What attracts young people to Pakistan?

Nowadays, different forms of authoritarianism have become a new norm across the world due to economic, social, cultural and religious discontent. While in some cases the troubling period of liberal democracy is waking them up, and in countries like France, political leaders are trying to solve the prevailing problems. For South Asian leaders, this opportunity seems to have been lost, especially in India and, if one pays attention to social media in Pakistan, things do not look much different although it is too early to say anything. either conclusively.

For starters, since the ousting of former Prime Minister Khan through a democratic process, there seems to be a parallel universe emerging in Pakistan. In this universe, facts and logic are swept away by the leader who somehow, as his followers perceive, has a monopoly on almost everything, from religion, history and governance to bravery and so on. Although there is a complex web of reasons behind this state, a closer examination of Mr. Khan’s politics paints a picture of his juxtaposition of politics and religion in such a way that even an atheist would be drawn into his religious nationalism.

At the top of the list is the very brilliant technique of talking about Islam in a way that satisfies everyone. On the one hand, Khan marries a Barelvi lady, visits tombs, and wears string beads; on the other, he represents the religious students who are in the seminaries and who are rooted in the Deoband school of thought. To further cement the bond, he invites Moulana Tariq Jameel on significant days. Given that almost three-quarters of Pakistan is made up of these two schools of thought, Khan knows well that to win an election he must play on both sides of the field. His allegiance to the neighbor next door, moreover, finds no border since he not only advocates their acceptance, he also considers that they have broken the “chains of slavery”.

Mr. Khan draws his knowledge from a number of sources. Surprisingly, most of the time his current understanding of something contradicts his past reading of the situation. Hence, he was called U-turn Khan. Overall, it takes some nuggets of information from the West, some from Islam and the rest from China. Depending on the audience and the situation, he entertains people.

For example, when asked in an interview what kind of Pakistan he wanted to do. He named, without flinching, the state of Medina. His praise of the Chinese system of governance where an autocrat rules the roost seems another end not only because the latter suppresses people, including Uyghur Muslims, but also the very fact that it is based on the denunciation of any established religion .

The fact is that Pakistan’s future lies with its people. Any leader, even a world famous leader with a deep mind, who comes to lead this country will fail because the nation does not consider rationality, work ethic, hard work, honesty and sincerity as prerequisites for a viable society.

If that cognitive dissonance isn’t enough, he calls himself a man more knowledgeable than, say, Noam Chomsky on the Western system. Sometimes he wishes to make Pakistan like the Nordic countries. In short, Imran Khan’s Naya Pakistan is so amorphous that he can be anything and everything according to your own ideal statehood. As a result, young people in search of the Messiah bet on the man who gives them nothing and everything.

What is amazing is Imran Khan’s support base which comes from the middle class. Here I mean those girls and boys who are liberal, educated and modern. When Imran Khan calls for sit-ins, protests, social media campaigns and other political activities, he does not talk about things that might alienate young people, although he disapproves of their way of doing things. life.

Even if he addresses the local public, he never talks about the upsurge in cases of rape due to women’s short clothes, for example. He never said anything like that in his speeches either. In his interaction with Western media, he emphasizes the negative impacts of technologies like cell phones on young people and rape cases.

Another dose that Mr. Khan offers to the youth comes in the form of a personality cult. Taking advantage of years of looting in the country, Mr Khan has presented himself as the only savior left. His messianic personality paired with enviable accomplishments not only appeals to unemployed youth; some of the famous actors seem to be dancing in the parallel universe that Imran Khan also created. Worse still, media personalities have divorced their data-savvy attitude for their leader’s idolatry. It shows that we, as a nation, have divorced ourselves from rationality.

Despite all the obvious signs of a political religion shrouded in chauvinism, even minorities have been swept away by the tsunami of a growing cult. Talking to young people from minority groups gives a sense of loss as they support Mr Khan at the cost of their very existence in Pakistan, which is becoming increasingly intolerant of other narratives, let alone minority communities. Mr. Khan never speaks of unity in diversity.

His vague concept of many conflicting accounts does not raise an eyebrow among Pakistan sympathizers.

While this unnerving wave bodes well for the PTI in the near term, it looks like a cataclysm is brewing for the country looming. We have seen such movements in the past – in the 1980s – when the country was taken into the Dark Ages and religion was weaponized against those who stood in the way. Moreover, in our western neighborhood, religious groups have destroyed any semblance of peace and prosperity by depriving women of their freedom, education and other basic rights. If Pakistan is to progress, we don’t need a man who confuses people with various ideas solving the problem by catch-22. It’s time for young people to follow rationality, evidence and reality before pledging allegiance to someone who can manipulate them.

The fact is that Pakistan’s future lies with its people. Any leader, even a world famous leader with a deep mind, who comes to lead this country will fail because the nation does not consider rationality, work ethic, hard work, honesty and sincerity as prerequisites for a viable society.

Although our palaces of worship are filled with people, the same people when they go out, break all possible laws and disregard their civic responsibility. After investigation, they say that these last rules are of human origin and that the first are divine. If our ethical standards do not rise, we will suffer endlessly no matter who comes to power.

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