Thanks to Zia-ul-Haq, Pakistanis have been successfully conditioned to listen to politicians and religious leaders without question.
This has led to the blind eye towards the heavily documented rape culture in our religious institutions, sometimes by victims. This has also gotten our clergy the hall pass for generally misogynistic attitudes. This has also caused many generations to drift away from religion.
Zia mandated covering our head when on TV. He also authorized a largely religious programming for TV. Some might say that some of that censorship would’ve been well used for the Pakistani film industry’s sexual symbolism that is responsible for tons of bestiality and perverse practices in cinema houses but I digress!
Zia also made sure during his eleven year dictatorial tenure that people worshipped religious leaders. Anyone who didn’t was classified a non-Muslim. Blasphemy was very easy to commit and everyone was in constant threat of being excluded from the circle of Islam.
But Benazir Bhutto made a place for herself twice, head covered in a conservative assembly and all. She also led the country with a mix of liberal and conservative guidelines. When you’re a woman prime minister in an Islamic state, you are considered more empowered than you actually are. Benazir’s term twice didn’t bring much change except a historical documentation of Pakistan being progressive enough to accept a woman as their leader. To put things in perspective, the darling of the West who liked to call herself the Daughter of the East was hated by the clergy brigade of Pakistan. She was ultimately killed like her father was. Courage and political flair aren’t what we need in Pakistan so the Bhutto family was wiped out much like several other political families in this world.
Nawaz Sharif didn’t bother with resetting the moral compass either. Frankly, his other job of ransacking the country of its foreign exchange and wealth was so time-consuming that he had little time for anything else.
Now we have Imran Khan. We have a self-proclaimed womanizer, father of illegitimate kids that he was reluctant to accept as his own, the heartthrob of many women in this world, serial marrier, the subject matter of a sensational book written by his second wife, a good friend of his first wife whom he has two sons with and who also is the adoptive mother of his daughter born out of wedlock. He also, incidentally, is a huge supporter of the tyrannical clergy and religious leaders that we have in Pakistan. It’s a little paradoxical that he would support clergy as strongly as he does after he was persecuted by them so badly a few years ago but if you knew how clergy is the king maker in Pakistan, you’d see it as purely political.
But he fails to defend a religious scholar. He fails to ask for the freedom of expression for Tariq Jamil. He fails to let go of his agenda in favor of what’s right.
Tariq Jamil called out our media for being the perpetrators of false information on occasion. I don’t think anyone of us has been truthful all our lives so we might ask ourselves why the uproar. He has since then apologized under immense pressure also.
So actually I’ll just go back to the first point I made and profusely thank Zia-ul-Haq for making us animals when we hear another opinion that we don’t agree with. He thought clergy would always rise and religious leaders will always be revered. He didn’t count on the sheer process of conditioning. When you condition people into impressionable nothings, this is how they react to a difference of opinion.