A few days ago, a circular containing written instructions on keeping an eye out for Pathans as potential terror suspects was issued by the Punjab Police (Mandi Bahaudin Police to be specific), as per leading English dailies. Since then, a number of similar circulars have supposedly come up encouraging citizens to report any and every kehwa drinking/dry-fruit eating Pashtun to the government.
It further implied that these Pashtuns have plagued the country with their terrorist activities and should be reported directly to the police. Whether these circulars are fake or real, we can’t say for sure, but they sure have caused some hysteria on the internet.
The circulars doing rounds of social media, hands down, are a vivid manifestation of intense racial profiling of Pathans in Pakistan and it’s about time that we address it.
There are speculations of these circulars being fake but this particular piece of information could not be verified. Either way, the fact that they circulating around the social media is a testimony to the fact that racism is still very much present in the present day Pakistan.
Earlier this year, when Trump put a ban on certain Muslim countries and racially profiled their citizens, there was colossally considerable hue and cry from Pakistan. However, the entire incident regarding these circulars has become a matter of national security. If we go by that logic, racially profiling an entire race because of the heinous acts of few, Trump’s actions can be justified as well. However, as has been the norm, it’s always easier to point fingers at others than to actually get out and address the injustices that are prevalent in this beautiful country of ours.
Soon after the Mandi Bahaudin circular, a number of traders from Lahore and other areas of Punjab demanded a thorough background check of all the Pashtuns working and carrying out their businesses in their vicinity.
And then there was this as well
Given the unfortunate circumstances we are surrounded by, how does being a Punjabi exempt them from being terror suspects? Why is a Pashtun more susceptible of being a terrorist than a Punjabi, a Sindhi or a Balochi for that matter?
The answer lies in the fact that security profiling of Pathans in Pakistan is just another form of the cultural profiling they have been a victim of for so long.
Securty profiling of Pathan in Pak was preceded by a cultural profiling tht characterizd him a symbol of stupidness & a topic for comedians.
— Majeed Qarar (@MajeedQarar) February 25, 2017
Our Whatsapp and text messages are almost always filled with Pathan jokes; racist jokes manifesting their apparent ‘stupidity’ and what not.
We are all equal Pakistani.The racial profiling and ethnic discrimination against Pathan's by Punjab Govt is shameful.
— Siraj Khan ?? (@SirajYusafzai) February 25, 2017
Let’s all vow to be more sensitive towards this racial profiling of Pathans and work on eradicating it completely. Only then will we be able to earn a right to criticize Trump and his racist policies. The responsibility lies with each one of us.
In the meantime, here’s something you can do stand up for your Pashtun fellows:
I am #Pakistani and #Punjabi
If Govt or security agencies will indulge in any racial Profiling of #Pathan brethren than I am a #Pathan
— Atif khan (@Atifkha75668393) February 25, 2017