The Story of terrible twins – Can there be meaningful Peace with India?
January 16, 2010
Black Backpack – a symbol of terrorism!
January 20, 2010

Afghan-NATO and Pak-India conflict: Radicalization of youth a growing phenomenon in Pakistan By Aarzoo Naeem Chaudhry

Afghan-NATO and Pak-India conflict: Radicalization of youth a growing phenomenon in Pakistan

By Aarzoo Naeem Chaudhry

O

ne of the most important realizations in the year 2009 for me was that a lot of young people around me lack two basic, essential qualities –Respect and belief in Peace. Why this past one year? Because earlier I never really cared about people’s opinions or interacted with young people other than my friends. I never talked to people my age or younger on how they feel about the world around us. I assumed all young people wanted peace and normality to return to their lives and Pakistan. I thought all this because it was what I wanted.

Yes, I was ignorant, but now I’m shocked.

–  Majority of young people do not believe that peace is the solution. Guns and bloodshed are the final way out.

–  A lot of them think all Pakistanis are Muslims and Pakistan belongs to Islam. Only.

–  They have little or no respect for other religions, nationalities etc.

Sherman tank charges
Photo by rikdom

I thought, why? Why would young people be so ignorant and pessimistic? I feel that the problem lies with those who are sources of inspirations for young minds –our parents, teachers, elder siblings and of course the media. There’s little we are doing to teach children and the young generation about respect –not just the’ respect’ that is associated with humans, parents, teachers etc. but respect, which is born out of tolerance. Respect for all people, religions, races and cultures.

There is a great need to teach children about the concept of ‘Respect’, because the world they have been born into is diversified yet inter connected. Only those people can survive and bring peace into this world who know how to co-exist. Yes, co-existence is the key to the future. New media, mass migrations, diasporas and so many other things have made us inter-related and inter connected. We can now meet people belonging to any country or religion of the world in a matter of minutes at minimal cost.

I’m speaking from personal experience and because the teenagers and young people I meet have little respect for others. They will dish out racist comments without even realizing what they’ve said. A close friend of mine would keep saying ‘Churi’ (a derogatory word once used for Christians) without realizing what it meant and she’d say it in front of some of our Christian friends. It was embarrassing for her once she was corrected in front of a lot of people in a party and that’s when she realized what she’d been saying. A lot of people comment without thinking that it may be offensive to those around you. To top it all off, I have seen such comments on Facebook –a social networking website used by MILLIONS of people! At least learn some form of co-existence from social networking websites! It may be because many of us haven’t grown up with the consciousness that there are people of other religions, races and ethnicities around or communicated with people from a different background.

Afghan Girl/Steve McCurry/1983
Photo by .Andy Chang.

Many of us realize this when we go abroad to study and have to live and communicate with people from different backgrounds. It may be too late then, but at least you learn something! The most important thing I have learned by interacting with people from different cultures is ‘respect’. As Pakistanis, we should know a lot about respecting other nationalities and religions because we are direct victims of racist comments and stereotyped identity.  In fact we should know how it feels to be set apart and be known as ‘pakis’, ‘brown people’ or more recently, ‘terrorists’ by some ignorant people around the world.

Another thing that has been annoying me for quite some time now is how some will go on and on and on about how Pakistan belongs to Muslims and we are the ones who are pure and ‘Pak’ without realizing that they may be talking to someone from another religion. Patriotism has little to do with religion, you may not agree with me, but that is how I feel. A good Pakistani does not equate to a good Muslim, so stop mixing these things up. Recently, I was listening to a highly emotional (almost filmi) speech on patriotism by someone on television and I thought to myself that were I a Christian, Sikh or Hindu Pakistani listening to this speech, which smartly mixed Islam with Pakistan, I would be downright offended. I’ve been accused of being a non-believer and that I’m negating the Two Nation Theory by saying all of this.

Another thing that annoys me is hatred towards India. It is irritating! Like I’ve said, I’m not ‘pro-India’, I’m not pro-‘anyone’ except Pakistan, but I cannot hate India or Indians. We cannot be one; there is no ‘United India’. We have our own identity as Pakistanis, and will remain like this. I have seen celebrities give statements on TV, which are to the effect that ‘We are one –Pakistanis and Indians.’ Well, I strongly disagree. No, we are not one, we will never be one. BUT this does not mean I hate Indians. I’ve grown up with them and some of my best friends are Indians and Bangladeshi. Hatred is a destructive emotion; I’d suggest all those who ‘hate’ India, to think over it. By calling another country names and abusing her you are not doing your own country any favor. Bring a change in your own country, do something positive for it. Pakistan does not need you to spew hatred against others or spread conspiracies. Pakistan needs you to educate where there is no education, to build where people are deprived of basic necessities, to save people from social injustices and poverty. She does not need you to plant seeds of suspicion and hatred.

Happy Eid e Qorban
Photo by Elias Pirasteh

There is no need, no place for hatred in this world, so don’t let it grow in your heart. Every time I say I believe in peace, I’ve gotten amused looks and comments like, ‘Are you pro-India?’, ‘That’s so clichéd and out-dated. Peace? *snorts*’ etc. I mean, come on people, what is so wrong with believing in peace? Do we have another way out? Boycott, protest, demand your rights but don’t take out your guns and shed blood!

Respect the diverse world you live in. Respect people, no matter what their color, caste or creed.

Believe in peace.

Like Kahlil Gibran said,

“An eye for an eye, and the whole world would be blind.”

Peace.

Aarzoo

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Fareeha Qayoom
Fareeha Qayoom
Publisher and editor-in-chief of Tkfr.com and former print editions of The Knit-Xtyle Fashion Review (tkfr), a trade newsletter for the textile and apparel industry of Pakistan. In short, Publisher, editor, and a blogger. In addition, she has served as Managing Editor of MIT Technology Review Pakistan, print and web editions (2015-16). Total of 7 editions were published under her leadership by ITU, Punjab's first public technology university under the license of MIT Technology Review (USA). She has also managed Value Mag in the same capacity, a real estate and lifestyle magazine for Value TV - 2008-9. Published freelancer for The News on Sunday 1994-96. Fareeha has over 21 years of solid management experience – of managing brands (like Harley Davidson, Munsingwear, Chaps, Chaps Ralph Lauren etc.,), Retailers (like Target, Mervyns, Kohl's, Marks and Spencer etc.,), customers (VPs, Product Managers, Unit Managers, and Buyers), and products (apparel - woven, knits, men's, women's, children's, Print and online publishing units), projects, teams, and processes, information, content, and data, staff, vendors, and time. Versatile and adaptable with international exposure, communication and language skills (oral and written), and a consistent track record of achieving company targets and objectives, plus a MA in Political Science from Punjab University, a MSc in Economics from La Salle University, Louisiana, USA, and a BA in Economics from Kinnaird College for Women.

11 Comments

  1. Do also read:

    The story of terrible twins: can there be meaningful peace with India?

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  2. Irum Ahsan says:

    It is a very realistic piece.

    I know that today’s youth is not as tolerant as our ancestors were but then our ancestors did not see this troubled world. Honestly I have all the hopes from our youth because my experience is a little different. I find today’s student much more aware and conscious of race, religion, peace, and freedom. I found today’s students much more curious to find out about his or her religion and religions of others.

    As for India and Pakistan, I agree that we are different and we can be good friends by respecting each others boundaries. Aarzoo is so right in saying that a good Pakistani is not necessarily a good Muslim. Let’s embrace the fact that countries are not found in the name of “a” particular religion, boundaries are always marked for economic and political gain which automatically leads to stability and peace.

    If anything, the terrorism in Pakistan is making its people more aware of all religions especially Islam and tolerance and they are craving more and more for peaceful coexistence.

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  3. Jan 22nd 2010 – Friday

    As I said in my article “The story of terrible twins: can there be meaningful peace with India?” – you have to worry about the collective behavior – India’s collective and official behavior is discriminatory, provocative and downright nasty – the stuff that’s coming out of their newspapers (and commentary of their individuals on public forums), their officials and even now IPL is not based on mutual respect and fairness. How can you expect your youth to show maturity by not reacting? They are young after all! 🙂

    If you are looking for news on IPL – check this Dawn link –
    http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/search?cx=partner-pub-8258178831251847:z3hcmr-tplu&cof=FORID:11&ie=ISO-8859-1&q=IPL&sa=Search&siteurl=www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/news/pakistan/19-mutual-failure-hh-02

    and

    From the Indian press
    Thursday, 21 Jan, 2010
    News and comments from the Indian press in the aftermath of the exclusion of Pakistani cricketers from the Indian Premier League as reported in Dawn.
    http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/news/cricket/08-from-the-indian-press-ts-03

    and

    Factors other than sports caused IPL row: FO
    By Imran Ali Teepu
    Friday, 22 Jan, 2010

    ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Office said on Thursday that exclusion of Pakistani cricketers from the bidding process of the Indian Premier League (IPL) “is a decision influenced by variables extraneous to sports”.
    http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/front-page/12-factors-other-than-sports-caused-ipl-row-fo-210–bi-06

    You might also find Dawn’s editorial interesting too…

    Mutual failure
    Dawn Editorial
    Friday, 22 Jan, 2010

    Maybe he was playing to an Indian audience and saying what it wanted to hear. The true import of US Defence Secretary Robert Gates’s recent statements in New Delhi will be known only after assessing the remarks he makes during the Pakistani leg of his ongoing South Asian tour.

    http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/news/pakistan/19-mutual-failure-hh-02

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  4. According to Indian officials (based on their official’s statements, newspapers and blogs), they can’t be held responsible for the behavior of their private organizations but by the same token, funnily enough, they hold our government responsible for any ‘terrorist incidents’ on their soil by threatening war or worse. They keep on reiterating that Pakistani Government should curb the behavior of terrorist and extremist organizations operating within this region (the implication being that these terrorists are on government payroll!) while its us, the real targets, that are actually facing the worst spate of terrorism recorded in the world history almost daily – funny world we live in – full of double standards, injustice and oppression – where the victim is actually responsible for the crimes committed against her! Nothing is safe from bias apparently, not even sports.

    What the heck happened to “Aman ki Asha” anyway? 🙂

    Cricket is more than a game in India and Pakistan
    Friday, January 22, 2010, 18:06 [IST]
    By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee
    http://thatscricket.oneindia.in/news/2010/01/22/cricket-ipl-auction-fiasco-india-pakistan-pcb.html

    Jan 26th 2010 – Tuesday –
    IPL conduct a disservice to cricket: Indian minister
    Tuesday, 26 Jan, 2010
    KARACHI: India said on Monday that non-inclusion of Pakistani players in the third edition of Indian Premier League (IPL) competition was a ‘disservice’ to cricket.
    http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/front-page/13+ipl-conduct-a-disservice-to-cricket-indian-minister-610-za-10

    IPL authority should admit its blunder: Pak Sports Min
    Karachi, Jan 26 (PTI) Indian Premier League authorities should accept that they have treated the Pakistani players shabbily and insulted them in the January 19 auction, Pakistani Sports Minister Ijaz Hussain Jakhrani said.
    http://www.ptinews.com/news/486123_IPL-authority-should-admit-its-blunder–Pak-Sports-Min

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  5. Aarzoo says:

    Our youth is aware of other races and cultures but I find that they still have to develop an active conscious about it.
    Anti-american and Indian sentiments are on the rise and may be justified as well at some points…and this is where we need to teach our youth to do something constructive. These sentiments/hatred no matter how justified will bring no good to yourself or your country.

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  6. Our source of national pride
    Posted by Sana Saleem on 02 3rd, 2010 | Comments (136)
    Nationalism is best understood in contrast to patriotism. Patriotism is simply love for one’s country, whereas nationalism is the sense that one’s nation is the best, often because it is more sacred than other nations. For the past few months, ‘Wake Up Pakistan’ – a campaign targeting this country’s youth – has been making waves both in the mainstream and social media.

    http://blog.dawn.com/2010/02/03/our-source-of-national-pride/

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  7. Aarzoo says:

    Wake-Up Pakistan has been a constant pain for me. They’ve not done anything substantial..as yet…and I couldn’t agree with that article more….so true!

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  8. Glory, piety and politics
    Nadeem F. Paracha
    Sunday, 14 Mar, 2010

    Many young Pakistanis, who in their reactionary worldview cannot relate to the conventional make-up of the long-bearded and mullah-looking hawkers of intransigent ideas, have found their man in the dashing (Che Guevara-meets-Saladin) shape of Zaid Hamid. But this phenomenon does not begin or end with Mr Hamid.

    Back in the early 1990s the army and the intelligence agencies of Pakistan were high on the way they — with the cosy help of US and Saudi money and weapons — assisted Afghan Islamists in defeating the Soviet Union. Consequently, not only were the victorious Islamists sure of turning each and every Muslim country into an Islamic state, this fantasy was also harboured by a host of their comrades in the Pakistani intelligence apparatus

    http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/columnists/nadeem-f-paracha-glory-piety-and-politics-430

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  9. Campus intimidation
    Dawn Editorial
    Monday, 22 Mar, 2010

    The closure of the University of Peshawar and all the educational institutions situated on the campus ought to be taken as a serious warning about the manner in which the country’s youth is splitting along ideological, ethnic and other faultlines.

    http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/editorial/campus-intimidation-230

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  10. The phoenix flops
    Posted by Nadeem F. Paracha on 03 25th, 2010 | Comments (136)

    For months the Zaid Hamid brigade had been congesting cyber space and the two TV channels that the haughty ideological quack is a regular fixture on, with promises of holding a ‘massive gathering of youth’ at the Minar-e-Pakistan on this year’s Pakistan Day (23rd March).

    However, the no-show by Zaid and his fans at the Minar-e-Pakistan suggests the long honeymoon Mr. Hamid had been enjoying may be as good as over.

    He simply failed to reach the Minar-e-Pakistan, not because he had a massive body of passionate young men with him chanting for his caliphate, but mainly due to him chickening out in the face of an announcement made by a radical Islamist group that recently named him in a police FIR for murder.

    http://blog.dawn.com/2010/03/25/the-phoenix-flops/

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  11. Dialectics of humanity and violence
    Published: August 25, 2010

    Shireen M Mazari
    Are we a brutalised society or merely a militarised state? Recent developments on different fronts have highlighted the contrasting images of ourselves and our rulers. For instance, the floods have brought out some interesting dialectics of the Pakistani state and society. The latter has rallied round once again in the face of a natural calamity that has hit the country, and donations have been coming in fast from young and old, with youth groups like the Pakistan Youth Alliance being one of the few civilian relief providers to reach into areas like Rajanpur and beyond. However, beyond the military, the civilian structures of the state and government have been almost non-existent in outlying areas. Then there is the increasing distrust prevalent between the government and almost everyone else and hardly anyone is prepared to donate funds to the government itself.
    http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/Opinions/Columns/25-Aug-2010/Dialectics-of-humanity-and-violence/

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