Pakistan’s National Assembly earlier this week passed a resolution condemning Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people. Several fiery speeches were made by the parliamentarians, with many questioning the usefulness of passing such a resolution and asking the government to do more. Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi announced countrywide protests against Israel come Friday. What more?
Pakistan declaring jihad against Israel and subsequently dropping nukes, using its artillery of missiles, war jets, or even the army, was the recurring “more” offered by parliamentarians. As Jamaat-e-Islami’s Maulana Abdul Akbar Chitrali asked of the army chief of Pakistan, what good was a seven lakh-strong army if it can’t liberate Palestine and Kashmir? Was the nuclear bomb just an artefact to be displayed in the museum? Similarly, Jamaat Ulema Islam’s Mufti Abdul Shakoor was convinced that Pakistan could wipe out Israel from the face of the earth within minutes. After all, Pakistan was “atomi quwat”. Citing how the Taliban forced out the United States from Afghanistan, Shakoor said “Israel was just a small fry”.
Another Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) parliamentarian Asma Qadeer pleaded with the speaker to let her enrol for jihad, because it was the only option for Pakistan. She also called US Vice-President Kamala Harris a blot on the name of womanhood and humanity for siding with Israel. “She has spoken the language of India and not America.” Qadeer is the same parliamentarian who suggested ties with Israel in a national assembly speech in 2018.
Atom bomb or long game?
It seems that Hitler is available these days to give out quotes to Pakistani politicians — almost as if he leaves random voice notes on their WhatsApp.
Kanwal Shauzab, national assembly member from the ruling PTI, claimed Hitler said: “I could’ve killed all the Jews but I left some to let the world know why I was killing them.” She was rewarded with desk thumping at the revelation of an incorrect quote attributed to the mass killer.
Shauzab then went onto talk about how Pakistan’s atom bomb would only be burst on Shab-e-Barat. Missing the irony of the destruction linked with the atom bomb.
State minister for parliamentary affairs Ali Muhammad Khan, however, didn’t want to nuke Israel, he preferred Muslims preparing/planning like Jews did for the next 1,000 years. Khan referred to ‘The Protocols of the Elders of Zion’, a fake antisemitic hoax about a grand Jewish plan for global domination. A crash course on Palestine for parliamentarians outside WhatsApp University looks like the need of hour.
Outside parliament, Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) pledged Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan half-a-million workers who could join him to ensure Palestine’s freedom.
“Pakistani Muslims will sacrifice their youth and lives, but they will not accept the filthy feet of Jews in Jerusalem,” TLP leader Ashraf Asif Jalali said in solidarity with Erdoğan.
Jingoism won’t work
Emotions are running so high in Pakistan that the passionate arguments put forward by politicians translate into sheer stupidity because they want to keep using the nuclear weapon. Imagine, the idea of these parliamentarians is to liberate Palestinians by dropping nukes in their neighbourhood. All in the name of saving them. And on other occasions, it is pure antisemitism, again in the name of supporting the Palestinian cause.
Pakistani actress Veena Malik tweeted the same popular Hitler saying, “I would have killed all the Jews of the world…but I kept some to show the world why I killed them.” After backlash, the tweet was removed by Twitter.
In another instance, CNN dropped Adeel Raja, a Pakistan-based contributor, who had tweeted: “The world needs a Hitler.” Several other antisemitic tweets by Raja surfaced that hailed Hitler, and offered support to Germany in a World Cup final because “Hitler was a German and he did good with those Jews!”
What do you think supporting Hitler means in 2021? Do you think that a Hitler now would go on a killing rampage of the “other” and not kill you because of your faith? How much trust would you have in Hitler to believe this? These questions never cross the minds that can’t think beyond the prism of faith.
For decades, Pakistani school textbooks and national discourse has ingrained the idea that countries are essentially faith-based. So, the common reference to an Indian wouldn’t be “Indian” but “Hindu”, an American would be “Christian”, and an Israeli, a “Jew”. Which also alienates the religious minorities in Pakistan, especially when in a conflict.
From Hindus are “cow urine-drinking people” to a poster that says “Hindu baat se nahin laat se manta hai (Hindu won’t understand with words but with kicks)”, to “Modi and Hindus do not have humanity, they are beasts”, jingoism gets applause at home, but exposes you when you use the same bigoted jargon to stand for a cause like Palestine.
The author is a freelance journalist from Pakistan. Her Twitter handle is @nailainayat. Views are personal.