Posted by Raza Rumi
Today is the 26th death anniversary of Faiz Ahmed Faiz whose life and works are national assets. Faiz was a torchbearer of the glorious traditions set by great Urdu poets such as Ghalib and Iqbal. Faiz distinguished himself as a proponent of a revolutionary vision, which blended the romance of classical Urdu poetry with the idealism of revolutionary struggles. Faiz’s political ideology provided modern Urdu verse an unprecedented political and romantic expression. Faiz brought Pakistan international acclaim and the world bestowed on him the highest honours, including the Lenin Peace Prize (1962). He has also left a corpus of essays, editorials and commentaries from his years in journalism. This body of work still needs to be fully assessed for its literary dimensions. Faiz’s literary career coincided with the emergence of Pakistan and its unfortunate history of political instability and militarisation, which isolated its majority Eastern wing and resulted in its break-up in 1971. His famous poem ‘Yeh Daagh Daagh Ujala’ remains an apt comment on the creation of a ‘moth-eaten’ Pakistan, which continues to grapple with issues of identity. The Pakistani state treated him shoddily as he remained under arrest for extended periods or in exile.
The decade of the 1970s witnessed a change when Bhutto appointed him as Chairman of the National Council of the Arts. Faiz authored Pakistan’s Culture Policy of [early 1970s], which was partially implemented. This new cultural discourse broke the hegemony of the Continue reading
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
By Nabiha Meher Shaikh
As someone constantly exposed to the so-called “youth” of this country, I do believe I have some insight and some valid criticism of the recent ban on facebook, which, ostensibly, has to do with blasphemous content.
Firstly, what is the “youth” of this country? And why are they lumped into a monolithic entity? Why is it assumed that they are all one and the same when their realities are different in many ways. To assume that our “youth” is living air-conditioned lives, constantly logged on to the internet, chatting away etc. is purely delusional. The truth is, the vast majority of the “youth” are very poor and cannot access websites. The “youth” is actually the majority of our population. And we are constantly trying to box them into holes on what they should be, what they should do, how they should think, how they should behave, killing off any diversity that exists… this has lead to an increase in intolerance which I have noticed in my less than three decades of existence, despite the fact that sensitivity towards women’s issues has increased as compared to my generation (I’m only talking about educated people here though. I do acknowledge that the ground realities for women have become even more horrific). Sounds contradictory? It’s not. Read on. It’s all connected to religion and wanting to desperately prove that their religion is not barbaric towards women, a criticism that has very valid roots since, let’s face it, the status of women in the Muslim world is far from decent. So even though I see an increase in gender sensitivity, I also see an increase in linear thinking, mostly intolerant, reeking of a severe persecution complex (“the world is out to get us and destabilise Islam!”), which is very, very dangerous. Continue reading
*This article is an abridged translation of one of the chapters from Col Rafi ud Din’s Urdu book “Bhutto kay akhri 323 din” (The last 323 days of Mr. Bhutto). Col. Rafi ud Din was the Special Security Superintendent of the Rawalpindi Jail*
Official Notification of Mr. Bhutto’s Execution
According to the orders of the SMLA, the following officials were to inform Mr. Bhutto of his execution on the night of 3-4 April 1979:
1) – Jail Superintendent, Mr. Yar Mohammad
2) – Security Battalion Commander, Lieutenant Colonel Rafi-ud-Din
3) – Magistrate First Class, Mr. Bashir Ahmad Khan
4) – Jail Doctor, Mr. Sagheer Hussain Shah
This party entered the jail cell at 6:05 p.m. in the evening on April 3rd and found Mr. Bhutto lying on the mattress on the floor.
Jail Superintendent, Yar Mohammad, read the execution order to Mr. Bhutto, “According to the 18th March 1978 order of the Lahore High Court, You, Mr. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto are to be hanged for the murder of Nawab Mohammad Ahmad Khan. Your appeal in the Supreme Court was rejected on 6th February 1979 and the review petition was turned down on 24th March 1979. The president of Pakistan has decided not to interfere in this matter. So it has been decided to hang you.”
I did not see any signs of panic on Mr. Bhutto’s face while the Jail Superintendent was reading out the orders. Instead, I could see that he was quite calm & relaxed and had a smile on his face. I was really surprised at the way Mr. Bhutto had handled the news. I was thinking that we were about to hang a leader who had listened to the orders of his execution with such calm and serenity. I could hear a voice inside me that the death of this person would be disastrous for our nation & our country. Probably for the first time in my life I felt that I was losing control over myself. Continue reading
Pause, sirs, and ponder
By I.A. Rehman Dawn 24 Dec, 2009
The fact that in its response to the Supreme Court judgment of Dec 16 the nation is divided cannot be denied, and prudence demands that the causes of this division should not be brushed aside without careful scrutiny.
A large section of society believes that Pakistan has become a corruption-free entity and a judicially controlled democracy while a none-too-small section feels deeply hurt. Much can be said for and against both sides. Continue reading
By Brigadier (ret) Simon Samson Sharaf
In an emotional and controversial address to his constituency, the President of Pakistan, Mr. Asif Ali Zardari referred to the country as Sindhu Desh. In his fiery and reactive speech, this was perhaps the only silver lining. Deliberately or otherwise, he had touched a very sensitive issue of nationhood.
The politicians of Sindh unlike the Unionists of Punjab have been more Pakistani in many ways than they are accredited. Jinnah, the Syeds, Qazis, Soomros and Bhuttos are but to name a few. Reviewing the annals of history, we are pleasantly reminded that Pakistan was never the realization of one ethnicity, sect or mindset. It was a struggle based on the aspirations of diverse groups and still remains so. Continue reading
By Samson Simon Sharaf
When Zulfikar Ali Bhutto entrusted Major General Naseerullah Babar to create a student dominated resistance in Afghanistan, he ignored a very important lesson of power politics. Hans Joachim Morgenthau in his book, Politics Amongst Nations, had observed: “The statesman must think in terms of the national interest, conceived as power among other powers.” Was this ignorance or deliberate? Determined to create a new Pakistan, Bhutto was riding a wave of diplomatic successes. It seems he decided to taste the forbidden fruit. Continue reading