Recent debates, especially on facebook, regarding Zaid Hamid and his relations with a convicted blasphemer who died in jail almost a decade ago have certainly caught the Pakistani youth by surprise. They find themselves locked in an argument which is taking a heavy toll on their intellect and energies. On one side there are people who look upto traditional religious scholars with a good number of years and experience in the matters of religion while the other segment is quite wary of these sources and choose to follow their “Sir” Zaid Hamid.
A closer look into the matter reveals that our youth can easily be generalized as passionate, emotional, irrational, impulsive, aggressive, vulnerable, know-it-all, mind guarded and above all frustrated. The description is equally valid for all the participants irrespective of their point of view. Ironic it may be both the parties well and truly are the future of Pakistan. These youngsters are enrolled in medical, engineering and management universities.
A visit to pro-camp points how easily we the Pakistani youth fall prey to rhetorical war mongers in the name of religion. The followers there are not madressah students, long branded for being fanatics and extremists, but rather educated minds. While on the anti-camp you will find statements of religious scholars belonging to various schools of thoughts, evidences produced and deemed authentic in the court, even the complete court judgment. The advocates calling Zaid Hamid of being a vice of a blasphemer are actively gathering proofs to justify their allegations and even interacting with scholars while the other party seems to be too naïve to listen to or visit anyone. What is more surprising is that there have been defectors in the later camp while the former are steadfast.
The often asked question “Are you (Zaid Hamid) associated with Yousuf Kazzab?” is secondary to who are you? A self proclaimed defense analyst, a jihadi during American funded afghan war, religious scholar, economic expert, a historian and a diehard fan of Dr. Muhammad Iqbal. The question to ask is “What exactly is this character in question?” Who is at the centre to the most ferocious, vivacious, unique and splitting cyber war the country is experiencing.
Cross checks and his own statements presents Zaid Hamid as a computer systems engineer from NED University, Karachi, a very involved jihadi during the afghan war. Later he managed Brinks Securities, Rawalpindi before the entrepreneur in him created Brasstacks an organization which provides security updates and guidance to various national and multinational companies operating in Pakistan.
So how did an engineer from NED become a defense analyst, expert in economics, history and religious matters? These achievements, if true, are nothing short of a fairy tale. Globally, it is general practice that experts have certain contributions such as white papers to their credit, which are examined and debated upon by their peers and seniors to lend credibility and validate their authenticity; unfortunately in this case no such document exists.
What is even more surprising is that a particular and a self proclaimed jihadi is given a lot of room to freely go and deliver speeches and produce TV shows while his contemporaries are blocked, banned and put under arrest. So what is so good about this eloquent speaker that he is allowed to beat the war drums. What is more interesting is that every scholar of repute irrespective of his maslak (school of thought) eyes Zaid with suspicion.
But than again vision often gets blurred when emotions run high and we prefer to perceive things to our liking, facts are molded and our whims and fantasies have the better of us. Those who refer to documented evidences are told to directed their attention on the greater cause which is preached by the controversial speaker and it is explicitly stated “one should believe what is said and forget about who is saying it” as quoted by a diehard fan to avoid further argument. However, for any scholarly debate it is advised that before you lend your ear to someone, ensure that he is of good lineage, his immediate family is bears worthy credentials and he has a sound upbringing and tutoring in the concerned subject.
However, in this particular case it is argued; his (apparent) intentions are not only good but a realization of Pakistan’s destiny as predicted by ‘Syed Nurullah Shah Wali” a saint who existed 900 years ago, amazingly no clue to this saint nor his prediction is available anywhere except a book authored by non-other than Zaid Hamid.
Void of any qualification in defense studies, strategy formulation, economics, history and politics we are forced to lend an ear to an eloquent speaker through the air waves. He even goes on record suggesting that “Pakistan should launch one or two missiles at Israel, perhaps without nuclear warheads to reprimand Mosad for interfering with Pakistan’s internal security”.
Quran in Surah Munafiqoon, verse 4, gives the final verdict “When thou lookest at them, their exteriors please thee; and when they speak, thou listenest to their words. They are as (worthless as hollow) pieces of timber propped up, (unable to stand on their own). They think that every cry is against them. They are the enemies; so beware of them. The curse of God be on them! How are they deluded (away from the Truth)!”
Reflecting on our decisions we should ask ourselves whether our conclusions were drawn or derived through intellectual exercise or are a result of some personal impression, facts or simple hearsay. We must ask our selves, Why we as a society are vulnerable to such rhetoric? What is the state of our intellect? How long will we keep acting like a flock of sheep or a hoard of cattle?
Do we as a nation, need to focus our energies on insulting traditional religious scholar and engaging in war hysteria with neighboring India or should we look inside and try to resolve our core issues i.e. illiteracy, unavailability of basic necessities and rising unemployment. How much longer can we blame America, Israel, India and Govt. for our shortcomings? What have we done remaining well within our constitutional domains for the inequalities, injustices and malpractices we observe around us? Has any one of us ever lodged a complaint, even thought about doing it, against these everyday occurrences? The lamest excuse in this matter is that the system is not conducive to individual efforts. Instead of following someone’s oratory and condemn Institutions we should actively pursue our constitutional rights. Civil disobedience or military take over as suggested by the enlightened expert are not a solution but rather a grave mistake.
This post was submitted by Rehan Ali.