Wajeeha Bilal

Our historical timeline seems to suggest that colonial and empirical wars might be a thing of the past. While the human population has improved with an inclination towards democracy and a better civilization, we tend to believe more in peace and diplomacy. But with all the ongoing conflicts, it is hard to imagine that we have achieved peace. Most of these conflicts are mostly civil wars as a result of cold wars or political instability. We may be directed towards peace with the establishment of peace-oriented organizations and defined international borders, but we are a long way from achieving true peace. Apparently free from colonialism or communist dictatorship nowadays, civil and local wars are the primary cause of global conflicts.

In his book, “The Anarchy”, a notable British historian William Dalrymple had examined East India Company’s contribution to the decline and crippling of the Mughal Empire between 1756 and 1803, as “the supreme act of corporate violence in world history”. “Anarchy” is related to the subcontinent’s condition following the death of the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb in 1707. The company’s story that left a permanent mark in the history of the subcontinent, is a dreadful warning about the possibility for the abuse of corporate power and the corruption by which the influence of the investors is manifested. “… if history shows anything, it is that in the intimate dance between the power of the state and that of the corporation, while the latter can be regulated, the corporation will use all the resources in its power to resist.” The corporate rule could be the main demon, but the fact is that violence, exploitation, and corruption were not merely corporate’s debt but continue to mark the timeline of human existence. The influence of multinational corporations or foreign takeovers in the third world countries could be as harmful as colonialism. Violence and exploitation, the absurd atrocities still continue, which only makes us more depressed. In the recent decades, American invasions of Afghanistan or Iraq have revealed that our world is far from being free of colonialism or powerful manipulation.  The superpowers or empires act as global powers that use marketing strategies, multinational and global campaigns with the accumulation of new surveillance-capitalism. The corporate influence is enhanced with military conquests and economic sovereignty. The use of force and economic power are the main manipulating weapons in this war of exploitation, hiding behind the curtains of diplomacy. Though the means and tools might seem different, yet manipulation of the masses continues both at the national and the international level.

With the ongoing electoral battles in our local politics as well, the manipulation of the public continues in a spiteful manner through mendacious propaganda. At a time when the powerful campaigns need to justify the standing of the high commands, a dirty game of mud splashing continues. Amidst the chaos and corruption, a superior exploitation once again takes advantage of weak and poor.  It was heart wrenching to see the major stress of the electoral campaigns being shifted from a platform of democracy to one of manipulation and anarchy. There was more focus on aggressive attacks than on the issues faced by the public or the land itself.

Though the election commission had given directives to ensure decency in their conversations and avoid use of improper language, as the campaign for elections in Azad Kashmir warmed up, political rivals fired all kinds of accusations at each other that proved to be a mere insult to the right cause. Electoral campaigns needed to align with the just cause of the Kashmir issue rather than based on shameful allegations that could adversely affect Pakistan’s stance on the Kashmir Dispute in the international community. And the elections that came after weeks of heated and disruptive campaigns, from the three mainstream parties — the PTI, PPP and PML-N throwing spiteful allegations at each other, were bound to be chaotic in practice. According to reports, this year the pre-poll campaign had surpassed the previous records of hostility towards their rivals and as a consequence of the violence, voting in some polling stations was temporarily suspended; several people were reportedly injured, and a number of political activists were also detained.

People may buy into the malicious propagandas for peace but only because the powerful have been trained to believe that they have an advantage. But when the means and campaigns are anarchic, so will be the results. Chaos and anarchy will only follow when the focus of peaceful solutions for a dispute are undermined by spitting poison at the opposite parties. Democratization and globalization may have helped humans understand the idea, but true peace can never be attained unless the powerful learn to embody the true spirit of these words. When the technical tools and means of marketing campaigns are used to value the people they tend to serve, only then can humanity progress on a massive scale.

(Wajeeha is the author of “The Conscious Ego”, “The Beautiful Present”)