Let’s promote national integration and harmony | By Dr. Muhammad Khan

Promote national integration and harmony

It is very unfortunate that the political leaders of some national political parties are issuing statements to create a wedge among the masses of Pakistan.

These statements are highly condemnable and those who issue such statements must be held responsible and accountable for overstepping their bounds and derailing national harmony and national integration.

It must be remembered that the State of Pakistan and the Pakistani masses are more important than the political parties and their teenage leaders and their so-called leaders.

The Judiciary of Pakistan must take strict notice against any individual or political party who forms a narrative to divide the nation on the basis of political affiliation or any other factor.

Indeed, leaders must stand higher and above any small gain obtained by dividing the nation.

The publication of such statements cannot be assessed as a slip or misinterpretation by anyone else.

Also, it must be understood that Pakistanis lost half of their homeland due to immature leadership and dividing the masses and the nation in 1971.

It was because of the lack of leadership and the lack of foresight of those who ran the country with a narrow approach to nationalism and issues of national interest.

National integration is the process of achieving harmony, conceiving a common identity and national consciousness among the masses and constituent units of a state.

It is a psychological and educational process for the development of a common feeling of unity, solidarity and cohesion.

To achieve national integration, factors such as political affiliation, religion, language, culture, tribe, caste and ethnicity play an important role, but must be harnessed under one factor; nationalism.

The creation of Pakistan, though propelled by an ideological factor, yet has people of other religions living in harmony with Muslims for decades.

Indeed, people from all different political parties, religions, castes, creeds, ethnicities have worked together for a cohesive society and a harmonious state.

Indeed, after its independence in 1947, there was never a crisis, based on religions or ideologies, although isolated incidents did occur occasionally, which sometimes took on a religious dimension.

Ethnicity and the misuse of religion by non-state actors have sometimes created problems for the state and Pakistani society.

This misconstrued ideology, indeed, the negative use of religion is made by the TTP and many other so-called religious elements to promote their brand of Islam.

This usage goes against the essence of Islam and the ideology of Pakistan. While Islam promotes peace, harmony, mutual respect and the sanctity of the life of every human being, these activists do the exact opposite.

The selfishness of political parties and their small gains are yet another example of creating discord.

Many factors serve as a basis for promoting national integration. Looking at the history of Pakistan and the concept of the Two Nation Theory, there is much to learn and practice in contemporary Pakistani society.

It was Urdu as a language, which became the identity of Muslims in united India.

In 1867, the Urdu-Hindi conflict emerged as the first indicator, which gave Muslims an awareness of their future.

Ambassadors of Hindu-Muslim unity, like Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, have been forced to think differently.

Language then united Muslims under the banner of ideology and the Muslims of India united to have a homeland based on their sacred belief.

Political parties are the product of Pakistan and therefore should not conspire to divide the masses. There is massive misuse of social media by workers and leaders of various political parties who constantly provoke opponents for small political gains at the expense of national gains and the common national interest.

National and private media, both electronic and print, must realize their responsibility in promoting national integration.

With the exception of PTV, the private media channels have generally failed in promoting the national cause and national integration.

It is imperative that PAMRA allocates special and dedicated hours to each media house for the promotion of national integration through nationally motivated stories and programs.

The media are indeed the most important pillar that can promote the cause and national harmony.

The best way forward for the promotion of national harmony and integration is through good governance, indeed, the very essence of everything.

For decades, the Pakistani state and society have suffered from poor governance and mismanagement at both federal and provincial levels.

Issues such as timely provision of justice, educational institutions and health facilities are the most important to address on a priority basis.

Through good governance, these crucial aspects can be addressed to end the social unrest that is prevalent in Pakistani society.

It is imperative that the ruling class take a people-centered approach, rather than using government authority for personal gain or for the benefit of its political parties.

A merit-based system, established through competence and justice, would go a long way in overcoming polarization.

Due to many internal and external conspiracies, today there is a strong need for a harmonious and integrated society in Pakistan.

Besides the ruling class, the media, academia, the intellectual class, civil society and political and religious leaders must play their part in the construction of national narratives.

A well-constructed national narrative and a cohesive society would greatly contribute to Pakistan’s national integration; therefore, let us promote national integration and harmony to overcome political declarations such as civil war and chaos in the country.

— The author is a professor of politics and international relations at the International Islamic University in Islamabad.

About Michael G. Walter

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