By: Agha Haider Raza
A few days ago, the education minister of Baluchistan was shot down outside of his house. Tragic as it may seem, little attention was given to the horrific murder. Ironically, no sizeable protests were carried out, nor were Facebook statuses changed to condemn the minister’s death. A day’s worth of news stories were written in honor of the slain minister, but then our attention was focused on what our media views as the primary target, the United States. Where is our humility and humanity? Have we become so immune to hearing about death, that we have stopped caring for those who leave this world?
Muslims pride in the belief of the afterlife and respect for our current existence. But now it seems we just don’t give a damn about it all. If I were to tell you that a governor was appointed for paying massive amounts of dollars or a minister is making money by selling LPG (Liquid Petroleum Gas) files, I can guarantee you no less than a thousand emails and text messages would be circulating Pakistan. We are not a nation of drama queens. Enough is enough!
I am not taking this opportunity to preach you on how to think, but rather pleading with you to find some humility and most important some dignity. On the one hand we take immense pride in our flag, so much so, that we consider it less an offense and more a sin if the Crescent and Star were to touch the ground. On the other hand, we have no problem burning any other nation’s flag. Many of us have heard incidents where upon an accident, one party suffers due to the ‘political connection’ of the other. If none comes to mind, let me repeat the unfortunate incident of April 20th 2009, where a student of LUMS died due to drunk driving. I won’t go into the specifics of the accident, but the drunk driver had ‘political connections’. Although the LUMS students protested, after a few days, the incident fizzled out and nothing much became of it. This episode was hardly covered by the media. Today, a similar incident was reported by the media (no loss of life however was reported) with a lot of hue and cry. Allegedly a drunken US diplomat ran a red light and rear ended a CDA (Capital Development Authority) vehicle. The author of the news piece reporting on the accident concluded his articles with a passionate and emotional plead “the question once again is: is there any law applicable to Americans in Pakistan?” By putting such a moving statement in the article, resentment for the US is bound to rise. Is this healthy? If only the newspaper could be so passionate in holding all MNA’s this accountable, if only! Is the law not egalitarian where everyone under the sun is prosecuted? Or do we pick and choose our victims based on personal and political vendetta?
My argument here is to solely prove the malice with which we condemn the United States. No one is saying their hands are clean. They have caused much damage to our region. But how clean are our hands? At times we cheat the system and avoid the law and sometimes don’t mind paying a few hundred rupees to avoid a speeding ticket. We love mocking the United States for their poor foreign policy, but do we salute them for their strong judiciary system? Do we commend them for their work ethic? Do we applaud their punctuality in the labor market? I’ll let you answer.
Muslims have been known throughout the world as being traditionalists. We have a strong sense of brotherhood as was preached by our forefathers. This notion of brotherhood stems out of not only our religion but culture as well. Now it has come to the regrettable point where we hardly give attention to our lost citizens. I want to emphasize the word “citizen” here. A death in Punjab is as hurtful and upset as a loss of life in Baluchistan. However, is this really the case? Ethnic divisions are the root cause of the exploitation by not only the Establishment, but the political elite and militants who threaten our peace, security and freedom. The isolation of the citizens belonging to the North and West has been carried out for far too long. It is time show them the humility and humanity Pakistani’s are capable of. Our nation is indivisible, and I’d like to keep it at that! We need to stand up to those people who threaten our unity. Let it be known, we will hunt them down, be they in Waziristan wielding Kalashnikovs or in newsrooms and media offices yielding a pen. Enough is enough!