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A guide to becoming a patriotic Pakistani

This article, written by novelist and journalist Mohammed Hanif in Urdu, was published on BBC Urdu on November 10, 2016. Translation of Hanif’s nuanced and subtle writings is no easy job. The translator accepts responsibility for the numerous shortcomings that you might find in the English version.

When certificates for traitors, enemies of the country and sold writers are being distributed like never before, why shouldn’t we come up with a recipe to dodge such allegations? This recipe has been prepared after thorough research, meaning Facebook, Twitter and the writings of patriotic intellectuals have been looked through with exhaustive attention. Whatever your subject is, just invent some pretext to include the following assumptions in your writing, and be called a patriot.

  1. Pakistan has four seasons. Which other country Allah The Almighty has bestowed upon with four seasons?
  2. Our country has seas, deserts and the tallest mountains. Where else in the world will you find them?
  3. Had Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy made a film on Pakistan’s lovely seasons and scenic locations, would she have won any Oscar?
  4. If a Shia is killed in Pakistan, ask why not call it the murder of a Muslim. If a Hindu or Christian is killed, ask why not call it the murder of a human being. And if some human beings are killed somewhere in the world, say Muslims are being killed everywhere.
  5. If someone says something about animal love and the problems they face, tell them why bother about dogs and cats when Muslims are being butchered in the world.
  6. The ISI is the best secret agency on the earth and it’s no secret. Share the link.
  7. There was absolute peace in Afghanistan during the Taliban era, and it made the world envious of them.
  8. Bangladeshis should stop whining. Only 40,000, and not 400,000, women were raped. In fact, just 4,000 were raped, according to a meticulous estimate.
  9. Pakistanis are the fourth most intelligent people in the world — so intelligent it’s yet to be known who own the first three rankings.
  10. There is no lack of talent in this country, but the politicians have plundered it (use this point with utmost care, or else, it might point out that the politicians are the most talented people).
  11. If some Mohajir, Seraiki, Sindhi, Baloch, Pakhtun or Balti talk of their language, region or rights, try to put some sense into them that provincial prejudice is a curse and creating lingual divisions is on the enemy’s agenda. Then dress up your Punjabi accent with Urdu and pray at the top of your voice that we may all become Pakistanis. Just Pakistanis.
  12. The coming army chief is the bravest and most professional general, and the outgoing one was even braver and more professional.
  13. Those who watch Game of Thrones and threaten us that “winter is coming”, remind them Pakistani poetess Parveen Shakir had said long ago: “Tell him December is coming”.

About Sajid Hussain

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Sajid Hussain is a journalist. He has worked for The News International, Daily Times and contributed for the Reuters news agency. He also writes fiction and literary articles.

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