Dear, Oh dear! Whether we admit it or not, Pakistan has always been a rather emotional country in its mindset, there’s seldom ever a middle way or a crossroads. Either you swing one way or the other, it’s always been like this whether it’s in political parties, cricket, musicians, favorite foods or even social media celebrities (I’m looking at you Qandeel Baloch). Either it’s white or its black with just a practically inconceivable smudge of gray in between. There in comes the ultimate showdown of the liberals versus the conservatives. Let’s get a look at the players of both these teams.
Team Liberals typically consist of people, with slight variations in the below description, who have studied in elite institutions of the country and are, as a matter of fact, simultaneously victim of an inferiority and superiority complex. They pride themselves in their honed English language skills and treat Urdu, their national language, as a second language. They believe Islam as a whole to be a primitive concept and are intent on breaking each which includes but isn’t limited to pre-marital sex along with every other obligation of Islam just to prove how obviously free and “liberal” they are. They claim to put humanity above religion, unlike their conservative counterparts, but that wouldn’t have been an issue if they had any semblance of it. Their humanity extends only to those around them but not the majority of the populace specifically those not belonging to a certain financial category. They see the conservatives as a bunch of ancient and toxic judgemental humans who need the liberal’s wise and guiding hand to be ushered into a new era all the while being completely oblivious and unaware of the irony of this very situation.
Exploring the other side of the coin, we have Team Conservatives which typically consists of people from the more financially lower end of the spectrum who have been taught mostly in government schools. These people pride themselves in being a Pakistani along with all of its faults. They see the liberals as the acolytes of Satan, evil incarnate, here to destroy their obviously flawless and pure land with grim concepts like women rights and innovations meant to detrack them from their self-proclaimed righteous path. They claim their lives are dictated by the doctrines of Islam while they also twist Islamic teachings to further their own vile ideologies, essentially using it as a weapon and thus undermining the very essence of Islam. They also think of themselves as hardcore people and shun every modern concept like family planning as “mummy daddy” concepts. They are the so called true Muslims, as long as Islam is in line with their agendas. They also believe that any pre marital contact, even conversation, between the two sexes is Haram and is to be punished accordingly. However, they also believe it’s always the women’s fault and men are supposed to be their masters in every field of life. Sexism runs deeper in their veins than blood although they’ll never say the word out loud just because it has “sex” in it and is thus inappropriate to use.
There are nonetheless a plethora of similarities between the two teams, some of which, most notably, are that they always blame the others for the current issues of the country from which they are thoroughly excluded. They both feel free to twist the true teachings of Islam for either their own interest or to seem more open to others. Both of them exercise extreme levels of hypocrisy and are thoroughly judgemental, albeit in different ways of others for e.g. A conservative may aptly label a female wearing western clothing i.e. a sleeveless shirt and skinny jeans as a “gashti” (harlot) while a liberal may call someone with an imperfect English accent as “paindu” or a bunch of people speaking Punjabi as “jaahil” (illiterate).
What this all means is that right now, Pakistan is even more divided and we need to adopt a middle way for that, build a crossroads if we want to truly progress. We need to embed modern concepts into our social structures whilst also keeping in line with our values and religion. What Pakistan needs is that we become more tolerant and understanding of each other and realize that we’re as much a cause and part of the failures of this country as any other person. There is an extremely overwhelming amount of good to be gained by Western concept but we should adopt it to only a certain limit, and anything beyond that, we then threaten to muddle our culture and lose our identity. We also need to develop a true understanding of Islam and it’s concepts, only then will we realize that Islam is undoubtedly the most progressive of all religions in the world and it does, as a matter of fact, put humanity over everything else. We need to essentially build a balance and objectively see what is truly harmful to our society. Right now, this massive tear erupting in our mindsets threatens to even further worsen the divisions of the public and this is truly the worst of them all as it’s a conflict of fundamental ideologies rather than preferences. What Pakistan needs are people ready to evolve with the ever-changing needs of time whilst also retaining their distinct and independent identities.