Patriotism is a Latin word that drives from "Patriota" which means "country man".
The definition of patriotism as per oxford dictionary is "the vigorous support for one’s country". Generally, patriotism means "Attachment with your own country or homeland. The determinants of the said attachment are cultural, historical, ethnical or political affiliations.
In Pakistan, the definition of patriotism neither complies with this universal definition nor with its determinants. The state definition of patriotism is “Pakistan came into being in the name of Islam, so our history, our ethnicity, our culture and political theory is Islam. So accepting and believing this without any deliberations is called patriotism”.
Soon after the partition, our indigenous brains (so called historians and mullahs) put their best efforts to indoctrinate the new generation with this tailor made patriotism rather chauvinism. They selected a particular sect of Islam as the official religion and the rest, according to them were second grade citizens and some even infidels. To glorify this newly invented ideology, they borrowed historical achievements and personalities from Arabs, Turks and Afghans and proclaimed it as our magnificent past. With this we broaden the boundaries of our patriotism and became part of a global so called Muslim Ummah.
As we had a different identity after the partition that was more Arabic and less indigenous Indian. India became like Mars or Jupiter for us. We told our new generation that we have no cultural or historical links with India therefore, India is the greatest enemy of Islam and Pakistan. We declared our geographical boundaries with India as “Ideological boarders” and rejected our own thousands of years old culture and history. We forgot that the most developed and advanced civilizations of the mankind were in Sindh and Taxila.
The Punjabi establishment in Army avowed that Pakistan Army is not only guarding our ideological boundaries but also protecting the Muslim Ummah from evil forces. With this narration, respecting army and accepting whatever they say became imperative for being patriotic. We never questioned the outcomes of 1948, 1965, 1971 and 1999 wars as it may jeopardize our patriotism. Using this definition of patriotism, army threw out the elected governments several times but we, being a patriotic citizen, distributed sweets in the streets of Pakistan.
As we have kept our ethnic identity at bay since the partition, so we blatantly called all the nationalists as traitors “Ghaddars”. With this, Bengalis, Balochi, Sindhi, Pashtuns, Kashmiri, Gilgit-Baltistani and Mahjirs became doubtful and suspicious citizens of this holy land. Being Punjabi was the only criteria or benchmark of judging the patriotism. The Punjabi establishment ruled East Pakistan as their colony for 24 years. Both Muhammad Ali Jinnah and the first prime minister of Pakistan Liaqat Ali Khan rejected the thousands of years old history and culture of Bengalis. In 1971 Gen. Niazi treated Bengalis like rats and raped hundreds of women in Dhaka and the result was creation of Bangladesh.
For a vibrant and progressive Pakistan, we need to revisit our definition of patriotism and accept that Pakistan’s existence is linked with a liberal and secular society. We need to admit that our history does not start from 1947 but it has a splendid past consisting of thousands of years. States have no religions and are responsible of the welfare of all the citizens irrespective of their faith cast and creed. Pakistan Army is a state institution and reporting to the chief executive of Pakistan. Their prime responsibility is to protect the geographical boundaries not the so called ideological boarders.