KARACHI: There is no harm in a single person having multiple identities, such as ethnic, religious, secritarian, and professional.
But when certain groups are excluded economically or politically, they can resort to singular identity, which can lead to identity politics and even conflict.
These thoughts came in two day-long discussions on “Coexistence with Multiple Identities”, organized by Pak Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS), with a select group of experts, academics, lawyers, and social scientists from Balochistan and Sindh. PIPS Director Muhammad Amir Rana moderated the sessions.
Journalist Wusutullah Khan likened identity to the onion. The topmost layer is of personal identity, the next layers pertain to faith, ethnicity, the other national, then, global, and so on. “It is up to us which identities do we strengthen and which we ignore”, he said.
Renowned scholar Dr. Syed Jaffar Ahmed said that every individual has different identities, such as ethnic, religious, sectarian. These are not contradictory and can exist at the same time.
It is only when some people feel excluded economically that identity comes to the fore. Specifically, when a state does not bestow rights to some people, a feeling of discrimination will make way. In that case, a person from the excluded group will start wondering if he is excluded because of what his ethnicity, religion or mother language is. Only then are identities used to advance one’s goals, he said.
Participants shared how in different circumstances, their different identities come to the front. “Context is key”, the dialogues noted.
The dialogues noted the best way to overcome tensions is to accept multiple identities. This should be taught, in fact, rejoiced by all. Multiculturalism can even enrich an individual’s life.
Several participants complained that the state, in its attempt to enforce a particular brand of identity from the top ended up excluding local identities. Even now the state is seen as tilted to some groups at the cost of others. The dialogues note the role of the state should be to secure individuals irrespective of their statuses; in particular, weaker segments of the society should be protected.
The dialogues called for shaping social contract to the mutual benefit of all. While the Constitution grants a range of rights to all citizens, its enforcement has been questionable. Already, there are certain limitations in place.
They noted youth in different parts of the country have either accepted dichotomies or turned confused. In Balochistan, one participant noted, the youth feel insecure, physically as well as mentally. The dialogues noted that many youngsters are migrating abroad to seek better job opportunities or make themselves secure. A well-off segment of society is anxious in not expressing one’s opinions openly. They too are among the migrants.
PM Imran congraulates Modi on BJP victory
ISLAMABAD: Imran Khan has congratulated Narendra Modi on BJP’s landmark victory via telephone here on Sunday.
Prime Minister Imran Khan has expressed his desire for both countries to work together for the betterment of their peoples.
“Reiterating his vision for peace, progress, and prosperity in Sout Asia, the Prime Minister said he looked forward to working with Prime Minister Modi to advance these objectives,” Spokesman added.
Incidentally, Hindu Nationalist BJP has ameliorated its position by bagging 303 seats.
EU election: Le Pen leads in France
PARIS: Marine Le Pen, Far-Right National Rally party seems all set to finish top in European elections in France on Sunday.
Dr. Firdous speaks about attack on Army Post
ISLAMABAD: Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr. Firdous Ashiq Awan Sunday termed the attack on a check post in North Waziristan as unfortunate and stressed that nobody in any way would be allowed to undermine the image, dignity, national identity and national interest.
Speaking to different television channels, she said the government would take action against the attackers as per law and constitution.
She said politics on the issue was not in the interest of Pakistan and the incident should not be associated with any ethnic community. “Where it will be about Pakistan, we all are together and there should not be any politics on it,” she stated.
Firdous said if a public representative challenged the writ of the state, the law would take its course and the writ of the state would be maintained.
Those who attacked the check post would be exposed as it was attacked to free the terrorists, she added.
She said the statement of Bilawal Bhutto regarding the attack was political non-seriousness and put a question mark on his politics.
The special assistant said some miscreant elements were playing in the hands of anti-Pakistan forces but the people of tribal areas had disassociated themselves from the narrative of the miscreant group.
She said Imran Khan was the only prime minister who had healed the wounds of tribal people. The prime minister was desirous to bring the tribal areas at par with other developed parts of the country.
Firdous said tribal people would remain in the forefront for the progress and development of their areas and conspiracies would die down.
The incident happened at a time when the Vice President of China was in Pakistan to give impetus to the mission of the leadership of Pakistan to bring progress and prosperity in the country, she added.
Dr. Firdous said an environment was created against state and state institutions through a conspiracy in which some miscreant elements were involved.
Prime Minister Imran Khan was the only leader who stood by the tribal people when it was a no go area and made them a partner in the mainstream political system. The process of development in the tribal areas was continuing smoothly and revolutionary steps were being taken for the progress of the area, she added.
She said under the guidance of the prime minister, the process of development in the areas was being sped up.
The tribesmen had faced difficulties with patience, steadfastness, courage and with the spirit of patriotism, she noted.
The special assistant said now when the time came for tribesmen to enjoy the fruits of constitutional and democratic rights, some miscreants put obstacles in their path, played in the hands of international powers to stop people from getting benefits and tried to weaken Pakistan.
“The present government, armed forces of Pakistan and law enforcement institutions are determined to foil this effort,” she resolved.
“We paid a huge price to clear this area of terrorism, gave unprecedented sacrifices of thousands of precious lives to restore peace and created conditions where political meetings could be held,” she mentioned.
Dr. Firdous said if a certain language was used in the public meetings with an aim to challenge the writ of the state, mislead people and promote the agenda of anti-Pakistan forces, then it would be unacceptable.
A relevant piece published earlier: