Category Archives: minorities

Talking about the state.

Dissent is essential to any state. It helps reflecting upon the policies employed by the state, to correct them and to improve upon them. With dissent comes tolerance. The two can’t exist without each other. And once a state becomes abhorrent to dissent, what follows is violence.

Now lets come back to Pakistan and reflect. Saleem Shahzad, a correspondent of Asia Times Online was killed just days back. We don’t know who are perpetrators of this heinous crime. But we do have some pointers. What pointers: Well, HRW and HRCP both point toward the state.

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Filed under baluchistan, minorities, Pakistan, violence

Asiya Bibi- The Water Fetcher

Mother of five and farm worker
To earn her bread and ale
The old routines to fetch water
As await her four angels
The empty stomachs Continue reading

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Filed under human rights, minorities

International Burn-a-Quran Day: A Test for Freedom, Tolerance and Responsibility

by Raza Habib Raja

Due to the proposed “Burn a Quran Day” by Pastor Terry Jones, Muslim world is once again under scrutiny and for reasons pertaining to  their faith and extraordinary reverence they attach to it. However, it is not just the Muslims, but the USA’s democracy and its ideals of freedom of action which are also under the critical microscope. The world has become a strange place and in this environment of deep polarization and mistrust even the action of a previously obscure Pastor can light the fuse.

But even more important than the issue of burning are the underlying questions which need to be addressed both by Islamic and the Western World.

Some of these questions are deeply philosophical and challenge our current understanding of ideals like freedom of expression and ethnic sensitivity. Some of the questions pertain to the extreme sensitivity of the Muslims and their more than necessary response.

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Filed under Islam, Law, minorities

Religious Right in Their Own Words; Apostasy Punishment, Jihad and the Role of Non Muslims in the Land of Infidels

 Part 3

By Adnan Syed

This series revisits one of the pivotal events of the early Pakistani history; the riots by the religious right wing parties to get Ahmadis declared as non-Muslims, and the subsequent Munir-Kiyani inquiry commission report into the causes behind the riots. The report went on to interview the religious leaders of the newly formed state of Pakistan regarding their motives and their ideas of Pakistan as a pure Islamic state. As the interviews revealed the incongruous replies of various leaders, they also showed vague but chilling ideas that the right wing parties harboured to turn the newly formed Muslim nation into a politically Islam dominated theocratic nation. The interviews reveal the role of democracy, non Muslims, Jihad and punishments like apostasy that would be practiced in an ideal Islamic state.

 (AZW)

 

UNANIMITY ON PUNISHMENT FOR APOSTASY

While no simple or unanimous definition for a Muslim was given by all the ulamas, they were clearly unanimous about the punishment for apostasy in an Islamic state. The punishment for apostasy was unequivocally, death.

With this doctrine, the religious leaders were clearly referring the then foreign minister Chaudhry Zafrullah Khan. If Chaudhry Zafrullah had not inherited his present (Ahmadi) beliefs, but had voluntarily elected to become an Ahmadi, he ought to be put to death.

However, while the punishment for apostasy was unanimous, the ulamas could not agree on who exactly is an apostate. Remember various criteria that was narrated by various leaders on who constitutes a Muslim? Now the same uneasy differences were making it hard for the leaders to decide who ought to be put to death.

Maulana Shafi Deobandi said that if he were the head of state of an Islamic Government, he would “exclude those who have pronounced Deobandis as kafirs from the pale of Islam and inflict on them the death penalty if they come within the definition of murtadd, namely, if they have changed and not inherited their religious views”.

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Filed under Constitution, Democracy, History, Identity, India, Islam, Jinnah, Jinnah's Pakistan, Liberal Democratic Pakistan, minorities, Pak Tea House, Pakistan, Religion

Religious Right in Their Own Words; What Constitutes a True Muslim

Part 2

By Adnan Syed

This series revisits one of the pivotal events of the early Pakistani history; the riots by the religious right wing parties to get Ahmadis declared as non-Muslims, and the subsequent Munir-Kiyani inquiry commission report into the causes behind the riots. The report went on to interview the religious leaders of the newly formed state of Pakistan regarding their motives and their ideas of Pakistan as a pure Islamic state. As the interviews revealed the incongruous replies of various leaders, they also showed vague but chilling ideas that the right wing parties harboured to turn the newly formed Muslim nation into a politically Islam dominated theocratic nation. The interviews reveal the role of democracy, non Muslims, Jihad and punishments like apostasy that would be practiced in an ideal Islamic state.

Originally planned as a two part series, I decided to split it to three parts due to the sheer volume of information in interviews in the Munir-Kiyani Report.

 (AZW)

 

SOVEREIGNTY AND DEMOCRACY IN ISLAMIC STATE

Munir-Kiyani report was one of the first studies into the contradictory stance taken by framers of the Objectives Resolution. The report pointed out that the Resolution misused the words “sovereign” and “democracy” when the Resolution stated that the constitution to be framed was “for a sovereign state in which principles of democracy as enunciated by Islam would be fully observed”.

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Filed under Islam, Liberal Democratic Pakistan, minorities, Pak Tea House, Pakistan, Partition, Punjab, Rights

Denialistan: DAWN’s romance with jihadis exposed

Nasima Zehra Awan laments the media romances with sectarian Islamists while the country drowns

The August 21st editorial by DAWN is a good example of what is wrong with the media in Pakistan. “Hardliners and Flood Relief” is precisely the kind of vacillating apologia for extremists that is the bane of the local media.A media that has anointed itself as “Independent” for hounding out elected politicians at the behest of a powerful establishment, has failed in informing the public about the various Islamist militant groups and their agendas. In this regard, it is baffling that DAWN’s editorial prefers to maintain an Ostrich-like approach to the exponentially growing existential threat from these sectarian bigots.

President Zardari is absolutely correct in pointing out this threat. The exclusive bashing of elected PPP leaders is the national sport in our elite drawing rooms and reflects our impotent rage that can never be directed at the actual source of our problems but at those who cannot strike back. It is therefore sad that DAWN follows suit and completely disregards the warning of Pakistan’s elected president and chooses to maintain the establishment-led status quo in protecting its Jihadi assets.

In covering the hundreds of targeted killings of minority sects and religious groups like the Ahmadis, Shias and Christians, DAWN studiously maintains a policy of obfuscating the issue via the use of euphemisms. In doing so, it dishonestly creates a false symmetry between the victims (Ahmadis, Shias and Christians) and their killers, the vast nexus of sectarian Salafist Jihadi groups like Sipah Sahaba, its militant wing, Lashkar Jhangvi, Lashkar Tayabba, Jaish Mohammad and Harkat ul Mujahideen amongst a host of other related subsidiaries. For a newspaper that allies itself with Jinnah, the irony that the country’s Shiite Muslim founder would have been a fair game for these sectarian groups is completely lost on DAWN!

Since the beginning of the flood crisis, Pakistan’s media has preferred to lynch the elected government as opposed to galvanizing the public and the International community towards relief efforts. In trying to divert attention away from banned groups who are using the tragedy of these floods to increase their hold on Pakistan, DAWN has allied itself with the same reactionary and bigoted class that prefers an authoritarian future for Pakistan under an Continue reading

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Filed under Al Qaeda, Democracy, Islamism, Jinnah, Jinnah's Pakistan, minorities, Taliban, Terrorism, violence

Daily Times: Nationalism: inclusive versus exclusive — III

Cross Post from Daily Times

Published July 13, 2010

By Ishtiaq Ahmed

Rather than hate India, we should learn from India. It has five times a greater population, far greater ethnic and linguistic variation and myriads of religious faiths and cults. It is not a democracy in the social sense but it is a sophisticated democracy in the political sense

I have presented, mainly, the exclusive model of nationalism and state-nationalism that I have argued emerged in Pakistan, notwithstanding the very bold attempt of Jinnah to supplant it with inclusive nationalism. Exclusive nationalism — whether based on race or religion or some other cultural factor — discriminates, constitutionally, people who do not qualify as members of the community because they do not share the specific cultural ties that have been chosen to define the nation, even if they live in the same territory. Israel is a case in point. Jews from anywhere in the world can come and settle in its territories but not Palestinians who may have lived there in 1948 or in 1967 or in 1973. Only Jews have a timeless law-of-return privileging them over the Palestinians.

The question arises: are states and nations fixed and frozen forever or can things change for the better? In other words, can an exclusive type of nationalism be transcended by an inclusive type of nationalism? The answer is, yes. After all, the nations of Western Europe were originally founded on membership in the State Church. Before World War II, most states in Western Europe required membership in the State Church in order to hold public office. Thus, for example, Sweden, where and my family and I are now settled, required even schoolteachers to be members of the Lutheran State Church.

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Filed under Democracy, Identity, India, Islam, Islamabad, Islamism, Jinnah, Jinnah's Pakistan, Liberal Democratic Pakistan, minorities, Pakistan, Religion, secular Pakistan