In the crowded field of “South Asian Analysts”, many of whom have excellent credentials — like managing to be born in Pakistan or better still, having managed to visit Pakistan within the past five years — how does one get noticed? By writing thought provoking articles of course! And “thought provoking” gentle readers, is synonymous with “contrarian”. Or for the clueless, “thought provoking” means to vehemently disagree with accepted wisdom. But “thought provoking” articles should be written with care. What you disagree with doesn’t matter as much as when you disagree with it: Timing is everything!
“So how long should I wait, and what should I wait for” you ask? Fikar not. The wait is usually a couple of weeks and the incident can be one of: Ahmedis getting massacred, Shias getting shot, Interior minister declaring that he will kill Blasphemers with his own bare hands, MNAs going underground for proposing amendments to Blasphemy laws, murderers getting garlanded or Judges running away to Saudi Arabia (you get the idea). That is the right opportunity for you to bust out your column “Why Pakistan is still largely a moderate country”.
Many have done this, and many more will do this in the future. To save time and effort for everyone, I present for your gentle consideration: The “Pakistan is a moderate country” column generator!! The formula itself is very simple: Riveting opening sentence, intriguing provocation of thought, religious mumbo jumbo, meaningless statistics, blame Zia, guilt out the west, demand money, cashmere or both.
So here it goes. The opening sentence should be riveting (choose one)
- A country usually mentioned in the same breath as the Taliban.
- Viewed synonymously with Osama Bin Laden.
- Thought of as a cesspit of Blasphemy laws, Coups, Nuclear weapons and Jihadis
Most people will be tempted to end the article right here.
But dont!! Brave analyst, you should plod on!! Don’t forget that we aren’t stating facts, we are disagreeing with them! The second sentence should turn the premise around and be thought provoking (choose one):
But could it be
- That Pakistan is in fact a moderate, secular democracy founded on rule of law?
- That the problems commonly associated with Pakistan started only as recently as 1947?
Nothing but propaganda by Zionist-RAW-CIA controlled western press?
- That the problems facing Pakistan are completely misconstrued?
Now these two sentences set up the right platform to stake your credentials as a Pakistani. “But I don’t know anything about the core cultural zeitgeist of the country!” you say? Not to worry. Nobody reading your column does either. The trick is to act confident and informed (choose one):
- The religious violence in Pakistan is perpetrated by a small minority of Wahhabis while the bulk of the country follows the Berelvi sect of Islam known for its tolerance and plurality (Please DO NOT mention that Qadri was a Berelvi).
- Most people visit the graves of mystic saints who were clean shaven.
- The call for prayers co-exist with vibrant cultural scenes in Karachi, with girls in tight jeans
under their shuttlecock burkhas, art festivals, book readings (inside well fortified, double cavity searched British consulate, but it is best not mentioned here).
Next is the time for some statistics (choose one)
The so-called conservative Pakistanis:
- Overwhelmingly vote for secular parties with less than 10% voting for religious parties.
Where are my choices you ask? YOU MORON!! YOU DONT HAVE A CHOICE!! THIS STATISTIC SHOULD BE MENTIONED IN EVERY ARTICLE ARGUING THAT PAKISTAN IS MODERATE!! Now that we are past statistics, go on to blame Zia (choose one):
It was Zia who:
- Started a process of Islamization of the society
- Declared Ahmedis to be non-Muslims*
- Stopped PTV anchors from dressing up stylishly in sarees
Next is guilt trip!
And Zia was co-opted by the west for their Jihad against the Soviets. (To be mentioned in every article)
The next is the clincher
So what should the west do?
- They should support the fledgling democracy in Pakistan with adequate economic support.
- Strike a grand bargain involving Cashmere for peace in Afghanistan to demonstrate their seriousness among ordinary Pakistanis.
- Encourage close economic linkages with the west through a liberal visa regime, relaxed trade quotas and co-operation in the nuclear field.
(Choose ALL of them).
So putting it all together, here is an example of “Pakistan is a moderate country” column I put together:
Pakistan is a country usually mentioned in the same breath as the Taliban. But could it be that Pakistan is in fact a moderate, secular democracy founded on rule of law? The religious violence in Pakistan is perpetrated by a small minority of Wahhabis while the bulk of the country follows the Berelvi sect of Islam known for its tolerance and plurality. The so-called conservative Pakistanis overwhelmingly vote for secular parties with less than 10% voting for religious parties. It was Zia who started a process of Islamization of the society. And Zia was co-opted by the west for their Jihad against the Soviets. For a safe and secure future of the world, the west should support the fledgling democracy in Pakistan with adequate economic support. Strike a grand bargain involving Cashmere for peace in Afghanistan to demonstrate their seriousness among ordinary Pakistanis and encourage close economic linkages with the west through a liberal visa regime, relaxed trade quotas and co-operation in the nuclear field.
Please submit your “Pakistan is a moderate country” in western press!!
*It was actually ZAB who declared Ahmedis to be non-muslims, but remember that we are disagreeing with facts here, not stating them!