Which team will win PSL 8?
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In typically blunt language, Dileep Premachandran, declared in the Guardian that “the decision to isolate Pakistan has far more to do with it not being "fun"” than security concerns. Not for the first time Pakistan had fallen victim of prejudices.

In typically blunt language, Dileep Premachandran, declared in the Guardian that “the decision to isolate Pakistan has far more to do with it not being "fun"” than security concerns. Not for the first time Pakistan had fallen victim of prejudices. 

Pakistan may not offer the ‘attractions’ of other countries for Western tourists, yet if many of them were prepared to jettison their prejudices they may come to appreciate a heterogeneous, culturally plural nation, the inheritor of one of the oldest civilisations, the Indus Valley Civilisation. The north-west of the country was the traditional entry point for invaders. In the words of respected Pakistani historian, Iftikhar Malik, “the steady streams of people and ideas from the north and the west continually increased ethnic and cultural diversity across the Indus Valley.” 

The architecture of the nation reflects the inheritance of diversity. The pre-Muslim, Buddhist legacy is still evident in Taxila and Moenjodaro. The early Islamic influences are perceptible in monuments and tombs like that of Bibi Jawindi in Uch. The Mughal influence can be captured in Shalimar Gardens and Badshahi Mosque in Lahore. And then of course you have relatively recent architecture like the impressive Shah Faisal Mosque and Supreme Court.

Add to this, the breathtaking scenery and majestic mountains in the north, the hustle and bustle and general vibrancy of city life, the serene ambience in rural and village settings and a hugely hospitable population, and all of am sudden for the brave Westerner, there is much to enjoy. 

It is also far from being a static society as can be inferred from William Dalrymple’s article:

Where the analysis is most significant is in reminding people that society in Pakistan is not only very diverse but is dynamic, contrary to the often implicit Western and Indian assumptions of a homogeneous society frozen in a past time.

This however, is not the side of Pakistan that is often portrayed to outsiders. Pakistanis are frustrated, not only at the manner in which the nation and Islam are persistently depicted, but as to how they have been consistently misunderstood. To truly understand this feeling a historical perspective is required. 

Jinnah always spoke of Pakistan and Hindustan as two nations within India. But he was forced to accept that Pakistan was a nation seceding from the Indian Union rather than a successor state of British India. India thus inherited the international personality of British India, whereas Pakistan had to build its international personality from scratch. In time India would come to be seen with romantic lens, as the land of great spirituality, but also of a progressive secular democracy. With increasing prejudice against Islam and a rather stunted democratic process within the country, Pakistan was viewed as a regressive Islamic nation stuck in a time warp, whereas the rest of the ‘progressive’ world had moved on. Such a simplistic dichotomy, rather than being identified and rejected as unsophisticated, has actually become entrenched. 

It is not just the nation that has been reduced to clichéd representation. Muhammad Ali Jinnah, has had his international image distorted and his arguments traduced. Most Westerners base their assessment on the hugely popular film, Gandhi, where Jinnah was reduced to a pernicious figure intent on division for his vanity and ego. For historian Andrew Roberts, “it was as insulting to Pakistanis as it was historically inaccurate.” For another historian, Francis Robinson, the depiction on Jinnah in the film was "absolutely disgraceful." But the damage had been done. By reducing Pakistan to the megalomania of one man, Pakistanis felt that the right of their nation to exist was being questioned.

This feeling of not being wanted existed right from the outset. Pakistanis regularly pointed out that Lord Mountbatten was biased against them and even tried to ensure that Pakistan was still-born. Initially, this was written off as nationalistic nonsense. But recent scholarship has supported the Pakistani case and Mountbatten has been castigated. As Mountbatten himself said before partition in a cabinet meeting, a speedy partition suited India because if Pakistan was "conceded now [it] was bound to come back later [into the Indian Union]." 

These feelings built over years have contributed to a prickly nationalism in Pakistan. The pre-dominantly Muslim nation also feels that their faith, Islam, has been attacked. Resentment has led to anger, which has led to harsh denouncements. But also a sense of being fed-up with Western prejudices a spirit that underlines Osman Samiuddin’s brilliant commentary on the Champions League postponement. 

None of this is of course is to deny the plethora of problems that exist in Pakistan. Drugs, crime, violence, intolerance, corruption, lawlessness, poverty, mistreatment of minorities, child labour, and political instability are all present. But this is only one side of the story, the one constantly fed to the West. The fact that Pakistani people have consistently rejected religious parties at polls should in itself lead to revision of notions of this being a land of fanaticism.

What can Pakistan do to alter its beaten image? First, ask what the West can do to shed its prejudices.