State of crisis

August 8, 2014

The Prime Minister, finally awakening from an apparently deep slumber, has ordered an operation (sic); would it suffice to restore peace to the terror hit Pakistan is anybody’s guess because the issue is not merely restoring the rule of law; it is of social, moral, intellectual and institutional disorder as well and what we need is not only a halfhearted operation but also a complete regeneration of our society and outright reconstruction of our state institutions. If we can do this, Great! If not … Doomsday scenario would cease to be a scenario and quickly become a reality.

The recent surge in terror incidents is not merely a failure of security agencies; it is failure of the whole society with no exceptions to talk of. A natural outcome of our follies and blunders spanning over decades, today we are just a whisker away from landing the ignominious “distinction” of being declared a failed state. Land of the pure has literally been transformed into T.S. Eliot’s Wasteland. In fact, one feels that more than a failed state we are actually a Failed Nation; our failure lay in the fact that we never learnt the art of taking Pride in Diversity of our society. No human congregation is homogenous, differences are always there. How you take those differences and manage them speaks for the strength and maturity of your society.

We have failed because instead of spreading facilitation and understanding amongst the various tiers of society we promoted intolerance, extremism and hatred instead. From home to office and from school to madrassa we are alien to a culture of dialogue and prone to the syndrome of Self Righteousness. It is not only Mullah who is promoting intolerance and extremism; every one of us is sailing with the Mullah in the same boat. As if it were not enough, the bumper crop of self -styled opinion makers, our TV anchors, are busy stoking fires of hatred on a daily basis. The way these TV anchors behave, their standard of discussion, their selection of semi illiterate or illiterate guests, and their appetite for rating – one can only label it as a sham that carries no shame. The standard of discussion in these shows reminds me of cocks fighting in the streets of my village. What to talk about category B, when even Nawaz Shareef himself I recent past denied Mr. Asif Ali Zardaree an opportunity to offer his condolences on the demise of his younger brother. If this is the level of our politeness and tolerance what good we are waiting for? Our political elite is riddled with extremism to the extent that even a scholar like Maulana Maududee went on to declare that elections in 1970 were not just an electoral contest .“Election against Bhutto is another Ghazwa e Tabook”, he reportedly said.

Look at the films we are producing___ DADA BADMAASH, GUJJAR DA WER, WEHSHEE GUJJAR, ATHRA GUJJAR. If it is true that art is reflection of the social behavior we must think which way we are heading to. Need not to mention is the fact that Sultan Rahee sahib with his gandasa had been the most popular hero of this society of the faithful.

It appears that scholars have been neglected in this society by design and militancy promoted in its place. Can anyone forget how Jamat e Islami glorified Major Mast Gul in the 80s and 90s.

Book culture stands eliminated. There are no libraries to speak of, but there are many missiles – in all shapes sizes and ranges – and bombs installed on the roads. Calling it a mere coincidence would tantamount to gross over simplification.

There is another conundrum. We are swinging like a pendulum between Ummah and a nation state. We are unable to decide which way we should go for. We have been hypnotized by Urdu columnists and by rhetoric of clergy to the extent that we are unable to understand that the ummah is washing its dirty linen in our courtyard. Since long we have been a battlefield of the cold war of at least two countries of Ummah . Hasn’t the time come we ask these brother countries ‘enough is enough’? After all, these brother Islamic countries themselves are typical secular‘nation states’ that use the concept of Ummah only to protect their national interest. We have been exploited in the name of Ummah and today we are witnessing the ultimate results of these policies.

There is no check and balance anywhere in this country. You are free to promote hatred and extremism. The state has failed to protect its citizens and the confusion is mounting whether it is negligence or a willful default on the part of the state.

The society at large is getting sick and human values are on a decline. If a Shia is killed only the Shia protestors throng the road, when some Deobandee is killed only Deobandees protest and when a brelvee is killed only the brelvees feel the pain. No one cares about the humanity. There has never been any collective human response to any act of terror.

This sad state of affairs often reminds me of Marcellus, a character of Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’, who says, “something is rotten in the state of Denmark”

* Asif mahmood is Resident Editor Daily the Patriot, Islamabad. He can be reached at asifislu@hotmail.com

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