I am Ill

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All my friends and foes agree that I am ill, but I refuse to accept it. Initially, it was my enemies who started saying I was sick, and gradually, all my friends also began advising me to seek treatment. They keep prescribing remedies for my recovery, but I feel I have indeed grown a bit weaker, even though one of my arms was severed, I am still powerful.

My “theory” suggests that both friends and enemies are terrified of me, and by declaring me ill, they aim to suppress my ideology by feeding me bitter medicines to change my course. Therefore, while I superficially listen to my friends’ advice, I do not follow it.

Many of my friends, disappointed, now consider me incurable, but I do not care. My ideology is so robust that I would rather starve and die alone than change my path.

I am Contradiction Land. Initially, my enemy, India, used to say I was ill, which, of course, they were supposed to. Why would I care about what an enemy says! From my inception until now, the United States has been my biggest financial supporter. Suddenly, even they began advising that I am ill and need treatment.

I became convinced that Hindus and Jews have succeeded in their conspiracies to weaken the fortress of Islam globally by declaring me ill, so I ignored America as well. China has stood by me through thick and thin, helping our jihadist brothers evade global sanctions and supported our nuclear and missile programs.

Yet, it started with whispers and then openly began discussing my illness, but I remained silent to Chinese advice. Now even Saudi Arabia, a brother Islamic nation, has adopted the same stance as America and China, suggesting I am ill and recommending the same treatment.

I hear, in hushed tones, that my illness resembles schizophrenia, where the patient believes they are healthy while everyone else around them, friends and foes alike, knows they are sick. Schizophrenia patients often don’t seek treatment because they consider themselves healthy while thinking everyone else is insane.

They feel that conspiracies are happening against them everywhere and feel surrounded from all sides. I am told my state is similar to that of a schizophrenia patient, but why should I agree?

My friends and enemies are unanimous that my conflict with India is the root of my illness. First, the Americans began saying that the enmity between Pakistan and India should end, then the Chinese said the same.

Recently, a joint statement by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and the Saudi Crown Prince also emphasized restoring relations with India, completing the circle. All my friends are advising the same thing, but to me, our illness makes everyone else appear wrong, while we consider ourselves right.

Prime Minister Bhutto was hanged after labeling him an Indian agent following the Shimla Agreement. Nawaz Sharif, who invited Modi to Pakistan and signed agreements with Vajpayee, was declared an Indian friend and exiled.

General Musharraf was about to settle with India through the Chenab Formula when his own generals stripped him of his command. Our illness makes everyone appear as traitors, conspirators, and enemies, but we must accept that this is indeed an illness, and if it persists, even our friends will abandon us, and we will be left utterly alone.

While we are indeed ill, on the other side, the Indian Prime Minister is at the extreme end of religious fervor and is not even ready to talk to Pakistan. It is essential that Nawaz Sharif, Asif Zardari, and the powerful elements of Pakistan, including all parties like PTI, consult and form a parliamentary delegation.

This delegation should engage China, the United States, and Saudi Arabia to assert our readiness for dialogue, and pressure should be applied on India for meaningful talks.

Nawaz Sharif is currently the only Pakistani politician whom Prime Minister Modi respects. We should not waste Nawaz Sharif at home but use him to solve the country’s biggest problems. However, this illness will only be cured when the political illness is addressed, and it is essential to move towards reconciliation rather than confrontation.

During the final days of the Ottoman Empire, everyone called Turkey the “Sick Man of Europe,” but the Turks neither recognised nor were ready to treat their illness. Germany was the same. The direction of Turkey and Germany was changed not by their own doing but by defeats in wars. We must realise our illness before facing any such calamity and adapt our policies to the demands of the new era and new times.

Nawaz Sharif, Asif Zardari, and Imran Khan all want better relations with India, which reflects public opinion. After such a consensus, what else is there to decide? Decisions must be made quickly as time is moving towards the apocalypse, but changes within us are coming at a much slower pace. Just as Muhammad bin Salman rapidly transformed Saudi Arabia, Contradiction Land needs similar transformation.

Note: This is the translation of his Urdu column published in Jang

Suhail Warraich
Suhail Warraich
The writer is a senior journalist and columnist, who also hosts his famous TV show Aik Din Geo Kay Sath.

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