Casting shadows of fear | Pakistan Today

Casting shadows of fear

For those who are fighting in Syria and Iraq, it might be a justified war for ideology,

sect or identity, but being a nationalist, I only see one thing-

Pakistanis killing other Pakistanis in foreign battle grounds.

The other day I overheard a student saying, “Pakistan will face serious consequences for helping Iraq against Daesh. Daesh is not going to spare us; Syrian-Iraq war will be diverted to our home, eventually.” Are we to be punished for facilitating the Iraqi government against Daesh in Iraq or are we going to harvest what we have sown?

Daesh has been suffering its heaviest defeat in Iraq, and the government is successfully recapturing areas, one after another. Iraqi Ambassador Ali Yasin Muhammad Karim publically praised the silent efforts of Pakistan in eviction of Daesh from Mosul. Pakistan has always supported the global community in its efforts to sustain international peace, and never hesitated to offer her contributions and services as seen in International Peacekeeping Missions, War against Terrorism, and the recent episode of Mosul. If closely observed, Iraqi and Syrian civil wars are portraying less of a confrontation between Daesh and the respective governments, and more of a Syrian rivalry between Shias and Sunnis. Newspaper headlines have been continuously telling us about the hiring of Sunni and Shia recruits from Pakistan by Daesh and Al-Zainebiyoun respectively for Iraqi and Syrian battle grounds. Despite all the precautionary measures by the Pakistani government, a large number of militants moved to Middle-East due to Pakistan’s porous border with Afghanistan and Iran. Media has also revealed the involvement of Iranian Revolutionary Guards in training and funding of foreign Shia brigades; fighters are given heavy salaries of $1200 per month. They are given forty-five days initial training in Iran and six months in Iraq and Syria. Similarly, Daesh has also hired recruits from Pakistan on salaries of $500 per month.

For those who are fighting in Syria and Iraq, it might be a justified war for ideology, sect or identity, but being a nationalist, I only see one thing- Pakistanis killing other Pakistanis in foreign battle grounds. My fears are attached with the dislodgement of these Sunni and Shia militants from Syria and Iraq and their return to homes. Are we ready to face and bear their left-over grievances from Syria and Iraq and resumption of sectarian rift in Pakistan? What will happen when they reach Pakistan? Are we ready to deal with any such trouble? They are injected with hatred against other sects and constructed to fight; they only know fighting and bloodshed. They are getting good salaries for fighting their so-called divine cause in Middle-East. On their return, they will not find any substitute of their ex-employment i.e.: militancy. They will definitely seek for opportunities, and anti-Pakistan elements may use them to manipulate sectarian fault line in the country. Unfortunately, they are in huge numbers which is why it would be difficult for the government to manage them. The dire need of time is to strengthen the bond of nationalism among the citizens of Pakistan. We must focus on our national identity rather sectarian identity. Nobody recognises us as anything other than our national identities, Sunni and Shia militants are tagged as Pakistani militants before any other label. Government must build a strong national narrative to cater the expected sectarian rift in Pakistan. Media should also launch a positive propaganda campaign to construct nationalist perception among the individuals. A perception shapes-up an attitude, which eventually reflects in behaviour and actions. Religious clergy from all the sects should shake hands to bring about positive societal transformation in Pakistan. Religious leadership has strong social standing in Pakistan, they not only influence people but people obey their words as holy verdict. Alliance of Shia-Sunni clergy will definitely bring a fruitful result in sustaining social peace and stability in the country. Pakistan- the land of peaceful people has already borne bloodshed of thousands of people, now it is the time to live the dream of our national heroes, dreams of those who chose to sleep under tons of mud just to see us alive and live peacefully. Let’s live in unity under one flag without dividing ourselves into factions based on caste, colour, creed and sect so that no anti-Pakistani element could ever imagine to rule us. Let’s promise ourselves to embrace Pakistani nationalism by keeping our sectarian identities at back.