For that, ladies and gentlemen, you have to do some soul searching
I hate Imran Khan. I love the ISI. I love dictators. I hate democracy. I hate mullahs and self-righteous preachers who preach that Islam talks about justice but when it’s time to deliver through Islam, one of their own to the gallows, it’s like they’ve swallowed their own guts and make him a hero. You know what else I hate? I hate the liberals, with their double standards and their empty rhetoric that has failed to make a difference to anyone’s lives in a long long time. You want to hear more? I love Zardari, and I love the PPP. And I know I am not contradicting myself. Because I am entitled to my own opinion, after all it is a free country that will allow me to hate if I want to and will allow me to love if I want to and still bear with me? Or is it? Because I am sure a lot of hate speech is about to roll my way, and I really welcome that.
Despite my hate for the mullahs I still think that Pakistan should be an Islamic welfare state. Oh, and I don’t believe Aman Ki Asha would make a difference if institutional policies work regressively towards depriving the ordinary people of basic rights, the right to water being one of them.
Let’s talk about you? Yes, you the reader. You know what I think about you? I think you’re a coward, a hypocrite, a liar, part of a herd led by shepherd that is driven by their own vested interests. And you know what’s worse? You all think you’re all so right. That everything that has happened to you since you were born, that bully who beat you up in eighth grade to that job that you never managed to get, to the politician that sucks your blood after being elected by you, to the police that denies you of your rights when it is entrusted to protect you, to the ranger that shoots you, is all because you are stuck all around you with morally depraved people.
Reality check, it’s not the people around you, but yourself. Have you ever stopped for one moment and thought about it. How you’re bad mouthing your president but will cheat your way through a system and get favours for yourself just because it benefits you. And then it’s somebody else’s fault? That if anyone has an opinion contrary to yours he is an enemy, because he questions the belief system that you hold so holy to yourself. That you will not tolerate anything that questions your own integrity?
Have you ever stopped and thought about it, how each and every one of you is patronising the system that you truly detest? Maybe you’re not the Edhi you deemed yourself to be. And you know why I write all this, why I write about my supposed ‘hatred’ for Imran Khan or my ‘love’ for the ISI or about all the other things that you have read so far, which are inconsequential to me and not a reflection of my true opinion. Because, they pinch you. Because it strikes right where it hurts you most and I want to do just that. Because I want to see the patience you have for someone who questions your set of beliefs.
And you know what I think about that sea of crowd I saw at the jalsa of Imran Khan in Karachi? I thought, it was the most spectacular and moving sight that I have witnessed in the longest time. That after almost 64 years, it was one of the most befitting tribute to the hero of our nation on his birthday. To Jinnah, and it was a wave standing against the status quo. But you know what else I saw? I saw that sea, not as a herd but as individuals who can think for themselves, who can decide for themselves and who will question Khan when he goes wrong. Who were there not because they were paid, but because they wanted to be there, because they had hope, because they believed things could still change. And I sincerely hope that they would question Khan when he goes wrong, because no one is infallible.
And I saw that herd not as those who will blindly hate those that question their beliefs because they are above all of that. Because they realise that if there is anyone who has failed Pakistan, it is us. All of us collectively as a nation have failed Pakistan. Not India, not America, not the kafirs, but us. We are to blame. So next time, you see a man whipped, trampled, tortured and clubbed to death on the street, or a blast that tears through human flesh, or police disrespecting the very law they are meant to uphold, or a ranger killing someone innocent, or a murder, or an abandoned child left to rot in the street, you should go stand in front of the mirror and look at your own bloodied hands. Let us bring the tsunami of change, by changing ourselves first. By blaming everything and everyone for all the pain and suffering and all the bad things that happen to us, blaming the US, blaming Zardari, blaming the ISI, we’re not getting anywhere. What we must ask ourselves is this, is all the hate, is all the anger, is all the finger pointing going to save Pakistan? Or can we save our country, by individually shouldering the responsibility of making this nation one of the greatest in the world?
So let’s be constructive for a change by admitting to our follies, accepting difference of opinion and standing against the system that we detest, a system we have patronised for a long long time.
The writer is City Editor, Pakistan Today. He can be reached at [email protected]