Pakistan is an interesting country that has a complex, fluctuating and perplexing political history. Different power groups have been exploiting this unfortunate country with different tactics since its inception. Interestingly, the military ruled the country but always runs away from confessing some bitter realities (strategic blunders) which it has committed. Political elite, from Bhutto dynasty to the Sharif dynasty have been concentrating on empty slogans and sucking the life out of this nation since a long time. Now, being a Pakistani, I feel confused and sometimes shocked when a political giant, on my TV screen, announces “Bhuttoism is an ideology”. I don’t understand what does this ideology really means. Pakistanis, children of a lesser God, are convinced by their educated and learned class that the political rhetoric is true and hence must be followed. This is, however, one side of the picture.

I am amazed to know that Pakistani liberals are very passionate to make common Pakistani believe that there is some sort of cultural clash amongst the provinces of Pakistan and the all-powerful Punjabi political elite wants to impose Punjabi culture on the rest of the country.  When in a program I heard such ridiculous claims made by a well-indoctrinated young man, who currently works in an NGO, I got confused for two reasons. First, Urdu is not the language of Punjabis. Second, Punjabis rarely practice their traditional norms.  So, how would they impose values they themselves don’t follow?

The young man was continuously arguing that the federal government is imposing Urdu language on Balochs and Pakhtuns which is unfair. He also stated that the religion is not a binding force and it can’t be and shouldn’t be used to harmonize diverse cultures. He was, seemingly, trying to separate religion entirely from culture. I don’t know where he was from and who taught him all this. Being a student of sociology it was a bit confusing for me to hear some new theoretical and philosophical paradigms regarding culture.

I questioned that guy that if he was really trying to create some sort of cultural clash between the Punajbis and Balochs by stating that Punjab is invading their culture? There is no denying the bitter reality that Balochs are not given their due political rights and they, therefore, protest against the central government. However, confusing these broader political issues with self-declared cultural clash seems like organized propaganda to gain some political objectives.  This is the other side of the dark picture of our history and politics.

A few days ago, I went to Islamabad with my classmates and juniors and it was good to note that our students played songs of all sort in almost all provincial and local languages including, Urdu, Pashtu, Saraiki, Balochi and Punjabi. It assures one thing that there is no cultural clash among these provinces and the common people respect each other’s languages and values.  As stated at the very outset, different power groups have different objectives and their own tactics and tools of propaganda to achieve their ends. All such power hungry groups are spreading hatred among common people for their own goals.

Let me conclude my discussion by quoting one of my friends who belongs to Balochistan and expressed his feelings on Facebook for all of us and advised the whole nation: "I am ever thankful to the people of Punjab. They are caring and loving. I have got great teachers and friends here. It is true that we Pashtuns and Baloch have been exploited, but by God it is not by a common Punjabi but by a limited group of elites, who have created prejudices among us so that we would not love each other. These sort of people have always violated codes of humanity. People of Punjab are innocent and kind-hearted. They have given us respect here at University Of Punjab, Lahore. I am thankful to them on behalf of all students of Balochistan, FATA and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and would request to my fellow Pashtuns and Balochs to take care of them in our areas too with extreme love. Let's be united to recognize our common enemy.”

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