Ban on Joyland Exposes Pakistan's Hypocrisy And Double Standards

Ban on Joyland Exposes Pakistan's Hypocrisy And Double Standards
Fashion designers known for designing revealing clothes for actresses were preaching their version of Islam when it came to the humanisation of transgenders in the said movie. They called the movie 'un-Islamic' and pushed for its ban for supposedly 'promoting homosexuality'. The very same fashion designers are mostly criticised by the mullahs for being 'anti-Islamic' themselves on a regular basis when it comes to their glamourous profession as a whole.

Sadly, the issue here is much deeper: We celebrate Azad Kashmir free of Hindustan's occupation but forget that Ahmadi paramilitary groups fought for it in 1947 and an Ahmadi, Sir Zafarullah Khan's lobbying at the UN led to it being declared a disputed territory instead of being part of Hindustan. We call ourselves 'the first nuclear state in the Islamic World' but then only give credit to Dr Abdul Qadir Khan, who was a metallurgist and not a nuclear physicist. While he also played an important role in the creation of nuclear bomb and should be highlighted, it would've been better if other scientists, who weren't from the Barelvi school of thought, were also given credit for it, especially those who worked on the project for a longer period of time.

On the other hand, we celebrate Pakistan Day proudly on 23rd March every year but forget that Lahore Resolution's draft was also written by Sir Zafarullah Khan. For many, it's OK to celebrate Pakistan Day, but it's not OK to treat the community behind it with respect. Actors known for being featured in erotic love stories are busy preaching modesty in real life as they abuse their wives behind the curtain at the same time. Mullahs are afraid of homosexual relationships between adults, while many of their friends molest minors in madrassas. Religious parties are busy teaching made-up 'religious ideology of Pakistan' after not even taking part in Jinnah's funeral because they did not consider him a Muslim nor Pakistan a religious state.

Then there is our constitution: Its 'The Pakistan Citizenship Act 1951' classifies everyone living within the state's boundaries as an equal citizen irrespective of caste, creed or sect but several ordinances on top of it make it difficult for the people to benefit from it. The preamble of the constitution also doesn't state anything about Pakistan having religious laws but providing an environment where both Muslims and non-Muslims will be able to live their lives according to their religious values or ideologies on an individual level and they will be free to propagate their religions and cultures. Yet, there are certain articles in the constitution that stop non-Muslims from having equal rights and one interpretation of Islam is imposed on a religiously diverse society with over seventy sects of Islam along with millions of non-Muslims. This happens because religious authorities are dominated by a handful of hardliners who dictate the system instead of leaving these matters to 220 million individuals themselves as the preamble ensures and letting the state focus entirely on uplifting their living conditions instead.

Religious authority 'Council of Islamic Ideology' submitted its final report in 1996; hence, as per Article 230, it has served its purpose but the authority still remains intact to this day. The constitution is silent on its existence beyond that final report. A parallel system in the shape of Sharia Court, which contains individuals with zero understanding of the economy and geopolitics at large, also continues to give its outdated views about statecraft. What's even funnier is the fact that self-proclaimed champions of democracy take that authority seriously which undermines the supremacy of the parliament itself. Not to mention that this parallel system is the legacy of a dictator just like Council of Islamic Ideology and so-called Islamic Research Centre. We literally pay these people billions just to overcomplicate everything and keep us a few steps behind the rest of the world. Eventually, they change their views because of pressure but only once the other countries move on to something new, better and more effective to serve their people. We play catch up.

Things become much worse when the state sells distorted history crafted by ultra-conservatives. This makes self-proclaimed progressives believe that it was supposed to be this way from the start because they fall for this narrative sold by the state, ultra-conservatives and some hypocritical elites obsessed with 'Islamic Touch'. When 'progressives' do not find an effective narrative within the state's borders to counter regressive groups, they look for an alternative across the border and start to buy the Hindutva narrative. This fires back and leads to destructive criticism of their own country, hatred against it and the will to leave it because they conclude that its creation was a 'mistake' and it will never have a place for diverse views. They start to believe in everything fed from the other side, and they confuse it with the 'bitter truth'. Both ultra-conservatives and self-proclaimed progressives follow distorted history sold as 'bitter truth'; the only difference is, one is proud of it while the other is ashamed of it, but none of them bothers to read more about it and correct it.

Then this so-called bitter truth gets propagated by our half-baked intellectuals and half-informed academics in universities, which creates more confused individuals. This then strengthens ultra-conservatives and their narrative further, and gives them the justification and power to keep the system hostage. These are deep issues which cannot be solved by unbanning a few movies. The entire education system will have to be reformed, history rewritten and the constitution amended to get rid of contradictions and confusion from top to bottom. As long as the constitution and education system themselves are confused, the confusion and hypocrisy in society are destined to stay, and such societies cannot progress nor produce progressive philosophers, scientists, artists and reformists.