Blaming an entire nation for government perpetrated ills is something that the human race, irrespective of country, cast or creed, is especially good at: Pakistanis vociferously blame Afghans for the gun and drug culture which has developed over the past 40 years, Afghans blame Pakistanis for all of their ills, Pakistanis blame Indians for terrorist attacks and what is tantamount to civil war in Balochistan, Indians blame Pakistanis for just about everything they can think of and especially in connection with Kashmir, the British blame the influx of western Europeans for escalating levels of unemployment and homelessness et al.
This enmasse culture of incalculable hatred is whipped up and otherwise promoted by those in line to benefit from the frenzy thus generated, our very own federal interior minister, Rehman Malik, being a prime example of the latter. Crowd mentality, however, has a habit of disintegrating when an individual member of the public at large is put on the spot and asked to explain, in detail, exactly why it is that they are so vehemently against a person or people of a different tribe, creed, country or whatever, as the majority of them simply cannot justify what they have, in essence, been ‘conditioned’ to think.
Take the ‘gun and drug culture’ for example: firearms have always been readily available in Pakistan as we manufacture our own and import them too; heroin was, until very recently, a major crop in our tribal areas where even now it continues to be cultivated on a small scale and, to take this one step further, most of upper Punjab, including Islamabad, is home to billions upon billions of marijuana plants that grow wild even in front of the Supreme Court and Government House and which appear to be especially partial to flourishing around police stations. Any rational minded person should thus be aware that importing any of the aforementioned items from Afghanistan is not an actual requirement and that the ‘trade’ currently in existence is only made possible by Pakistanis buying the stuff — so why blame the people of Afghanistan for something we have brought upon ourselves?
Likewise with the ultra-mysterious ‘foreign hands’ Mr Malik so loves to blame for blatant governmental incompetence and the murderous political infighting which is so obviously indigenous that even he must surely realise it has not been instigated by ‘out of state actors’ and yet his finger, like a magnet to magnetic north, points towards India all the time and we, the nation, are supposed to follow suit and spew forth yet more ridiculous accusations to fuel a fire we didn’t light and, on the whole, don’t want to as it would be we, the nation, not our supposed rulers, who would die to foot the bill.
Intentionally fomenting racism and hatred to be used, when fully primed, as a weapon of mass destruction against innocent people is a crime against humanity as a whole, one which completely fails to take into account that those going about their daily business of struggling to survive in an increasingly divisive world just happen to be homosapiens too.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 6th, 2011.