When Musharraf came to power and the whole 9/11 thing happened, major changes were seen in the political, social and economic scene in Pakistan. When the US said that, ” either you are with us, or against us”, it divided the people of Pakistan. Most of them supported Afghanistan and believed that the US operation was unjust. There were statistics that said that they supported Musharraf… whatever! Anyway, during this whole crisis, his think tanks derived a formula of “sab se pehle Pakistan”, there were songs, concerts, and what not to make sure that this message was embedded in the minds of people so that they would think “Pakistan First”! It was pretty effective as people have this nationalistic mentality in Pakistan where everyone’s either a Punjabi or a Pathan or a Sindhi, or a Balochi or a Muhajir or a Pakhtoon! Proof of it is that NWFP’s name has been changed to Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa, the Siraikis want another province for themselves! And it is soo sad! So, back to where I was, Musharraf was pretty much successful in making people think with his media campaigns to think about being a Pakistani first. And because it was the period when the US coalition attacked Afghanistan, this nationalistic thought overcame all the other provincial identities.
And why am I mentioning all this?! Because we fail to prioritize our identities! There’s been a video that a friend of mine posted on her wall on FB, and the title is, “yea kin logon ki basti hai aey Khuda” by some group called Jagoo Pakistan. The group though criticizes the media responsibilities towards Dr. Afia and too much publicity to Shoaib and Sania wedding and the attitude of the government towards Dr. Afia as compared to that towards Sania Mirza. I’d agree to the part that yes, the media hasn’t done justice to Dr. Afia but we have to see where we can draw lines. Sania Mirza maybe Indian but she is a Muslim first. So, when you call her the “other” or dosre ki beti, you show and you prove that the Musharraf’s “sab se pehle Pakistan” was a success! I’m not saying that I’m not a Patriot or that I don’t love Pakistan, it’s just that if it wasn’t for Islam, there wouldn’t have been a Pakistan.
Pakistan was not made to divide Muslims, but it was made to protect them, to safeguard their rights but somehow the purpose seem to have lost! We fail to realize that we are first and foremost Muslims. When people starting converting to Islam more than 1430 years ago, the Kuffar of Makkah used to say that what kind of religion is this which has put enmity between blood ties and the reply to that is in Quran that Allah has developed love between them (the Muslims) which is far greater and far stronger than that of the blood ties! The Muslim brotherhood didn’t rely on the blood ties or worldly advantages, the brotherhood and the love between them was based on their love for Allah. They were tied together because they loved Allah and they were Muslims. When we embrace Islam, or when one comes under the fold of Islam, he/she automatically becomes a part of the Muslim community in all parts of the world. That is the beauty of it!
So when we are Muslims first, the Sania Mirza issue shouldn’t be shown like this. The media is responsible for creating such a hype about it and that maybe because the agenda on which the media conglomerates wants the real issues to subside in front of such mundane ones. Always remember, “Nothing is what it seems” specially on television. This so-called free media (I’m calling it a so-called free media because the strings are held somewhere and I know it’s not as free as they project it to be) has undermined the value of Dr. Afia’s case soo much so that the people of Pakistan don’t even know what is happening except for a few! And if this is “awareness” that they are spreading, I wonder what’s the opposite of it!
Anyway, the only thing that I want to highlight here is think of being Muslims first! These national identities were gievn to us by Allah Ta’ala so that we could recognize one another. Not because we can divide and fight. Learn from Ansars from the occasion when they gave half of EVERYTHING to their brothers from Makkah! This is our tradition. Sania Mirza married Shoaib Malik, fine, it’s a marriage! Let it go! There are far more important issues at hand that should be looked into. There are far more difficult times ahead of us, which should be thought about! How to get out of the crises that we are facing as Muslims, as Pakistanis, inside our country and outside in the international community! Look beyond the mere walls of your houses. We are Muslims, and all Muslims all over the world are tied together. Look Muslims everywhere are suffering, and we as their brothers, what can we do??? Think outside the box! Think!
We are Muslims first! Can’t we make a small contribution to the Muslim world even if it is by praying for our Muslim brothers who are in pain! We are Muslims, we are tied together for our love for Allah and His Messenger(pbuh), so stop prioritizing your national identity! We are Muslims First!