A Leap for Pakistan

By Huzaifa Ali Ahfaz

sharmeen

The 182 million people of Pakistan slept on the night of 28th February of 2016, not knowing what astonishments the leap day would bring. Some of them didn’t even notice that the day after was the leap day.

The sun peeked over the horizon once again the next morning, and the populace of Pakistan stirred, only to know that Mumtaz Qadri – the guard who killed the ex-governor of Punjab, Salman Taseer – had been hanged. The execution of Mumtaz Qadri came as a gust of wind in the inferno that the religious Mullahs had created, while to others it was a gloomy and reprehensible action.

Qadri’s punishment being carried out was not the only notable thing that had happened that day as a Pakistani journalist, Sharmeen Obaid, won the Oscars for her documentary A Girl in the River: The Price for Forgiveness. Winning the 88th Academy Awards resulted in Sharmeen winning two Oscars, a feat which definitely deserves to be praised.

Both of these had a vast effect on Pakistan. The two events in question seem like small steps, but baby steps are always small. Baby steps are also the most important steps one takes in his or her life. Those small steps result in the big leaps one learns to make later.

A lot of debate has happened on whether or not Qadri’s execution was a deplorable action. Liberals who are against capital punishment favor this execution rather hypocritically, while the same could be said for the Islamists who tell people not to speak ill of the dead yet continue talking trash about Salman Taseer.

I do not support Mumtaz Qadri’s execution. I only support the law being fulfilled. Cherishing murder is not an attribute of any sane person who champions human rights; neither does Pakistan need any more of them after the funeral of Qadri attracted a crowd of people. However, the law has been executed and that’s what matters. This proves to be a step for a better Pakistan, and we should relish it. The best we can do to honor Taseer is to continue his legacy.

The Oscars awards also had diverse reactions, something I was amazed of. Surely nothing can go wrong for once, when a Pakistani has been portrayed in a positive light? The answer is no. Thanks to ‘yahood o nasara’ (Jews and Christians) for being there for us when we are running low on conspiracy theories! Apparently many believe her to be a Zionist and Western agent, just like a Nobel Prize winner Malala. If anything I am surprised at how well does Mrs. Chinoy multitask, working for both Christians and Jews at the same time, when both of the parties hate each other’s guts!

That is the problem with Pakistan; the fact that we do not appreciate our heroes, whether they are Salman Taseer, Sharmeen Obaid or Malala Yousafzai. Instead we honor killers like Mumtaz Qadri. Unless we take an action against our ideologies, unless we sort out our priorities, unless we do not water the seeds of terrorism extremists frequently throw in our soils, we will achieve nothing. All that Taseer or Obaid did will be in vain. But if we decide to eliminate the philosophy that teaches hatred against women and minorities, then we can hope for a better tomorrow.

And that’s how we will be able to turn this leap year into a big leap for Pakistan towards earning a positive reputation in the world.