Compromising the dream | Pakistan Today

Compromising the dream

  • Is the M art of the problem or the solution?

Jinnah’s dream of non-discrimination appears to have dissolved into a filthy slush composed of equal parts hypocrisy and ignorance. There are many incidents that support this imagery, but one of the recent ones took place when Captain Safdar along with his wife Mariam visited the mausoleum of the father of the nation Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah in Karachi. Here Captain Safdar saw fit to indulge in a few slogans, ‘respect the vote’ and ‘long live the mother of the nation’ at the grave of Jinnah’s sister Fatima, who rests next to her brother in the mausoleum.

The Captain is a man who is no asset to his political party from which he was in fact suspended in 2012, returning to it no doubt because of his position as the son-in-law of the leader of the party, his only claim to fame. Captain Safdar obviously does not know what Ms Jinnah and her brother stood for, and how much their views were opposed to his own.

Dr Mian, after having first been removed from the Advisory Council had his lecture cancelled this month, only because he was to deliver it. The lecture dealing with economics, sponsored by the IBA, was scheduled to take place via zoom. Where was the PM when the IBA received threats and was forced to cancel the lecture? Any statements, measures or even apologies? Is this compromising for your dream or compromising on it? It appears most of all to be compromising it

Some part of the Quaid’s vision of Pakistan were stated in these words addressed to the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan on the 11th of August 1947:

“If you change your past and work together in a spirit that every one of you, no matter to what community he belongs, no matter what relations he had with you in the past, no matter what his colour, caste or creed, is first, second and last a citizen of this State with equal rights, privileges, and obligations, there will be no end to the progress you will make.

We are starting in the days where there is no discrimination, no distinction between one community and another, no discrimination between one caste or creed and another. We are starting with this fundamental principle that we are all citizens and equal citizens of one State.”

That was a great message in support of tolerance and equality.

Captain Safdar’s sloganeering was a gimmick and as such disrespectful of a national mausoleum. The bigger factor though is that the slogans at the Jinnah mausoleum were raised by him, a man who three years ago indulged in a tirade against the Ahmadiyya community in the National Assembly, accusing its members of being a “threat against the country, its constitution and ideology,” even calling for action against them. He also objected to the naming the Physics centre at the Quaid-i-Azam University after Professor Abdus Salam who happened to belong to the Ahmadiyya sect, a man who brought respect to the country when he received the Nobel Prize for Physics.

Three years ago Captain Safdar called Abdus Salam an infidel and demanded that the name be changed back to its original. He further called for action against the community in the shape of a law forbidding the recruitment of Ahmadis to the armed forces. Almost definitely he has no idea that Pakistan’s first foreign minister Muhammad Zafarullah Khan, one of the major supporters of Jinnah and his dream of a separate homeland, was a prominent member of the Ahmadiyya community.

When Captain Safdar was arrested as a result of his behavior at the mausoleum therefore, it is more the manner of his arrest that is annoying. One has little sympathy for the man himself.

There are many theories regarding Pakistan’s PM’s stance on this incident. These have already been discussed elsewhere. The point here is to wonder at the PM’s general attitude to matters of discrimination and equality. Is it any better than Captain Safdar’s or does it also form part of the ignorant hypocritical slush into which Jinnah’s dream has dissolved?

Soon after coming into office the Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan appointed Atif Rehman Mian as a member of an Economic Advisory Council to advise on economic and financial issues pertaining to Pakistan. The appointment seemed to indicate the new PM was on the right track.

Unlike many other appointees to posts in the country, Mian was eminently suitable for the position. Born in Pakistan he currently serves as Professor of Economics, Policy and Public Finance at Princeton University. He ranks among the top 25 economists of the world. The IMF in 2014 was responsible for this ranking of persons it considered likely to shape the world’s thinking about the global economy. To have such a person to advise the government would have been a coup indeed. There was also the fact that Mian belonged to the Ahmadiyya sect, and the new government appeared to be displaying shades of tolerance. Yet some people objected to Mian’s appointment based on that very  fact and rather than standing up to them the Prime Minister took that objection on board and acted upon it by removing Dr Mian from the Economic Advisory Council soon after his nomination. End of high expectations.

“Compromise for your dream, but never compromise on your dream,” Imran Khan once said. One of his dreams he has said is to make the country into a Riasat-e-Medina, a state like Medina. Hold back your smiles, and wonder only how anyone can admit to such a dream while being such a master of performing U-turns as Mr. Khan is.

It is as disrespectful of the real Riasat-e-Medina when the person who claims to have set up another one fails to support minorities within the supposed new one.

Dr Mian, after having first been removed from the Advisory Council had his lecture cancelled this month, only because he was to deliver it. The lecture dealing with economics, sponsored by the IBA, was scheduled to take place via zoom. Where was the PM when the IBA received threats and was forced to cancel the lecture? Any statements, measures or even apologies? Is this compromising for your dream or compromising on it? It appears most of all to be compromising it.

Rabia Ahmed

The writer is a freelance columnist. Read more by her at http://rabia-ahmed.blogspot.com/



2 Comments

  1. Imran Ahmed said:

    Inconvenient truths that need to be faced & understood.

  2. Imran Ahmed said:

    Inconvenient truths that need to be faced & understood.

  3. Imran Ahmed said:

    Inconvenient truths that need to be faced & understood.

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