The language of the program is urdu (Hindi).
Courtesy: News 1 (Bang-e-Dara 23 May 2011 with Faisal Qureshi)
Conference on Partition – Past and Present, on Saturday, October 15, 2011
Sub topics: 1947 Indian Subcontinent Partition, past and present; Partitions of Bengal; Partitions of Punjab, Kashmir and Assam; Partition studies in the Indian Subcontinent; Effects of partition on Assam, Tripura and Sindh; Bangladesh War of Independence; Reconciliation and forgiveness; Unity; Identity; History; Divided peoples of Africa, Asia, Europe and the Former Soviet Union; Narratives of refugees, survivors and protectors; Division’s long-term effect; Effects of displaced peoples on host population; Minority issues in divided lands; Indigenous peoples, their language, culture and religion; Longing for home. Date: Saturday, October 15, 2011, Time: 8:30 AM, Place: Politics, Economics & Law Department, State University of New York, Old Westbury, Long Island, New York 11568.
by Zar Ali Khan
Tableeghi Jumat is opposed to the Pashtun culture and is busy working against the culture of Pashtun. They are promoting Arabization, an Arab culture in the name of religion Islam. They do not like Pashtun names and name their near and dear as Arabs. These religious people have entered into each and every pashtun house under a conspiracy of Pakistani establishment and ISI. These people are also against music and dub musicians as infidals and enemies of God …
Read more: View Point
Dear Pakistani Muslim brethren (and sisterren who became breteren), our armed forces have been fighting a war on two fronts. One is against corrupt civilian politicians, who want us to submit our sovereignty to Christian/Jew/McDonalds America and Hindu India, and one against uncircumcised Hindu/Christian/Atheist /Jain men posing to be Muslim warriors.
In this day and age of utter chaos and confusion in our Islamic republic, it is the duty of patriotic Pakistanis to continue informing their young compatriots as to why this country was formed.
There is so much these days out there in the electronic media and the cyber world about Pakistan, but unfortunately a lot of it is squarely aimed at confusing our young generations and making them rebel against their land’s ideology.
Dear compatriots, I must remind you that Pakistan came into being, first and foremost, to challenge the hegemony of the West, especially the United States.
To quote our great leader, Muhammad Ali Jinnah: ‘You are free to go to your mosques or some else’s mosques but only to a mosque in this Islamic republic. Religion is the business of the state and the business is gooood!’
– Pratap Mehta: Pakistan’s Perpetual Identity Crisis
The reconsideration of partition is a critical, current existential question not only for South Asians, but also for Americans who watch the continuous outrages from Taliban and CIA sanctuaries inside Pakistan. It’s a question on many levels — terrorism, geopolitics, ethnicity and religion — but, Pratap Mehta says, “it’s fundamentally the question of the identity of a country.”
In his telling of the partition story, the contemporary reality of Pakistan grew out of a failure to answer a core challenge of creating a nation-state: how do you protect a minority? It’s Mehta’s view that the framers of the modern subcontinent — notably Gandhi, Jinnah & Nehru — never imagined a stable solution to this question. He blames two shortcomings of the political discourse at the time of India’s independence:
The first is that it was always assumed that the pull of religious identities in India is so deep that any conception of citizenship that fully detaches the idea of citizenship from religious identity is not going to be a tenable one.
The second is that Gandhi in particular, and the Congress Party in general, had a conception of India which was really a kind of federation of communities. So the Congress Party saw [the creation of India] as about friendship among a federation of communities, not as a project of liberating individuals from the burden of community identity to be whatever it is that they wished to be.
The other way of thinking about this, which is to think about a conception of citizenship where identities matter less to what political rights you have, that was never considered seriously as a political project. Perhaps that would have provided a much more ideologically coherent way of dealing with the challenges of creating a modern nation-state. – – Pratap Bhanu Mehta with Chris Lydon at the Watson Institute, April 12, 2011.
Unlike many other Open Source talkers on Pakistan, Pratap Mehta does not immediately link its Islamization to the United States and its1980s jihad against the Soviets. Reagan and his CIA-Mujahideen military complex were indeed powerful players in the rise of Islamic extremism in Pakistan, he agrees, but the turn began first during a national identity crisis precipitated by another partition, the creation of Bangladesh in 1971.
Suddenly, Mehta is telling us, Pakistan could no longer define itself as the unique homeland for Muslims in the subcontinent. In search of identity, and distinction from its new neighbor to the east, Pakistan turned towards a West Asian brand of Islam, the hardline Saudi Wahhabism that has become a definitive ideology in today’s Islamic extremism.
Mehta is hopeful, though, that in open democratic elections Islamic parties would remain relatively marginalized, that despite the push to convert Pakistan into a West Asian style Islamic state since 1971, “the cultural weight of it being a South Asian country” with a tradition of secular Islam “remains strong enough to be an antidote.”
We all know that burqa does not have its roots in religion. Religion only asks women to dress modestly. Where did the burqa or veil come from then? Why do so many women in the world cover their faces?
Burqa is a mobile jail invented by men to hide the women they love. If love was involved, I would accept it. That makes the jail a little more acceptable in a twisted kind of way.
But then what kind of man will keep a person he loves in a jail?
So then, Burqa is more a jail to keep in the women they “own”.
Brain washing starts very early. At a very young age, you are told that you have to hide yourself from men. It is ‘piety’ to hide your face. You are also taught to fear men. From a very young age, you are told that men are dangerous and should not be trusted. Only your father and brother are the ones you can trust. As someone put it very eloquently the other day, ‘In Pakistan, women are told that men are wolves and women are sheep.’ and due to this teaching , most men do indeed start acting like wolves and women as sheep.
Our men say that women should cover up, so we would not have ‘thoughts’ about them. Thoughts of harming women and thoughts of raping them. So, they want to put me in a mobile jail just so their mind would stay clean?! What a twisted logic!
But then does it really stop their ‘thoughts’? In the real world, they do not care if you are in a burqa, they will harass you. Covering my face never protected me from street harassment.
In a smaller city in Pakistan, always either my father or brother had to accompany us on the streets, or in spite of all the layers of clothes on us, men would yell taunts, follow, and even try to rub against us when were passing by. Due to this very reason, women can not leave houses alone, and always have to have a male of the house with them. Men have to protect their women from each other in Pakistan and in all muslim countries.
When we moved to a bigger city, Lahore, and got rid of the big chador, sexual harassment, believe it or not, was less. Men around us there were used to women who walked around with out covering their heads and faces. Men were more educated and their own sisters and mothers had more freedom too.
Coming to USA and experiencing the behavior of their men on the streets was an amazing experience. I can walk around wearing whatever I want. No one dares to harass me. That told me that it is not the burqa that keeps the dangerous men away, it is the mindset of a society and it is the implementation of the laws that keep women safe in any country.
My first experience of the cool breeze touching my skin on a beautiful beach in Hawaii was wonderful . Men rob women of their basic right of enjoying the nice weather by putting them in a tent called burqa. It is dark in there and it is hot in there. Just because you do not have ‘thoughts’ about me, I should be suffocated?!
Doctors consider ‘thoughts’ a God made healthy phenomenon. Acting on your thoughts without other person’s consent would put you in a jail for 10-20 years in any civilized country.
It is difficult to understand for a man of an oppressed society that in a free world men indeed learn to control their ‘thoughts’ and do not blame women for it. …
Read more : Let Us Build Pakistan
Seven killed in worst-ever attack on UN workers in Afghanistan
Seven United Nations workers have been executed in the northern Afghanistan city of Mazar-e-Sharif, two of them by beheading, by demonstrators protesting the burning of a Koran at a church in Florida.
By Dean Nelson, New Delhi and Farhad Peikar in Kabul
The victims of the worst-ever attack on UN personnel in Afghanistan included five guards from Nepal, and civilian staff from Norway, Sweden and Romania. Four local residents were also killed.
UN officials told The Daily Telegraph the final toll could rise as high as 20, and there were unconfirmed reports that the head of the United Nations Military Assistance Mission (Unama) in Mazar-e-Sharif had also been seriously injured …
Read more : The Telegraph.co.uk
In India’s Punjab, a rebuilt mosque stirs hope
By Rick Westhead
One of the most revered figures in the Sikh religion, Guru Hargobind built it for the local Muslim community at the same time as the Taj Mahal was being constructed in central India. But in 1947, the Guru Ki Maseet was ransacked and fell into disrepair after Muslims living here migrated to Pakistan following partition.
Nowadays, there are about 15 Muslim families living in Sri Hargobindpur and the closest operable mosque is an hour’s drive away.
Besides preserving what is arguably an archaeological site, the repair means Muslim families here will have a place of worship within walking distance. A Sikh foundation in the U.S. has contributed $20,000 for the project, with the Punjab state government adding another $88,000.
“I think if Gandhi could see this he would pat us on the back,” said Harjeet Bhalla, 60, president of Sri Hargobindpur’s municipal council.
“Ours is a multilingual, multi-religious country so it’s important that we do this.”
Several locals say they hope the project sends a message beyond this remote farming community.
To read full article >> The Star
The prayer/ Namaaz is same since Hazrat Adam, that is why the way of performing Namaaz is not described in the Holy Quran. Islam, Christinanity, and Judaism is one and the same religion.
There are 5 places where one “bends-down” during this prayer (HT5:10). Each time one “bends-down,” he should arch his back bending over …
The content of this prayer were established by the Court established under Moses, at the time at which it was headed by Ezra, Nehemiah, Daniel, Zechariah, etc…( HT5:2); It’s also called the Shemoneh Esreh …
When beginning … daily prayers, start from a standing position facing toward …, with feet side by side, eyes lowered, and ones right hand clasped over his left hand over his heart, with his heart turned to “Above” in fear, awe, and dread, as a servant before his master, (HT5:4).
– NOTE: Not EVERYTHING done in the clip is obligatory. If someone is confused or mislead, it is not our fault because the belief/ opinion/ view is personal matter and it could be right or wrong. The opinions, beliefs, wishes, traditions etc expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the policy of editor.
By Saleem H Ali
What does it mean to be an Islamic state? Was there ever such an entity? Can modernity, as it pertains to developing a functional society in a globalised world, be realised within the context of a theocracy? These are fundamental questions which Pakistanis need to resolve, within this generation, in order for Pakistan to develop and reach its potential.
Pakistan shares the distinction, along with Israel, as being one of only two states to have been crafted, in the post-colonial worlds, on the basis of religion. In both cases enormous migrations were involved with questionable legitimacy for the migrants. The ‘muhajir’ identity continues to be perpetuated, as such, on this basis. The creation of both Israel and Pakistan present a perplexing paradox: Created on the basis of religion, their champions were largely secular individuals. The founders of Zionism as a political force, such as Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben Gurion, were secular. So too were Pakistan’s founders, most notably the Quaid-i-Azam. I would argue that Ben Gurion and Jinnah made a dangerous bargain when it came to conflating cultural identity on the basis of religious adherence.
Pakistan and Israel — two states which don’t recognise each other diplomatically — are facing a similar radicalisation because of that initial crisis of identity which was never fully resolved. Theocratic forces are gaining power in both countries. …
Read more : The Express Tribune
Fourteen Defining Characteristics Of Fascism
By Dr. Lawrence Britt
Dr. Lawrence Britt has examined the fascist regimes of Hitler (Germany), Mussolini (Italy), Franco (Spain), Suharto (Indonesia) and several Latin American regimes. Britt found 14 defining characteristics common to each:
1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism – Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.
2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights – Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of “need.” The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.
3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause – The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial , ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.
4. Supremacy of the Military – Even when there are widespread
domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.
5. Rampant Sexism – The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Divorce, abortion and homosexuality are suppressed and the state is represented as the ultimate guardian of the family institution.
6. Controlled Mass Media – Sometimes to media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.
7. Obsession with National Security – Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.
8. Religion and Government are Intertwined – Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government’s policies or actions.
9. Corporate Power is Protected – The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.
10. Labor Power is Suppressed – Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed.
11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts – Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts and letters is openly attacked.
12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment – Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.
13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption – Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.
14. Fraudulent Elections – Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.
From Liberty Forum
Source Free Inquiry.co
Pakistan: A country created & being destroyed in the name of religion
by Aziz Narejo
It was not long ago when some Indian Muslim leaders had gathered in Lahore and had adopted a resolution at their meeting to demand a brand new country in the name of religion. They systematically created a mass frenzy in the support of their demand and finally achieved what they wanted – ‘a brand new country in the name of religion’. It was born in a pool of blood and was accompanied by the misery and the mass migration on a scale never seen before in the Sub-Continent.
But creating hysteria and dividing population in the name of religion was very easy compared to running and managing a new country. The leadership failed at all levels – and in all sections of the society. The rot started early. They couldn’t bring the country to the people. Couldn’t keep it together. Couldn’t agree on a Constitution or a form of government. First it was Mullahs, feudals and bureaucrats. They were soon joined by the military, which lost no time to enslave everybody else. It became the ‘praetorian masters’, the ‘powers that be’ and the ‘establishment’. The military became the ultimate master of the destiny of the country.
To stop the people from getting their due rights, the establishment created a fake ‘ideology of Pakistan’. When pressed to accept demands of the people, especially from the eastern wing and the smaller provinces, it first created One Unit and then encouraged the rightists to fight the progressive elements and the people of various nationalities demanding their rights. The religious right and the establishment would readily dub them unpatriotic, anti-state, anti-Islam and enemies of the country.
What was the result? They lost half of the country in just 24 years. They still didn’t learn. Created some more monsters in the name of religion and ethnicity. Today everything seems out of control. The rightist groups, which were supported in the name of religion to fight the nationalist and progressive elements in the country and to wage proxy wars on the borders and in India and Afghanistan, have started working on their own agenda. They now think they are in a position to claim the whole pie – ‘why settle for less’?
These groups hold the whole country hostage now. They have made the governance impossible and the country is fast moving to complete anarchy. The establishment still seems to be oblivious of where these groups may take the country and what havoc they may create. It still supports part of these groups considering them as its ‘strategic assets’.
Along with the establishment, some in media and other sections of the society have also developed soft corner for the rightist groups. They think that country could be brought together in the name of religion, which can actually never happen. Religion as it is today can only further divide an already divided country. It may create some more fissures and chaos. Most of the religious groups and parties are at loggerheads with each other and frequently issue edicts dubbing the followers of rival sects as infidels and liable to be eliminated.
Country is clearly on a path to self-destruction. Many of the people would still not realize the seriousness of the situation. They are in the constant state of denial and blame every misfortune either on America or India ….
Read more : Indus Herald
The spirit of religion has been polluted so much that every sect considers the other as non-Muslim. Instead of spiritually uplifting individuals, irrespective of their religion and sect, religion has been turned into a power game, a political circus ….
Read more : Wichaar
SINDH – HYDERABAD, Feb 20: Leaders of nationalist and left-wing parties and prominent poets and writers have called for concrete efforts to curb fundamentalism and demanded separation of religion from state and equal rights for minorities.
Speaking at a seminar on ‘Religious extremism and black laws of Zia’s regime’ organised by the “Left Unity” at the press club here on Sunday, they stressed the need for a united front comprising all secular, nationalist and progressive forces for combating fundamentalism and promoting secularism.
Renowned intellectual Mohammad Ibrahim Joyo said that after independence the Quaid-i-Azam had unequivocally declared that religion would be the personal concern of the individual and every citizen of Pakistan would have equal rights. But successive governments in the country violated this principle.
Mr Joyo called upon the working class and oppressed people to unite to protect their rights.
He said Sindhis, Balochs and Pakhtuns were oppressed nations. He said that not only “black laws of the Zia regime” but all discriminatory laws should be repealed.
Left Unity secretary Buxal Thallo said that religious extremism was a threat for the country’s progress and called upon all political parties to launch a joint struggle against fundamentalism. …
Read more : DAWN
Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. – Frederick Douglass
By Ghulam Mustafa Lakho
The best constitutional, non-violent and peaceful way to win the right of EQUAL CITIZENSHIP is to DEMAND repeal of the STATE RELIGION from the Constitution. I have the honor to propose “INTERNATIONAL DAY AGAINST STATE RELIGION.” Let us fix the 11th day of August as “INTERNATIONAL DAY AGAINST STATE RELIGION.” I hope that the foundation of such Day (IDASR) will set individuals and groups in motion to openly express their views against the State Religion. Let us urge all the countries of Europe and all the other civilized nations around the world including United Nations to recognize this DAY.
Read more : INTERNATIONAL DAY AGAINST STATE RELIGION
Written by: Daniel Greenfield
Mankind has been searching for the perfect government, longer than it has been searching for the ability to transmute lead into gold. But while transmutation can turn lead into gold, no amount of energy in the world can make a government perfect. The atomic structures of every metal are a known quantity, but human beings are not. And never can be.
The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle applies not just to electrons, but even more so to the paired entanglement of government and the governed. No system that rules over men can ever work perfectly. Nor was it ever meant to. But that hasn’t stopped progressive ideologies and philosophies from trying over and over again in age after age. Their goal is to create a perfect government that can then turn out perfect men. …
Read more : Eurasiareview
Pakistan was a creation of British Mind … Jinnah was used..
I want to clarify first thing first and that is that I am no anti-Pakistan, no anti Jinnah, etc etc…. I purely wrote these lines by thinking from another point of view and for healthy and constructive discussion, based on historical facts and logic.
The title says it all and I dont think there is more to it , but just by reading/listening some of the great politicians of that time and unbiased historians would reveal many a things which can be analysed with little common sense…
Jinnah was no saint that he can not make mistakes. He made some grave mistakes and the worst after division of India was that he did not develop any kind of leadership under him which left morons to govern the new land. He was intentionally or unintentionally advocating the British and landlords of united India (now waderas/sardars of Pakistan, who are ruling till now).
Religion was just a slogan to create an environment in masses and was effectively used by British and Jinnah ….. and they learned it well that people of sub-continent are more emotional for religion than required and it can be seen even today… At that time,they witnessed this “Khilafat Movement” and kept it in their minds to use it whenever required.
Other than the sole purpose of dividing the sub continent, there was no religion in Jinnah’s life, he was the same sort of moderate or even more than the present day ‘s moderates…. He was brought up in England and was much much impressed by them and their culture… Today we say that how can a person coming from abroad, lead us as he is no from masses, but Jinnah was not from masses as well…. He was also the same protocol hungry as today s politicians are… This can be confirmed by anyone who was alive in Karachi when Pakistan was created and he/she saw the motorcade of Jinnah.
He was secular minded, who always use to wear the modernized clothes like westerners, even after the creation of Pakistan, and the shoes he used to wear were also from Europe (branded at that time). His personal views about religion (the thing we call religion/or we are brain-washed in the name of religion) are very much evident from his public life. The way he brought up his daughter, the way he went for “Love marriage” with a non-muslim and the way he allowed his daughter to marry a non-muslim, all speak up for his inclination towards religion and personal life. Even his speech (which is ridiculed by many these days) after creation of Pakistan’s parliament signifies what he was thinking about the new country and what will be the law of the land. …
Read more : Siasat.pk
by Samir Yousif
Finally I would point out that political Islam has failed to provide a political model that can compete with other contemporary political models, such as the Chinese model, Western democracies, or even developing democracies such as India and the other Asian countries. That comes with no surprise, as religion, any religion, keeps itself centuries behind.
The theme of my argument is the following statement: Islam, as a religion, has nothing to offer to economic or political theory. This simple idea has serious consequences. Political Islam, when it runs the country, will ultimately fail. It has no appropriate agenda that provides solutions to real political or economic challenges such as underdevelopment, unemployment, inflation, recession, poverty, just to mention a few.
(I will not touch upon the most significant political-socioeconomic issue which is income inequalities, because Islam accepts a society composed of very rich classes living side by side with very poor classes- examples can be found from history or from today’s Muslim countries like Saudi Arabia, and Iran). While some Islamists continue to claim the existence of “Islamic economics,” they have failed in producing anything close to a simple theory of economics.
I believe that the main reason for the downfall of Muslim civilisation was the inherent social crisis: a society composed of few rich surrounded by the poor masses kept going by a strong religion. Social and political revolutions took place several times during the heyday of Muslim civilisation, as happened during the Umayyad Caliphate, the Abbasid Caliphate, in Muslim Spain, and the famous Zanj Rebellion during the year 869 in Basra. But historians have ignored such revolutions. Muslim economies have failed throughout history to solve the very basic problem: the wage equation. Unskilled and skilled workers were downgraded to the lowest classes in Muslim societies, and were paid the minimum. History has showed that under Islam the wealth of the country went mainly to the Calipha, feeding his palace, army, the royal family, and to the vested interest that the Calipha has chosen himself. The tax system was mainly imposed on the agricultural sector, what was known as the produce tax (Kharaj).
“Islamic economics” is a term used today to justify the significant income inequalities in such societies and to find religiously- accepted investment opportunities for the rich. …
Governor Punjab Salman Taseer’s murder is a result of rising extremism and fanatisicm in the country. Shutting our eyes to problems of intolerance, extremism and fanaticism will not help the problem go away. In this episode of Reporter, Arshad Sharif tries to find out if the media, judiciary, lawyers and society at large also have a role in promoting extremist tendencies in Pakistan. The language of program is urdu/ Hindi.
In Pakistan, sex between men is strictly forbidden by law and religion. But even in the most conservative regions, it’s also embedded in the society.
By Miranda Kennedy
LAHORE — The first time Aziz, a lean, dark-haired 20-year-old in this bustling cultural capital, had sex with a man, he was a pretty, illiterate boy of 16. A family friend took him to his house, put on a Pakistani-made soft-porn video, and raped him. Now, says Aziz (who gives only his first name), he is “addicted” to sex with men, so he hangs around Lahore’s red-light districts, getting paid a few rupees for sex. At night, he goes home to his parents and prays to Allah to forgive him. …
Read more : The Boston Globe
Teach me, my God, to see that I have no right to impose my own way of thinking upon others. Teach me to acknowledge and honour the right of all to pray and worship and sacrifice in their own way. Keep me free from sectarian spirit, and give me strength to root out from my heart bigotry and fanatic zeal. Teach me to discern true religion from religiosity. Fill my mind and heart with the spirit of toleration.”
This is what the early generations were taught. We all listened well then. But later, along the way, we failed to see or check the creeping darkness.
MY generation and the one that followed have much to answer for. But we cannot, because it is now too late. We let things slip and slide. …
We published two photo galleries on BBC’s Urdu website last Friday. One on the Jamaat-e-Islami’s youth wing Shabab-e-Milli’s tribute to Mumtaz Qadri’s father in Rawalpindi and the other on the candlelit vigil in Lahore in memory of the slain Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer.
As expected, comments started to pour in almost instantly. The most telling among them simply said: “Please compare the crowd in the two, for every Taseer mourner, there are at least 50 Qadri supporters.” If nothing else, it says a lot about the state of siege in which liberal opinion finds itself, as more and more people flock behind Mr Qadri, a cold-blooded killer who had been painstakingly planning Taseer’s murder for weeks before he struck.
Irrespective of the number of people who gathered for the vigil in Lahore, I am stunned at their courage in standing up to a crazed mob that neither understands its religion nor the man who brought it to them. It is a mob of moral cheats that has become religiously, politically, intellectually and morally so bankrupt that it seems to have convinced itself that its only salvation lies in baying for innocent blood.
Let us give ourselves some idea of how courageous the dozens who flocked to the vigil in Lahore really are. Since the glowing tribute paid to Qadri by lawyers at his first court appearance, we have been trying to contact the lawyer leadership that spearheaded the civil society movement only three years ago to bring down General Musharraf’s dictatorship. In that movement, millions around the world saw the seeds of a politics that Pakistan has desperately been waiting for all its life — a politics that flows from the combined intellect of the mobile middle class instead of dynastic politics, hereditary constituencies and endemic corruption.
Justice (retd) Wajihuddin Ahmed, Aitzaz Ahsan, Ali Ahmed Kurd and Justice (retd) Tariq Mahmood became household names as tens of thousands of people rallied behind them wherever they went. For weeks, no political talk show in the country was considered complete without at least one of them in the chair. Since Taseer’s murder, they simply seemed to have vanished into thin air.
We finally managed to get through to two of them: one simply said that we are free to call him a coward if we want to but he doesn’t want to comment on the issue at all. The other one went even further: he said he would not even allow us to report that he was contacted for his opinion on the issue.
Predictably, Asma Jahangir was the honourable exception who not only spoke in detail about the atrocity against Taseer but was candid and unambiguous in her criticism of the legal fraternity’s sudden gush for a killer. But then, one has always known her to be one of the bravest women in the country.
Which brings to mind another brave woman who dared to bring a bill to the National Assembly aimed at amending some of the more draconian provisions of a law that has spawned nothing but injustice in the quarter century of its existence. Our crazed mob has distributed pamphlets advocating that she must meet the same fate as Mr Taseer. I am proud to have worked for her at Herald for six years. She was one of the bravest editors I know. Today, she has been forced into abandoning her public life by the tyranny of bloodthirsty criminals masquerading as religious zealots.
President Asif Ali Zardari’s administration has already surrendered to these criminals. It is pointless to expect him to fight this battle. However unfortunate as it may be for the liberals, they do not have the luxury to follow suit. They have to go on fighting even if their battle is far more dangerous than the one Pakistan has been fighting in its tribal areas for the last 10 years.
In a time when obscurantists and terrorists have tried to silence our voices and strike off the heads of those who dared oppose them, Taseer spoke without fear, condemning the blasphemy law and those who stood in its defence, despite the very real threat of violent retribution.
Source Link – You Tube
by Declan Walsh in Lahore
Liberals have long been a minority force in Pakistan, reviled for importing ‘western’ ideas and culture; now they are virtually an endangered species.
There was silence in the ancient city of Lahore yesterday as Salman Taseer, a pugnacious son of the soil who made his name by speaking out, was lowered into an early grave. …
Read more : Guardian.co.uk
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To read BBC urdu column, click here