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Saturday, August 25, 2012

Dunno why I wrote this … but I had to!

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 us. 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 1948Krishan'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.

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Blogger Shakilaishaq said...

well written!! the analysis seems to be a non bias, although few many not agree with the whole content and would have strong arguments against the text!

26 August, 2012 00:34

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Minorities have to suffer at the hands of majority in many countries around the world. You just need to be unbiased and honest to see that happening in other parts of the world. Killing anyone in the name of religion is despisable. It all boils down to almost complete absence of writ of the government which is accountable for the killings of innocent people. How could you leave out the real culprit and hold Mullahs responsible for all this mess?

26 August, 2012 16:26

Blogger Zakintosh said...

Did I make mullas responsible? No. I think they and their followers are. Because it's religion that they use.

Is anyone else involved? Yes. The politicians and their followers are for killing Baloch, Sindhi, and others, plus many subsections of their own original parties.

Anyone else? Yes … the magistrates to the judges, the police to the rangers, everyone destroying or killing whoever doesn't pay up or conform to them.

Anyone else? Yes. A public that's gone crazily mad and chaotic … forced by the Mullas, the Politicians, the Law Enforcing groups and more.

The list just goes on and on and on.

Does it happen elsewhere? Yes. In the USA, UK, Sweden, India, Israel … everywhere. There are others in those countries who are ashamed because it's in their countries. But it happens at about 100th time lower than the amount that happens in my country. I am ashamed, here, because this is my country.

Who started it and how it went on we could argue and discuss and argue more. The end result is that the stuff I have said happens, and has been happening, here for years. And Mullas have played a very important role.

(By the way, it would be nice if you named yourself. It's tough to reply to someone not knowing if its while, brown, yellow, black, girl, woman, man or boy. It would also be nice to know if you are a JI, PML-N, PTI, PPP, MQM, or whatever. I do not belong to any political party.)

27 August, 2012 00:12

Blogger Zakintosh said...

SNN says:
My dearest ZAK, it's beautifully written. Echoes what gnaws at my mind and heart day after day. I feel morose, chained up with pain and frustration when I take even few moments to let the situation sink in. I feel that I just want to keep my eyes to the window and look at the two horses grazing and my husband walking our dog in the rain... and forget. That doesn't help because the reality comes back that I am living together with millions in this world who want to play god over my 'religious' beliefs. When I married Vilhelm, several people from my distance 'family' labeled me an apostate. (More on my divinty-related beliefs later).

However, the madness is beyond Pakistan. Even in Norway, a white extreme-right man named Anders Breivik set a bomb in Oslo (killing 8). While the police were caught up in the aftermath of bombing chaos, he sailed to a nearby island to a youth gathering (not much different from YLC) and shot 69 people (mostly teenagers) in matter of hours. He was sentenced to life sentence (up to 22 years) 2 days ago. The Norwegian constitution makes a strong point to have no space for revenge for such atrocities. He'll live in three cell prison with a personal gym, an office and a bed+living room. People here have to make peace within themselves. He is gone but his message remains; multiculturalism (esp Islam related) is evil and the society must wake up; or so went his manifesto that explained motivation behind his actions.

If a society selects which gods may be allowed in the hearts of their citizens, how different is the crime? The impact and the pain and the horrors shift in 'amount' but remain same (can't come up with an appropriate word)... ugliness.

Almost every fanatic, the religious hounds of Pakistan, the political monsters here, are doing whatever to protect something they madly love and want to save. They also need kindness. Oh, I feel a horrid taste in the back of my throat writing this, but they need protection from themselves. Maybe these are little pointers my imagination creates to live with the pain religion is bringing my fellow human animals, I do not know.

How do you take care of yourself when you're overwhelmed?

27 August, 2012 00:13

Anonymous Adnan Ahmad said...

Beautifully written.

Read Wusat's wrticle on BBC Urdu.

27 August, 2012 18:48

Blogger Arifa Hamid said...

You have voiced the thoughts that are languishing in the minds of many of us, but few of us have the courage to pen them or take the time to do so.

We have turned into a society of apathetics. Whenever we read or hear news of ethnic / religious killings, mindless murders of harmless, innocent people, we tsk tsk and maybe shed a few tears or are shocked for a while an then go back to our daily routines.

To me religion is a personal thing, instead of forcing a person to convert to a religion, the followers of any religion should be attracting people towards that particular religion by their deeds and words, tha should be such that the other person is irresistably drawn towards learning more about that religion and thus wishing to convert!

While growing up in Karachi in the Sixties and early Seventies, my classmates at St. Joseph's School were Christians, a few Hindus, Parsis and Muslims and we were all such good friends!

We never asked the Muslims if they were Shias or Sunnis. During Muharram, we respected their beliefs, 9th and 10th Muharram (Ashura) was observed respectfully and without any violence. We joined our Christian friends in their celebration of Easter and Christmas just as they celebrated our Eids an Shab-e-Barats. We celebrated the Chinese New Year, Nauroz and Diwali.

The tolerance level has gone below zero due to the negativity created by th Mullahs and Politicians in order to advance their own nefarious schemes.

Are we today any different from Adolf Hitler, who wanted only the Aryan Race to survive and was willing to decimate entire populaces to achieve tha end?

Have bigotry, intolerance, prejudices, discrimination and the related injustices become the order of the day? Where are we headed? Is Mankind really kind? Should this term not be changed to Mancruel?

27 August, 2012 22:47

Anonymous Sasy said...

Nice text, nice thoughts... actually i found this article while asking myself a stupid question... can sunni and ahmadis be friends? (omg yes its so stupid to ask such a thing but i m really asking myself these days...) and when i read that "The three friends were a Sunni, a Shia, an Ahmadi!" i was kind of relieved. Btw i m not a pakistani but this problem comes up from time to time and its hard for me to understand.

09 October, 2012 00:33


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