“Pakistan not only means freedom and independence but the Muslim Ideology which has to be preserved, which has come to us as a precious gift and treasure and which, we hope, other will share with us.”

This was the message of Quaid-e-Azam to Frontier Muslim Students Federation on June 18, 1945. Freedom of speech and worship, independence, brotherhood, love, care, unity and discipline were the notions put forth by the Father of the Nation. Although we are a declared and promulgated independent nation, in actual, we have never been independent.

I am well aware of the fact that the lion’s share would be surely disagreeing with my statement above. “You must be joking. We celebrate Independence Day every year!” “You might be one of the disloyal Pakistanis who are always planning to serve another country by cleaning their toilets,” and “How many marks did you get in History last year? For your information Pakistan came into existence on 14th August, 1947,” might be few of the opinionated affirmations made by some people if the above-mentioned statement was verbalised in front of them. My opinion is not without justifications.

Muhammad Ali Jinnah addressed Civil, Naval, Military and Air Force Officers of Pakistan Government in Karachi on October 11, 1947. He said, “We should have a State in which we could live and breathe as free men and which we could develop according to our own lights and culture and where principles of Islamic Social justice could find free play.”

Quaid’s dream was to create a homeland for the pure, for those who respect others’ opinions and views and agree in living peacefully and harmoniously. He wanted a separate country for Muslims who were being cruelly crushed and were not allowed to practice their religion with freedom. Islam is the ideology of Pakistan; this is what I have always been taught in all Pakistan Studies classes. It is difficult to negate the whimsy that there is no difference in theories and ground realities because in the case of Pakistan, one gets to see a big contrast in what we are taught about the purpose behind Pakistan’s origin and what it actually was.

At first, it will be convenient to describe Pakistan as a nation. Oxford Dictionary defines nation as a large group sharing the same culture, language, or history, and inhabiting a particular state or area. ‘Sharing is caring’ is a renowned English proverb. This was one of the ideas promoted by our Quaid. Today, neither of the features appears to prevail in our society. Rimsha is not concerned with what is happening with Batool, and Javed avoids carpooling with Ali, for instance. In short, one has no concern with the other’s issues, reservations, problems and objectives. One is completely ignorant whether the next-door neighbours have eaten dinner, and is also least concerned with household, local and national issues.

“The area where bombers attacked today in the morning was at a distance from our residence.” This is the response of almost every person, except for the victims, when asked about the bomb blasts in his city. It is as if our concerns for our brothers have died long ago. We do not feel like helping others in times of disparity and hopelessness. We have now accustomed ourselves in counting the corpses and blindly relying on the news channel which is giving a higher number of dead and injured.

Next, a nation has culture, language, history and land in common. Unfortunately, Pakistanis have only history in common which we are taught till our professional studies. The reason why Pakistan Studies is included in our syllabi is to remember our past and take lessons so that the mistakes and errs are not repeated. As far as culture, language and land are concerned, these are highly interlinked. Not only are the historians and their accounts the evidences of the disputes arisen in this country in the past on the basis of the three above-mentioned characteristics defining a nation, but also the population of this country is the witness of the phases of turmoil.

One of the demands posed by Bengalis from East Pakistan was to make Bengali the national language of Pakistan as the population of East Pakistan was more than that of West Pakistan. As Urdu had been suggested as the national language long before the advent of the country, it was chosen to serve for the purpose of communication between the distributed populations. Provinces were formed according to the language spoken in this area. Changing the name of NWFP to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa ignited the disputes, such as the formation of provinces like Siraiki and Hazara. Apparently, these issues are of minute importance and are used as political weapons to either unite or divide the local population, but are of paramount significance in proving the mentality of the majority.

‘Pakistani’ culture is often represented at many forums around the globe. My question is that is it really the ‘Pakistani’ culture? In my opinion, the culture staged is either Punjabi, or Balochi, or Sindhi or Pashto. Punjabi culture is identified by dhotis, dastars, parandas, colourful glass bangles and earthenware pots (or matkas), whereas interior Sindh’s culture is keyed out by white arm bangles and ghagras (long skirts) worn by women and wellsprings. Balochi culture is depicted as a crude and rowdy one whereas Pakhtun culture is normally portrayed by simply speaking in a Pashto accent and women wearing burqas (veils). Regrettably, Pakistani culture is still to be formulated and defined; representation is a tardier stage.

The next parameter of paramount importance is the significance of the word ‘Islamic’ in complete official name of Pakistan. As mentioned before, Pakistan was made for the prosperity and widespread of Islamic belief. The foundations of the thought were laid when the Two-Nation theory was put forth. The basic idea was that the Hindus, in majority, and the Muslims, as the biggest minority in the subcontinent, are two separate nations. Muslims were not allowed to practice their religion and follow customs and rituals. Remains of pigs were thrown into the mosques and loudspeakers were used to disturb the pious Muslims gathered in mosques for congregational prayers.

My question to all those pious and prayerful Muslims is that what has happened now? Why mosques are never fully seated and why do we feel ashamed when it comes to offering prayers? Probably we fear that our friends might taunt us as old-fashioned, conservative and fundamentalists. Why do we as Muslims do not care about brotherhood, rights of the minorities, rule of law and many teachings of Islam and the Prophet pbuh? Why is it so that the term ‘modernisation’ is being used so as to promote vulgarity and put forth social and ethical challenges?

Today’s youth is simply crazy about mobile phones. Night packages, friends and family number, text message packages and mobile cards seem to be the only major issues in our life. As Pakistan has a Muslim-majority therefore it would not be wrong to say that the largest users of mobile phones in this country are Muslims (with respect to the population). If we call ourselves Muslims then why is our society facing ethical crises today? Why is this facility of text messaging and calling being misused? Why are young boys and girls taking advantage of the commodity to indulge in unethical and immoral acts? Or in other words, why do we still have ‘Islamic’ in the official name of Pakistan?

Mass media simply refers to the sources of information and news that reach and influence large numbers of people. The most common examples of today’s mass media are newspapers, magazines, radio and television. Electronic media has overshadowed all other forms, the major reason being the illiteracy of the population and secondly because people think of it as a much easier, comfortable and accessible way through which they can receive the latest, factual and non-fictional news immediately. Therefore, television is the most common means of communication.

When specifically talking about our youth, they are greatly influenced by what they see on television and in films. They have immature minds and, therefore, need a direction or pathway to follow. If they are guided rightly, they will turn out to be peaceful humans in future, but if shown the wrong path, they can become antisocial elements in a society.

Nowadays, all what we get to see on television is violence. The protagonist of a movie is either a criminal or an ex-criminal. To become such ‘heroes’, the youth tends to behave in the same way as the doers in the films, ending up committing social crimes. From the models on the ramp to the anchorperson hosting a political talk-show, the media personnel is contributing in the moral and ethical challenges being faced by the society as a whole.

The last point of debate is related to the word ‘Republic’ in Pakistan’s official name. A republic is defined as a political system in which the supreme power lies in a body of citizens who can elect people to represent them. If this country was a republic with the rule of majority, then why is this republic under the influence of other superpowers? It is a proclaimed fact that we depend on other countries like United States. It can be aptly said that the Indian subcontinent was initially a British colony, a part of which, now Pakistan, is a good US ally. IMF grants us with aids in return of which we have to fulfil the ‘Do More’ desire of USA. Our parliament continues to pass bills of condemning the drone attacks, but futile.

By bombardments and drone attacks, the next country which is reminded of is Afghanistan. We share no recognised and proclaimed border with our neighbour because of which our meek shoulders have to support a million refugees along with the population of 170 million. The collapse of the structure of state and economy is thus inevitable and therefore we have to suffer from energy and food crises.

Another neighbour of ours is India, with which we share the longest border. While discussing India as one of the influential countries, it must not be forgotten that Indian subcontinent was partitioned to Pakistan (formerly East and West) and India. The Hindu majority wanted independence but was not in the favour of partition. This idea was reflected several years after the independence by the ex-Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi, at a press conference where she said, “We will capture Pakistan through our media.” The mania of Indian media in Pakistan has reached to a level where people are more curious to know about the Shoaib-Sania marriage’s news updates rather than listening to Dr. Israr Ahmad’s lectures especially telecasted after his death in the same week.

At one place we celebrate the Independence Day (Independence from both the British rule and the monopoly of Hindus) like hooligans and at the very next moment we negate our stance by saying that Partition was a mistake, and art (music, films, etc.) has no borders. We support Burhan but discourage others to watch Sultan, yet we cannot wait to watch Fawad Khan’s latest Bollywood movie. I have a few questions: Were we desperate at the time of independence or are we now being heroic? Was it really the beef we did not want to give up or was this whole exodus had another ideology? Did it even have any ideology? The answer is that we are a dogmatic nation with no specific stance. We have forgotten the meaning of the sayings of Quaid, “Unity, faith and discipline,” and “Work, work and work,” and have allocated some places in the universities where these quotations are to be written in bold. Why did our ancestors struggle so hard for something which was later to be known as a mistake?

We, as a nation, need to redefine our values. We must reach a consensus over our decisions and should not project our weaknesses in front of the world. All countries pass through the phases of turmoil but such times are the indication of an evolution which can only be triggered by the work of teachers, writers, scholars, scientists and intelligentsia. Thus there is a need to focus on our educational policies so that people could become literate and mature enough to put aside the cultural and lingual differences, refresh the religious spirit, and choose representatives who could efficiently serve the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.