BAHAWALPUR: Naveen Naqvi’s article makes for grim reading but with the ring of many truths about it. There are islands of sanity and moderation, but surrounded by oceans of extremism and hatred. There is no nodal point around which ‘moderation’ can coalesce, and the political system is ossified, turned inwards and concerned principally with the maintenance of the status quo. This is neither a culture nor an environment where change can be catalysed or welcomed. Those who would seek not to be complicit will be/are neutralised or marginalised into safe enclaves – the English language press being one of those.
Those of us that write in the English press are kidding ourselves if we think we are really making a difference. We are coralled, because the real power of the written word in Pakistan lies in the Urdu and other languages press. Is the establishment concerned with what we have to say? Of course not – we are speaking to a powerless minority of English speakers and readers. Now if us moderates could get ourselves into print in the Urdu press, to raise our heads above the parapet there, then perhaps complicity might be effectively challenged. As it is, we are little more than polite chatter in the corner of the drawing room.
Published in the Express Tribune, June 3rd, 2010.