By Shamila Ghyas
January 06, 2015
What is it that makes Pakistanis, normal day-to-day Pakistanis, want to be the main keepers of Islam?
A few months back, an incident happened in a UAE mosque, where a non-Muslim woman stormed into it wearing her shoes and ripped a poster that had a prayer on it and threw it in the dustbin. A Pakistani man, who probably felt like the world had ended, went to the Imam of the mosque and complained to him about what had happened. The Imam assured him he would deal with it. When he didn’t do anything for a day, the Pakistani went back to him and insisted he call the police and again was told that he would do what was to be done and he need not worry about it. After a few days when the Imam did nothing, as neither his world had ended nor had his religion, the Pakistani took the matter into his own hands and went to the woman’s workplace and stabbed her multiple times to death.
The imam of the mosque, the actual keeper of religion there, as well as everyone else brushed it aside not giving it much importance, but the Pakistani was not able to. He had to kill her to punish her, to save his religion.
A simpler less violent example – I, along with a few family members visited the white marble (tourist infested) Sheikh Zayed mosque a little while back. At the steps outside of the mosque, where the road was, I was taking a picture and a Pakistani guard put his hand in front of my camera, stating I could not take the picture unless my hair was covered. I won’t even talk about the logic here about covering hair and taking a picture in which I was not even in. He then proceeded to tell a family member that she would need to wear an abaya because he could see her wrists.
Please note, that other non Pakistani guards were doing their actual job, guarding the place and not staring at all the women ogling at what parts were showing or not. The family member was forced to go where they give free Abayas to the ‘inappropriately’ dressed. She was sent back by the Arab person in charge, who said that her clothes were perfectly fine as were her barely visible wrists.
This is outside of Pakistan where they don’t even have that much “power.” Inside of Pakistan, things are so out of control that anyone can do anything and get away with it.
However, there is a quiet uprising hero, referred to by newspapers and people alike as a charismatic lawyer who is taking the Taliban head on.
Muhammad Jibran Nasir, I beg to differ; is not only taking the Taliban head on but also the very mindset of Pakistanis that lets people like Maulana runaway Burqa (Abdul Aziz) live securely in our society. The mindset that makes excuses for atrocities that people commit, the mindset that justifies murders, the mindset that puts one's religion above everything else, even humanity.
This is no easy task. Historically, most people in Pakistan who have opened their mouth to speak up for others have ended up being killed. Salman Taseer was shot by his own guard 33 times. Mumtaz Qadri, his murderer was deemed a hero and to this day enjoys the status of one, even behind bars. Lawyers showered him with flowers; people who scream against all 'western influences' sent him Valentine cards as well as roses with notes declaring their never ending love. But then, everyone knows this already.
Four years on, candlelight vigil was held on Sunday in Lahore in Taseer’s memory, and fans of Mumtaz Qadri attacked it.
The savage mindset still going strong.
Jibran Nasir, in spite of everything, has managed to get an FIR issued against Maulana Runway Burqa but he is yet to be arrested. With scores of proof of support for terrorism available, this man still remains free and goes about as he wishes. Clearly, he has powerful friends.
The Taliban on the other hand, have taken note of Jibran Nasir, and are obviously threatened by him – enough to start sending him threats on his telephone.
They are the Taliban, and this is but to be expected of the cowards but going back to the mindset, what of the normal people like you and me, who are cursing him and what he is doing? They are deliberately and falsely labeling Jibran as an Ahmadi or a Kafirun social media as well as everywhere else, knowing quite well that being branded either (or a Shia) is good enough as signing a death warrant in Pakistan. These labels (even if they are just on social media) make the person vulnerable and open prey for all who wish to do God’s (or their own version of God) work.
This is the first time, at least that I can remember that people have come out on the streets to speak up so openly against terrorists, all thanks to Jibran Nasir. So there is no surprise here, that there is even a hashtag #HangJibranNasir being shown all over by those who wish to see Pakistan destroyed under extremism and terrorism. And regular people are sharing it with triumphant fists in the air.
Even a small video of his invokes the same response. I posted one on Facebook and was bombarded by messages from random people calling me a Kafir.
Keeping all this in mind, Jibran Nasir has a long and dangerous journey ahead of him, but he is the one person who has gotten hold of the horns that everyone else was scared to even mention let alone grab. Even if not much changes, he is still opening our eyes to what we have become as a society.
Shamila Ghyas is a fantasy fiction author, blogger, freelance writer, satirist, chocoholic and geek