As the media’s romance with Imran Khan is starting to subside (at least relatively) one must take a step back and analyse if we are any better now than we were before.
Pakistani politicians have begun to look into social media platforms in order to put themselves out there in hopes of garnering support from the youth. In this age of Twitter and Facebook, there is a huge upside to having a virtual presence as it makes the leaders somewhat accessible and gives the common man an opportunity to relate to them.
A growing trend in social media these days is to bifurcate people who wish to participate in a discussion about the future of politics in our country. People are branded as either supporting or belonging to the status quo or as those that aspire to surf the ‘tsunami’ and sweep everything clean. Without naming names, one of the groups consists of a faction who are ‘oh so willing’ to defend their position. So much so that they refuse to take no for an answer or accept any divergence of opinion. While all of this makes for an entertaining showdown between two sides, it also outlines a disturbing phenomenon that plagues our society; Intolerance.
In the world outside of Pakistan, perception is everything. The notion of disregarding what others think of us is very unwise. We need to portray a positive image of our country to be able to compete on the worlds’ stage, both socially and economically. At present, it is anything but positive. Never mind foreigners, it is hard to convince many expatriates to visit their own country.
This should come as no surprise to us as we are always in the headlines for all the wrong reasons. We are the same nation that witnessed the killings of Hindu doctors on the eve of Eid. So, in effect we are taking the lives of those that are trained to save lives just because of their religious beliefs. We have done nothing more than just condemn the brazen killing of many Hazara’s in Quetta. Target killings and sectarian violence have become synonymous with Pakistan, which only leads me to question:
is parchum ke sayay talle hum aik hein, hum aik hein? (Under the shade of our flag we are united. Are we united?)
One way of alleviating our troubles is education, as it is easier to reason with a person who is not blinded by ignorance. Education not only helps us broaden our horizons, it also aids us in understanding why people might be different than us. In effect, it helps us tolerate these differences, and ultimately respect them.
On the political front, I am all for the ‘tsunami’ of change, but what is important is that it should be permissible to let people decide on their own who they wish to support. It is imperative that we understand that people will make decisions based on their respective vision and position on policies of interest. Instead of taking swipes at one another, we should disseminate information to others and let them decide, because only an informed person can make an informed choice.
Let us engage in healthy dialogue, challenge ourselves to consider all facets of an argument and learn to question for the sake of clarity and a better understanding. At the end of it all, at the absolute worst, it should be nothing more than two people agreeing to disagree.