Hate the sin, not the sinner
Year 1979, Soviet invasion of Afghanistan witnessed some unprecedented ties between the western world and Pakistan. We stood hand-in-hand with our allies to vanquish the communist regime out of the Asian territory. Two years later, there was a deal of 3.9 billion dollars set for Pakistan’s economic and military assistance, aiming to cope with the security threats in the region.
During the valiant struggles of both Afghan and Pak soldiers, the ones sacrificed were titled ‘shaheed’ and their valorous efforts were displayed with pride. People in general were encouraged to follow the prophetic paths of attaining ‘martyrdom’. But such titles have their reins in some strict terms and conditions, owing to our variable global affairs, internal politics, state governance and incessantly wavering public opinions in general.
The battle ended successfully, and the communist invasion was defeated gracefully. Ties with our global allies strengthened until one day, a catapulting incident took place and changed the course of not only the present strategies at the time but raged numerous battles for decades to come. The ones titled ‘martyred’ were now called ‘terrorists’. There were individuals responsible for that act but it might be wrong to hold certain states and certain faiths responsible for the incident. The incident opened gateways for states to defend themselves and withstand against any kind of security threats.
The following years, the Soviet Union is reported to have funded Afghan groups to fight the US forces there. Afghan’s former participant in battle might have felt an urge to help again against foreign invasion but this time they had been expelled from our former list of kinship. Acting strategically is the duty of every state and that is what Pakistan does but there are some loopholes that render its global display a mere wimpish and wavering in terms of personal beliefs and ethics.
Leaving state matters aside as to why in terms of our global challenges regarding security threats, cultural or religious conflicts, we are hesitant to take vivid, or say strategic decisions regarding our global allies. Our political experts and hence the general public must weigh their opinions as to what we display ourselves globally. Unable to change the fact of being an Islamic State, why are we so reluctant to stay on the side of the muslims, the people of the same faith as ours.
Adhering to the principles of ‘hate the sin, not the sinner’ and unaware of the context and global strategies of the two-decade war in our north-western neighbor, leading the public to believe that a certain doer of a certain deed can not be given certain titles, is mere discrimination among our own choice of hating the enemy, not the war. While the relations with the enemy or an adversary can be negotiated upon, ones in war with you might turn into closest allies, why advocate the idea of hating certain people once and for all.
The word ‘martyrdom’ is a religious term for someone killed fighting for the cause of beliefs and faith. It applies as much as to Muslims as it does to Christians, Jews or any other faith. For someone belonging to our own faith, we might overtly call him ‘martyred’ keeping aside contexts, strategies and diplomatic affairs that lead to the person’s death.
As to the backlash the Prime Minister Imran Khan received at the use of the word ‘martyrdom’ in his recent address, why do we take it our responsibility to make everyone revere the one we revere and to abhor the one we abhor. If one government can call it the wrong word to be used, the other does hold a choice to be called it right. The point again, is to act strategically, not impulsively, thoughtfully not emotionally and hold balanced views, not biased.