Using Twitter yesterday, I came across a trend that enraged me, City Wars in Pakistan. This topic needs to be put under the scanner in the context of national interest. As we persist with this attitude of melancholy in terms of city wars, we do not realize the forces of self-immolation being unleashed. No stone has been left unturned in us mobilizing against each other, passing racist remarks, showing dis-contempt and a complete lack of tolerance. It may sound obnoxious, but this is something I intend to discuss in the next few paragraphs.
The animosities between the different cities in Pakistan, has existed since time immemorial. Whether we reside in Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar or Quetta for that matter, some kind of resentment has always existed in the hearts of the native residents living in these cities towards each other. There is a tendency for us to forget that we all at the end of the day, are Pakistani’s. Collectively all these cities in their own respective way form the core and heart of the Pakistani economy, history and culture etc. Karachi’s significance economically is so great, it has a deep sea port, a trading hub locally and internationally. It is an industrial might, cosmopolitan in nature much akin to Mumbai. Its contribution revenue wise to the national exchequer is unrivalled. As Karachi remains engulfed in violence, innocents being butchered and so many 100 of families losing their loved ones, the resilience of its citizens is still very much there. Irrespective of the insecurities, Karachi thrives under the shadow of preemptive strikes, violence and so much more. It is a testimony to its nature as a cosmopolitan city, that it still stands still even amidst the backdrop of the mafia and elements trying to destroy it. Those who live there, swear by its uniqueness, way of life and the pleasures it gives them. Karachi is the heartbeat of Pakistan!
Now coming to Peshawar, a city of immense importance in every context of the word. It is considered to be the earliest living city of South Asia. It has said to have preserved the remnants of Greek, Persian, Buddhist, Sikhism, Muslim and British Civilizations. A city with such a rich history and cultural heritage is something to be proud off. Peshawar has borne the brunt of violence in this War against Terror waged by the Americans since the aftermath of 9/11. It has been ravaged by deadly bomb blasts, sporadic rocket and mortar attacks in the last decade or so. All this bloodshed and the massacres of innocents has left the city in a state of mourning but even then the resilience of the people of Peshawar is absolutely mesmerizing. Same is the case of Quetta, the capital city of Balochistan province, and mired in conflict and violence since the last so many years. Peace and tranquility is something both these cities Peshawar and Quetta are bereft off. The element of fear and insecurity exists, but even the aftermath of it, all the citizens go about their lives resiliently hoping for something better. They have never ever given up hope.
Among all this despondency, bloodshed should we indulge in ridiculing these cities? Do our shoddy mindsets, who bring up these city wars, even realize what are our brother and sisters in these cities are going through? Do we even realize, the seeds of discontentment being sowed by us. Mocking each other on Twitter or Facebook, for that matter is a very easy thing to do. We are already so divided and intolerant, this kind of hatred for each other will only fuel the flames of further discontentment. In these difficult times, especially for all those families in Karachi, Quetta and Peshawar who have gone through the pain of losing their loved ones what impact can these city wars have on them? Instead of joining forces to ridicule this silly campaign, we are hell bent to ensure that we end up in self-destructing ourselves.
Divisions among the populace, lacking a coherent policy of reconciliation will only broaden it further. The practice of hatred and racism in the context of cities is downright disgusting. This does not denote our sense of patriotism in flaming this hatred against each other. Harbouring of these negative thoughts has to be shed and a pro-nationalistic agenda needs to be adopted. And here I remember the old classic saying: “United we stand, Divided we fall”.