Omer Amir |
Pakistan’s public discourse has been hijacked preluding the general elections 2018. As a matter of fact, it has always been hijacked in instability, and it isn’t the Khalai Makhlooq (Alien Creatures) who have hijacked it. But it is the so-called self-proclaimed intellectuals who have hijacked it once again, sowing the seeds of confusion and dissent among the unsuspecting populace.
The pendulum of opinion in this country swings from center to right and there is no space for left, as there was no space for left in the cold war era the United States.
I, for once, at this crucial juncture in the country’s history will not allow these pseudo-liberals to hijack the public narrative on my part. My brought was of a hardcore patriot. The narrative was of The Nation newspaper, watching Zaid Hamid’s Brasstacks and of stories from Hamid Gul’s teenage friend and later brother-in-arm himself. However, joining Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) and being exposed to the liberal discourse there opened me up to the other side of the story. Therefore, I am in a good position to adjudicate why the pseudo-liberals lean against the greater national good and what is their only raison d’etre.
Firstly, as a cohort, this group of intellectuals is as fragmented as shreds of broken glass. Their only uniting force is hate of the military uniform. It can be called an inferiority complex or something along those lines. However, just after scratching the surface one realizes they are the most disjointed group in this country. They cannot unite on even Musharraf’s treachery against the country’s constitution and his Kargil adventure wasting so many soldiers’ lives by some of them saying ‘lekin wo Nawaz Sharif sa to behtar tha’ (but he was better than Nawaz Sharif). He was better because he used to join them in drinking alcohol and partying at the Presidency. Well if that is their criteria of being better, then they have no right or intellect to participate in national discourse.
Secondly, this group will carry the flag of democracy unwaveringly but will never consider the folks on the streets as equal citizens of the Islamic Republic. They will even make annoyed faces and noises at the mention of the country as an Islamic republic. Forgetting the fact that it is the religion of their ancestors that promises equality and justice as can be seen from the era of the four rightly guided Caliphs; not any modern day Movement for Justice or Western illiberal democracy i.e. the United States of America; and in the truest sense of the word these traits of equality and justice are the hallmarks of a mature, flourishing democracy. These self-proclaimed intellectuals are actually themselves the principal anti-democratic forces. To garner this, they just need to peak into their privileged daily lives and their condescending attitude towards their less privileged countrymen.
The most interesting element that shows how much these pseudo-liberals have been blinded by their hate towards their own army can be seen by their latest political leaning. They have started to sing laurels of Mian Nawaz Sharif (once their arch nemesis and according to most of them the so-called patron of extremist right-wingers). This tilt shows these pseudos’ never-ending search for meaning and their existence in a constant state of nihilism. They are living in a conundrum based exclusively as reactionary forces united in their sole aim to hamper nation-building.
The narrative was of The Nation newspaper, watching Zaid Hamid’s Brasstacks and of stories from Hamid Gul’s teenage friend and later brother-in-arm himself.
These intellectuals should learn from the lessons of their predecessors when their search for democracy in the era of Ayub Khan’s unprecedented economic growth and green revolution brought about the breaking apart of the nation; which was built so valiantly on the sacrifices as much of Bengalis as any Muhajir or West Pakistani. Their overzealous quest for pseudo-liberalism gave way to extremist elements to fill the vacuum left in the discourse of the masses that could not make sense of that liberalism. Their policy of appeasing minority sects and putting them in positions of power alienated the majority and gave birth to sectarian outfits.
Conclusively, the point I am trying to drive home is that these self-proclaimed intellectuals are as detached from domestic ground realities as they are from regional geostrategic and geopolitical compulsions. This can just be seen from the minor example of Mr. Jibran Nasir, a loudspeaker/mouthpiece for these intellectuals. Recently, he went into the hub of a lower-middle-class neighborhood and refused to accept the dominant narrative with regards to the finality of prophethood. This proved to be a disastrous situation for him as resultantly, he put his life at risk.
The masses in this country have been attuned differently and connecting with them is something that these self-proclaimed intellectuals lack and therefore they can never be in reality a mouthpiece/representative for them. They can only be so for their limited bubble and that too to a limited extent due to the internal fragmentation. The pendulum of opinion in this country swings from center to right and there is no space for left, as there was no space for left in the cold war era the United States. This is the reality and the sooner the self-proclaimed intellectuals including the current caretaker Chief Minister of Punjab accept it, the better it will be for them and the land they live in.
Omer Aamir is an Associate Attorney General for Pakistan Office. The views expressed in this article are author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.