I am not going to be proper in my speech nor would I try to be politically correct either because I am not running for office or a Presidential election. I am Sania Iqbal Siddiqui, and a Pakistani. Being born in Pakistan is now considered to be a sin which is supposed to be redeemed by being diplomatic in our speech and degrading our beliefs for the sake of global progression. I personally, am appalled by the hypocritical West. They claim to have ‘freedom of expression’ but trade it for racist and sometimes xenophobic remarks about Pakistani culture and its place in the world today. But then, it is not their fault either. We, Pakistanis give them excuses for their xenophobic behaviour by being divided within ourselves.
Quite recently, we celebrated our 68th Independence Day. But I ask of you, we have this ‘jazba’ for 14th August only on 14th August. We are divided by political/liguisitic/regional/classicist/sectarian ideologies yet only become Pakistanis for a handful of days. It is pathetic. We don’t feel honoured talking in Urdu anymore and make fun of people who try to speak it well. The same can be said for regional languages, some which are in a process of complete assimilation. We didn’t become independent. We regained our independence! By regaining our independence from the British Raj, we declined as a culture and as a country. Before the British invaded the Sub-Continent, we were a flourishing culture and were seen with awe by the Western explorers. Now, what I feel is that the Western dogma is one of reproach. They blame Pakistan for everything yet fail to see within themselves, their own shortcomings and narrow mindedness. For example, they would not bat an eye when a woman would wear a mini-skirt but would have an overtly racist attitude towards women wearing an abaya. They would deem it as a symbol of oppression but to be honest, it is a symbol of modesty and a cultural archetype. If Western women are free to roam around naked, why is there a ban on women, protecting their modesties? This is very hypocritical of the West in my opinion. But so is the hypocrisy in Pakistani men. They would see Bollywood item numbers and derive pleasures by watching porn and lust after Olivia Wilde or Angelina Jolie; yet if they see a Muslim woman wearing a sleeveless tanktop or a tight fitted suit, then she is vulgar and trying too hard to fit in. However, I will not delve too deep into the global politics for fear that this will turn out to be some ramblings of a madwoman. Then, this article will go from being a very brief understanding of Pakistan – to suit the nature of this blog – in the world today to raging feminists dominating the political scenario.
Whatever the case maybe, Pakistan is very similar to an infant United States of America. Even after the War of Independence in 1776, there were people who were resistant to change and were loyal to the British Empire and yet there were others who were Patriots and fought for George Washington’s America (dubbed as Washington’s Spies who helped in defeating the British). Even after emanicipating from British rule, there was a division between the North and South parts of America in terms of views on slavery and lifestyle. Where the North was more progressive and cosmopolitan; the South however clinged to the idea of keeping black slaves and conservative family values. Pakistan is no different. There is a division between people in terms of who we are serving and if the governement is free to excercise their might in front of the gloal leaders to protect Pakistans’ sovereignty.
Furthermore, America didn’t have equal rights for the African population or even African-American until Martin Luther King Jr. led his people from Salem to Washington and demanded that they be given equal civil and voting rights. But the most baffling thing was that ‘white’ women didn’t even have voting rights until the 1950s, even though they were supposed to be quintessentially true Americans. It is deplorable that the true Americans were the Red Indians, who were massaccred and history witnessed it as a racial cleansing. I am not going to talk about it either in this blog.The America of today took almost three centuries to reach where it is today. Pakistan is an infant compared to America, yet it has made leaps and bounds in its 68 years that America did not. We had the first woman Prime Minister Shaheed Benazir Bhutto, in the Muslim world and women had voting rights which were not given to our American counterparts. Like many countries, Pakistan is not perfect. Therefore, I am appalled by some overseas Pakistanis’ outlook on Pakistan. Some say, “yeh [Pakistan] kabhi nahin sudhray ga” and some question whether the natives have any knowledge at all. I am pretty sure, some Americans wouldn’t even know where Pakistan is located.
Whatever the case maybe, Pakistan has soul like Seoul itself. It has potential to be a global power player and it is a Nuclear power as well. We blame our politicians for not being honest and loyal to Pakistan, the police force, for being corrupt etc etc. What we need to realise is that we need to change as well. I am pretty sure most of you would throw garbage out of a moving vehicle and break signals and leave no stone unturned when coming or going the wrong way on the road. Some of us love to spit out paan ki pheek because it is a very noble thing to do. I am sure that as soon as you board a plane to America or Vilayat, you will be following the rules as if you had been a dutiful citizen of Pakistan. This is pathetic. Whatever the case maybe, we need not to observe this ‘jazba-e-junoon’ only on 14th August, but to be proud to be Pakistanis and try to make Pakistan a cleaner and more progressive country than go back to the stoneage and be relegated to nothing but dust.