A couple of days back I went to Tariq Road with my mom an hour after Iftar and faced the traffic of shoppers to this prime area of Karachi. Police was everywhere, some people were shouting on megaphones and people were moving around in droves. One particular announcement caught my attention. I didn’t hear the first part of it but the second part was interesting.
“Apni rai aur tajaweez ka izhar yahan akar kijiye, suggestion box main apni suggestions dalein aur acha shehri honay ka saboot dein” (Give your thoughts and opinions here, put the suggestions in the suggestion box and prove that you are a good citizen).
I found this quite curious. I do believe this is nothing new and most of us have heard this one time or the other in our lives and such phrases are also used in other countries but here I would like to point out something. For some strange reason it is always the responsibility of the person to “Prove” themselves good to other people. You have to “Prove” that you are a good Muslim, you have to “Prove” that you are a good “Pakistani”, you have to “Prove” that you are a good student, a good son/daughter, neighbor, nationalist, partner, co-worker, businessman etc. In most countries the philosophy followed is “Innocent until Proven Guilty” but here we have “Guilty until Proven Innocent”.
How? Let me share with you a scenario. There was a lawyer (let’s call him ABC) who was pretty good with logic and genuinely helped people rather than drag the cases and earn hefty money. He took his profession seriously, despite the fact that he was practicing in the lower courts where most judges don’t take lawyers seriously. Once he had a misunderstanding with another lawyer. What the other lawyer did was he went to nearby police station and lodged an FIR against him, saying that ABC has committed blasphemy by insulting Holy Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) and to prove his point, he swore upon Holy Quran. The police took his word on that and arrested that lawyer from within court premises.
His case was quickly moved to a judge and sometime before the hearing, the second lawyer visited him and during conversation he said, “Mi-lord, now you are facing a case of Blasphemy. You have been blessed by Allah in this late age. Let’s be honest, there must have been many mistakes you have committed knowingly and unknowingly in your life. For all those mistake, Allah has given you a chance of atonement. He has sent you a blasphemer. Prove yourself a good Muslim, a real “Momin” and give him the punishment he deserves.”
People who know what the situation of Pakistan’s lower courts is, they would understand what would go through this judge’s mind. As expected, ABC was sent for punishment and he was locked up in jail. Now, on ABC’s behalf a lawyer friend applies for an appeal in the higher courts and the case is back on table. Worried that ABC might get off and then comes after him, the lawyer meets one of the senior jailers (the most corrupt one) and in conversation brings up ABC. He does the same thing here as he did with the judge, telling the jailer to atone for his sins of life by punishing the blasphemer and making sure he doesn’t survive. The jailer, thinking that he really can prove himself a good Muslim this way, approaches a captive who has been sentenced for murder and tells him the same thing. He gives him a chance to “Prove” himself a good Muslim by murdering the blasphemer in jail and earn himself a place in paradise. The captive, thinking that he killed all his life and collected sins, another kill to atone for all of them sounds like a good idea to me, kills ABC while shouting Allah-O-Akbar.
And thus 3 people “Proved” themselves good Muslims. There are countless stories about proving ourselves one way or the other and we always ask others to prove themselves. How many times are we asked to “Prove” ourselves as Pakistanis? Too many times to count. On this Independence Day I leave you with this thought. Just think how many times in the past few years you have been asked to prove and just how many times you tried as hard as you could but others were never satisfied? Or they thought you are mad in trying in the first place? Did breaking world record for singing national anthem proved anything?
There are so many things, so just relax a little, go over your thoughts and see what you have proven and what you have not and realize that you are not a puppet for this world. You are not here to prove your innocence, that is your basic right. Just realize that you have it and the next time someone asks you to prove it, just smack it across their faces.