The most depressing thing this past week, amidst the myriad of things depressing in the incohesive, incoherent state of Pakistan (including the gunning down in the capital of the federal minister for minorities), was reading George Fulton’s farewell to a country he so passionately adopted.
Well, George, passion and desire cannot last; they are fleeting, elusive and ignore reality. The time inevitably draws nigh when truth dawns and prevails. You have had a good innings. What has killed your passion for the Islamic Republic, incapable of getting any act together, is the national mindset which, of course, has been with us for decades, long before you came on the scene.
It all started when socialist-democrat Zulfikar Ali Bhutto laid down the path for Ziaul Haq’s religiosity — but that is now conveniently forgotten, even forgiven. In the name of religion, to constitutionally transform an entire community into a minority, ignoring the fact that it had been part of the majority since the country’s birth and then, later to banish alcohol, gambling and Sundays, with the aim of clinging to power, is a sure recipe for disaster. And, by George, so it has proven to be, spreading tentacles wider and wider as the years have passed.
What is frightening is that it was the aftermath of the Salmaan Taseer murder that brought it all home; that the horrible blasphemy laws, in full operation for all the years you have been here, finally hit target. That the so-called ‘liberals’ were silenced out of fear, that rose petals were showered on a religious fanatic who had murdered in cold blood.
Is there hope? Well, definitely not for George and for millions who think as does he. We know what ails the Republic, apart from its ghastly collection of civilian and military self-styled politicos who lack any intent and will to do right by their country, who uphold all that is black about it — as does this present pathetic prime minister with his daily fear-inspired statements that the blasphemy laws will remain with us, dangerous and deadly.
This is a country which bans a film — Slackistan — because it depicts with some accuracy the vapidity of life for its youth. On the other hand, it is readying itself to view with passion and fervour (of the religious type) Aik Aur Ghazi, a film in which a convicted criminal is hailed as a hero because he has killed in the name of his religion, believing, as does cowardly hero-murderer Mumtaz Qadri, that those alleged to have committed blasphemy must die — the blasphemy laws are the sole laws that are followed in this glorious Islamic Republic where honour is held in such high esteem.
We need to learn a lesson from the Tunisians who were on the march last month. Banners were spotted, held up by protesters, which read “Politics ruins religion and religion ruins politics.” We failed to heed Muhammad Ali Jinnah when he told his budding legislators that religion is not the business of the state. His followers scoffed at him. When the country was but nine years old, religion was made very much the business of the state and it has continued to be ingrained to the extent where it is now in danger of stifling what is left of the state.
Perhaps the message of the young Tunisians may spread — but let us not hold our breath because it is the falsified message of the mullahs and maulvis which is apparently heeded by the youth of Pakistan.
No, George, this is no country for young children, this is no country in which to bring up and school your son. You need to get him out, and fast.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 5th, 2011.
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