This Eid when I got free from prayers, I performed the same ritual which I have done so for so many years since I have left abroad. Take a drive. Since living close to the beach knowing that everyone back home would be still asleep . I prefer stopping by there to enjoy the view of the Gulf. I prefer going to this particular mosque near my house as I get to see so many of my Pakistanis over there. Hence sometimes I feel like going back . But going back to what or let me say for what? These mornings give me a lot to ponder. And the only thing I can think of on this day was of Pakistan.
I have grown up seeing the pictures of our Quaid mostly in western attire. I have seen the leader who gave the first constitution for the Islamic Republic of Pakistan i.e. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto adorning the same. Also, I have seen that the moderate leaders not only gave us Pakistan but also gave this nation an image of stability. Let it be our Nuclear Arsenal , let it be our spearheading of OIC etc. etc. People might abuse Gen Musharraf now a day’s especially on media. But have they not forgotten that he gave us this media in the same place. Also, let us not forget Benazir Bhutto for giving this nation what we call it female symbolism in this male chauvinistic society where she dared to become the first Muslim woman Prime Minister of Pakistan and of the Muslim world.
But then I look at Gen. Ayub regime. Which lost us half the country failing to accept the mandate of the majority in East Pakistan. I look at Gen. Yahya under whose regime Muslim Bengali men were massacred and their women raped. I look at Gen Zia who whilst liberating Afghanistan ended up handing over Pakistan to Islamic Extremists and then Gen Musharraf who due to lack of his brinkmanship ended up gifting us the “War of Error”- sorry I meant “War Against Terror”. I always believed a decade ago that when US attacked Afghanistan. We should stay away from this rot. The first stint there gave us AK 47 and Heroine Culture. The second stint has given us Talibanization and Suicide bombing. Though many say today that Suicide bombing stem out of Drone Strikes. But I remember growing with the Taliban phenomenon since 1995.
What worries me more today is the polarity and lack of balance emerging in our society. Whereas we claim to be an Islamic Republic but all what is happening around culturally is questionable. Though I am not the fundamentalist but then moderation should have limits and then at the other side the other extreme is emerging where Schools are blown, Cinema’s burned down, Shrines destroyed and Minorities targeted sometimes under guise of blasphemy law and sometime just as a symbol of our strength.
The society looks equally divided . Some out of fear and some out of rationale. Then I ask myself that if my Pakistan was to be a total Islamic Republic than why the white depicting the minorities in our flag? Why my founder never wore a beard? And why the right wing Islamists never sided for Pakistan before partition. Did we loose our way when agreeing on the 1973 constitution where under duress of saving a nation ; we went too much tilted towards a hard line document or were we slowly hijacked over decades by Right wing Islamists first in the name of liberation of Kashmir and Afghanistan, than saving in the name of Islam and now saving in the name of morality.
To my utter dismay the murderer of Salman Taseer becomes a hero and also a rich man with rumors of PKR 50 as his account balance. The question raised. Was the act was in defense of religion or for the same of money.
As I thought of it. I wondered if I ever would be able to go back to the Quaid’s Pakistan. Worst as I wrote this piece . Taliban presence which was always kept under wraps in Karachi become clear and the threats become louder. Our armed forces look fighting an never ending battle against these due to the polarized society where factions of support to these extremists exist.
Today, we looked more of a confused nation where debates ensue Religion First or Country First. As I drove back to meet my family for Eid. I prayed to Allah that sanity prevails and we have the answer to this quintessential question of how to tame our people that our nation has been formed by Quaid-e-Azam and if we want to live there. There is only one opinion and that is – Pakistan First.