Note: this article of mine got published in “The News international blog” on the 66th independence Day of Pakistan with slight modification. Here is the link:http://blogs.thenews.com.pk/blogs/2013/08/years-round-up-the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly/
The cliched fanfaronade of our forefathers’ altruism for emancipating us from the shackles of slavery will mark yet another independence day.
But are we following the footsteps of our founding fathers? is a million dollar question.
As a yardstick for future trends, let us gauge our progress during the last one year starting from 14th August 2012.
The ugly scorecard:
I don’t want to send pessimistic vibes but the status quo reflects a sob story of turmoil and upheaval that i find pertinent to recount:
Badami Bagh was this year’s pit stop in an unending journey of ‘Christian-misia’. That included Shanti nagar and Gojra as the plundered stations of yesteryears.
There was no respite for the poor Hazaras as well, whose ghettoizzation touched a claustrophobic level. This year proved that the only remedy for their woes is a facial surgery. As they are the most vulnerable to violence because of their distinct facial contours, which is a pity to say the least. Bad luck pursued them even when they tried to run away. From the capsizing of ship to the denial of sanctuary by foreign world, this year was an ominous one for the estranged minority.
As it transpired, there was a lot more to Shia genocide’s personification as a twitter hashtag. Abbas town incident in karachi and the Parachinar massacres were only the tip of the iceberg in a flurry of violence against the Shiite community.
The ‘run of the mill’ persecution faced by Ahmadis, hit a new tangent this year. The rally of lawyers in Lahore protesting against Shezan drinks was quintessence of prejudice oozing from the torchbearers of justice. Furthermore the publication of an innocuous tabloid (Lahore magazine) run by the community, was also halted by state officials.
The aforementioned was not the first effort to curb freedom of speech during the last one year. Infact the ban on youtube by state machinery was the original sin that crippled the country’s intellectual freedom. I wonder why google has not yet banned Pakistan over this idiosyncrasy.
Osama Bin Laden! don’t fret. He didn’t make the cut this year. Infact it was an offshoot of OBL’s organisation, The Tehreek e Taliban Pakistan, that earned ignominy by causing havoc and claiming responsibility for scores of nefarious acts carried out across Pakistan.
Malala Yousaf Zai was shot in Swat in a cowardly attempt to suppress education and opress the female voice. It left an indelible smear on the nation’s image. Though many cranky followers of “The Arrivals” series would still argue that Melanie Josephine was the real name of this CIA backed education drone.
The grisly massacre of foreign mountaineers in Diameer valley, Gilgit, didn’t render any service to Pakistan’s image as a tourists friendly city as well.Thanks to the Chinese for yet again forgiving the callous attitude of Pakistan’s government towards protecting lives of tourists.
The once dynamic city, Karachi, reeked of blood as usual. The gang war of Lyari hogged the limelight for engendering an exodus of settlers from the ravaged zone.
Balochistan Liberation Army, the outlawed bandits, hit the last nail in the coffin when they attacked Quaid e Azam’s residency in Ziarat. A symbol of national heritage was razed to ashes in a jiffy and the law enforcement agencies were caught napping.
The good part:
11th of May was a momentous day this year when Pakistanis chose ballet over bullet. Active involvement of the youth in the democratic process and smooth transition of power to democratically elected government were breaths of fresh air.
Young Amir Atlas and Muhamad Asif are worth mentioning for winning laurels for the country in squash and snooker respectively. Rest of the sports and sportsmen painted a sorry figure.
The wicked (bad) side:
The failure on part of election commission in carrying out a free and fair election in a country, founded by an epitome of justice, was a bitter pill to swallow.
I agree with Karl Rove’s philosophy that “politics is tv with the sound off”, yet understanding MQM’s politics was easy this year. They did a great job in showcasing their unmatchable summersault skills — switching stances from time to time.
Moreover the indifference of Pakistan’s mainstream media, to cover a robust revolution that catapulted from the Shahbag square of Bangladesh, was appalling. I believe the youth of pakistan were bereft of learning from the coming of age saga of a fledgeling south asian democracy.
The road ahead:
I don’t buy the rhetoric of a bright future, though i have high hopes attached with the youth of this country. We need to understand that the founding fathers did not free this nation from the compulsive chanting of ‘Vande Mataram’, so that the ‘pseudo-Islamic’ fundos could coerce their radicalised dogma upon us.
Young patriots can certainly bring a longlasting change, if they show their mettle for being the true custodians of 1947 revolution.
For starters, some one needs to make a Pakistani version of “Lagay Raho Munnabhai”, to imbue the badly needed Quaid’s philosophy of unity, faith and discipline amongst the populace.