By Sabrina Tavernise, The New York Times
All rights reserved with The New York Times Company
Syed Babar Ali, a businessman and philanthropist, is two decades older than his country, Pakistan. He has witnessed every turn in its tumultuous history. Now, at 83, he feels he has earned the right to give it a bit of advice.
Mr. Ali is an institution in Pakistan. He has started some of the country’s most successful companies. But perhaps his most important contribution has been his role in creating the Lahore University of Management and Sciences, or L.U.M.S., begun as a business school but now evolved into the approximate equivalent of Harvard University in Pakistan.
Those Pakistanis like me identifying themselves as Muslims are required – thanks to General Zia-ul-Haq’s military dictatorship- to state the following at the time of the renewal of their passport:
I am a Muslim and believe in the absolute and unqualified finality of the Prophethood of Muhammad the last of the Prophets.
I do not recognize any one who claims to be a prophet in any sense of the word or any description whatsoever, after Prophet Muhammad or recognize such a claimant as a prophet or a religious reformer as Muslim.
I consider Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani to be an impostor prophet and an infidel and also consider his followers whether belonging to the Lahori, Qadiani or Mirzai groups, to be non-Muslims. Continue reading
Filed under Law, Pakistan
A Psychological Interpretation
By Dr. Ali Hashmi
‘Everywhere I go, I find that a poet has been there before me’ Sigmund Freud
One of Iqbal’s translators, the Scotsman Victor Kiernan wrote ‘Mohammad Iqbal, the ‘Poet of the East’, lived a life of which outwardly there is little to be said and inwardly, of which little is known.’ Works on Iqbal by scholars and academicians would fill up a small library, particularly in Pakistan, where he is revered as one of the country’s founding fathers. He was one of the early proponents of the idea of a separate state for the Muslims of British India, a fantastically improbable idea at the time. His eventual whole hearted support for the idea of Pakistan was surprising considering that one of his early poems ‘Tarana-e-Hindi’ (‘Song of India’), first published in 1904, is still sung and revered widely in India. Mahatma Gandhi wrote to Iqbal that he sang it hundreds of times during his many prison terms for sedition and political activity against the British Raj. Iqbal did not live to see his dream of a separate homeland for India’s Muslims brought to fruition and would, surely, have ‘recoiled in horror’, as Kiernan wrote, had he witnessed the communal blood bath that accompanied the birth of his vision. There are still no accurate estimates of the number of people that perished on both sides of the newly created border but half a million people killed and twelve million made homeless is one estimate. All this came much later though. Before all this was the poetry, page after page of lyrical, melodious poems reflecting on themes as simple as mountains, animals and insects and as exalted as God, Heaven, Angels and everything in between. Continue reading