14
March

ہمارے ہاں اپنے کلچر کو بُرا کہنا ایک کلچر بن گیا ہے:ڈاکٹر فوزیہ سعید

Published in Hilal Urdu March 2017

انٹرویو: صبا زیب

کسی بھی ملک یا علاقے کی ثقافت کو جاننے کے لئے وہاں کے لوگوں کا رہن سہن، زبان اور طور طریقے دیکھنے پڑتے ہیں۔ ملک کی پہچان ثقافت ہوتی ہے اور اسے زندہ رکھنے کے لئے اسے فخر کے ساتھ اپنایا جاتا ہے۔ زندہ قومیں اپنی ثقافت کا پرچار دنیا کے ہر کونے میں عزت اور وقار کے ساتھ کرتی ہیں۔ تاریخ گواہ ہے کہ قومیں وہی زندہ رہتی ہیں جنہوں نے اپنی تہذیب اور ثقافت کو دنیا میں زندہ رکھا۔ یہ بات بھی حقیقت پر مبنی ہے کہ ثقافت میں تبدیلی کی گنجائش ہوتی ہے اور یہ تبدیلی اسے وقت کے تقاضوں کے ساتھ ہم آہنگ کرتی ہے۔ جب بات ہم اپنے پیارے ملک پاکستان کی ثقافت کی کریں تو یہ کہنا بالکل بھی غلط نہیں ہو گا کہ یہاں کی ثقافت اپنے اندر ایک جہاں کو سموئے ہوئے ہے ۔ اس کی وسعت اور زرخیزی کا اندازہ اس بات سے لگایا جا سکتا ہے کہ ہمارے ملک میں 70سے زائد زبانیں بولی جاتی ہیں اور ان میں سے کچھ زبانیں ایسی بھی ہیں جو پوری دنیا میں کہیں اور نہیں بولی جاتیں۔ اپنی اس ثقافت کو دنیا میں زیادہ سے زیادہ لوگوں تک پہنچانے کے لئے ہمارے ملک کے بہت سے لوگ اور ادارے کام کر رہے ہیں انہی میں ایک معتبرنام فوزیہ سعید کا ہے جو آج کل لوک ورثہ میں بطور ایگزیکٹو ڈائریکٹر کام کر رہی ہیں۔ قارئین کی دلچسپی کے لئے ہم نے ان سے ثقافت کے حوالے سے کچھ سوالات کئے ہیں جو یقیناًدلچسپی کا باعث ہوں گے۔
سوال: آپ ثقافت یا کلچر کو کیسے ڈیفائن کریں گی؟
جواب: ثقافت یا کلچر کے دو حصے ہیں۔
Tangible
اور
Intangible Intangible
ثقافت کا وہ حصہ ہے جسے ہم چھو نہیں سکتے۔ مثلاً زبان، رسم و رواج، رہن سہن وغیرہ اور
Tangible
میں لباس شامل ہے جسے ہم چھو سکتے ہیں تو بنیادی طور پر کلچر میں یہی چیزیں شامل ہیں۔

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سوال: پاکستانی کلچر کی تعریف کیسے کریں گی؟
جواب: میں یہی کہوں گی کہ صدیوں سے اس دھرتی‘ اس سرزمین پرجو مختلف تہذیبیں آتی رہی ہیں اور مختلف مذاہب آتے رہے ہیں ان کا
Composite
کلچر ہے میں یہ کبھی نہیں کہوں گی کہ ہمارا کلچر 1947میں آیا۔ اس سے پہلے بھی جو اس دھرتی پر آیا سب ہمارے کلچر کا حصہ ہے۔ اس میں انڈس ویلی ہے گندھارا ہے۔ جو اس سرزمین پر ہوا ہم اس سب کو اون کرتے ہیں کیونکہ اس سب کی جھلک ہمارے کلچر میں ہے۔ ہم پاکستانی ہیں۔ اس سرزمین کا جو ماضی ہے اس سب کے ساتھ ہم پاکستانی ہیں۔ اکثر ہم اپنے کلچر کو صرف عرب مسلمانوں کے ساتھ جوڑتے ہیں میں سمجھتی ہوں کہ یہ بہت محدود تعریف ہے جو کچھ یہاں ہوا وہ سب ہمارے کلچر پر اثرانداز ہوا اور وہ سب ہماری ثقافتی شناخت کا حصہ ہے۔
سوال: ہم ایک ایسے ملک میں رہ رہے ہیں جہاں دیہات زیادہ ہیں۔ ہمارا کلچر بھی دیہی ہے۔ اگر ہم ماڈرن کلچر، جو صنعتی ترقی اور ٹیکنالوجی سے تشکیل پا رہا ہے، کی بات کریں تو آپ اس کے ہمارے دیہی کلچر پر کیااثرات دیکھتی ہیں؟
جواب: بہت زیادہ فرق پڑتا ہے جو بھی آپ کی ویلیوز ہیں وہ تبدیل ہوتی ہیں۔ جب لوگ دیہاتوں سے شہروں کی طرف آتے ہیں تو اس میں اکنامک فیکٹر زیادہ ہوتا ہے اس وقت لوگوں کو لگتا ہے کہ جب تک ہم اچھی اردو نہیں بولیں گے یا اچھی انگریزی نہیں بولیں گے ہمیں اچھی نوکری نہیں ملے گی تب ہم اپنے کلچر سے
Disassociate
کرتے ہیں۔ اپنی زبان سے
Disassociate
کرتے ہیں لباس سے کرتے ہیں اور پھر جب ہمیں ایسی جگہ نوکری ملتی ہے تو وہاں کا ماحول ہمارے کلچر پر اثر انداز ہوتا ہے۔ اس وقت اگر ہم انگریزی کو کسی اور کے لہجے میں بولیں گے تو لوگ ہم پر ہنسیں گے تب ہمارے لئے یہ ضروری ہو جاتا ہے کہ ہم انگریزی سمجھیں، بولیں اس طرح ہماری ترجیحات میں انگریزی سب سے پہلے ہے۔ پھر اردو۔۔۔ اور وہ بھی ایک خاص لہجے والی اور پھر ایک لمبے گیپ کے بعد علاقائی زبانوں کی باری آتی ہے۔ ایک زمانہ تھا، ہمارے ہاں شہروں میں بھی بڑے آرام سے کڑھائیاں، سلائیاں ہوتی تھیں۔ سکول کی چھٹیوں میں بچیاں بڑے آرام سے سلائیاں کڑھائیاں کرتی تھیں۔ تحائف بھی اپنے ہاتھوں سے بنائے ہوئے دیئے جاتے تھے لیکن پھر آہستہ آہستہ یہ ہوا کہ جب آپ نے بازار سے خرید کر کوئی چیز تحفہ دی تو اس کی قدر زیادہ کی جانے لگی بہ نسبت اس کے جو گھر میں ہاتھ سے بنا کر دی جاتی ۔ جیسے پہلے ہم
Potato
پینٹگ سے کارڈز گھروں میں بناتے تھے پھر ان کی قدر بازار کے کارڈز نے ختم کر دی۔ اسی طرح ہمارا کلچر تبدیل ہوتا گیا۔ یہاں یہ بات بہت افسوس سے کہنی پڑتی ہے کہ ہمارے ہاں اپنے کلچر کوبرا کہنا ہی ایک کلچر بن گیا ہے۔ ہم اپنے کلچر کو عزت کے ساتھ اپناتے ہی نہیں بلکہ ہم سمجھتے ہیں کہ اس کلچر کے ساتھ ہماری عزت کم ہو جائے گی۔ جدت پسندی کے لئے ضروری نہیں ہوتا کہ آپ اپنے کلچر کو پیچھے چھوڑ دیں۔
سوال: پاکستانی کلچر کو فروغ دینے کے لئے ہم ماڈرن ٹیکنالوجی کو کیسے استعمال کر سکتے ہیں؟
جواب: اس سے پہلے میں یہ بتانا چاہوں گی کہ کلچر تبدیل ہوتا رہتا ہے۔ یہ بات کبھی نہیں سوچنی چاہئے کہ کلچر جامد ہے۔ مثال کے طورپر آپ اپنے ذہن میں لے کر آئیں کہ ایک بڑے پیڑ کے نیچے ایک چرواہا بانسری بجا رہا ہے۔ اب اس تصویر میں رومانس بہت ہے لیکن فوک کلچر یہ بھی ہے کہ بھرے بازار میں لوگ ہیں اور کسی گھر کی اوپر والی منزل سے ٹوکری نیچے لٹکائی جاتی ہے اور اس میں سامان ڈالا جاتا ہے یہ بھی ہمارے کلچر کا حصہ ہے، یہ حقیقت ہے کہ ہمارا کلچر تبدیل ہوتا رہتا ہے۔ ہمارے گیت تبدیل ہوتے ہیں۔ ہمارے ہیروز تبدیل ہوتے ہیں۔ اس لئے ہم نے اپنے کلچر اپنی ثقافت کو تبدیل کرنا ہے۔ اسے ترجیح دینا ہے، جب چیزوں کے بارے میں آگاہی بڑھتی ہے توہم کچھ چیزوں کو اپنے کلچر سے نکال دیتے ہیں۔ اسے میں
Pruning
کا عمل کہتی ہوں۔ جیسے پودوں اور درختوں کی بہتر نشوونما کے لئے ان کی کانٹ چھانٹ ضروری ہوتی ہے اسی طرح اپنے کلچر میں سے بری چیزیں نکالنا اس کی ترقی کے لئے ضروری ہے۔ اپنے کلچر کو ہم نے ایسے ہی گروم کرنا ہے۔ ہمیں ایسی چیزوں کو نکالنا ہے جو ہمارے لئے ٹھیک نہیں جو ہمیں کہتی ہیں کہ اس بات پر ماں کو مار دو۔ بہن کو مار دو وغیرہ وغیرہ۔ یہ وہ بدعتیں اور جڑی بوٹیاں ہیں جن کو نکالنا بالکل جائز ہے۔ مجھے کوئی یہ نہیں کہہ سکتا کہ لوک ورثہ کاروکاری کو پروموٹ کرنے کے لئے کیا کر رہا ہے۔ کیونکہ وہ بھی ہمارے کلچر کا حصہ ہے لیکن ہم اسے آگے لے کر نہیں جا سکتے۔ ہماری ہیومن رائٹس کی اتنی معلومات ہو گئی ہیں۔ جس سے ہمیں یہ پتا چل گیا ہے کہ
Discrimination
کیا ہے تو اب ہم ان آلات سے اپنے کلچر کی
Pruning
کرتے ہیں ساری دنیا میں ایسا ہی ہوتا ہے جب آگاہی بڑھتی ہے تو ان Measures
کے مطابق آپ اپنے کلچر کو ٹھیک کرتے چلے جاتے ہیں اور یہ
Collective
Wisdom سے ہوتا ہے ۔ میرا تعلیم حاصل کرنا مجھے نہیں روکتاکہ میں اپنی ثقافت پر عمل نہ کروں۔ میں ایک پی ایچ ڈی پاکستانی خاتون ہوں اور میں اپنی روایات سے پیار کرتی ہوں۔ بہت سے ینگ لوگوں کولگتا ہے کہ ثقافت کو اپنانا قدامت پسندی ہے اور ان کو لگتا ہے کہ اگر ماڈرن ہونا ہے تو ثقافت کو چھوڑنا ہے لیکن میں کہتی ہوں کہ ثقافت کو ساتھ لے کر چلنا چاہئے اس کو کھڑکی سے باہر نہیں پھینکنا چاہئے۔ مثال میں دیتی ہوں لباس کی، ایک زمانہ تھا جب ہمارے ہاں غرارے اور شرارے چلتے تھے۔ بہت وزنی زیورات پہنے جاتے تھے لیکن وقت بدلتا گیا۔ اب عورتیں ملازمت کرتی ہیں وہ غرارے شرارے نہیں پہنتیں لیکن ہماری شلوارقمیض میں اتنی گنجائش تھی کہ اس میںآرام سے کام کر سکتے ہیں۔ اپنی ثقافت کو
Transform
کر لیں گے تو یہ ہمیں
Modernization
میں مدد کرے گی۔ دنیا میں اس کی بہت سی مثالیں ملتی ہیں۔ جیسے ماضی میں جاپان میں کیمونوز پہنے جاتے تھے لیکن یہ ایسا لباس تھا جو ان کے کام میں مشکل پیدا کرتا تھا۔ اس لباس میں تبدیلی لانے کے بجائے انہوں نے اسے استعمال کرنا ہی چھوڑ دیا۔ آہستہ آہستہ وہ بہت کم نظر آنے لگا۔ اب آپ جاپان میں بھی وہی یورپی اور امریکن لباس دیکھتے ہیں۔ جب آپ اپنے کلچر کو
Modify
نہیں کریں گے تو پھر ایک بالکل الگ چیز آپ کے معاشرے میں نظرآنے لگے گی۔ اس سے نقصان بہت ہوتا ہے۔ ہمارے ہاں عورتوں کے لباس میں کافی تبدیلی نظر آتی ہے لیکن مردوں کے لباس میں کوئی خاص تبدیلی نہیں آئی اور بالکل نئی چیز یعنی وہی مغربی لباس نظر آتا ہے کیونکہ مردوں نے اپنے لباس میں تبدیلی نہیں کی۔

 

hamryhanapnykachar1.jpgسوال: پاکستانی کلچر کے سٹرانگ پوائنٹس کیا ہیں؟
جواب: اگرلوگ اسے اپنا لیں تو مجھے لگتا ہے کہ ہمارے کلچر میں سب سے مضبوط چیز رشتے ہیں اور پھر جو یہ گروپ
Orientation
ہے یہ مجھے بہت پسند ہے۔ ہم بچپن سے ہی لفظ’ ہم‘ استعمال کرتے ہیں ہم لوگ ’ہم‘ کر کے سوچتے ہیں۔ میں جب لوک ورثہ کی بات کرتی ہوں تو ہم کر کے سوچتی ہوں۔ اپنی فیملی کی بات کرتی ہوں تو ہم کر کے سوچتی ہوں جبکہ بہت سے مغربی ممالک ایسے ہیں جنہیں ہم کر کے سوچنے میں بہت دقت ہوتی ہے۔ وہ ’میں‘ سے شروع ہوتے ہیں اور ’میں‘ پر ہی ختم ہوتے ہیں۔ جبکہ ہم لوگ گروپ کی بقاء کے بارے میں زیادہ سوچتے ہیں ہم لوگ کوشش کرتے ہیں کہ اپنوں کو زیادہ سے زیادہ فائدہ پہنچا سکیں۔ اگر ہم اپنے کلچر کا مغربی کلچر سے موازنہ کر کے دیکھیں تو اس میں جو چیز بالکل فرق نظر آئے گی وہ یہی ہے یعنی رشتوں کو نبھانا۔
سوال: آپ نے کہا کہ کلچر تبدیل ہوتا رہتا ہے۔ آپ ہمیں بتائیں کہ ہمیں اپنے کلچر کو کن لائنز پر
Evolve
کرنا چاہئے؟
جواب: سب سے پہلے تو یہ کہ ہمیں اپنے کلچر کی عزت کرنی چاہئے۔ کلچر کو ہم نے ایک ہوّا بنا دیا ہے جتنی بھی بری چیزیں ہیں وہ ہم نے کلچر کے نام لگا دی ہیں اور اچھی چیزیں
Modernization
کے نام کر دی ہیں۔ ضرورت اس چیز کی ہے کہ ہم اپنے کلچر کی مثبت چیزوں کو سامنے لے کر آئیں اور اس کی عزت بڑھائیں۔ عزت کے ساتھ اس میں تبدیلی لے کر آئیں۔ آپ کو لگتا ہے کہ تبدیلی لانا مشکل ہے لیکن مجھے لگتا ہے کہ اگر پیار اور محبت سے یہ سب کیا جائے تو کچھ بھی مشکل نہیں۔ بہت سی ایسی چیزیں ہمارے کلچر کا حصہ بن چکی ہیں جن کا پہلے ہم سوچ بھی نہیں سکتے تھے۔ جیسے جیسے آگاہی بڑھتی ہے مہذب معاشرے ویسے ویسے پروان چڑھتے ہیں۔ ہمارے کلچر کے مستقبل کی سمت بھی یہی ہو گی۔ نئی رِیت، نئے رواج ایسے ہی جنم لیتے ہیں جیسے پہلے زمانے میں عورتیں کنویں پر اکٹھی ہوتی تھیں اور آپس میں باتیں شیئر کرتی تھیں وہی کچھ اب فیس بک پر ہوتا ہے۔ مجھے لگتا ہے جو
Hangout
گروپ بنتے ہیں یہ ویسے ہی ہیں جو کنویں پر ہوتے تھے۔
سوال: ہمارے معاشرے میں انتہا پسندی بہت عام ہوگئی ہے اپنے معاشرے کو پرامن بنانے کے لئے کلچر کیا کردار ادا کر سکتا ہے؟
جواب: کلچر بہت اہم کردار ادا کر سکتا ہے۔ کیونکہ کلچر لوگوں کے دلوں تک پہنچتاہے۔ جیسے بلھے شاہ، یا بابا فرید کی کافی ہو تو وہ سیدھی دل پر اثر کرتی ہے۔ کلچر میں بہت طاقت ہے یہ دلوں کے ساتھ بات چیت کرتا ہے۔ برصغیر میں اسلام تلوار کے زور پر نہیں آیا تھا بلکہ ان صوفیائے کرام نے پیار اور محبت کا درس دے کر اسلام کو پھیلایا۔ ہم ان جیسے عقلمند نہیں ہیں ہم انہی سے سیکھ سکتے ہیں کہ تبدیلی کیسے لانی ہے۔ اس کے علاوہ تخلیقی اظہار اور ابلاغ
(Creative Expression)
بہت ضروری ہے۔ یہ عسکریت پسند اس سے دور بھاگتے ہیں۔ کیونکہ یہ ان کی اینٹی بائیوٹک ہے یا یوں کہیں کہ ان کی ویکسین ہے میرے خیال سے جوبندہ ساز اٹھاتا ہے وہ ہتھیار نہیں اٹھا سکتا۔ جو
Creative
آدمی ہے وہ جان نہیں لے سکتا۔ یہ بم دھماکے کرنے کے لئے دلوں کو سخت کرنا پڑتا ہے۔ لہٰذا ہم اپنے معاشرے میں تخلیقی عمل کو بڑھا کر اسے امن پسند بنا سکتے ہیں۔ ہمیں اپنی تخلیقی کو دوبارہ حاصل کرنے کی سخت ضرورت ہے۔ پوری دنیا میں کوئی کمیونٹی ایسی نہیں جن کی اپنی زبان نہ ہو، موسیقی نہ ہو، رقص نہ ہو۔ اس سے ہمیں یہ پتا چلتا ہے کہ یہ چیزیں نیچرل ہیں تخلیقیہمارے ڈی این اے میں ہے اگر ہم اسے دبائیں گے تو پھر جنگلی جانور ہی بنیں گے اور اگر اسے ابھاریں گے تو انسانیت کی طرف آئیں گے۔
سوال: اکثر انڈین دانشور کہتے ہیں کہ ہمارا کلچر ایک ہے لیکن تاریخ بتاتی ہے کہ گنگا،جمنا اور دریائے سندھ کی تہذیبوں میں بہت فرق ہے۔ اس بارے میں آپ کیا کہیں گی؟
جواب: گئے وقتوں میں کہ ساؤتھ ایشیئن ممالک میں بہت سی چیزیں ایک جیسی ضرور تھیں۔ تاہم اب سب کی اپنی اپنی شناخت ہے۔ وقت گزرنے کے ساتھ ہمارا منفی امیج بن ساگیا ہے جبکہ پاکستان کا نام سنتے ہی ان کے تیور بدل جاتے ہیں کیونکہ ہم نے دنیا کو اپنا کلچر بندوق والا زیادہ بتایا ہے اور باقی چیزوں پر ہم نے پابندی لگا رکھی ہے۔ ہم میں
Similarities
ہیں لیکن ہم بہت منفردبھی ہیں اپنی اس انفرادیت کو ہم نے ابھی تک استعمال نہیں کیا نہ کبھی ہم نے فخر کے ساتھ اپنی کسی ثقافت کو اپنایا۔ ابھی حالات یہ ہیں کہ انڈیا ہماری انڈس ویلی کو بھی اپنا کہہ رہا ہے دنیا میں لوگ انڈس ویلی کو پاکستان کے بجائے انڈیا کی وجہ سے پہچان رہے ہیں۔ اس کی وجہ یہی ہے کہ ہم کبھی فخر سے بتاتے ہی نہیں کہ ہم اس تہذیب سے تعلق رکھتے ہیں یہاں تک کہ مہر گڑھ کو نہیں پوچھتے۔ ہمارے نصاب میں وہ شامل ہی نہیں، نہ ہمارے بچوں کو اس کے بارے میں کچھ پتا ہے۔ جب آپ اپنی چیز کی رکھوالی نہیں کرتے تو پھر اسے لوگ ہتھیا لیتے۔ اب انڈیا اور پاکستان کی عورتوں کے مسائل ایک جیسے ہیں لیکن دنیا میں انڈیا کی عورتوں کو بہادر مانا جاتا ہے۔ جبکہ پاکستان کی عورت کو مظلوم تصور کیا جاتا ہے۔ کیونکہ ہم نے اپنا
image
ہی ایسا بنایا ہے ۔
سوال: پاکستان کی ثقافت دنیا کی باقی ثقافتوں سے کیسے منفردہے؟
جواب: ہماری ثقافت بہت زرخیز ہے ہماری 70زبانوں میں سے 25 کے قریب ایسی زبانیں ہیں جن میں باقاعدہ ادب موجود ہے۔ اب جیسے میں کہتی ہوں کہ مجھے اپنی ثقافت میں رشتے بہت پسند ہیں۔ رشتے اور بھی بہت جگہوں پر اہم ہیں لیکن ہمارے ہاں ایک الگ انداز ہے۔ جیسے آپ ماں کے رشتے کو لے لیں کہ آپ بوڑھے ہو جاتے ہیں لیکن ماؤں کے ساتھ وابستگی ویسی ہی رہتی ہے۔ یہ بہت منفرد چیز ہے۔ پھر ہمارا میوزک ہے، قوالی ہے، ہماری تربیت ہے۔ ہمارے گلگت بلتستان میں یاک پولو کھیلی جاتی ہے جو اور کہیں نہیں کھیلی جاتی۔
سوال: لوک ورثہ ہمارے کلچر کو فروغ دینے کے لئے کیا کر رہا ہے؟
جواب: مجھے یہاں آئے ہوئے دو سال ہو گئے ہیں ہم نے اپنی ترجیحات سیٹ کیں۔ ہماری پہلی ترجیح نوجوان نسل اور بچے ہیں ہم نے انہیں اپنی ثقافت سے روشناس کروانا ہے۔ دوسری ترجیح یہ کہ پہلے
Documentation
اور
Publications
پر زیادہ زور دیا گیا مگر
Dissemination
پرکم زور دیا۔ اس لئے ہم نے یہ فیصلہ کیا کہ جو بھی ہم کام کریں گے اس کی پراڈکٹ بنا کر معاشرے میں پھیلانی ہے۔ میڈیا کے ذریعے اسے آگے لے کر جائیں گے تاکہ وہ ہمارے بچوں کے کام آئے اور آنے والی نسل اپنی شناخت زیادہ بہتر طریقے سے کر سکے۔ اس کے علاوہ اب ہم ہر سال سمر کیمپ لگاتے ہیں جس کی
Theme
کوئی بھی قومی یا علاقائی زبان ہوتی ہے۔ پہلے سال ہم نے بلوچی زبان کی
Theme
استعمال کی جس میں بچوں کو بلوچی زبان میں ایک گیت بھی سکھایا گیا۔ اس سمر کیمپ میں ہر قسم کا
Fun
اور
Games
بھی ہوتی ہیں۔ اس کے ساتھ ساتھ ہم ’رباب‘ پر بہت کام کر رہے ہیں کیونکہ یہ ہماری ثقافت کا ایک اہم حصہ ہے۔ میں خیبرپختوخواہ کے لوگوں سے کہتی ہوں کہ تم لوگ چاہے جتنے مرضی ماڈرن ہو جاؤ لیکن رباب بجانا نہ چھوڑنا کیونکہ یہ ہمارے کلچر کا نشان ہے اور مزے کی بات یہ ہے کہ یہ دہشت گردی کو توڑتا ہے۔ اس کے بجانے سے دل میں نرمی پیدا ہوتی ہے ہم نے لوک ورثہ میں رباب بجانے کا مقابلہ کروایا اور اس مقابلے میں جیتنے والوں میں ایک رکشہ ڈرائیور تھا اور ایک پھل فروش۔
ہم نے لوک ورثہ میں چھوٹے بچوں کاٹیلنٹ ہنٹ کروایا جو بہت کامیاب رہا۔ لوک ورثہ اپنے ہیروز کو پروموٹ کر نے میں ایک اہم کردار ادا کر رہا ہے۔ حبیب جالب، احمد فراز، جون ایلیا ان کے بارے میں ہم لوگوں کو بتا رہے ہیں۔ پھر ہم
"Dying Instruments"
پر بھی کام کر رہے ہیں۔ انڈس ویلی کی تہذیب میں ایک ساز ہوتا تھا۔
Brindio
اس کو ہم بنوا رہے ہیں۔ لوک ورثہ میں اب میلوں کا انعقاد بہت زیادہ ہو رہا ہے جس سے لوگوں میں میل ملاپ بڑھ رہا ہے۔
سوال: متوازن معاشرے کے لئے مرد اور عورت کے تعلقات کو بہتر کرنے کے لئے کیا اقدامات کرنے چاہئیں؟
جواب: اس کے لئے میں یہی کہوں گی کہ ہمیں رِیت اور رواج کوآہستہ آہستہ
Modify
کرنا ہے۔ ہمیں اپنے معاشرے میں سے عورتوں کے ایسے رول تلاش کرنے ہیں جن میں عورت مضبوط رہی ہو۔ اس میں میں ایک مثال ہیر کی دوں گی۔ بہت کم لوگ جانتے ہیں کہ وہ ایک بہت بہادر خاتون تھی اور اپنے سارے فیصلے خود کرتی تھی۔ وارث شاہ نے ہیر لکھی۔ ہیر کے مزار میں رانجھے کی قبر بھی ہے۔ لیکن لوگ اسے ہیر کا مزار ہی کہتے ہیں۔ اس کے علاوہ سندھ میں ایک مومل کا کردار تھا جسے زیادہ تر لوگ صرف ایک طوائف کے طور پر جانتے ہیں لیکن حقیقت میں وہ ایک بہت بہادر عورت تھی اس نے اپنے باپ کا بدلہ لیا تھا۔ اس لئے میں کہتی ہوں کہ ہم نے معاشرے میں توازن اپنی ہی جڑوں سے لے کر آنا ہے۔
سوال: آپ کو اپنا مقام حاصل کرنے میں کن مشکلات کا سامنا کرنا پڑا؟
جواب: میری کہانی بھی عام عورتوں کی طرح ہے۔ ابتدا میں بہت سے مسائل کا سامنا کرنا پڑا۔ گھر میں پابندیاں بھی تھیں۔ پہلی بار جب میں ٹیلی ویژن پر آئی تو اس وقت میں کالج میں پڑھتی تھی۔ اس وقت میری دادی گھر پر ٹیلی ویژن لگانے ہی نہیں دیتی تھیں کہ اگر دادا نے دیکھ لیا تو بہت برا ہو گا۔ لیکن وقت کے ساتھ ساتھ تبدیلی آئی۔ مجھے لگتا ہے کہ پیار اور محبت سے اگر ان رشتوں کو ساتھ لے کر چلا جائے تو سب کام آسان ہو جاتے ہیں آپ کے والدین بھی آپ کے ساتھ ساتھ
Grow
کرتے ہیں۔ میری اپروچ یہ ہے جو کہ میں ہر بچی کو بتاتی ہوں کہ اپنے لئے
Elbow-room
بنائیں۔ اس میں کسی بھی اصول کو توڑا نہیں جاتا بلکہ آہستہ آہستہ اپنے لئے جگہ بنائی جاتی ہے۔

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05
April

Dr Akbar S. Ahmed

Asif Jehangir Raja

Dr Akbar S. Ahmed is an eminent scholar of international repute. He is the Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies at American University in Washington, D.C. His most recent book is ‘The Thistle and the Drone: How America's War on Terror became a Global War on Tribal Islam’ (2013). He belonged to the Civil Service of Pakistan and served as Pakistan's High Commissioner to the UK and Ireland.

Q: Globalization is giving rise to advent of a new universal civilization where citizens of the developed and developing countries could easily interact, observe the differences and compare life in different societies. This awareness, interaction and comparison can generate different responses from those who are not satisfied either with the international system or their own governments. How do you see societies of developed, developing and under-developed world reacting to the process of Globalization in the future?

Answer: First let me say what an honour it is to be asked to contribute to Hilal Magazine. I have many links with the army. My younger brother Sikander Ahmed was a brigadier and a proud Commanding Officer of the 1 Frontier Force Regiment and several of my class fellows from my school ‘Army Burn Hall college,’ Abbottabad became Generals. I've also had the privilege of being close friends with two Shaheed heroes of Pakistan Army, Major Shabbir Sharif and Major Sabir Kamal. I have described them as those who “lived simple and honest lives, cared deeply for the problems of the ordinary people, and readily sacrificed their lives for their nation in acts of extraordinary valour…Their motivation, courage, and idealism are second to none compared with that of officer cadre of any army in the world” (The Thistle and the Drone, 2013, p. 178). I wrote a poem in honour of Sabir called “Major Sabir Kamal: The Last Stand.” I had the pleasure of marching with Shabbir Sharif's 6 Frontier Force Regiment when I was attached to the army as part of my Civil Service training. When I called on the new Chief of Army Staff, General Raheel Sharif, I was pleased to remind him that I had marched with his Frontier Force Regiment the same as that of his brother. It was such a pleasure to meet the General because he reminded me of my friend Shabbir and I felt that Pakistan was fortunate that it got the right man for the right job at the right time in its history.

Now about Globalization: There is often a process of simultaneous attraction and revulsion to aspects of Globalization in the developing world. On the one hand, people want economic development, improvements in transportation, and new products. On the other hand, people are exposed to far-off countries and cultures in real time through global media and this can provoke feelings of anger and alienation when what is seen is perceived as threatening or alien. For example in my book Journey into Islam: The Crisis of Globalization (2007), I explained that when those in the Muslim world see the wealth of Western CEOs or idyllic scenes of peace in Western societies on their television screens juxtaposed with the poverty and chaos of places like Palestine, Afghanistan, and Iraq – many feel anger. Some contend that American culture is invading their societies through the media and a deluge of Western products. Globalization is also characterized by the rich becoming richer and the poor becoming more poorer.

Dangerous gaps are opening between the very rich and the mass of people who are struggling to survive. So, while Globalization is bringing the world closer together and undoubtedly benefits many, it also divides people as many do not feel its benefits, or, are threatened by it. Often those resisting or opposing aspects of Globalization seek to restore their “purity” in the face of perceived threat from outsiders, and conflict and violence can result. It is for this reason that I have dedicated my work to promoting dialogue and understanding between the world's civilizations, religions, and cultures which I believe to be the only way of avoiding confrontation in the age of Globalization. One of the most dangerous ideas that gained widespread currency with the age of Globalization was that there was on-going Clash of Civilizations.

As it happened, I found myself teaching one of my first classes at American University in Washington, D.C. on 9/11. I had just been appointed the Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies and I looked forward to a long and peaceful innings as a scholar on campus leading a peaceful life. When the plane flew into the Pentagon just a few miles from my university when I was in the class, I knew immediately that my life would never be the same. As a Muslim scholar I knew that the gap between Muslims and non-Muslims would become very wide and that it was obligatory on all scholars, like me, to try to bridge that gap. I, therefore, launched into an unending cycle of lectures, media appearances, interfaith dialogues, and meetings at the White House, Pentagon, the State Department, the think tanks, and also churches, synagogues, and temples. In order for better understanding of relations between US and the Muslim world, I worked on an ambitious series of projects, the fourth part of which I will embark on this summer. Journey into Islam: The Crisis of Globalization was the first, followed by Journey into America: The Challenge of Islam (2010), The Thistle and the Drone: How America's War on Terror Became a Global War on Tribal Islam (2013), and the forthcoming Journey into Europe: Islam, Immigration, and Empire. I was also supported by a dedicated and passionate team of young American students/scholars who accompanied me and helped me create a genuine Dialogue of Civilizations. We thus presented an alternative to the widespread idea of the Clash of Civilizations.

Q: The contemporary Muslim World comprised of countries that either remained colonies of Europe, under occupation and influence of Russia, and few other major powers in the past. How do you see Muslim societies in different countries adjusting to prevailing norms of democracy, free market economy, media freedom, human rights and gender equality? How these societies can avoid internal conflicts that come in the way of any great transformation?

Answer: In my book Journey into Islam: The Crisis of Globalization I delineated three models of Muslim response to Western colonization which developed in the 19th century and persist until this day: the modernists, literalists, and mystics. The modernists sought to adapt Islam to Western modernity and include among them prominent figures such as Muhammad Abduh, the Egyptian religious scholar who, in the late 19th century, attempted a programme of reform to adjust to the times, as did, in a different way, the secularist Mustafa Kemal Ataturk of Turkey. In South Asia, prominent examples include Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, who believed Muslims should learn Western science and founded Aligarh University on the model of Cambridge, Allama Iqbal who was influenced by western thinkers like Goethe and Nietzsche, and the Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, who was trained in the British legal tradition and greatly respected Western figures like Abraham Lincoln. These three figures were instrumental in achieving the State of Pakistan within the modernist tradition.

The literalists, the second category, also arose in the 19th century, but instead of attempting to balance Islam and the West, they sought to draw boundaries around Islam. They saw Islam as under attack from the West and attempted to preserve its purity by going back to the holy texts and attempting to interpret them literally. This included attempts to exactly emulate the behaviour of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) of Islam, for instance by dying their beards. The literalists drew their inspiration from thinkers like the 14th century scholar Ibn Taymiyya of Damascus, who wrote as the Muslim world reeled from the Mongol invasions and believed that Muslims in every generation must revert to the holy texts rather than applying mindlessly the teachings of current scholars. In South Asia, prominent examples of literalist thinking include Maulana Maududi, founder of the Jamaat-i-Islami, and the influential Islamic seminary at Deoband, which is today linked to various movements across the region.

The third category is the Sufi mystics who see the love of God as the reality underlying all things. Intellectually and spiritually they transcend distinctions of religion and nationality. Their message of sulh-i-kul, or peace with all, resonates with people across the social and economic spectrum in Muslim societies and indeed even in non-Muslim ones. Mystics, who trace their spiritual lineage to the Holy Prophet (PBUH) of Islam, often attempt to reach God through chanting and music and are inspired by the great mystic poet Rumi, who said “I go to a synagogue, church and a mosque, and I see the same spirit and the same altar.” The universal message of the Sufis is demonstrated by the fact that Rumi is widely cited as the most popular poet in the United States today. There is a great variety of Sufi movements across the Muslim world, including the Chishti Order of South Asia and the Naqshbandi which originated in Central Asia.

In Journey into Islam, I argued that the perception in the Muslim world that Islam is under attack from the West after 9/11 has meant that the mystics and modernists who wish to engage with the West are pushed aside in favour of literalists. Like the Deobandis in the 19th century, many literalists teach that the purity of Islam must be preserved by adhering strictly to Islamic law and tradition and keeping out foreign influences. The turmoil of the Muslim world today is in part the clash of these positions. Only by speaking and interacting with one another as fellow Muslims and seeing the humanity in each other can this turmoil be resolved. I believe that we must find a balance between Islam and modernity as the great modernist figures mentioned above, all of whom were guided by the example of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) of Islam, argued.

Q: How do you see growth of the post-colonial state in the Muslim World? What went wrong that still most of the states have not been able to establish powerful institutions, construct internal cohesion and achieve economic progress?

Answer: In my latest book The Thistle and the Drone: How America's War on Terror Became a Global War on Tribal Islam, I argued that the post-colonial modern state has failed to accommodate its own people. At independence spirits were high across the Muslim world with charismatic founding-fathers such as the Quaid, Sukarno in Indonesia, and King Muhammad-V in Morocco appealing to people in every corner of their respective nations to cast off the colonizer and shape their destiny as united independent people. The problem came shortly after, however, when the unity dissipated and clashes broke out between the dominant ethnic or religious groups at the “centre” of the country and minorities living in the “periphery.” Development was disproportionally concentrated in the centre and sorely lacking in the periphery. People in the centre viewed the periphery as uncivilized and did not grant them their rights as full citizens of the state. In Pakistan this can be seen, for example, in the attitude of the elite who come mainly from the big cities such as Islamabad and Lahore and their attitudes towards the people of the Tribal Areas and Balochistan, and the perceptions of those people towards them. It is my thesis that this clash between centre and periphery has driven conflict since independence, and, after 9/11, terrorism in postcolonial Muslim states from Nigeria to Indonesia. The Thistle and the Drone contains 40 such case studies. In short, for all the talk about national identity and unity, we have seen time and again the modern state failing to provide prosperity, peace, education, security, and democratic representation to all of its citizens. In order to improve the situation and build unity, centre and periphery must be brought closer together. This can only be done by granting the periphery and the ethnic and religious minorities the full rights and privileges of being citizens of the state.

Q: Clash of Civilizations is a West-coined cliché that intrigued the mind of many particularly in the Muslim World. How do you explain the US and NATO presence in Afghanistan, intervention in Iraq and Libya, continuous support to Israel, and, also US support to Muslims of Bosnia and Kosovo?

Answer: After 9/11 many commentators in the West argued that a Clash of Civilizations between the West and Muslim world was occurring. This, they claimed, was a war that had broken out at the founding of Islam and 9/11 was only the latest episode in it. These commentators were building on the work of scholars like Bernard Lewis, who coined the phrase Clash of Civilizations, and Samuel Huntington, who popularized it. (I have been in the extraordinary position of conducting one-to-one debates with both). The problem with this theory was that there are many examples in history of Muslims, Christians, and Jews living, working, and producing great works of art and literature together for example, Muslim Spain that do not fit into this mould. And, as the question indicated, there are many examples of the US intervening in support of Muslims before 9/11, such as in Afghanistan in the 1980s during the Soviet invasion and in the Balkans in the 1990s when Muslims faced ethnic cleansing. After 9/11 the US, driven by many policymakers who believed in the idea of the Clash of Civilizations and who possessed an inadequate understanding of the people who had attacked the US as well as Muslim culture and history, went charging into Muslim societies intending to defeat the “terrorists”. In doing so, it linked up with central governments eager to defeat the people on the peripheries they viewed as troublesome. Many nations picked up this global anti-terrorism paradigm driven by the Clash of Civilizations theory. The Muslim world had its own adherents of the Clash of Civilizations, such as Osama bin Laden, which helped propel global conflicts. So while I do not believe that there is a Clash of Civilizations in history between the West and Islam, it is certainly a simplistic albeit powerful and influential idea that needs to be challenged. I have dedicated my life and work after 9/11 to promote an opposite idea, a Dialogue of Civilizations, first proposed by President Mohammad Khatami of Iran, calling for understanding, education, and cooperation across religious, ethnic, and cultural boundaries.

Q: The Muslim World has often been blamed for reverting to the Fundamentalism and Conservatism. However, we also see racism in the West and rise of violent nationalism in Hindu civilization. What is the magnitude of these movements in various societies?

Answer: My friend Karen Armstrong has explained the phenomenon of internal conflict in every major religion in the world between its “fundamentalists” and “moderates” in The Battle for God (2000). While she focused on the Abrahamic faiths Judaism, Christianity, and Islam we can easily apply the same frame to non-Abrahamic faiths such as Hinduism and Buddhism. Today we can see movements that promote the preservation of the “purity” of religious groups and violence against minorities in non-Abrahamic societies in South Asia and Far East Asia. The most important point is to understand that these are global movements affecting all faiths and therefore the moral and spiritual leaders in every faith should work actively towards creating bridges of understanding to promote harmony and peace. The magnitude of these movements in vast swathes of the world is enormous and has implications for the coming time. The violence that has resulted from groups that attempt to enforce purity by targeting others has led to immense suffering. Millions are displaced as a result of the upheavals of global conflict. I dread to think of the millions of young children growing up in refugee camps today after having lost close members of their family. They have little hope of the future and so much despair and anger in their hearts. The world must understand that there will be a cost to bear for the misery that is being caused across the globe to millions and millions of people in this disruption.

Q: Despite a glorious past, the Muslim Civilization has not been able to contribute much in the present rise of a world that is characterized by scientific inventions, technological advancements, and intellectual freedom. What are the main reasons for this decay? How Muslim societies should respond to this decay and construct a better future characterized by knowledge, economic progress, political freedom, peace and social justice?

Answer: A constant theme in my work has been the decline of ilm or knowledge in the Muslim world. This is tragic and unacceptable as ilm is the second most used word in the Qur’aan and the Holy Prophet (PBUH) of Islam instructed Muslims to seek knowledge as a religious compulsion. The Holy Prophet (PBUH) stated “The ink of the scholar is more sacred than the blood of the martyr.” A thousand years ago, the library of the court of Cordoba in Islamic Spain held around 400,000 books, while Christian Europe's largest library at that time only held around 600 books. Today the situation is very different. In 2005, for example, scientists across the Arab world produced nearly 13,500 scientific publications, while Harvard University in 2005 alone produced nearly 15,500 scientific publications. With the decline of Muslim civilization following its golden age came a loss of the knowledge ethos and it has cost Muslim society dearly. I mentioned earlier that the post-colonial modern state has failed to accommodate its citizens. A further failure can be seen in its attitude toward learning and knowledge. Leaders like Saddam Hussein in Iraq, Hafez and Bashar al Assad in Syria, Mu’ammar Gaddafi in Libya, and Suharto in Indonesia were more concerned with military glory and eradicating “enemies of the state” than promoting knowledge and education. This has led to the decline of Muslim civilization and a plethora of problems in Muslim countries. In order for the situation to be remedied, there must be a renewed focus on education and knowledge in Muslim countries in addition to what I said earlier about fully accommodating all the state's citizens irrespective of ethnic or religious background.

Q: You have carried out extensive research on the life of Quaid-i-Azam. What in your view was Quaid's vision of Pakistan as a state and society?

Answer: Yes, understanding the importance of the Quaid, both for Pakistanis and non-Pakistanis, I spent a decade of my life conceiving and completing the Jinnah Quartet: Jinnah, starring Christopher Lee; a documentary based on rare archival footage and on interviews given by those who had seen or interacted with the Quaid and were therefore contemporaries; an academic book on the Quaid's life from a sociological perspective; and a comic book, probably one of the first in Pakistan. These different projects were aimed at reaching different parts of society.

I must put on record the tremendous support and affection I received from so many people, both Pakistanis and akbar s1non-Pakistanis. The readers of this magazine will be interested to know the great support of former Chief of Army Staff General Jehangir Karamat, and many others in uniform. On the other hand, I was maligned and attacked by some, which always puzzled our supporters. Christopher Lee and others would constantly be puzzled as to why Pakistanis were attacking those people who had set out to pay tribute to the man they so respected – the Quaid.

The Quaid envisioned a State which would be a homeland for South Asia's Muslims while also protecting the rights under the law of ethnic and religious minorities as well as those of women. The Quaid cited as his inspiration for these values the Holy Prophet (PBUH) of Islam. In order to understand the Quaid's vision for the nation, Pakistanis should study Jinnah's first speech to the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan in August 1947. In his speech, the Quaid emphasized the equality of all in Pakistan, Muslim, Christian, and Hindu alike: “If you change your past and work together in a spirit that every one of you, no matter to what community he belongs, no matter what relations he had with you in the past, no matter what is his colour, caste or creed, is first, second and last a citizen of this State with equal rights, privileges and obligations, there will be no end to the progress you will make.”

On religious freedom, the Quaid told the citizens of the new state: “You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place of worship in this State of Pakistan…You may belong to any religion or caste or creed – that has nothing to do with the business of the State . . . We are starting in the days when there is no discrimination, no distinction between one community and another, no discrimination between one caste or creed and another. We are starting with this fundamental principle that we are all citizens, and equal citizens, of one State.” The Quaid was confident about the future if Pakistanis could follow these ideals. He made a pledge: “My guiding principle will be justice and complete impartiality, and I am sure that with your support and co-operation, I can look forward to Pakistan becoming one of the greatest nations in the world.” The Quaid in his speeches often quoted a Dutch proverb which encapsulated the values he wanted Pakistanis to have: “Money is lost, nothing is lost; Courage is lost, much is lost; Honour is lost, most is lost; Soul is lost, all is lost.”

Today's Pakistan is far from the vision of the Quaid. In the trying current environment, where there is so much conflict between different religious, sectarian, and ethnic groups in Pakistan, all Pakistanis need to remember the Quaid's vision for Pakistan and work to make it a reality.

Q: How to avoid spread of sectarian divide that is quite visible on domestic political landscape of many Muslim countries?

Answer: When I was growing up in Abbottabad and studying at school the students were almost one hundred per cent Muslim, I had no idea who was Shia and who was Sunni. Yet today I am heartbroken to read about and see on our television sets the violence between the two. I think it is one of the most tragic, and, frankly speaking, it makes no sense. I am quite disgusted to see the deliberate targeting of medical doctors and prominent members of each other's communities in order to destroy the community. Do these people not understand that in doing so they destroy the larger society in which they live? Anyone with any doubts about Shia and Sunnis should recall the Quaid's famous answer when asked whether he was a Shia or a Sunni: He replied, I adhere to the same faith as the Prophet of Islam, and if you can answer whether he was Shia or Sunni I belong to that faith.

Q: The incident of 9/11 brought War on Terrorism to Pakistan's neighbour as well as home front. How would you comment on US/NATO's invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, conduct of the war for last thirteen years, and now pull out by the end of 2014?

Answer: The American invasion of Afghanistan was provoked more by anger and emotion than cold logic. There was little thinking or planning about the strategy and objectives. The Americans, therefore, fell into the same trap that many foreign invaders have throughout Afghan history including the British and the Soviets. That is why you see the paradox of the most advanced and well-equipped army in human history failing to vanquish an impoverished tribal society which had been suffering from a civil war situation over the previous decades. Not only was Afghanistan thrown into war but the effects spilled into Pakistan and as a result an estimated 55-60,000 Pakistanis were killed unnecessarily after 9/11. A state of raging civil war was created, and law and order collapsed in many districts, especially those on the border. We, therefore, see a relatively stable nation like Pakistan which was destabilized and a struggling nation like Afghanistan thrown into uncertainty as a result of the invasion. The Americans too are asking questions as to whether it was all worth it. They sunk billions of dollars into the war, lost thousands of lives, and emerged with fewer friends in Afghanistan or Pakistan than when they went in. The ledger of history is clear: the losses have been too great and the gains too few. Afghanistan has been the longest war America has ever fought and has been so, for some time now. Future historians may see this as a turning point in world history. Indeed, we are already seeing developments on the world stage as a direct consequence of America's weakened position, for example President Putin's astonishing “capture” of the Crimea under the noses of the US and the EU. Putin has got away with it because America is in no mood for any more wars. That is why everyone, Americans, Pakistanis, and Afghans, feel that America's wars after 9/11 have cost it so much and given so little. Many questions are going to be raised after the American pullout and a new chapter, perhaps one of even more uncertainty, will open in the region.

Q: How Pakistan should tackle the issues of terrorism and religious extremism on long-term basis?

Answer: Pakistan's problem with terrorism dates back to its post-9/11 security policies, which were enacted at the urging of the United States. Following the American invasion of Afghanistan, President Pervez Musharraf, under pressure from the Americans to capture suspects fleeing across the international border, sent forces to Waziristan, placing troops in the area for the first time since the Quaid withdrew all troops from the Tribal Areas at independence. The Waziristan region particularly South Waziristan has the toughest tribes in Pakistan which have historically been the most resistant to central authority and tenaciously wished to preserve their independence and way of life. I saw this first hand when I served as the Political Agent in South Waziristan in the late 1970s. The Islam of these tribes, as I explained in The Thistle and the Drone, is influenced by their tribal traditions of honour, revenge, and hospitality.

The 2003 onwards military presence in a way ushered in an era of military administration over the tribes (that in a way) sidelined the civilian administrators who had administered the area dating back to independence and even to British colonial times. The conflict escalated exponentially following the Lal Masjid incident in Islamabad in July 2007 in which many soldiers and civilians, including female students got killed. Nearly 70 % of students in the Lal Masjid were from the Tribal Areas and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and the Tribal Areas erupted in violence which soon spilled over into the rest of the country. The character of the attacks in targeting the innocent reflected a cultural change stemming, as I argue in The Thistle and the Drone, from intense fury at the government and a total societal breakdown. All three pillars of authority which used to hold together tribal society – the tribal elders, religious leaders, and political administration – were attacked and side-lined in the chaos, creating a vacuum which was filled by the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), which was formed in December 2007. The TTP unleashed strikes all over the country and struck terror every where in Pakistan. In 2008 alone, there were 88 bombings in Pakistan which killed 1,188 people and injured 3,209. It was estimated that 80% of all suicide bombers came from South Waziristan.

To resolve the problem of terrorism, Pakistan must fully accommodate the people of the Tribal Areas and bring them into the state with equal rights. It must also re-establish the civilian writ of the state which has been lost in the current ill-conceived and contradictory policies of either fighting the tribes or turning over areas to be ruled by the Taliban who roam unchecked, commit acts of unspeakable violence, and implement laws outside the legal framework of the state of Pakistan. Pakistan must reconstitute a neutral, strong, just, and compassionate civil service, judicial structure, and police structure in all districts. It will be impossible to stabilize Pakistan without these crucial reforms. In the Tribal Areas, the army needs to be withdrawn and administration turned over to civilians. The army must rethink its role in the affairs of Pakistan. From my own experience I know how impressive the Pakistan Army is and the high caliber of its soldiers. Yet Pakistan's soldiers are not trained for civil administration. Instead, they must return to the barracks and the civil bureaucracy to function in FATA. Of course, the army must always be ready to assist civil administration when needed. In the tribal regions, the civilian administration should work with the local tribal leadership to ensure peace and stability. These steps would help ensure a rapprochement between centre and periphery in Pakistan which will lead to peace and harmony in the country, not only in the Tribal Areas but also in Balochistan.

Q: What should be your advice to the government and people of Pakistan for achieving a lasting peace, economic prosperity and constructing an enlightened and tolerant society?

Answer: As I have already pointed out, we need to keep the Quaid's vision of a modern Muslim state in mind in order to construct a peaceful and prosperous society. After all, he is the Father of the Nation and we seem to have wandered from his ideals. The Quaid correctly pointed to the evils of corruption, nepotism, sectarianism, and provincialism. He emphasized human rights, especially for women and minorities. He repeated the importance of maintaining and upholding the constitution and the rule of law. Today, I notice that Pakistanis have little hope of receiving justice from the state and even less hope in their fellow Pakistanis. The widespread violence also affects everyone and government must give law and order top priority. In this turbulent stage it is crucial for the leaders of Pakistan to provide shining examples, otherwise things will only get worse. Pakistan's strategy for the future must be holistic and long-term. It will require courage, compassion, and wisdom from the leaders of the nation. The challenge for Pakistani leadership is to either accept the Quaid's vision of Pakistan as “one of the greatest nations of the world,” or abandon it and allow Pakistan to fragment and fall. I pray and hope that Pakistani leaders will be up to the challenge and that your readers who form such an important part of this leadership will play their role in this critical time of history.

05
April

Col Muhammad Omer Khan

Maj Sohail Akbar Bajwa

Colonel Omer is serving in Pakistan Army since 1986. He suffered from spinal injury due to an accident in 1994, when he was a Captain. It rendered him paraplegic (chest down paralysis) with a major disability. But despite being wheelchair ridden since that day, his life moves on whereby he drives his car, travels frequently, discharges his social and religious obligations. He volunteered to remain in uniform after the disability and still serves with pride to the best of his abilities. With the support of his family and Pak Army, he even aims higher and wants to do much for Pakistan. He got married after this accident, has three children and is leading a happy life.

Q. How do you recall your childhood days? Please tell us about your family and days of your early service in Army.

omer2 copyAnswer: I was born on 6 December 1968 in Rawalpindi. I belong to Barki tribe of Pathans and we are settled in Lahore. My early education was subjected to my father's postings who is a retired army officer, Lieutenant Colonel (Retd) Zaheer-ud-Din Khan from Remount Veterinary & Farms Corps (RVFC). I am second youngest in a family of four brothers and two sisters. Being son of an officer from RVFC, I remember being brought up among the thumps of horses. I began to crave for horses and became a good rider at a small age. Riding was and has remained my passion. I have been a national level Polo player.

My passion for army dates back to 1980 when I went to witness 23 March Parade in Jhelum Cantt. It was first time that I witnessed tanks in motion. The only difference, it made then was change in my taste and passion from riding a horse to riding a tank. In the similar pursuit, I applied for commission in Pak Army after Matric and was selected for Junior Cadets Battalion (JCB) in 1986. I later joined Pakistan Military Academy (PMA) in 1988. Being a natural sportsman and a rider, routine in PMA suited me and I was very comfortable in tough life of the Academy. I was commissioned in April 1990 with 81 PMA Long Course and joined 26 Cavalry Regiment. I think Allah was very kind to me to grant me the armour regiment where I had all the time to work with tanks.

My second passion in those days was mountains. I was lucky to be assigned as a liaison officer with Japanese and Korean mountaineer expeditions in 1992. With them I went as high as Camp 4 which is 7400 metre high. I was later posted at Line of Control in Neelum Sector which gave me a chance to experience live action before returning to my unit, 26 Cavalry.

Q. You passed through a traumatic experience in your prime youth that resulted in a lifelong disability. Please tell about that fateful day and the events later.

Answer: It was 28 May 1994 and I was a Captain (I remember 28 May on two accounts: my accident and Pakistan going nuclear in 1998 omer3on similar date). I was part of a military convoy when my vehicle met a serious road accident near Kala Shah Kaku. I was immediately evacuated to Combined Military Hospital (CMH) Lahore. It was a shock for me to know that my spine had been broken. In addition, Discs T5, 6 and 7 had also been affected. I was

stabilized at the hospital but spinal surgery wasn't a common practice then due to lack of facilities and doctors. The medical authorities at CMH then placed me under supervision of Dr Omer Sawar Khan in Sheikh Zaid Hospital Lahore who was then the most experienced spine surgeon in Pakistan. My initial treatment was completed but rehabilitation of spinal injury was still not possible in Pakistan. Situation was getting worrisome for me and my family. I was disabled to an extent that in hospital, while my brother was sleeping at the next bed, I felt thirsty and wanted to take a glass of water at my own without bothering my brother. To my horror, I could not pick up the glass two inches away from my hands. It was then that I realised fully about my disability but also made it a point to strive my way back to normal life.

Q. After having confronted a serious crisis we today find you as a successful person in competition with all other citizens. From ICU bed to routine life and a successful professional life with routine promotions; what have been the highlights of your life all along?

Answer: Since there was no rehabilitation centre for spinal injury in Pakistan, I was advised by doctors to move to USA for advance treatment. I had full support of my family and my institution, Pak Army, who all backed me to travel abroad for the treatment. I remained admitted in Metro Health Centre Cleveland, Ohio for one year and underwent massive rehabilitation training. During that time, I learnt how to drive, swim, use the washroom; in short how to live the life without being hostage to any disability. Army also provided financial assistance for this treatment. After rehabilitation, I returned back to Pakistan and was ready to enter into a much challenging practical life.

omer4Upon return, I was asked to undergo medical board to ascertain my disability and fitness level for service in army during 1995. The medical board initially declared me unfit to serve in Army due to major disability and recommended my discharge with full benefits as per policy. However, I requested the authorities to let me serve as I volunteered to remain in uniform. Army then decided to improve my qualifications in technical subjects and assigned me desk jobs due to wheel chair. I was detailed to undergo “Electronic Data Processing Course” at Military College of Signals (MCS) for 3 months. It was a challenge for me to concentrate on study due to my health and more so, computers were a rare phenomenon in Pakistan during 1990s. Studies, especially the computers, were least I could think of in my life before. But I worked extremely hard and I was able to earn the best possible grade. Those results gave me confidence to fight back with my disability in more befitting way. If I analyse it now, I am confident in stating that it was, and it indeed is, my Khaki uniform that drives me to face any challenge in life successfully.

It was a new life to me. A student again, but on a wheelchair. This new phase in life brought more challenges as during the course I faced a lot of problems; my father at the age of 72 years used to pick and drop me every day from Islamabad to Rawalpindi, a job he never did before since my childhood. Washroom and stairs were rather a bigger issue as maximum bathrooms had less wide doors, unfit for wheelchair, and almost each path leading to the class and other places had stairs. But when there is a will there is way, and here I am, in front of you. It was the same time that I decided to become self-sufficient in the routine matters in maximum possible things. I decided to import a car with hand-controls for disable people. After bit of effort and allocation of quota, I managed to get a special car in 1997. After my course I was posted to then Army Computer System (ACS) Directorate (later C4I Directorate). People were little sympathetic towards me due to disability and avoided to task me much. But I requested everyone to treat me at par with other officers as I wanted to learn and work hard; for my pride and to remain useful to the system and my country. I think my hard work has been well recognised by this great institution and I have been rewarded accordingly.

In February 1997, I was part of team that devised “Election Monitoring Software” which became quite a big success. It was followed by census in 1998 and, again my work was appreciated and I was awarded COAS Commendation Card for my work. Later, I was sent to National Accountability Bureau (NAB) upon its raising in PM Secretariat Islamabad in 1999, where I served till 2006. I was later posted to Military Secretary (MS) Branch in 2007 where I continue to serve till date. I was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in 2007 and to the rank of Colonel in 2012.

Q. What has been the source of inspiration for you during your life?

Answer: My inspiration is a sum of people including my father, my brothers and my course-mates who never let me despair and always supported me without thinking me as a disabled man. But the ultimate inspiration in my life has been my wife. A lady who chose me as her life partner despite knowing about my disability. She was doing her House Job as a Medical Officer when she decided to marry me against social pressures for tying knot with a person who had 80% disability. She was my cousin, an educated and a pretty lady who belonged to a well-to-do family. She could have the best of man for her marriage and a life partner, but I still owe her respect for choosing me and staying with me as a wonderful companion.

Q. Tell us about your family and how do you spend time with them?

Answer: Alhamdulillah I am very thankful to Allah Almighty that He bestowed upon me his greatest blessings. I was blessed with twin daughters (Hafsa and Haleema) in year 2002 and a son in 2004 whom I named Ibrahim. I performed Umra last year with my family and I also say my prayers in gratitude for His countless blessings. Today I am so happy with my family; I play Cricket, Badminton with them, do shopping and travel all around the country and the world. I love talking to my father and mother as it gives me internal peace and spiritual solace.

Q. How does rehabilitation system of Pak Army works to cater for the soldiers with disabilities?

Answer: Army never leave its sons unattended, especially during problem or hardship. Due to ongoing War on Terrorism, the cases of limb injuries and disabilities have increased in the Army. However, from the first aid to the complete rehabilitation, all affected people are being looked-after. Establishment of Armed Forces Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine (AFIRM) in Rawalpindi by the Army is a very commendable step. The under treatment soldiers are not only taken care of clinically, but psychological aspect of their personality is also been catered for. These soldiers are being taught different skills and are also participating in competitive sports activities.

Q. We see that your wheelchair does not have the handles? Any specific reason? And what advice do you render to the people with disabilities?

Answer: The answer to all these questions is very simple. I think the best way to cope up with such phenomenon is to accept the reality, as it is, and as soon as possible. You have to decide in clear terms that life has to go on and you have to move on with it. The self respect never allowed me to be excusive. I removed handles from my wheelchair as I never wanted somebody to be pushing me when my hands are with me.

Q. What is your message to the youth of Pakistan through the platform of Hilal?

Answer: Hilal is a very old magazine and I am sure that people seek inspiration through it. Through this forum, message to the youth and those who suffer any set back in life whether physical or mental, is to accept the reality as it is and to move on from there. I think it is a shame for any human being to beg for anything. Immediately after my accident, I remember not having the strength to pick up a glass of water placed few inches away from me. But I was confident of returning to the normal life and Allah helped me in doing so. My family supported me so did my institution. If you are willing to become a useful citizen, the environment around you would help you but if you surrender and hide from people, you will be a sorry figure everywhere. At the end, I would say: No struggle is short of triumph; and, if not, a valiant effort is worth the Man.

05
April

Sana Mir - Captain Pakistan Women Cricket Team

“Only Hard Work Guarantees Success”

Asif Jehangir Raja

Q. Most of our cricketers claim to have started playing the game in the streets and later rose to the national / international level. Being a female how did you manage to learn cricket and rise to become captain of Pakistan Team?

sana2Answer: My story is same as any other cricketer in Pakistan as I started playing this game on streets. I was fortunate enough that my father, Colonel (Retired) Mir Moatazid, was serving in Pakistan Army. So during my childhood, we moved from one cantonment to other and it was easy for me as a female to go out in the street and play in the environments of the garrison. I will specially mention Taxila Cantt and Gujranwala Cantt in this regard where I used to call children from my neighbourhood to play cricket in the street, and in certain cases, we would play the whole day. Since there were no formal cricket for females at school, college or university level and there was hardly any female cricket club during 1990s, so I instead learnt this game in galies / mohallas (streets) and reached where I am today.

Q. How conducive are the environments in Pakistan for female sportsperson?

Answer: I shall comment little differently by saying that the prevailing environments for female sportsperson are far better than the past. People are encouraging females to come forward and take part in sports. But on the other hand sports is still a new field for females in Pakistan. Questions are still asked that why are you playing and what is in it for you or for any female to take it as a profession. Few people even doubted the ability of Pakistani females to play cricket or any other game at international level. But now things have improved and so have perceptions. Females are now quite confident to play different games and to choose it as a profession.

Q. Who are your favourite cricketers?

Answer: Since I was initially a fast bowler and later changed into a spinner, so Waqar Younis has been my all time favourite. As a captain, Imran Khan, Mahela Jayawardene and MS Dhoni have inspired me.

Q. Where have you been brought up and where did you carry out your studies?

Answer: My early education was in Rawalpindi. Then we moved to Gujranwala and after passing my 6th grade we moved to Taxila where sana3I did my Matric. From Taxila we moved to Karachi where I completed my Inter and Bachelors degrees before settling in Lahore where we reside now. So we have been travelling all around Pakistan due to postings of my father. My studies and sports have been going side by side and I tried to manage both things simultaneously. I always wanted to join the army and serve my country as my father did. I have always respected the brave and gallant armed forces of Pakistan. More so, I was granted admission in National University of Science and Technology (NUST) as an engineering student. However, it was difficult for me to chose between cricket n engineering. But my father help me in this regard by saying, "we have many women engineers in Pakistan but not many women cricketers, you should go and make your dream come true." His advise turn my life and I became a cricketer.

Q. What takes it to become a female cricket captain of Pakistan team?

Answer: The foremost important thing to become a good cricketer and captain of Pak Cricket team is to develop the passion and love for the game. It is likely to take few more years for women cricket in Pakistan to take proper roots and to be taken up conveniently as a profession. There will be obstacles but one has to be passionate to be able to play the game. Team preferences over personal ones is another important thing that each player must carry to give best to the team. And last is the hard work which is obviously key to success to every game.

Q. Which form of game do you like and why?

Answer: At the moment females are playing only T20s and ODIs. But I feel that Two Day format of the game should be introduced for the female cricketers. It will help to groom future players and in improving their skills. T20 is apparently the future format of the game but needs a player to be very skillful to give her best. So to polish the game, more and more ODIs and Two Day games should be played at domestic level.

Q. What all measure should be taken to encourage more and more females to join cricket or any sports?

Answer: In our culture and society, any decision taken by female has to be routed through her family. So for any girl to come out in ground, street or to join any cricket club, support of family is must. Without acceptability of female sports in our society as a normal thing, women will always feel hesitant to come in the ground and play. Easiest and simplest can be provision of big grounds to girls at school levels so that they get exposed to the sports at early age and their shyness of playground is also removed. Moreover, for a balanced personality, extracurricular activities play very vital role.

In Pakistan, almost all girls in the sports field that I know, have been supported by their families to reach at the top level.

Q. What role did your family and society play in your particular case?

Answer: I give all credit to my family, especially my father, without his support I might not have been able to do, what I did. My father always encouraged me to play outdoor sports and never discriminated between a boy and a girl in the house. I will also mention about my mother who always helped me in difficult times and facilitated me in every possible way. My brother was my first coach who used to take me to the ground and would skillfully help me in learning the game. Even my sister and my brother-in-law have encouraged me at each and every step. I can confidently claim that my complete family is at my back. And result is in front of you, I am captain of Pakistan Cricket team.

Q. Where do you grade yourself as a player?

Answer: I think I am someone who believes in improving each day. I was initially a fast bowler but after playing regular professional cricket with hard ball, I developed stress fracture due to bowling action. It forced me to turn into a spinner and I am happy with my fitness now. When it comes to the achievements, I have been selected to represent World Eleven at Lords on 19 May this year. Moreover I have consistently been part of ICC top 20 players for the last six years or so. But I still aim to do much and want to be part of a team that wins maximum bilateral series and tournaments for Pakistan and take it to top four ranking teams in the next two years through my captaincy and performance.

Q. What advice will you render to females to maintain their fitness?

Answer: I have seen females trying to reduce weight through reduction in diet which is very dangerous. Similarly females avoid drinking milk because of their skin and weight issues. These trends are not encouraging. A balanced diet with moderate exercise is ideal for a healthy life. Best way is to exert more than you eat.

Q. When are you planning to get married and will you continue playing cricket afterward?

Answer: I am concentrating on my game at the moment. However, if anything of the sort comes up then I will try to find a way to balance both things. But I don't believe in very long planning and my marriage isn't planned as yet. Let's see what happens.

Q. What is your message for readers of Hilal?

Answer: Our country needs people who are willing to take responsibility. We all must take responsibility and do whatever is in our little capacity for the betterment of country. We all must work hard to make Pakistan a developed country.

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