For 54 years September 11 was the day of mourning for a single nation. Pakistan lost its founding father, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, on this date when the country was a year old. The day of mourning became a day of horror for the nation in 2001 when World Trade Center, the hub of business activity in USA, was ‘airplaned’ to dust.
An event that took place thousands of miles away, more appropriately termed “Saat Samandar Paar” (across 7 oceans) in the local language, became the worst nightmare for all Muslims especially Pakistanis and Afghan of the world. Within a short span of time we forgot our personal attachment to this date and it became synonymous with slavery that Pakistan went into willingly. Battered and bruised for over 10 years, carrying an A-bomb in its pocket and sanctioned for so long, the new-found generosity of USA caused a short-circuit in country’s self-esteem and it turned against its own creation. A decade later it pays the price with 40k deaths, $60+ billion loss and complete identity crisis, including the real 9/11.
Be it the new 9/11 or the old, grief is in Pakistan’s fate. Death of Jinnah left behind a huge leadership gap that people tried to fill unsuccessfully and bickered so badly for power that they sealed Pakistan’s fate as eternally struggling state. Whatever was left of the country, the new 9/11 took care of it.
A look at history tells us a lot of things. According to late K.K.Aziz, a prominent historian, Jinnah literally was alone in the political hemisphere and there was no one for him to rely on. Congress had prominent leaders like Gandhi, Nehru and a whole list of second-tier leaders that were trusted by all. In the case of Muslim League, Jinnah alone was the figure who could stand up to both Congress and Britishers. Such was the popularity of Jinnah that people imitated his style and wore “Karakul” (popularly called as Jinnah Cap in Pakistan) as is apparent by the following funeral picture.
It’s funny how times change, we forget Jinnah altogether and remember only in the pages of history to pass history exam at school. The new generation of Pakistanis, the so-called Youth that believes it can bring a revolution, doesn’t even know founding father’s date of birth as well as date of passing. 9/11 to them (and us) is the American tragedy and the founding father vanishes in the abyss of history. Such is the case that when asked about Pakistani role-model, most Pakistani youth can come up with Bhutto, Imran Khan and Edhi while Jinnah thrown in as an afterthought; a grand total of four names in the entire history of the nation spanning just over half a century.
The tragedy of World Trade Center, a day of horror of Americans became a decade of misery for many others. As is popular in the streets, America’s 9/11 is Pakistan’s 24/7 and the facts are not too different either. Over 2,000 people died 10 years ago in WTC tragedy and over 40,000 people have died in Pakistan alone in one whole decade due to the “War on Terror”; a war that has ravaged a whole nation, brought another to the brink of insanity, nearly bankrupt the initiator and generated waves upon waves of psychotic behavior in regards to security all over the world.
There are as many conspiracy theories as there are mouths to speak them. Pakistan’s 9/11 happened in questionable circumstances. The ailing founder was suffering severely and taken for medical attention but the vehicle got punctured, there was no spare Tyre and Liaqat Ali Khan finally got what he wanted … a powerful seat to rule a whole nation. This scenario is completely different from what is taught in history books and is reiterated by some of the elders; but then again there are those who are completely against Jinnah himself and blame him for creating a failed nation from the start.
The American 9/11, the real reason for creation of Homeland Security and Patriot Act, was the day of horror for the Americans. There was no Superman, Batman, Spiderman to save them. There were no superheroes flying out or zooming in to help the screaming people falling off the building or getting crushed under the debris or burning alive inside the building itself. After 10 years and a side war fought with all the wrong reasons (Iraq War), majority Americans now believe that the whole tragedy was an inside job as explained in the following video.
It is time for the Pakistanis to decide which is the bigger tragedy; the death of Jinnah or destruction of World Trade Center? At one side lies our identity and concerns with the creation and survival of the nation. At the other end lies the chains of slavery and complete chaos that has inevitably made the nation a migraine for the entire world. Unless we choose and choose soon, we’re heading for something far worse and the living may envy the dead before long.