By Usman Ahmad
September 24th, 2014
Ye Dard Rahe Ga Ban Ke Dawaa, Tum Sabr
Karo Waqt Ane Do
According to a parable, when Prophet
Abraham was cast into a fire by the tyrant king Nimrod, the spectacle was met
with horror by a small bird. It spread its wings and soared to a nearby river,
where it filled its beak with water. The bird carried these meagre drops to
where the fire was lit before going back for more. The water it fetched was of
course, not enough to quell the raging flames.
An arrogant crow mocked the bird's
scurrying efforts and haughtily told him:
‘How can you hope to douse the fire with
such little water? Surely you realise that there is nothing you can do?’
The bird remained unperturbed and calmly
‘When I meet with God, He will not ask me
whether I was able to put out the fire, He will only inquire whether I did my
part to see that it was extinguished.’
Reports of another Ahmadi killing have
emerged today. The name of the latest victim is Mubashir Ahmad Khosa, a basic
medical practitioner who was shot at by two unknown assailants in Mirpurkhas as
he tended to patients in his clinic. He died on his way to the hospital. Ahmad
was 50 years old and is survived by his wife and four young children.
I cannot sketch out the broader details of
what has happened as I am not aware of them. But what I do know is that the
reaction to this deplorable crime will be as muted as the desolate silence that
envelopes me while I pen these words.
Reticence, quiet and indifference rest upon
this land. It is strange to think how so much destruction can breed such awful
calm. And yet, this is the absurd reality we are faced with in these troubled
This latest killing is just another brutal
reminder of the misery inflicted on so many in our country.
Each turn of the season brings fresh grief
to Pakistan’s Ahmadis, Shias, Hazaras, Christians and numerous others who have
been deemed unworthy of life.
Too few, if any, will speak for them, rouse
themselves to action or even feel an inkling of disquiet for their plight.
Is there anything left of Pakistan except
the quarrels of politicians?
Justice has been strained to the brink of
non-existence, moral authority abdicated long ago and coexistence is more a
punch line than truth.
The blood-drenched streets aren't fit for
walking; suffocation plagues ashen neighbourhoods. This is not the stuff of
which real nations are made of, especially those which aspire to the grand
ideals of pluralism and democracy as the chief actors in the current political
crises keep telling us is the case.
More troubling still is that the
ideological justification of religious extremists fuels this machine of hate,
leaving in its wake deep societal rifts and little love for the sanctity and
preservation of life.
And if there still is a Pakistan, it
teeters atop the wreckage of its own crippling hypocrisy and duplicity. But it
cannot hold its balance forever.
As the poem once said, 'Ya Zulm Mite Ga
Dharti Se, Ya Dharti Khud Mit Jai Gee.'
In this desperate state, I have heard many
a note of despair. Friends, work colleagues and acquaintances alike have
expressed a profound degree of pessimism as to whether any change for the
better can be brought about in Pakistan.
Much as I, too, am often plagued by the
same despondency, like the little bird in the parable, I have chosen to let the
sadness deep within ripple once more against the undulating dark of night
through the flow of my pen.
I realise that my words are likely to have
little or no effect on anything, but that would be missing the point. To
struggle for something is not always about succeeding. Sometimes, it is more
important, more meaningful and more worthwhile to address your own conscience.
Amidst the helplessness of it all, one must
not allow his/herself to lose the courage of their convictions. Instead, it is
incumbent upon all of us to break the prevailing silence, even if our cries
drown in this sea of noise.
The truth is - it is less about what we do
and more why we choose to do it. The final judgement will be cast not upon our
deeds but our intentions, and to that end the struggle must go on, even if it
has the bearing of just a single drop of water.
Usman Ahmad is a British freelance writer based in Pakistan. He writes
mainly on issues of human rights, minorities and features.