By Sana Hamid
One of the feature that instigates nationalism and hence bound nations together is their shared reverence towards their national heroes. Their efforts and sacrifices stand as reminiscence of courage, bravery and the unmatched aptitude that a nation has in it as its latent prowess or can acquire for that matter.
And among those heroes, when we talk about martyrs, this is the deputation standing on the highest pedestals and revered in not only Islam but also other religions as those of Judaism and Bible. A nation that cannot endear and preserve the must-have sanctity of their heroes is assumed to be breaking away from the very sense of its culture and very essence of its identity. This is what is commemorated in the ‘Yaum-e-Takbeer-e-Shuhda’ or ‘Martyr’s Reverence Day’ that Pakistan celebrated on May 25.
The event followed a wave of socio-political chaos that followed Imran Khan’s arrest from the premises of Islamabad High Court in Al-Qadir Trust’s case. The protests that followed violated the sanctity and security of various political and military installations. While the social mayhem was under way, social media was flooded with footage of a mob clashing with police in Karachi, attacking and entering the army’s head office, General Headquarters, in Rawalpindi and vandalizing the Lahore corps commander’s residence, ultimately putting it to arson.
Meanwhile, state broadcaster Radio Pakistan’s building was also set on fire in Peshawar, whilst statues and monuments commemorating our martyrs were desecrated. The power-show as a result divided the nation with May 9 designated as ‘Black Day’ and ‘Black Chapter’ in the history of Pakistan. While Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf members continue to sideline themselves from the party politics following one-after-the-other arrests and FIRs against them, Pakistan Democratic Movement-coalition of nine parties that ousted Imran Khan’s government in April last year-cashed on their own political gains and imperatives by not only proclaiming to bring to justice perpetrators, abettors, facilitators of arson and vandalism but boosting high of the distinction that should be waged between protests and rioting.
The unprecedented violent arrests followed a National Security Committee meeting and a convention in which awards were bestowed to the families of the martyrs. With thousands arrested, it is now claimed that out of 95% of people identified in the episodes of arson and vandalism, 605 are already arrested. The events, beyond any doubt set precedent for both the public and near-term disgruntling political parties that no matter the gravity of the situation, any protest of future will be obliged to remain within the domains of law and order, that would be menace for the achievement of agendas of various state and non-state actors who use such tactics as the tool of exerting pressure on the sitting treasury. But the utmost benefit that they accrue is insulting in our easily-manipulated psyche that there would be no reprieve to causing any harm to our national ideology and ideals that should and must be held with utmost sensitivity.
The problem here is that the subsequent development is yet another stride at political expediency as PTI’s opposition grapples every opportunity to reduce and subdue the former to size and aptitude of a bare minimum in order to ensure its losses in the upcoming political elections. The policy, in this yet once again places party’s’ political interests above national interests. Had it been done with true intentions, the result would have been character rebuilding that would have mean or always mean development of national maturity and consolidated consciousness.
The state of Pakistan suffers from social gullibility. It fails to identify as to how institutional consolidation and internal harmony can be attained in the best interests of national consensus and attribute.
It fails to identify, adhere to and endear its true heroes or act strategically, with the result being political polarization continuously increasing and democratic deficit intensifying.
The real lesson is for the public to learn and distinguish between the blurred lines of good and evil, to stand for righteous and identify with the façade so that the interests of the nation are not compromised unless our state develops stature to act in the interests of national a public interest-something one can only desire and pray for!