Where is Pak­istan head­ing?

Pakistan Observer - - EDITORIALS & COMMENTS - Email: za­heerb­hatti1@gmail.com Za­heer Bhatti

WHAT is hap­pen­ing to­day, is a sys­tem­atic de-sen­si­tiza tion of the value sys­tem in what was once proudly called the Is­lamic Repub­lic of Pak­istan. Ev­ery other day now, there is a new coinage of Pak­istan’s iden­tity. I was surf­ing through var­i­ous chan­nels be­fore pre­par­ing to sign off and catch some sleep be­fore Sehri for fast­ing, when I en­coun­tered Orya Maq­bool Jan a renowned po­lit­i­cal and cul­tural an­a­lyst, fum­ing in his ap­pear­ance in a rel­a­tively new Chan­nel over an ad be­ing fre­quently aired by the elec­tronic me­dia in sup­port of Women’s free­dom and em­pow­er­ment, wherein a girl with the mother on her side, de­fies her fa­ther to go for a women’s na­tional cricket team se­lec­tion, wins se­lec­tion and wo­man of the match award in a match she plays; end­ing with the fa­ther eat­ing his words and realizing he was wrong.

While Orya’s lament I reckon was that the ad had de­lib­er­ately fid­dled with the so­cial norm of the Pak­istani Mus­lim home where the fa­ther in­vari­ably takes de­ci­sions not merely be­cause he is the bread-earner, but also one who has greater op­por­tu­nity to ob­serve the va­garies and vi­cis­si­tudes of the so­cial en­vi­ron­ment out­side the home, and is there­fore in a bet­ter po­si­tion to guide his family and off-springs. What this ad showed was an at­tempt in fic­tion to dis­count the above value sys­tem pro­mot­ing the de­sired make-be­lief end. But what Orya put on-air shortly af- ter, was an eye-opener what was in re­al­ity hap­pen­ing around in Pak­istani So­ci­ety given the re­cent wave of in­di­vid­ual lib­er­ties cham­pi­oned by a par­tic­u­lar sec­tion of Pak­istan’s opin­ion-mak­ers. Cour­tesy a Chan­nel rel­e­gated to an oft ro­tat­ing num­ber, this was an in­ter­view by its an­chor with a group of fe­male Pak­istani cricket aspi­rants, aired by Orya over his plat­form chan­nel with for­mer’s per­mis­sion.

The tal­ented girls nar­rated with dis­traught the price in hon­our they are asked to pay by their male han­dlers in or­der to wear the Pak­istani colours. The words some of them used are not re­peat­able and con­found the cham­pi­ons of free­dom and em­pow­er­ment of the Pak­istani wo­man, who mar­vel in at­tack­ing and ridi­cul­ing the Pak­istani home con­straints. They never tire gun­ning for hon­our killings in the coun­try and have suc­ceeded in at­tract­ing the UN at­ten­tion to­wards this trend in Pak­istan ex­ag­ger­ated over me­dia, but have been to­tally obliv­i­ous of the reper­cus­sions of lib­er­ties they wish to be en­dorsed by So­ci­ety. By no means jus­ti­fy­ing hon­our killings, but would these ac­tivists with­out a con­science, pause to re­flect if they were en­dors­ing elope­ment or bet­ter put run­ning away of girls from their homes, jus­tify young males en­tic­ing them, and whether they would mar­vel at their own sons and daugh­ters do­ing same!

They are ei­ther pur­posely ap­a­thetic to the trauma a teenage girl causes to the en­tire family in elop­ing with an oft ruf­fian paramour who ex­ploits her emo­tion­ally and sex­u­ally and in­vari­ably aban­dons her, or are rank ig­no­rant. The re­jec­tion of the whole family in the So­ci­ety as a con­se­quence is never the con­cern of these lib­er­als. Has any of these Hu­man rights pro­tag­o­nists ever tried to reach or trans­late the agony of such af­fected moth­ers, fa­thers, sis­ters, sons and daugh­ters, who are left to face the So­ci­ety! asks Orya. The an­swer is ‘no’ and a stony un­ruf­fled si­lence.

I had hardly re­cov­ered from shock and depression over Orya’s ac­count un­able to sleep the rest of the night that the very next morn­ing an ex­tract from Ghu­lam Ak­bar’s se­ri­al­ized ac­count of his book ‘Hum Kaun Hain’ date­line 11.12.2007 ti­tled ‘Full-time masti non-stop fun’ gnawed at my con­science yet again. This was an anal­y­sis of yet another ad pre­pared and aired at the fag end of Mushar­raf’s ‘enlightened mod­er­ate’ era. Ghu­lam Ak­bar one of the few voices left keep­ing the flame of Pak­istan’s Ide­ol­ogy and Mus­lim so­cial norms proudly alight sur­mises, that this is not just the ti­tle or theme of an ad but re­flec­tion of an en­tire evolv­ing cul­ture which to­gether with songs like ‘Nuchch Pan­ja­ban Nuchch’ and sev­eral other themes in ads and pro­grammes, hav­ing tested the fringes of the so-called cen­sor code and ren­der­ing it im­mune, has launched a con­certed as­sault over the sen­si­tiv­i­ties of the Pak­istani So­ci­ety. The irony he rightly says is that in this So­ci­ety, no­tice is taken of some stern po­lit­i­cal crit­i­cism over a TV Chan­nel but there is no one to ques­tion the sanc­tity of the Pak­istani homes and as­sault upon men­tal make-up and psy­che of the younger gen­er­a­tion. It is time for those who wish to save their sons and daugh­ters from dan­ger­ous ingress of ‘full­time masti non-stop fun’ mind­set, to stand up and frus­trate en­emy de­sign.

Cour­tesy the free ac­cess to mod­ern gad­gets of com­mu­ni­ca­tion in­clud­ing the TV Chan­nels, So­cial me­dia, Twit­ter and Face-book over In­ter­net and mo­bile tele­phony, far more dirt is per­me­at­ing the Mus­lim fiber of the Pak­istani So­ci­ety, with no parental guid­ance or check over these neg­a­tive at­tributes com­pared to good these com­mu­ni­ca­tion pos­si­bil­i­ties may be show­er­ing upon hu­man­ity. What Orya or Ghu­lam Ak­bar have hinted at, is only a minis­cule of the moral degra­da­tion to which the Pak­istani So­ci­ety has sunk. One has wit­nessed hor­rific es­capades of moral degra­da­tion that would dwarf any in the worst of So­ci­eties any­where in the world.

The cul­tural in­va­sion which un­til re­cently was be­ing dis­missed as a hoax is to­day so real and com­plete that a for­mer In­dian Pre­mier was right in ex­claim­ing that Pak­istan was be­ing won over through their cul­tural in­gresses over me­dia so com­pletely that In­dia no longer re­quired to at­tack that coun­try. So right also was my dear de­parted friend Khalid Has­san who head­lined one of his pieces in a news­pa­per once as “In­dian Naval in­va­sion of Pak­istan.” He went on to say that In­dia had mis­er­ably failed to brow­beat the Pak­istani youth un­til its semi-nude fe­male dancers and ac­tresses with their bare be­lies and fo­cused ‘navals’ flat­tened them. What Khalid said in sar­casm is so right to­day.

There is hardly a Chan­nel to­day which does not air In­dian Shows, Soaps and Com­mer­cials in bet­ter part of their en­ter­tain­ment quan­tum, obliv­i­ous of im­print they were leav­ing upon the Pak­istani im­pres­sion­able gen­er­a­tion. Un­for­tu­nately even the Pak­istani Prime Min­is­ter feels that there was no cul­tural dif­fer­ence be­tween Pak­istan and In­dia, con­trary to the Fa­ther of the Na­tion cat­e­gor­i­cally af­firm­ing that Mus­lims with their dis­tinct cul­ture and tra­di­tions were a sep­a­rate Na­tion from the Hin­dus who wor­ship the an­i­mal we eat and rel­ish. Where is Pak­istan head­ing to? —The writer is a me­dia pro­fes­sional, mem­ber of Pioneer­ing team of PTV and a vet­eran for­mer Direc­tor of pro­grammes.

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