Logic behind conspiracy theories in Pakistan & their consequences

A conspiracy theory suggests that instead of a simpler and rationalistic reason for an event there ought to be a more sophisticated explanation involving a secret and highly powerful source causing that event to happen. Generally, conspiracy theories find ground in the absence of reliable sources and this void or space for the availability of information is filled with conspiracy theories to satisfy the needs of a man’s curiosity. Sometimes a conspiracy theory is inspired by a politically designed agenda to be achieved. It is more prevalent in societies where there is a dearth of analytical approach or where people suffer from lower levels of intellectual ability due to lack of education.
The exercise of tracing the origin and history of a conspiracy theory is futile because it must have started from time immemorial but it would be safe to say that probably the Nazi regime of Hitler adopted the propaganda of conspiracy theories as a tool to strengthen its hold on the government, and countering any efforts of corrupting the minds of Germans against Hitler by foreign powers. Joseph Goebbels, German minister of propaganda did a profoundly outstandingjob for coming up to expectations of Hitler in making him the sole authority. Hitler prospered on the peoples’ vulnerability to fall prey to conspiracy theories.
Every now and then conspiracy theories pop up in different countries through clandestine sources initiating a nonstop debate over what is truth and what is being hidden from masses. The British historian Sir Richard Evans in his book, “The Hitler Conspiracies: The Third Reich and the Paranoid Imagination,” discusses and proves that a famous conspiracy theory about Hitler escaping the allied forces from his bunker is simply baseless. He insists that people claiming of having seen Hitler in South America is nothing more than spreading false news and disinformation. Other famous conspiracy theories doing rounds in international news in past related to J.F.Kennedy supposedly murdered by CIA, Bill Clinton’s Cocaine dealing Conspiracy, Obama’s fake American birth etc.
If you hope that Pakistani nation would make a confession of nescience regarding conspiracy theories, then you must be disappointed to know that indeed propagating conspiracy theories is a national hobby. A couple of days back a country wide blackout due to some technical fault stirred up an un ending sequence of conspiracy theories on social media; the rumors regarding a military coup or a supposedly sudden breakout of war with India were at the top. It seemed as if people were celebrating the moment as an opportunity to share their intellectual treasure with their fellow beings free of cost. These conspiracy theories seemed much like either an expression of frustration against the incompetence of government or some political point scoring.
Some awfully dangerous conspiracy theories are doing the rounds; the conspiracy theory regarding the polio vaccine to be a part of Western conspiracy to sterilize Muslims is making it almost impossible to eradicate the curse of polio virus, then there is this nonsense rumor about Bill Gates funding a Corona Virus vaccine which could potentially help implant microchips to steal information. Other such theories propagate that 5G technology could cause cancer and the rumors regarding pharmaceutical companies trying to stop some possible cure of Cancer or Sugar disease are also widely believed to be true. One more conspiracy theory about WhatsApp suggests that WhatsApp is threatening its users about sharing their personal information with Facebook if they continue using it after new privacy policy; WhatsApp has denied such rumors about breach of privacy policy.
But the trend of conspiracy theories is not something new in this country rather it continues since her creation. The conspirators didn’t even bother to spare the founder of the country Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah by calling him an agent of the British imperialists. Liaqat Ali Khan’s mysterious murder invited several conspiracy theories. Even some sick minds tried to make Fatima Jinnah’s character questionable for political reasons. This trend of character assassination which was carried out against Fatima Jinnah didn’t just stop there rather Z.A. Bhutto also fell prey to the conspiracy theories propagated against him during Zia regime. The list of conspiracy theories goes on including that of Zia’s mysterious death which is considered to be a CIA game etc.
There might be several explanations to why conspiracy theories are constructed as well as consumed. One psychological aspect may be that people need to be reassured of what they believe is right. Another reason may be that people generally like to be praised; therefore, they construct and spread conspiracy theories to prove that they possess the information which others do not and hence feel elevated to be distinguished from all others in intellect. One more possible explanation may be sought in “Social Acceptance Theory”, which suggests that most people do certain things in order to fit in with others; which is to say that sometimes’conspiracist ideation’ occurs for the sake of being embraced by others.
One of the major reasons why Pakistani nation is so fond of conspiracy theories is well grounded in the fact that the governments consistently kept feeding the masses with conspiracy theories to avoid logical explanations. One such practice is suspecting each and every mishap or any untoward incident must have been caused by India. There is no doubt that India being a rival ideological force might sometimes engage in an effort to destabilize Pakistan but it is not wise to always shed off responsibility by simply claiming Indian involvement without even conducting a thorough investigation; one such example is how the Prime Minister accused the opposition of promoting Indian propaganda.
Unfortunately, the conspiracy theories are further worsening the already fragile fabric of a society divided in different sects and ethnicity realities. Fostering a habit of spreading unauthentic and non-credible information may ultimately shape a chaos ridden society, therefore, we must avoid at all costs the tradition of constructing or consuming conspiracy theories, because, it is all the more dangerous these days due to the social media proving as a source of dispensation of information at a rate unimaginable. Nobody exactly knows who initiated and why certain information was sent rolling.

Leave a Reply