- One lazy Sunday afternoon while browsing the internet, my Youtube recommendations list suddenly threw up a Pakistani telefilm released on 26 Dec 21 named Hangor S 131. Curious to see what was in store, I watched the movie. What took me by surprise was the overall production quality, the understated performances of the lead actors, a complete lack of shrill expression, and chest-thumping.
- But there were a couple of issues that annoy me long after I finished watching the movie. Behind the cover of filmmaking, there was a very strong attempt at contorting facts, misrepresenting individuals on screen, and smooth subversion of history to ensure that the target audience – urban mobile-savvy youth, are permanently deluded into believing that senior Indian Military Leadership and by extension all of India is full of unethical, Corrupted, manipulative individuals who also are brazen alcoholics (typical depiction of Qafirs). What confirmed my suspicions were the copious comments by young individuals who fell for this religio-patriotic trap hook, line, and sinker. While I wanted to dismiss this whole thing as usual ISPR propaganda, there were a couple of other recent happenings that kind of seemed like bits of a very large jigsaw puzzle.
- The barbaric mob lynching of Priyantha Kumara Diyawadana on December 03 last year at Sialkot and the subsequent utterings of the Pak Defense Minister looking to defend the murderous mob by comparing them to young boys who acted in a fit of emotion or perhaps religious fervour, does seem to be part of something more disturbing. The Pak Defense Minister’s statement regarding “young boys” is actually true as the average age of the lynchmob, some of whom were arrested for the farcical trial that followed, is about 30 yrs. Reportedly, the mob was egged-on and religious fires of disrespect were fanned for alleged removal of posters put up by Tehrik-e-Labbaik party. Yet another piece of the puzzle falls into place. Young people mislead by religious discrimination have been used by the powers that be for political ends. The protection and the indulgent attitude of senior govt functionaries towards their misdeeds serve as encouragement for other fence sitters to join the fray the next time.
- One may wonder, with so much subversion happening, what is being done by the Pakistani state to possibly halt or counteract this downward spiral. Indeed, the Pak govt is taking steps to do something…. Just that it wants to push the state further towards Islamic extremism. This time, they are targeting the really young….Under the garb of sweeping changes in the Pakistani primary education system, Prime Minister Imran Khan has implemented the Single National Curriculum(SNC) across the country since last year. While the move has been announce with much hype and has been touted as the silver bullet to revive the non-existent Pakistani primary education system which is earlier ruin with a clear social class divide; the rich and powerful (read Pak military and the ruling elite) give their children the best possible western education at elite Private schools. The poor and lower middle class are often left to the mercy of Madarsas which neither impart the necessary life skills nor the professional skills needed to survive in the present day and age.
- The Single National Curriculum seeks to level the playing field between premium private school education and listless govt school education by ensuring that a healthy dose of Quranic education is made compulsory in all classes starting from first to fifth standards across the board. Noted Pakistani educationist Pervez Hoodbhoy says that SNC seeks to inject more rote learning into govt education than two of the leading madarssa systems of Pakistan namely Tanzeemul and Rabtaulmadaris. Incidentally, the Punjab Govt has already mandated that without passing a mandatory exam on quaranic studies, no student will be awarded any bachelor’s or master’s degrees at the college level.
- As one thinks deeper, the scary design comes to the fore. Pakistan is in a deep morass economically, socially, politically, and the state has nothing to offer to the common man. The American backing has dried up and in its place there is the Chinese dragon which is draining the Pakistani state and all it resources. With a looming civil war, what can the Pak deep state do to maintain its primacy and keep the Pakistani people pre occupied? The simple and straightforward answer is to radicalise the young generation at all stages, both covertly and overtly. Change the educational curriculum by radicalising it. Kill critical thinking and encourage authoritarian pedagogy. Use religion to decapitate the younger generation mentally, continue with poisoning the young minds through religio-political-nationalistic propaganda injected through online platforms in order to achieve total control and subjugation. Breed a generation of Islamic radicalists who seek only status quo and keep digging deeper into the dark depths that the Pakistani nation is already in, while the Pak Army further strengthens its hold on the country laughing all the way to Swiss Banks.
- Noted American Political scientist and South Asian expert, Dr C Christine Fair wrote eight years ago in her book ‘Fighting to the End: The Pakistan Army’s Way of War’ – “Pakistan presents an example of how more than six decades of ossified historical inaccuracies and distortion can resist the sanitizing effect of the global information technology revolution and the resulting expansion of access to abundant—if, alas, low-quality—information.”
- The trusted Pak army playbook has been brought out yet again and this time it targets the very foundation of Pakistan’s future. Prime Minister Imran Khan is not only taking the extremist legacy of Gen Zia forward, he is already making Gen Zia UlHaque look like a liberal angel. But as usual according to Pak PM ”Apne Sbse Phle Ghabrana Nhi Hai”