Lahore tragedy – an eyewitness account

I am grateful to Khurram Siddiqi for his timely and rather chilling account of what Lahore underwent this evening. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of Lahore tragedy. Raza Rumi

Today, two bombs struck Allama Iqbal Town’s ‘Moon Market’- a place that I remember from my childhood when our family used to visit Lahore- many members of which, at the time, lived close to. My cousin Usman was actually at a store in the market when the blast went off, and survived by some miracle. He came home shocked and changed from a full grown man- into a tepid young boy again; he said that he had just witnessed hell itself. I was taking a nap since I’ve been sick over the last few days- and woke to the sound of a cacophony of ambulance sirens; I now live almost across Jinnah Hospital. The bomb went off in Iqbal Town; I’ve tried to illustrate where all of this happened on the map here:
View Moon Market Blasts in a larger map

I walked across to Jinnah Hospital’s emergency ward- not that I condone people amassing together when they shouldn’t be there- but I wanted to capture some of the sounds of the aftermath of mass murder. What you’ll hear in the audio linked below is police officers trying to get people to clear out (I was standing clear of the entrance)- and make way for an ambulance that was about to pull in. Audio Link

I watched like a voyeur- observing death first hand. The Edhi ambulance that pulled in had a child’s body wrapped in blood stained sheets. You can actually hear the stretcher being wheeled out towards the ambulance. The emergency staff judged this victim to be a casualty, and wheeled it to the side for the morgue, as they waited for the next ambulance to come in.

What we witness now in our developed, urban centers, is what I assume with high probability, the parts of the country on the forefront of the war on terror, have been witnessing for ages now: death. While we hang our heads and wonder what kind of barbaric enemy would do such a thing to such innocent people, I am sure all people who have become collateral damage in the biggest shame on military actions we’ve ever seen- the World’s War on Terror (everyone included- everyone guilty)- thought the same as they picked relatives’ charred limbs from Pakistan army shells gone astray but unwritten about, or Predator missiles gone ‘on target’ as we’re told.

I hate the Taliban as much as you do, but what you can’t hate- is the desire for justice. What’s happening now, is a rude awakening- I call it The Great Equalization, in which city dwellers; the haves of Pakistan, will slowly but surely come to taste, in some form or another, what life means for the have-nots. It’s an internal, self generated shock-and-awe campaign with really no one at the controls- it’s become a free-for-all playground for what not to do in the precarious field of nation-building.

I really don’t have many answers- the truth is: no one does. At least Pakistanis now have more questions than ever, more than we’ve ever, ever had in the past. And all that tells me, is that we are still alive, and growing even more alive with each seemingly pointless death as the quest for accountability and equality gathers steam, regardless of race, religion and creed.

Pakistan Zindabad.

51 Comments

Filed under Lahore, Terrorism, War On Terror

51 responses to “Lahore tragedy – an eyewitness account

  1. Ali Hillaj Dashti

    Bad karma.
    Kill Ahmedi Muslims!
    Kill Shia Muslims!
    Kill Christians!
    Nobody protested. Now the Pak Fauj created and sponsored Evil will kill all.
    Pakistanis rest in peace! Generals rest in America!

  2. yasserlatifhamdani

    Khurram is my old neighbor from Lahore. We both lived almost opposite Jinnah hospital not long ago.

    It is therefore chilling to read this account. I cannot help but agree that we too have become collateral damage just like the predator strikes and military operations -ill thought out – made the “other” of the tribal areas the collateral damage while we cheered the Americans on.

    The events of yesterday have convinced me that this war must end. It has harmed our objectives and only alienated our people. What is more is that we are farther away from the objective now.

    The solutions are all political. We must seek an end to this war first and foremost. If not we should wash our hands off of this war.

    I consider myself a friend of the US, but now I wonder if anyone in Washington has heart to see what their actions have wrought on our hearts.

  3. Milind Kher

    Inspite of major terrorist events taking place in Punjab, the army is yet concentrating its efforts in Waziristan only.

    There have been several reports of the increase in activities of the SeS, LeT etc, but that will be of no avail till such time as something is done about it. Hopefully, GOP will wake up before it is too late.

  4. yasserlatifhamdani

    I agree with you Milind.

  5. mohammad

    People blame army action for such atrocities, this shows how they are disconnected with reality. This is a ruthless mindset which has tacit backing of all deobandis in pakistan. Where were these people when abdul rasool sayyaf was training SeS’s death squads in afghanistan? well at that a time a particular section of society was a target practice, then everyone was muffled and ‘not us, we are safe mentality prevailed’. My salutes to the courage of then victims of ‘enemies of humanity’, who were left alone to pick up whatever was left of their loved ones from mosques, Imambargahs and bazars. The SeS threat was existential for the spirit of pakistan in late eighties and early nineties, this is not new at all. As SeS has re branded itself as ‘punjabi taliban’, the solutions to this problem are not pretty straight forward, except unfortunate reality that either victims of crime take revenge with or without governments help as they have to kill ten fold more terrorist and their apologists and sympathisers . After we are done with terrorists pakistan will be a totally different place.

  6. lal

    @ ylh
    in ur post on ‘five flawed assumptions’ and here….are u now of the opinion that war against terrorists has to end completely and a political dialogue must be started…if so with whom…or are u suggesting a change in war strategy….if my memory serves me ryt u were somebody who always argued for stern action against extremists …is the resolve among the pakistani public weakening generally

  7. Ali Abbas

    I am upset but not surprised that some of us are still blaming the US for these horrifics. The Sipah Sahaba/LeJ were doing these things a decade before 9/11 and all the “civil society” types barely registered any protest. I remember my friends and acquaintances being shot and bombed both inside and outside imambargahs and doctors who narrowly escaped death and those who are with us no more simply because they were Shia! During that time, aside from a few liberal journalists, nobody gave too hoots about these killings and there were no “movements” that protested these killings or the persecution of the Christains. Now these guys are killing everyone and what is our discourse? It is the same pathetic “War in terror” is causing all the problems; not the thousands of mosques that are spreading hatred and dehumanizing Pakistanis 24/7 or the security establishment that continues to train and use these dehumanized mercenary killing machines for their foreign policy objectives in Kashmir and Afghanistan.

    Are we ever going to get honest! The madrassa educated and State trained killers who are doing this are much better off than the have-nots of this society. The islamists who dominate Pakistani society from its army to bureaucracy to politicians and especially within the media and these upper class elites who have anointed themselves as “civil society” are not part of the have-nots! And they are either supporting the Taliban or apologizing and deflecting criticism from them. As per our media figures, 9000 (not including the last week or so) have died in sucide attacks besides several thousand more injured and the drone attacks have killed 600, as per the Pakistani media and we all know who “honest”, objective and accurate they are!

    We should keep our fingers crossed for the next time the Supreme Courts take a Suo moto action against the Lal Masjid; one of the primary headquarters of the Sipah Sahaba. Oops, they are actually sympathetic to the Lal Masjid. I guess we are toast now.

    To call us an Ostrich nation after our continual desire to place blame elsewhere for horrifying events such as yesterday in Lahore, is an insult to Ostriches; we have clearly sunk far deeper…..

  8. Ali, if you’re referring to the article’s tone on “haves and have-nots”, I wasn’t talking about just peace of mind and finances- I was referring to equality of justice for everyone. So when the masses of the majority, ‘Sunni Muslims’ today ask “What have we done to deserve this?”- your comment answers it: The answer is ‘Nothing. We literally did nothing- and stood by as every single minority in this country was pillaged on by the mob. And that’s exactly why things are coming home to roost.”

  9. yasserlatifhamdani

    I did… but the US and Pakistan Army have made a royal mess of things… the collateral damage has now come home to roost for us atleast.

  10. vajra

    @lal

    I think we are unable to sense the impact of the unceasing daily carnage on ordinary people. Even on extraordinary people.

    Let us not forget that we have last seen this kind of civilian death rate in Iraq latterly, in Belfast and occasionally in England during the Irish troubles, in Russia during their Chechen period and in Europe during war-time.

    It would seem from the Indian point of view that every extraordinary effort, every deviation from our own past policy deserves to be considered, to bring about a positive outcome to the Pakistan crisis and to avert such a fate from our own cities and citizenry.

  11. Majumdar

    Well, I have expereinced terror too, in my childhood. Delhi, too, experienced Khalistani terror thru 1982-92 (and 1984 riots as well), the city used to go dead by 10 PM and was full of barricades. Still it was nothing as bad as what is happening in Pak now. Looking back, the blasts in those days barring maybe a couple of incidents- a bomb blast in Lajpat Nagar market and a slaughter of Bongs in CR Park on Kali Puja night- those incidents were kind of gentlemanly stuff compared to the gruesome slaughter being carried out esp in mosques.

    Regards

  12. Ali Abbas

    @YLH,

    The collosal damage has not been done by the US army, its done by the continual state of denial of regarding the Islamists. It stems from the continuing denial regarding the Sipah Sahaba and their Lal Masjid connections. It stems from the continaul denial of hatred and a callous disregard for human life that is spread from the pulpits of mosques all over Pakistan. Yesterday, these Sipah-e-Sahaba mosques were shouting “Kafir, Kafir Shia Kafir”! Today, they have apostasized all those in Pakistan who they think is against them and who as per their warped logic is liable for death. It stems from the fact that the security establishment has succeeded via its media and civil society proxies in shifting the narrative of placing all the problems in the country on one specific party whilst giving a clear berth to everyone else. It stems from the warped conspiracy theory-laden mindset that at best offers a token condemnation against the Taliban and its Islamist backers and apologists , whilst placing the major blame on America. Ultimately, it stems from a bankrupt mindset that has borrowed outdated and irrelevant discourse to wallow in its hypocritical and senseless anti-Americanism. In March, when the Sri Lankan cricketers were attacked, our intellectuals were looking for a Tamil Tiger connection. After nearly every other attack, we try and find an Indian/Jewish/American connection when the answer is right there in front of us!

  13. Ali Abbas

    @ Khurrum,

    If Shias or Christain extremists were responsible for the carnage in Pakistan, I would be the first to condemn them. The fact that they have been targetted and persecuted as a minority would not be a justification to launch indiscriminate attacks that target civilians. However, where have the Islamists and their backers been denied justice. On the contrary, they have been immune from the law. They can riot at will, kill at will, spread hatred at will, remove women from the mainstream at will and get away, quite literally with murder. They have been doing so since the 1950’s with the anti-Ahmedi riots. Its come to a point where even after they take credit, we continue to blame America!

  14. yasserlatifhamdani

    Khurram,

    Do you regret abandoning Northern California ?

  15. Milind Kher

    Do not dismiss the conspiracy theorists as fools. Actually, they are deliberately repeating these lies constantly so that over a period of time people start believing them and that takes the heat off the terrorists.

    It is time for the populace to take on the right wingers and publicly discredit them.

  16. Hayyer

    Pakistan faces a truly horrific prospect. It is hard to see how there can be a non violent resolution of the issues unless it calls of the campaign in the west, but that would also risk abandoning all hope of a modern, democratic and secular future. Continuing with the fight requires paying a very heavy price in civilian lives. I read of a blast in Multan too. Has the Punjab Taliban now joined the fight?
    This is almost like Germany’s bombardment of London in the Battle of Britain when Hitler expected that Britain would be brought to its knees by killing its civilians.

  17. Majumdar

    Hayyer mian,

    Has the Punjab Taliban now joined the fight?

    You are a bit late. The Punjoo Taliban joined the fight almost a year back

    Regards

  18. Milind Kher

    The Punjab terrorists have been in the game for a long time. However, they seem to have been completely ignored by the security forces, and have now grown tremendously powerful and dangerous.

    It is needed for some very proactive steps to be taken to end this menace.

  19. mohammad

    ‘Have not’ can buy explosives SUVs and expensive israeli made weapons? They build mosques with underground structure to store explosives, roof top bunkers, wow wonder if we live in cloud cuckoo land. Waste majority of pakistanis are peace loving ‘bralvis’ and in SeS books they are hypocrites, hence killing them is more important than fighting invading none muslims.

  20. As the fire moves to our homes, nearer with each passing day, I see that we are all starting to view things rather differntly. It’s different to see a bomb blast news on tv and heart it shake your very abode by going off in a nearby locality. The today’s hell was Multan where my sister and toddler nephews were rattled in their houses as the attack on ISI office in Multan cantt took place.
    The question that resurfaces now is that is the operation alone an enough solution? And for that case, even a viable one? If we are able to handle a part, even a majority (since eliminating them all is virtually impossible) of Talibans at the cost of turning a larger part of Pakistan’s metropolis to rubbles, is this cause worth this price??? And well….it seems absurd to me that Taliban can take on such well-organized attacks within ultra-high-security zones. The current, prevalent explanations and analysis are starting to fall short and incomplete – we need new answers and need to devise a strategy in their light. Gaining peace with none alive to cherish it is barely a cause worth!

  21. Bloody Civilian

    @YLH

    even this past eid, the students of waziristan, refugees now, spent the day ‘with the army’… in soldarity.

    collateral damage would hurt less if genuine concerns and efforts in other areas were there to reassure them. if the victims, all of them – whether directly affected or not, can be shown and given the dignity they deserve.

    a debate on drone attacks is legitimate, even though the final decision lies with america.

    why are the waziristan refugees not provided (tented) accomodation? why is food and other aid a ‘gift’ from the army? why is it the COAS donated money to rebuild hospitals in Swat? who gave the army this money? who said the army could change the purpose of this money, on its own?

    why is it the COAS visiting Swat and saying ‘the army’ will ensure that the district is rebuilt and rehabilitated? who authorised him to say that? does he think he is a liberator or peacemaker in a foreigh country with no govt in place?

    when have the national political leaders visited nwfp after a terrorist attack other than the recent meena bazar attack? asfandyar is AWOL, but the bilours and others have made sure they reach every affected site in peshawar at least.

    other than that, the top leaders only visited the Swat IDP’s and now those in d.i.k. the latter not even being provided accomadation.

    zardari visiting the injured in hospital after the parade lane attack is the first i can remember him bothering to get out of his bunker to show solidarity with victims of terrorism.

    with all the concerns pointed out above, what chance we will do any better with a ‘political solution’ than we have done with the attempted military one? the solution has two parts. we need to do much better at both. abandoning one or the other won’t do. but how can we hope to better coordinate both a political and military solution at the same time, given our history of the ‘relationship’ between the military and politics?

  22. mohammad

    These cowards can not fight with pakistan army and their numbers are not into millions, even if we have to eliminate few hundred thousands, will that be a big price to reclaim pakistan? Nations have testing times through out their history and we should not falter at first hurdle. Alternative to current set is nauseating, as we will be living under our local war lord as there is no way zalmans can occupy pakistan by force.

  23. mohammad

    Alternative is local was lords ruling what will be left of pakistan.

  24. Milind Kher

    Apart from Changez Khan and Halaku, who were Shamanists, the biggest killers of Muslims have been Muslims themselves.

    Even today, there is no let up. Iraq, then Afghanistan and now Pakistan bear a tearful testimony to this.

    When will the Ummah look beyond ethnic and sectarian hatred?

  25. Bloody Civilian

    mohammad

    there will be no need to kill hundreds of thousands. they would have shaved their beards off and fallen into line long before that. even as we were narrowing the net around muslim khan, his son was sitting the entry exam trying to get into a govt medical college. what we should have done was to have made muslim khan into a horrible example by now; and the rest. why is he being kept under wraps?

  26. Milind Kher

    All the reports so far indicate that the terrorists are far from subdued. The conspiracy theorists, who constitute the non combat arm of the terrorists, are also going strong.

    In this situation, getting the bigots to fall into line will be tough.

  27. Bloody Civilian

    @MK

    it is because of our shortcomings. some of them i’ve tried to allude to in my last two posts. it is not because of the enemy’s strength. that judgment cannot be made until we are performing nearer our best.

  28. @ YLH

    No way. Splitting from America with a one-way non Green Card ticket was the biggest plunge I’ve taken in- and despite all the bombs; I’m more a free man now than I was as a corporate slut.

  29. Milind Kher

    Just as polio, family planning and AIDS awareness programs are driven with focus and good results achieved, may be you could try a “Save our nation from terrorists” campaign.

    It should not happen after the terrorists have run riot and left the populace to pick up the pieces.

  30. mike

    A Question for Pakistanis:

    If on some dark, winter, gloomy night, some widower, single, senior, lonely and depressed American calls toll free suicide prevention hotline, and call gets routed to operator sitting in Pakistan. What will be the response of operator: Will operator be excited and asking him if he can drive a truck???

  31. @Mike

    I think your question can be best handled across the border. They do outsourcing much better than we do. But thanks for your interest.

  32. ved

    It a very heart wrecking tragedy. We all condone to this cowardice act by militants.

    In my opinion the following are the causes of this mayhem:-

    1. Pakistani intelligentsia , which mainly included upper echelon of society, never really opposed, the increasing extremism and interference of mullahs in politics.

    2. The Pakistani politicians who unlike Indian politicians mainly come from feudal background, wanted to maintain status quo to safe guard their interest in fact they supported increasing talibanisation of society to have strategic depth against Afganistan, Russia, India and now America.

    3. These politicians takes the votes of poor, and ordinary Pakistani by arousing their sentiments in the name of Islam, fanning their false hope for Kashmir, spreading rumour that Islam is in danger. But doing nothing for upliftment of society per se.

    4. Pakistani intelegentia and politicians’s ostrich like thinking has brought, danger to their door, which was faced till now by ordinary Pakistani and Tribal from NWFP.

    In my opinion, the following courses to be followed to wriggle out from this mess:-

    1. To reduce the gaps between haves and have nots

    2. Create a burgeoning middle class society, by capping on land possession, distributing that land to land less farmers, encouraging petty business men, teachers, doctors engineers. A middle class society is a pillar of of Democracy. Which I think is absence in Pakistan

    3. Strictly control, use of religion in the business of state, in other words state should not indulge in the affairs of religion.

    4. Mullahs should be limited in the precincts of Mosque. Madarasas to regulated by having advance and modern curriculum

    5. Take a clear cut policy and follow on it. Do not follow what America says. In my opinion, until Taliban does not leave the path of extremism, it should not be offered hand of peace.

    6. As Pakistan has followed the policy of giving moral support to Kashmiri militants, Who in turn created mayhem and bloodshed in Kashmir, murdered many innocents people. And according to Karmic rules whatever you will sow you’ll reap.

    So don’t loose heart, after every dark night their is day.

  33. stuka

    “The solutions are all political. We must seek an end to this war first and foremost. If not we should wash our hands off of this war.”

    Well, the US wants a political solution of Minus 1 as well. Taliban elements can join the government minus Mullah Omar. It’s the Taliban that refuses to talk.

    Did you read the times article today about US giving an ultimatum to Pak – either hit the Quetta Shura or the US would hit it with drone attacks / special forces? Basically the US is in a bind. Public support for the war is waning so we need to kill as many of the Taliban as possible in the next year or so. Show some tangible progress before the next election cycle and bring the troops home.

  34. It is out own fault. We created these monsters…. That is all right and true. But when will we start to take counter measures rather than stating the obvious again and again?

    Why does it matter right now who created this monster and who controls it? Conspiracy theories aplenty and shifting blame on others is natural but what will take us beyond the point of just deflecting the blame? Let us figure out how to kill this beast before it kills us and worry about who is feeding this animal later when it makes more sense to do that.

    There will come a time when we will be better able to take to account the forces behind this menace. But right now, let us all get together and stop wasting our energies and attention chasing shadows and aim for the heart of the problem. Our strength needs to be directed at the present and visible danger before we can tackle the hidden-hand/enemy/external-forces or whatever you want to call it.

    First step is to stop spreading these useless rumors and concentrate on eliminating this menace.

    Four things that we can immediately do:

    1.Don’t spread them yourself and also discourage others from spreading rumors and conspiracy theories.

    2. Accept that the enemy is within us and from among us. No matter who controls them the fact that the foot soldiers, for all appearances, look like Muslims, and as a matter of fact consider themselves the real Muslims. I know it is hard to accept this but it is the truth and the reason why we do not see the real terrorists among us is because we think they will look like the devil incarnate with bloodshot evil eyes and horns on his/her head. No, the enemy looks just like you and me and the innocent person out there on the street going about his daily business.

    3. Stop the division. We are all in this together. The animals don’t distinguish between the Pakhtoon, Punjabi, Balochi, Sindhi, Barelvi, Deobandi, Ahmedi, Lahori Group, Sunni, Shia, Catholics, Protestants, Presbitarins or Hindu. The enemy will kill us all, just for killing’s sake.

    4. The enemy has a stark and uncompromising attitude. The message the enemy is sending us is “You are with us or against us!” Why can’t we do the same? Why can’t we all get together and say to all, “Either you are with us in fighting these animals or against us!” Fall in line with us or we will not tolerate you among us.

    Tough times require tough measures. And unless we do all of the above, nothing will stop these animals.

  35. kk

    How about this?

    — Claim that Pak is ready to give up nuclear weapons
    — Get billions for doing that.
    — Recruit and build a new parallel reserve force of 100-150K with advanced weapons training in counter-insurgency from USA.
    — This force should be a perfect mix of all ethnic groups in Pak. Call it P-force
    — Use P-force against all terrorists including Pak-Taliban, Afghan-Taliban, Kashmir-rebels
    — Once there is order in mainland Pakistan, slowly replace original Pak army/ISI with P-force
    — After normalcy, restart secret N-programme with help from China and don’t make your weapons public

    Catch is, Pak army and Mullah won’t be ready to give up n-weapons. Tell them they can have Afghanistan instead. Tell USA to give Afghan security to current Pak army/ISI, when they leave in 2011. This is like giving the keys to theif.
    If something goes wrong, theif knows he is to be blamed, so he will be careful. Tell mullah to go and implement shariat in Afghanistan and be happy. If Afghanistan continues to provide shelter Al-Q, it is USA’s problem. Let them deal with the
    mullah & old-Pak army. As far, Pakistan, they would have refromed themselves with a sleek P-force, new N-weapons, modern society
    with a friendlier India and resolve Kashmir on a equal footing.

    Sounds like a storybook..Well its just my wild dream.

    An Indian.

  36. PM

    Pakistan has been run according to “chalta Hai” culture. There is only one solution and that is a police state; that is how other hard states were built. It is more likely to be Fascist. Live and learn.

  37. stuka

    Why should Pakistan give up nukes? That’s retarded. This situation has nothing to do with Nukes. What you call the P Force already exists. The Pak Army does recruit from all areas.

    “Use P-force against all terrorists including Pak-Taliban, Afghan-Taliban, Kashmir-rebels”

    This is the crux of the situation. At the best of times you need massive public support to launch a drawn out counter-insurgency struggle. Say what you will about Kashmir, but India has demonstrated a resilience for years in terms of olding on to Kashmir even as bombs have exploded across Mumbai, Delhi, terror attacks have taken place etc. What Pakistan needs is the similar sense of resilience to take back their country. But it can only be done when the enemy is cleary identified and the focus is clear. It does not seem like there is clarity and focus on indentifying the enemy amongst all sections of the population.

  38. Tilsim

    And that very dark Mr Sharif chose to deflect attention to the possibility of Indian involvement in his speech today. I am beginning to now think I may be the one who is deluded if I believe that the Pakistani establishment really is going to rally the nation to defeat terrorism. Mr Sharif and many like him appear to be preparing for and easing in a victory for the Jihadi groups. He is not only a sympathiser of obscurantism but an astute politician who wants a place in the new order. Or perhaps he is just another coward politician, worried to avoid the same fate as met Benazir Bhutto. For now only the MQM and the ANP seem to be speaking with a clear uncompromising message against the Taliban.

  39. Milind Kher

    Islam cannot be brought into every discussion regarding Pakistan. There are development issues, military issues, political issues, people issues etc.
    Every thing cannot be given a religious tinge.

    I do not believe that the moderators are “shying away” from Islam, they probably are not looking to all talk being centered around Islam

  40. bushranaqi

    Why don’t we for once take religion out of everything for this obsession with Islam is getting too warped and psychotic. Wars and regional conflicts have always had to do with territorial occupation and not about spreading an ideology.

    The insurgency is actually all about acquiring regional depth by the Afghans and Alqaeda and little to do with propagation of Islam. Al Quaeda is not about Islam but has the distinctions of a tyrannical cult.

    We are buying into the hands of the terrorists when we link their agenda with Islam. Religion and an ideology is only being used as an instrument to justify their cause and to win over recruits. Jihad is a coined word for the genocide they are perpetrating on innocent people.

    The first thing we must do is to disconnect their agenda from religion. We are doing a great disservice to this great religion by associating it with these terrorists.

    Their design is no doubt double pronged. To gain political power and control for themselves by overthrowing democratic and secular governments and promising a beleagured nation tottering under their genocide, a theocratic state
    ruled by these tyrants.

  41. Milind Kher

    @Bushra,

    I agree with you. If you discuss with the terrorists based on religion, then you are actually giving them a religious legitimacy that they do not deserve.

  42. Milind Kher

    @Ali Abbas,

    What you are saying is absolutely right. It is not the US or India that is the enemy, but rather the enemy within.

    I do not know whether Mr Jinnah would have actively pursued an anti Ahmedi front, but the movement got a tremendous boost during the Zia regime.

  43. Ali Abbas

    @Majumdar,

    In the statement below, Jinnah is either being equivocal or is terribly confused about the history of his proposed faith. Aside from his clear August 11 speech, I cannot come across anything that bears the clarity necessary to provide the foundation of a proposed state.

    Until we Pakistanis stop obsessing about America, India and the Jews and start critically examining and questioning the views and works of Jinnah and Iqbal, we will not be able to chart a future that can see us in confronting the demons within that are consuming us.

    “Let us lay the foundations of our democracy on the basis of truly Islamic ideals and principles. Our Almighty has taught us that our decisions in the affairs of the state shall be guided by discussion and consultations.
    http://www.pakistan.gov.pk/Quaid/speech22.htm

    In his July 15, 1947 press conference: Jinnah Papers, Zawar Zaidi (ed), Vol III, doc# VIII.2 (in Appendix VIII), p 1005, Government of Pakistan, distributed and published by OUP, Pakistan, 1997.
    When asked whether Pakistan would be a secular or theocratic state, Jinnah retorted that “You are asking me a question that is absurd. I do not know what a theocratic state means.”
    When another journalist suggested that the questioner meant a state run by “maulanas”, Jinnah retorted, “What about [a] government run by Pundits in Hindustan?”
    Jinnah continued to hedge: Then it seems to me that what I have already said is like throwing water on duck’s back (laughter). When you talk of democracy, I am afraid you have not studied Islam. We learned democracy thirteen centuries ago.”

  44. Milind Kher

    “The trick is to get better understanding of this elephant and then put it to use to for personal, social, scientific, political, economic, etc development.”

    The point is that Islam has not been used for all this save in its earliest stages. Powerful people have to lead this. Today, powerful Muslims are more concerned with power than Islam

  45. Rashi

    @Ali Abbas
    December 9, 2009 at 4:34 pm

    “Even on this thread, I allude to the anti-Ahmedi riots by the Islamist criminals who have been given a free reign in this country. The door for them was opened by Jinnah and Liaquat and even Bhutto gave in to their apostasization demand. I have always been against this and every passport renewal is a blow to the Pakistani conscience.”

    Dear Abbas sahib, I don’t know much about Liaquat Ali Khan. But I know about Bhutto and Quaid-I-Azam (QA). I am afraid I may not be accused of proselytizing on this forum if I give details. Anyways, from Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement literature I can quote words used by Quaid-I-Azam during his conversations with Maulana Muhammad Ali. QA attended ‘Tea Parties’ hosted in his honor by LAM. So, I do not agree with you regarding QA “opening door for apostasization” .

  46. bushranaqi

    Our talk about religion has become so convoluted and perverse that we are losing our humanity without being aware of it. Is this what religion is supposed to teach us? We have stopped thinking for ourselves and mindlessly pursue and believe what the cleric tells us. The individual thought process has been taken hostage to religious dogma and sectarian bias, and in the process is gradually been eroded.

    This is an ideal breeding ground for indoctrination, whether by the cleric or the influx of information and disinformation being fed to us on a daily basis.
    Even ijtehad has risks involved now.

    We will first have to reject whatever we have learned so far….and give way to dissent only..clear all the garbage before we can be purged.

  47. rex minor

    It would seem that the centre of gravity is shifting from waziristan to Rawalpindi/Islamabad and now to Lahore. We are in phase two of the conflict between the Pushtoons( call them if you wish with any name of your choice) and the Pakistan civilian and military rulers. This means that a tit for tat in killing, ofcourse the innocents are to suffer. This campaign is not comparable to the Germans blitz on londoners nor the British areal bombardment of Dresden. It is also misleading to relate this conflict between the haves and have not citizens or duec to religious loyalties or some form of patriotism. What we are witnessing throughout Afghanistan and Pakistan is a straight forward killing campaign, i.e. the body count. The US marines are receiving dance lessons from the so called bad talabans until more boots are on the ground and the Pakistan Interior Minister is dialling 911 for help from his reservists Mullahs. He is not sure about the loyalty of the PA, and therefore he wants a Fatwa to stop this carnage. In my view this is just the beginning. A straight forward dialogue among people of diiferent opinions could resolve the conflict amicably, but this is something the Pakistani establishment has neither learnt nor tried within the country or with its neighbours. If the Americans or the PA are able to defeat the waziris the conflict could be over in a matter of weeks, but can they? We are all watching with zero hope!

  48. rex minor

    @Milland Kher,
    Well said! Please add other religions as well to the category of “Do nothing but keep power over ignorents” , such as christian and jewish clergy. I do not know much about Hindu and Budhist Mullahs, though Dalai Lama could be considered with a similar status. But I fully agree with you since under pressure from the communists, atheists as well as pseudo intellectuals and politicians they transferred over time all their responsibilities to the State. Hence the Secularism was born!!

  49. Dear All
    Many thanks for a robust debate. However, I was once again saddended to see how the thread in a jiffy turned sectarian and a debate on religions and who is better or worse. This is just so exhausting. As moderators we have a hard task – what to remove and what to leave. In any case, let me make it clear, especially to R, Rashi, Rashid who uses this platform to preach his sect and repeat the same point that has been made here ad nauseum.
    Whoever, you are Mr. R – we are not keen to have you on PTH. Please leave us alone and if you will not stop then we will have to block you permanently.
    I hate to write these lines but no more of the same diatribe. Please use other platforms or better the TV channel used by your community to warn people of dire consequences of what happened in 1974. We condemn the persecution of minorities but this site is not meant for ONE, particular discourse as it diverts the debate and big issues get mired in small details of blame-game.
    I am also sickened to read the comments of religious superiority. I have tried to delete all such comments.
    PTH will ban nonsense of that variety.
    Thanks to our sane and intelligent visitors who keep the flame alive and suffer fools..
    Raza Rumi

  50. Bloody Civilian

    rex minor

    We are all watching with zero hope!

    you never told us about the rest of you all. who are you all?

  51. yasserlatifhamdani

    Let me just add my two cents to Ali Abbas’s points which I have only received partially. This is also the last word and no more posts debating Jinnah or the Ahmaddiya issue
    (both my favorite topics mind you) will be entertained as per Raza Rumi’s post above.

    However I am going to have the last word on the issue:

    That Jinnah appealed ambiguously to Islamic principles is well known to us and we should and must criticize him but we should understand why we are criticizing him.

    We are doing so because it abundantly clear from the nitty gritty, and several speeches, statements, interviews and actions that the Pakistan he envisaged was based on individual freedom, rule of law and equality of citizenship. His ambiguous use of Islamic rhetoric few and far between has given his opponents a bogey …and a chance to de-construct his ideal of a state.

    At the forefront of every Islamization campaign (such as anti-Ahmaddiya movement) are people who opposed Jinnah vociferously. There is no question, there can never be any question that Mr. Jinnah who refused to oust the Ahmadis from the League and appointed Zafrulla as his foreign minister and a Hindu as a law minister …would ever agree to something as ridiculous and disgusting as the second amendment to our constitution. This is why there is remarkable convergence in the anti-Jinnah camp and the anti-Ahmadiyya camp in Pakistan.

    Unless and untill people like Ali Abbas realize that the only chance secularism has in Pakistan is through Jinnah and Jinnah alone, and stop misinterpretting Jinnah’s ambiguous references to Islam as a blank cheque to the Mullahs who opposed him, there can never be progress on this issue.

    Historically it would be an untenable view in the balance. I think Hoodbhoy showed the inadequacy of the spurious argument “Jinnah wanted an Islamic state” very clearly.

    Bhutto was responsible for the betrayal. He did so as I pointed out above because he was not a very balanced person. And I think Mubashir Hassan’s comments show exactly how the whole thing happened.