Adolescence is the period of one’s life when he’s the most unpredictable. Constant mood swings can make a youngster hate even the most lovable thing or love the most ordinary things.
It is this time that a person asks himself questions. About the world, what he was, how things happened. Spiritual insight aside, skepticism also surrounds him in social matters. He learns lessons that would help him in later life, true faces of people around him and the ability to vanquish sorrow or impediments.
It is the age of utter idealism. Youngsters dream big, think big and if sentimentally motivated, they can even make possible the impossible.
Youth is basically a time of frequent debates and arguments. Sometimes, the opposition is your acquaintance. Other times it’s your conscience, customs or ethics.
If you were a South Asian teenager, preferably Muslim, before Pakistan’s inception, the biggest battle between your heart and mind must have been whether Muslims should live as separate Islamic entity within United India or under the leadership of Muslim League demand a separate Muslim state.
If you were a youngster during the first thirty years of Pakistan, you must have had debated yourself if the Bengalis of East Pakistan were just whining or they actually were being treated acrimoniously.
If you were a youngster, back in 1980s or 1990s, or even till 2008 elections you must have been questioning yourself or your elders if you were a Sindhi, Punjabi, Pathan, Balochi, Mohajir (Urdu speaking) or Seraiki.
If you were a youngster dwelling from Karachi during the clashes of MQM and ANP in 2009 or MQM and PPP’s Zulfiqar Mirza, and survived that bloodshed, you must have been debating yourself whether you should support your ethnicity or a ‘Change’.
If you were a youngster, with a keen interest in Pakistan’s counter-terrorism policy during 2013 elections, you must be debating yourself whether you’re a conservative person or a liberal one; a Taliban Apologist or a Liberal Fascist.
The reason behind all this segregation is that soon after Quaid e Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah’s death, we indulged into a baseless and unnecessary argument, the mother of all debates that whether Jinnah wanted an Islamic state where all laws should be based on Shariah or just a ‘secular’ state where Muslims could live in peace. The pseudo ‘liberals’ of Pakistan, in the name of ‘secularism’ and ‘modernism’ want to spread obscenity. While the conservative people live in fools’ paradise, still dreaming that Pakistan should wage a ‘Jihad’ against ‘Amreeka’ or ‘Bharat’. It is because of these two extreme mindsets that no one wants to settle for something less than the ideals they have in their minds.
Islam preaches ‘moderation’ in every walk of life. It is the ‘balance’ taught by Islam that ensures tolerance among people. Pakistan was created in the name of Islam. It is our deviation from the religion of peace and justice that we are in such an abysmal situation, almost on the verge of failure.
Pakistan Peoples’ Party was founded some 33 years ago. They believe in a ‘secular’ state to be the solution of all our problems. This party and its well-wishers give examples of India and America, the former being the biggest democracy of the world while latter being the oldest. But, they fail to apprehend that both India and America enjoy such power and prosperity because they treat all ethnic groups with equality.
After 1970’s elections, PPP’s founder Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto took a distinct 180 degrees turn from his own ideology, the Democracy.
He refused to accept Mujib ur Rehman’s mandate which ousted the already outraged Bengalis to secession as Bangladesh. Now, once again PPP’s attempts to quench its thirst for power is alienating the Urdu-speaking community of Karachi.
The bone of contention in Pakistan is not the affiliation of religion. It’s the deviation from the religion. If all ethnic groups of Pakistan, are treated in accordance to the principles of social justice, if all Sindhis, Punjabis, Pathans, Balochis, Mohajirs, Shias, Sunni, Barelvis, Deobandis, Ahmadis, Christians and Hindus are treated as equal citizens of the country like people from all tribes and religions were treated in the first welfare state, Madina, and if everyone is taught to be neither fundamentalist or a liberal fascist but just moderate people, there’s no power, as Jinnah had put in, that can undo Pakistan.
A few months ago, I read a thought provoking quote in Hamid Mir’s column. He wrote that once Malala Yousufzai’s father, Ziauddin Yousufzai called him, as her book became quite a controversy, and said:
”Mr. Hamid Mir, in Pakistan it is very easy to be a Sindhi, Punjabi, Mohajir or Pathan, but too difficult to be just a Pakistani. Likewise, it is very easy to be a Shia, Sunni, Barelvi or Deobandi but very difficult to be just a Muslim’.