The Pakistani claim that their country is a victim of terror is akin to the lamentation of the drug lord whose own children have become addicts.
There are some lies so preposterous that only Pakistanis can speak and believe them. One such was told by Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi at the 73rd Session of the UN General Assembly in New York recently: “Pakistan continues to face terrorism that is financed, facilitated and orchestrated by our eastern neighbour.”
He didn’t stop here: “Pakistan shall never forget the mass murder of more than 150 children in a Peshawar school, the terrible Mastung attack and many others that have links with terrorists supported by India.” Blaming India for the Peshawar school massacre takes the cake, for it is a fact well-acknowledged and widely reported even in the mainstream Pakistani media that the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), a very home-grown outfit, carried out the attack.
Pakistani mendacity knows no bounds. In July, its postal department issued 20 stamps highlighting the “atrocities” in Kashmir, “missing persons”, “protest against killers”, “tortured women”, “human shield” and “homeless children”. But the truth has a way of revealing itself, often facilitated by the incompetence of liars. So, it was found that the picture of “homeless children” was from the news reports on the massacre of 35 Sikhs at Chittisinghpura in Jammu and Kashmir in March 2000. Another one depicting “missing persons” is a photograph of a demonstration organised by the Kashmiri Pandit group, Roots in Kashmir at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi in January 2014 to protest against Pakistan-sponsored terror.
It may be recalled that Qureshi’s statement was not the first Pakistani attempt to present the country as a victim of terror. Two years ago, at the 71st session of the UNGA, the then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had made similar claims: “My country has been the principal victim of terrorism including that supported, sponsored, financed from abroad.”
The Pakistani claim that their country is a victim of terror is akin to the lamentation of the drug lord whose own children have become addicts. You cannot sell narcotics and psychotropic drugs in your town—and expect your family members to remain immune to this social evil. You cannot promote jihad as state policy, accept Islamist principles, and propagate them in schools and colleges—and expect to create a modern, prosperous, “New Pakistan”, something that the new Prime Minister Imran Khan has promised to his countrymen and women. You cannot sow the wind—and hope to escape the whirlwind.
Much of Pakistan’s pathologies are a product and function of its unique character: it is the only country in the world that has imported both its faith and its language. While there are dozens of countries with imported religions, our western neighbour is the only one that also got its national language, Urdu, from another country and that too from its mortal enemy—India (That is, mortal enemy from its own perspective, not India’s.) Much of its faith too comes from India—the Barelvi and Deobandi versions of Islam.
Come to think of it, Bangladesh, which was East Pakistan for 24 years, also separated from India on the basis of religion. When it seceded from Pakistan, it decided to continue as a separate nation, and yet it is not a creator and exporter of jihadist terror. Perhaps because it has not tried to import language and culture.
It seems that the Pakistani psyche suffers from a deep Oedipus complex; it just wants to define itself as not-India. In fact, that is how it came into being. Pakistan began as a tryst with Islam. Downplaying its own roots, culture, and languages—Punjabi and Sindhi have been systematically slighted—and distorting its history for decades, Pakistan ended up with a covenant with Islamism. Ruler after ruler—military or civil—has strengthened the scope and scale of Islamisation.
But its heartbreak is the condescending attitude of Arabs and Turks to it. Prominent Pakistani journalist Hassan Nisar points out that Arabs and Turks despise Pakistanis as being lesser Muslims, and yet his compatriots identify themselves with Arabs and Turks. “Our biggest crisis is identity crisis,” Nisar says.
It is the search for a national identity, for its soul—which they can’t find in the land they are born in—that propels them to look outwards, look askance at the Arabs despite the latter’s unconcealed contempt.
Left-liberals in our country humour themselves by believing that the Pakistanis are good people, just like us, but are burdened with the mad mullahs, unscrupulous generals, the deep state, et al. Congress leader and author Shashi Tharoor recently said that Imran Khan is a “good guy and if the military decide they want peace, he will be a wonderful face for that peace but if the military decide they want hostility, I’m sure he is equally capable of being an effective voice for hostility,” Tharoor said.
Notice “if the military decide”. As if it were something apart from Pakistani society! The fact, however, is that the mullahs and generals are from the same society, embedded in it and deriving moral and ideological sustenance from the ideals and mores of Pakistan.
But then there are also ideas so stupid that only intellectuals like Tharoor believe them.