Original Articles

Asking questions, discussing issues & Facebook friends – by Shoaib Mir sahib



Maybe a few national issues are a little too serious, sensitive to discuss. Maybe certain important questions are a little too discomforting, blasphemous to answer. Maybe some respected people are a little too patriotic, faithful to have a decent discussion with. However, I have a few observations, nonetheless.

Barring exceptions, we, as a society and individuals, are not encouraged to ask questions about what we don’t know or worse still don’t understand, and, therefore, don’t want to believe. This is true of our homes, offices, marketplaces, educational institutions, big business, hospitals, police, public and private utility service providers, establishment, religious scholars, judiciary, not just the governments that we have had to suffer so far.

As a result, and to our misfortune, our understanding of the world around us is as skewed, irrational and fatalistic as it is. Whether it’s religion, politics, science, technology, history, life, death, marriage, war, peace, ethics, international relations, universe or future vision, we somehow find ourselves bound within the confines of geographical latitudes and longitudes of the present-day Pakistan, and that too since 1947.

With all of our “glorious” past and chest-thumping, we have yet to learn to obey a traffic signal, say a simple “thank-you,” to shake hands with someone looking in their eyes, to keep a promise, meet a deadline, honor a contract, respect a child, woman or old, to listen attentively and not interrupt before others have finished. These are just a few of our national traits we would do well to change/adopt on a daily basis.

Until then, I don’t expect an average Pakistani to be able to argue with courtesy, and discuss any issues with decency and without being irrelevant or frivolous.