Shadow Wars

On my way to work today I saw a billboard, one of the many large ones that litter the vision of those driving in Karachi. It said; “Umrah on easy installments, now everyone can do Umrah” – that pretty much put our current religious compass in perspective for me and I laughed as I imagined what the true Aalims of Islam would say to something like this.

Funny thing is in this day and age we do not really know who the true Aalims of “Islam” are or whose “Islam” is the right “Islam”?

There is the Islam practiced in drawing rooms opulently appointed across the major domestic centers of Pakistan, while quaffing imported spirits and stressing on the need for “Huqooq ul Ebad” being as important as “Huqooq E Khuda”.

Then there is the Islam which is practiced along the FATA region and now after seeping its way into SWAT, is insistently announcing its presence in Islamabad, Lahore and maybe someday in Karachi as well. The followers of this Islam say women should sit at home and not work, they say they should be flogged if found even in the company of strangers, they also say that anyone committing any crime should get a speedy trial and be subjected to the harshest and strictest form of Islamic Law, Shariah as interpreted by the ‘Pakistan Tehreek-e-Taliban’.

Then there is a third kind of Islam which is practiced by the majority of Pakistan, which is somewhat confused and floundering between these two extremes, this is by far the most silent and hapless community with neither voice in the intelligentsia nor violence a la Taliban. This is the Pakistan which really counts and our countries future really depends on which side this majority will lean towards.

Obviously the kind of warfare being practiced in our country today with repeated attacks on state security apparatus and centers of power leaves no trail for anyone to follow. The attack on the Sri Lankan team was done by people who literally walked away in broad daylight and then just dissipated into the throng of life that is Lahore. Same was the case when the police academy was attacked; the government says there were 12-15 men while those at a construction site opposite the academy itself claim they saw at least 25 men jump into the vicinity. The perpetrators of crimes like this against our land roam free and openly invite people to join their cause. Their best tool are the drone attacks which rain down death on many an innocent civilian day after day through which they paint a picture of a bleak world, Christianity against Islam, the end of times, etc etc.

The seriousness of the whole situation though cannot dim the hilarity of it. We lash women for being in the company of na mehrams while 3 na mehrams hold them down for the punishment itself. The top brass of our politics is known for its colourful lives and rose-tinted glasses and to top it all off each one of them claims they represent the solah karor awam. So what do the solah karor awam really think of the future of their lives?

Most of them are currently trying to survive this weekend, with inflation being what it is and income getting lower every day.
They have no time to really dwell upon the philosophies of religion and propaganda wars as they are too busy keeping the boss or wife or girlfriend happy with them. Sometimes they even have to manage all three at one time. Simply put they do not care as long as they can have a reasonably comfortable life and some semblance of civic utilities reminding them where and how they are citizens of Pakistan. To them the Taliban are about as important as the horror one sees on TV soaps on Star Plus, the unseen violent ones who may be right or wrong but are definitely a bit better than the government. These followers of Geo TV do not comprehend why we make such a big deal out of everything in the first place. After all what difference does it make who is in charge?

Soon though they will have to choose, between the unabashedly corrupt liberals and the untamable other side of our society – the militants. They will have to go with the khilafat or the secularism. What is sad though, is that none of them are by any means even slightly prepared to engage in this choice, nor have the tools or education necessary to make the right one.

Uncertainty thus prevails and will continue to do so till it is decided by a violent struggle, which will either result in our liberation as a nation or our death.

As far as I am concerned, from here on it’s going to be one hell of a ride and I hope to God we emerge resilient as ever with our heads held high, and not chopped off.

As published in the 8th issue of TGK