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Monday, 11 March 2013

All minorities — please leave Pakistan!


All minorities — please leave Pakistan!


Yes, you read it correctly. I am asking all minorities — ethnic, religious, denominational — and any other people who consider themselves a minority of any kind, to please leave Pakistan.
Yes, I know that this means that Hindus who have lived in Sindh for millennia should leave, that Christians from whom SP Singha hailed and who made the critical casting vote in the Punjab Assembly for Pakistan should leave, that the Ahmadis who gave Pakistan its first brilliant foreign minister as well as a Nobel laureate, that Shias who count the founder of the country, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, as one of their denomination, should leave — yes, all should leave.
Soon, of course, we would need to add to this list, women, since they always prove to be so deviant and might want to go out of the house, and some men, too, as they might have visited the shrines of those Sufi saints who are responsible for the conversion of millions to Islam.
This obviously is just the beginning of the list and very soon, more categories will be added as the above mentioned people are exterminated or simply chased away.
It does not matter if the chosen are a few thousand or even a few million — the vast majority of the country’s 180 million need to leave since they simply do not fit the bill and are minorities of some kind. Pakistan was founded to be the preserve of a small minority of men and so it should be.
And this is the crux of the problem. Pakistan was founded by people who were fearful of a majority they did not trust.
It did not matter if the majority was good or evil, or that a workable solution might have been devised — all that mattered was that they were a minority and hence, they needed to have their separate way.
In other words, the Muslim minority of India simply refused to live with the Hindu majority of India, no matter what the reasons or consequences. As this mindset led to the creation of Pakistan, it also led to the creation of a very suspicious view towards other minorities — the erstwhile minority of India then turned against any other minorities in its own country, and quite naturally, it thought of them as fifth columnists — just as it had been in India. Also, since at the root of the Muslim League’s strong demand for Pakistan was intolerance — it simply could not stand living with Hindus — it was but natural for a strong strain of intolerance to seep into the very veins of Pakistan.
The twin menaces of suspicion and intolerance towards minorities has remained a permanent feature of Pakistan since its inception. Beginning with September 1948, when the founder of the country only had a private Shia funeral, presumably because it was too much for the public to handle that the revered Quaid-e-Azam was not a Sunni, to the Muslim members of the Constituent Assembly ‘fearful’ of the 15 per cent of Hindus in Pakistan if joint electorates were permitted, to the rioting against Ahmadis in 1953 and later, to violent attacks against Christians, Hindus and Shias, especially since the 1980s, Pakistan has been uneasy with its minorities.
And here, I have not even begun writing about women — who are increasingly becoming a minority in demographic terms and are treated very poorly, to discrimination based on ethnic background, class differences, sexual orientation, and simply, due to bigotry.
Pakistan is beset with this intolerance against minorities and it seems that it has become its blood line. The majority of Pakistanis might not be keen on exterminating the minorities (though I am beginning to have doubts here), but this vocal and violent minority is increasingly having its way and no one seems to be doing anything about it except issuing condemnations. The government regrets the incidents after they happen, the intelligence agencies promise to work ‘next time’, the courts take suo motu notice but no one is ever brought to justice, and the civil society people (read the rich and middle class) satisfy themselves by holding vigils — everyone ticks their boxes and life goes on.
Life cannot, and should not go on, if conditions are deteriorating so rapidly in front of our eyes. Unless the ‘silent majority’ wakes up and takes charge, nothing will happen. Till then, it is best if all minorities simply pack up and leave for safer climes.

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