Patriotism: the Way it Should be

The making of Pakistan, the land of the pure, signifies the culmination of a long journey that the Muslim set out from the demolition of the Temple of Somnath in 11th Century by Mahmood Gnaznavi.

Al-Beruni, one of the courtiers of Mahmood, said that these two nations of Hindus and Muslims could never live together. He gave his own discourse on the two nations, that may have raised some eyebrows, but the history, that followed, proved him right when the Muslims gained a separate homeland for them.

Pakistan has had a troubled history since its inception. The burning question at the moment is: Will we succeed or will just become a casualty? History will answer this question by judging the nation’s contents i.e., the concepts they hold of one another, the definitions they present, the unity they exhibit, and on top of all, what they do for Pakistan to cut through the ongoing state of affairs with flying colours.

Recently, Pakistan witnessed the first-ever, successful by all means, transition from one democratic government to another. The unprecedented transition was the culmination of exercising its writ on the polity by an all-too-strong Election Commission. Everything that followed was almost impeccable besides a few happenings. Political parties resorted to mudslinging, a much common practice especially in the Third World nations. Media aired some instances of poll rigging at some constituencies which marred the impeccability of the elections and showed that the assertion that elections were absolutely free of rigging was baseless by all means.

The element of rigging in elections can and should be removed once for all with electronic balloting. But, in the recent elections, the thing that perplexed me the most was the party affiliation taking precedence over affiliation to the country. Many zealous followers of political parties, unable to absorb their defeat in the elections, started criticizing Pakistan and the rival parties vehemently. The criticism ranged from disparaging the honesty of Pakistanis to questioning the very existence of Pakistan in the near future. The dilemma further aggravated when these ‘misguided’ people didn’t pay any heed whatsoever to logic and bent on blindly and adamantly following what is right in their opinion.

This is a serious problem and it tarnishes the definition of the word ‘patriotism’. Ironically, when it comes to Kashmir, we are one nation but when it comes to elections in our own homeland, we are party affiliates only. This is the time for all of us to stop and chew over the questions like:

Why do we attribute different definitions to ‘patriotism’?

Why do we always have to be pessimists and remain adamant to it even when logic speaks out loud and clear?

Why should we not think that the democracy has got a shape after almost 66 years?

Highest-ever voter turnout, since 1970, in these elections sufficiently proves that this nation has awakened to reach its destiny. When the whole of Pakistan is exhilarated, why should some elements keep out? They should know that patriotism here has just one definition which starts with Pakistan and ends with Pakistan. Highest voter turnout, despite the extremists’ threats and 117 deaths during electioneering, is a proof that the new rulers must show good governance or be ready to be swept away in the next general elections.

 The element of rigging in elections can and should be removed once for all with electronic balloting. But, in the recent elections, the thing that perplexed me the most was the party affiliation taking precedence over affiliation to the country.
 Slow progress rather than quick miracles should be expected. Electricity shortfall, unemployment, sham economy, wily politicians, endemic terrorism threats, circular debt, bad governance, inconsistent policies and dependency will all wear off with time when the public is alive to political realities. We just need to do our part and help the country take off economically.

Are we poised to do anything constructive for Pakistan? Can we do away with the party affiliations, political differences, ideological proximities and personal interests and work honestly to save and improve this country and its people? If the answer is yes, we will have to stop having second definitions for ‘patriotism’. Treading this path is the only way to reach a point where we and our views will be held in high dignity in supranational institutions and in the international arena.
Pakistan, which today comprises more than 185 million people, was not easy to achieve. It is only the result of untiring efforts and countless sacrifices of the Muslims that we breathe in a free country today. Treatment meted out to Rohingya Muslims of Myanmar is enough to answer the question of why a nation needs a homeland. Our founding fathers sacrificed everything to help us reach where we stand today. Big job is already done; the platform is all set, and all we need to do is to read correctly what is written between the lines and be ever ready with all flesh and blood whenever the nation needs.

It’s the high time we stand united, glued to each other, to form a great nation in the truest sense of the word and to do what is expected from a true Pakistani. Resolving all the differences is the right way to go for it. Celebrating the victory in a suave manner, taking on board every member of society to help root out persistent problems, will set an example to be followed. Accepting defeat in a gracious manner and helping the democratic process continue functioning and doing a strong opposition that works in national interest is exactly what is needed at present. United we stand, divided we fall. Let every nation know that we are united against all odds, and that we will never lose hope or courage, because we know what our strength is and we know how to harness it.
By: Saad Khan

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