Happy ‘Secular Pakistan Day’
By ROBERT MACKEY
As Pakistan’s government continues to vie with Islamist charities to provide relief to millions of its citizens affected by catastrophic flooding, two posts on Lahore’s Pak Tea House blog are worth reading.
In the first post, “Floods Management: A Perfect Script for a Black Comedy,” the blog’s editor, Raza Rumi, writes:
They say that individual and collective characters are exposed in times of crisis. Indeed the Pakistani ruling classes have exposed themselves for their historical myopia and lack of vision. Political parties are fighting over optics, media perceptions and wasting their energies. TV channels and wise anchors on the other hand are competing who got there first to show the mammoth destruction and who fired more salvos at Asif Zardari. Adding insult to injury, the media remained busy for hours as to the alleged shoe-throwing incident at the president as if that was the topmost priority of this country.
The second blog post, “Secular Pakistan Day,” marks the anniversary of a major address by the country’s founder, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, on August 11, 1947 — three days before the state was created by the partition of India — in which, the blog’s editors note, he laid out a vision of a secular state.
In that speech, after some remarks about the need to root out corruption and nepotism, Mr. Jinnah made this impassioned plea for tolerance and the idea that all citizens of the new state of Pakistan would be equal, no matter what their ethnicity or religion:
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