In the past few weeks, when the BLM (Black Lives Matter) movement was trending in the entire world, many Pakistanis also supported it by sharing their stance on racial discrimination. It was very admirable that we, Pakistanis, were promoting this trend, but were we supporting it just for the sake of following the twitter trend? Have we not discriminated at least one person in our life? Are we in a position to judge the situation in America, when our nation is burning for years?
Pakistanis are known for their world-class humor nowadays. Throw anything at us, and you will see us make a joke out of it. The most pressing matters, like Covid-19, the on-going locust attack, even the threat of world war three at the start of this year, seemed hilarious to Pakistanis, and they took it to social media to ensure everyone joins them in their laughter. While this might work as a coping mechanism for some, this is not always a thing to admire. Among countless other things, Pakistanis are accustomed to pass, sexist, racist, and colorist remarks in the name of jokes.
The white supremacy is deeply embedded in the brains of Pakistanis. You will see the internet filled with the before and after pictures of celebrities, where they are called out for their dark skin before joining the industry. Our WhatsApp is still filled with totkas (life hacks) to get lighter skin. Comments like “Chitta Safaid” (very white) are appreciated, while comments like “Kaala Siyah” (very black) are considered insults. That’s not all; you will hear countless stories of people, especially women, who are struggling to get married because of their dark skin tone. This all is and should be considered abusive; however, these are just words.
While people with dark skin are just frowned upon and are targets of hate speech, there is a lot of on-going violence in the shape of murders and tortures against the people of different races, sects, ethnicity, and religions.
Home to 700,000 members of the community of Hazara, Balochistan is home to a large population of Shia Muslims. It also includes the Barelvis and Ismailis. In the late nineteenth century, they migrated to Quetta as a result of facing severe oppression from the King of Afghanistan, Amir Abdur Rahman Khan. Until the emergence of the Taliban in the 90s, the Hazaras had taken small trades and local businesses in the sector of transportation in Quetta. Soon after the appearance of this Taliban Phenomenon, their target killing began. They were targetted by the jihadi groups, and in July 2003, there was an attack in Quetta, Shia mosque, where above 50 people were dead. It was considered one of the worst sectarian violence in many years. Just like this, more than four dozen Shias were murdered in cold blood, in March of 2004, during the Jaloos of 10th Muharram. Another major attack happened on the Al Quds rally. In September 2010. The rally, which was organized by the Shia Muslims in Quetta to express their solidarity with the oppression of Muslims in Palestine, was attacked by a suicide bomber, which caused 55 casualties.
Just like these, the violence continues. The Hazara Muslims are targetted. Pashtuns face abuse and are sometimes called out as “Afghan namak haram” (Afghani Traitors). Baloch people are disappearing. Punjabis also have to face threats for their lives in this area. These differences have made this area of Balochistan, a relatively dangerous place to visit.
In addition to this, Kalash’s vibrant culture is almost dead, for it was not Islamic.
Anti-Semitism in Pakistan
Antisemitism in Pakistan is said to the practices of discrimination and violence against the Jewish community of Pakistan. Many stereotypes revolve, regarding the Jewish community, in Pakistan. Almost all of these views have a common point of intersection with the antisemitic opinions in the entire Muslim world. Jews are regarded as “Enemies of Islam” and “Enemies of Pakistan.” Lashkar-e-Toiba is a religious group in Pakistan, and it has often shared its negative opinion on these individuals.
Jewish people are regarded as discomfort. In Karachi, the Magain Shalome Synagogue was attacked, and Jews are also targetted individually from time to time. The Jews live in secret, in Pakistan, and their famous communities, such as those that were found in Peshawar, are almost entirely diminished.
In Pakistan, since a very long time, Pathans are ridiculed for their accents, and are considered “foolish.” Pathan people are often targeted by these racists, offensive, and controversial sense of humor. They are commonly referred to as “uneducated and barbaric.”
Thus, it can be concluded that Pakistan is an extremely divided nation, with an extremely backward ideology and mindset. It would not be wrong to say that six different countries were made in the name of Pakistan in 1947. We are divided on every front. These divisions are so deeply embedded that it is almost impossible to imagine riddance from these differences in the near future.
Although the support for the BLM movement should be appreciated, hypocrisy should not be. You cannot just type “Black Lives Matter” until your shelves are filled with brightening skin creams. Until you continue to pass racist remarks. Until people continue to die in the name of these differences in your country. Let us first put water on the fire that is burning our country, maybe, just maybe, then we might be capable of pointing fingers at the superpower and the flaws it contains.