By Ali Hassnain
Lately a few Indian outlets have started propagating that Pakistan has become an international “pariah”. One must understand where the term and concept comes from and what its background is.
India has in practice has a caste system comparable perhaps only to the bygone era of Apartheid. It is actually worse. They use terms like untouchables for low caste Hindus. To be exact they use the word “achoot” which literally means untouchable. Dalit (political term for untouchables) have a population of around 166 million. Indians historically have used a derogatory term Maleech (low, petty) for Muslims. With the arrival of Islam and subsequent Muslim rule the concept was seriously dented. However that has continued to exist and is embedded in the mindsets of Indians.
Of the one billion Hindus in India, it is estimated that Hindu Upper Class or forward class comprises 26%, Other Backward Class comprises 43%, Hindu Scheduled Castes (Dalits) comprises 22% and Hindu Scheduled Tribes comprises 9%. This probably excludes the Dalit population that has converted to Islam, Christianity or other religions. In general upper class Hindus consider Muslims as unclean and put them in the same category.
In Merriam Webster dictionary the definition of word pariah is as follows:
- a member of a low caste of southern India
- one that is despised or rejected : outcastOxford dictionary clearly shows that the word has Indian origins, it defines pariah as:
- An outcast.
- Historically, a member of an indigenous people of southern India originally functioning as ceremonial drummers but later having a low caste.
Origin: Early 17th century: from Tamil paṛaiyar, plural of paṛaiyan (hereditary drummer), from paṛai a drum.
Now some Indian propagandists have started using this term for Pakistan; hardly a new or unexpected tactic from the mindset of biased people. There were and are people in India who believe they have been tainted if shadow of a Dalit or a Muslim falls over them; but it is comical that they are taking the term pariah and using it in their propaganda against Pakistan at international level. They should be ashamed of the concept of untouchables instead of making it part of their foreign policy. Making racism part of Indian foreign policy, it’s just sad. Traditionally upper caste Hindus even discard utensils touched by the shadows of ‘pariahs’.
Then there are the Indo-Aryan people and the theory of migration from central Asia. Brahmins consider themselves superior and Dravidians of south are seen as “pariah” in northeastern part of India. People from seven sister states in India (Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura) face extreme racial discrimination because of their resemblance with the Chinese Han people.
Let’s see who the real pariah is: Pakistan or India?
- After the Indian claims of “Surgical Strikes” inside Pakistan’s territory, Pakistan took UN observers to the Line of Control in Kashmir and showed them that no such incident took place.
- Russia is annoyed with Indian foreign policy and conducting first ever joint military exercises with Pakistan at the expense of Indian exasperation. Rumor mongering and repeating hollow arguments like parrots does not mean you are right. ‘The “world” supposedly sees Pakistan as a Pariah’. ‘The “world” agrees with India.’ I doubt they are talking about UN General Assembly or Security Council when they say, the ‘world’.
- Pakistan is a respected member of international community and has many friends. China is a time tested strategic ally of Pakistan and remains so. Recently China is building a route to Gwadar and investing sum in excess of 50 Billion Dollars. Pakistan has a long history of military cooperation between Pakistan and China. For all intent and purposes Pakistan and china have an undeclared mutual defense arrangement.
- Pakistan has the honour of contributing the most number of soldiers by a single nation for peacekeeping missions. Pakistani peacekeepers have played their role in UN peacekeeping missions in Congo, West New Guinea, Kuwait, Haiti, Cambodia, Bosnia, Somalia, Rwanda, Angola, Eastern Slavonia, and Sierra Leone. They are currently deployed by UN in Congo, Liberia, Burundi, Côte d’Ivoire, Sudan and C.A.R.
- Pakistan has been requested to join the 39 nation alliance against ISIS and Pakistan is leading the proposed Islamic Military Alliance to Fight Terrorism (IMAFT) alliance.
- Pakistan is a major power in OIC. Pakistan has lead many major resolutions within OIC. OIC has always sided with Pakistan and continues to do so. Population of China and OIC countries is some 2.5-3 Billion; that alone should be enough to open the eyes of Indian government and propaganda machinery.
- Despite the policy differences, Pakistan remains a major non NATO ally of US; a frontline ally in the War against Terror. NATO too has a favorable view of Pakistan and Pakistan is an important ally in War against Terror. Despite the differences, there has been a lot of cooperation.
- On this year’s Pakistan Day Parade, Chinese, Saudis and Turk Mehter band (Janissary band with Ottoman legacy) paraded with Pakistan Army, and South African Army chief attended it as a chief guest along with countless diplomats from other countries.
- Donald Trump called Pakistan’s PM and so far it appears he believes in isolationism and good terms with Pakistan would be his policy.
- Pakistan is the only country in the world to achieve success against Takfiri terrorists despite a porous border with mostly ungoverned Afghanistan.
- EU has a history of cooperation with Pakistan. They continue to have good bilateral relations with Pakistan. Pakistan has fought against terrorism and has spilled blood and sweat to counter it. World has repeatedly acknowledged this fact.
- Turkey has a longstanding history of cooperation and feelings of brotherhood with Pakistan predating the creation of Pakistan and Ottoman Empire.
- There is no country in Africa hostile to Pakistan. Pakistan has enjoyed defense cooperation with South Africa. Libya is now a state in turmoil but during the Gaddafi era there was massive economic and defense cooperation. Despite his personal issues with General Zia, Gaddafi was pro-Pakistan in general.
- Pakistan has enjoyed trade and co-operation with the Far East Asia and same is the case with Australia. So how is it a pariah state?
- Government of Bangladesh is pro-Indian, dictatorial and hostile towards Pakistan but there is a strong pro-Pakistan feeling in Bangladesh’s public. A few years back Bangladeshi government had to ban Pakistan’s flag in the cricket stadium as locals were bringing a lot of them to the stadium to support Pakistan’s cricket team.
On the other hand, there is a lot of anti-India sentiment in Sub-Saharan Africa. Only the other day, statue of Gandhi was placed in a university in Ghana and people there were lobbying to remove it. There is a very strong feeling against India in Bangladesh too. There is anti-India sentiment in Myanmar. There have been anti-India riots in Malaysia. Indonesia declared war against India in 1965 to back Pakistan.
Most Afghans are anti-India; all Afghan nationalists in Afghan Government and virtually everyone else not in Afghan Government is anti-India. India is a “blocked state” in OIC. India is always plotting against the Chinese so they are not happy about it. Anti-India sentiments in Australia are well documented, although some of them have to do with racism.
The SAARC summit in Islamabad was cancelled recently and some Indian politicians and political commentators are jumping with joy. Rules of the organization state that if even a single member refuses to attend the summit, it cannot take place. Bhutan is practically a client state of India and there is a very controversial unpopular pro-Indian government in Bangladesh; they refused to participate on Indian request, not to mention the semi-legitimate government of Afghanistan that consists of Warlords on Indian payroll. Summit was cancelled. Nepal and Maldives did not boycott; after the summit was cancelled they gave statements that the summit should be held in a better atmosphere.
Sri Lanka has suffered for years through Indian sponsored LTTE. LTTE even threatened the geographically small island nation of Maldives. India then playing a double game helped Maldives. Recently former Maldivian President is hiding in Indian embassy and Maldives government is not happy about it.
Iran is running for cover after Indian intelligence was caught using Iranian soil under the cover of economic co-operation. They have distanced themselves from the acts of Indian intelligence. They are now cautious in their approach and have assured Pakistan India would not be allowed to use Iranian territory for terrorism in Pakistan. Pakistan and Iran have enjoyed military cooperation, besides the concept of Muslim Brotherhood that binds them together.
Iraq has recently acquired military hardware from Pakistan Ordinance Factory. Iran is likely to join CPEC, and then there are GCC countries (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman). Do I even need to bother and mention friendship and cooperation between Pakistan and GCC countries? Do I need to mention the Arab League? GCC countries are likely to join the CPEC project as well.
India can lie to their public all they want but the facts remain unchanged. Institutionalized racism is condemnable, hideous and unanimously rejected by the international community. Instead of expanding their definition of untouchables they should stop treating Dalits as untouchables and give them equal rights. The very concept of untouchables is unacceptable.
In Article 1, it reaffirms the principles of the UN Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and their fundamental importance to good international relations:
“Discrimination between human beings on the ground of race, colour, or ethnic origin is an offence to human dignity and shall be condemned as a denial of the principles of the Charter of the United Nations, as a violation of the human rights and fundamental freedoms proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as an obstacle to friendly and peaceful relations among nations and as a fact capable of disturbing peace and security among nations.”
US Declaration of Independence states:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
The EU Council’s Framework Decision on combating racism and xenophobia under the criminal law defines racism and xenophobia to include violence or hatred directed against groups by reference to ‘race, colour, religion, descent or national or ethnic origin’.
According to the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China, all citizens are equal and enjoy the same rights, regardless of gender, beliefs, or ethnic background.
Even the Indian constitution condemns discrimination in article 15(1):
‘The State shall not discriminate against any citizen on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them.’
In Islam, there is no place for racism whatsoever. India is a now state comparable to Nazi Germany in recent history. They should learn from Islam.
The Holy Qur’an in Chapter 49, verse 13 states:
“O mankind! We have created you from a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know one another. Verily, the most honourable of you with Allah is that (believer) who has At-Taqwa [i.e. one of the Muttaqun (pious)]. Verily, Allah is All-Knowing, All-Aware.”
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said in his last Hajj sermon:
All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over black nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety (taqwa) and good action.