Will we get it right?

Faheem Amir


The state of Pakistan is sliding rapidly towards failure and collapse.
No nation can survive without accepting new ideas, following new trends,
using new scientific inventions, innovations, discoveries and technology,
encouraging rationalism, scientific outlook, education, research, promoting
love, patience, fraternity, inter-faith harmony and moderation, tolerating
criticism, raising new questions and doubts, appreciating new
answers, acknowledging new philosophical, political, cultural, economic,
social, regional and international realities, adhering to ethics, abiding by
laws, rules and regulations and adjusting to new changes and cultural
diversities. In Pakistan, all these driving, revolutionary, binding and progressive
forces are non-existent.
Unfortunately, Pakistan has become a land where ignorance, bigotry,
parochialism, prejudice, exploitation, irrationality, emotionalism, fanaticism,
religious extremism, corruption, false traditions and superstitions
rule. Any one who tries to challenge these prevailing ills or talks about
progressive and revolutionary ideas is destined to face dire consequences
and a sharp reaction from the custodians of these dark forces.
The ruling elite, being an indispensable part of these dark and evil forces,
not only gets help from these dark forces to acquire rule, power and prestige
but also tries its level best to promote and protect these forces for
sustaining its rule and controlling and exploiting the poor, helpless and
innocent people. Any person who challenges this rule is killed; any voice
that protests against this tyranny is silenced; any light which is kindled
in the darkness of ignorance is extinguished; any march towards
progress is stopped, crushed and trampled. Since the creation of Pakistan,
the ruling elite, including politicians, religious leaders, civil-military
officers, businessmen, feudal lords etc., is using religion, democracy, national
interests, doctrine of necessity and nationalism to protect their own
partisan interests and deceive the people.
Along with the ruling elite, many pseudo ulema, fake peers and false
faithhealers are also relentlessly looting the poor people of Pakistan in
the name of religion. Many Pakistanis, being ignorant, simple, poor, unemployed,
frustrated, hopeless and emotional, fall an easy prey to these
evil people. There are many reports which expose the deplorable activities
of these evil persons. There are many ulema who are creating extremism
and sectarianism by their hate speech. There are also many
fake "faith healers" who are not only plundering the poor but also raping
many women across the country. A fake healer Ghulab Singh allegedly
raped two women in Rahim Yar Khan some weeks ago under the pretext
of curing them of jinns. Some days ago, a woman, who claimed to be a
faith healer, along with her husband was arrested for selling a baby in
Muzaffargarh. According to the news reports, "the parents of the child
had taken their baby to the woman, who had taken the baby inside a
room and after two hours had declared the baby dead".
These incidents clearly show that the poor people of Pakistan are
simple and superstitious, who believe that faith healers can cure their
diseases, solve their problems and bring peace and prosperity in their
troubled lives. The state deliberately encourages such sort of faith among
the people. Because, it is a fact, there are many custodians of shrines
who are in the parliament of Pakistan. They have attained power and become
very rich by propagating such teachings and don't want to lose
power by introducing a process of enlightenment in the country.
It is also a fact, under Zia-ul-Haq's rule, Pakistani society became
more religiously fanatic due to a politicisation of religion at an unprecedented
level. Due to his policies, now, society has become extremist.
Even, the students of our universities have fallen prey to extremism and
religious emotionalism. The example of Mashal Khan can be given in this
regard. On 13 April, Mashal Khan, 23 years old, an idealist and a bright
student of journalism at Abdul Wali Khan University in Mardan, was
lynched by a mob, consisting of fellow students and some department
staff, due to allegedly having committed blasphemy. The most horrific and tragic thing is that some faculty members and university employees
incited the students to kill Mashal by using the false accusation of blasphemy.
They were not happy with Mashal because he was vocal against
mismanagement and corruption in the university. The KP police, chief
minister, the PTI leader Imran Khan and one of Mashal's university teachers
have said that Mashal Khan did not commit blasphemy. The lynching
of Mashal Khan is a stark reminder of what our rulers have done to Pakistani
society. This tragic incident is a manifestation of barbarity, intolerance,
insanity, ignorance, radicalisation of educational institutions and
religious exploitation. Then, a medical student Naureen Laghari's confessions
about getting training from the IS in Syria also clearly indicate
that the Pakistani youth is vulnerable and could be exploited by the IS,
the TTP and other terrorist groups.
Even the Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa has admitted that
the Pakistani youth "was being exploited by terrorist groups due to poor
governance and lack of justice in society".
Addressing a seminar on the role of youth in fighting terrorism and
extremism organised by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) at the
General Headquarters in Rawalpindi, the Army chief said: "Pakistan is a
young nation, both in history and demographically. Demographically, over
50 per cent of our population is projected to be less than 25 years of age.
The future of our country literally lies with the direction that our youth take
over the next few years. We are standing at a crossroads; ten years down
the line, we will either be enjoying the fruits of a youth dividend or suffering
at the hands of a youth bulge, especially with the youth which remains
vulnerable to extremism. Extremism is a relative term. It is relative to our
perception of what is normal. Therefore, we will only have a clear concept
of extremism if we have a clear concept of our own identity and values."
"A youth driven towards extremism is a youth without a clear idea of its
values and identity." The Army chief maintained that the most important
stimulus driving a young adult, was to find purpose and meaning in life.
"It is during this stage that one is ready to commit to professions, to relationships,
to causes and to ideologies. It is a wonderful stage in life; but
it is also the most vulnerable."
"Extremism is also related to the environment and the time we live
in. From that perspective, we must admit that Pakistani
youth is being exploited due to poor governance
and lack of justice in society," the Army chief
"As we transit gradually from major operations
against terrorism to more intricate,
targeted operations against residual
threat ,
under the ambit of Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad,
we must also find ways to ensure that the
causes behind terrorism are addressed and National
Action Plan is actualised." "Foremost amongst them
is extremism. Please remember, while army fights terrorists,
terrorism and extremism is fought by law enforcing
agencies and society."… "Although it is not always out of malice, but misunderstanding;
yet it is imperative that we understand extremism in our
own context." "The Western definitions of countering violent extremism
are mostly confined to what they call 'Islamic extremism'.It is unfair and
dangerous. Unfair, because of its inherent and totally wrong association
of extremism with Islam. Dangerous, because it focuses too much attention
on Muslim societies and masks the rise of extremism in multiple societies
across the world."
Referring to the rise of Hindu extremist groups, he said: "Extremism
is not due to any religion or ideology, it is a mindset where passion has
given way to hate and intolerance of others." …The country seems threatened
from multiple directions. It just does not seem fair… Despite incessant
propaganda, the fact is that as a nation, Pakistan has rejected
terrorism. That speaks of the robustness of our social and religious values
and I have no doubt that we equally reject extremism in all its manifestations."
"With Pakistan becoming securer and more promising by the day, it
is perhaps time to reverse the brain drain. Your country needs you more
than any other country in the world."
He said Pakistan's enemies, both state and non-state, were actively
pursuing divisive tendencies in society. "Let me say that they are waging
the biggest and most sustained Hybrid War against us from multiple directions
and using multiple ways."
"We are being targeted by not
only terrorists but
also spin masters
of multiple
a g e n c i e s ,
trying to subvert
our minds,
par t i cular l y
that of our
youth. Being
denied opportunities in the
mainstream media, they
are using faceless platforms
on the internet and smart
He stated that
the Indian leadership
had made
no secret of its active
involvement in a
proxy struggle in erstwhile
East Pakistan
and now in Balochistan;
nor were the assertions of
some other leaders, any
more secret.
"We are cognizant of these
threats and are actively countering
them with the support of the whole
"Please remember, we have defeated
terrorism together, now we will go after extremism
too and rout it with our values, mental
faculties and physical energies," the army chief
"Having defeated terrorism physically, now their deceitful message
and narrative must also be defeated." "These so called
Muslims, have nothing to do with Islam. They are just a bunch
of thugs and killers led by their greed and evil ideologues."
"They have realised that through the ballot they cannot
achieve power but through violence they can. Therefore
coercion, fear and destruction are their tools of choice.
If you strip away the guile and verbosity, what they say
amounts to stopping the fire by lighting more fire."
"Let's join hands to counter extremism by providing
an ideal environment in your respective institutions
and through diligence and discipline. Let's help each
other in identifying, curtailing and defeating any attempts to pollute the
minds of our youth," he concluded.
The Army chief has clearly pointed out all the gigantic problems which
the state is facing. In fact, Pakistan needs a strong, honest, nationalist
and patriotic political leadership who should have a mature political will
and determination to get rid of all these problems by implementing the
NAP fully, introducing an equitable economic system, ensuring speedy
justice and creating a unified education system in the country. This is the
only way to save Pakistan.