From a progressive and free country, created to shelter and protect the minorities of the Subcontinent, Pakistan has, instead, managed to nurture a society that is a control freak: obsessed with the mania of controlling the marginalized sections of society such as women, children, and weaker communities.
We, as a country, are struggling against terrorism, violence against women and children, conservative thinking which is imperiling the very fabric of our society, and, above all, the division among aristocracy, bourgeoisie, and proletariat but no positive outcome has been achieved thus far.
Our wisdom as a nation seems to be tunneled by conservatism, translated into the obsession with controlling the same marginalized communities we were supposed to protect when we had decided to fight for a separate homeland for the minorities of India in 1947.
Recently, an ad showing girls dancing publically in Lahore created havoc in the lives of Pakistanis. Everybody seemed to be greatly worried about the future of Pakistani women. The fear of the acceptance of the behavior of these dancing girls across the country scared the heck out of the commoners. The fear among the masses was so deep that a campaign against this ad was set to be launched on social media. And, finally, the company took the ad off and now Pakistani women are saved.
This is something ridiculous and ludicrous, simultaneously, the way a whole society can psyche out with the idea of women dancing publically which can have many interpretations. The concept of women liberation may follow an act of taking off the symbol of slavery, or claiming their social place by demonstrating a bold act of rebellion which is all unacceptable for the fanatics who want to enchain women in every possible way.
The tragedy of manmade society is that the burden of honor and respect always lies with the women once and for all. Despite the fact that in Pakistani society women have been enslaved in the name of honor, prestige, nobility, uprightness, rectitude, purity, morality and modesty, but ironically they have no distinction or privilege in the society in anyway.
The very enforcement of manmade laws upon Pakistani women in a very proud manner is simply reprehensible. Women ought to opt to be “modest” no matter what they get – any recognition or nothing at all.
However when our fellow Muslim women were being restricted in the west for wearing burkini, I saw Pakistani people's anger on social media. This phenomenon is beyond the reasoning of a sane mind: that we can fight for the right of Muslim women living in France to go to the beach but are terribly reluctant in giving some breathing space to the women who we have at our homes.
We wrote columns in the support of a Muslim woman who was being neglected by the western media solely because she was wearing western sports dress in the Rio Olympics 2016 but we are not willing to let our young girls ride motorcycles without being pathetically covered in a scarf, dupatta, and a hijab.
Why are we so optimistic about the future of western Muslim women, while we paint a very bleak future for Pakistani women with our own hands?
Look around the internet or the entire social fabric, and we find ourselves turning into a society full of moral police and hypocrites. We have created such an environment which breeds a poor woman like Fauzia, love it when she turns into Qandeel Baloch but, at the same time, applaud when she is killed by her own brother in the name of family honor.
We should never forget that by first enjoying her videos and then celebrating her murder, we as a society are no different than her brother who first fed himself on the same “dirty money” that she had earned through “unethical means”, and then disposed her off because of some provocation or false sense of superiority over her.
Pathetically, instead of walking on the path of glory and global recognition that our founders had promised and strived for us, somewhere in the middle of our journey we seem to have diverted from our pursuit of dignity and development to imitate radical states like Iran or Saudi Arabia forgetting that we were different. And, despite having minimal resources unlike these oil rich states, have grown both in power and intelligence beyond the ideals which are imposed on us.
But perhaps our founders and those who gave up their lives in the process of the partition had never imagined that one day as a society we would stoop so low that we would become a personification of Saadat Hassan Manto’s legendary novelette "Khol Do".
Perhaps they had never thought that their next generations will end up enslaving themselves in the hands of their Middle Eastern masters after their great sacrifice for trying to free those same descendants from the supposed enslavement at the hands of the majority in India.
They could have never imagined that their girls, who used to enjoy equal rights for education and growth would be enslaved in their houses and would even be persecuted for small things such as making a small ad in the middle of Anarkali Bazaar, which used to be the symbol of diversity, growth and progressiveness in the whole of the Subcontinent.
They might also have never thought that there would emerge a phenomenon called Taliban who would control their paradise states like Swat and impose their devilish reign upon those humble yet hardworking people and would carry on to spread their tentacles across the country.
Perhaps they could never have imagined that their sacrifices would be hijacked by the mullah apologists who would take over the mainstream opinion through media and would advocate the imposition of a Swat-like regime and set of rules in other parts of the country.
Lately, some well-educated Pakistani men felt a dire need for the promotion of the concept of hijab at a conference, and demanded to force women into wearing the hijab through legislation. At first it gave me a shock as I was unable to comprehend this sudden, dire need for the hijab when Pakistani women are already confined, tamed and restrained by the male family members. Then what makes the hijab a need, especially when introduced by a so-called women’s rights supporter.
Surprisingly, there was no protest, no written criticism and no agitation against this self-appointed policing. Soon enough, we will observe the atrocities which are being committed in the name of moral policing in Swat, spread across the country.
This is actually the spurious nature of such fanatics who preach hatred against women publically on the TV, in streets, in rallies and in the madrassas and yet it is hard to be noticed by the nobles of the land. Because this is a male-dominated society, in which an authoritative man can impose his will on any woman and is justified by and large.
Why have we become a shameless enough an audience to be able to calmly watch Marvi Sarmad - a well known and outspoken journalist - being harassed by a Senator Hafiz Hadullah on live television, and not wreak havoc. As usual, her story has already become a story of the past, yet the man who harassed her on the live television, walks freely and has even been granted immunity because he is a ‘Respected mullah’.
In a conservative society like Pakistan, where every single girl is being tamed by her family into limiting her means of interaction, and confining her within the four walls of her home, there is certainly a dire need for the rehabilitation of humanity. The very concept of honor stems from the will of a male dominated society to inhibit the self esteem of women that seldom flourishes. Instead, most women born in the country are subjected to the domestic violence and, ultimately, a cruel death.