Pakistanis Protest Injustice in Palestine While Ignoring it at Home

Support for the global Ummah or any ‘Muslim’ causes around the world have been strong in Pakistan since its independence in 1947. Pakistan has been one of the strongest champions of issues like Kashmir, Chechnya, Bosnia, and other causes around the world. What is interesting is not only the lack of any support for the Uyghurs in China but almost none for any such causes back home.


As Aasim Sajjad Akhtar, professor, and columnist, noted recently, “When it comes to Palestine, many choose to put their lot in with the dispossessed and brutalised, thereby buttressing the ranks of dissenters. In principle, we should make the same choice in our own country as well, rebuffing the instant gratification symbolised by Bahria Town and the badges of loyalty conferred by the establishment for toeing the line. Don’t doubt for a second that Orwell’s premonition, if not averted, will apply to all of us.”


Akhtar notes that while “Pakistanis took to the streets earlier this month to protest yet another episode of Israeli terror in occupied Palestine,” but nothing is done about what is happening inside Pakistan. Akhtar refers to violent evictions and repression of dissent within Pakistan.


Akhtar points out that while violent evictions such as “demolition of homes in Karachi’s Gujjar Nullah area and the juggernaut of Malik Riaz’s Bahria Town on the Karachi-Hyderabad Super Highway” garner attention because “katchi abadi and village residents are resisting state diktat and the country’s biggest real estate mogul” but most violent evictions go unreported. But most violent evictions go unreported, especially where land is acquired for gated housing schemes. Fear of reprisal compels those without political influence to part with their land for nominal compensation. Mean­while, decades of incremental progress including legislation for katchi abadis’ regularisation is being rolled back because giving pro­prietary rights to working class families is now seen as a ‘waste’ of potentially profitable real estate.”


Akhtar concludes by posing a question: “To those Pakistanis who have challenged the muzzling of dissent, and suppression of those who represent the Palestinian cause, I ask: what about ongoing attempts to extinguish voices of resistance in Pakistan? Our mainstream media is hollowed out, critical voices victimised in thuggish ways. Journa­lists who dare to speak truth to power are subjected to character assassinations, accused of faking attacks so as to get a fast ticket to asylum abroad.”


Author: Naseer Baloch

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