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SCALING JINNAH’S MAUSOLEUM TO SEARCH FOR HIS PAKISTAN – By Asif Zaidi

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When the country’s birthday has become a “media circus” and an “Islamic day” glorifying our horrors and mistakes to children, then we would be remiss to skip the sideshows.

Here, captured on the image and film (appended below), are men more worthy of attention than anyone who has climbed Mount Everest. These are brave men whose ethereal aspirations have not been bastardized by the corporeal convenience of ropes and an abundance of facilitating equipment. It is an abhorrence of comfort and security that the nation must not fail to admire. They also didn’t listen to the sagacious doctors who warned that the thin air on the top of the mausoleum could bring on brain damage. (Between us, I suspect the brain damage was fairly advanced before the climb even started.)

 


These vertically inclined spiritual souls, like all of us, are scaling the walls to the top of Jinnah’s mausoleum, probably searching for Jinnah’s Pakistan that the nation has been looking for since it came into being. I am sure other people before these brave souls were also beckoned by these walls but never had the guts. I just hope that the government does not build stairs to help with this climb that teaches us step-by-step to remain on the correct path. The urge to climb Jinnah’s mausoleum merely manifests the national masochism of Pakistan’s making, where there is no inhibition for making private delusions public.


So, when all you want is to get away from it all, just go to Jinnah’s final abode, hoist yourself up, and leave your troubles below. The instant your feet leave the ground, you’ll find yourself transported back to a simpler, more manageable time. A time, around 1947, when anything seemed possible. Perhaps soon the mothers, pestered by their constantly nagging antics during load shedding periods, will start telling their naughty boys: “stop being nuts, go and climb Jinnah’s tomb.” So go on. Reach for that lowest foothold and haul yourself up. Don’t worry about the police officers fanning out into the park around. How are they going to find you all the way up here? And even if they do spot you, so what? You’re just an ordinary Joe transporting himself to the top looking for the country the man sleeping beneath the structure envisioned. Nothing wrong with that, is there, officer? And if they spot you, ignore the bullhorn. It’s just another irritating reminder of the pressures you’re successfully leaving behind. Keep climbing.


Keep going, keep going, and there! You’ve reached the top. You can feel the weight sliding off your shoulders. Just take your firearm out of wherever you tucked it and fire a few celebratory shots. The fact that we’ve been messing it up for sixty six years no longer feels like the end of the world. After all, the founding father’s mausoleum is there to climb. Let’s treat it like we treat the country he helped carve, in the tradition of monkeys.

Perhaps you will see from there that it is no longer possible to find Jinnah’s Pakistan for, catapulted by our follies, we have already pole vaulted past it and the way back was severed in 1971. When you do, please climb down and make the best of what we are left with.

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