the ideological spectrum, the conservative positions virtually dominate. In fact the opinions which would fall under the category of fringe conservative opinions in the West are actually the mainstream opinions in Pakistan. When extreme conservative opinions become the mainstream opinion then even moderately liberal opinions start appearing as the “other extreme”.

Moreover, unfortunately the mainstream media has successfully projected liberal values as some kind of a modus operandi cum intellectual vehicle to westernize Pakistan and to undermine the existing “rich” patriotic culture and values.

Consequently anyone vying for the liberal values is immediately bracketed as some kind of a western liberal extremist and even a fascist. When even moderately liberal point of view is categorized as extremist then clearly there is something wrong with our conception and ideological direction.

Moreover this is proving seriously detrimental because liberal opinions are being simply shot down as liberal extremism without even being properly considered. Consequently in the battle of ideas, only the variants of one kind of narrative are reigning supreme and counter opinion is virtually absent in the public sphere. Instead of a balanced middle which emanates from conflation of competing ideas, what we are witnessing in Pakistan is just the dominance of variants of conservative ideology. Hence it is no surprise that intellectually we are becoming bankrupt.

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Filed under: Egalitarian Pakistan, Liberal Democratic Pakistan, minorities, Opinion · Tags: , , ,

158 Responses to "Are There Any Liberal “Extremists” in Pakistan?"

  1. Dronacharya Saudi Arabia Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    No-communal… You write with passion.. and i respect the under-current of your psychic stream. You talk of LAW. I dont know whether i should laugh or cry.. or bang my head.

    HOnourable Sir., The law was publicly raped in broad daylight on Dec 6, 1992. Seeds of hatred were planted by a mowing machine (RATH) thru-out India. Those seeds are now bearing fruit. They have attained a Rape-able Age. Ek Dhakka Aur DO… has turned into “Aao, Rape Karen !”. A whole nation of Cowards is now in place to rape+kill with impunity.

    How can you teach law.. when the student of today knows that Law exists only on paper. There is no law and order on the ground. It is a majoritarian MOBOCRACY in India.. and that IS the truth. If Arundhati Roy or Harsh Mandar speak.. you have an audience of 150. When Praveen Togadia speaks., you have 10 lakh people listening to him. Please ponder at this difference of 150 v/s. 10 lakh.. and WHY IT IS SO. Who brought it to this level. How did RSS become mainstream.

    There is NO LAW and ORDER IN INDIA. It is a jungle. You visit any Govt. Office.. and see how they RAPE you.. Steal your pocket.. and how they intimidate/blackmail you.. until you are forced to the point of committing suicide.

    Police Station
    Revenue Department
    Municipal Corporation
    Fire Brigade
    Hospital
    School
    Road Transport Licencing Authority
    Income Tax Office

    DENS OF CORRUPTION manned by RAM SINGHs.. thru the length and breadth of India.

    (Agreed they are a few good people.. like ASHOK KHEMKA.. but it is less than 0.000000000000000005%). India has gone to dogs. Its over.

    RSS will NOT rest… until it turns India into a safforn AFPAK. There is a competition in destruction, I suppose. Until the whole of SE Asia turns into a rubble.. and at the survivors sit on the heap of the rubble crying.. naked.. shivering.. hungry.. This has been India’s destiny for millenia.

    INDIA’S FINEST HINDU EVER WAS PT. JAWAHARLAL NEHRU. But Indians did NOT realise the depth of Nehru’s vision. WHY ? Because they got Nehru for free. A man like Nehru is born.. after a Billion people are born and die. Nehru’s vision was as deep as the sea.. but India wants Advani.. Togadia.. Modi.

    What can one do. Give the task to Modi. Try it. Hindutva will not rest… until it destroys Hinduism totally and completely.

    India was saved by Pt. Nehru and the sound IDEA OF INDIA.

    For electoral gain., Advani demolished the RULE OF LAW.. and won elections. (Modi did the same at the Gujarat level). The collateral cost of it was : BURIAL OF THE LAW. Once the ASMITA Of law is burnt to the ground or demolished.. you cant re-build it.. It may take centuries.

    India today is a Jungle. NO LAW and ORDER. Sorry.. if you are offended.. but think about the reality I highlight. I do this dispassionately. law and order is dead in india. the Govt. has abdicated. There is no Govt. No police. No courts. Only beasts 24×7…. and the first victim is the one who is weakest..

    in gender
    in religion/social mores
    in economic condition
    in health

    These HINDUTVA THIEVES are RAPISTS/KILLERS/LOOTERS using RELIGION for a quick buck. As simple as that. They have nothing to do with Hinduism.. They will sell all the IDOLS… if you give them $. (“They will sell their mother for USD 20-.” this is a line used by a Lawyer in a US Court of Law.. in a case.. pertaining to an Indian..).. and i am sorry to say.. that the Lawyer was not entirely wrong.. if i may say so !

    RSS’s capacity/capability to inflict EVIL is not yet fully understood at the world-level. It is the duty of every right-minded person.. to work his fullest.. to discuss RSS at every elite forum.. so that the finest minds of the world start discussing the danger RSS poses to HUMANITY ! (Initially Internal nonsense.. that would lead later.. that could lead later.. to External).

  2. Dronacharya Saudi Arabia Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    LAW ? Which Law ? Where is the Law ! Huh. Law exists in decent,humane societies.. not in beast-lands ! Jungles are far civilized compared to India. THERE IS NO LAW IN INDIA. Sorry.. but this is the truth. Do you know the number of case spending in the courts. DO u want me to enlighten you on that. Why should I ? You take the trouble and find out. It is 1 Million Cases pending. And you know the Time Span they are pending for ? You would be appalled.

    So : There is No Law. The Law was Raped and KILLED PUBLICLY by Advani ji in full public view. Subsequently that act was called VIJAY DIVAS.

    The real law governing India is : “Bunch of Thoughts” by Golwarkar.
    That is the Constitution in operation on the grounds.

    Muslims.. Adivasis (The real sons of the soil).. Women.. will all be effectively crushed and dis-enfranchised in the days to come (aided by corporate-interests). Globalisation+Right-wing political interests are closely intertwined.

    The least one could do is :

    1. Do not travel to India (as tourist).
    2. Do not travel to India (for medical tourism/education/business).
    3. Do NOT say a single bad-word to a Hindu.. but stop doing business with him. Giving him a $ is tantamount to giving a drink to Ram SIngh Bus Driver.
    4. Deal with India firmly. Do not fall into the smooth-talking Hindu trap.. Atithi Deva Bhavo.. Sarva Dharma Samabhava.. and all the bluff.
    5. India is not Ravi Shankar’s or MF Hussain’s. REAL INDIA’s face is Babu Bajrangi, Amit Shah and TOGADIA.

    BJP is the A-team of RSS., COngress is the B-Team. RSS is the fountainhead of power in India… all else is academic talk.

  3. Rex Minor Germany Google Chrome Windows says:

    AKB,

    Balwindar Sigh has a point, the rape victim was the daughter of India and those who are accused of this hineous act are the scum of the Indian society as well. It matters very little about the faith of the victim or the culprits and cofuses the incident when Drona adds the people whom he suspects are behind such stories. I am not an Indian but still concern myself when a weaker human is targeted.

    No one has said more openly, constructively and with clarity about the Hindu religion,and their disgusting sex Gods of violence against women. India being ranked toay as worst than saudi Arabia for women rights among G20, the glass house is breaking apart since the hindu religion, mythologies and what have you( the words of Hindustan Times correspondent on France 24 which she called them personal opinion)debases the status of women and justifies Sati to honour the male, whereas the new Indian constitution guarantees equal rights for all its citizens.

    The Indian Govt. has the ball in its court, and either they have to throw out these sex Gods or they have a riot of women that the world has not witnessed in history. Indian Newspapers are still out protectig their little Gods even at this stage but for how long will they hide the name of the victim and her family? The so called liberals of India are even proposing that a new law is needed to curb violence against women and should be named after the victim, which is apparently a routine for those who regularly commute in Buses. France 24 correspondent showed live a Bus in Delhi and asked several women passengers who confirmed being abused practicaly daily by male passengers.

    This is not liberalism taking liberty with the bodies of women who are delivered to vultures within the bounds of hindu religion but outside the written laws of the country.

    Let the Indian liberal intellectuals try to define and qualify this kind of exteremism and tell RHR that there are liberals in India?

    I wish you AKB a happy new year 2013.

    Rex Minor

  4. Rex Minor Germany Google Chrome Windows says:

    correction; No one has said more openly than you, …………

  5. Maggu India Safari iPad says:

    AKB/Rotten Manure/Ronadhona and assorted scum, it would be wise to steer clear of “disgusting gods”, “little gods”, “sex gods” kind of language here. Sure talk about the debauch Indian male, talk about break down of law and order, talk about the disintegration of society etc. But his kind of language may provoke someone to start a juicy volley about Gods, prophets, their wives, Daughter in laws, paedophilia etc. and we know what happens when it gets there to people of peace. Even the most strident hindoo Wallas here have not cast any of those stones here.
    .
    Faith and facts are two entirely different things.
    .
    Suggest you exercise some restraint. Else, we can all start a purely academic debate about some interesting notions about each other’s faith or in my case no faith. That debate will of course be a good tribute to free speech as practiced in the free world.
    .
    Good news is that there has been one more good drone strike and some missiles have dispatched a few more bravehearts hiding under beds to meet their maker and a few dozen virgin boys as their reward in the hereafter

  6. Maggu India Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    Good Taliban= Very dead Taliban
    .
    Mullah Nazir XX
    Hafiz Saeed Waitlisted – Expected drone meeting=1 week.. bzzzzzz… kaboooom … janazaa ghaayabana

  7. baal ki khal United States Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    Now that the identity of victim revealed Drona and Kaal should shut up ( idiots).

  8. baal ki khal United States Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    for spreading nuisance and false propaganda without facts…….

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