Guardian: Ahmadi massacre silence is dispiriting

By Declan Walsh

Reproduced from

I often find myself defending Pakistan against the unbidden prejudices of the outside world. No, Islam is not the cause of terrorism. Yes, the Taliban is a complex phenomenon. No, Imran Khan is not a major political figure.

This past week, though, I am silent. The massacre of 94 members of the minority Ahmadi community on May 28 has exposed something ugly at the heart of Pakistan – its laws, its rulers, its society.

It’s not the violence that disturbs most, gut-churning as it was. During Friday prayers two teams of attackers stormed Ahmadi mosques in the eastern city of Lahore. They fired Kalashnikovs from minarets, chucked grenades into the crowds, exploded their suicide vests.

As the massacre unfolded, a friend called – his father-in-law, a devout Ahmadi, was inside one of the besieged mosques. The family, glued to live television coverage, were sick with worry.

Two hours later, my friend’s relative emerged alive. But many of his friends – old men, including a retired general and former judge – were dead.

The killers were quickly identified as “Punjabi Taliban” – a loose collective of local extremists with ties to the tribal belt. This was unsurprising. More dispiriting, however, was the wider reaction.

Human rights groups reacted with pre-programmed outrage; otherwise there was a virtual conspiracy of silence. A dribble of protestors attended street protests against the attack in Lahore and Karachi; eleven people showed up in Islamabad.

The normally vociferous media were unusually reticent. Commentators expressed dismay at the violence, but few dared voice support for the Ahmadi community itself. Politicians turned yellow.

Few visited the bereaved; still today, the chief minister of Punjab, Shahbaz Sharif, has not visited the bullet-pocked mosques or offered compensation to the injured.

In the national parliament, three brave female MPs crossed party lines to propose a resolution condemning the attacks, in the face of massive indifference. The motion passed, just.

The reticence is rooted in law and history. Ahmadis believe that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, a 19th century Punjabi cleric, was the messiah sent by God – a notion that deeply offends orthodox Muslims for whom Muhammad, who lived in 7th-century Arabia, is the final prophet.

The problem is that the state has taken sides in this religious argument. Since the 1970s, civilian and military governments have passed laws enshrining the discrimination against Ahmadis, today thought to number about 4 million in Pakistan.

And so they live in the shadows of society. Under the law, Ahmadis may not call themselves Muslims and may not refer to their places of worship as “mosques”. Orthodox Muslims applying for a passport must sign a statement deriding Ahmad as an “imposter”.

Any Ahmadi who defies these edicts can be sentenced to death; in 2009, 37 were charged under the blasphemy laws and 57 under Ahmadi-specific laws.

This state-directed discrimination has caused prejudice to soak into the bones of even well-educated Pakistanis. It is acceptable to denigrate Ahmadis as “agents of foreign powers” such as the CIA and Raw, India’s intelligence service.

In 2008 a prominent preacher on Geo, the country’s largest channel, suggested that right-minded Muslims should kill Ahmadis. Within 48 hours two Ahmadis had been lynched. The television presenter has prospered.

Last year a banner appeared outside the high court in Lahore, declaring “Jews, Christians and Ahmadis are enemies of Islam”. Few complained.

The silence that followed the Ahmadi killings was broken last week by a tsunami of outrage at the Israeli commando raids on boats headed for Gaza. Commentators and politicians fulminated at the treatment of the Palestinians – a minority that suffers state-sanctioned, religiously driven discrimination. Nobody got the irony.

It makes one realise how small the constituency of true liberals is in Pakistan – not Pervez Musharraf-style liberals, who drink whisky and attend fashion shows, but people who believe the state should cherish all citizens equally. That, after all, was the publicly expressed desire of Pakistan’s founder, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, 63 years ago. Today it lies in tatters.


Filed under Citizens, human rights, Islam, Islamabad, Islamism, Jinnah's Pakistan, minorities, Punjab, Religion, Taliban, Terrorism, violence

100 responses to “Guardian: Ahmadi massacre silence is dispiriting

  1. omar

    This is another small negative side effect of these attacks and their aftermath. People like Declan Walsh and WIlliam Dalrymple are genuine modern liberals and really truly believe that all people, even Pakistani Muslims, not only have the same fundamentally humane instincts as the rest of humanity, but also EXPRESS the same humane instincts in their culture and politics. Its painful to see them put through such stressful cognitive dissonance. While most of them have had enough modern education to be able to shake this off and go back to their pre-massacre liberal beliefs, someday even they may snap. Its not a huge deal in the greater scheme of things (does it really matter if Dalrymple remains politically correct or not?) but it is still a small setback for civilization…

  2. kashifiat

    This is the true example of direct foreign intervention & dictation in our internal affairs.

    I strongly condemn this.

    We know the reality of both Taliban & Ahmadies

  3. Vajra


    What do you strongly condemn? It is not clear. Please say so clearly.

    Please also, for the sake of those among us who are not sure about these things, nor so well-informed, can you let us know the reality – according to your analysis – of both Taliban and Ahmadies.

    Thank you in advance.

  4. Junaid

    The reason most Pakistani Muslims sympathise with the Palestinians is because in case of the Palestinians, the murderer is a Jew and glorifying the Palestinian cause means demonising the Jewish enemy.

    In case of the Ahmedis, the murderers are none other then our own home grown, locally fed and trained Muslim extremist brothers. Glorifying the cause of Ahmedis would mean demonising the Taliban who no matter how barbaric are still sunni and much better then the evil Ahmedis.

    This attitude is very much similar to the imperialistic attitude of the US towards Muslim countries like Iran, The US gov will issue public condemnations for an Iranian killed by Iranian gov under spying charges, but does not care for a Muslim killed by drone attacks.

    Ultimately what matters is the political advantage one gains from supporting or opposing a murder. No one really cares about the loss of life.

    Just my two cents.

    Kind Regards


  5. Majumdar

    Kashif mian,

    On another board you condemned Ahmedis ‘cos they were against the mutineers. But didnt Allama Iqbal recieve a knighthood from the Brits too in 1923. Wasnt the founding father of Pakistan Sir Syed a toady of the Brits as well.

    Can you denounce them as murtadoooons.?


  6. D_a_n


    please dont address any questions to Kashif….

    He has a rectum where his brain should be….

  7. D_a_n !

    Don’t consider other psychological status like you.

    @Vajra ! My opinion is very clear about Taliban which you can read in My Urdu posts, if u can. But here I want to mention again.

    There are two types of Talibans

    1) Afghan Taliban fighting within Afghanistan – My all support with them

    2) Gangs working with the title of Taliban with in Pakistan are agents of CIA/ RAW/ Mosad & Khad, which are planted here to disturb Pakistan

    But simultaneously they are enjoying the local support due to drone attacks which provide them youngsters full of hate with USA & Pak Govt. who is supporting USA in a war, which is not the Pakistani war.

    You can see my articles where I clearly condemn that attacks n the light of ahadeeth , but Ahmadi gang always involved in continuous preaching their faith amongst Muslims. which is the point of reaction / offend amongst population.

    You can see here at PTH which has been converted into preaching centers.

  8. Majumdar

    Kashif mian,

    but Ahmadi gang always involved in continuous preaching their faith amongst Muslims. which is the point of reaction / offend amongst population.

    Why is that such a bad thing? Don’t Muslims preach Islam among non-Muslims? So why cant Ahmedis do the same among Muslims?


  9. D_a_n

    @ Kashif….


  10. Majumdar

    As regarding Taliban there are actually four types as per a knowledgeable gentleman on chowk.

    1. The Afghan Taliban- mainly fighting US occupation.
    2. “Bad” Taliban- this lot has got involved with sectarian elements in Pak and the pan-Islamist groups internationally (TTP types)
    3. Sarkari Taliban- GOP controlled counter-insurgents (late Zain Mehsud for eg)
    4. Criminal elements- mainly drug and timber smugglers (eg Mangal Bagh)

    #4 may well have been infiltrated by RAW or some such other intelligence agencies.


  11. Zulfiqar Haider

    No one regards the very principles laid down by the founder of this country; he never wanted these biased people in the government; any Pakistani, doesn’t matter which religion he follows, has the right to participate in every walk of life.

  12. Akash

    Kashif mian,
    Disgusting! Thora to sharam karo..Apne ko mard kehte hue sharam nahin aati kya? Well what am I saying. We have our Modi too. Is this what religion is supposed to give us?

  13. Yasir Qadeer

    94 deaths and only words from some officials is the aftermath of Lahore massacre. No concrete action has been taken and that is sad. We must take strong and quick actions to avoid such tragedies in future.

  14. Akash

    I guess, I can’t do anything but forward this link. Music is a great healer, and no better exponent than Ustad Bismillah Khan.

    Please do listen to this piece.

  15. Tilsim

    Declan Walsh is pointing to the moral bankruptcy that pervades every aspect of life in Pakistan. To rectify this, simple education is not sufficient as our intelligensia is educated in the narrow sense. The national curriculum needs to include ethics and critical analysis as compulsory subjects in their own rights.

  16. bciv


    if #4 could be infiltrated than why not the GoP itself?

    going by your description, what’s the difference between the two?

  17. Vajra


    Don’t be silly, with your ‘it is said’ preceding false information. It is a matter of record that the Raja and Jinnah fell out on this issue, and although so personally close to Jinnah in earlier times, practically found himself banned from Jinnah’s company for this reason.

    The rest of your conclusions are as misleading. Come back when you have done your homework.

  18. bciv


    Why is that such a bad thing?

    thinking that it is, is not that different from the ‘preserving indic/non-indic faith ratio’ mentality, is it now?

  19. kashifiat

    Voldemort !

    “they (QA) declared Ahmadis non-Muslim”

    Boss ! This reference is provided by Mr. YLH who is highly biased & un reliable in all means

    QA never interfere in these type of topics

  20. bciv

    “QA never interfere in these type of topics”

    you just wish he had not, since you don’t like what he had to say about it.

    your lot even thought (and said as much) that he was only good for getting pakistan – that many of them had vehemently opposed – and was not fit to play any role in pakistan after that. that he must relinquish the country to your lot to embark on your own project. well, the battle is still on.

  21. powerless


    The demand for Pakistan and Islam — by Ishtiaq Ahmed
    In the Daily Times of Lahore
    Tuesday, June 08, 2010\story_8-6-2010_pg3_2


    “The recent attack on a congregation of Ahmedis during prayers, which claimed more than 90 innocent lives, has revived a discussion as to whether there is a connection between the creation of Pakistan and Islam. Within the Muslim League there was always a constituency in favour of Pakistan becoming an Islamic state. One of its proponents was a close confident of Jinnah: Raja Sahib Mahmudabad, a Shia. In 1939 he wrote to the historian Mohibul Hassan:

    “When we speak of democracy in Islam it is not democracy in the government but in the cultural and social aspects of life. Islam is totalitarian — there is no denying about it. It is the Quran that we should turn to. It is the dictatorship of the Quranic laws that we want — and that we will have — but not through non-violence and Gandhian truth” (Mushirul Hasan, 1997: 57-8).”
    Quote end

  22. Majumdar

    Powerless mian,

    The same piece was today put on chowk UP by Samarbhai. You are Samar by any chance???

    I had already presented the rebuttal there which I am reprodcuing for you

    it might interest you that Mahmudabad was expelled from the AIML at Jinnah sahib’s behest for trying to commit AIML to an Islamic state.


  23. Voldemort

    There Vajra mian! You asked for proof and got it. Now you better get to doing your homework before contemptously dismissing others.

  24. Voldemort

    Majumdar, just because Jinnah expelled the Raja for supposedly trying to commit the AIML to make Pakistan an Islamic state doesn’t mean he didn’t make that promise to the Raja. It could well be that Jinah did that just to secure all the support he could muster for his Pakistan demand, but promise he did.

  25. Voldemort

    kashifiat mian, by “they”, I didn’t mean Jinnah. I was referring to his successors.

  26. Majumdar


    Is there any evidence that MAJ did make that promise to Mahmudabad?


  27. Majumdar


    There Vajra mian! You asked for proof and got it. Now you better get to doing your homework before contemptously dismissing others.

    What “proof” have we got?


  28. Voldemort

    Majumdar, here it is. And am quoting from Ishtiaq Ahmed’s column in the Daily Times today. I don’t exactly remember where I read that bit about Jinnah’s promise to Raja of Mahmudabad, but I will lookup to check if it is available on the web:

    “Similar tactics were adopted in the campaigns in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh. In his doctoral dissertation, India, Pakistan or Pakhtunistan?, Erland Jansson writes:

    “The pir of Manki Sharif…founded an organisation of his own, the Anjuman-us-asfia. The organisation promised to support the Muslim League on the condition that Shariat would be enforced in Pakistan. To this Jinnah agreed. As a result the pir of Manki Sharif declared jihad to achieve Pakistan and ordered the members of his anjuman to support the League in the 1946 elections” (pg 166).

    Jinnah wrote in November 1945 a letter to Pir Manki Sharif in which he promised that the Shariat would apply to the affairs of the Muslim majority. He wrote:

    “It is needless to emphasise that the Constituent Assembly, which would be predominantly Muslim in its composition, would be able to enact laws for Muslims, not inconsistent with the Shariat laws and the Muslims will no longer be obliged to abide by the un-Islamic laws” (Constituent Assembly of Pakistan Debates, Volume 5, 1949, pg 46). “

  29. Majumdar


    There is an element of ambiguity about the promise. It is possible that Jinnah sahib was referring to the application of the Shariat to the personal/communal affairs of the Muslim community and not about the political affairs of the state.


  30. Voldemort

    Majumdar, anything is possible. And if we do go by that, it reveals that Jinnah – by deliberately choosing to remain vague – was not above dishonesty, putting to rest that carefully constructed facade of honesty and incorruptibility.

  31. powerless

    to majumdar

    Is Ishtiaq Ahmed lying in his DT article of 08.06.10.?
    What is your idea of proof?

    Jinnah could kick out Mahmudabad – but the words that he spoke to him and to some other muslim fanatics remain etched in history and are now having their ill effects. If Jinnah tells them in (or from) his paradise that he said all that only to earn their support and then kick them out – you think he will get away with that? You think muslim fanatics are such relaxed guys of letting bygones be bygones? You pact with the devil and he takes the centre-stage very soon. History is replete with such events. Now they will triumphantly say : “We (=muslim fanatics) used this pseudo-muslim pudding-like Jinnah. We were cleverer than him. Allahu akbar.”

  32. Voldemort

    Here’s one more of his statements:
    “No doubt, there are many people who do not quite appreciate when we talk of Islam. Islam is not only a set of rituals, traditions and spiritual doctrines. Islam is also a code for every Muslim, which regulates his life and his conduct in even politics and economics and the like.” (Bar Association Karachi on 25th March 1948)”

    Now what possibilities will you look for in it Majumdar?

  33. Majumdar


    There is no dishonesty involved. A politician has to take along all segments of his constituency and make practical adjustments. That is what democracy is about, among other things.


    Of course he is not lying but there is nothing in Mr Ahmed’s article which proves that Jinnah was interested in a theocratic Islamic state.


  34. Voldemort

    Anyway, i think we should let bygones be bygones. pakistan should focus more on providing a better life for its citizens as should India. who cares what gandhi or Jinnah wanted?

  35. Majumdar


    Now what possibilities will you look for in it Majumdar?

    Mr Jinnah was merely stating facts. What Islam meant for Muslims. Nowhere is it implied that Islam has to be the basis for the constt of Pak.

    Now gentlemen, I have to leave for the day, hopefully Yasser Pai will be here soon to pick up the baton but I will be back tomorrow morning 900 AM IST to resume battle.

    Btw, it was a pleasure to match wits with you.


  36. Voldemort

    Majumdar, you sometimes remind me of the stubborn donkey that does not move unless kicked in the back by the owner. do you remember the story of yudhistira’s only like in the Mahabharata? A lie need not be explicitly uttered. Clever word play can also be a lie. of course, jinnah is long dead and no one can try him in a court, but to say he was not dishonest when he promised shariat to the Muslim leaders on which they conditioned supprot to the pakistan movement is being rather ingenious.

  37. kashifiat

    Quaid-i-Azam and the ideology of Pakistan

    It has been often conjectured that while Pakistan’s founding fathers had involved Islam to make a case for Pakistan, they did not truly think that it should have much of a role to play in Pakistan once that state had come into existence. This was and is still said even with reference to Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. It sounds somewhat astonishing, though, that such a statement should be made by those who express great veneration for Quaid-i-Azam. It seems that such people did not even pause for a moment to consider the implications of such a statement. Does this statement not imply that Quaid-i-Aza, had for long said things that he did not believe in; that he merely said what was expedient? Now, the life-long record of Quaid-i-Azam amply testifies that he always had the courage to speak out his mind; that he was never known for hypocrisy; that he never evinced any disposition to play to the gallery. A few sentences of his inaugural address to the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan are quoted out of context as if reflecting the vision of Pakistan different from what he and his party, Muslim League, had been presenting up to this point.

    The fact, however, is that what he said on this historic occasion does in no way negate the role of Islam in Pakistan’s polity which he had spelled out so often. Couched in modern political idiom, his statement only reaffirmed an aspect of the established relationship between an Islamic state and its non-Muslim citizens. The speech especially underlined his resolve to bestow equal rights on all citizens of Pakistan irrespective of their class, colour or creed. All this indeed reflects Quaid-i-Azam’s true vision of Pakistan which in no way contradicts his emphatic affirmation, time and again, as regards the Islamic character of Pakistan. Also, this Islamic character was not conceived as something nominal; as some mantra that would be pronounced on ceremonial occasions. He rather conceived Islam’s role to be both vital and substantial.

    Even though all this is quite evident, it still needs to be reiterated for a degree of confusion has indeed been created on this question. Confining ourselves to Quaid-i-Azam alone, let us see what he said on the subject. We find that he made it clear that “Pakistan not only meant freedom and independence but the Muslim Ideology that has to be preserved”. He also explained that Muslims demanded Pakistan “where they could rule according to their own cultural growth, traditions and Islamic laws”. He thought that “our religion, culture, and our Islamic ideals” were “our driving force to achieve our freedom”. During the Indian Muslims’ struggle for the establishment of this “Muslim National Homeland”, he repeatedly declared that they stood for establishing an “Islamic State”. (Emphasis added).

    After the establishment of Pakistan, too, Quaid-i-Azam did not cease to emphasise this aspect of Pakistan. With a feeling fo joyful and genuine pride, he called Pakistan “the Muslim State of Pakistan”, “the premier Islamic State”, and a “bulwark of Islam”. He could not understand “a section of the people who deliberately wanted to create mischief and made propaganda that the Constitution of Pakistan would not be made on the basis of Shariat”. (Emphasis added)

    Without attempting to array any further evidence – and the available evidence on the question is overwhelming – I would like to refer only to some parts of Quaid-i-Azam’s speech in July 1948 on the occasion of the inauguration of the State Bank of Pakistan. What he said on this occasion is illustrative of the ideological orientation of Pakistan’s founding fathers.

    “I shall watch with keenness the work of your [State Bank’s] Research Organisation in evolving banking practices compatible with Islamic ideals of social and economic life… We must work our destiny in our own way and present to the world and economic system based on true Islamic concept of equality of manhood and social justice. We will thereby be fulfilling our mission as Muslims and giving to humanity the message of peace which alone can save it and secure the welfare, happiness and prosperity of mankind.” (Emphasis added)

    Thus Pakistan was essentially envisioned as an Islamic polity. It is quite natural that there should be diversity of views as to the detailed implications of the concept of such a polity. There was, however, no ambiguity about the fact that it would and should be an Islamic polity. It was the least surprising, therefore, that when six months after the death of Quaid-i-Azam, the Constituent Assembly met to lay down the objectives of the state of Pakistan, it categorically reaffirmed the vision of the nation and its leaders regarding the role of Islam in the state that had been established in Islam’s name.

    – Excerpted from Ideology of Pakistan by Professor Sharif al Mujahid, published by Islamic Research Institute, Islamabad in 2001. The author is a renowned scholar of the Pakistan Movement and the founder of the Quaid-i-Azam Academy, Karachi.

  38. @Voldemort

    A donkey will look for examples to other donkeys and tales of donkeys; it is not surprising. Your vaunted proof lasted just one mail; all it consisted of was Raja of Mahmudabad’s own statement, not Jinnah’s statement. You also have the information now, which you could have gathered earlier, that he was expelled for his Islamism by Jinnah. You then went on in your half-read, half-baked, half-understood way to quote Jinnah’s efforts at carrying along the unconvinced, who wanted him to say clearly, determinedly that Pakistan was for Islam, not for the Muslim of India who wanted to lead an unpressured life; efforts that found expression in harmless, greatest-common-factor statements of the kinds that were quoted.

    Again the trouble is with drive-by scholars like you, hip and glib after a couple of readings, with no effort at grasping the totality of the stand that Jinnah took, unable to put things in perspective, doomed for ever to look at things through the lens of your extreme Islamophobia. You are a waste of time, and so are your views. They have been discussed threadbare in these columns a million times; unfortunate that you now are starting at the bottom of this snakes-and-ladders game. If any of us were to take you by the hand and guide you through extensive discussions, you might know more about the subject. But then we would have to repeat it for every passing idiot with two minutes to spare for reading three lines and then spouting expertise where he has none.

    Frankly, I can’t be bothered, but you come and waste time. Now either read up on these topics before spouting, or spout somewhere else.

  39. @Voldemort

    Your true milieu is proven conclusively by Kashifiat’s mail; you and the Islamists are part of the same pack of misleading, confused misconceptions about what really happened. Congratulations; the element in Pakistan that agrees most closely with you is the pro-Taliban element. Does that say anything to you?

  40. @Voldemort

    Your true milieu is proven conclusively by Kashifiat’s most recent mail; you and the Islamists are part of the same pack of misleading, confused misconceptions about what really happened. Congratulations; the element in Pakistan that agrees most closely with you is the pro-Taliban element. Does that say anything to you?

  41. Nusrat Pasha

    Quaid-e Azam’s Pakistan:

    1 : “…..Religion should not be allowed to come into Politics….Religion is merely a matter between man and God”…..(Jinnah, Address to the Central Legislative Assembly, February 7, 1935)

    2 : “… the name of Humanity, I care more for them [the Untouchables] than for Mussalmans….. ” (Jinnah, Speaking about the Shudras or Untouchables, during his address at the All India Muslim League session at Delhi, 1934)

    3 : “…..I am NOT fighting for Muslims, believe me, when I demand Pakistan…..” (Jinnah, Press Conference, November 14, 1946)

    4 : “….. You are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place of worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed. That has nothing to do with the business of the State.”….. (Jinnah, Presidential address to the first Constituent Assembly of Pakistan, Karachi, August 11, 1947)

    5 : “… distinction between one community and another, no discrimination between one caste or creed and another. We are starting with this fundamental principle that we are all citizens and ‘Equal Citizens’ of One State…..”( Jinnah, Presidential Address to the first Constituent Assembly of Pakistan, August 11, 1947)

    6 : “….. Now, I think we should keep that in front of us as our ideal, and you will find that in due course of time Hindus would cease to be Hindus and Muslims would cease to be Muslims, not in the religious sense because that is the personal faith of the individual, but in the political sense as citizens of the State …..”. (Jinnah, Presidential Address to the first Constituent Assembly of Pakistan, August 11, 1947)

    7 : “….. But make no mistake : Pakistan is NOT a theocracy or anything like it……” (Jinnah, Message to the people of Australia, February 19, 1948)

    8 : “….. The constitution of Pakistan has yet to be framed by the Pakistan Constituent Assembly…..We have many non-Muslims – Hindus, Christians and Parsis – but they are ‘ALL’ Pakistanis. They will enjoy the ‘SAME’ rights and privileges as any other citizens and will play their rightful part in the affairs of Pakistan…..” (Jinnah, February 1948. Talk on Pakistan broadcast to the people of USA)

    9 : ” …..Islam and its idealism have taught Equality, Justice and Fairplay to EVERYBODY…..” (Jinnah, January 25, 1948. Address to Bar Association Karachi)

    10 : ” ……EVERYONE of you, no matter to what community he belongs, no matter what relations he had with you in the past, no matter what is his colour, caste or creed, is first, second and last a citizen of this state with ‘EQUAL’ rights, privileges and obligations ……” (Jinnah, Presidential Address to the first Constituent Assembly of Pakistan, August 11, 1947)

  42. Amaar

    Those who blame India, Israel and USA for all the woes in Pakistan are a significant part of our problem. By blaming them all the time, the burden of responsibility is shifted conveniently.

    Here is how their logic proceeds:

    1. After all, no ‘Muslim’ can do this (i.e. no religious group is responsible).

    2. Ahmadis are not Muslims.

    3. We are thus not responsible.

    4. Stuff happens. It should be a consolation to Ahmadis that Sunnis and Shias are also getting killed in their mosques.

    5. But we decided who is a Muslim or not.

    6. Kafirs are wajib-ul-qatal.

  43. @Nusrat Pasha

    I really appreciate your post. It is to be hoped that with this readily available, future trolls can be stuffed and bundled out quickly. Many thanks.

  44. Moosa

    @ kashifiat

    You claim that Jinnah wished Pakistan to be based on Islam rather than secularism, but this claim is irrelevant to the topic we are discussing.

    The question is: Did Jinnah ever advocate religious persecution?

    The question is: who decided to appoint and put his trust in a prominent ahmadi muslim as the first foreign minister of Pakistan? was it not Jinnah?

    A person cannot follow two masters. Even a dog is faithful to only one master, so a human should be at least as faithful as a dog. A person cannot claim to follow the mullahs and Jinnah in the matter of the ahmadiyya muslim community.

  45. Hayyer

    Not unless you believe that Jinnah the Mullah are one and the same thing.

  46. Basit

    This is one the best articles I’ve seen about this incident. It’s a pity that no well-known Pakistani journalist had the courage to write something like this.
    What really disturbs me and sickens me that there’s no value of human life. Irrespective of whether one regards the other as a Muslim or a non-Muslim, that doesn’t give them the license to go out and kill them. Similarly, it is irrelevant whether Pakistan is an Islamic state or not- that doesn’t justify the killing of innocent people.
    There is something terribly wrong with all of us and our leaders. I don’t agree with the writers of this blog most of the time, but this is a question of basic humanity. It’s absurd that commentators have blamed lack of education, the underlying ideology of Pakistan etc., and the perennial scapegoat (CIA, Raw) on rationalizing this event. Murder of innocent people can NEVER be rationalized.
    People who leave comments on the blog are supposedly from the elite/more educated demographic of the society. If they think like this, we really have no hope.

  47. bciv

    pir of manki was told in reply to his question that (of course) nothing in pakistani would be contrary to the spirit of sharia (ie islam). to phrase things carefully is part of politics as it is of being lawyer. the pir deserted muslim league almost immediately after partition, into the embrace of bacha khan whom he trusted to implement sharia as bacha khan had always advocated and promised. bacha khan opposed the muslim league – amongst other things – for having no desire whatsoever of implementing sharia.

  48. Midfield Dynamo

    Nobody got the irony.
    How are Ahmedis evil, what have they done to bring down Pakistan. Yes Sunnis have, they are the backbone to terror, Shias have too played their role in terrorism, Wahabis and other considered sacntimonious have all tried to destabilize the country.
    Ahmedi loyalty has been exemplary.

  49. omar

    Can someone dig up all the examples of articles, books or notes written by Jinnah bhai in which he clearly articulated his so-called “vision”?
    My impression is that Jinnah bhai was not big on the vision thing. He was a competent lawyer who was focused on winning his case. He took up Muslim League’s “case” and tried to win it by all means at his disposal. Like any good lawyer, he tried not to break the law, but skirted it when necessary (and broke it outright on direct action day, but maybe he had a wink from the law-givers for that particular act of heroism?). Like other smooth lawyers, he also made full use of ambiguities in language (promising something without really promising it, as shown above). But vision? what vision? He really thought that Pakistan would be like British India, same AC, DC, Magistrate sahib ; same governor general sahib; same “Westminster style democracy” adapted to the native’s level of understanding, run by brown sahibs instead of white ones.
    Things, unfortunately, did not turn out as planned. Still, he drank good whisky and smoked good tobacco and looked and acted like a good pukka sahib, which was a lot better than most of his successors could manage.
    I know many liberals are going to be upset at this email because they have convinced themselves that without Jinnah bhai as liberal exemplar, we will fall into the hands of the evil Taliban, but what if the people dont want the taliban irrespective of how we treat the sacred memory of Jeena bhai? Why not try the truth and see what happens?

  50. Tariq

    I am a Pakistani (and FWIW a Sunni by birth) and was ashamed of being one when I was filled my Passport form. I am also ashamed that the sect I belong to is the most intolerant, narrow-minded and hateful (fill in your adjectives here…) sect of any religion around the world.

    My heart goes out to our Ahmadi community in this difficult time. God speed peace to your community and wrath on the fanatic extremists.

    I am glad that retards like Kashifiat are being rightfully bashed by sensible people on this board. If anyone needs to see an example of views of an intellectually under-developed person…search for Kashifiat.

  51. Akash

    You have said exactly what I have been trying to reason with ylh and his cohorts. Of course, you have done it more eloquently. I wish Jinnah had spent more time reading about Indian History rather than about the British system of governance. Even Kemal’s Turkey is beginning to show signs of strain. In all fairness though, he had very little time on his hands to develop a vision.

    Thanks for quoting from that article. I was going to put it up here but I felt it would be in a bad taste to do such a thing right now. I guess Vajra and Majumndar and ylh can carry on arguing with Ishtiaq Ahmed.

    I guess someone has done his/her homework.

    “There is an element of ambiguity about the promise. It is possible that Jinnah sahib was referring to the application of the Shariat to the personal/communal affairs of the Muslim community and not about the political affairs of the state.”

    That line of reasoning can only be swallowed with a bucketful of salt. It would be nice if sometimes you extend the same courtesy to Gandhi, Patel, et al.

  52. Bin Ismail

    @Hayyer (June 8, 2010 at 8:52 pm)

    “…..Not unless you believe that Jinnah and the Mullah are one and the same thing…..”

    For those here who contend that civility and savagery, truth and false, compassion and cruelty are one and the same thing – any two opposites could be one and the same thing.

  53. Bin Ismail

    @omar (June 9, 2010 at 2:42 am)

    “…..I know many liberals are going to be upset at this email because they have convinced themselves that without Jinnah bhai as liberal exemplar, we will fall into the hands of the evil Taliban, but what if the people dont want the taliban irrespective of how we treat the sacred memory of Jeena bhai? Why not try the truth and see what happens?…..”

    Apparently it’s you who are getttng upset, my friend. Your words seem to draw their fire less from your eagerness to “try the truth” and more from your keenness to have the picture “without Jinnah”.

    These suggestions of “maybe he had a wink”, though suggestive of your colourful and playful imagination, go little beyond that.

    People don’t want Taliban. Very true. But people must also not be oblivious of the words of the founder of this nation, who had declared six decades ago that ” …..In any case Pakistan is ‘NOT’ going to be a theocratic State – to be ruled by priests with a divine mission…..” (February 1948). People must also wake up to the reality that they would not have landed themselves in this quagmire, had they paid heed to Jinnah’s words.

  54. Bin Ismail

    @ Arun Gupta

    Thank you for all those beautiful quotes. Jinnah, not only gave a clear vision of a “Secular Pakistan”, he also argued and established through argument that the secular state was more than just compatible with Islam, it was a requirement of the “fundamental principles of Islam”.

  55. @Bin Ismail

    Re those beautiful quotes, a Roland for an Oliver:

    Thus Candour’s maxims flow from Rancour’s throat,
    As devils, to serve their purpose, Scripture quote.

  56. Voldemort

    Vajra mian, at least I put up that Ishtiaq Ahmed article that appeared on the Daily Times and then Jinnah’s own speech at the Bar Association at Karachi in 1948. What have you put on the table? Nothing but headmaster-style insults. Now go back to being the Jogindranath Mandal for YLH.

  57. Voldemort

    Like any good lawyer, he tried not to break the law, but skirted it when necessary (and broke it outright on direct action day, but maybe he had a wink from the law-givers for that particular act of heroism?). Like other smooth lawyers, he also made full use of ambiguities in language (promising something without really promising it, as shown above). But vision? what vision? He really thought that Pakistan would be like British India, same AC, DC, Magistrate sahib ; same governor general sahib; same “Westminster style democracy” adapted to the native’s level of understanding, run by brown sahibs instead of white ones.

    Thanks Mr. Omar. I don’t know if your honesty can make much of a difference to Pakistan, but it will definitely help you in life. The “intellectuals” here on the other hand, will have to be contented with grandstanding and slapping each others’ backs.

  58. @Omar

    You have summed up the situation with a precision and accuracy that is admirable, and have done incalculable harm in doing so.

    None of the Pakistani liberals writing in this forum have been under any illusion regarding what Jinnah said and what he stood for.

    It is clear from the historical evidence and the primary documents that we have, that have been discussed intensively over more than a year in these columns, that Jinnah led his flock, the westernised Muslim salariat who were the greatest supporters and the foot-soldiers in the Muslim League, with the belief that after independence, his rather relaxed views regarding the nature of society in those homelands would continue much as they did in India prior to independence.

    It is also clear that where compelled to, he played to the gallery, to the ranks of those fundamentalists who sought some reassurance that sharia law would govern Pakistan; he did so by making ambiguous statements which could be interpreted favourably by the near-Islamists. Above all, he needed to keep his flock together; if the Muslim League did not in fact represent the Muslims of India, to the overwhelming extent that available voting figures show, then they represented nobody.

    Where was he seeking support? From whom? Not from the hard-core Islamists; it is also clear that they actually backed the Congress, opposed the Muslim League and hated Jinnah most cordially, calling him various epithets which to their ears sounded devastatatingly witty.

    Why then in the face of Jinnah not having left a political testament which underlined his secularism and commitment to liberal democracy or which confirmed his Islamist inclination do Pakistani liberals and Pakistani Islamists clash daily about what Jinnah represented?

    The answer lies in the pre-emptive bid that the Islamists made immediately after Jinnah’s death. Also in the increasing nervousness and indecisive opposition to them displayed by the salariat, and their allies, the so-called ‘feudal’ classes, meaning the large hereditary land-owners, the equivalent of the English county. In this pre-emptive bid, the Islamists seized every ambiguous statement that they could find, buried their own gutter invective deep under the ground, and represented, plausibly enough, that it was not a homeland for Muslims that was achieved, it was a homeland for Islam – quite different things, but not obviously, apparently, glaringly so.

    These claims and statements went into the forming of the mythical Nazria-e-Pakistan. Pakistan had no national myth, unlike India; its past was mingled with the past of what geographically earlier WAS India. The young state needed to create its own heritage and at that point of time, co-opting the mingled past was not an option. As the posts of even the last 24 hours will show, to some, it is still not an option.

    So Jinnah was quite blatantly claimed for their own by the Islamists. It was this effort that liberals opposed. It was an effort to keep the matter open and to allow the people to decide it, not to allow frightened politicians looking nervously over their shoulders, at the spectre of the religious right and of the military backing them for their own selfish reasons, to decide it in a grandstand display. There was no exaggeration in their stand; liberals have freely, frequently agreed that there were occasions when Jinnah trimmed his sails, and to mix a metaphor, sailed close to the wind, as close as he dared without making an explicit statement which would allow in the Islamists or their sympathisers.

    You are perfectly right in claiming that the ballot box will clear up all these mists and fogs. The unfortunate part is that the ballot box has never been seen as it is, or perhaps it has been seen all too clearly for what it is – a weapon which will carry power to the people and keep it resident there. It might seem simplistic for those who have rarely seen the exercise of this power; it seems commonplace for those of us who have enjoyed democracy almost continuously for sixty three blessed years. Liberals are only seeking democracy in the present instance, not secularism, not liberalism. Just democracy; the power of the ballot box, the acceptance of poll verdicts by political leaders, the overturn of stupid and unhelpful policies, the debates on what is good for the nation and what is not, fear of the people and of bad administration which angers the people. All these.

    Only the vote will show the character of the Pakistani people. We all await it expectantly.


    This homework has been done already, presented already. What was presented by a half-baked journeyman earlier was in fact precisely wrong. As far as the lucubrations of Arun Gupta are concerned, let me assure you that unless one studies the context, the statement itself, like the Jinnah message to the Pir of Manki, which sounded so conclusive, but which was so topical, can be completely misunderstood, in fact, misrepresented for the sole benefit of those who have half-wrecked the country.

  59. skyview

    Ishtiaq Ahmed’s Daily Times article should be brought on the PTH site directly. Why just keep referring to it? It is really worth reading. I wonder what his 1000 page book will reveal.

    May be Pakistan needs an idealized Jinnah-picture-cum-vision (be it as a modern mythology) to be able to escape the i-f enforcement. But the pak army will continue to play many games and dealings at the cost of the poor pakistanis and indians. Pak army is actually and de facto the biggest enemy of Jinnah. So also the PML (N).

  60. Akash

    I guess that “half-baked” journey man also includes Ishtiaq Ahmed. You may want to have a second look at his columns. If means and ends is what under discussion, I always wonder why such leeway is not granted to some Congress leaders.

  61. skyview

    Just take a look at this:

    Letter in the Daily Times of 09.06.10


    “Revisiting the Two Nation Theory

    Sir: This is apropos Yasser Latif Hamdani’s article ‘Two Nation Theory’ (Daily Times, June 7, 2010). Contrary to the writer’s hypothesis, Jinnah did not make a single statement in support of a united India in the entire period from 1939-1947, either while speaking in private to the British or in public speeches addressing the Muslims of India. On the contrary, Jinnah stated on multiple occasions that the imperatives of his Two Nation Theory required the creation of a sovereign independent state for Muslims via the partition of India.

    The Muslim League resolution, accepting the Cabinet Mission Plan 1946, also did not declare any support for a united India. On the contrary, it declared that, after accepting the plan, Muslims would “employ every means in their power” until “the goal of a complete sovereign Pakistan” was achieved.

    Indian political leaders and the Indian public had to, in the period between 1938-1947, deal with what Jinnah actually stated and demanded during the Pakistan movement, namely two independent states. In deciding the fate of millions, they could not act on any unsubstantiated fantasies about Jinnah’s inner thoughts.

    Quote end.

  62. Voldemort

    Akash, Vajra mian is now trying to analyze why Jinnah did what he did, and comes out looking funny trying to guess the motives behind each of his statements.

    But the fact is that since educated Muslims constituted a miniscule portion of pre-partition India’s Muslim population, and the uneducated Muslims were the majority, it is only obvious that the statements addressed to the majority would have the maximum impact on the overall Muslim outlook towards what kind of a state they would like to live in (at least if it turned out to be a democratic state, which is what one hopes Jinnah envisaged for Pakistan). And it is only natural that things have turned out to be that way in today’s Pakistan: a minority liberal population trying to foist a secular state upon the majority overwhelmingly in favour of some kind – ranging from a strict theocratic state to a moderately Islamic state- of an Islamic dispensation. And the majority revolting. It is the primary reason why the liberals are failing to convince the majority.

  63. @Voldemort

    at least I put up that Ishtiaq Ahmed article that appeared on the Daily Times and then Jinnah’s own speech at the Bar Association at Karachi in 1948. What have you put on the table? Nothing but headmaster-style insults. Now go back to being the Jogindranath Mandal for YLH.

    1. OK, no more insults; but if you don’t do your homework and come bumbling around, you’ll get called. That doesn’t come under insult.

    2. Are you serious about putting up the evidence?

    It’s voluminous, material distributed over maybe 15 threads, maybe over 100/150 comments on each, so if you want me to present it, even in bits and pieces, I need to ask what happens then? Do you have an open mind or is this going to be a food-fight? Having an open mind means admitting that the evidence is substantial (if it is substantial; you have to be convinced) and makes the point it is said to have made.

    Note that my putting up that stuff means you don’t have to go through the archives; there’s a lot out there.

    Having said that, if you really want to know, I see no choice but to put it all together. It’ll take time, so you’d better be serious.

    Don’t say ‘yes’ hoping that there’s nothing after all. Or to make me do something laborious just to get your own back at being told you didn’t go into things properly. That’ll be a waste of time and get you seen as a deliberate agent provocateur.

    3. Don’t call me ‘mian’ unless you want to pick a fight. What went on before was not a fight. As you already know from your Jogendranath Mandal reference, I’m not a Muslim; nothing against them, but I don’t belong to any religion.

    I’m OK with the Jogen Mandal crack. He hated the thought of being under the thumb of the caste Hindus, until he found conditions in East Pakistan horribly unsettled. There was a time when he thought, wrongly but strongly, that he would have to learn and speak Urdu. That’s when he cut and ran. Honest mistake. Lots of people were and are like him; rather be Buddhist or Muslim than Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe.


    If you are a Pakistani, be prepared for a long hard struggle; no short cuts. The Pakistan Army wants to protect its position of authority, and wants to do all it’s been trained to do, be on the watch against India. No point in expecting them to change; they won’t.

    (Personal opinion from a casual, uninformed observer):

    I don’t think you’re entirely right about the PML(N). They’re not uniformly bad; if they were, they wouldn’t be politicians, they’d be autocrats.

    All politicians are loathesome. Now here’s the surprise: they’re also indispensable. The alternative is even more loathesome.

    If you are an Indian, we have nothing to do here, in current affairs and politics. Please let’s stay out of these things and stick to history.

    PS: Cricket excepted.

  64. Voldemort

    OK, no more insults; but if you don’t do your homework and come bumbling around, you’ll get called. That doesn’t come under insult.

    There you go again! Vajra mian, if you cut out the headmaster style, some sane discussion might be possible. It is easy to trade insults, isn’t it?

    Anyways, I might be new here, but that doesn’t mean I’m new to the history of the subcontinent and the events surrounding the partition, but if you think you’re talking to a “journeyman”, please be my guest. As I’ve said earlier, Jinnah said various things at various times to various people – perhaps in the misguided belief that otherwise, Muslims wouldn’t rally around to his call and fall into the Congress’ lap – but nevertheless, the fact remains that it is this deliberate ambuiguity that is at the root cause of Pakistan’s ills. Everyone can produce a Jinnah statement to support his/her viewpoint, and they won’t be wrong. He had a statement for every occasion, every audience. And since the majority of the Muslim population at the time of partition was illiterate, such nuanced and clever statements escaped them and they fell back upon those statements that promised Pakis an Islamic state. And as the Mullahs consolidated their hold over the awaam, they’ve used these statements to the hilt to support their viewpoint that Jinnah indeed wanted an Islamic state, and I dare say they aren’t being factually wrong.

  65. Majumdar

    There was a time when he thought, wrongly but strongly, that he would have to learn and speak Urdu. That’s when he cut and ran.

    “Cut and ran” kind of best describes what Jogandhoonath did. Cut and ran- leaving his followers to fend for themselves.

    Btw, I dont think Urdu had nothing to do with it. His old friends were threatening to kill him, I believe.

    Honest mistake.

    Well, he did have a ministry for a couple of years as a reward for his “honesty”

    Lots of people were and are like him; rather be Buddhist or Muslim than Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe.

    Yeah, there are millions of SC EB Hindoos in India (my family among them) who will kind of agree. You can throw in a few thousand Chakma refugees in NE as well.


  66. Tilsim

    @ Vajra @ Voldemort

    May I interject here? Frankly, if we are honest, this is a nice debate about Jinnah’s intentions for Pakistan and it does stoke emotions but not sure of it’s continued relevancy to modern day Pakistan. If the idea of a non-theocratic and secular state has merit then it needs to be sold to the people first by the intelligensia and then politicians. This is a tall order in Pakistan as people have bought the argument that some sort of moderate Islamic state is the solution. However, as events are unfolding towards more and more extremism and economic failure, people are wondering about the current situation. As I have said in another post, whilst bigotry might be prevalent, in general people are not comfortable with extremism. The debate needs to continue on it’s own merits. First and foremost it’s a battle for people’s attitudes, ethics and outlook – the form of the State is ultimately a reflection of this.

  67. @Voldemort

    No insult, and no headmastering? I can see an anti-Semitic plot building up; these restrictions and step-by-step fencing in is leading somewhere, isn’t it?

    All right, no more facetiousness. You are now full of righteous indignation. No more laughter and mockery.

    You say:that doesn’t mean I’m new to the history of the subcontinent and the events surrounding the partition, but if you think you’re talking to a “journeyman”, please be my guest.

    Well, what did you expect? You started this particular discussion with a howler – oh, sorry, headmasterese not to be spoken – with an egregious mistake that no reasonable knowledge of the events around partition, or the relationships of Jinnah with his close associates would have permitted. May I remind you, or does that count as an insult?

    It is said he promised the Raja of Mahmudabad (?) that Pakistan would enact laws in accordance with Shariat.

    Remember? And my point to you was that you were exactly wrong.

    I have a lot to say, but I put it to you that you were wrong at the outset. And that consequently my deprecating you, at least on the basis of the evidence then in, was justified.

  68. Voldemort

    Vajra mian,

    Raja of Mahmudabad (?)

    At the very outset, I had indicated it might not exactly be the Raja. Otherwise, what do you think the “?” indicated? But was the rest of my statement (and the crux was not to whom it was told, it was what was being said) in any way wrong? And just a couple of posts later, I clarified that it was the Pir of Manki; yet several posts later you continue to pick on that one mistake? How very smart of you! In your overeagerness to score points with Pakis, you’ve latched on it until now. You had the entire forest, and you chose to pick one tree? Nitpicking is an indication that a person is perhaps not so interested in discussion as he is in proving his smarts, so if you keep at it, you are welcome.

    Anyways, in that whole post of yours, you chose not to comment on the substance of my last post and instead devoted it entirely to explaining as to why you chose to nitpick, and that too when I corrected my mistake. In the process, you made me waste one whole post. Oh, the perils of having to grandstand and look good!!

  69. Voldemort


    I entirely agree with your post. For god’s sake, it is 6 decades since Jinnah died. Most Pakistanis living today were born after he died. Why should they be made hostage to what he thought? As long as all Pakistanis (or at least the majority; you cannot please everyone) are happy, why should it matter whether Pakistan is secular or theocratic?

  70. Majumdar


    Pls try to understand. Many of us here are admirers of MAJ (pbuh) but we don’t consider him divinity. On this forum on another thread about a year or so back many of us- myself, Yasser included among them- lamented his references to Islam which while made in a certain context- to get Muslims on a common platform it was necessary to invoke Islamic symbols at times- were liable to be misinterpreted by mischievous elements (this indeed has happened as Pakistan’s history is witness). But there is no evidence that MAJ was an Islamist or that he wanted an Islamic state.


  71. D_a_n


    ‘to score points with Pakis…’

    are from some council flat in Oldham that you are fond of using this term?

    It’s neither nice nor cute. Kindly refrain from it’s use.

  72. Voldemort

    I understand YLH and the others here want Pakistan to be secular because it guarantees at least a semblance of equality to the minorities. I say semblance because despite being constitutionally equal, minorities everywhere are vulnerable on account of their smaller numbers. But unless the majority acquiesces – and it looks next to impossible in Pakistan, at least now – it is going to be extremely difficult to achieve that.

  73. Majumdar


    Why should they be made hostage to what he thought?

    You are right on this. And I have no issues with that- however those who wish to have an Islamic state (of the Taliban variety) shud not falsely invoke Jinnah’s name for their ends.


  74. Voldemort

    Dan, it is not my intention to use that as a term of insult. It is just that it is easier to type.

  75. D_a_n

    @ voldemort…

    Understood. Not that I am some sort of forum police here but will ask for your indulgence and type in a few extra characters….Thanks.

  76. D_a_n

    ‘every Paki can produce’

    sigh! just like in the real world; no one listens to you if you ask nicely. It’s a lesson that I have to re-learn many, many times.

  77. yasserlatifhamdani

    We’ve had this discussion so many times that it is boring. I responded to most of these inane and ridiculous points in my article:

    Jinnah’s main thrust was an inclusive democratic state based on justice and fairplay. At times he said Islam also says this… other times he didn’t. All of his so called “Islamic” statements also affirmed that Islam stood for a state like that.

    I have no problem with Islamists quoting out of context Jinnah’s references to Islam all they want but the fact is that they don’t find any real support from him. I read that excessively stupid article by Ishtiaq Ahmed yesterday… and my response should be published on the allocated day I suppose… unless DT decides not to. Anyone who has read enough of the Pakistan Movement can poke a million holes in Ishtiaq Ahmed’s article…

    I leave to people to decide what kind of state Jinnah wanted when he said “Islam stands for equality fraternity and justice for all mankind” and “there is no ecclesiastical state in Islam”.

    So this broken record statement that everyone can produce a statement from Jinnah is absolutely and totally false. What is remarkable however is how much Indians who hate Jinnah use the same selective quotes that Islamists do… but they never resort to an honest discourse on the entire speech…. it is always a snippet out of context. Anyway I think Majumdar and Vajra… both Indians … have answered most of the points here…

    Skyview vis a vis Sadna Gupta’s “letter”

    I’ve responded to it already and my response should be published in a few days.

    If you apply your mind to her letter … you can see the gaping hole in her claim. What she wanted was for Jinnah to say “I am asking for Pakistan but hey… guess what … wink … it is just a bargaining counter”. If you read my Two Nation Theory article I have proved it beyond reasonable doubt what Jinnah wanted. Take it or leave it. Don’t bother me.

  78. yasserlatifhamdani


    I have on occasion shared my correspondence with Ishtiaq who goes around calling himself a professor. In due course… I’ll take his mask off for everyone to see.

    Ishtiaq mian is the exact opposite of what he claims to be. He is truly in the tradition of his Guru – Agha Shorish Kashmiri. You may remember that name from a certain forged interview.

  79. @Tilsim

    You are right. It doesn’t matter what happened before partition, except for the unfortunate fact that all of Pakistani history subsequently is rooted in those events.

    If we take a quick look at the postings, and go by those, it appears that Pakistanis themselves expect one out of several solutions to emerge. These are:

    1. Pakistan will be a democracy, initially neither very liberal nor secular, but moving in that direction over the years. This is the view of a section, that of liberals.

    2. Pakistan will be some kind of democracy which is moderately Islamic, but one in which the people, while single-minded about Islam, are not necessarily extremist, and are concerned about loss of personal security as well as the consequences of a failing economy. This is what you have suggested might happen.

    3. Pakistan will be a state where Shia and Ahmediyya, leave alone other religious beliefs, are not welcome, Sufi shrines are done away with, and matters are regulated in strict accordance with principles outlined very clearly in a number of places. This seems to be the model of Kashif and his fellows.

    I don’t think people outside Pakistan have the kind of knwledge of the ground realities which would allow for a judgement on the prospects for each of these possibilities. However, I do think that the fourth point of view, not Pakistani, that all is doomed and that only a debacle lies ahead, is grossly exaggerated, and is based on wishful thinking and personal prejudice.

    Out of respect for your views, which presumably many others share as well, I am leaving it at that.

  80. yasserlatifhamdani

    And let’s get back to the topic shall we… let us not forget that it was Jinnah who refused to throw Ahmadis out of the Muslim League…

    Those Islamists who misquote his speeches… like that crook kashifiat…. would he also tell us his view on this historical fact… or that sir zafrulla was Jinnah’s handpicked… despite propaganda against him?

  81. bciv

    his references to Islam which while made in a certain context- to get Muslims on a common platform it was necessary to invoke Islamic symbols at times(majumdar)

    and also because he had to respond, albeit to as restrained an extent as possible, to the blows below the belt from the ulema allied to and egged on by congress.

    indeed, those who knew him much better than any of us here – his contemporaries and close associates – are on record, one after another, saying in the CA that no one would have dared come up with anything like the Objectives’ Resolution had he still been alive.

    the worst of bhutto’s attacks on secularism had come out of nowhere. he had never mentioned them at any point during the election campaign. indeed, they attacks were entirely contrary to what he was supposed to stand for – left of political centre. so the voters cannot entirely be blamed for bhutto’s somersault.

    zia was, of course, unelected.

    that is not to say that a significant majority of people are not inflicted with different levels of religiosity and/or worse, with or without the influence of the state as torpedoed by bhutto and usurped and perverted by zia.

    it’s for others to reach their own conclusions, with or without bringing preconceived ideas to the analysis.

  82. Tilsim

    @ Vajra

    You are as insightful as always and it is a pleasure to blog with you. Personally I would prefer 1., think that 2 is still reflective of current Pakistan, but a red line gets crossed when it comes to 3 (a cherished project of the zealots which right minded people must strive against).

  83. @Tilsim

    The tragedy is that you and other democratically inclined citizens and fair-minded people face the dilemma of Lamartine. As a democrat, he was compelled to accept the views of the majority; as a republican, he was aghast. He and his colleagues agreed with the results of the vote, on a point of lofty principle, but with sad consequences for France.

    I fear that you and the other citizens of your thinking may face this situation in future. It is not likely to go against you; the common people of our countries have fooled the experts and shown their uncommon good sense again and again, but it is a possibility. It will be a huge relief to be wrong, but in either case, if the voice of the people is at last heard, some sacrifice by the liberal cause will be worth it.

    Democracy before everything.

  84. Nusrat Pasha

    Did Jinnah ever use terms such as “Islam” and “Islamic”, with reference to the country whose foundations he was laying? Yes, he did. Did he use these terms in the sense they would have been applied to a theocracy in the offing? No, he did not. Then why and for what purpose did he use these terms? Let’s examine this question.

    1. The majority of the Muslim ulema were opposed to Jinnah. Slogans to the effect that a country was being created on the principles of “kufr” were the mainstay of the maulvis’ anti-Jinnah campaign. The maulanas were translating terms such as “secularism” as “la-deeniyat” and “liberalism” as “ilhaad”. The famous, rather infamous line of an Ahrari poet, “Yeh Quaid-e Azam hai keh hai Kafir-e Azam” was echoing and booming. It was amidst this pandemonium that Jinnah took upon himself the daunting task of upholding his secular philosophy and yet convincing the Muslim masses that in opting for Pakistan, they would not have to compromise their religious and social values. In fact, this challenge was much more than just daunting. With the seasoned Congress brains on one front and the Muslim ulema on the other, the Pakistan project was exposed to a barrage from both sides.

    2. Instead of focusing on the apparent tenor of Islam, which more often than not remains subject to diverse interpretations, debate and dispute, Jinnah very sagaciously remained focused on the SPIRIT of Islamic teachings, which in essence is also the spirit of every single known revealed religion. Thus did he succeed in upholding the secular cause without sacrificing the elements of morality and universal appeal. This spirit of Islamic Principles, according to Jinnah, comprises of three elements – Equality, Justice and Fairplay. He contended that any state capable of providing these three bounties to ALL its citizens, would be good enough to allay the “feeling of nervousness” that was being aroused by the ulema in the minds of the more religious-minded Muslims.

    3. It may be useful for all participants to go through the following two references:

    a) : ” The constitution of Pakistan has yet to be framed by the Pakistan Constituent Assembly…..Islam and its idealism have taught us democracy. It has taught Equality of men, Justice and Fairplay to ‘EVERYBODY’…..In any case Pakistan is NOT going to be a theocratic State – to be ruled by priests with a divine mission. We have many non-Muslims – Hindus, Christians and Parsis – but they are ALL Pakistanis. They will enjoy the SAME rights and privileges as any other citizens and will play their rightful part in the affairs of Pakistan.” [ Jinnah, February 1948.Talk on Pakistan broadcast to the people of USA]

    b) : ” Why this feeling of nervousness that the future constitution of Pakistan is going to be in conflict with Shariat Laws ?……Islamic principles today are are as much applicable as they were 1300 years ago……Islam and its idealism have taught Equality, Justice and Fairplay to EVERYBODY.” [Jinnah, 25 January 1948. Address to Bar Association Karachi ]

  85. Tilsim

    @ Vajra

    Well, my knowledge of French second republic history is very very sketchy. I take on board your statement that democratically inclined citizens and fair-minded people may face Lamartine’s dilemma in Pakistan if current societal trends continue. However it’s also true that Napolean III, the successor to Lamartine had to eventually rule by working with democratic ideals and in the course of time these ideals triumphed in France.

    It’s the strengths of ideas, their practical application and the results which they produce for society that matter in the end.

    Pakistan is a confusing place at the moment because there is that challenge to the State from terrorists and religious forces underway. In general, the public seems quite confused or in denial about the causes for the situation so certainly a possibility exists, in particular in Punjab, that more liberal/democratic minded forces lose out in the short to medium term. However, there are enough of us and there is now a cause against terrorism to rally around to have a different outcome.

  86. bciv

    Democracy before everything.


    whatever denies the majority’s right to legislate is tyranny. one tyranny can be better than another. depending on the majority, in extreme situations, a democracy (tyranny of the majority) may be worse than a tyranny. but, in practice, the greater the size of consensus, the greater the chance of moderation of extreme views. that is the hope that democracy holds for us. democracy is what human dignity requires as well.

    talking of a ‘good dictator’ etc is like ‘a destitute man buying a lottery ticket and believing that’s all he needs to do for him to be able to see better days’ (this is AZW, btw, paraphrased). democracy is patient, hard work. relentless. it often seems unrewarding or even worse. but there is no practical alternative. there are no magic ideas or ideologies that whole populations will be convinced of instantly, nor superheroes with superhuman powers of persuasion. nor factories that pop out good dictators or even good elected leaders, on demand. it’s a long slog, like all realistic and worthwhile solutions. and like all practical solutions, it’s not perfect.

  87. Tilsim

    @ bciv

    Brilliant argument in favour of democracy.

  88. Hayyer

    There is a new thread on Jinnah (once again) and attempts to his disambiguation should be continued there.

  89. Akash

    YLH (Notice I use caps. That means I am giving you respect for your views)

    “I have on occasion shared my correspondence with Ishtiaq who goes around calling himself a professor. In due course… I’ll take his mask off for everyone to see.”

    That is an old tactic. If you can’t fight a man’s opinion, then besmirch him with choicest abuses and question his motives. You have already done that with Azad and Frontier Gandhi. I would have come back to Azad’s discussion but as I said before the Ahmedi massacre happened and I was depressed to even contemplate bringing that discussion.

  90. Akash


    Vajra is fossilized. He belongs to the era where how(with regard to grammar) you say things are more important than what you say.


    Are you Bengali? That would explain a lot of things with respect to your views about Gandhi et al. I apologize for this rather personal question but I am merely following the dictum here. Anytime the discussion becomes too hot for the “giants” of this blog, they resort to asking silly questions about motives, background, etc.

  91. @Akash

    1. Yes.
    2. My views about Gandhi evolved and crystallised to this position as recently as ten years ago.
    3. You have just qualified as one of the “giants” of this blog, as defined by you. Presumably that was the general idea.
    4. About grammar, too: yes. I am a nominalist.

  92. Akash

    Thanks Vajra. My guess was correct. So, I believe I should start excoriating you for your views based on where you come from etc. etc. but it’s tiresome, and it’s not fun.

    As for my views, they too settled down a bit in the last 10 years. I wouldn’t go as far as to say that they have crystallized. I come from a (culturally) Hindu family with feudal background rooted in Bihar. It was quite common to hear people in my family lambasting Nehru et al., while passing fatuous defense of Jinnah. It may sound surprising but it’s true. It’s only later when I moved out and began seeing things from a distance that a lot of things became clearer. That most of my family members are lawyers is besides the point. A lot of rancor was due to abolishing of the Zamindari system whereby some people, including my family, lost a lot while gaining very little. Nehru, of course, was the prime target in all this blame. That he bungled during the China war gave them additional fuel. Needless to say, Gandhi came in for gratuitous insult anyways. Some of it vis-a-vis Bose had merits but a lot of the theories were pure nonsense.

    The reason for writing all this is to put forward my tenuous claim that Jaswant’s book can also be explained on the basis of his background. I know this is going to rile some people, but I can’t be blamed for starting this. The template was already here.

    And, yes, I am also included in the “giants” category. One needs to attain that stature to argue/debate with other “giants”. For all the negative connotations, no one can say that Biharis shy away from a skirmish. 🙂 They, along with the Muslims from UP, formed the bulk of Muslims who supported the Pakistan movement. And, for all the rose tinted views that ylh has of Muslim League, most of them, especially the ones from UP and Bihar, were little better than, forgive me for saying this, carpetbaggers. That was one of the reasons, in my view, that Pakistanis have had such a hard time with their leaders.

  93. Hayyer


    “And, for all the rose tinted views that ylh has of Muslim League, most of them, especially the ones from UP and Bihar, were little better than, forgive me for saying this, carpetbaggers. That was one of the reasons, in my view, that Pakistanis have had such a hard time with their leaders.”

    Did you mean all Muslims from UP/Bihar who went to Pakistan were carpetbaggers? Huge numbers went over on principle to the new Muslim state, others had no choice for fear of their lives. You seem to be on the verge of propounding a new explanation for the situation in Pakistan-so one might as well wait for the full development of the thesis.

  94. Akash

    I admit I got a bit carried away. Notice that I used the word “most”, not “all”. Of course you may say that I used “most” for a bigger set of ML leaders, and, therefore, a smaller subset can be taken as “all”. That is mathematically not true always. For example, the set of rational numbers is infinite though it is itself a subset of an infinite set, i.e., the set of real numbers.
    I wouldn’t go so far as to say that my view is a thesis in development. It is one of my own conjectures — it can be a silly one.

  95. Akash

    Of course, my use of the term “carpetbaggers” was rather loose. I meant that for most of the professional elite that went to Pakistan, which led to problems with the local populace there.

  96. Alakshyendra

    I’ve (Voldemort) been trying to post since last evening, but the admins didn’t like it because I questioned their “holy cows”. This is why Pakistan will never be a true democracy. You guys just cannot handle dissent.

  97. @Akash

    It is impossible not to sympathise with your brief and summary view of the personalities involved, considering your antecedents and your rebellion against them. Your situation is quite understandable, and you may be assured that it will be borne in mind in future.

    Perhaps, however, you may not have gauged fully the reasons for my opposition to Gandhi, or my ambiguity – not opposition – towards Nehru, or my admiration – not unalloyed – of Jinnah. If you dwell on your perception of these, since you seem to have built a picture of these without any contribution from my side, I might have an opportunity to set the record straight. From some of your previous posts, and some of your subsequent posts, it seems that you have some surprises in store.

    For the record, the suggestion that Bihari has a negative connotation as a generalisation is racist, and I take leave to deplore it.

  98. Akash

    I admit I have not been fully conversant with your views regarding various personalities. My sincere apologies. My antecedents do play a role in my views, though it may be stretching things quite a bit. I left home when I was pretty young. There was no rebellion per se. Rebellion comes from angst. Gandhi has intrigued me as I have grown older and so has Nehru. I have written here many times my admiration of pre-1939 and post 47 Jinnah. In fact, if one wanted to have a succinct view of what a secular state should be like, there was no better person than Jinnah to communicate it. I also understand the frustration of liberal elite among Muslims being unable to articulate his views. It’s his politics between 39 and 47, no matter what the reasons were or how helpless he was, that pains me. I would have preferred him as a PM compared to Nehru, but his speeches, even for a nominal Hindu like me, sears one like burning acid. Muslims were not a persecuted minority in pre Partition India. It just left very little room to maneuver . Even if allowing for the rather generous view that he was trying to hold together his flock by his vitriol against Hindu “raj”, he unwittingly proved what Azad said that the only way to unite Muslims was to stoke their collective animosity of Hindus. This ancient fire should not have been encouraged. I totally agree that he was not the one to start it, but as one of the giants straddling the Indian politics, he cannot be left unaccounted for his actions. I share your and ylh’s intense dislike for the silly politics of Gandhi with regard to Khilafat movement, but then what was the need to revive it. And, I am not at all impressed with his rather perfunctory views regarding the Indian civilization. The beast of fundamentalism that plagues both of our countries would have been kept in leash more effectively with the counterbalance of a larger and a more varied population. He was way off mark about his (imaginary)fears about the coming Hindu domination. The caste system for all its deleterious effects has one vital positive side effect: it does not allow the bulk of Hindus to coalesce around one single dogma.

    I do admit, however, that given a choice, I would have preferred the company of Nehru or Jinnah more than that of Gandhi. I like my bacon and steak.

    My comment about the negative connotation about the term Bihari reflects the current milieu and my own humble acceptance of the reality. In a way, it has made me understand very well how Muslims feel in our country.

    I shall write more when the time permits. Being a math student, I would ask for a bit of leeway with regard to rules of grammar and sentence construction. I feel more comfortable with Kolmogorov’s three series theorem.

  99. @Akash

    Your very sustaining post. Thank you for your patience. Frankly, I am somewhat taken aback. However, I would like to take this off-line please.

    I hope you realise that a Bengali has to be extremely careful to avoid charges of condescension from Biharis, Orissans (I don’t know what is considered politically correct these days!) or Ahomiyas. We can’t afford to annoy people any further. For that reason, you may find me sensitive to these issues.

    All the rest off-line perhaps. If you don’t mind, the references to Jinnah can be taken over to the new thread that YLH has opened.

  100. Tilsim

    @ Akash
    “The beast of fundamentalism that plagues both of our countries would have been kept in leash more effectively with the counterbalance of a larger and a more varied population.”

    Did you mean to say the beast of intolerance? I would agree that diversity helps to foster tolerance although given the history of communal conflict on the subcontinent it is not a guarantee against hateful or discriminatory attitudes.

    Fundamentalism is in evidence even in Europe which is a diverse society. I think it’s more of a defensive response to rapid change and a loss of power.