By Yasser Latif Hamdani
Published in Daily Times, May 31 2010
The Second Amendment laid the foundations of intolerance and religious tyranny in Pakistan, which has manifested itself in other ways. Since then our state has been in a downward spiral
The violence against the Ahmediyya community underscores the bigotry that has become the hallmark of our beloved homeland. A community — already sacrificed at the altar of political expediency — has now been made to pay the ultimate price.
Amongst the dead, which included retired army officers and other contributors to Pakistani society, was reportedly the youngest brother of Chaudhry Zafarullah Khan. For those who are unaware of who Chaudhry Zafarullah was, he was the author of the Lahore Resolution, Pakistan’s first foreign minister and Pakistan’s advocate before the Boundary Commission. In other words, this community has paid for such crimes as their valiant contribution to the Pakistan Movement, their significant role in the development of Pakistan and the fact that Pakistan’s only Nobel Prize was bagged by them. Yet what happened on Friday was waiting to happen, given the neglect and at times outright bigotry that our governments, both federal and provincial, have been guilty of on this count starting with the PPP government in 1974.
Things were not always like this. It bears remembering that in 1944 when a group of Muslim divines approached Jinnah to persuade him unsuccessfully to turn all Ahmedis out of the Muslim League, Jinnah was resolute against such bigotry. He responded to them by saying, “Who am I to declare non-Muslim a person who calls himself a Muslim?” It was for this reason that many religious parties and even self-styled freedom fighters like Mirza Ali Khan (Faqir of Ipi) denounced the Muslim League as a “bastion of Qadiyanism”. Yet such was the force of character of our founding father that he not only stood against such bigotry but without any fear appointed the leading Ahmedi Muslim at the time to shoulder the most important responsibility for the Muslims of South Asia, i.e. of arguing Pakistan’s case before the Boundary Commission. So long as the Quaid’s colleagues were at the helm, there was some semblance of common sense that prevailed on this issue. When in 1953, the Majlis-e-Ahrar and the Jamaat-e-Islami, both groups that had opposed the creation of Pakistan, started a mass agitation movement to have Ahmedis like Chaudhry Zafarullah turned out from the government and excommunicated from Islam, Khawaja Nazimuddin, himself a devout Muslim, refused to bow under their pressure. His government fell a few weeks later and the establishment stepped in to sweep up the mullahs with extreme prejudice.
Filed under Activism, Democracy, human rights, Identity, Islam, Islamism, Jinnah's Pakistan, minorities, Pak Tea House, Religion, Rights, Taliban, Terrorism, violence
10 years ago the world’s leading Christian Organizations signed and presented the UN Commission of Human Rights joint statement. This is worth reading. We – the Pakistanis who have kept our faith in Jinnah’s Pakistan- endorse this statement. We hope that the Government of Pakistan- democratic and constitutional- will now move decisively to undo this horrible horrible legacy from Zia’s years. -YLH Continue reading
Is Pakistan winning this year’s Twenty20 a symptom of the receding influence of the Tableeghi Jammat in the team, asks Nadeem F. Paracha.
In 1996 when the underdog Sri Lankan cricket team created one upset after another to finally win that year’s prestigious Cricket World Cup, the then decade long Civil War on the island between the Sinhalese-dominated government and the Tamil Tigers took a subtle but definitive turn.  Continue reading
By Yasser Latif Hamdani
If Nehru could see this, he would probably not be as blind to the religion and caste-based ugliness of his constituents as he was when he refused to recognize that there was some logic to Muslim grievances. If the scion of the supposedly secular Nehru-Gandhi family could use such language what should one say of others?
Varun Gandhi reminds one of our own Mr. Aamir Liaqat Hussain. One suspects that both had sheltered upbringing as is obvious from the copious amounts of baby fat on their faces and one also suspects that there might be greater issues pyschologically, mentally and indeed self image that are at play.
By Ishtiaq Ahmed
The barbaric murder of Jagdeesh Kumar, accused of blasphemy by some of his workmates at a garment factory in Karachi, brings out in sharp focus once again the exposed and vulnerable situation of non-Muslims in a Pakistan still wedded to the legacy of General Zia-ul-Haq.
When the police finally intervened, the body of the 22-year-old victim had been mutilated and disfigured beyond recognition: among other things the eyes had been gouged out. The reports published indicate that he was a quiet man, from a poverty-stricken Hindu family belonging to some obscure village in the Sindh desert. People with such a depressed and vulnerable background come to factories to eek out a miserable living, not to engage in religious controversies. In the days and weeks ahead, we will learn that some petty personal quarrel or irrational hatred of a Hindu was the real reason for his murder.
What happened in Karachi was reminiscent of the lynching of African-Americans by white racists in the southern states of the US as late as the early 20th century. Until those laws were changed, black men and women were killed for the flimsiest of reasons. I remember one story when a white shopkeeper took out his gun and shot dead an old black man, who for years had been delivering merchandise to him, when an altercation took place between that man and a white man who had come to the shop for the first time. The white shopkeeper sided with a complete stranger, because the race laws had conditioned him to react in that way.
Anyone who follows the news from Pakistan and reads the reports published regularly by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan would find that violence and brutality against non-Muslims increased exponentially after the blasphemy law was imposed in 1982 and reformulated in 1986. The connection between law and social behaviour is a well-established fact and, quite simply, bad, intolerant and violence-inducing laws produce malevolent behaviour among members of society. Let me quote both the relevant texts on blasphemy in Pakistan: