74 years to the independence of Pakistan and we have emerged as a strong homogenous nation that consists of various ethnic groups, including Punjabis, Pushtoons, Sindhis, Balochis, Tribals, and so on. The beauty of our nation lies in its diversity. Whether it is a moderate transition between all four seasons of the year, an abundance of crops, or natural scenic landscapes, Pakistan is bestowed with the best of everything. It’s truly beautiful if you think about it. The dazzling mountains of Gilgit Baltistan and Azaad & Jammu Kashmir are home to its warm locals. The heterogeneous landscape of KPK is home to the brave Pathans, whereas the lush fields of Punjab are home to the endearing Punjabis. From the plateaus of Balochistan to the alluvial plains of Sindh, every part of the country is a world in itself. The culture, language, and norms transition as one moves even within a particular province, from one city to another. Our cultural richness and coexistence are what make us unique and attractive to tourists from across the world. We share the homeland like true siblings, each one with a different personality and temperament but united at heart with love and peace.
Pakistan holds a significant geographic placement on the world map and is also a nuclear power, therefore, it is often targeted. Hostile forces that aim to destabilize Pakistan understand that ethnic differences can be exaggerated and exploited to this end. Hence, these foreign forces disseminate notions of ethnic exclusivity and encourage and fund sub-nationalistic political movements.
Moreover, in an attempt to fester our social harmony, they use social media media for propagating false information, hate speech and instigating controversies where none exist. Since the independence of Pakistan, various political parties have emerged as “representatives” of a particular ethnic group. In some cases, it has often resulted in political parties prioritizing their internationally-directed interests over the long-term interests of the country itself. Currently, Pakistan is fighting a war on multiple fronts. The advancement of the internet and technology has enabled foreign hostile force to attack Pakistan’s social and cultural tapestry via modern media tools. Foreign-funded Social Media campaigns have their role in instilling misinformation and hateful notions amongst the young vulnerable people.
Sub-nationalistic and ethnicized political movements instigate a feeling of mistrust in the state and its significant institutions, amongst the general public. Any political or cultural leaders that encourage their followers to identify themselves with a particular ethnic group before they identify themselves as Pakistanis definitely have hidden motives. Politicians that raise sub-nationalistic slogans mask themselves as “saviors”, and claim that they hold the best interest of “their people” at heart.
Despite identifying themselves as “non-violent movements” initiated to protect a particular cultural group, these parties have often resorted to disseminating hateful ideologies against the institutions of the state, including the army.
There are confirmed reports that Indian and other foreign agencies are behind those running the PTM and Baloch and Sindhu Desh nationalist movements.
It is a concerning situation for Pakistan. the Pushtoon Tahafuz Movement claims to work to protect the rights of Pushtoons of Pakistan. But in actual fact, all its activities are focused on arousing among the Pakhtoons feelings of hatred against the state of Pakistan and the army. Their so-called “peaceful protests” are designed to incite violence and chaos in the country. It is important that as well informed citizens we recognize these subtle attempts made to undermine the security and social harmony of the nation.
The people of Pakistan – Punjabis, Pakhtoons, Sindhis and Baloch – live like brothers and in perfect harmony. One may argue that ethnicism is a result of the previous government’s failure to promote inclusive development. Cultural groups that felt neglected eventually led to a feeling of alienation among them. Previous governments neglected the needs of the people in the tribal belt with regard to security of their life and property.
FATA did not enjoy political representation and remained under-developed. It is a government’s responsibility to ensure that no cultural group feels alienated, especially those disconnected from the big cities. When Prime Minister Imran Khan came into power, he addressed the people of FATA with great promise and acknowledged their years of suffering at the hands of previous governments. Khan has always been an advocate of dialogue and peaceful strategies to devise amicable solutions between the state and people living in underdeveloped areas.
Exclusive, sub-nationalist movements are damaging to the unity and progress of our nation. Political differences and freedom of speech are the right of every citizen in our country, however, these rights cannot override the sanctity and security of the state. The government, along with significant institutions of the state need to carefully strategize a plan to inculcate strong values of national unity among the people as well as safeguard their basic rights. This is the best way to foil the design of the enemies of Pakistan.