Search

Unfortunate and worrying

Pakistan has come clean about kind of country it is. One where minorities are not welcome. Sadly, none of this is breaking news in a hold-the-front-page kind of way. Especially not in light of the state’s veritable capitulation at the end of last year before the religious right. Back then, this group had demanded nothing less than the Law minister’s head-on-a-stick over a clerical error regarding the Khatm-i-Nabuwwat oath in the Elections Act 2017. The latter has now been granted its heart’s desire.
For the Islamabad High Court (IHC) has issued an order that has redrawn the battle lines that may soon be marked by the indelible ink of bloodshed; figurative or otherwise. At the heart of which is the controversial directive that will see the citizenry’s faith take centre stage in terms of appearing on birth certificates as well passports, identity cards and voters’ lists. Failure to declare this may end with charges of sedition. Yet that is not all. Those eyeing a career in the civil service can kiss this goodbye unless they are prepared to undertake a declaration of faith prior to application. This extends to the judiciary and the armed forces.
The honourable Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui, who penned the order, has made much of how the citizenry is obliged to demonstrate unconditional loyalty to the state. Yet what about its responsibility towards the people? To ignore this is to tear up the social contract. Which is what appears to be on the cards today. Indeed, we, here at this newspaper, would go as far as to say it is the state itself that risks betraying and exploiting the people. Especially considering that the judiciary ought to play the role of neutral arbitrator of citizen rights and not take a sectarian position with a view to legitimising minority apartheid. This is to say nothing of the step to further remove minorities from law-making processes that they are bound by but have no input in architecting.
Thus this is the reality of today’s democratic Pakistan. For many, the Army has long enjoyed the reputation of being the only state institution that respects the individual on a purely professional basis. Yet all that may now be about to change. For as meritocracy goes out of the window — it will likely be replaced by common intolerance. This throws into question the future of the so-called militant-mainstreaming project given that another organ of the state is now effectively sowing the seeds of division where there should be only unity. Thereby re-opening uncomfortable conversations about reported links between an expanded deep state and those who choose to spill civilian blood.



--!>

China to roll out new policies for easier access of foreign investment

--!>