Travesty of justice!

On my flight back home, I stumbled upon this article in the Daily Times newspaper. Here is what i see in the letter to the editor section.

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The above mentioned horror account augments my fear of a politicised judicial system, where not a single offender has been penalised so far, who had wrongly killed in the name of God and Islam.

We have not become brave enough to call spade a spade yet. We still fear the religious bigots, who hold sway on us. Spare a thought for the minorities!

This is not Quaid e Azam’s dream, infact it is George Orwell’s animal farm where Mumtaz Qadri and Khalid chisti are the untouchables and a patriot like Abdus Salam is deemed a villain!

Faiz Ahmed Faiz predicted this much earlier in one of his peoms:

ye daag daag ujaalaa, ye shab gaziidaa sahar
wo intazaar thaa jis kaa, ye wo sahar to nahi

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Mr. khan! beware of the political Fatwa.

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I am not referring to Rimsha Masih, Salman Taseer or the Ahmadi community. This time around there is a warning for Imran khan to weigh his words as there is a likelihood that the legendary sportsman cum politician might get entangled in a banal blasphemy controversy, concocted this time round by the JUI leadership.

Imran khan in one of his by-election rallies, criticised JUI’s previous tenure’s performance in KPK by stating that he will clean their mess. As a repartee, JUI ‘s head Molana Fazl ur Rehman refering to Imran khan uttered words like ” beating GoldSmith’s agenda and his jewish conspiracy in the by elections “. He also cleverly portrayed Imran khan’s severe rebuke aimed at his party, as a blasphemous statement.

During his political campaign Maulana Fazlur Rehman played around Imran khan’s words quite skilfully. He equated his party’s last term performance as a tenure when Islamic values and the shariat were upheld that the PTI leader had allegedly profaned by terming it as a mess.

You have to give it to Maulana sahib’s skilful rhetorics. With his comments the discord between him and Imran khan has gone off on a new tangent.

It shows how in Islamic Republic of Pakistan you can get into big trouble if you don’t mind your tongue while confronting any dogmatic person with religious clout and fan following.

Tv show hosted by Waseem Badami on Ary tv on the 20th August 2013 also highlighted the gravity of the issue, which was escalated by Maulana sahib’s response to Imran khan’s criticism at JUI’s previous performance in KPK. In the show PTI’s otherwise outspoken candidate Shahreyar Afridi looked coy and rather submissive for the most part of the show in the presence of JUI representative who portrayed his party as the sanctimonious one and in the meanwhile ridiculed Imran Khan’s statement as desecration to shariat and Islam.

In my view there seems to be a an unending romance of the politicised clerics with the blasphemy law in the country ever since General Zia came to power. It has affected many a lives, curbed freedom of speech and put the clerics in charge of the way we should approach life.

As ironic as it may sound but in our country the only species that has the right to exercise freedom of speech with full pelt are the politically motivated Islamic scholars. Considering the current situation they can even get away with murder where as a layman’s words gets propagandised negatively by the clerics.

A recent example was that of Amir Liaqat Hussain, considered a part of the cleric’s cult, who rebutted a random Journalist Ziauddin khan’s incisive article that criticized his antics and his extremely popular show during Ramadan. He skillfully cloaked himself in the garb of religion and accused Ziauddin in return for disrespecting the Holy month of Ramadan.

It is a pity that the tainted politics in our country gets sustenance by playing the religion card. Not that i am a PTI supporter or Imran khan fan but just as a compassionate human being i want to advice a foolhardy Imran Khan to mellow down and mince his words while talking in processions and during political campaigning.

Not many politicians get to support various minorities openly in Pakistan just to avoid falling prey to the politically motivated muslim scholars’ animosity, who can launch a negative campaign against that particular politician. In hindsight we have myriads of examples in our country whereby a politician had gotten into deep waters just because of showing an iota of solidarity with the estranged minorities.

The political process is deemed as a driving force and pivot behind forming a country’s national narrative . It should not be given a religious shade, if a country is to build consensus across the broad spectrum and develop a healthy public discourse.

I hope Imran khan realises that it is high time for him to matures as a seasoned politician and may God help Molana sahib as well.

Bhag Zummurad bhag!

20130817-125817.jpg Disclaimer: this piece is a witty jibe at the embarrassing hostage situation created by a junkie named Sikander in Islamabad city on thursday, it is not meant to offend anyone.

You know what “pitthu gol garam” and the way a cow goes down before slaughter, have in common? — The answer is Zumurad khan.

For those who are not familiar with “pitthu gol garam” let me explain. It is a game played between two teams in which one team has to dislodge a pile of stones stacked up, with the help of a tennis ball and then mound them back to their previous position by avoiding the opponent’s throw aimed at them. The natural reflex action taken while running and evading a hit from the ball was showcased live by a happy go lucky, Zummarad Khan. The only difference in this case was that he had to dodge a bullet from Ak 47 gun rather than a tennis ball, after he failed to grapple an armed man, Sikander, who had taken the city hostage for more than five hours.

Zummarud khan should thank his stars that the retard didn’t shoot him after he fell on ground like a cow going down just before slaughter on Eid ul Azha. All butchers must also take note of Sikander’s expertise at bringing down the burly zummurad Khan in a jiffy.

I won’t blame Mr. Khan to abandon his snugg tv lounge for this risky adventure, as i believe the law enforcement agencies lacked common sense to tame a trivial nincompoop who was brandishing his weapons with gay abandon in the heart of the country’s capital.

Only if the law enforcement agencies had seen more hollywood comedy flicks this circus would have been avoided. In the movie ‘Old school’ directed by the Hangover fame director Todd philips, the protagonist, Will Farrell accidentally shoots himself in his jugular by a tranquilliser gun which makes him unconscious. (Video link)

Considering the mayhem that unfolded later, a tranquilliser gun shot aimed at the wannabe terrorist by a sharp shooter or a snipper would have done the trick. Nonetheless PPP ‘s jiyala, Zummurd khan hogged the limelight for saving the day, albeit through his tactless antics.

In the process though, he showed a few facets of his personality to the world, which we did not know earlier:

1). He has poor rugby skills as he couldn’t bring a man down who was half his weight.

2). He has excellent reflexes and dancing abilities, considering his moves during the incident.

3). He believes in the literal meaning of the phrase — “taking something by the scruff of its neck”.

4). He has a deceptive physique, as he dumbfounded every one through his sprinting skills when the first gun shot was fired.

5). He is a foolhardy risk taker, who believes in destiny.

6). When in trouble, he scrams.

Having dodged the bullets so narrowly i wonder if Zamurud khan was simply lucky or was he just a brilliant player of “pitthu gol garam” in his childhood, either way at this juncture the maladroit Mr. Khan is basking in adulation for putting an end to a dragged hollywood adventure flick.

Year’s round up: the good, the bad and the ugly!

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Note: this article of mine got published in “The News international blog” on the 66th independence Day of Pakistan with slight modification. Here is the link:http://blogs.thenews.com.pk/blogs/2013/08/years-round-up-the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly/

The cliched fanfaronade of our forefathers’ altruism for emancipating us from the shackles of slavery will mark yet another independence day.

But are we following the footsteps of our founding fathers? is a million dollar question.

As a yardstick for future trends, let us gauge our progress during the last one year starting from 14th August 2012.

The ugly scorecard:

I don’t want to send pessimistic vibes but the status quo reflects a sob story of turmoil and upheaval that i find pertinent to recount:

Badami Bagh was this year’s pit stop in an unending journey of ‘Christian-misia’. That included Shanti nagar and Gojra as the plundered stations of yesteryears.

There was no respite for the poor Hazaras as well, whose ghettoizzation touched a claustrophobic level. This year proved that the only remedy for their woes is a facial surgery. As they are the most vulnerable to violence because of their distinct facial contours, which is a pity to say the least. Bad luck pursued them even when they tried to run away. From the capsizing of ship to the denial of sanctuary by foreign world, this year was an ominous one for the estranged minority.

As it transpired, there was a lot more to Shia genocide’s personification as a twitter hashtag. Abbas town incident in karachi and the Parachinar massacres were only the tip of the iceberg in a flurry of violence against the Shiite community.

The ‘run of the mill’ persecution faced by Ahmadis, hit a new tangent this year. The rally of lawyers in Lahore protesting against Shezan drinks was quintessence of prejudice oozing from the torchbearers of justice. Furthermore the publication of an innocuous tabloid (Lahore magazine) run by the community, was also halted by state officials.

The aforementioned was not the first effort to curb freedom of speech during the last one year. Infact the ban on youtube by state machinery was the original sin that crippled the country’s intellectual freedom. I wonder why google has not yet banned Pakistan over this idiosyncrasy.

Osama Bin Laden! don’t fret. He didn’t make the cut this year. Infact it was an offshoot of OBL’s organisation, The Tehreek e Taliban Pakistan, that earned ignominy by causing havoc and claiming responsibility for scores of nefarious acts carried out across Pakistan.

Malala Yousaf Zai was shot in Swat in a cowardly attempt to suppress education and opress the female voice. It left an indelible smear on the nation’s image. Though many cranky followers of “The Arrivals” series would still argue that Melanie Josephine was the real name of this CIA backed education drone.

The grisly massacre of foreign mountaineers in Diameer valley, Gilgit, didn’t render any service to Pakistan’s image as a tourists friendly city as well.Thanks to the Chinese for yet again forgiving the callous attitude of Pakistan’s government towards protecting lives of tourists.

The once dynamic city, Karachi, reeked of blood as usual. The gang war of Lyari hogged the limelight for engendering an exodus of settlers from the ravaged zone.

Balochistan Liberation Army, the outlawed bandits, hit the last nail in the coffin when they attacked Quaid e Azam’s residency in Ziarat. A symbol of national heritage was razed to ashes in a jiffy and the law enforcement agencies were caught napping.

The good part:

11th of May was a momentous day this year when Pakistanis chose ballet over bullet. Active involvement of the youth in the democratic process and smooth transition of power to democratically elected government were breaths of fresh air.

Young Amir Atlas and Muhamad Asif are worth mentioning for winning laurels for the country in squash and snooker respectively. Rest of the sports and sportsmen painted a sorry figure.

The wicked (bad) side:

The failure on part of election commission in carrying out a free and fair election in a country, founded by an epitome of justice, was a bitter pill to swallow.

I agree with Karl Rove’s philosophy that “politics is tv with the sound off”, yet understanding MQM’s politics was easy this year. They did a great job in showcasing their unmatchable summersault skills — switching stances from time to time.

Moreover the indifference of Pakistan’s mainstream media, to cover a robust revolution that catapulted from the Shahbag square of Bangladesh, was appalling. I believe the youth of pakistan were bereft of learning from the coming of age saga of a fledgeling south asian democracy.

The road ahead:

I don’t buy the rhetoric of a bright future, though i have high hopes attached with the youth of this country. We need to understand that the founding fathers did not free this nation from the compulsive chanting of ‘Vande Mataram’, so that the ‘pseudo-Islamic’ fundos could coerce their radicalised dogma upon us.

Young patriots can certainly bring a longlasting change, if they show their mettle for being the true custodians of 1947 revolution.

For starters, some one needs to make a Pakistani version of “Lagay Raho Munnabhai”, to imbue the badly needed Quaid’s philosophy of unity, faith and discipline amongst the populace.

Lessons to be learned from a brave Bengladesh!!

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I believe keeping a close track of progress in Bengladesh is pivotal for any Pakistani — primarily to guage the modus operandi of the country’s recent exploits and partially for her previous association with our homeland.

The recent judgement of a Bangladeshi high court that led to the expulsion of Jamaat e Islami from partaking in the country’s next election to be held in the coming year is a brazen step to say the least.

What gained momentum from Shahbag square protests in Dhaka culminated into the ousting of country’s largest oppositon party — deemed fascist for its role in dismemberment and for the subsequent violence that took its toll on the country’s overall outlook.

A fledgling, 42 years old democracy has come off age pretty quick to understand the importance of secularism despite having a majority of Muslim population ensconced in the country.

I reckon a secular system is the way to go, especially when you know that all you are going to get is sham or pseudo Islamization of the country at the hands of a few bigoted fundamentalists as the other alternative. A utopian islamic model is hard to achieve anyways with an ever increasing schism between sects, dissenting over each others ideology.

Just to clear any doubt over all those people who regard the word ‘secular’ as a taboo and the proponent of a secular system as a heretic, i would encourage them to skim though the speech made on 11th august 1947 to the minorities of Pakistan ( both East and West Pakistan included) by Quaid e Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. A pertinent excerpt out of the speech is worth mentioning here:

” ……………..You may belong to any religion or caste or creed – that has nothing to do with the business of the state. ”

I clearly suggests that father of this nation drew a broad line between functionality of the state and the everyday religious ethos of its citizens.

At least no one should argue over the importance of being independent from the shackles of slavery, then in the context of Independence of Pakistan one must also not forget that it was the founders and leaders of these Islamist parties which resisted the idea of a new country — they went on record to demean pakistan and its existence:

“Pakistan Ek Bazaari Aurat He, Hum Ne Ise Majburan Qubul Kya He”
(Report Tehqiqati Adalat P#275)

Which means…..Pakistan is akin to a courtesan, whose freedom we have hardly compromised.

Now if they claim to be the actual custodians of pakistan and that their writ be imposed on the nation then it would be something of a fools errand on their part.

As a South Asian i feel proud that the tiger nation of Bangladesh came to being, as it gave those who were marginalised before 1971 a conduit to voice their opinion. Apart from providing a safe haven to innocent people whose human rights got mulct in a flurry of violent oppression. (look at Hamood Ur Rehman commision report for reference).

Despite having problems of its own, Bangladesh has always sprung up. She provided equal opportunity to people like Dr Younas of Grameen Bank to follow his dreams of empowering the dispossessed. She not only respected and lauded Dr. Younas as a hero for his exploits but also adorned a monument of another nobel laureate Dr. Abdus Salam who was born and buried in Pakistan and who never let go his Pakistani nationality despite being ostracised for being an Ahmadi. It shows for the country’s stature.

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Many observers had questioned the expedience of the revolution spiralled by the audacious Bangladeshi youth, that had amassed in numbers in the Shahbag square. But the Bangladeshi nation has proved that their young generation was street smart and cognizant enough to notice the country’s changing dynamics — yearning to move on in order to graduate to the next level.

Kudos to the Bangladeshi youth, who stood up, counted for and eventually had the last laugh. I think it behooves upon young pakistanis like me and the rest of us to take a leaf out of the chapter of their exploits and develop a sense of belonging towards the country by initiating a dialogue in our settings.

Poignant as it may sound but the truth is that the national narrative of our country is hijacked by those usurpers who have vested interests of their own. The youth of pakistan must play a healthy role in redefining the social, cultural and political landscape by following Quaid’s dream of an egalitarian pakistan.

There is no denying the fact that Bangladesh has once again given some food for thought to the big brother to learn from follies of the past.

Saffronisation of education, a misguided effort by world’s largest democracy

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India prides herself on being the world’s greatest democracy and a thriving secular powerhouse to boot. Though the recent decision by the state of Madhya Pradesh of making it a compulsion to teach Gita in Mudrasahs as part of educational curricula could prove detrimental to the facade of Indian secularism.

I believe the proponents of ‘Hindutva’ are up to an unwelcome initiative, which could trigger unrest and engender animosity amongst the muslim groups, ensconced in the state.

An ideal secular system by default not only follows the mechanism of separating itself from the religious ethos of its citizens but it graduates a level further by creating new spaces for all its inhabitants to practice their faiths with freedom — the by product of which is communal harmony.

The afore mentioned scruple, with due respect, has been violated by this absurd decision on part of the Madhya Pradesh’s policy makers. The logic behind inculcating the teachings of Gita in Muslim Mudrasahs in the state, to broaden the gamut of subjects taught as part of Suffronisation of education agenda is an irrational one to say the least.

No matter how much reservations and differences i have with the prevailing circumstances of Mudrasahs in Pakistan, i would never endorse such an absurd idea that would further alienate an already ‘vulnerable’ educational system from the mainstream academia.

The mordenisation of a Madrasah can be done by other means as well. Why bound a student in a random Madrasah to mandatorily study Bhagvat Gita as part of educational curricula? I believe it should be left on the will of any Muslim if he voluntarily wants to delve into the comparative study of religions or not.

A prime example of that could be Mukhtar Ahmed of a local Madrasah in Varanasi district of Uttar Pradesh who teaches comparative study of both Holy Quran and Bhagvat Gita just to draw parallels between the two faiths. This exercise is acceptable as his personal decision where a state owned body does not dictate his method of pedagogy.

A skeptical eye could sense a tinge of political gimmickry in this decision backed by the right winged Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) with the elections around the corner. With the recent Bodoland and Telangana separatist movements already shaking up the higher echelons of the Incumbent Indian government, there is no room for further sectarian rift.

The suffronisation of education by Hindutva radicalists draws uncanny parallels with the dogma of ‘talibanization’ that was incubated in Afghanistan and later permeated in Pakistani society by fundamentalists who try to coerce their own ideology on the masses.

Little had the paterfamiliases of Pakistan known during independence about a bunch of misled religious bigots who would convert the country into a ‘Pseudo Islamic state’ after it was emancipated from the mandatory humming of ‘Vande Mataram’ — a Hindutva ritual employed during assembly drills in pre partition schools.

Face off with the Doctor!

I thought twice before writing this piece (initially considered dumping it) but my innate desire to identify the fallacy in the system got the better of me.

Despite all my efforts, i could not ignore him– yeah, you got it right, i am talking about ‘the doctor’.

A few days back Geo tv host, Dr. Amir lost his temper for once over yet another ‘Amir Liaqat Hussain brand bashing’ article. The article titled “Mudaari”, which means juggler, was published in the Daily Ummat by a random journalist, Ziauddin khan. Its transcript is as follows:

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Now lets hear doctor sahib’s repartee to the article, which he brought to the fore during his immensely popular tv show, kindly go through this video:

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x12dhqb_aamirliaquat-response-to-ummat-in-amaan-ramazan-27-7-2013_news?search_algo=2

This by no means, was a mere riposte but an undercurrent of a brewing storm, looking at his previous shenanigans. He smartly postulated a self created hypothesis out of the article, that is dangerous to say the least.

First and foremost tactic that he deployed was to brace himself with nuance by misconstruing the complete context of the article, in an attempt to incite anger amongst the audience.

It reminded me of Karl Marx’s famous quote in german, the interpretation of which is :

“religion is the opium of the masses”.

In a country like Pakistan with a high illiteracy rate that holds true to a large extent.
Now if you tell your audience in a tv show, whose market positioning as a religious program is questionable having seen singers and comedians perform, that someone has written a slanderous note against Islam in a tabloid it would suffice in fraying tempers and engendering hate amongst the crowd.

There is no denying the fact that he has a sizeable following, whom he either incite or imbue with a sense of mission is your own call to interpret. I think the onus lies on the people to a large extent, when it comes to opting their leaders. Islam advocates that you ponder deeply into the reality yourself, rather than following someone blindly.

Why don’t we have strict laws to rein in those who propagate hate by concocting controversies they want to hatch. unfortunately, being a religious scholar is considered a luxury in our country, no one can question your intentions as if you have landed in this world with a no objection certificate. If at all someone tries to rectify the fallacy, then a web of conspiracies is weaved against him in order to marginalise him from the mainstream strata.

We have short memories. Especially where so many sectarian mishaps befall every day it is difficult to exactly remember one. I don’t think many people would recall the tv show where the aforementioned host sparked hate against Ahmadis. Which consequently triggered targeted killing of Ahmadis.

Hence it behooves on any person not to create rift in an already fragmented society through their incisive words especially when they are at a pedestal to form opinions.

My humble plea to Amir Liaqat Husain would be:

“Doctor sahib please don’t try to issue a fatwa against poor journalist, Ziauddin khan by giving an impression as if he has desecrated the sanctity of the holy month of ramadan. You can’t stop people from commenting on your demeanour as you are in a responsible position that entails accountability. You can’t afford further recklessness since you already have blood on your hands for propagating hateful speeches in public forum against a peaceful minority.”

Sana Bucha has apparently left the giant media group in protest against Dr. Amir Liaqat Hussain’s reinstatement. I guess letting go off Sana won’t hurt Geo but disposing off Amir would be a cause of concern — after all he is the ‘shooting star’ for them in the BCG matrix.

I believe it is high time when Geo network starts applying ‘Geo Asool’ and ‘Zara Sochiye’ campaigns with letter and spirit on itself as well, rather than using them as attention grabbing media gimmicks.