Tag Archives: coexistence

Sindh: Peaceful coexistence: An oasis of religious harmony in Thar desert

y Hafeez Tunio

MITHI: Two elderly turbaned men wearing traditional dhotis were gossiping in Dhatki, the language spoken in Tharparkar and Umerkot districts of Sindh. One introduced himself as Bheru Menghwar and the other as Faqir Muhammad Dars, both residents of Munghat village, some 100 kilometres away from Mithi Town.

Munghat is an oasis of religious harmony in a country where minority communities often complain of discrimination and persecution. This peaceful coexistence of Hindus and Muslims is not unusual for this impoverished desert district where a sense of togetherness transcends all ethnic and communal affiliations.

We, Hindus and Muslims, have lived like one family in this village for the last 200 years. Not a single communal feud has ever been reported that could have threatened communal harmony here. We share each other’s joys and grief.

Not only do we live together, but also share a common graveyard to bury our dead. There is just one thin border line. One side is for Hindus and other for Muslims, said Faqir Dars, 85.

According to local people, the Hindus participate in Muslim religious festivals like Eid and Ashura-e-Muharram. Similarly, Muslims attend Hindu festivals like Diwali and Raksha Bandhan. Many Hindu women also tie Rakhi to their Muslim brothers.

“Many Hindus set up Sabeel for mourners in Muharram, and Muslims in many areas of Tharparkar don’t eat beef out of respect for Hindus who consider the cow as sacred,” said local journalist Khatao Jani. “These people are socially integrated, which is why there has been no dispute between Hindus and Muslims. Generally too, the crime rate in the district is negligible,” he said.

According to the 1998 census, 64% Muslims and 36% Hindus live in Tharparkar, but not a single incident of forced conversion, kidnapping for ransom and extortion has been reported here in recent memory.

Continue reading Sindh: Peaceful coexistence: An oasis of religious harmony in Thar desert

Occupy Islamabad!

For decades, we have heard, and chanted, slogans against the evils of capitalism. We have witnessed the monopolization of multinational corporates and intensifying ratio of starvation, growing side by side. We have seen so many wars, imposed in the name of peace. We have heard enough lies about the people’s struggle and their achievements of the past. We have watched the world transforming into a global village of miseries, poverty, bloodshed, hunger and oppression. Now, the masses, all over the world, seem to realize the root cause of all the miseries: exploitation of man’s labour by man. Capitalism is failing. The world is changing!

It is a historical moment for us. The advocates of free-market economy are shaken by the series of protests that, starting from the New York City, have captured the hundreds of cities all over the world. These protests represent the awakening class-consciousness of the masses that has culminated in the Occupy Wall Street Movement. These occupy activists have gathered to change the existing economic inequality of the system. They have always been taught that Marx was wrong in his critique of capitalism. They have realized the empirical evidence of the opposite.

Karl Marx, in the 19th century, had explained the inevitable presence of exploitation as an essential ingredient of capitalism. The German social scientist had proved that, in any society, the exploitation takes place when a few people own all the means of production and the majority, who doesn’t own anything, is bound to sell its labour to that minor class which accumulates private property. While, the state functions to protect that unequal distribution of wealth, assuring the widening class-differences.

The NY Post has referred the Occupy Movement as the New York’s ‘Marxist Epicenter’. It has countered the myth, propagated by the media, that the occupy activists are a breed of bored, hippie-like folks who are doing some adventurism to seek attention. According to their report, the flags depicting revolutionary icons can be seen everywhere, showing their ideological commitment. Moreover, the ‘occupiers’ openly refer to each other as ‘comrade’, a term used by the left-wing worldwide, meaning ‘friend’ or ‘ally’. Their literature openly declares Socialism as a cure of all the prevailing problems.

At this historical moment, the Pakistan’s left is reorganizing like their counterparts of the West. We have a long history of youth’s struggle against the dark military regimes. From the Democratic Students Federation’s front ‘Red Guards’ to the Lawyer’s movement, our young activists have always stood for the people’s cause. Continuing their legacy of internationalism, Pakistan’s left parties have decided to start anti-capitalist camps, initiating from Lahore, not only for the solidarity for the Occupy Wall Street movement, but also as a continuous struggle to change our indigenous problems. We need to realize the importance of this revolutionary wave. We need to be in the flow. For how long the people will continue to suffer and dream for a better society? The time has come to make those dreams an existing reality. The time has come to reject all the confused liberators. The time has come to chant, ‘Occupy Islamabad!’

But, unfortunately, the state is not the only thing to occupy, in our case. We are aware that Pakistan suffers from multiple complex issues. We don’t only have the corrupt feudal political families and their huge palaces to occupy; we have millions of minds to occupy which are burning in the flames of religious fanaticism. We have to occupy the rising sectarian mindset of the people. We have to occupy the religious rage to assure peaceful coexistence of everyone. We have to occupy the narcissistic prism and replace it with rationality and realism. We have to occupy the filth of the society and the filth within. And we, the people, can do that! We can do that because we are the 99 percent!

Courtesy» The Express Tribune

Trading with the enemy. – By Najam Sethi

The granting of Most Favoured Nation (MFN) to India has confounded certain long-established political and ideological vested interests. The story of why Pakistan denied this status to India for two decades and why it has relented today is worth telling because it sheds light on a critical dimension of Pakistan’s “national security doctrine”. ….

Read more » The Friday Times

Combat terrorism By Destroying Its Conceptual Roots

Combat Jihad By Destroying Its Conceptual Roots

by Farzana Hassan

Osama Bin Laden’s lethal legacy continues into the second decade of the 9/11 attacks. Like a hydra, terrorist cells sprout in various corners of the world, promoting their hate-filled agenda and its deadly consequences for unsuspecting victims. The strategies of the terrorists have changed considerably, but their goal remains the same—to replace pluralism, democracy, and peaceful coexistence — with intolerance, demagoguery and violence. …

Read more » propagandistmag

Sindhi-Mohajir Rapprochement is possible

– Rapprochement is possible

By Abrar Kazi & Zulfiqar Halepoto

ONCE again, differences between the PPP and MQM have translated into a Sindhi-Mohajir confrontation. In fact, the reasons for this are inherent in the politics of both parties.

The politics of PPP which it calls ‘the politics of reconciliation’ is in fact politics without principles that negates its manifesto. For example, the party promised to undo the Musharraf-era division of Hyderabad district and the clubbing together of Karachi’s five districts, which Benazir Bhutto criticised as an administrative division imposed by a dictator. But the promise was never fulfilled.

The PPP’s major fault is, however, to take the support of Sindhis for granted. It has failed to recognise that the Sindhi people’s love for their motherland transcends party lines, all sacrifices rendered by the PPP or any other party notwithstanding, and that their unity of thought on major issues is phenomenal.

The MQM’s politics appears to be based on the ethnic sentiments of its voters, which when exploited, have the damaging effect of causing dislike for those who do not speak Urdu. The journey from ‘Mohajir’ to ‘Muttahida’ was considered a policy shift towards the integration of MQM supporters with the rest of Sindh. But it turned out to be more a change of strategy than of heart.

Such politics tend to paint all Urdu-speaking people with the same brush although most are progressive and liberal and desire peace and integration. Pakistan’s security establishment, the guardians of the ‘ideological and geographical frontiers’ of the country, have contributed their own bit to this confrontation so that the province has reached its present status of seemingly insurmountable problems.

Consciously or unconsciously, a large segment of the Urdu-speaking intelligentsia, civil society and media have either kept quiet or are perceived as supporting such an ethnic viewpoint thereby increasing the rift. Pervez Musharraf’s dictatorship further widened the gulf through deliberate design to give control of Sindh’s urban centres to the MQM as independent administrative units through the district government system. The LGO 2001 appeared to dovetail with the thinking of those who supported the idea of a Mohajir province in Sindh. This resulted in causing suspicion among Sindhis, who despite the numerous merits of the local government system, rejected the change as an attempt to divide Sindh.

Sindhis voted for the PPP and its manifesto which promised to undo all Musharraf’s actions including the local government system of 2001. Since then, there have been incessant demands for the promised actions.

One point must be noted here. Since 1988, the MQM and the PPP have shared power in Sindh three times. Without going into the deeper factors, the general acceptance of the power-sharing by the masses is indicative that by and large the voters and also the people are fundamentally in favour of coexistence between the Sindh- and Urdu-speaking-sindhis of the province.

Another point worth noting is that the ‘Sindh card’ often played by the PPP whenever it has been in trouble is in effect dead from this point on.

Rather than acting on people’s aspirations, the PPP government has resorted to unprincipled politics, refusing to understand the larger issues involved in the present controversy and thus further aggravating the Sindhi-Urdu (Mohajir) divide.

The angry reaction of Sindhis against the PPP and MQM must be seen against this backdrop. It is not about a few nationalist leaders, intellectuals and members of civil society agitating the people. Neither is it about the present district government controversy. It is the pent-up frustration and anger of many decades of authoritarian and military rule in Pakistan, especially in Sindh. It is about what is seen as the plunder of Sindh’s resources without corresponding benefits to Sindh.

It is about the ownership of two prosperous cities of Sindh, established and developed by a competent and dedicated mercantile and cosmopolitan Sindhi Hindu and Muslim class that flourished much before Pakistan came into existence. It is about the humiliation of seeing a provincial assembly passing a resolution to in effect put a ban on Sindhis getting admission in public-sector professional institutions and employment in the multinational companies. It is also about the frustration at the unending cycle of blood on the streets.This constant confrontation between Sindhis and Mohajirs (urdu-speaking-sindhis0 is a source of great loss to Pakistan and still greater loss to Sindh. Despite being secular and progressive, Sindh lags behind in terms of economic and social development because of the albatross of PPP and MQM policies. Sindh is a prosperous and resource-rich province. It is also a land of secular and liberal people who have given strong political leadership to Pakistan from Jinnah to Benazir Bhutto.

It presented the incumbent PPP government an unmatched opportunity to correct all the wrongs done to the country by the civil and military establishment of Pakistan. A strong democratic and plural society, could have been created to tackle terrorism, the sectarian and ethnic divide and violence in politics but the opportunity was lost by the PPP. The MQM’s alignment with the security establishment further damaged the cause.

There is still hope though. The present revolt against the PPP indicates that Sindhis can reject their own elected government if they fear a division of the province. This raises the opportunity for progressive Urdu-speaking Sindhis to join hands with the Sindhis to make the province an ideal homeland setting an example of peaceful coexistence and democracy.

Courtesy: DAWN.COM

Even if you have to go to China – Dr Manzur Ejaz

Unlike China, Pakistan does not base its policies on economic and other pragmatic bases; instead it reverts to so-called ideological sentimentalism

According to a most quoted hadith, one should go even to China to seek knowledge. Following one part of the hadith, our military and civilian leaders have been frequently visiting China but their actions show that they learnt nothing from them. The second favourite visiting place has been Jeddah and it seems that they learnt nothing from the Saudi royals either although there is not much to learn from there. As a matter fact, they learnt their negative aspects in both cases and did not pay attention to their policy of coexistence with superpowers and their neighbours.

Let us first take the most desirable place to learn, China, preached in the hadith and see what we should have learnt from them. ….

Read more → Daily TimesWichaar

Post-Osama Pakistan – Nizamuddin Nizamani

Excerpt:

…. Primarily, religious education must be transformed. Religion taught civilisation but, unfortunately, religious beliefs ended up as being the single factor of rift and division among mankind. Its misinterpretation has created fanaticism and intolerance, lethal for coexistence. The Muslim youth has been brainwashed to do away with the present life, treat it as worthless and instead prepare for life in the hereafter. The easy shortcut to paradise is jihad and becoming a martyr with a guaranteed passport to heaven. This kind of indoctrination should be banned and the state should ensure modern education to such groups.

Secondly, there seems to be a dire need for ijtihad (religious discourse and debate), on many Quranic ayaat (verses) and ahadith (sayings of the Prophet (PBUH)) prone to misinterpretation. The clergy has been selective while interpreting a few ayaat and ahadith in the background of time and space but ignoring the parameters of others. They allow Muslim males to marry Christian or Jewish females as being ahl-e-kitab (followers of the divine books). Simultaneously, they emphasise that yahood-o-nasara (Jews and Christians) are the archenemies of Islam. They do not consider the time and space of such sayings. They do not press the Prophet’s (PBUH) teachings such as “Lakum deenukum waliya deen” (unto you is your religion and unto me is my religion). A political will can reverse this process, as whenever the state planned and took the clergy onboard, they came out with the required ayaat and ahadith to serve the collective purpose — population and drug controls are good examples.

Third, the electronic media must be regulated to filter out hate speech and indoctrination through provocation. The Hamid Gul brand of think tanks should be advised to retire for good. They should go for perpetual prayers to prepare for the life hereafter. Fourth, the defence forces should be purged of alleged disgruntled individuals, and they should be respectfully retired to civilian life, away from sensitive strategic decision-making. Fifth, those who believe in peace and coexistence should not be blamed as being enemy agents and, instead, should be taken onboard in decision-making. Sixth, the perpetual fallacy that Pakistan is in danger from external enemies must be shunned. We need to repair our home. Dangers lie within, not outside. Prolonged issues and conflicts with religious and ethnic minorities must be addressed with a mindful strategy. Lastly, we need to unlearn our sense of superiority and learn to live and let live in peace with all countries including Afghanistan, Iran, the US, India and even Israel. Otherwise, we are bound to be either isolated and in trouble from vengeful forces or land in the morass of self-pity for good.

Read more : Daily Times

Enhancing Peace through Art and Literature

by Jamil Hussain Junejo

Peace has been remaining most desired and higher value of human society throughout the Human history. All the humanist Religious leaders, philosophers, writers, Artists have been laboriously striving hard for establishing societies where the value of peace reigns supreme. Peace holds such high esteem and concern because it is prerequisite for establishing developed and advanced societies aswel states which could be marked with social and economic justice, equality, freedom and rule of law.

Continue reading Enhancing Peace through Art and Literature