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Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Handling Protests in Unsettled Times

Historically speaking, utilizing an anti-western narrative as a political stance has often created a downward spiral in Pakistan.

By Haya Fatima Sehgal

(Photo via @FazalSamtiah Twitter post)

The anti-west slogans and messaging coming out from the recent protests have been unsettling.

Strongly worded to demonstrate a point that slavery by the west is unacceptable, one could only think in terms of the downturn of global inclusion that has taken place in lieu of recent events.

The diatribe which some have so readily adopted against the west needs to end. Conspiracy theories afoot, it seems the previous government brought about unexpected disappointment in themselves with the take of the accusations of foreign interference.

What one did not realize and cannot fathom is the effect this will wreak on the ideologies of the masses who will grow in distrust of the outside world.

The newly formed coalition seems to be on top of things and is trying to steer clear of the beaten rhetoric.

Some brilliant women have been placed in top positions with very sound portfolios. Hopefully, they bring forth their previous expertise and more common sense.

In the long run, an anti-west and/or anti-American policy has neither been conducive or successful and never will be.

It is immature to even hint at it as it brings an old mistrust back from the outside world. The former government played its card in the political trajectory mostly through misguidance or misdirection.

They must realize the repercussions it would have not only on themselves but on the well-being of the nation.

Divisions have been brought about by the public psyche which stands confused and bewildered.

The paranoia built up as a social construct for political trajectory will be devastating for the country’s foreign relations image as well as cultural differences that will now be rampant, an expanse which Pakistan must mend immediately.

Foreign policies are NOT built on unfounded conspiracy theories and paranoia.

They are built by expertise, intelligence, and consistence adherence to grooming diplomatic relations through insight and maturity of sensitivity towards international values.

One hopes that the newly formed coalition with official statements being given out on strengthening and restoring diplomatic relations.

Historically speaking, utilizing an anti-western narrative as a political stance has often created a downward spiral.

History may have seen it gather local support and fervor, but simultaneously, destroyed the essence of reasoning within the population’s mindsets.

In each case another opportune moment was often taken when the gap was seen by local mullahs in each country to further their own hunger to be in power; often riling up the masses and creating the farce of the sinister ‘outsider’.

Pakistan’s issues economic and otherwise come through with its own policy-making and weakness in its own administrative powers.

Not a conspiracy theory – but a reality. One disagrees with statements that the protests may have caused a ‘new movement’ to take place.

If so, this is not a positive one. It is a movement toward geopolitical isolation which is the more apt definition.

Cultural misconceptions about the western world should not be what our children should be growing up with.

The repercussions that will happen is a generation growing up suspicious and fed conspiracies to the point where they would take refuge in the mundane and alternative forms of education; cut off from intellectual growth.

Progressive values, modernization, even going as far as saying ‘westernization’ has never meant losing one’s own culture.

Let us please drop this notion of that being considered as ‘embracing slavery’. What is being termed as container politics may get a vote and maybe even a victory, but to what end would that be?

Pakistan has never been driven to anything it has not wanted itself to be. It has not been enslaved to anybody -rather, one can say, it was the freedom from colonialism that was the catalyst of its own creation.

One can keep core objectives sacrosanct and foremost in patriotic duty. But it is time to understand the intricacies of living in this century and maneuver our relations with different global powers accordingly.

The writer is based in Islamabad and is known for her articles on socio-cultural impact.

This article first appeared in Pakistan Observer. Click here to go to the original.

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