Why can’t we tolerate each other’s differing viewpoints? Is that really too much to ask for?

We don’t believe in freedom of thought and insist on painting everything either black or white

2016-12-12T00:58:48+05:00 Khadija Khan

I just learnt that law enforcement agencies have been notified that around 64 government and private schools are at a security risk in Pakistan.

This news left me in pain because I perceived a dreadful situation in my country where people are not safe from the deception projected in the name of social and religious values; an approach, which parts its ways from reality.

How can we ever escape this whirl of dubious beliefs where we are so confused that we can’t differentiate between right and wrong? We carry on with our gossips in a manner where we cross all limits of sanity. We often forget that we are going through a phase which vaunts a morally polluted expression of our society. A stream of radical thoughts and ideas are guiding us down a very destructive path. We take no time in branding people with good or bad attributes paying little attention to their cognitive development.

A tragic plan crash on Wednesday left us all distressed. We are still mourning those 47 people who lost their lives in the tragic accident.

Junaid Jamshed , a famous religious personality, and his wife were also among the poor victims of the horrific crash.  Junaid Jamshed was a pop singer who abandoned his career as a singer and devoted his life to preaching Islam, eventually becoming an influential evangelist/televangelist in the country.

Many Pakistanis who were attached to Junaid Jamshed – the pop music fans and devotees, as well as those who seem hell bent to malign his person for having sectarian believes – are involved in a predicament which has no end.

Whether Junaid Jamshed was a lovely person, an icon to be followed, or a conservative mullah, is yet to be decided by keyboard warriors. The game is on, across the cyberspace, as people are busy exposing their true colors, as the most tolerant and democratic nation on earth. (Sarcasm intended)

But that’s what we have become. Perhaps social media has given us an opportunity as a people to show the world how cool we are. Or maybe the venomous propaganda taught by our brainwashers both in schools and madrassas is showing its affect.

There are different views fluxing out to prove the authenticity of each argument, and in a typical way we have also made this argument an issue of our own ego. We are the people who are so colour-blinded by brainwashing that for us even the rainbow is black and white.

Most of the people seem attached to Junaid Jamshed’s musical past. His voice seems to have a never ending enchantment and his musical works spell bind listeners even today. For example the famous song Dil Dil Pakistan, which is second to only our national anthem, tricked many of his fans into wrongly believing that it actually was the national anthem of Pakistan.

But there are folks who see the whole situation in a different light. According to some he was a conservative, chauvinistic and misogynistic preacher. He was a supporter of women’s confinement within the four walls of her home. He almost became a victim himself of his own intolerant preaching, which to accusations of blasphemy. A law, which his types had championed since Zia-ul-Haq introduced it.

We don’t believe in freedom of thought and insist on painting everything either black or white. But in this mudslinging against each other for loving or hating him, we have totally forgotten that each of us has a constitutional right to have personal opinion on Junaid Jamshed or any other issue.

Even so, being a rationalist one should be discussing thoughts rather than individuals. We need to learn some lessons from the civilized world where people were allowed to celebrate as well as grill the life and achievements of Fidel Castro equally, when he died a few weeks ago.

This has also got a lot to do with our sectarian mentality as apparently those who are brandishing the personality of Junaid Jamshed belong to his opposite sect, but the same people leave no stone unturned to declare Mumtaz Qadri a martyr and a hero.

One can also debate on the point whether Junaid Jamshed was actually a religious scholar, as ranted by our mainstream media.

I am certainly not in the favour of celebrating anybody’s death, but I want Pakistani people to be tolerant enough to respect each other's disagreements in a cordial way. Is it really too much to ask for? If some people are so devout to his preaching and fond of his songs, they have no rights to make others love him and vice versa.

We love, despise, hate, differentiate, consider, ignore, praise, judge, evaluate, agree, dissent, accept and resist. We are putting the healthy process of discourse on the altar of conservatism, just to please our blind devotion to a set of thoughts or beliefs, ignoring the fact that no nation can become great without having an abundance of ideas and debates over those ideas.

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