State with religion…..state without a religion…. methinks confusing but important question.
Pakistan on the brink of election with the intelligentsia geared towards presenting either their papers to the Returning Officers or their point of views about the kind of State they want Pakistan to be.
News articles are mostly in criticism of Section 62 and 63 mostly criticizing its inventor than the Sections themselves lest the writer comes under contempt. Now that ‘all’ the people have magically passed the criteria set out, methinks it is absolutely amazing to see Islamic law being brazen in the land of the pure! Appropriate knowledge of Islam never meant to pass all the Tom, Dick and Harries but somehow every educated fool and uneducated scholar has equal hold on religion.
But that is all on the political ground, something for the world to see. On the individual level every Pakistani is being influenced by multiple actors in the game, the politicians, the journalists, the anchors, the bloggers (oh yes we do have a part to play) , the social media fanatics, the people from across the border and the foreign channels. When someone says we have to blame ourselves for our state of being, I agree! What sort of signals and messages one accepts is entirely up to the individual. Not everyone can make a fool out of a person, and if ignorant enough anyone can be fooled.
The other day a strange incident happened. If the same would have happened with an ignorant Pakistani minority citizen, the result would have been totally different. A person from across the border, lets name him Mr. Postage (original name hinted he must have been a Hindu), messaged me on Facebook trying to convince me to ‘relocate across the border’ simply coz Pakistan was a horrible place for minorities. Taken aback, I asked him why he thought so. His reply involved persecution of Hazara Shia, Ahmedis and Balochis, while also citing kidnapping of Hindu girls. I tried explaining to honourable Mr. Postage that Hazara Shias and Ahmedis were Muslims, henceforth not a minority. Balochis have a province so what made him think they were a minority. Yes Hindus were a minority. He seemed unconvinced. Instead of asking, he wanted to prove that the killings were not targeted or political in nature. I asked him a simple question- how does he think people get an idea where to bomb coz Shia and Sunni don’t have any distinguishing marks on their bodies. A person could be a Sunni if it were a random bombing incident. The simple fact that people are picked out proves that these people are targeted.
Mr.Postage didn’t agree, but had no counter argument. What he did have was a prophecy for Balochistan- it will be a free state by 2018. This simply made me smile! Next came the be-careful-of-the-Muslims stance. It was awkward coming from a presumed Hindu coz Hindus lost this right when they mass murdered Muslims in Gujarat. Another accusation that Postage ‘thought’ would tick me off was ‘Did you read the kalma’. All he got was a levelled reply telling him that knowing the kalma does not change/alter any religious inclinations. He concluded that anyone feeling levelled and not against Pakistan and the Muslims is a ‘supporter of terrorism’. What people across the border forget to see is that we in Pakistan ‘know’ what is happening in our country. We have been facing things while you have been lying on your beds just reading off material on your screens- when you don’t know the ground realities don’t try to be experts and tell people what to do.
After all this had happened, I sat for awhile and just gave it a little thought. What if a really dumb and uneducated soul was handling this situation? Would they have given Postage the right answers? Would Postage be able to convince them? Maybe yes……maybe they would lose their cool and fight back….. maybe Postage was just having a bad day convincing people. His mere gut that he tried tells a lot about what is happening within circles across the border…….