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Islam and Sectarianism ( 11 Sept 2012, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Wrong Faith in the Right State


By Waseem Altaf

September 7, 2012

Rana Chandra Singh, who was one of the founding members of Pakistan Peoples’ Party and a cabinet minister was many a time asked to leave while the cabinet was given briefing on defense

Since the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is Islamic in character, it is imperative that the Islamic injunctions are followed in letter and spirit. Hence a number of constitutional provisions envisage Islamic principles. For instance a Pakistani citizen born to a non-Muslim family cannot be the President or the Prime Minister of Pakistan; however he can be subjected to Hadood (Islamic) laws. If a Muslim man rapes a Christian woman in front of a Christian man, the Christian man’s evidence is not permissible under hadd, whereas the testimony of a Muslim man is admissible if he sees a Christian man raping a Muslim woman. Non-Muslim children are required to read text books which contain material stating that “Hindus cannot be Muslims’ friends” and “Islam is the best religion” whereas Muslim children are taught that their religion is superior to all other religions. While any “Islamic” mullah of any brand is completely free to spread hatred against any other sect, Ahmadis cannot even hold sports in the open.

The two-nation theory, extreme propagation of Islam vis-a-vis Hindu religion and culture, ethnic cleansing which led to the slaughter of around 300,000 Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs, all combined together were more than sufficient to offset the rhetoric of the August 11 speech of Jinnah. Pakistan was way ahead on its path to communalism. Once you unleash the Frankenstein, it remains unbridled till the time it is exterminated.

The only man in Jinnah’s coterie who had the capacity to negotiate the terms and conditions of Partition before the Boundary Commission with the English technocrats and capable Congress leaders on the other side happened to be an Ahmadi named Chaudhary Zafarullah. It was his juridical genius and prudence which helped pave the way for an independent state.

Years later, in 1965 when Pakistan’s 12 infantry division was making rapid advances towards Akhnoor in Indian administered Kashmir; again General Akhtar Hussain Malik the GOC was an Ahmadi who was to be replaced by Ayub Khan in mid operation. In 1979, for the first time and probably for the last, when in Stockholm concert hall, at the Nobel Prize award ceremony, someone uttered the name of Pakistan along with the name of the physicist, the recipient Abdus Salam was also an “ill-fated” Ahmadi citizen of Pakistan.

Since the Ahmadis’ belief system was not acceptable to the majority, 200 Ahmadis were killed in 1953 when riots broke out in Lahore. The main agitators, Maulana Maududi of Jamaat-e-Islami and Abdus Sattar Niazi, who were sentenced to death earlier, were pardoned. As Ahmadis were declared non-Muslim in 1974, from the time of creation of this state, members of Ahmediyya community have been harassed and numerous crimes of person and property have been committed against them, while the state almost always turned a blind eye towards the perpetrators.

On May 28, 2010 terrorist thugs attacked two Ahmadi mosques in Lahore killing 94 innocent citizens of this country and wounding more than 120. Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan claimed responsibility. Two men were apprehended from the scene of the crime, but even after more than two years there has been no progress in the case.

During 1965 war when Pakistan was short of aircraft, C-130 transporters were converted into bombers and several successful missions were carried out over Indian Territory. The man who conceived the idea of conversion and also won a Sitara-e-Jurrat (SJ) was a Christian pilot namely Group Captain (later AVM) Eric Hall fighting for Pakistan and not for Islam. Later on he was instrumental in setting up the uranium enrichment pilot plant at Chaklala, Rawalpindi.

Air Commodore Nazir Latif of the Pakistan air force won Sitara-e-Jurrat twice both in 1965 and 1971 wars. Nazir also fought for the territory called Pakistan and not for a religious ideology. Wing Commander Mervyn Middlecoat, winner of double Sitara-e-Jurrat both in 1965 and 1971 wars, who gave his life for the motherland was not a “shaheed” but one of the saviors of the “fort of Islam”. Squadron Leader Peter Christy, a bomber pilot of PAF was awarded Tamgha-e-Jurrat in 1971 and a Sitara-e-Jurrat in 1971, also gave his life for Pakistan, not in a jihad but in defending the territorial integrity of this country. Group Captain Cecil Chaudhary (Sitara-e-Jurrat) not only fought for this country, he also contributed towards education of our children.

However, since the Christians have a different belief system, they remain fearful in this country. It is despite the fact that majority of them belong to the most underprivileged class of our society. The wretched of the wretched cleaning filth and performing menial jobs are not spared either. Aasia Bibi is in jail, Rimsha Masih; the 14 year old Christian girl with mental retardation is in solitary confinement, while numerous fellow citizens from the Christian community do not understand where to go, for in every corner of this country, there is a Khalid Jadoon Chishti, accusing anybody of blasphemy for his own vested interest.

Opposite to General Hospital Lahore, Christian population dwells in small streets where the local mullah has installed street signs. Some of the names are Mohammadiya street, Abu-Bakr street, Usman street so an and so forth. So far numerous Christian localities have been attacked by orthodox mullahs. On August 1, 2009, the Christian community at Gojra was attacked by Mullahs from Sipah-e-Sahaba in which eight Christians were burnt alive “in the name of Islam”. That included four women and a child.

As usual the state remained unmoved and nobody was convicted. It was later reported that the complainant had withdrawn the case.

One of the founding fathers of Pakistan namely Jogindra Nath Mandal and also the first Minister of law was a Hindu. The doctor who did not leave Swat during military operations while bullets were flying overhead, and looked after the injured Muslims was a Hindu. And can we forget the services of Sir Gangaram, Lala Lajpat Rai the son of Gulab Devi, Sardar Dyal Singh and countless others whom we owe so much. And then there were charities spread across the sub-continent by faceless Hindus and Sikhs regardless of whether the beneficiary was a Muslim or a Hindu.

However, as the Hindus are guilty of not believing in what we believe, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan reported in 2010 that at least 25 Hindu girls are abducted from various parts of Pakistan every month. These girls, forced to convert and then marry Muslim men, are left with no other option but to live in hell with a “Momin” for the rest of their lives, as going back to their family and embracing Hinduism again can invite death punishment as an apostate is to be killed in Islam……and these girls are citizens of an “Islamic state”. And close to every Hindu temple, in every part of this country, our Muslim brethren have erected a mosque.

The writer of this article was once told by a reliable source that Rana Chandra Singh, who was one of the founding members of Pakistan Peoples’ Party and a cabinet minister was many a time asked to leave while the cabinet was given briefing on defense. The Taliban during their rule in Swat forced Hindus and Sikhs to wear a red headgear, symbolizing dhimmi status…again quite in accordance with Islamic practices. In July 2010, around 60 members of the minority Hindu community in Karachi were attacked and evicted from their homes following an incident when a Hindu youth drank from a water tap near an Islamic mosque.

And then there are Parsis and Bahais’ and maybe a couple of Jewish families who constantly live in fear. Majority of these small communities have already migrated to other countries.

The mindset which the state encouraged during the last 65 years is now knocking at its own door. Shias are being killed every other day, while hundreds of Deobandis and Barelvis have also been butchered. The vicious cycle continues unabated and there appears no end in sight.

Today we are at the crossroads. Perhaps we still have time to decide whether we have to move forward in harmony with universal ethical values and international best practices or revert back to tribal customs prevalent some 1400 years ago; perhaps relevant to that particular time and space. Do we have to kill those whom we consider rude making fun of us, wage wars on peaceful people, enslave men and distribute the looted wealth as booty, adopt enemy women as concubines, encourage forced conversions, and officially assign dhimmi status to non-Muslims, extract huge sums from the conquered as Jizya, legalize death penalty for apostates and terrorize those who are followers of a different faith?

And if we have decided to go ahead with this agenda, we are seriously mistaken, as there is zero tolerance for all this in the civilized world and wars of today are not fought on horsebacks with stimulating rhetoric, rousing emotions and bladed weapons.

Waseem Altaf is a social activist.