Who Is The Minority?


A minority is defined as a group of people, which is at least less than half of the total population.

In the Pakistani socio-political context, there are numerous divisions based on ethnicity, religion, sect, geographic location, and political ideology. We have our right-wingers, left-wingers, liberal seculars, Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Punjabis, Sindhis, Baloch, legal and illegal immigrants, our extremist militants, our peace-loving Sufis, our Deobandis, and Barelvis, our atheists and our illiterate ignorant.

Defining a minority and majority social group in this context is virtually impossible. There is no clear Larger or Smaller social group. We are all minorities! The rhetoric of protecting the rights of minorities is a lost cause in Pakistan.

If we go by the religious logic of Muslims as against non-Muslims, even that is a failed concept as our various Muslim groups and sects disown and brand each other as heretics. Amongst Muslims, the members of various sects regularly discredit, attack, kill, and bomb each other’s installations and ideologies. The rights of a religious sect are no more secure than that of a different religious group altogether.

The only logical division I can make in our jumbled-up sociological set-up is that of Peace Lovers as opposed to Extremists.

The Peace Lovers can be of any ethnic, religious, or ideological background, while the same applies to Violent Extremists. The religious militants, the ethnic target killers, the looters, the extortionists, the kidnappers, the rabble-rousers, the corrupt, and the fanatics; all make up a single sociological group in my view. And they are the Minority.

The sad part is that they have become the Dominant Minority, a term defined as a minority group that has overwhelming, political, economic, or cultural dominance in a country despite representing a small fraction of the overall population.

The larger part of the population, easily greater than half of the people living in this country is from the peace-loving group.

As in every classical tale of Good versus Evil, the battle is on in Pakistan. The various characters of the dominant minority group continue to exploit, kill, rape, and pillage the weaker Peace-Loving people in numerous ways. The silent majority continues to suffer in silence in wait for a proverbial knight in shining armor to slay the dragons and protect the suffering masses.

This analogy, however, does not work in real life. There is no clear game plan or strategy for overthrowing this dominant minority. The knights have vested interests with various dominant groups giving them limitless access to resources.

History shows that each dominant minority is ultimately dethroned and the process takes time, dedication, and combined efforts from the silent majority. A social awakening is required in the first step.

Social media in Pakistan is helping this social awakening to a large extent but the actual process of overthrowing the dominant minority is still a long way off. Till the time for social change comes, our silent minority will continue to bleed, sometimes in churches, sometimes in shrines, sometimes on the streets, sometimes in government offices, all over the country.

Nahyan Mirza is an Islamabad based development communications specialist and social and political critic. He can be found on Facebook (www.facebook.com/nahyanmirza/) and on Twitter @NahyanMirza


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