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For a century we laboured to settle on soil that protects the interest of all people; we laboured to subdue oppression. For a century, we called upon unbounded freedom fighters and untiring leaders to create an order of peace for all people. Approaching its 73rd birthday, Pakistan has died more than it has bloomed. In its pursuit of ardour, the magic potion that invigorates the people of this country is not the conversion and forced child marriage of a fourteen-year-old; it is not, ironically, an alleged harasser’s appointment as the ambassador to the Namal Knowledge City; it is certainly not the murder of an innocent eight-year-old child who freed a bird from its cage. Indeed, how could the people of this country have time to worry about such trivialities when they are already engulfed in a war against the “actual” forces corrupting our social order.
Biscuits, a threat to society!
Ladies and gentlemen, the source of vigour that forces a fragile skeleton of an eighty-year-old out of bed and firmly onto his feet is a biscuit. Yes, a biscuit encompasses the honour of our entire community such that upon being dipped in the chai of freedom of expression, it breaks apart and ceases to exist. PEMRA dearest, our protector of honour and saviour of religion, recently banned the Gala Biscuit advertisement from airing due to the ‘indecent content’ that it reflected. In fact, the matter at hand was so urgent that the Federal Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Ali Muhammad Khan, and a senior journalist Ansar Abbasi were quick to act by addressing the affair to the prime minister, Imran Khan. They deserve a badge of honour for their quick thinking and action because a dance airing on television certainly puts our community’s oxygen to breathe in jeopardy. Truth be told, the doctors of this country might have misdiagnosed the symptoms of the community’s dying honour with those of coronavirus. Are we sure breathings issues are caused by coronavirus? All I can confirm is that the morals of our dear PEMRA are as coherently kept together as a biscuit in chai.
Cover your body with morals, not athleisure!
Don’t worry, that is not the only thing that threatens the moral fabric of this country. The topic of athleisure also proves to be a pressing issue in these trying times. Upon watching a female in gym wear on a morning show, Pakistan transitioned to a red alert emergency situation. Dead men rose from graves, businesses were put to a halt, and homeless men no longer cared about the lack of food on their table. Together, with a sense of common purpose, Pakistani netizens were seen playing jury as they debated the suitable sentence for such a grave crime. The founder of our beloved country, had he still been alive and well, would have commended the people of this country on upholding the national motto of ‘unity, faith and discipline’. This issue, as a matter of fact, was so detrimental to the prestige of our society, that it took precedence over the plight of coronavirus, and its economic, social and political consequences. It is reassuring to peacefully sleep at night, knowing the country has its priorities in order and that people are consistently eager to raise the sword against the overarching vulgarity that consumes the land. The imagination of our men engirdles knowledge that stretches far more than the cloth the athleisure is made out of.
Books? Enemies, not friends!
On the topic of honour and morality, Pakistan’s glory took another hit at the books circulating around town. Mere words and letters, ladies and gentlemen, deem injurious to the well being of the minds of this nation. Being exposed to counter-narratives and nuanced arguments apparently pollute well-functioning brains. Hence, the community should be grateful to have people like Rai Manzoor Hussain Nasir, the managing director of the Punjab Curriculum and Textbook Board, to look out for their safety and security. The Punjab Curriculum and Textbook Board banned a hundred school books in a single day for containing content deemed “anti-national” and “blasphemous”. To prove himself as a role model, the managing director reflected his nationalistic tendencies on Twitter by liking certain posts. A hundred books and zero brain cells?
Biscuits, clothes and books together, or lack thereof, keep the honour of this country intact and help its people to be up and running after each sunrise. Women find themselves being constantly educated on the right mode of life: when to smile, what to read, and what to wear are important topics that are consistently rehashed to morally c̶o̶n̶s̶t̶r̶a̶i̶n̶t liberate our women. Desi uncles are seen preaching patience to women when issues of harassment surface to light. For someone who sermonizes that girls look better when they ‘smile more’, instances have proved that a desi uncle’s patience capacity is even shorter than the skirt being sold around the market.
Yes, of course, all hope is not lost. With this rise in moral decadence (or should I say, the consolidation of our noble values), there has also been a rise in real social activism aiming to improve lives, and aiming to represent the unheard. Even if our beloved state apparatus declares certain intellectuals and activists as “Symbol of Frightens” (apparently, demanding Student Unions and fee cuts amounts to instigating anti-state activities), their very existence is reason enough to believe that there may still be hope for a more aware country with people who understand the graveness of the issues which plague it. But before we dream of such a society, we must tackle certain fundamental questions about the one in which we currently reside: when, where, and how did our moral values take such a deep dive? And how do we, as the privileged and “educated” sections of our country, view and counter this decay which has blinded our community from the very real and deep polarisations which now characterise our homeland.