Watching a documentary on Africa and its various countries two days ago on BBC I discovered a religion that has been there before Christianity and Islam … and still exists. There were hundreds of worshippers dancing and praying, while many Christians and Muslims stood on the roads to see them going past and no one decided to harm anyone.
… and I thought:
Years ago (when I was trying to study in Lahore) some friends and I saw a wall that said in large letters: "قادیانی کافر ہیں" (Qadianis are Kafirs).
Under it someone had written in small letters: "اور شیعہ کچھ کم نہیں" (and Shias are not much less either).
While some of us giggled college-boy giggles, we all soon thought that this was hardly something to be written on the city walls. Three friends from that crowd went there at night — with an 'expensive' spray can (considering we were broke all the time) — and wiped it off in 'really-bad-black': The three friends were a Sunni, a Shia, an Ahmadi! (Thanks Drs. Kamal, Naqvi, Zayb — if you ever read this.)
With the Shia killings becoming more and more common, unbelievably common
, many people have now started to address the matter. In print one does see someone write a small letter … and a few good and strong people write even their views in articles. It is true that almost all
do say that this is not Islam, it is just a band of hooligans that have taken the religion away from u
s. Let me add, though, that this applies mainly
to the English press.
Urdu has a much larger audience and they do not write as many things against this, sadly. They stick to the news that it has happened and it's terrible. Most add close-up pictures of grieving families and relatives crying. Again, there are exceptions. But just exceptions, though!
Most TV shows continue to focus on how far up the paénchaas
must be from the ankle for the prayers to be really heard, and how our lives are going to be according to the 15-second responses by wonderful Islamic 'astrologers and num-err-ologists' and show some pictures but try and not dwell too far upon these.
Apart from the above horrible tales of Shia massacres (imagine two/three bus-loads killed after the passengers ID cards were 'examined') we now also have added Hindu girls who suddenly realised — at anything near 14 years of age, usually — that the gods they prayed to were 'baseless'. They immediately decide to become Muslims and get ready to go to heaven by marrying a gentleman of faith (and the longest possible beard) in the area they live in.
This has been going on for a long time, but, originally, was an occasional 'personal enmity' or 'land-grabbing' that led to it. 'Love thy neighbour' has now become 'Marry your enemy', it seems. And it must look like she asked for it. Thousands of fundos in trucks, vans, motorcycles, with a mulla leading the lot, marched into the mosque where one girl was recently converted. (I am waiting to see when a Hindu boy converts to Islam and decides to take a Muslim wife whether we will see similar joyful scenes.)
What people do to their enemies has never scared me after I discovered that Sahir Ludhianvi's father named him Sahir because he had a person he disliked who was called Sahir! He thought every time he beat Sahir he would at least have 'beaten' his 'enemy' too.
I realize, of course, that some Hindus, including the younger brother of a friend of mine from St. Pat's, also ran away after the 1965 war with India for being 'hounded' (Good word, this! Covers up a lot …) by our 'agencies' (Excuse me, but whose 'agents' are they? Certainly not mine!) checking to see if he and his family were Indian spies. While he was born in Karachi in 1948, Krishan's last 4 generations had lived in Karachi and had decided in 1947 to stay in Pakistan.
Then there our Christian friends. Strangely, in a country where it's laws do not really 'allow' the chance of blasphemy to take place (unlike the USA) — and a death sentence is sure if the person is guilty — we have a Christian boy caught for having written words against the Prophet on a wall. He was taken to the Police. They wanted to see the words, naturally. But the people who complained about the boy had washed the place clean so that the words would not be 'visible to other Muslims' (as the news report said). Chalo. He was in jail and some Western country took him away when the time was ripe.
Now there are even more and more blasphemy cases and the people are, generally, Christians (but you can add a Hindu here and there, too). The courts are small. It takes months - sometimes years - to try them all out. And our pious people want justice! So they kill the [wo]man at their next visit to the court.
An 11-year-old Christian girl, with Down's Syndrome, has recently been found guilty of burning the pages of the Qur'an. We have her in 'jail' for the last few days and just three days ago, on Twitter, someone has just told us that the Police say she is 16 and has no Down's Syndrome! Let's see where we go with that …
It's pointless to mention Jews here. Many were chased out after the 1967 war in the Suez area for 'possibly' being 'Israeli spies'. Three of them were people whose families I knew … and one was a senior officer in the Karachi Port Trust.
We can come to the Ahmadis, now. They deserve a really special treatment for they have been legally made religionless and, quite often, homeless. Look at our earthquake period and see how some of them were not given medicines or food because of their religion.
I realise that some religio-political parties always considered them non-Muslims. Our first Martial Law took place in Lahore because of a 'fight' between JI and Ahmadis (in which most accept that the Ahmadis were victims). But it was Mr. Bhutto who put the first 'official shot' into this when he was trying to get the Mullas behind him (mainly because he was being forced to leave
). While the following video
shows that he did this because of S. Arabia
wanting him to put their religion as non-Muslim … but what were the S. Arabians
going to do with Ahmadis who were coming from other countries where Passports have no Religion column. (Even ours didn't for a while, until President Musharraf went back on his own ideas and put it back in!) The Ahmadis would call themselves Muslims if asked and it would be their own lie/truth. Not a National Problem
if you were from USA or hundreds of other countries!
Pakistanis recently killed several Ahmadis, individually and collectively (including in their mosques while they were offering prayers) … and Indonesia has become hotter than Pakistan (though we will take the lead, soon, I am sure). A couple of other Muslim places in the world are becoming heavily anti-Ahmadi. In an attack on the Ahmadis in Indonesia the man who got the longest sentence who tried to stop himself from being killed by beating someone who was attacking him. A much smaller sentence went to the people who actually killed a few Ahmadis. Amazing!!!
Sometimes I wonder how Jinnah Sahab (a Shia himself) would have felt about this when he asked Muslims to be counted, just to show that Pakistan was going to be their land … and many Muslims who followed him - which included Sunnis, Shias, Ahmadis, Bohris, Aga Khanis
- put their hands up to be counted. He certainly did not tell them (or his own family members)
that they would not be counted as Muslims fairly soon after the country was formed.