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22 May 2024

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Is Pakistan A Sh_t hole Country? A View From Pakistan.

The following is taken from Pakistan's well regarded English language newspaper Dawn. It is written by a well known Pakistani human rights activist IA Rehman.

You can read the full article here :

wave of intolerance sweeping across Pakistan 
posing more serious threat to country’s most vital interests 
and people’s mental equilibrium than any other problem
including threat of external aggression

Let us take a look at some recent incidents of intolerance.

student killed Prof Khalid, head of English at a Bahawalpur college
student thought mixed gathering of male female students un-Islamic
new excuse for taking life of a Muslim, and a teacher at that

Two Ahmadiyah doctors abducted, murdered 
bodies stuffed inside canal
brutality against Ahmadiyah risen considerably

vilification against women who joined march on Int'l Women’s Day 
continues to become more and more vicious
prominent targets include organisers in different cities
where does vigilante brigade derive its sanction ?

Two minor Hindu girls in Sindh abducted, converted to Islam, married to Muslims

govt NOT taken due notice of these threats to lives and peace of innocents
not bothered to denounce foul murders 
nor shown concern at vigilante violence 
except for last, PM took action against culprits

intolerance rooted in state failure to define position of religion 
governments have not attempted complete or long-term remedy

case of forced conversion of two minor Hindu girls 
a horrible crime that is un-Islamic 

existence of centres that specialise in abduction-conversion-marriage is no secret

These centres have flourished under patronage of politicians 
who have been courted and pampered by country’s major political parties
If govt does not act against these conversion centres, it is guilty of abetment

forced conversions need to be earnestly examined and resolved

marriage of underage girls and age of conversion need to be settled 
government should support new bills on child marriage, forced conversions
(child marriage laws) should be easy to enforce
preventing forced conversions demands properly thought policies 
plus guidelines for law-enforcment and judicial authorities

murder of Prof Khalid, Ahmadiyas, frenzy of attacks on women activists
new high in vigilantism, assertion of self-acquired right 
to question fellow Muslims about performance of religious rituals

C.M. Naeem distinguished teacher at Chicago University could not believe his ears
when queried by two students about missing his prayers
killers of Khalid, Ahmadiya, violence are advanced models of Chicago vigilantes

from where do vigilantes derive sanction to enforce their code? 
Answer : when Pakistan decided to become an Islamic state 

Gen Zia overruled Iqbal’s 1930 call to defreeze Islamic fiqh 
and free it of Arab imperialism
Pakistan now governed under Zia constitution of 1985
Zia’s version of "state-enforced belief"  

Gen Zia proposed hisba force for enforcing moral discipline
hisba force derive strength from militant extremists
their complete reliance on theory of takfir
which means a Muslim has duty to behead a person 
state has gone along with traditionalists and militants

to break out of shackles must encourage intra-religion discourse 
(restrict) role of belief in matters that are outside its jurisdiction

Published in Dawn, March 28th, 2019

My comments :  I have been talking about Pakistan since before 2005. Its in my first book To Digress A Little (2005).  In the 14 years that have elapsed things have only gotten worse in Pakistan.  

Nawaz Shariff is in jail.
His predecessor General Pervez Musharraf lives in exile in Dubai.
Benazir Bhutto - the mother of the Taliban - was shot and killed in 2007.
Her father Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was hung in 1979.
The man who hung him General Zia was blown out of the sky in 1988.

The only bright spark in Pakistan (in my view) is that massive Chinese investment in the OBOR corridor that runs from Kasghghar to the port of Gwadar. The Chinese have built and manage the port in Gwadar. They have also built a 3,200 KM road connecting Gwadar to Karachi and then to Kashghar in Xinjiang. But this is economic development.  Plus it is not indigenous economic development. It is being force fed by China. 

What about Pakistan's development as a civilised society? There is more that is not going on in Pakistan than things that are happening on the ground. 

Why does the Pakistani State push for a religious identity in Afghanistan (Taliban) and   close both eyes (according to the article above) towards Sunni religious extremism inside the country?

Because minus a religious identity (which allegedly can unite their diverse peoples) Pakistan will be torn apart by racial and tribal strife. This is already happening in Pakistan.

Of over 200 million population, the Punjabis (100 million), Pashtuns (30 million), Sindhis, Balochis, the Mohajirs and other groups all have their own identity.  Todate they have not been united. Actually they have become more disunited than ever. 

So for their own survival, Pakistan tries to suppress  ethnic identity (including in Afghanistan which has a majority Pushtun population plus Baloch and others)  in favour of a more religious identity (as a unifying factor).  But it is not working as well. 

There is a huge problem here. They do not have the right religion. 

The angry dog chased them. They ran to the nearest house and locked themselves inside. Thinking they were safe from the angry dog.  But they did not realise that is where the angry dog lives too. They have sought safety INSIDE the dog's house.  And they do not know. Their troubles will not go away. 

They cannot seem to overcome the ethnicity issues. There is little doubt that the Punjabis (100 million of them) dominate Pakistan - in many aspects.  All four prime ministers and three army chiefs after 2008 were Punjabi. The present Army Chief is a Punjabi.  

The new PM Imran Khan is a Pushtun (Pathan) who make up 15% of the population.  A minority.  So ethnic politics  will certainly not help Imran Khan too much.  

Whether Imran Khan likes it or not a  Sunni religious identity may help him more.  Hence the 'close one eye' mentioned in the article above?

The bigger threat to Imran Khan is that ethnic politics in Pakistan will not like him either. He is a Pushtun.

The only thing that can save Pakistan (as well as Malaysia) and any other country in this world is S C I E N C E and T E C H N O L O G Y.



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