I believe keeping a close track of progress in Bengladesh is pivotal for any Pakistani — primarily to guage the modus operandi of the country’s recent exploits and partially for her previous association with our homeland.
The recent judgement of a Bangladeshi high court that led to the expulsion of Jamaat e Islami from partaking in the country’s next election to be held in the coming year is a brazen step to say the least.
What gained momentum from Shahbag square protests in Dhaka culminated into the ousting of country’s largest oppositon party — deemed fascist for its role in dismemberment and for the subsequent violence that took its toll on the country’s overall outlook.
A fledgling, 42 years old democracy has come off age pretty quick to understand the importance of secularism despite having a majority of Muslim population ensconced in the country.
I reckon a secular system is the way to go, especially when you know that all you are going to get is sham or pseudo Islamization of the country at the hands of a few bigoted fundamentalists as the other alternative. A utopian islamic model is hard to achieve anyways with an ever increasing schism between sects, dissenting over each others ideology.
Just to clear any doubt over all those people who regard the word ‘secular’ as a taboo and the proponent of a secular system as a heretic, i would encourage them to skim though the speech made on 11th august 1947 to the minorities of Pakistan ( both East and West Pakistan included) by Quaid e Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. A pertinent excerpt out of the speech is worth mentioning here:
” ……………..You may belong to any religion or caste or creed – that has nothing to do with the business of the state. ”
I clearly suggests that father of this nation drew a broad line between functionality of the state and the everyday religious ethos of its citizens.
At least no one should argue over the importance of being independent from the shackles of slavery, then in the context of Independence of Pakistan one must also not forget that it was the founders and leaders of these Islamist parties which resisted the idea of a new country — they went on record to demean pakistan and its existence:
“Pakistan Ek Bazaari Aurat He, Hum Ne Ise Majburan Qubul Kya He”
(Report Tehqiqati Adalat P#275)
Which means…..Pakistan is akin to a courtesan, whose freedom we have hardly compromised.
Now if they claim to be the actual custodians of pakistan and that their writ be imposed on the nation then it would be something of a fools errand on their part.
As a South Asian i feel proud that the tiger nation of Bangladesh came to being, as it gave those who were marginalised before 1971 a conduit to voice their opinion. Apart from providing a safe haven to innocent people whose human rights got mulct in a flurry of violent oppression. (look at Hamood Ur Rehman commision report for reference).
Despite having problems of its own, Bangladesh has always sprung up. She provided equal opportunity to people like Dr Younas of Grameen Bank to follow his dreams of empowering the dispossessed. She not only respected and lauded Dr. Younas as a hero for his exploits but also adorned a monument of another nobel laureate Dr. Abdus Salam who was born and buried in Pakistan and who never let go his Pakistani nationality despite being ostracised for being an Ahmadi. It shows for the country’s stature.
Many observers had questioned the expedience of the revolution spiralled by the audacious Bangladeshi youth, that had amassed in numbers in the Shahbag square. But the Bangladeshi nation has proved that their young generation was street smart and cognizant enough to notice the country’s changing dynamics — yearning to move on in order to graduate to the next level.
Kudos to the Bangladeshi youth, who stood up, counted for and eventually had the last laugh. I think it behooves upon young pakistanis like me and the rest of us to take a leaf out of the chapter of their exploits and develop a sense of belonging towards the country by initiating a dialogue in our settings.
Poignant as it may sound but the truth is that the national narrative of our country is hijacked by those usurpers who have vested interests of their own. The youth of pakistan must play a healthy role in redefining the social, cultural and political landscape by following Quaid’s dream of an egalitarian pakistan.
There is no denying the fact that Bangladesh has once again given some food for thought to the big brother to learn from follies of the past.