Raza Habib Raja has authored this exclusive post for PTH. We welcome his original thoughts and courage to express them. Raza Rumi
I have often been much more amazed not at the religious fanaticism of the few, but at passivity of the moderate majority. And although skeptics will cast their doubt but the fact is that Pakistan on the whole has a moderate population, particularly when compared to countries like Iran, Saudi Arabia etc, where large sections of population are thoroughly radicalized. In Pakistan comparable fervour is dominant only in pockets. Yes this is a country which has Taliban but it is also a country where people have largely voted for PPP and PML (N) (which is a moderate conservative political party). This is a country which despite being conservative has never voted clergy into power. It has a relatively independent media and entertainment avenues are more eclectic compared to aforementioned Islamic countries.
And yet this is the also the same country which through legislation declared Ahmadis Non Muslims and that too during the tenor of ZAB, arguably the most intelligent and liberal Prime Minister. And mind you PPP did not originally have any such agenda item in its manifesto. Moreover, Hadood and blasphemy laws are solidly entrenched despite the fact that these were not enacted through a proper legislative procedure. Today parties are reluctant to even debate these controversial legislation[s] despite the obvious fact that these are in contravention of the modern day ideals of human rights. Due to these black laws, the religious extremism and discrimination have been institutionalized and Pakistan has become extremely controversial in the international arena. Despite the enormous negative publicity and being in the watch list of various human rights organizations, there is hardly any concrete debate in Pakistan on the mainstream media and legislative forums to repeal these laws. No political party wants to be the political casualty even if it can muster the two third majority. And this is happening in a country where clergy are regularly outvoted by huge margins. Continue reading