Dreams of grandeur for Pakistan's elite
Wild parties are fun and progressive values are important, but the assumption that there is a causal relationship between the two is bordering on idiocy.
There are several armies in Pakistan. First are the regular Faujis. They’re a dependable lot; one can generally rely on them to own a vast amount of land, produce decent quality corn flakes and stage a military coup every decade or so. Then there is the army of God. This is a versatile lot – they function as terrorists, loony ideologues, charitable organisations and scapegoats and fodder for dozens of conspiracy theories. Lastly, there is the great army of liberal Pakistanis who represent enlightened moderation.
Oh wait, just kidding.
Let me rephrase that: lastly, there is a minuscule group of elite Pakistanis who believe that by going about their daily lives in the manner most convenient to them, they are waging some kind of war on the dark forces of society. Art is no longer art, fashion is no longer fashion. It is all part of ‘Showing the world the real Pakistan’, ‘Challenging extremism’, and similar lofty aims.
This is not to say that the elite should live their lives differently or conform to conservative ideals. It is merely an attempt to call attention to the delusion of statements regarding how liberal Pakistanis project a good image of the country abroad; how Pakistan Fashion Week is a slap in the face of extremists; how throwing amazing parties showcases the progressive values of the hosts.
Let’s be serious now
Nobody outside of Pakistan really cares about how the elite live their lives. The evils that plague the rest of society will continue to do so in spite of the beliefs or behaviour of a few Pakistanis. Unless the Taliban are being invited to enjoy and tolerate runway fashion shows, it will have absolutely no bearing on religious extremism anywhere.
It is here that I will come to the most important and most vexing point of all: wild parties do not a progressive thinker make. Wild parties are fun, and progressive values are important, but the assumption that there is a causal relationship between the two is bordering on idiocy. Somewhere along the line, the idea that one must be well-read or strive for tolerance and humanity was lost in the average socialite’s definition of enlightenment.
So fight on, brave armies, but don’t squabble over influence. Continue to stage coups, enforce Shariah, throw parties - but for the sake of rationality, don’t fool yourself into thinking your cause is any more noble than it really is.