Between angels and devils, there are People. Pakistan is all about this people. Like the rest of the world, it’s a mix of good and bad, weird and wonderful, ugly and beautiful. Of sanities and stupidities, of ingenuities and inanities, of refined and rude. But the country is torn between those who discover sacred in each particle of dust in Pakistan, and those who find savage in even the stars that shine over the skies of Pakistan. As humans we must search for the Pakistan that is, and not the one that is projected by superimposing an imaginary sacred, or wilfully devilish, image on it.
Is Pakistan an abnormal state, or a state braving abnormally difficult conditions? All propaganda, for and against Pakistan, aside, the truth is distributed over the entire spectrum. Pakistan is not an abnormal state as Indian media trumpets all along, and Indian politicians stuff it into the minds of a billion people. Pakistan certainly is not what its own propagandists would have us believe. For a mind fed on ignorance about Muslims, about Kashmir, and about Pakistan, and now spilling over with hate, Pakistan, by its very being, is an embodiment of evil. As if, not people, some devilish spirits inhabit that country. To them one can very respectfully say that Pakistan is a normal country, of a normal people, with normal dreams. But today’s India suffers from an abnormal habit of not listening to anything normal. Where does one go from here. Fall in line, fall apart, or fall silent. Or gather the sounds, may be tomorrow India craves for a normal listening.
Now the second part. Pakistan is not what the ideology driven minds in that country, and in Kashmir, would always propagate it is. To them Pakistan is a special country, entrusted with a special mission. In anything Pakistan, they spot some divine scheme. To these people one always wanted to respectfully say that there are some anomalies in the very womb that delivered Pakistan. But like their Indian counterparts these campaigners have perfected the art of not listening.
Those who preach an ideology through the very idea of Pakistan, and think of Pakistan as the centre of some millennial prophecies, suffer the same degree of mental deformity as those who consider Pakistan as the epicentre of all evil. In a dual between bashers and campaigners we skip the normal range of looking at Pakistan.
Pakistan carries abnormalities within, and is burdened with an unimaginably abnormal situation to face without. Pakistan’s creation, its emphasis on a particular ideology, and the behaviour of its warrior class; these are the major abnormal spots on the vitals within its body
Imran Kahn’s visit to the US brought Pakistan to discussion world over. Manoj Joshi’s comment in Times of India, trys to put together different pieces into a perspective to explain the strategic shift in Pakistan. The question Joshi puts is very interesting: “Could Pakistan be on the cusp of deciding to become a normal state?” Imran Khan’s one year in the chair shows that Pakistan is trying desperately to throw the crises of last 30 years behind, and move ahead. But what needs to be keenly watched is whether Pakistan does it all as a tactic to be changed at the earliest signs of a shift in the global atmosphere. The quantum of damage suffered by Pakistan, as a state and as a society, tells us that this time it’s more than a tactic. In many of his interviews, in fact Imran Khan spoke of it in the US as well, it is clearly reflected that change is not just guided by the outside pressure but also by an urge within.
The imperatives of the economic condition, the pressure of FATF, the dismal image of Pakistan as a haven for non-state armed groups, and the overall deterioration of its institutions are enough to make the the present leadership of Pakistan – civil and military – to change in a significant way. But this change can not come about only through a shift in military strategy and foreign policy. The real battleground is the society of Pakistan. The real battleground is the mind of Pakistan. And this is a long battle ahead. The only man in Pakistan who is actually fighting this battle is Javed Ahmed Ghamidi. Surprisingly, the world knows very little about it.
The irony is that when the global powers bring pressure to Pakistan, or when India tries every to jump the bandwagon of that international pressure, it is only done through the realm of strategy, and foreign policy. There is no change of mind on this side as well. This makes the task for Pakistan doubly difficult. When some of the intellectuals in India discuss Pakistan in this context, I wonder how they ignore the contributions the new India is making to give the society of Pakistan a reason to relapse into its abnormalities. The treatment meted out to the Muslims in India, and the way Kashmir is approached now, make it difficult for anyone in Pakistan to work on the course of change.
The present day Pakistan is an outcome of two things. One, a thinking that shapes up its streets and goes right up to the senate. Two, the events that besieged it all along its journey as an an independent sovereign state. On the western borders Afghanistan is troubling it for last 30 years. On the eastern side, Kashmir is a festering wound. Those who try to squeeze Pakistan between the two – Afghanistan and Kashmir – are actually creating hurdles for Pakistan to undertake the journey towards a change for good.
So the question that “could Pakistan be on the cusp of deciding to become a normal state?”, is incomplete. A similar question needs to be put to India: When would India decide to be a normal state? Living in Kashmir, one can only wish that the two states become normal. That would be the beginning for us to live a normal life.
For now Imran Khan and his Pakistan is a lone journeyer on the path of change. Change for your own reason, and then create a compelling atmosphere for other to follow that change. What can bring about a change in Pakistan is finally Pakistan.