Tag Archives: secular

Picturing Pakistan’s Past: The Beatles, Booze And Bikinis

BY BEENISH AHMED

Pakistan today is a conservative, Islamic country, but it was a far different place in its younger days.

In the 1960s and ’70s, Pakistan’s elite, many of them educated in the West, could publicly indulge in more liberal acts, including drinking alcohol. Pakistan was also part of the “hippie trail,” from Turkey to India, which young Westerners traveled.

Once a major stop on the backpacking route, Western tourists don’t exist in the Peshawar that I have come to know through my visits to family in the northwest corner of Pakistan, near the border with Afghanistan.

Read more » NPR
See more » http://www.npr.org/sections/pictureshow/2012/08/20/159338659/picturing-pakistans-past-the-beatles-booze-and-bikinis

Advertisements

The search for Jinnah’s vision of Pakistan

Sixty-five years after the death of its founding father, Pakistanis are still searching for Mohammed Ali Jinnah’s vision for the country – and a missing historical speech.

During much of its existence, Pakistanis have been encouraged to believe that Mr Jinnah created Pakistan in the name of Islam as a theocratic state.

Others have disagreed, arguing the founding father wanted a Muslim-majority but secular and progressive country.

The debate over the two competing and contradictory visions has intensified in recent years as the country reels from growing Islamic extremism and Taliban militancy.

At the heart of this debate are some public addresses of Mr Jinnah given around the time of the partition of India in 1947.

Transcripts of those addresses have been available in Pakistan.

Crucial speech

The archives of state-owned broadcaster, Radio Pakistan, also contain cranky old audio recordings of most of those speeches, except for one: his address to the Constituent Assembly in the port city of Karachi on 11 August 1947, three days before the creation of Pakistan.

Extract from 11 August 1947 speech –  If you change your past and work together in a spirit that everyone of you, no matter to what community he belongs, no matter what relations he had with you in the past, no matter what is his colour, caste or creed, is first, second and last a citizen of this state with equal rights, privileges, and obligations, there will be no end to the progress you will make.

I cannot emphasize it too much. We should begin to work in that spirit and in course of time all these angularities of the majority and minority communities, the Hindu community and the Muslim community, because even as regards Muslims you have Pathans, Punjabis, Shias, Sunnis and so on, and among the Hindus you have Brahmins, Vashnavas, Khatris, also Bengalis, Madrasis and so on, will vanish.

Indeed if you ask me, this has been the biggest hindrance in the way of India to attain the freedom and independence and but for this we would have been free people long long ago.

No power can hold another nation, and specially a nation of 400 million souls in subjection; nobody could have conquered you, and even if it had happened, nobody could have continued its hold on you for any length of time, but for this. Therefore, we must learn a lesson from this.

You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place or worship in this state of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed that has nothing to do with the business of the state.

For liberals in Pakistan, it was a crucial speech in which Mr Jinnah spoke in the clearest possible terms of his dream that the country he was creating would be tolerant, inclusive and secular.

“You are free. You are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place of worship in this state of Pakistan,” Jinnah declared. “You may belong to any religion or caste or creed – that has nothing to do with the business of the state.”

Continue reading The search for Jinnah’s vision of Pakistan

Tunisia’s “People Power” Rejects Islamist Party in Upset Vote

By Global Information Network

NEW YORK, Dec 22 2014 (IPS) – (GIN) – Tunisians, the first people to launch an “Arab Spring” revolution that ousted a despot, returned to power a member of the ousted regime. They cast ballots on Sunday in the nation’s first free presidential poll – and the outcome surprised many.

Veteran politician Beji Caid Essebsi of the secular Call for Tunisia (“Nidaa Tounes”) party received 55% of the vote in Sunday’s run-off. His opponent, Moncef Marzouki, managed to win only 44% of the vote. Marzouki, 67, a former exile, has conceded defeat and congratulated Essebsi on Facebook.

The 88 year old Essebsi served under the one-party rule of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali who fled the country in January 2011 after 23 years of dictatorial rule.

“I dedicate my victory to the martyrs of Tunisia,” Essebsi said on a TV interview. “I thank Marzouki, and now we should work together without excluding anyone.”

The vote seemed to send a message that moderate-minded Tunisians did not want a religious regime along the lines of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. The Ennahda party, an Islamist group which held power briefly on the abdication of Pres. Ben Ali, was disappointed with the election results but congratulated Essebsi on his victory and pledged to work with him.

Read more » IPS
Learn more »http://www.ipsnews.net/2014/12/tunisias-people-power-rejects-islamist-party-in-upset-vote/

Why is it that Turkey progressed and Pakistan regressed?

Secularizing theocracy

By Waseem Altaf

Excerpt: …. Why is it that Turkey progressed and Pakistan regressed?

When in 1928 the Turkish Parliament was opting for a secular state and the constitutional provision declaring Islam as the state religion was being deleted, 21 years down the road in 1949 Pakistan’s Constituent Assembly was passing the Objectives Resolution, moved by Liaqat Ali Khan, the Prime Minister, proclaiming that the future constitution of Pakistan would be modeled on the ideology and faith in Islam. In the 1973 constitution Islam was declared as the state religion.

When in the 1920’s sovereignty of the people was being established in Turkey replacing the sovereignty of the Caliph, in 1949 Pakistan’s Constituent Assembly was bestowing sovereignty upon Allah.

When in the 1920’s the Turkish Parliament was adopting time-tested European models to reconstruct their civil, commercial and penal law, Pakistan’s 1973 constitution envisaged that ‘All existing laws shall be brought in conformity with the Injunctions of Islam as laid down in the Quran and Sunnah.’

Read more » Facebook
Read full article » https://www.facebook.com/irfanafridikk/posts/700511826634235

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

Tunisia Secularists win election

Secularist Nidaa Tounes party wins Tunisia election

Tunisia’s secularist party Nidaa Tounes has won 85 seats in the country’s parliament following Sunday’s elections, official results show.

The governing Islamist Ennahda party won 69 seats in the 217-seat chamber.

The official results confirm earlier predictions and Ennahda officials have already urged Nidaa Tounes to form an inclusive government.

Tunisia’s transition to democratic rule after a 2011 revolt has been hailed as a regional success story.

The revolt was the first and least violent of the Arab Spring uprisings against autocratic governments across the region.

Read more » BBC
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-29828706

Sindhi Hindu exodus causing humanitarian red alert for India

By ZulfiqarShah

New Delhi: India has become the last destination of Sindhi Hindu from Pakistan, where the state-sponsored seminaries have been victimizing them since last two decades. Over 2000 Hindus have recently refuge in the premises of Delhi in last couple of years; however rough estimates suggest their number during last ten years have crossed one hundred thousand.

Hailing from the secular province of Sindh in Pakistan, their ordeal is the evidence of systematic exodus and their ethnic cleaning by the military establishment supported seminaries and Mullahs. Land grab, forced conversions and marriages of Hindu girls have been heart wrecking ordeal.

Sindh, the second largest province in Pakistan, is the richest in the natural resources like gold, oil, coal and uranium. Analysts believe that the exodus of Sindhi Hindus is being systematically orchestrated by the Pakistan’s establishment, which is monopolized by ethnic Punjabis, and want to take hold of resource rich lands of Sindh as well as intent to alter its demography. The recent reports after Pakistan Army’s operation in Taliban and their associates in the tribal Pashtun area has also been indicating the influx of tribal refugee to Sindh.

“We were either targeted by the criminal gangs in Karachi, Hyderabad and Sukkur divisions of the province or harassed by the seminaries that house ethnic Punjabi or Pshrun Mullahs from Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhuwa provinces,” told a few refugee during their protest demonstration in Delhi after fledging from Pakistan.

They have camped in the various places of Delhi and Rajasthan States of India, where they are mostly hosted either by the refugee supporting organizations or by the Hindu political outfits. One such camp in the northern Delhi is looked after by OM-SPBPJM Trust, led by A. K. Solanki. The refugees of Dravidian origin, Baghris called in Sindhi, practicing thousands years old traditions of Hinduism and have sustained as gypsies community in Sindh after the epic war between Arian and Dravidians in 1500 BC India.

On December 10 last years, over one hundred Sindhi refugees protested outside United Nations headquarters in Delhi and demanded international community’s intervention against Pakistani authorities for the crimes against humanity they have committed in Sindh province.

Sindh is the centre-stage of the provinces – federation conflict in Pakistan. On March 23 this year, Sindh rebelled as at least five million Sindhis took to the streets of Karachi and demanded the independence. Sindh is a home of 50 million Sindhi people and is believed to be the historical land, where massive and outrageous freedom movement has emerged during last decade. Hundreds of the Sindhi activists have been killed and more have been involuntarily disappeared by the intelligence agencies like ISI and the Military Intelligence.

Courtesy: CNN

http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-1151626

Analysis of gruesome murders of Secular Sindhi Nationalist Leaders and biggest-ever peaceful rally of Freedom March by the people of Sindh

Must watch analysis of gruesome murders of liberal and secular Sindhi Nationalist leaders of Maqsood Qureshi and Saleman Wadhu and the biggest-ever, 5 million peaceful rally of Freedom march by the people of Sindh. The language of the video clip is in Sindhi language. Discussion by Naseer Memon and Moeson Baber.

Courtesy: Sindhi Tv channel Aawaz Tv

Sindh marches for freedom

By Kirshna Y.

About five million Sindhis marched in Karachi and demanded United Nations and the world community for their intervention for the freedom of Sindh.

Numbers matter. Opinions matter more. If combined together, they determine a vast arena of matters. This is what one can say about the South Asia’s populist and the peaceful most freedom movement ongoing in Sindh. No doubt, the movement has been giving the sparkly glitz since last a few years.

On March 23, 2014, millions of Sindhi people from across the Sindh province held a ‘Freedom March for Sindh’ on the call of Jeay Sindh Qomi Mahaz (JSQM) in Karachi, the capital city of Sindh. They demanded “Independence of Sindh” by appealing the world community especially the United Nations, USA, UK, Russia, France and China for their ‘support and intervention” for the freedom of Sindh to attain its sovereign and independent country. It is worth mentioning here that JSQM is one of secular most political parties in Pakistan.

The march was held on the Republic Day of Pakistan on March 23, 2014. It was also held on the same day in 2012 and was attended by at least two million people. The popular most Sindhi nationalist leader of the last two decades, Bashir Qureshi who was Chairman of Jeay Sindh Qomi Mahaz (JSQM) was poisoned to death by Pakistan?s military establishment and died within a couple of week in April 2012 after holding the freedom march.

After his death, his son Sanan Qureshi, who is in his twenties, was elected as Chairperson of JSQM. Bashir Qureshi’s younger brother Maqsood Qureshi was already a member of GMist Council, the higher most forum of the organization.

 

Continue reading Sindh marches for freedom

Amartya Sen: New Indian government must be secular, not fundamentalist

by Nirmala Carvalho

Speaking at the Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF), the Nobel Prize winner for economics talked about the upcoming general elections, calling for “party that is pro-market and pro-business to come to power and doesn’t prioritise one religion over another”. He also urged the media to be more responsive to the “poor and marginalised”.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) – Nobel Prize winner in economics Amartya Sen wants a secular, not a fundamentalist party, to lead India’s government. He also wants quality education for children, and media that are more responsible and attentive to the needs of the poor.

Last Saturday, the famous economist spoke at the Jaipur Literature Festival, now in its seventh edition. In his address, he expressed ‘seven wishes’, highlighting some of India’s major challenges, to which he offered some possible solutions.

The first one concerns the upcoming national election in May. “I want to see a party that is pro-market and pro-business to come to power and doesn’t prioritise one religion over another,” Sen said

Read  more » Asia News
http://www.asianews.it/news-en/Amartya-Sen:-New-Indian-government-must-be-secular,-not-fundamentalist-30105.html

Sindhis are Secular Sufi Humanist Nation & civilized community on Earth

sindh youth“As I grow older. I’m enjoying my Sindhiness more. Discovering that Sindhis aren’t really very worried about whether they are Hindus or Muslims came as a bonus (I wish we’d had some Christian and Zorastrian and Jewish Sindhi too). A community that values its cultural equity and treats religion as a personal affair has to be one of the most civilized communities on earth!Rajiv Badlani in Sindhi Reflections, a book by Lata Jagtiani.

Courtesy: Via Facebook

`Bring back Jinnah`s Pakistan` – 2

By Ardeshir CowasjeeJinnah

There has to be something seriously wrong with a country in which many of its citizens are still arguing as to whether it should or should not have been made, or debating as to whether it came into being by accident, intent, design or even intrigue. All possible accusations have been levied against the logic of Pakistan`s making.

The fact is that Pakistan exists and has existed for 62 years — in what shape is quite another matter. Arguments on that score will never cease, and they should not as it failed initially to take off in the right direction.

A valid argument has been made by a few of the many who responded to last week`s column against the exhortation `bring back Jinnah`s Pakistan` — that we should be looking and moving forwards rather than retreating.

Continue reading `Bring back Jinnah`s Pakistan` – 2

India – Renowned Sindhi writer Sundri Uttamchandani passes away

SundriIndia: Sundri Uttamchandani (سندري اتم چنداڻي), said to be the most well-known Sindhi-Indian of our times and Sindhi language’s prominent writer has passed away in India. She was born in Hyderabad, Sindh on September 28, 1924. She was a Sindhi secular liberal writer herself and was awarded the Sahitya Akademi Award in Sindhi for her Book Vichhoro, a compilation of nine short stories, in the year 1986, given by Sahitya Akademi, India’s National Academy of Letters.

She married Assandas Uttamchandani (A.J.Uttam), a Freedom fighter, with a keen interest in Sindhi Literature with clear leanings toward Marxist Philosophy and, who become in the later years one of the leading writers of Sindhi progressive literary movement, A J Uttam, was one of the founders of Sindhi Sahit Mandal in Bombay/Mumbai. Sundri accompanied him to weekly literary meetings which were presided over by a fatherly figure, Prof M U Malkani, who was a fountain head of encouragement to new and upcoming writers.

This exposure to Sindhi writers and their creative works were to become source of inspiration for her and in the year 1953 she produced her first novel “Kirandar Deewaroon” (Crumbling walls). This proved to be path breaking. She shattered the near monopoly of male domination in literature by her one feat, while on the one hand, she won the accolades and acclaim of all senior writers for use of ‘homely’ language, a folksy- idiomatic language used by women folk in their household and thus brought in a new literary flavour in Sindhi literature. The theme and structure of the novel was mature and it has distinction of being reprinted many times over. This Novel was translated into many Indian languages and brought her acclaim by literary critics of those languages, thus elevating her from a writer of a regional language to writer the of All India fame. Her Second Novel “Preet Purani Reet Niraali” came in the year 1956, which has run into 5 reprints, which amply speaks of its merit and popularity.

More details » Wikipedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sundri_Uttamchandani

Secular Jinnah & Pakistan

Jinnah“No nation can rise to the height of glory unless your women are side by side with you. We are victims of evil customs. It is a crime against humanity that our women are shut up within the four walls of the houses as prisoners. There is no sanction anywhere for the deplorable condition in which our women have to live.” ~ Founder of Pakistan, M.A. Jinnah, Speech at Muslim University Union, Aligarh 10, March 1944

“We should have a State in which we could live and breathe as free men and which we could develop according to our own lights and culture and where principles of social justice could find free play.” ~ Founder of Pakistan, M.A. Jinnah

Sindhi version of US Consulate website, Karachi

Brad Sherman
Hon. Congressman Brad Sherman

Hon. Congressman Brad Sherman, Hon. Congressman Adam Schiff, and Hon. Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney have signed the letter to have the State Department produce a version of the website of the U.S. Consulate in Karachi in the Sindhi language. They have sent the letter below to Honorable Secretary John Kerry”:

Dear Secretary Kerry,

We write to respectfully request that the State Department produce a version of the website of the U.S. Consulate in Karachi in the Sindhi language. This modest goal has the potential for enormous benefits for the United States’ diplomacy efforts in Pakistan. The response from the Sindhi population, including Sindhi journalists and intellectuals, to previous U.S. outreach in their language has been extraordinarily positive.

The Sindh province is home to tens of millions of speakers of Sindhi, which is spoken by at least 12% of Pakistanis and has more native speakers than the national language of Urdu. The translated website will serve as an important source of news and understanding of U.S. policy in Pakistan for a large segment of the population.

It is in America’s national interests to reach out to this historically marginalized segment of the Pakistani population in their native language. Sindhis in Pakistan help advance U.S. interests in the region by opposing extremism and violence. Many Sindhis, highly influenced by rich Sufi traditions, share our core values and seek our help in a more secure and safe world. We strongly support the translation of the U.S. Consulate website in Karachi to Sindhi.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, SAPAC and Social Media

Two Nations Theory: From its cradle to the grave

Iqbal Tareen delivers keynote speech at the first Anniversary of Shaheed Bashir Khan Qureshi held in New York on April 6, 2013. This event was hosted by Sindhi Academic and Cultural Association of North America.

Topics covered:

1. Two Nations Theory: From its cradle to the grave

2. GM Syed and Pakistan Resolution in 1938-40 – intent to create United Nations of Pakistan

3. Jinnah’s arguments refuted

4. Individual and national freedoms

5. Empowerment of women a must to free a nation

6. Nation of Sindh defined

7. An inclusive vision of new Nation of Sindh

8. Separation of State and religion – a must for progressive and tolerant national transformation

Pakistan supporting, financing religious extremism in Sindh: Lakhu Luhano

London, April 5 (ANI): Secretary General of World Sindhi Congress Lakhu Luhana has blamed Pakistan for supporting and financing religious extremism in Sindh, which has been in the news for targeted killings and sectarian violence.

Describing Pakistan as a country based on religious philosophy, Luhana said: “In recent years, they have been funding lot of madrasas and spending billions. They want to counter the nationalist philosophy, which inheritably is a secular philosophy. To counter that, they have to bring in another philosophy, which is religious philosophy. So, they have been patronizing, sponsoring, supporting and financing religious extremism in Sindh.”

With people from other provinces of Pakistan making a beeline for Sindh, the crime graph in the province is on the rise.

As per the Human Rights Commission Pakistan (HRCP), the year 2012 recorded 104 cases of sectarian killings, a 352 per cent rise from the year 2011.

In an interview given to ANI, Luhana said: “These forces want to control Karachi by replacing indigenous people. So, they used all the contradictions, including religious extremism, to fulfill their aims”.

He added: “It is a very dangerous situation, but Sindhi people have never participated in that and have always condemned that. And (Mahatma) Gandhi once said that in the whole (Indian) subcontinent, probably Sindhis are the most secular people. But the speed with which the Pakistani state has been working to support religious extremism, that is really a frightening situation.”

Luhana believes that the rising violence in Sindh, especially Karachi, is happening with the consent of the Pakistani military, the Rangers and the intelligence agencies.

Continue reading Pakistan supporting, financing religious extremism in Sindh: Lakhu Luhano

Pakistan: A vanishing state

By Shabbir Ahmad Khan
Both empires and states fail or collapse. Examples include the Roman, Ottoman, Austro-Hungarian, Mughal and British empires. From the recent past, the Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia and Sudan are the best examples. Professor Norman Davies, in his book Vanished Kingdoms: The Rise and Fall of States and Nations recounts the history of 15 European states which disappeared. Professor Robert Rotberg, in his book When States fail: Causes and Consequences provides empirical description on a state’s failure. Similarly, the Fund for Peace and Foreign Policy magazine publishes a list of failed states each year, on which Pakistan ranks 13. Pakistan’s score is just 13 points below that of the most failed state in the world, Somalia, and just five points below that of Afghanistan, which is at number seven on the list.Why do empires and states fail or fall? There are a number of factors for state decline, including social, economic and political. The most common factor is global; it includes intervention by external political agents or forces. In such situations, the empires or states first fail to cope with the new challenges and later collapse. There is a new challenge before Pakistan, which no state in history has ever faced. Today, the world community is unified against religious extremism of any kind and a nuclear Pakistan is heavily convulsed by internal violence linked to religious extremism. After World War II, colonial powers gave independence to many nations, including Pakistan, with a clear rationale or prime motive. At a very critical juncture in history, if states lose their rationale, they lose their right to survive. Pakistan is passing through a critical juncture of her history. If she loses her rationale, she loses her right to exist.Two questions are important to answer the above-mentioned query. Who creates states and what is their rationale — i.e., the cause of their birth? More than 140 states got independence after the two world wars. The winners of the wars designed the world map by decolonising nations. The process of giving self-rule to new states was intentional and purposeful. British rulers, in congruence with the US, wanted to split India for their long-term interests in the region. In my opinion, Pakistan — the same way as the state of Israel — was created as an independent state to guard Western interests in the region. In both times of war and peace in history, Pakistan proved herself as the guardian of vested interests of Western powers. In return, Pakistan also got the liberty to do a number of things, including attaining nuclear capability. Throughout history, Pakistan changed herself with the changing demands of the West to fulfill her utility and her indispensability.

Thus, a militant, extremist, rigid and nuclear Pakistan was in the larger interests of Western powers, particularly to contain the Soviets and its allies, i.e., India. Now, the Western world has changed its policy towards the region where Pakistan is located and has demonetised its political currency by putting immense pressure on the country to change her course accordingly. But Pakistan seems reluctant.

Continue reading Pakistan: A vanishing state

What we can learn from Turkey

Smokers’ Corner: Cold Turkey

By Nadeem F. Paracha

I’ve twice been to Turkey in the last three years. My second trip there coincided with the 2011 election. Recently I have come across various conservative and pro-establishment personalities, politicians and media men in Pakistan praising the Turkish model of democracy and economics.

For example, Imran Khan just returned from Turkey and sounded extremely impressed by that country’s people and politics.

The reason why you might now be hearing more and more Pakistanis singing praises of Turkey is due to the fact that a determined political party with an Islamist background has been winning elections and forming governments there ever since 2001.

It is a good sign that to some of our conservatives the Turkish social and political model now seems more charming to emulate than the puritanical authoritarianism of certain oil-rich Arab states. However, the fact is they may really be over-romanticising their Turkish experience. Either they haven’t understood the dynamics of Turkey’s political and social milieus, or they are only seeing what they want to see: i.e. a conservative Islamist party at the helm in what was supposed to be a secular country.

Only recently I heard a TV commentator suggest that Turkish prime minister, Recep Erdogan’s AK Party, has been winning elections due to its popularity among the rural and semi-rural Turks. This is a rather simplistic understanding of what is actually a complex consensus that the AK Party has struck with almost all sections of Turkish society.

Erdogan’s multiple electoral successes have more to do with his emphasis on economic growth, reform and his all-out efforts to help Turkey become part of the European Union (EU) than on the usual stern moralistic and anti-West stances that most Islamist parties are stuck with in most Muslim countries. During my trip to Istanbul when the campaigning for the 2011 elections was in full swing, not even once did I hear Erdogan (whose wife adorns a hijab) mention the word Islam.

Continue reading What we can learn from Turkey

Talbanisation of Pakistan and plight of Christians and Ahmadiya Muslims

Pakistan seems to be on the brink of religious anarchy. Talbanization of the country has turned Punjab province into a hell for the Christian and Ahmadiya religious minorities. Does country intend to adopt the path of harmony? Silence is the only answer, for now!

On the pretext of blasphemy, around two hundred houses of innocent Christians were set on fire a couple of weeks ago by a fanatic mob led by extremist organizations in Lahore, the capital of Punjab province of Pakistan. This has recently been followed by insurrecting Ahmadiya Muslim minority’s houses in the province. Violence against religious minorities has been on the increase in the most populous province of the country.

Fear and fury has gripped Pakistani Christians and Ahmadiya Muslims; some of them have fled the province while others are considering fleeing Pakistan. The issue has raised the concerns of international community, particularly the western governments.

The shadow of continuous Hindu exodus has already created fury in Sindh province. Blazing a couple hundred houses of Christians has not only jolted the country, emotionally, but has also pointed towards insensitivity of liberal middle class towards minorities. In fact, the eastern-Indus Pakistan has lurched in the psychological chaos. Needless to mention, the western-Indus is already undergoing Taliban and Baloch insurgencies.

Continue reading Talbanisation of Pakistan and plight of Christians and Ahmadiya Muslims

Winds from Sindh – Sindhi Music Festival in Delhi, India.

The Sindhi [Secular] Sufi Music Festival this weekend focuses on an example of shared heritage of India and Pakistan

The Delhi Government has become known for promoting art and culture with a number of festivals throughout the year. To brighten up this weekend is the Sindhi Sufi Music Festival organised by the Department of Art, Culture and Languages. Here, singers from India and Pakistan come together to sing Sufi compositions.

Two leading singers from Pakistan — Sanam Marvi and Tufail Sanjrani — will join their Indian counterparts — Ghansham Vaswani, Kajal Chandiramani and Uma Lalla — to showcase the shared culture of Sindhis through the poetry of Sufis like Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai. Kathak dancer Namrata Pamnani will also perform at the festival. March 16 and 17, Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) from 5 p.m.

Courtesy: The Hindu
http://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/music/winds-from-sindh/article4512921.ece

Changes in Sindh

By Rauf Nizamani

THE perception about Sindhi nationalist politics is that it’s secular, progressive, anti-establishment and left-oriented. Is this view still valid?

In recent decades, many changes have occurred in the politics of the province. Though the political parties still claim to be fighting for the interests of Sindh and its people, is that true? Is their primary motive still the fight against feudal and tribal lords, landlords and the religious orthodoxy? Does securing rights for the downtrodden, especially peasants, remain part of their struggle for national rights as was the case in the past?

Continue reading Changes in Sindh

SANA is a secular voice of North American Sindhis

President of Sindhi Association of North America (SANA) Jamil Daudi said in his statement; SANA is a secular organization to its core, in the true sense of the word, meaning that it doesn’t believe in the discrimination on the basis of one’s faith or lack of faith whatever the case may be. SANA, like Sindh, belongs to all the peace loving Sindhis no matter what religion or faith they believe in.

He said, I would request all the members of SANA and all the SANA-list members to please follow the spirit of Sindh, i.e., tolerance for each other and for all the fellow members of the organization, and all human beings at large. Let’s join hands to do good, as Sindhi, we believe in making the world a safer place to live in & spread love & peace.

Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, February 25, 2013.

21st February is an ‘International Mother Language Day’- MITHRI ABANI BOLI SINDHI ABANI BOLI

[“Language is as old as the Humanity and Civilisation itself. The Cradle of Civilisation which is my Motherland, Sindh, has always had its OWN sweet language and culture! Sindhi is a glorious, grand and secular sufi NATION and Sindhi is the bright, brilliant and sweet language of mother Sindh! Please ‘n kindly – I urge, I implore ye, O Sindhis, to speak, read and write in our Mother Language, SINDHI!” — Dr. Ahmed Makhdoom]

Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, February 21, 2013 » YouTube

Pakistan from a secular to theocratic state – India is also going the same way albeit at a slower pace!

BAAGHI: Giving peace a chance? Thanks, but no thanks!

By Marvi Sirmed

What all these peace agreements achieved was a temporary hiatus in terrorist attacks on Pakistanis, and an immense opportunity for the militant organisations to consolidate and organise themselves as well as enjoying impunity and freedom

Pakistan’s ‘government’, it seems, is well on its way to ‘give peace a chance’ in compliance with the declaration of an unelected All-Parties Conference (APC) convened by the prime minister in September this year. The otherwise ‘hawks’ when it comes to relations with India, were all adamant to invoke John Lennon — the one from the ‘oh-so-bad-west’ — on the Taliban of Waziristan. A non-corrupt Punjabi Khan and a patriotic think-tanker succeeded in getting a lease of life for the militants continually battling with the Pakistan Army and persistently attacking the people of Pakistan and abetting attacks on the people of Afghanistan. The attempts towards ‘peace’ thus started with a new vigour, permanently sedating common as well as a basic sense of history.

Continue reading Pakistan from a secular to theocratic state – India is also going the same way albeit at a slower pace!

Jewish Women Detained At Judaism’s Holiest Site

By

Police in Jerusalem on Monday detained 10 women for wearing the tallit, a Jewish prayer shawl traditionally worn by men, while praying at the Western Wall.

The Women of the Wall have been fighting for years for permission to worship in the manner that men do at the Western Wall, the holiest site in Judaism for prayer. The stone structure is part of the retaining wall that surrounded the Second Jewish Temple, which was destroyed by the Romans in A.D. 70.

Men and women both pray at the wall, but in separate sections and under rules set by the Western Wall Heritage Foundation, a body appointed and funded by the government. It is headed by an ultra-Orthodox rabbi, Shmuel Rabinowitz.

Continue reading Jewish Women Detained At Judaism’s Holiest Site

A Wake up Call for Secular India

Shahrukh Khan exposes Indian secularism

Bollywood king Shahrukh Khan has exposed so-called secular face of world largest democracy: India, expressing his agony he is facing for being born as a Muslim.

SRK wrote an article titled Being a Khan for Outlook Turning Points magazine.

Khan said in the article many politicians asked him to go back to his native homeland: Pakistan, after 9/11 incident.

“I sometimes become the inadvertent object of political leaders who choose to make me a symbol of all that they think is wrong and unpatriotic about Muslims in India”.

“There have been occasions when I have been accused of bearing allegiance to our neighbouring nation (Pakistan) rather than my own country – this even though I am an Indian, whose father fought for the freedom of India. Rallies have been held where leaders have exhorted me to leave and return what they refer to my ‘original’ homeland.”

“I gave my son and daughter names that could pass for generic (pan-India and pan-religious) ones – Aryan and Suhana,” Shahrukh Khan said.

“The Khan has been bequeathed by me so they can’t really escape it.

Khan said that he pronounced names of his children with his epiglottis when asked by Muslims and throw the Aryan as evidence of their race when non-Muslims enquired. “I imagine this will prevent my offspring from receiving unwarranted eviction orders or random fatwas in the future,” said Khan.

Khan said that he was pressed to make the film “My Name is Khan” to prove a point after being repeatedly detained in US airports because of his last name.

He said he was grilled at the airport for hours about his last name when he was going to promote the film in America for the first time.

Courtesy: Pakistan Today
http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2013/01/26/news/entertainment/shahrukh-khan-exposes-indian-secularism/

Reunification of India and Pakistan only solution to Kashmir: Markandey Katju

NEW DELHI: Press Council of India (India) chairperson justice Markandey Katju today said that the only solution to the Kashmir problem is reunification of India and Pakistan under a strong and “modern-minded” government which will not tolerate bigotry.

“The cause of the Kashmir problem is the partition of India on a totally bogus basis – the two nation theory, that Hindus and Muslims are separate nations….I don’t recognise Pakistan as a legitimate country because the whole basis is the two nation theory and I don’t accept the two nation theory,” he said.

Continue reading Reunification of India and Pakistan only solution to Kashmir: Markandey Katju