ICESCR and Socio-cultural complications in Pakistan
Pakistan’s ratification to ICESCR in 2008 bloomed promising prospects for the country’s profile in compliance with the international conventions, yet a teaser remained intact that what measures will the State take to ensure the respect, protection, and fulfillment of these Rights given its dismal record with UDHR, CEDAW, CRC, and not to mention, CAT. The covenant offers right to self-determination, equality and non-discrimination for the entitlement of all the rights, right to work & form associations, right to psycho-physiological health, social protection, education, and of course Cultural preservation and practice. However; the auspicious Utopian conditions for these rights is a question mark in a country nestled around by political instability, economic crises, disrupted system of education, pitiable law & order, and psycho-social unrest, that has very little to offer for the realization of fundamental Human Rights, momentarily excuse ICESCR and the rest.
Culture, as defined by Arnold, “is a nation’s reservoir of what is best known and thought of”. It suggests involving various sets of beliefs, characteristics, and behaviors involving all faculties of engagement inclusive of religion, arts, and literature, often reflective in the exterior of a Society and ultimately defining it. The ‘Islamic democracy’ of Pakistan has a tremendous amalgam of cultural excellence banked on rich Pashtoon, Punjabi, and Sindhi cultures respectively, with the bonding link of religion ‘Islam’ that became the argument for independence first, and the instrument of destruction later in the era of Islamization.
Let’s start connecting the jigsaw pieces, the culture that offered love and the religion that denotes ‘peace’ has been systematically mis-manifested to a catastrophic scale with its actuality totally compromised courtesy to a few peoples’ pernicious interests. Whereas de-labeling the liberal slogans of Quaid, which are in absolute harmony with the actuality of Islamic and regional cultural message of love, offering freedom of versatile identity regardless of race, religion, caste, creed, and language, equal entitlement to all the rights, and the freedom of practice of every individual’s cultural associations, raises critical eyebrows when they are discussed separately and Culture has been portrayed today as the barbaric past haunting the present with a serious threat to Human Rights. For the ones, who agree with me here that the actuality of all religions, isms, and art is meant for the betterment of Human life, there are a few questions; Why then, the minorities in this country have fears in the back of their minds while visiting the churches? Why the breadwinner of a family is not sure of his safe return from work in the evening? And why the destitute has to sell his kidneys for a two time meal?!
The country’s problems have long been pondered over and resolutions sought for over the years but failure has been the prime success so far, mainly due to improper diagnose resulting in fatality of disease. The roots of these problems, often ignored by the wishy-washy intellectuals of the country, have a lot to do with the cultural fabric of our society. All the blames are attached to the backwardness of the indigenous culture springing societal and moral evils, and a conscious effort is made to coil off the cultural fabric in the wake of modernization for the attainment of civilized ‘Humane’ society. The situation has created two extremes i.e. the ‘religious’ symbolic ambassadors of ‘Faith’, and the ‘irreligious’ reckoned as infidels from the other side of the fence, both though, in actuality, misplaced and disillusioned. The ‘faithful’ are stubbornly endorsed to the mis-manifested version of religion and reckon all advancements towards the betterment of Human life as ‘sinful’. And the ‘others’, who neglect all the good things that culture has to offer along with the bad ones, and so are confused with various western ‘isms’ which are actually in absolute incompatibility to the socio-cultural & political dynamics in our society and thus hanged too…! To me both of them are ‘Mullas’; a ‘Mulla’ is one who stubbornly stands at a point just believing that he is right because he thinks so, without an investigative analysis into the rational faculty of that particular issue. Our situation is not different here but now we cannot afford to be indifferent to it anymore, as we have devolved from a glorious culture to something absurd, we should also give evolution a chance as Culture is hybrid in nature and needs to evolve frequently encompassing the best novelties of cherish able past and present shaping for a better future. I believe, everything, every single thing aimed at the betterment of larger LIFE is religion, ism, indigenous culture or modern whatever to one’s likeness because divisions only block feelings isolating us from totality. And rather, to avoid the confusion of labels, I’d prefer that everything that positively complements Life, should not be labeled, but only followed with Love in appreciation to the gifts of Life.
And finally, our culture that I have known and heard of has had an advanced past than the future of these covenants. What we seek today in Kant, Marx, and Lennon, is well excelled in the works of Bullah, Sachal, Rahman, Fareed and Bhittai. It is high time for the nation’s youth to dig deep into actuality of our cultural fabric and sort avenues for the realization of these rights supporting the legislations for the revitalizing the lost glory that the region once cherished…!
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