Sacrifices for the country make one a ‘daughter of the nation’. It is not the valueless ‘pride of performance’ everyone seems to have. Neither is it an office that sycophants receive from their leaders.
Maryam Safdar’s sudden projection as the ‘daughter of the nation’ since June 26 (when she was subpoenaed to appear before the JIT) is nothing but an empty title.
Some 20 years ago, I was host to a British diplomat who believed Pakistan was known only for negative reasons; this at a time when terrorism did not exist.
Terrorism has added to Pakistan’s notoriety but this is only half the truth. Pakistan is known for the strength of its remarkable daughters. Today’s column is dedicated to all of them—including those who are not in my memory or knowledge.
The daughter of the nation is Asma Jahangir—a bold and graceful lady who frightened the living daylights out of a tyrant like Zia. Asma is the pioneer of human rights in Pakistan. She is the voice of the helpless.
The daughter of the nation is Malala—an unarmed child who fought the Taliban with the weapon of education.
The daughter of the nation is Benazir Bhutto. The tales of democracy are incomplete without her struggle and sacrifice. No other politician was put through the ordeals that she suffered. Her father was hanged through a sham trial. Her brother was assassinated. Another was poisoned to death. Her mother was baton charged and put in prison. Benazir herself languished in jail during the dictatorship of Zia and the democracy of his scion Nawaz.
She was told she would be assassinated if she returned to Pakistan. She survived a suicide attack. If she were a coward, she could have left the country like the Sharifs.
The daughters of the nation are Benazir’s two girls—Asifa and Bakhtawar. They can stand against their cunning father who for the sake of politics can accept a highly dubious character like Irfan Marwat in the PPP. Their tweets blocked Marwat’s induction into the PPP:
When Imdad Pitafi made derogatory remarks to Nusrat Sehar Abbasiin the Sindh Assembly, Bakhtawar and Asifa made him apologise.
Both sisters were also brave enough to say that the Ramazan Ordinance is not only anti-religion but also anti-humanity and anti-nature.
The self-appointed daughter of the nation herself promotes sexism through tweets like ‘jo mard hota hay wo bhagta nai’ (a man is never a coward)
But the so-called daughter of the nation does not speak up when her misogynist father cast slursagainst women participating in the PTI rally.
She even failed to reprimand obsequious sycophants like Defence Minister Khawaja Asif and member National Assembly Javed Latif for their misogynist remarks.
The self-appointed daughter of the nation herself promotes sexism through tweets like ‘jo mard hota hay wo bhagta nai (a man is never a coward)’. Hats off to Maryam’s aunt and famous author Tehmina Durrani for denouncing Latif.
Tehmin aurged Nawaz Sharif to expel Latif from the party, declaring him a man who is not familiar with his own culture. Tehmina Durrani is the daughter of the nation, not Maryam.
The daughter of the nation is Mukhtaran Mai. She did not commit suicide. Her gang-rape made her a fighter against injustice. The daughter of the nation is Qandeel Baloch who gave her life while fighting misogyny and exposing society’s hypocrisy.
The daughter of the nation is Arfa Kareem who was the youngest Microsoft Certified Professional at the age of 9. The daughter of the nation is Samina Baig, the only Pakistani woman to climb Mount Everest.
The daughters of the nation are Sabeen Mehmood and Parveen Rehman who laid down their lives for making Pakistan liveable for all of us. The daughter of the nation is Sheema Kirmani who stared death right in the face and defied terrorism to dance at Lal Shahbaz Qalandar’s shrine.
The daughter of the nation is Zulekha Ali, an investigative reporter for The News Karachi. She was an excellent swimmer who sacrificed her life while saving the lives of two women drowning at the Hawks bay. She successfully saved one and died while rescuing the other.
Who would recognise Maryam if her dad was not the prime minister? She might be the daughter of PMLN’s toadies, but not of the nation!
The writer is an Islamabad-based writer. Facebook.com/writershehzad
Published in Daily Times, July 18th, 2017.