The world is celebrating International Day of Democracy today. And here I am thinking, what should we celebrate?
In 70 years of Pakistan’s existence, politics has remained one of the most turbulent subjects.
From Jinnah’s dream of a secular democratic state, where there would be resilience, harmony and equal rights for everyone, to Ayub’s Islamic Republic of Pakistan – from Bhutto’s version of feudalistic democracy, to Zia’s enforced Sharia and ideology of theocratic state – from long rule of dictatorship under Musharaf to the current nepotistic, disgraced form of democracy – we haven’t been able to decide what political system we have wanted.
Hence, we land on the dictatorship vs democracy debate over and over again.
The troubles and upheavals the political system in Pakistan has faced till the date has brought us where we are today: confused, angry and with no respect for anyone but ourselves.
So while the rest of the world is celebrating International Day of Democracy, I am confused as to what we should we celebrate.
Should we celebrate the culture of military authoritarianism or the crippling democracy?
Should we celebrate depriving the minorities as well as the majority of their rights?
Should we celebrate hypocrisy and dual policies and playing too clever?
Or should we celebrate the anger, the anguish, the hatred that has emerged as a result of suggestion and oppression?
While the world is celebrating the International Day of Democracy to recommit to a world characterized by values enshrined in the United Nations Charter: peace, equity, regard, human rights, tolerance and solidarity – I feel ashamed as a Pakistani. I feel ashamed that the political ideologies we’ve adhered to are far from all these values.
From a dream of secular democratic state – to a sclerotic dictatorial regime – to a theocratic state – we have killed any chance for equity or regard or human rights or tolerance or solidarity.
We have turned into the most vicious of nations – so rigid, so stubborn.
My country fellows! You are going to criticize me over my views, you are going to tell me I am the worst person with a green passport, you are going to call me an Indian spy and you are going to suggest that I should move to India – and I know all these things because that’s the drill.
Whenever someone says something that doesn’t quite go with how we see things, we react the same way.
But dear fellows, let me ask you aren’t we a state of sorry affairs?
Aren’t we the most hypocrites when it comes to Rohingya Muslims?
Don’t we enforce our terms on minorities?
Haven’t we taken away the freedom of speech and expression in the name of glory of Pakistan, glory of Islam, glory of military and what not?
I’m not concerned with what USA is doing; I am not concerned with what India is doing or what UAE is doing.
I am concerned with what Pakistan is doing – and what Pakistan is doing isn’t a pretty picture.
What Pakistan is doing isn’t anything that could be considered as equity. It can’t be accepted as anything but viciousness. And that disappoints me.