Thursday, April 30, 2009

Whither Racism In Pakistan?

As a state, Pakistan has never clearly defined its view on racism. Our constitutional wording itself and it,s contents appear to be prejudiced as a whole ,projecting a pre-partition,Muslim lLeague image of a Pakistani .This uprighteous,Muslim, male, Pakistani image is what is reflected in textbooks,media,social imaging,etc. There has been no effort to change,discuss,conceptualize a more pluralistic image of a Pakistani, more representative of the people and Pakistan in the new century and for future. The Old Muslim league version sticks and since it is followed as religious ideological image of Pakistan, no one questions. Since there is no debate and discussion on ethnic, racial differences and their acceptance by people as a whole and policy makers in particular, we hav enow the scourge of the Taliban and thier thrust on racism and ethnic cleansing in areas they occupy. Two incidences are of crucial importance.
The Sikh displacement and injustice by Taliban in Buner and Shia(muslim sect) violence and displacement by Taliban in Frontier, including Buner.As a community Sikhs have lived in Frontier for ages.It may be that they were there since Sikhism first appeared.The frontier regions are amazing in their diversity of culture, religious makeup and civilizations since times immemorial. Theirs is a region of hospitality and plurality. As religious and ethnic groups in neighboring areas were persecuted ,these people were absorbed generously by the Frontier. They were allowed to live, flourish in an atmosphere of tolerance and hospitality by the local populace.
Now post -partition,this continued even as recent as the Soviet -Afghan war. As I mentioned earlier we have lacked debate, understanding and acceptance of the plurality of the multicultural, multi-racial makeup of Pakistan, this narrow Taliban version of Pakistani mindset is bringing discord and atrocities on innocent people who have lived here for ages. We still need to open dialogue and accept multi racial diversity a spart of Pakistani profile . Only this way we will counter this unjust and unacceptable Taliban mindset.

As Pakistan defines its new nationality based on contemporary events, it will fail to do justice to its people if it does not define ,debate and discuss its multiracial,multicultural makeup and enter the new world as a secular, pluralistic,unprejudiced state where Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Hindus and other groups live as dignified Pakistanis.Only this way we can take take this country forward and face teh menace of Taliban and som esuch future marauders and anti -Pakistan elements.
Please read editorial pages for editorial and articles by IA rehman and Dr Tariq Rehman for a true insight in the Taleban Issue in Pakistan.

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