Stagnate or evolve

October 31, 2016 OPINION/NEWS

AFP photo

 

By

Shahper Hassan

 

A state where citizens have no rights and where others interfere in your life and your privacy is breached is not a state, it’s a joke.

 

Societies either stagnate or they evolve and they (societies) cannot evolve if citizens are kept ignorant and illiterate, not knowing about their Constitutional rights especially in a country that calls itself a democracy.

Our political system is secular not Islamic. The claims, if any, of an Islamic political system are wrong. There are misconceptions, as well as wrong impressions given to the public at large, attempts made to fool the international community also. Our political system is full of flaws, and I don’t have to go into details of the corruption cases related to politics or economics or how the military is involved in them as it is already known.

What in short has to be kept in mind is that the kind of political system in the country we have has failed the state and its people and that’s the reason ours is called a failed state. Whether the status of a failed state can be changed or not is another topic, but looking at our political system, this has to be given thought, whether it is correct or incorrect, to call our state the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

Since most of the affairs are secular, how can it be called the Islamic Republic of Pakistan? If it’s the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, then everything has to be according to Islam which means everything in order and there is no corruption, whether it’s the political system or the judicial system, whereas this is not the case. On the contrary there is political chaos and illiteracy.

Another important and relevant point is that no one has ever been able to determine in the past seventy years which and what type of Islamic country it is as there are many versions of Islam here, all fighting with each other, a large number of citizens with no political or civic sense following their ‘spiritual’ leaders and themselves involved in un-Islamic practices in the name of Islam.

With the kind of political affairs in the country, the kind of corruption, the state of the overall economy, people’s behaviour, a lack of understanding of religion, rather the wrong understanding of religion, it is better to call this state ‘Republic of Pakistan’—even flawed, there is some kind of political system.

Islamic means if not everything, then most of the things being done as per Islam. But this is not the case. The vast majority of people in the country don’t actually understand religion, its spirit and what a Muslim is as such, and this is not only the case in Pakistan. In fact, in most Arab/Muslim countries the situation is more or less the same which I will discuss in other articles. Islam as a religion has different sects in Pakistan and it is being misused and misinterpreted by different people in different ways—by people who like to be called religious and want a following. It has also become a systematic and permanent source of income for them. These are some of the reasons why British law system with modifications is still running the country.

In this situation, the most fundamental question is how society can evolve and change into a decent society with law and order in place and where citizens and their safety and Constitutional rights are ensured. In a rotten system like ours, where even security personnel, precisely speaking police and people related to security mechanisms, are themselves involved in crimes, igniting sectarian and religious based crimes; it seems difficult to set up a proper working political, as well as judicial, system.

Without valuing and acknowledging in the first place the rights of a citizen there seems to be no possibility for a decent and tolerant society. In Parliamentary democracy public representatives are elected to represent people. Their basic job is to serve people with the help of other public servants who have become rulers in our country. Government officials are public servants whether they are working for the federal or provincial government. In our so-called democratic system, politicians, military and civil servants have turned into usurpers and this practice has been continuing for a very long time, one of the reasons for a kind of society we have become—an intolerant, abnormal and illiterate society. What behaviour is this that one section of society wants to impose its way of life and thoughts on others?

Do they want a tolerant society or the one that has no regard for human life and where one section of society wants to impose its thoughts on others? In our social system you say something and it’s taken in a way that puts you in trouble whereas you never meant it as what people might have understood. And suppose you have said something or done something which others might not agree or like, does it mean to start interfering in others’ lives or killing the person? That’s exactly what happens here.

And when it is given the colour of religion or is purposely made a religious issue by the agencies or law enforcement personnel who are often themselves involved in propagating and hatching hate crimes, anyone just stands up and kills the other person in the name of religion, something we have seen many times.

People suffering from mental disorders commit these kind of killings, and they do it with the assumption they would get into paradise with the wrong conviction they are the only true Muslims whereas Islam does not allow such killings if we look at the life of Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) and other Prophets (pbut).

Honor killings also come under the same category. Religion allows marriage of liking. But in our society love and marriage of liking has become a huge issue. A tolerant society for example, free of killings over issues such as honor killings or over any other issue, cannot be developed unless there is a system that allows people’s freedom, acknowledges their rights and discourages others to interfere in the life of others.

A state where citizens have no rights and where others interfere in your life and your privacy is breached is not a state, it is a joke. It’s just a place that everyone condemns, and every reasonable country that has a proper system which respects its citizens wants to attack because it’s a state with no system and where the mentally retarded live.

 

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif – AP photo

 

In any society people have differences of opinion and there are different schools of thoughts that have to be respected and adjusted. And because there are differences of thought, does it mean that that particular school of thought has to be suppressed or people killed? And the killing continues in the name of religion? How do societies evolve and what is the role of media in a country? The media’s role has to be positive, reformative and decent in societies. Its basic job is reformation rather than creating issues and dramatising them. But what can be done when media and security personnel together plan crimes? No one can deny the importance of freedom of speech otherwise there is no journalism. But journalistic ethics have to be kept in mind while reporting an incident. Here is a question related to press freedom and national interest.

Sometimes governments are themselves involved in committing crimes, calling it national interest whereas they are committing crimes and don’t want the public to know what they are doing. And sometimes when their crime is known they try to manipulate the public at large, hence committing another crime in a systematic way.

Here is the role of the press. As said earlier that unfortunately journalists, media organisations, print or electronic, are sometimes themselves involved in actual criminal activities in connivance with the media which calls it their right to freedom of speech and their ‘moral’ duty. Does press freedom mean there are no journalistic ethics? And they go to the shameless extent, breaching not only people’s rights but becoming actors giving the impression to the public they have high moral values whereas they have no values or otherwise they will stay in limits.

It is strange that journalists or people related to the media become actors and dramatise issues to be more famous, to earn more money and to make a channel more popular. It’s a sorry state of affairs that in societies like ours where a large number of people live deprived lives it’s rather easy to exploit any situation, especially when the living standard of people is quite low and where security personnel themselves get involved in playing the role of artists by becoming part of campaigns which they should have no link with.

With the acknowledgement of the sacrifices made by the military personnel in the ongoing war against terrorism, what needs to be kept in mind is that their role is no more than defending the country from the outside aggression against the country and curbing the internal separatist movements.

The interference in any matters of a civilian nature that violates the rights of personal freedom of a citizen or citizens is a constitutional crime, which takes us to the point mentioned related to evolving society which perhaps is hard to understand and is one of the many reasons that has not allowed the Pakistani society to become tolerant and reasonable.

It’s not clear yet whether Pakistan is going to be a police state, but as things are it seems there is a possibility. With military personnel active in running campaigns of a civilian nature with the help of local police and their own relatives taking lead in the campaigns to provoke the ordinary public and working class, the hungry, deprived and illiterate, it is easy to say highlighting or reporting an issue is another thing, and creating an issue, dramatizing it is another. What is at stake is the future of Pakistan which is dark if these things continue.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Shahper Hassan

Shahper Hassan

The writer has worked as journalist for English dailies in Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates.

1 Comment

  1. P C K PREM November 01, at 07:37

    Questions disturb. Will some one find solution?

    Reply

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