And how it could become one.
By Pervez Hoodbhoy Himal South Asia, June 2010
Pakistan has been a state since 1947, but is still not a nation. More precisely, Pakistan is the name of a land and a people inside a certain geographical boundary that is still lacking the crucial components needed for nationhood: a strong common identity, mental make-up, a shared sense of history and common goals. The failure so far to create a cohesive national entity flows from inequalities of wealth and opportunity, absence of effective democracy and a dysfunctional legal system.
While it is true that most Punjabis think of themselves as Pakistani first and Punjabi second, this is not the case with the Baloch or Sindhis. Schools in Balochistan refuse to hoist Pakistan’s flag or sing its national anthem. Sindhis, meanwhile, accuse Punjabis of stealing their water, the Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) runs Karachi on strictly ethnic grounds, and in April the Pashtun of NWFP successfully had the province officially renamed Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (against the wishes of other residents). In getting a job, caste and sect matters more than ability, and ethnic student groups wage pitched battles against each other on campuses throughout the country. Continue reading
Salman Tarik Kureshi Daily Times, June 12, 2010
What happened through the 1950s was the piecemeal articulation of a national narrative for the new state. Jinnah’s liberal, inclusive vision was converted into a faux Islamic exclusivism. Conformity was imposed on political pluralism and a unitary state, belying the Quaid’s crusades for provincial autonomy, was created
Pakistan, we learn, is rated among the five most unstable countries in the Global Peace Index. Scarcely surprising, given the ongoing civil war with half-savage bands of highly organised, well-financed and heavily armed insurgents, and the accompanying terrorist bombings and violent mayhem across the land. This is not to mention the internecine not-so-civil war between major state institutions, the bizarre conspiracy theories aired over the media, the bigotry trumpeted in pulpits across the land and the genocidal sectarian frenzies that are leading us ineluctably to national and civilisational suicide. The most unstable list includes Iraq, Sudan, Somalia and Afghanistan, in addition to our beloved homeland. Continue reading
By Farzana Versey
Born in the Ismaili faith, I have been quite accustomed to the ‘aadha Mussalman’ (half Muslim) tag. Members of the community are none the worse for it. However, I cannot understand the attitude towards Ahmadis in Pakistan. Ismailis have a living Imam, yet they are not considered a minority.
This is a bold article authored by Raza Habib Raja for PTH. He rightly points out the need to reinterpret Islam as the clergy has closed all avenues for ijtiehad. Indeed, many of our contemporary problems are caused by the way, our self styled Mullah-experts have presented and preached particularistic version of a dynamic, peaceful and humanistic faith. Iqbal had also spoken about ijtehad and PTH supports all such voices within Pakistan and abroad. Raza Rumi
It was a day in 1994. I picked up the Daily Jang to have my daily dosage of information and news. In those PTV dominated pre internet days newspapers were the chief source for somewhat objective and independent coverage of the events. The front page was full of news about ongoing political battle between PPP and PML(N). The decade of 1990s was characterized by constant political tussle between the two major political parties. While glancing down, my eyes suddenly caught hold of a two column new article. It described an incidence which had taken place in Gujranwala.
According to the article a mob in Gujranwala , had burnt a Hafiz Quran, Hafiz Sajjad alive on suspicion of desecrating the Holy Quran. According to the details, Hafiz had burnt Quran and as soon as the nearby Mullah got the whiff of it, he issued a fatwa. A mob gathered and dragged the individual out of his home and started beating him. As they were beating him, someone in the mob stopped the others and suggested that the culprit should be meted out proper Islamic punishment of stoning. At that point, police reached the spot and took the individual into what under normal circumstances would have been a protective custody. However, soon an even larger crowd gathered in front of the police station and started to demand that Hafiz should be handed over to them. Due to the huge size of increasingly vociferous mob, the police inspector buckled under pressure and handed over the guy. They started stoning him mercilessly and thereafter set his body on fire. If this were not enough, they tied his corpse to a powerful motor-cycle and dragged it through the streets for two hours. I felt a strange revulsion and just put the newspaper down. After two days, another article appeared which gave details about the initial inquiry. It was established beyond doubt that Hafiz Sajjad was a traditional devout Muslim and while reciting Quran accidently dropped it on the stove. Continue reading
Below, we are posting two relevant stories about the massacre at Ahmadi mosques in Lahore. This massacre will be a especially ugly chapter in the sordid history that Pakistan has created when it comes to its treatment and protection of minorities from the religious zealots that are found aplenty in the majority sect that inhabits Pakistan.
But more importantly, many Islamist guests on the PTH, as well as countless on outside media and blogs have conveniently accused RAW, MOSSAD, CIA (pick your favourite intelligence organization) behind the massacre.
Self delusion seems to run rampant in Pakistani right wing. They are most welcome to indulge in their mass manufacture of hidden hands and twisted conspiracy theories. As one of the Ahmadi leader recently pointed out while answering who may be responsible for the immense loss of life in Lahore: “When the state allies call for killing Ahmadis a required religious duty, when Khatam-e-Nabuwwat Conferences call for Ahmadis to die or leave Pakistan, and when TTP threatens the community consistently, then it doesn’t take a lot of imagination to realize that massacre on this magnitude was always on the cards”.
We have pointed out repeatedly that the biggest casualty of this self delusional behaviour is Pakistan itself. The enemy is our home-grown badly out of control Frankenstein, as well as the religious-nationalist mindset primarily responsible for its creation and nurture. A religious frenzied state policy that was meant to create proxy militias to fight both east and west, turned out to be one of the most idiotic policies ever implemented by any state in recent memory, with no regard to the flawed marriage of religion with state policies, as well as disastrous consequences that this marriage would entail. If these events are not a wakeup call, then I don’t know what would be. The religious genie unleashed by Pakistan cannot be contained if Pakistan is not honest with itself. Religion has no place in the affairs of the state. The religious bigotry against others is consuming Pakistan first and foremost.
We have posted Omar Ali`s previous post titled “The Dead Parrot” a few weeks back. Below we reproduce his comment on the Lahore massacre. Dr. Ali discusses compelling reasons why we are here and where we are heading towards from here. We did not get into this mess overnight and we will not get out of it soon enough. Too many innocent Pakistanis are losing their lives as Pakistan struggles to overcome its previous policy errors. PTH may not necessarily agree with all points raised in the following post (AZW)
Blowback In Lahore
By Omar Ali
Terrorists (Punjabi Taliban) simultaneously attacked two Ahmedi sect mosques in Lahore during Friday prayers and killed over 80 people. First thoughts on this evil attack: The choice of target is easy to understand. Ahmedis are a persecuted and vilified minority in Pakistan and “mainstream” news organizations feel no compunction about attacking them, so the ground is already prepared. e.g. GEO TV’s religion presenter (and phoney doctor) Amir Liaqat Hussain, a former minister, encouraged people to kill them if they “overstepped their bounds” and an Ahmedi doctor was promptly killed; there was some fuss in the liberal press but his programme aalim-Online is still on TV and writes a particularly vicious column in a major newspaper.
Filed under Al Qaeda, Army, FATA, History, Identity, India, Islam, Islamabad, Islamism, minorities, Pakistan, Religion, Rights, state, strategy, Taliban, USA, violence, war
It is a shame that a massacre of Ahmadi community by religious fanatics has brought to fore their plight in Pakistan. We firmly believe that any one’s religion is his or her own private matter and the state of Pakistan is absolutely wrong in branding its citizens as Muslims or non Muslims. Based on conversations with many of my Ahmadi friends inside and outside of Pakistan, it seems almost inconceivable that the state and the society can so heartlessly discriminate against a minority sect. Below we are reproducing a touching blog post by Wajahat S. Khan titled “Why waste your time with me; I am an Ahmadi”. For all of our valued readers, we want to make it clear that we are not a theological debating forum. We are about complete seperation of the state and the mosque. This post is absolutely not about the theological merits or demerits, but rather about the wrongs committed by Pakistani society in its religious zeal and fervour. (AZW)
Why waste your time with me, after all I am an Ahmadi
By Wajahat S. Khan
I am an Ahmadi. There are four million of me in Pakistan. This Islamic Republic is the only state in the world which has officially declared me to to be a non-Muslim. Why? It’s simple. I am an Ahmadi.
Ordinances have been passed against me. Acts and Constitutional Amendments have been drafted around me. Shortly after the heart and soul of our nation was ripped into two, a country reeling to define and defend its own identity unleashed itself upon me. In 1974, a parliament I had voted for adopted a law that outlawed me.
The rest of you were given a different story. Unlike you, I was not a “a person who believes in the finality of the Prophet Muhammad PBUH”. But nobody really asked me what I believed in. Why? Because I am different. Because I don’t matter. Because I am an Ahmadi.
Filed under human rights, Identity, Islam, Islamabad, Islamism, Jinnah's Pakistan, Lahore, minorities, Pakistan, Punjab, Religion, secular Pakistan, state, Taliban, Terrorism, violence, World