Call­ing out hypocrisy

Pakistan Observer - - OPINION - US­MAN ZIA

Free­dom of speech and ex­pres­sion is a much touted phe­nom­e­non, es­pe­cially by those who iden­tify them­selves as lib­er­als and pro­gres­sives on Pak­istani po­lit­i­cal spec­trum. In­tel­lec­tu­als ad­her­ing to all sorts of ide­o­log­i­cal be­liefs and agen­das per­sis­tently make a point in favour of this in­alien­able right. For all the vigour and pas­sion that goes into this de­mand for greater lib­erty to ex­press hu­man ideas, the all too im­por­tant ques­tion re­mains whether they re­ally do be­lieve in what they are try­ing to sell? Well, it seems that hu­man bi­ases do creep in. Noam Chom­sky once re­marked, “If you are re­ally in favour of free speech, then you are in favour of free­dom of speech for pre­cisely the views you de­spise”. For as much as our “sec­u­lar” in­tel­li­gentsia takes up an is­sue with peo­ple be­ing la­belled as “in­fi­dels”, it is ironic how eas­ily they tend to bracket some­one, merely ex­press­ing his or her views, with ex­trem­ists and mil­i­tants or at best, tag them as sym­pa­thiz­ers. It is an ex­er­cise to curb any dis­sent­ing voice or an opin­ion con­trary to theirs. Such wayward be­hav­iour is not just at a dis­play in the dis­course on free­dom of speech. It could also be seen in many Con­sti­tu­tional and le­gal bat­tles. Re­cent ex­e­cu­tion of Mum­taz Qadri is a case in hand. De­spite re­peated ar­gu­ments against death penalty, one prom­i­nent lawyer made an ex­cep­tion in this case by adopt­ing a dif­fer­ent line of rea­son­ing. His as­ser­tion im­plied that the hang­ing was per­fectly in con­for­mity with the Con­sti­tu­tion and while he does have an is­sue with the Is­lamic pro­vi­sion in the Con­sti­tu­tion, it has to be im­ple­mented in let­ter and spirit. This orig­i­nal­ist and tex­tual ap­proach would have been ap­pre­ci­ated had it been more sin­cere and could have been traced back to other le­gal and Con­sti­tu­tional dis­po­si­tions. That, un­for­tu­nately, is not the case. When one is all for dis­band­ing Coun­cil of Is­lamic Ide­ol­ogy in­stead of re­form­ing and strength­en­ing it, when one ar­gues against vet­ting of laws in the light of Is­lamic in­junc­tions and when one strives for so­cial changes that vi­o­late the spirit of Con­sti­tu­tion, then they lose their cred­i­bil­ity and have to be pointed out for selec­tive bias. It is true that all in­di­vid­u­als have a right to hold their opin­ions and strug­gle for a change they as­pire. What is also sig­nif­i­cant though is the need to call out against hypocrisy, big­otry and self- right­eous­ness that man­i­fests it­self any­where along the ide­o­log­i­cal spec­trum. — Islamabad

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Pakistan

© PressReader. All rights reserved.