We are a dead nation

Response to the death of Arshad Sharif

Yet again, we are shocked. The brutal murder of a Pakistani journalist at the hands of Kenyan police has raised many questions. Will these questions ever be answered? I doubt that. And our history supports this doubt.

No value of life:

Growing up in a politically turbulent and foreign – war striven Pakistan, I have seen it all. Terror attacks on school children; people going ‘missing’ mysteriously; popular leaders being killed; journalists getting to their final destination under ‘suspicious’ circumstances; blatant ‘murder’ of masses in the name of ‘law and order’ and you name it. Life becomes invaluable when you are a citizen of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

And why not?! When our own so called ‘protectors’ can very conveniently kill us then it’s no wonder that a Pakistani life is not worth much to foreign officials including the police of Kenya

Lack of Truthfulness:

As a teenager, I had grown up in a very politically aware household. A lot of my family members belong to either the legal or political community. I have done door-to-door campaign for elections; participated in protests for the lawyers’ movement; written blogs on my political views and had always followed Pakistani politics even after moving abroad.

However, I became disenchanted with the drama of my country’s politics in the days following the historic ‘regime change’ earlier this year. When the ‘imported’ and ‘corrupt’ government came in power and completely changed its narrative on inflation, I was nothing less than shocked. The same faces who raised hell at an inflation rate of 13% during Khan’s government were now conveniently defending an inflation rate of over 25%! This is when I had an important revelation. Politics is like parliamentary debates. You can defend or oppose an argument by highlighting different points.

Winning a debate doesn’t imply that you were right or wrong. It simply shows that you were clever enough to ‘defend’ your point of view. Political leaders engaged in vicious and vehement arguments on talk shows are just playing their roles. The ‘breaking’ news conferences are a stack of numbers which support their narrative. The ‘power show’ rallies and emotional speeches are only to play with the sentiments of the easily swayed common man. There’s no truthfulness or honesty behind any of this. So why follow such hollow politics, I thought. I stopped reading and following the news. Until today, when I was informed (by my husband) about the murder of the fearless and patriotic investigative journalist, Arshad Sharif.

Over the years:

The reels started playing in front of my eyes. I remembered Benazir Bhutto’s murder in a public rally. Though, I was never a PPP supporter, but her sudden death shocked me like it did millions of people all over the world. We watched her life documentaries. We heard politicians mourning and asking for an ‘investigation.’ We sympathized with her party to the extent that we brought them into power. I remember, how an emotional, illiterate, rural old lady said to me during the election campaign that BB had died for us so how can we not support her legacy?!

And then what happened? We have short memories. We forgot and moved on. To date, her murderer has not been identified!

I remembered the model town attack by Punjab Police against political workers. Over 100 injured and 17 died in front of our eyes on live news broadcast. We followed the political drama glued to our screens. We yelled that it was ‘state terrorism’ and we will investigate the perpetrators.

But what happened next? We forgot and moved on. To date, no action has been taken against the ‘well known’ perpetrators.

I remembered the 2014 APS attack on school children. I remember how we cried as a nation. For days, we kept following the news channels for different versions of the incident. We wrote on social media. We burned candles in solidarity with them. We held TV shows with the survivors. We sang songs in their memory. And we pledged that we’ll stop this insane war on terror which had been imposed on us!

And then what happened next? We forgot and moved on. Terror attacks kept happening on our land; we kept losing precious lives and yet we were the ‘most dangerous’ state on earth. Rightly so. This is what happens when we stoop to polish others’ shoes and bow down to their every command. They use us and discard us.

Lack of freedom and justice:
And what happened last night? In fact, what has been happening in the past few months? Every person who spoke against the ‘enforced regime change’ or the ‘tales of corruption’ of our current immoral government has been ‘taught a lesson.’ Be it torture or false court cases or in this case, blatant targeted killing of Arshad Sharif. This is the extent of freedom of expression in our country.

And what are we doing today? Remembering him for what a thorough gentleman he was. His fellow journalists are reminiscing the times spent with him. And we are hooked to the screens for every ‘breaking news’ regarding the suspicious circumstances about his death. We are pledging that his murder will be investigated and the ‘people’ behind it will be unveiled.

I can predict what will happen next. We will forget and move on. Until the next ‘shocking news’ comes and there will be action replay.

The question of ‘why?’
The question arises why does this injustice not stop? Why is there no value of life in Pakistan? Why do time and tested ‘criminals’ rule us today?

Hadith in this regard:

“When Allah intends goodness for a people, He appoints over them their most tolerant ones; their Ulama decide their disputes, and He bestows wealth to their generous ones. And, when Allah intends ruin for a people, he appoints their foolish to rule them; their ignoramuses to decide their disputes, and He bestows wealth to their misers.” (Musnad Firdaus, Hadith:954)

And why is Allah unhappy with us?

Lack of Morality:

Have we analyzed our own behavior? Where do we stand as a society? We accept bribery as a norm. We earn haraam by not fulfilling our duties when given a ‘government’ post. We ridicule merit when allocating jobs. We pore fawning adoration over our superiors to gain ‘favors.’ We disregard injustice because it’s happening with someone else. We don’t stop wrongdoing because we are minding our own business. We lie as its convenient. We deceive to gain vested interest. We take undue advantage of the weak and poor because they have no strong backing.


Then there’s another section of moral degradation in our society. We rape and get away with it. Be it the 7-year-old Zainab or the internationally acclaimed Mukhtaran Mai. We torture ‘minor’ home servants and are not brought to justice. We murder brutally and are not held accountable. Be it Noor Mukaddam or Sara Inam.

And it’s not just the women who are unsafe as the Western media would have us believe. The name of a university student, Shahzaib Khan is fresh in our memories as his murderer has recently been acquitted by the highest court in the country!

Lack of rule of law:

We ‘mob kill’ and ‘lynch’ and take the law in our hands because after all, where is ‘rule of law?’ We wait for years over inheritance disputes only for decisions to be issued after our deaths! We make mockery of the system of justice where anyone can ‘buy’ a decision. We incarcerate the ‘fruit stealer’ and the big thieves rule us.

Idolising other cultures:

Our students are paying ‘tribute’ to the Queen whose ancestors ruled brutally over us. Our teenagers are idolising American, British or Indian actors. They walk their talk and imitate their ‘fashion sense.’ Our weddings represent the Indian culture more and more. Our festivals are Halloween and ‘Black-now-blessed Friday.’ Our family gatherings are baby showers, bridal showers and 10-day long lavish wedding festivities. Our estimation of another person’s worth is by their branded clothes and accessories.

Role of media:
How far have we come from our roots? What are our roots? Ask a school student and he doesn’t know. He only knows what the media shows him. The senseless morning shows and TRP based crap dramas. It’s that or the noise of political garble on news channels. Or for the elite ‘mummy daddy’ club, its Netflix series or Hollywood movies.

What is a nation?
A nation is “a large body of people united by common descent, history, culture, or language, inhabiting a particular country or territory.” But we are not a nation anymore. Our rich and poor have nothing in common. Our rural and urban class have no similarities. Our ethnicities and religious sects divide us.

We are a dead nation:
Even if we argued that we are a nation despite all this then we are a dead nation! We don’t value life. We have no freedom of expression and no justice system. We are morally sapped. We are cruel and selfish. And we have no drive to take our country to excellence and unfortunately, we haven’t even fathomed what sort of place we are leaving for our future generations!

Time to wake up:

It is time for every one of us to wake up. Do right and endorse the right. Don’t do wrong neither support it either tacitly or openly. Get familiar with our religion and culture and extend that knowledge to our children. Play a positive role in the society and when everyone does that then the 140 million tiny drops of water will add to make the ocean. But if we don’t act now then we are doomed. Moral degradation can only reach a next level until it impacts each of us.

As Allah says in the Quran:‘Allah never changes the condition of a people until they strive to change themselves.’ (Surah Ar-Ra’d, 13:11)


Published by Farkhanda

A YLCian who's become an active citizen...!

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