A Nation in Disarray

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Aliya Anjum

We are Quran thumpers who use the book of Allah as a weapon and a shield

News from all quarters was bad news during the holy month of Ramadan The Dua Zehra case engaged the nation where men and women alike prayed for the recovery of this daughter of the nation, who was suspected to have become the latest victim of sexual violence. Sexual predators are on the rise and young girls are vulnerable.
Allegations of theft from the Tosha khana or the state treasury were placed upon the ousted Prime Minister Imran Khan.
Men tried to beat up the former deputy chairman of Senate Qasim Suri, in an Islamabad hotel.
A female suicide bomber killed three Chinese teachers and a Pakistani driver at the Karachi University.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and his entourage were heckled at the sacred premises of the Masjid Nabvi in Medina, during an official trip to Saudi Arabia. Hamza Shehbaz’s appointment as the Chief Minister of Punjab was contested, due to the cases pending against him in the courts.
The Karachi based charity JDC popped up on social media with their lavish public Sehri and Iftari posts.
On the surface, the news showcases a nation in chaos, where no news is good news. All news is negative and toxic.
Let’s analyze each event, on a case by case basis.
In the case of Dua Zehra, the parents had not been sending this 14-year-old to school but they did allow between five to seven hours of gaming every day. These were statements made by her mother and her father. Education is a basic right granted to Dua Zehra by the constitution of Pakistan. Her parents violated the law by not allowing her to go to school.
Not a single person paid attention to these two factors. The entire discourse on the Dua Zehra case is instead focused on how dare a teenager rebel against parental authority? This pervasive attitude dehumanizes a teenager and turns him/her into a product owned by the parents. Parenting in the age of gaming, social media and the internet poses challenges that most Pakistanis are ill-equipped to deal with. There is no guidance anywhere. There is no Oprah Winfrey or Dr Phil in Pakistan.
The Tosha Khana theft allegations by the Sharif family and their henchmen are petty. These allegations are devoid of dignity, just as the actual theft of such items by the Sharifs and Zardari, as per the court cases pending against them in this context.
What honourable man or woman greedily covets and devours gifts given by affluent countries? Gifts have to be reciprocated to preserve self-respect and Pakistan lacks the capacity to reciprocate. Should we even be accepting such gifts in the first place? In any case, any gift thus received, is state property. At the Smithsonian Museum of American History, in the section dedicated to the First Ladies, lavish gifts including ornate gold necklaces are displayed. It is unbecoming of a head of state or their spouse to personally possess any state gift. A state gift belongs to the state.
Qasim Suri addressed the media after the incident at an Islamabad hotel. He proudly narrated how the attack on him turned into a brawl with people supporting him by throwing chairs at the attacking political workers. A Deputy Speaker of the national assembly boasting of violence inflicted in his support is shameworthy. Civilized people and civilized nations do not engage in brawls, let alone boast about them.
The female suicide bomber was an MPhil student at the Karachi University and came from an educated home. The state of our academia is so poor that it cannot open the heart and mind. Anyone susceptible to propaganda and brainwashing inevitably holds an insular worldview and a victim mindset. Pakistani academia fails to broaden the worldview of its students. Knowledge is power and since little knowledge is imparted, the mindset of victimhood prevails.
Religion has been politicized to the degree that spirituality has dissipated.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and his entourage were heckled at the sacred premises of the Masjid Nabvi in Medina because faith has been weaponised.
This weaponisation of faith has removed all traces of spirituality.
From the housewife who wants to feel special and above others, through her Dars attendance to the cleric who acts holier-than-thou when he demands the expulsion of the French Ambassador, everyone aims to gain power by using religion.
The Sharifs have created history by being appointed to the top-level state appointments in Pakistan, while out on bail. Just when we thought our image could not be tarnished any further, we were proven wrong. This time, we cannot justify it with the “few bad apples” rationale. The people who elected them and the judiciary who supported them represent Pakistan at large.
Last but not the least, the Karachi based charity JDC, has suddenly emerged on the scene with its loud chatter on Pakistani television and social media. JDC proudly hosted Sehris and Iftaris with Ostrich, Camel, Prawn and mutton delicacies being served to what they claimed to be twenty-five thousand people. One could not help but wonder that the same amount had been better spent on ration bags discretely distributed to the impoverished. JDC’s emphasis on grandiosity alludes to vanity, which is Iblis’s primary vice.
The famous playwright Anton Chekov said: “Wherever there is degeneration and apathy, there is also sexual
perversion, cold depravity, premature old age, grumbling youth, there is also a decline in the arts, indifference to science and injustice in all its forms.”
That is where we stand at the moment. We have no guidance despite the Quran being a book of guidance. We are Quran thumpers who use the book of Allah as a weapon and a shield. We do not submit to its teachings and are hence lost.