Monday, 12 September 2011

Being 'Bloody Civilian' in Pakistan

They pointed their guns at me, and started comparing my face with different photographs of wanted terrorists.
“What do you do?” an officer asked.
After an anguished bit of silence, I replied.
“I’m a teacher.”
“Teacher of what?”
“I teach film.”
“Sir jee he is lying! Who on earth teaches films after all?’’
This was about two weeks back, while I was entering the Lahore Cantonment, when army personnel stopped me at a check-point. The minute I was about to leave after the usual investigation, I heard an army officer say something out of the blue, that offended me to the core:
 “Bloody civilian!”
I instantly turned back and strictly asked the reason for their immoral stunt, also impelling them to apologize. They did not expect such a reaction, and thus resorted to harassing me in the way I’ve mentioned above. What has given the courage to this uniformed bunch of fascists to affront the people in every possible way?
Our people’s almost sacred love for the military!

A constant delusion of Pakistan’s majority regarding their armed forces has been the most effective tool for the military forces to keep their hegemony alive. This delusion is the upshot of our state’s policy of distorting and narrowing the history since its inception in 1947.

“Hindus are our worst enemies, India is behind every misery, Islam is the center of the universe and Pakistan is the greatest nation” are the compulsory clichés of our curricula and hence the first few things our children begin to learn and believe in. Why are we surprised over this hate culture which culminated in an era of terror and horrid bloodshed? What else can be expected from a generation which has grown up in the siege of state-sponsored illusions and cultural narcissism?

On the one hand, the content of our state-prescribed text books inject our minds with hatred for almost everything that has officially been declared “against the religious and national sentiments” of the country.  On the other hand, they continue to preach the ‘heroics’ of Pakistan’s military forces, with a strong emphasis on the “great nationalist” army dictators, portraying them as the protagonists of the state’s chaotic history. This nauseating propaganda is the foremost reason behind this delusional culture. People mostly see the military as the most “organized, committed and corruption free” national institution, ignoring a history of their crimes and failures.

An exaggerated fear of India’s conspiracies has been a stereotypical justification for supporting and strengthening the military forces since 1947, although according to all records outside of Pakistan, they have lost all four wars with our neighbouring country.

Pakistan’s holier than thou military has frequently imposed martial laws and emergencies. They have tortured and killed countless people who stood for democracy during their dark tyrannies. They had inevitably brutalized the people of the former East Pakistan and are responsible of massive atrocities over there during the war of 1971. Numerous Bengali women were being raped and tortured. Bangladeshi sources cite a figure of 200,000 women raped, giving birth to thousands of war-babies. This shameful brutality reflects the real face behind the ‘oh-so-holy’ persona of Pakistan’s armed forces.. They, along with the ISI and CIA as their key backer, are responsible for producing and training the Mujahideen against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, an act whose fallout in the form of Islamic extremism keeps haunting us. They continue to kill people in Baluchistan and other conflict-ridden areas in the name of national defense. 

Pakistan’s military has also turned out to be a trained corruption syndicate which is the major stake holder in every immense business of the country ranging from commercial banks, housing societies, airlines to hospitals, schools and super stores, not to mention the greater percentage of GDP our poor country spends on defence every year. This haunting tale that has left Pakistan as a traumatic state, doesn’t merely end here. The vicious circle has reached to a point where they feel pride in calling us “bloody civilians!” 

Our silence amidst this worst exploitation – taking place at every level – will lead towards more social, political and psychological destruction by the fascist armed forces of the country.  If the Pakistani masses choose to shut their eyes from reality, we may soon see a time when our children will be forced to memorize that India was once a part of Pakistan!


  1. Every time I mention the military my friends act as if I'm talking about sinless angels. The question is how do you change this mindset?

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