Israel’s recent surge of attacks in the Gaza Strip has prompted criticism from nearly anybody who’s somebody. But from nowhere has the condemnation come as strongly as from Pakistan, the land of the pure, the land of peace loving Pakistanis who consider it their duty to raise hue and cry whenever there is any incident pertaining to the famed albeit notorious Ummah. Statements from the premier Nawaz Sharif and the Foreign Office harshly condemned the Israeli onslaught into the Palestinian territory, which shows how concerned Pakistan is to play its ‘extremely pivotal’ role in the international politics. Social activists and the Facebook Jehadis along with the Twitterati are going hysterical in their constant vilification of Israel online, in order to play their part in the movement against the global oppressor of human rights.
I am not trying to defend Israel’s atrocities against the Palestinians, but one begins to wonder where was that emotional response in the case of IDPs? Pakistan is going through a crucial stage in Sharif’s premiership right now, with the army engaged in a full scale military operation against the militants in Northern Waziristan, with more than 800,000 people having little access to shelter, food, clean water, clothing and basic utilities. These people share the same citizenship and rights which are enjoyed by the rest of Pakistan’s burgeoning 180 million population, and as such are entitled to all the basic rights granted to them by the constitution. What has been done to cater the needs of these millions of people who have been victims of constant warfare for the last decade? Has the same response been shown for the plight of our own people? Sadly, the answer is NO.
These people are being considered a huge burden by the federation which is, along with the provinces, reluctant to extend a welcoming hand. On the other hand, the entire Pakistani nation along with the ruling elite trip over their heels in showing their solidarity and support towards the people in Syria, Egypt, Afghanistan and Palestine. Pakistanis raised hell over the Syrian issue and issued the strongest condemnations while the people being killed by the Taliban were ignored. Pakistanis took out rallies and protested against the atrocities committed in Egypt by Mubarak while Balochs being murdered were ignored. Pakistanis cried and lamented over Afghan’s plight at the hands of USA while the ongoing Shia genocide was not given even a cursory glance. Pakistanis showed their solidarity to the Palestinians while the IDPS and victims of target killers were brushed aside. The question which arises here is what kind of utopian Pan-Islamic mentality Pakistanis are harboring in their brains which makes them ignore the problems at home?
Now, analyzing the response of the rest of the Muslim world to Pakistan’s problems, one is surprised to see the result. On the issue of Kashmir, not a single Muslim country supports Pakistan in United Nations. Not a single Muslim country has offered Pakistan any support militarily or financially to deal with the Taliban threat. No Muslim country has offered to shake hands with Pakistan in its ongoing energy crisis. Pakistan is refused any support by the Muslim countries in the international community.
This is the reality and we have to come to terms with it. The theory of realism in determining the foreign policy is employed by all the countries where the international system of countries exists in a state of constant antagonism and each country pursues its self-interest. Pakistan, however, considers its duty to extend financial and moral support to any Muslim country while totally ignoring the problems at home. Such a flawed foreign policy has led Pakistan nowhere in the ranks of Islamic countries who look suspiciously even at Pakistan’s support and refuse to acknowledge it. The Arab countries, towards which Pakistan always has had a very soft and malleable corner, do not consider Pakistan anything other than ‘Ajmees’.
Let’s deal with our own problems first before rushing off to solve the problems of others. Pakistan’s case is like the person who has stepped into a bog, and that person sees another person in the farthest corner of the bog. Can you save that person without saving yourself first? We have enough of our own issues to solve first. Terrorism, genocide, intolerance, persecution of our own people, all these are the problems faced by Pakistan. Syria, Egypt, Afghanistan and Palestine can take the back seat. Let’s join hands and clear our own home off debris before offering to clean other parts of the community, otherwise we can only guess what the alienated people of this land will do in the face of this constant marginalization and discrimination.