Missing Nation

January 19, 2017 OPINION/NEWS

Fareed Khan/AP



Imad Zafar

‘Hang the blasphemers, kill them, stone them to death,’ these are the slogans that are being used these days on social media and heard in public and private conversations. Since the bloggers and activists went missing, even scholars and anchors from the mainstream media are also demanding the death of these missing bloggers.

People like Orya Maqbool Jan and Zaid Hamid are spreading rumours and lies about the missing bloggers calling them blasphemers and admins of controversial pages like Roshni, Bhensa and Mochi. These facebook and twitter pages were challenging the one sided religious views and a rotten defence policy of the state. It is not a rocket science to find out who could have kidnapped these social media activists. The same old policy of playing with religious sentiments of the people is being adopted, and millions of blind followers, without even having a clue about what these bloggers and activists have actually done, are cheering that these apostles have being kidnapped.

Agony is that religious card being played so well by the kidnappers that even it is very difficult for the more sane elements of society to come forward and reject this brutal step taken by the state institutions. You defend these recently missing persons and you are declared a blasphemer.

Major Urdu language publications and websites are not ready to publish any piece of writing that defends the fundamental right of “justice” for these missing social media activists. Most of the country’s population reads Urdu newspapers, surf Urdu websites and watch Urdu television. Unfortunately most of the Urdu journalists are the prisoners of the Zia ul haq ideology. This makes it very easy to tilt the opinion of the public in favour of this brutal act. The rest, hypocrites like Orya and Zaid Hamid are fuelling the fire.

No one is ready to listen, read watch or even think about the outcome of this episode. The atmosphere of fear helps the ruling elite as, consciously or unconsciously, people due to fear feel comfortable in surrendering to the policies and ideologies, and thus do not like to challenge any of the policies connected to conservative ideologies or defence utopia. On the other hand, this also acts as a warning to the intellectuals and activists of left or progressive wings that lines are already drawn, and if you cross the line you will be kidnapped and just become another number or a file in the missing people list.

For the loved ones of the missing person, the wait is never ending. Each and every second, hopes are born and expectation to see the missing son, daughter or a brother rises, but there is no news, not even a clue that they are dead or alive. Mostly the missing persons are kidnapped for resisting religious or defence related status quo and their fate depends entirely on the will of the kidnappers. If the kidnappers are satisfied that the person in captivity will not cross the red line again, they set him free. After coming from the abduction most people choose to remain silent as no one wants a third degree of physical and mental torture again.

In the case of Salman Haider and other social media activists the chances of seeing them are very rare as they have challenged both the religious and war loving mindsets. Their posts, poetry and writings were too hard to answer with logic and with the help of social media their thoughts were spreading across the country connecting a large and silent number of likeminded individuals.

But who cares, as we are living centuries behind the civilised world, and we still want to live in the era of stone age. We do not like questions regarding our fundamental beliefs, yet we want to question the beliefs of every single religion present in the world. We do not like questions regarding our national security policies and our defence institutions, but we want to criticise every single policy and institution of the foreign countries. These double standards and hypocrisy in our attitudes are leading us to a state of denial, and when someone within society wants to point out that we are constantly living in collective denial, he or she goes missing.

So the rule for the survival in this society is to live in state of denial and never ever try to break the rules set by the establishment. For the missing activists and bloggers we can only say that you belong to a nation that is missing from the modern age and civilization and unfortunately this missing nation is not even aware of this agony.








Imad Zafar

Imad Zafar

Imad Zafar is a journalist based in Lahore. He is a regular Columnist/Commentator in newspapers. He is associated with TV channels, radio, newspapers, news agencies, political, policies and media related think tanks.

1 Comment

  1. atif January 28, at 05:52

    dear, even if we consider that these bloggers didn't commit blasphemy , but do you really think that it is a sane way to criticize institutions, ??. just go and surf on bhensa page. u will notice the taunting posts by admin, with no ethical boundaries.so you can not just blame n put all things on institution. one should know how to address other flaws. speak for right but in justified manner rather then ranting. and if u r not agree with this abduction , have some studies u would come to know that security agencies all over world work on same SOP. REGARDS ;)


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