THE Men Of Words ,Roger Cohen once said,“Conspiracy theory is the ultimate refuge of the powerless. If you cannot change your own life, it must be that some greater force controls the world.” We Pakistanis have been in love with these conspiracy theories even before creation of this country, as we still believe it was British-Hindu conspiracy to give some of the Muslim-majority states to India.
We always have so many stories to prove these theories true and our politicians and media never get tired of coming up with the fresh conspiracy theories every day.
Historically speaking, whether be it Fall of Dhaka or arrest of over 90,000 troops in 1971 war, whether be it subsequent military oups or politicians’ lack of ability to deliver, we as a nation never accepted our failure and we just held other forces responsible for everything. As a matter of fact, one thing we have accepted that we are a powerless nation and anyone in the world can hatch a successful conspiracy against us and we can’t do much about it. We grew up listening to the politicians and media men who kept on telling us about the conspiracies hatched by the US, India and Israel against the very existence of our country, its nuclear program, its so-called religious values, its culture and what not. Now, we have seen some people trying to prove that the Malala tragedy was a conspiracy of the US to push the Pak Army into North Waziristan. I have seen some pictures circulating on the social media advocating that Malala and his father had close ties with the US administration and it’s a conspiracy by latter to get her attacked.
Why are we in so much love with these conspiracy theories? Why do we believe that everything happens just because of someone’s conspiracy, not because of our weakness and flawed policies? To find an answer, my mind goes to the rhetoric of the leaders of religious parties in particular and some media men and retired army officers in general, as they are in habit of frighten the people of Pakistan of the ‘enemies’. Obviously, the religious parties need conspiracy theories to keep their ideology alive, since a vast majority of Pakistanis have rejected their version of Islam.
Thus, these theories help them make people realize that their existence is so important because they are the defense line of Pakistan and in their absence, Pakistan cannot survive anymore. Once they were considering the erstwhile Soviet Union, a threat to the very existence of Pakistan and they put the entire nation into war that ultimately gave birth to religious extremism, and intolerance in the country. Now, they parties, particularly Jamaat-e-Islami, believe that Pakistan should have good ties with Russia. One wonders, had the US been enemy of Pakistan, why would they have helped it to defeat the erstwhile Soviet Union to make it a sole superpower of the world? Obviously, not the US, but the very existence of these parties is a threat to Pakistan. Therefore, they always need some conspiracies theories to keep them live.