Our country has suffered a great deal due to the old narrative, based on bigotry, narrow-mindedness and obscurantism. After the death of over 50,000 thousand civilians, soldiers, policemen and politicians, at the hands of extremists, and mainly due to last month’s horrendous terrorist attack on a school in Peshawar, has finally managed to shake large sections of the Pakistani public and the military and political establishment to at least begin to question ideas that so openly encourage such carnage.
When the narrative that today is increasingly being seen as a beast of sorts – was first constructed, it did not foresee the fact that one day it will radically transfigure and begin to actually retard the country’s political, administrative and social evolution. Eventually such a narrative also became a weapon in the hands of influential clerics and radical outfits that believed that they alone were worthy and willing to turn Pakistan into, what the narrative had described, the country to be ‘A bastion of faith’.
Our collective failure lies in us not fully understanding how the state’s experiment, in the context of seeding a non-organic ideology, has contributed the most in whatever that has gone down in this country in terms of faith-based violence and the ever increasing episodes of bigotry. It has thrown Pakistan further towards the wrong side of history. We are in a dire need of a new narrative. In this regard I think independent Media has a vital role to play. I believe that no such programs, interviews news content should be aired or published which weakens the resolve of Pakistani nation or is detrimental to its interest. Programming and content should be such as to follow the national narrative. Self censorship in this regard should be exercised by the Media.
The name of ‘Jehadi’ organizations should not be used for the ‘Miscreant’ organisations, and such people should not be referred to and addressed in a respectful manner. Furthermore, live coverage should not be given to the burials of those terrorists executed legally under court sentence and the terrorists should never be glorified as heroes. By adopting a gradual approach, we can evolve a new National Narrative based on optimism and a forward looking vision.
NAUSHERWAN SHAHZAIB,
Lahore, January 29.