Commitment vs cruelty by Waqar Hussain

Where do I find such superior and complementary words different to those already inked to praise the undaunted spirit and incredible deeds of innocent Malala Yousafzai, a peace activist par excellence, a forward-looking icon of courage and, of course, a real promoter of Pakistan`s softer image in the world? In real terms, these words seem increasingly small before what this daughter of the nation has done for a cause and committed to achieve in future.
In the valleys of bullets, in the line of atrocities and in the thunder of bombs, there are few who continue their march to materialise the dictates of their conscious, and she is, indeed, the one who is marching ahead undeterred.
On the contrary, I am constrained to find such cruel and venomous words rancid enough to condemn the heinous, barbaric, cowardly, un-Islamic, vile, and uncalled for act of shooting point blank a teenaged girl by certain miscreants. Can we have a single example from the glorious era of our beloved Prophet (PBUH) where children, especially girls, have been tortured or punished the way the militants did to just a 14-year old kid? Not at all! So what kind of Islam are we representing then? Who are the ruthless figures portraying this horrible and monstrous picture of our religion, which preaches tolerance, equality, respect for every human being and guarantee the protection of rights of others irrespective of cast and creed? Surely, they are not Muslims and followers of Islam.
The cowardly attack on Malala is not an attempt to kill an individual, but to suppress a particular thinking, a philosophy, a frame of mind that rejects cruelty, oppression, discrimination, and forced applicability of a self-designed religion; and instead raise their voice for independent reasoning, fair play, equality and freedom to choose a kind of life they deem fit. We are nobody to snatch certain unalienable rights from others on the pretext of a wrong interpretation of religious norms. Yes, there has to be a limit; a boundary beyond which one should not operate keeping the values and divine injunctions in view. But am I authorised to force others to apply my views on them, irrespective of the assurances and guarantees offered by the religion and the state? No, no one is allowed to do so! But here we are confronted with a strange and formidable state of affairs that is hard to be considered any way nearer to a civilised society and the teachings of Islam. Undoubtedly, Islam is a complete code of life with certain parameters and limitations to live in this world, but compulsion and forced applicability of anything in a coercive way on others does not exist in its scheme of things. Different versions of one, but exquisitely appropriate and unquestionable Islam, should no more be allowed to function, if we want peace here.
The division that is being created, ambiguity that is being wrought, hostility that is being shaped, and contempt that is being spread among the Muslims in the name of a self-assumed version of the religion is the real cause of our failure that may spiral into every facet of our life and land us in a vicious abyss of destruction. We need to salvage not only ourselves from this catastrophe of extremism and terrorism, but also liberate the entire nation from this mess and help restore the real image of the Islam and the Muslims.
One thing is really important to deliberate here that whether it is the actual Taliban, who did all this and accepted the responsibility or otherwise. Probably, they are not behind such cowardly acts; it is neither their mandate or priority nor part of their philosophy. However, they are some other elements under the guise of the Taliban, who are playing this brutal game. Yet, the flipside of the notion is that if they are not backing such heinous crimes, then why don’t they reject the claim? There exist divergent views as to who exactly is designing, executing and controlling the operation of these horrifying activities in our country. However, they cannot be absolved of the charges of killing innocent people and creating terrible unrest here.
Historically, Pakistan has always been subject to anti-Pakistan forces ever since. Calm has never prevailed on its north-western as well as eastern borders. The tragic separation of one part of the country, intrusion from neighbouring countries, consistent unrest in Balochistan, wars with neighbouring India, economic crises, repeated sanctions against us, ongoing propaganda against our nuclear programme, collapse of potential organisations like Pakistan Railways, PIA, Steel Mills, shutting doors of international sports in our country, increasing menace of terrorism and other similar problems are not the outcome of our own mistakes, but cruel hands of anti-Pakistan forces operating against us unchecked for long, identification and exposing of which is the foremost requirement. We must unearth those harsh realities, which are the source of our troubles, economic mess and war-like situation.
It is high time that the whole nation got together on not only issues like extremism, but also against inequality, injustice, oppression and indiscrimination, in whatever form it exists in the society. We must have one voice on all national issues and hold national interest supreme. We all pray for quick and full recovery of Malala and her injured friends with the hope that those involved in the murderous attempt on her will be arrested soon and taken to exemplary task.
The writer is a freelance columnist.


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