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.

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Remembering Madiba!!

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18th July was yet another ordinary scorcher of a day until I realized its importance for something very sacred and greatly significant — It was the ‘great’ Nelson Mandela’s birthday.

Mandela also known as Madiba, attributing to his clan, is struggling to recuperate in Pretoria’s local hospital. Like many across the globe I pray for his longevity and expeditious recovery. Though I am fully aware that his exploits will remain monumental and immortal posthumously as well.

He is an inspiration and a role model to many like me who value his Heroics for emancipating blacks and at the same time keeping the whites in South African society strongly intact with the national fabric — a big feat to achieve in what was previously a very polarized country during apartheid.

There are so many fascinating dimensions to his struggle or you may call it his passion to bring social, political and economic harmony in his motherland that I get bamboozled to find any other example in modern era that could match his genius.

It was his master stroke that united a country with William Ernest Henley’s ‘Invictus’. I believe if he had not narrated that poem to Francois Pienaar, the springboks captain during the 1995 rugby World Cup, things would have been different in South Africa today.

Mandela leveraged sports to bring the two races, at loggers head with each other, closer and showed how black and white races can assimilate into each other to form a rainbow nation. The poem that he narrated to the springboks captain was a bouncing bag for Mandela himself while he was doing time in Robben island prison.

From 27 years of prison and straight to the presidency seems like a fairy tale to me. The saga didn’t end here. Another feather in his cap was the establishment of truth and reconciliation commission that led to fair and transparent accountability of the hate mongers during apartheid hence teaching the values of coexistence to fellow South Africans!

A Nobel peace prize recipient, his devotion as champion of peace and social justice is unmatched. Though drawing parallels would be unjust but I believe his grandeur somewhat surpasses the legendary Martin Luther king a notch, as he not only had to engage two races at daggers drawn but also had to unite a nation that was home to 11official languages.

He is not actively involved in politics today but he has left behind a legacy of compassion, tolerance, peace and racial equality that will guide many a generations to come. May he witness more birthdays in his lifetime …..it will be apt to wish him in his native Xhosa language:

” halala ngemini yakho yokuzalwa “