Friday, January 7, 2011

The Hate Within

I want to die and I wish to take a lot of people with me. I have had suicidal thoughts all my life but not like this, no. It's always been something depressing me and telling me to call quits. But this time it's not about me, it's different. I feel it.

Over the past few days, I have been researching and reading just about anything where the murder of Salmaan Taseer was even mentioned. I was refuting both extremes on every forum. I couldn't resist debating wherever somebody didn't agree with my point of view. I saw utmost secularism and dances with the devil. I saw religion without logic and logic without religion. I saw revolt and I saw despair. I saw claims of victory over blasphemy and I saw blasphemies that made my flesh creep. But most of all, I saw hate.

I saw hate I had never seen before. Hate, that had no comparison to anything I had ever seen. Blinding self-righteousness, and hate. Venomous intolerance, and hate. The polarization is real, very real. The country really has been divided into the so-called liberals and conservatives. And while the ships wage war in their ocean of hate, I really don't know where I stand.

I always grew up to call myself a Muslim. I never even liked classifying myself in a sect. Muslim, has been my identity all along. I fulfill my religious duties all day and go to sleep with a wish to wake up to a better day for Islam and Pakistan. But the hate will never let that happen, I can see it. If I was to classify myself between the two, I'll never be able to. I simply cannot gather that much hate for anybody who calls himself a Muslim; that is the Islam I know. Both factions are too self-righteous to feel anything but hate for the other.

The murder of the governor is also a tragedy that roots to this mutual hate. The governor never cared for the enormous hate that had been gradually building up. The clerics kept issuing fatwas and the governor acknowledged them on the tip of his shoes. It was only a matter of time before a lone man was devoured by the hate.

Hate always leads to more hate. It's not like fourth grade algebra where two negatives make a positive. This is Pakistan, where hate increases exponentially. And while everyone with a pen and/ or an internet connection bombards the other with hate full guns blazing, the suffering is just for Islam and Pakistan. My Pakistan, your Pakistan. This is the same Pakistan whose creation we studied when we were little. Gradually, we grew up loving Pakistan and yet, hating each other.

While every sane person curses the murderer, the two greatest culprits have gone unnoticed. The media and the PPP.
Gone are the days when the only news was the 9 PM Khabarnama on PTV. You were told what you needed to know, not what they wanted you to know. Now with news channels popping up every other day, news reporting is nothing more than a horse race. The spicier the news, the more successful the channel. I moot this cliche because until I researched for myself, all I knew was "kala qanoon" (black law) and I must say, I always found these remarks offensive. Moreover, every other anchor and slef-proclaimed "Aalim" was feeding me this- kala qanoon, kala qanoon!
But now, after my own research, I realized the governor only wanted a review of the blasphemy law. This changes the entire scenario. This shows, that behind the highlighted insult, was a very rational and realistic stance. But that's not all, the final shock came to me when I was told of the Taliban's blasphemy law:

"The authorities may punish blasphemy if it is committed by a male of sound mind over age 18 or by a female of sound mind over age 16. Anyone accused of blasphemy has three days to recant. If an accused does not recant, death by hanging may follow."

I never thought I'd ever say this, but I felt the Taliban are more realistic than us. This law makes much more sense than anything a Pakistani cleric ever said. And, had the media ever told us about this, believe me you, things would had been a lot different.

Secondly, I found out that among the supporters of the governor's stance were Imran Khan, Chaudhary Shujaat Hussain and Rana Sanaullah. Oh, the irony. One person of every major party is supporting a positive change and the PPP is too reluctant to bring it to the Parliament. For those fortunate ones who don't watch the news, Rana Sanaullah is among those known as arch enemies of the PPP and was even blamed for the governor's murder first up. Had the PPP gathered an ounce of sense, it was in the perfect position to bring the issue to the Parliament. Fatwas wouldn't have mattered in front of unity; after all, even the hated government of Musharraf was able to pass the Women Protection Bill.

But alas! The hate in a Pakistani's heart would never let him do that. The selfishness runs too deep. The virtues of patience and tolerance are nowhere to be found. Hate is what we're sowing and hate is what we shall reap.

Nothing more needs to be said. Whoever you are, whatever you may call yourself, if you're reading this, reach out and save Pakistan. Save Pakistan from this crippling hate.


  1. A well-written piece, and indeed nothing more needs to be said.

    Everyone is ,ofcourse, free to form their own opinions about the blasphemy laws, but there are two important things that should be taken into consideration before doing so.
    Firstly, what exactly do we define as blasphemy? Is it something tantamount to writing ‘The Satanic Verses’ as Salman Rushdie did, is it dancing to songs like 'tujh mein rab dikhta hai' or is it reading Mirza ghalib's poetry?
    It is imperative to realise that when a law is made part of the constitution, it needs to be crystal clear in its technicalities in order to truly function as a law, to be useful in its implementation and to uphold the values of Islam.
    Secondly, one must remember that there is no blasphemy law in the Shariat. Now, this fact in no way obviates the need for such a law, but it is definitely something which should be remembered before one becomes too afraid to question the constitution for fear of being branded as a heretic.

  2. Hanan, you always come up with excellent critique, yet you say you're not a natural writer. Come on!

  3. That's the thing, Ahmad...i criticise, I don't create..:p
    But im trying, trust me...i've thought of a million things to write about, and i start, but somehow it ends up being too personal.