Conservatives not Liberals are the reason for the failures in Society and State

December 4, 2017 Opinion , OPINION/NEWS , Pakistan , POLITICS

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Imad Zafar


After being called “Kafir” and “blasphemous” by the religious fanatics and “traitors” by the establishment, liberals are now termed “bloodthirsty” people by the so called champion of revolution and change Mr Imran Khan. An irony that this statement is coming from the person who spent his life dating women all across the globe and who actually still lives a life of which most of the middle class liberals can only dream. From partying all night to dating women and from running his Jewish brother in law’s election campaign, Mr Khan has no problems with liberalism. In fact he actually portrays himself as a liberal to the international community.

Contrary to Mr. Khan’s lifestyle and international stance, at home he is busy making alliances with extremists like Maulana Sami ul Haq and Siraj ul Haq. He has a soft spot for the Taliban and like his bosses of the establishment he still considers the Taliban as misguided brothers. If that is not enough he uses religion for politics, his latest stance regarding the fanatics’ sit-in evidence. He is however merely a pawn in the game of manipulating people’s minds through religion and nationalism.

Liberals or progressive voices have traditionally always been criticized and punished for showing dissent to the religious narratives of religious clerics and defense narratives. Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Habib Jalib Manto and Ahmad Faraz were all dissidents to the self created narratives of religion and security state. Even Fatima Jinnah, sister of the founding father of the nation, being a dissident was termed as a liberal going against the State and religion. This is actually an indication that in order to keep the common people hostage to the rotten State policies, the nexus of the establishment, Mullahs and opportunists in politics and bureaucracy, have been silencing the critics and dissidents by terming them traitors or a danger for religion and the State.

In order to achieve this objective, they have successfully brainwashed the ordinary people by making them believe that liberals are sponsored by the western power and that they work on a western agenda and propaganda of maligning religion, state and civilization of Muslims. Unfortunately the State, with the help of mullahs and right wing pseudo intellectuals, has actually built a perception that “liberals” possess a great threat to the society, country and religion. The opportunist politicians help their cause by opting for the politics of populism. Even the liberal political force like the Pakistan Peoples Party had to surrender to the establishment and mullah nexus and compromised on their ideologies. Zuilfikar Bhutto, bending and surrendering in front of mullahs, is a classic example in this regard.

Liberals by no means had any role in the fall of Dhaka, nor were they responsible for the Siachen loss or Kargil misadventure. The sectarian war of the late 80s and 90s was also not started by liberals. The Afghan jihad that brought the culture of heroin and kalashnikovs was also not started by liberals. Liberals never issued fatwas of blasphemy against anyone, nor did they kill 70 thousand civilians and soldiers in the name of religion. It was in fact the opposite. The Afghan jihad that actually brought extremism, violence and drug culture into society was initiated by a dictator and religious fanatic, Zia-ul-Haq. The sectarian war was also started by him by laying the foundation of Sipah-e-Sahaba.

The Taliban and suicide bombers were all nurtured by the State and were grown in religious seminaries. Women killed in the name of honor are killed by the religious fanatics, not by the liberals. Yet as per Imran khan and his masters, liberals are the greatest threat to the country. If saying no to atrocities, hypocrisies and extremism is what makes you a threat to the country and killing thousands of innocent people in the name of religion or so called self created national interest is patriotism, then for sure liberals will be happy to be called unpatriotic.

Liberalism, or being a liberal, is not all about dating women and drinking, it is about reasoning and critical thinking. It is about respecting different opinions and beliefs. It is all about, ‘to live and let others live’, by not intervening in their private matters. Fatima Jinnah, Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Saadat Hasan Manto, Habib Jalib and Ahmad Faraz were all liberals and progressive, their contribution towards society evident through their work and struggles. The conservatives and extremists are known by the legacy of Zia-ul-Haq, the Taliban and extremists like Sami ul Haq, Malik Ishaq and Khadim Rizvi.

Even a child can tell that the conservatives and extremists are responsible for the bloodshed and extremism in the country. The conservatives or right wing intellectuals, by spreading the hijacked narrative of Jinnah, have actually contributed to the demise of society. When the world was exploring horizons of technology, science and social growth, conservatives like Ashfaq Ahmed and Qudrat Ullah Shahab were preaching to society not to face reality and take refuge in spiritualism. Likewise, Tariq Ismail Sagar and Naseem Hijazi were making sure that the society remained hostage to the distorted history and glorification of wars. The security establishment, with the help of mullahs and conservative politicians, just for their vested interests made sure that nothing against the self created beliefs and narrative should emerge as a threat to their hegemony.

Liberals with progressive thoughts and the ideology to bring back the essence of Jinnah’s Pakistan were considered a great threat to the ruling elite. So they did exactly what was needed to brainwash the masses. Labelling liberals “kafir,” and a threat to religion and country may satisfy an illiterate or brainwashed mind but it does not actually help in changing the facts or reality. The conservative forces are deliberately not seeing the writing on the wall that clearly states that era of ignorance, hatred and extremism is over. You cannot suppress logic with the might of a gun or by using religion to your interest. For sure it is easy to manipulate the uneducated or brainwashed population under propaganda but it is not possible to suppress the voices of more sane elements of society.

Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy and Malala Yousafzai winning international awards and brining awards to the country are much better than the terrorists killing more then 70 thousand of their own countrymen. It is evident that the so called custodians of the religious and defense narratives of the State are scared of the voices of liberals because they make an impact not only in the country but in the whole world. People like Orya Maqbool Jan and Zaid Hamid are busy spreading hatred and extremism but are actually damaging the foundation of society and the country. The violence they encourage and the extremism they breed is a threat to the State and society.

Liberals, by discouraging violence and by not falling prey to the state sponsored propaganda of delusional security or a religious State, are actually the hope that one day sanity will prevail and the Pakistan made by a liberal politician Jinnah will get rid of the hijackers who successfully hijacked the founding father’s vision of the country. Mr Imran Khan, in his lust and power, has become another Taliban minded politician who by appeasing the clerics and establishment wants to come into power. His ignorance even about his identity is making him a lost soul who in his frustration is determined to destroy everything.

As far as society is concerned it needs saner voices in large numbers, as conservatives backed by fanatics are determined to take all of us down with them. Knowing their narrative is now being defeated across the globe they are trying to make sure this narrative is imposed on our society with the might of the gun. The tragedy with our society is that the conservatives, unlike the other world, are trying to force their ideologies with weapons or with violence. The divide between conservatives and liberals is a natural thing but using this divide to vested interests and trying to silence the dissent with force is unprecedented in the 21st century.

The State, instead of promoting the culture of dialogue, has aligned with the conservatives and extremists resulting in a divide between a society that actually itself is a threat to the existence of the dissenting voices. The failure of the State so far is the result of promoting extremism and conservative ideologies. After successfully marginalizing Ahmadis and other minorities it seems that the State, through the conservatives, is trying to marginalize the liberals too. Instead of rectifying the errors, the State-patronized extremism will further destroy the social fabric of society. It has to be realized that conservatives and extremists, not the liberals, are the part of the problem.





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.

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