Pakistan does not need a military take over. Neither does it need a sharia system nor westernization. All it needs is a nation. It has been over 60 years that this country was born. In these 60 years, the people of Pakistan have failed to stand as one. Ethnic and sectarian divisions have torn apart the country. Efforts have been made all along to unite the people under the banner of Islam. We were asked to believe in ‘Pakistan ka matlab kia? La Ilaha Il Allah’. Unfortunately this phrase did not play the magic it was expected to play rather it caused certain dominant sects to impose their interpretation of Islam on the smaller sects. These particular sects also seem to have held the right to who can be called a Muslim and who cannot. I believe Pakistan desperately needs nation-building followed by democracy to be rescued from where it stands or it can lead to further disaster.
In 1971 East Pakistan became Bangladesh. It was not because its residents were non-Muslims. We lost East Pakistan due to our own faults. We couldn’t unite as one nation. We tried to impose a language on their people which they couldn’t relate to. We tried to benefit from their resources and we denied them political freedom. As a result they sided with the “hindu” enemy and became independent. Even Islam in this case could not act as the uniting force. Now we are left with West Pakistan. Today West Pakistan is divided between Mohajirs and Pathans. Punjabis and Balochis. The army and the mullahs. The landlords and the elites. The Shias and the Sunnis. The Mian sahiban and the Bhuttos. Each is trying to impose its views on the other and they are all pulling Pakistan towards themselves. In doing so they are tearing apart the country.
We need to realize that Pakistan is not for one particular ethnicity, sect, class, or a political party. Pakistan is for all of us. We need to accept each other as we are. Pakistan is a state with great diversity in terms of ethnicity. Instead of imposing certain customs and traditions on to everyone we need to cherish our diversity. We have to look at each other not as a Pathan, Mohajir, Balochi or a Punjabi but as a fellow Pakistani. We need to understand that our fellow Pakistani has the same right to Pakistan as we do. We have in front of us so many examples where Pakistanis forgot their differences and stood as one. During the wars we fought, Pakistan stood united. During the earthquake in 2005, Pakistan stood united. During the restoration of the chief justice, Pakistan stood united. And every time we stood united, we achieved what we wanted.
Today we have to stand united to defeat the forces of extremism and sectarianism. The spiritual leaders of the different sects have to set examples for their followers by preaching tolerance. The politicians have to set examples for their voters by practicing equality. The parents have to set examples for their children by removing prejudices. The teachers have to set examples for their students by teaching unity. We have to set examples for the generations to come to find an identity we haven’t been able to find yet. While it can not be denied that Pakistan was formed for the Muslims of the subcontinent as a state where they were allowed to practice their religion freely, we also cannot forgot the fact that the Quaid of the nation was a secular person by all means. Jinnah was an Ismaeli by birth and converted to twelver Shiism later in his life. He was never a religious person and mostly communicated in English. However, he managed to unite a great percentage of the Muslim population of subcontinent under his leadership for the struggle for a separate homeland. We have to stop fighting over our differences. We fought for this nation together, we must save it together!