The last time the British were in Pakistan (then India) it was 1947. The EU was not even a glint in anyone’s eye, their rule over India and the days of the British Raj were finally coming to an end. Much like today the subcontinent was in political turmoil with rising tensions between Muslims and Hindus, made all the worse by the deliberate British ploy of leaving the Kashmir question unanswered.
Fast forward 72 years and the visit of William and Kate to Pakistan on their tour of past colonies is making the news. In the years since the formation of Pakistan, and after the British left, the world has changed a great deal. The country has next to no significance in the world, the economy is in the doldrums, there is political infighting and even once great allies now look the other way, and this is just the British situation. Post-empire Britain is now the laughing stock of its neighbours and those beyond. Just like their great leader Boris Johnson, Britain is the court jester of global politics.
One would think that at this time the visit would be low-key event in Pakistan. After all, Pakistan has the big issue of Kashmir to resolve and the visit of the heir to the British throne is hardly a big deal. However, despite the British Raj ending physically the colonial mindset remains, especially in the current leader Imran Khan and his government. Anyone who has been following Khan’s rise to the top of Pakistani politics would not have failed to notice his continuing praising of the West: for their great contribution to the world of politics and meritocracy; something which he holds dear to his heart.
From Bradford University, being one of the fairest in the world, to the apparent non-corrupt British political system, Imran Khan finds every opportunity to fawn over the Western world. His rather naive outlook on the world can be summed up by his statement that the Chinese Communist Party is the best example of meritocracy in the world. Just like his denial about Chinese concentration camps in Xinjiang, Khan has seemingly never read about Chairman Mao. Meritocracy is not the word that comes to mind when you think of China.
The significance of this kind of thinking goes far beyond the rather comical examples into a psyche which is always looking for affirmation from the “other”. Whether that be the handing back of the Indian pilot shot down by Pakistan to prove that they are a peace loving nation, to the continued courting of the UN to solve the Kashmir crisis. Imran Khan has taken kowtowing to a whole new level, even beyond that of Nawaz Sharif and the Bhuttos.
It would not be so bad if this kind of thinking remained confined to the walls of the Bani Gala mansion. Unfortunately as is the case with any disease, it is quick to spread amongst the masses. Like dengue fever of the brain, inferiority is not spread by mosquitoes but the media who infect all those who dare to watch the hyper-speed Pakistani news channels. Their ultra-positive coverage of the visit could only be surpassed if Imran Khan was to win the World Cup again.
Muslims are a proud people, proud of their Islam, proud of standing for justice and even prouder of never bowing to the oppressors. Yet they find those who rule over them, the likes of Imran Khan, welcoming with fanfare those who once oppressed Muslims and created issues such as Kashmir.
Seeking honour, dignity and affirmation from anything other than Islam and bowing to those who have and continue to oppress the Muslim world will lead to nothing but humiliation.
The words of Umar bin al-Khattab (ra) speak volumes when he said:
“We were a people who lived in humiliation and then Allah gave us honour through Islam. Accordingly, if we were to seek honour through anything other than Islam, Allah would humiliate us once again.”