Choosing logic and love as a vehicle for transporting the ideas and thoughts is one of the  best courses available. But it sounds fair and decent as long as the messages wrapped inside don’t step on the threshold where the boundaries of power lines get breached. When this happens the prudent measure is to hold your move and not to trespass. The dictum of power doesn’t subscribe to logic and rationality. It is bottomed on the hard rock of strength and force and the one who has it, knows very well that it is better to be feared than loved.

But then we observed few individuals whose case is now making headlines in the national media for over a week, gone missing. The general perception in social media about them is that they have abused the freedom of speech and touched the sensitive issues of national defence and religion, in a negative fashion.  There are few posts also circulating from their alleged Facebook pages that allude to this allegation. Obviously these posts have been brought to the forefront after this issue hit the wires. How authentic these are, we are not sure. But yes, regarding armed forces, these social media pages have satirical posts and some have strong worded language that certainly cannot be agreed with. No doubt they enjoyed this privilege for considerably long time and in the process they accumulated some critical mass too. But during the process while they were rational enough certainly they crossed lines as well, some times. And when this happens, it is not without its consequences. Unfortunately the culture where we breathe in, so far has not come of age. Dissent is generally not taken lightly. Instead of responding to it in a debate, we have the tendency of shooting the messenger. But time has come that no matter how much we disagree with somebody’s opinion, we must check our temptation to declare one as unpatriotic or anti-religion, at once.

Countless times it has been mentioned by various sections of the society to encourage the critical thinking. Let people think. It would be an asset. What would we achieve by propping up a voiceless and thoughtless herd? Why don’t we think that people who raise question on political matters have the audacity to think outside the box? Allow their participation and then tailor a national narrative – it would be powerful and all-encompassing. A secure society with diversity of opinion generates a vibrant country; one that can brave the new challenges. Silencing the dissent, might prove a short term gain but a huge long term loss.

Like countless millions who stay quiet on the day to day matters of the country, the one who speaks, could also choose to stay silent. Why bother, why put yourself in the situation of risk? To top it, it is so easy to just keep beating the drum of usual stereotyping. It certainly can earn laurels and great rewards too. But is it good for the state and country? And yes, I do agree, that malafide propaganda is the last thing I would vouch for. If the objective is to malign state institutions then obviously that needs to be checked and perpetrators should be brought to justice. Most of the people who take their time out and speak on Pakistan’s matters or express their concerns are patriots. They also want to see a prosperous Pakistan, but it might be different from the opinion of somebody else. It is also possible that both, equally, have love and concern for their homeland, but propose different solutions. There is no single solution to the problems of a complex and populous state like Pakistan.

To address the issue of missing bloggers, there are simply too many voices and speculations that allude to various dimensions. We can disregard all these directions but one can safely say one thing about these missing individuals – they never incited anyone to kill anybody. On the contrary the underlying theme we find in their work, a message of the love for humanity. For a moment if we ignore their posts that ‘crossed-the-line’, in general they tried to be the voice of the voiceless. Instead of shutting themselves down on the face of atrocities against those who are fewer in numbers among us, they lent a voice to their grievances.

Someone once said when you are part of the majority, it is wise to take a step forward so you should able to see your ranks that make up that majority and determine if all that seems fine to you is perceived by others the same way as well. Frankly, looking at oneself is the hard part. And the state of Pakistan was demanded primarily out of this very fear of not getting rumbled down under the feet of the majority. But unfortunately when we attained the majority in our very own country, we forgot to empathize with those whom we titled our minorities.    

Discriminatory attitude itself is a harsh idea to live with, in the first place. However, during the transition of many decades, instead of getting these wrinkled attitudes ironed out, we observed further exacerbation in the state of affairs. Then we observed an open violence to this effect. Majority couldn’t observe these changing trends and the successive governments also choose to sweep under the carpet. But not everybody could ignore it.

The world then embraced the technological revolution and the internet offered a parallel space for the people to express their mind and thoughts. That’s where, those who couldn’t ignore the plight of minorities starting offering their concern and care. It brought the buried stories to the daylight. Obviously, all isn’t well in the cyberspace too. Some people tried to dig too deep and we observed some forums being transformed into rant-halls and a tirade of criticism was unleashed at the state institutions. Granted all is not kosher anywhere and every individual and institution needs to do some soul-searching. But as they say, unchecked criticism doesn’t always stay at the mean path and the bob of the pendulum generally tends to touch the extremes.

However, people who choose poetry, the eternal language of love, to point out the prevalent aberration in the society are certainly the voice of our conscience. They can be cautioned when their adrenaline rush inadvertently ushers them to the alleys where the line between healthy criticisms and strong worded frenzy gets blurred – but that should be it. Afterwards, law should be allowed to take its course – but through a fair trial.