Monday, August 16, 2010

A Pakistani Nationalist Laments

Long essay, very interesting for an outsider who has little exposure to political debate in Pakistan:
That is where we have failed miserably, allowing religious and provincial identities to supersede the united national identity. If we cannot sit together at one table to productively discuss how to take the country forward without hurling abuse and blaming each other or declaring our own as kafirs, then how can we expect anyone else to listen? . . .

But it is too little too late as the thousands of youngsters emerging from a dilapidated schooling system, unskilled and unprepared, are headed towards a maze of unemployment and dissatisfying social rewards, eventually reverting to religion when all else disappoints. And waiting for them with open arms are religious opportunists with a suicide jacket in one hand and a Quran in the other, convincing these youngsters that victory will come only when they use the one to establish the other, by hook or by crook, to rid the world of infidels. . . .

In a recent editorial, respected columnist Irfan Hussain, in answering criticism levied against Pakistan’s role in the war on terror, said that if the world was concerned as to whose side Pakistan was on, the answer is simple; “on its own side”, of course.

But what the author means by this is painstakingly unclear to the silently suffering majority in Pakistan - the average people blown-up in suicide blasts, the blue-collar workers, the police officers, check-post guards, the havaldars and sipahis who risk their lives every single day fighting the unknown enemy for a cause they do not fully understand. Villages have disappeared, schools, hospitals, communities razed to the ground, thousands and thousands of devastated families, internally displaced people and refugees from drone-attacked zones are living in camps or relocated to over-crowded cities. Setting aside the billions of dollars of losses we incur as a result of the armed struggle, impacting our manufacturing, agricultural, farming and other industries and infrastructure, the human cost of this war is shockingly high, so whose side did the writer say we are on?

No comments: