It should be mandatory for some members of our political class to obtain a no-objection certificate (NOC) before they open their mouths, allowing the absurdities that fly off their twisted tongues to fall upon the unhappy ears of the public. One such character is Interior Minister Rehman Malik, whose latest brainwave is that artists, journalists, students and media persons may not cross our hallowed borders without permission from his confused ministry. This is to be done “in the interest of Pakistan’s security and to safeguard the country’s prestige”.
I can almost see the terrifyingly dangerous Madeeha Gauhar, armed with the lethal weapons of mass seduction — music, sufi poetry, dance, beauty and messages of peace — surreptitiously crossing the Wagah Border and unleashing “Bullah”, thereby endangering the national security of our beloved homeland! Heaven forbid that any poor mortal in this region should hear the music and message of peace and universal love. Songs of peace and poetry of love dilute the land of the pure and disturb the comfortable hatred we have nurtured for our security.
And if Madeeha, in a spiteful moment, resorts to the ultimate weapon “Aik Thi Nani”, she could really create a national security breach. This play is particularly pernicious because it disturbs what we have long consigned to our collective unconscious — our blood bonds across the border and memories of a time before the rupture. It celebrates dance as an art that transcends borders and boundaries. It incites laughter and joy, emotions naturally prohibited for mysterious security reasons. Dance is unpatriotic, unmanly and unseemly for a public more accustomed to suicide bombings, target killings and mass murder, all activities worthy of a man of honour!
The Rafi Peer Group is no less frightening in the havoc they wreak upon this country. They have the audacity to bring soul music — food for the soul — to a country that has no need for it. Why nurture the spirit through the intoxicating renditions of Abida Parveen or the late Pathanay Khan when all we need are bodies — dead bodies, bodies for suicide bombings and bodies for parts on sale! The annual soul music festival that brings musicians from all over the world to regale Lahorites with their haunting melodies and brilliant compositions negates our security because it is a waste of money. We would rather spend on new F-16s, better bombs and more efficient guns, and no music in the world can match the sweet roar of guns blazing away.
And, of course, remember how lethal students can be. Knowledge, after all, is a weapon, and a powerful one. What if, God forbid, they exchanged it with the enemy? The enemy could use that knowledge against our security apparatus. What if they learned all the wrong things while studying abroad? Like thinking, analysing, questioning, challenging and contesting? Such unsafe weapons should not be provided to students as this can upset our national security balance. It is better that they remain subjected to our own wonderful textbooks that teach them how best to hate our enemies and how to protect this hapless nation surrounded by enemies on all sides.
The most dangerous of all breeds comes in the form of journalists, the media. Our innocent populations have to be protected from the truth which can poison the minds of people. Journalists have this irritating habit of snooping around and digging out facts which the guarantors of our security must hide — when innocence is bliss ‘tis folly to be wise’, so why know what is really happening.
It makes sense then that instead of security risks like Madeeha Gauhar, the Rafi Peer Group, Samina Ahmad, students and journalists, we should be exporting jihadis across the forbidden border so that we can show those infidels that we are a masculine nation that can kill, maim and murder with wild abandon. For them, of course, no visa requirements, no NOCs, no worry! They can reach there under the gunfire of Rehman Malik’s verbal volleys which move from the comical to the ludicrous. It is imperative that the likes of Rehman Malik obtain an NOC before inflicting their tongue-lashes on an already beaten public.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 2nd, 2011.
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