Tag Archives: sectarian

Humanity defied: flood relief and politics of faith

Usman Ahmad has sent this exclusive post for PTH that highlights yet another fissure in our collective conduct – denying relief to people on the basis of their faith is cruel and inhuman. We strongly condemn the treatment meted out to minorities even in these disastrous times. Each time such a report makes news, we are cruelly reminded that this is neither Jinnah’s Pakistan nor the country envisioned by millions who moved to this land in 1947. Raza Rumi

There is increasing evidence to suggest that in their efforts to relieve the victims of the recent floods the authorities and elements of the local population have taken upon themselves the right to decide whom among them is actually ‘deserving’ of aid. This may, to some extent have been justified had there been a clearly set forth criteria for prioritisation based on factors like, the age, gender and the health of victims or the extent of loss and injury suffered by those displaced in the disaster. But in the flood-affected areas of south Punjab, when it comes to the Ahmadis, the over-riding concern seems to be their religious beliefs and not the common bond of humanity.
Since flooding began, almost 450 Ahmadi families have been displaced in the districts of Muzaffargarh, Dera Ghazi Khan and Rajanpur. Many have been turned away from relief camps and other accommodation, either for fear of ‘unrest’ or because of pressure from local clerics and the lay population, while most have been left to fend for themselves. Not only this, but Ahmadis have also seen Fatwa’s issued that they should not be lent any form of assistance.
According to the spokesperson of the community, Mr Saleem-ud-Din, absolutely no help or relief has been offered to the Ahmadis by the authorities. “We do not make any demands from the government”, he said, “but in the initial stages of the relief operation they should have deployed their various resources, to help the region’s Ahmadis, in the same way that they assisted the non-Ahmadi population. Not a single boat or helicopter was used to rescue Ahmadi families. Instead, the Jama’at hired whatever transport we could and rescued the stranded victims ourselves. When all this is over the Jama’at will itself undertake the task of reconstructing their homes. We expect nothing from anyone.”
In Basti Rinda, not only were the Ahmadis offered no assistance to evacuate the town but were threatened with a lathi charge if they did not make their own arrangements to leave the area. According to one Ahmadi, Muhammad Iqbal Sehrani, the rest of the population were assisted in the evacuation immediately provided with food and shelter. Later, under pressure from locals, Ahmadis were ejected them from a number of private homes where the owners had given them shelter and were forced to look for rented accommodation during this time of crises.
Elsewhere an aid-worker who had visited Rajanpur told me that he was approached by locals who warned him not to assist the Ahmadis there because they ‘rejected’ the Prophet Muhammad. Members of the Jama’at have also been turned away from relief camps in Muzaffargarh.
Owing to this chronic lack of help, almost 200 hundred Ahmadis have sought shelter in Rabwah, where they are being accommodated in guest houses or private homes. There the Jama’at has taken upon itself to provide them with food and any other assistance they may require.
South Punjab has proved a hotbed of anti-Ahmadi feeling in the past. A number of cases have been registered against Ahmadis in the area under the various provisions of the Blasphemy Law, while in 2003, the head of the Ahmadi community in Rajanpur, Mr Mian Iqbal Ahmad, was murdered in a religiously motivated target killing.
The hideous spectre of hate and discrimination continues to haunt the country even in this time of great peril and casts further doubt on the ongoing relief efforts which many Pakistanis have come to view with suspicion. Instead of putting each other’s differences aside and fostering a spirit of togetherness, there are still elements who seek to use every possible opportunity to foster mutual discord. In the wake of the May 28 terror attack in Lahore, there were many who insisted that despite their religious differences, Ahmadis were citizens of Pakistan and had the right to be recognised. Now more than ever these sentiments need to be put into realised and the country needs to unite in order to overcome this terrible tragedy.

19 Comments

Filed under disaster

Taliban and Sipah-e-Sahaba’s attack on Eid Milad-un-Nabi rallies


Rescuers stand near a child injured by a firing, at a local hospital in Dera Ismail, Pakistan on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2010. According to police official unidentified gunmen opened fire on a procession celebrate anniversary of the birth of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad.(AP photo/Ishtiaq Mehsud)

Abdul Nishapuri writes on the let’sbuildup Pakistan blog

The 12 Rabi-ul-Awwal is celebrated by Muslims in Pakistan as the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad (peace by upon him and his progeny). In particular, Sunni Barelvi Muslims organize large public meetings and rallies on that day in the memory of the Prophet.

It is however a known fact that certain Muslim sects (e.g. Wahhabi and Deobandi) term such ceremonies of the Eid Mila-un-Nabi as shirk (polytheism) and biddat (innovation in religion). Continue reading

12 Comments

Filed under Al Qaeda, Religion, Taliban, Terrorism, violence, War On Terror

Jinnah’s Pakistan in Retreat

From The News

By Maleeha Lodhi

An event in the life of a nation sometimes has deeper significance than what appears on the surface. The accord by which the government all but ceded administrative and judicial control to militants and their Taliban affiliates in Swat is such a development. This has profound implications for the country that have been obscured by the facile discussions on many TV talk shows. It may well mark a turning point in the country’s struggle with rising militancy.

The Swat deal signifies several things all at once. First and foremost it represents a retreat for Jinnah’s Pakistan. Whatever the apologists of the deal may claim, it is the very antithesis of the vision and ideals inspired by the country’s founder, the core of which was a modern, unified Muslim state, not one fragmented along obscurantist and sectarian lines. Several times during and after the struggle for freedom, the Quaid-e-Azam emphatically ruled out anything resembling a throwback to obscurantism or any variant of theocracy. His leadership rested on principle and according to one of his biographers, he preferred “political wilderness to playing to the gallery”. Continue reading

Comments Off on Jinnah’s Pakistan in Retreat

Filed under Pakistan

Chakwal tragedy: An agenda to destroy Pakistan’s pluralism

Yesterday’s ghastly attack at an Imambargah has again highlighted the agenda of the terror-mongers. They want to eliminate all the minorities, plurality of Pakistani population

DECLAN WALSH reporting from the Guardian in Islamabad Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under Pakistan

Casteism: alive and well in Pakistan

Raza Rumi writing for The Friday Times, Pakistan (current issue)

It is a cliché now to say that Pakistan is a country in transition – on a highway to somewhere. The direction remains unclear but the speed of transformation is visibly defying its traditionally overbearing, and now cracking postcolonial state. Globalisation, the communications revolution and a growing middle class have altered the contours of a society beset by the baggage and layers of confusing history. Continue reading

31 Comments

Filed under Pakistan, Punjabi, Rights, Society, south asia

Ayesha Jala’s new book – PARTISANS OF ALLAH

Jihad’s Long Journey 

Read an excerpt from Ayesha Jalal’s book.

Review By PHILIP DELVES BROUGHTON
Wall Street Journal

PARTISANS OF ALLAH
By Ayesha Jalal
(Harvard, 373 pages, $29.95) Continue reading

3 Comments

Filed under Books, History, Islam, movements, Pakistan, public policy, Religion, Society, Terrorism