A good surprising situation has emerged out of the disturbing case of Rimshah Masih that finally religious leaders in Pakistan have come forward to support the poor girl in her case. Below is the news item from Guardian discussing the case:
Pakistani Muslim leaders support Christian girl accused of blasphemy
Unprecedented move comes after 11-year-old thought to have Down’s syndrome charged with desecrating the Qur’an
Islamic leaders in Pakistan on Monday came out in support of a Christian girl with learning difficulties who is being held in prison, in an unprecedented public denunciation of the blasphemy law by hard-line mullahs.
The All Pakistan Ulema Council, an umbrella group of Muslim clerics and scholars, which includes representatives from fundamentalist groups, joined hands with the Pakistan Interfaith League, which includes Christians, Sikhs and other religions, to call for justice for the girl, Rimsha, who is accused of blasphemy. They also demanded that those making false allegations be punished.
Ever wondered why Bengalis who played a leading role in the creation of Pakistan took a separate path? Try and see why the people of Waziristan who made Azad Kashmir possible are now fighting against the state or why Balochis who chose Pakistan are now feeling dissatisfaction with the country then you will find some answers. I believe an assessment without any prejudice or nationalism will reveal that its not them who were or are at the wrong end.
It seems that words like treason, blasphemy or crime itself are reserved for weak and oppressed. The ones who often don’t follow the herd become eligible of being called as deviants or misguided. It is a shame that those sitting in the highest echelons of power or so called highest levels of political or religious orders have attained the right to determine right and wrong with an absolute sense of being the bearer of truth despite selling their souls many times to their lust for power and wealth. People digest the destruction of several villages or towns just because someone from them said that he doesn’t accept the system which has enslaved them. But don’t bother to ask those who execute the punishment that how many times they have violated the oath they take to protect the constitution? How many times they have attacked our freedom? How many times they have allowed their land to be used as a base for invading others and our own country? Blind people still follow these so called men of power and honor and call their blind following as Nationalism, Patriotism or Loyalty to the Land or Nation. Many of those who don’t follow these rhetoric are victims of their sectarian and social class prejudices and yet they are known as liberals. So called pious and religious have considered the meanings of being religious as being invaders of others privacy and freedom. No doubt we are in a mess and going deeper into it daily.
Attitude towards the people of Pashtoon areas during Eid times is another classic example and then we expect them to be patriotic. People don’t accept their Eid (right or wrong, for me its not important than respecting their decision for their-selves), they are being killed because they don’t fit to international plans, drones are allowed to bomb them just because they are different in culture or customs or sects, many don’t want them as so called usual participants in the makeup of our societies then why the heck it is necessary to keep them forcefully as a part of our country when they are so undesirable. Let the separation be done for good. Borders or contracts or NICs are not important as compared to respect, freedom, justice and equal status as human beings.
Even the term terrorist has different meanings here in Pakistan. Term “terrorists”, in war on terror in Pakistan, expanded from Al-quaida members to Alqaida+Talibans, then it moved to tribesmen and later to Pashtoons. It then turned sectarian and their whole sects were termed terrorists and then anyone who opposed this war was labeled with this term either as terrorists or supporter of terrorism. A new dictionary meaning has been given to the term based on sect, ethnicity, customs or way of life. The interesting part is that those who were defining terrorism were involved, as executives or supporters, in the bombing of civilian population or violations of human rights.
Pakistan lost its eastern part just after 24 years of freedom and now it is again facing a critical situation. We need to think where we are and where we want to go ahead and how we want to go ahead before its too late (again).
There are disturbing reports from Pakistan that an 11 years old Rimshah Masih, possibly suffering from Down syndrome is being accused of blasphemy. Blasphemy laws in Pakistan seem to have bring more insult to Islam than the people they wrongly or unreasonably accused for blasphemy.
They seem to be some criminal minded morons who accused an eleven years old Christian girl for a so called crime, she might not be aware off doing. A serious revision of these laws is required on the basis of Quran and Sunnah for revision or repealing these laws which have brought shame for Muslims.
Also those who are using this laws for their evil motives should be brought to justice as well.
People have the right to exercise their religion especially when Quran has given us clear directions about freedom of religion and justice.
“There is no compulsion in religion” (Al-baqarah, 256)
“O ye who believe! Be steadfast witnesses for Allah in equity, and let not hatred of any people seduce you that ye deal not justly. Deal justly, that is nearer to your duty. Observe your duty to Allah. Lo! Allah is Informed of what ye do.” [Al-maeda ,8]
But it seems emotions have taken over the teachings of Quran and Sunnah. Our Prophet (S.A.W) showed kindness to his worst enemies and even cared about the well being of an old lady who used to throw garbage at him.
We support Rimshah Masih and demand changing or repealing blasphemy laws in Pakistan.
According to media reports, more than 300 people have died in Iran’s deadly twin earthquakes. Aid and rescue services from international channels are facing difficulty in reaching to Iran or sending support due to sanctions from USA and UN.
I don’t agree with Iran’s policies of spreading sectarianism across the region or supporting Assad’s brutal regime but I disagree with sanctions affecting civilian populations. These sanctions affect common people who don’t have much control over the policies of their govt. and especially in natural disaster type situations these sanctions are unjust and cruel.
In times like these, people should think beyond political or geo-strategic goals and differences. After all we are all humans and have same red colored blood.
Recently in Iran, while attending a conference on Syria, Pakistani foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar has said that Pakistan will not support any kind of foreign government intervention in Syria.
I agree with the decision of not involving Pakistani state but at the same time I will disagree with the govt. if they stop people to help Syrians on their own in terms of money, weapons or any other way they can.
Foreign involvement will turn the focus of movement and will likely to hijack the issue from local Syrian opposition like Iran hijacked the Bahrain movement resulting the failure of the movement. But we can see in Egypt, things are changing in positive direction.
At the same time governments should now stop supporting Assad’s brutal regime by cutting diplomatic and defense ties which is essential to remain neutral as Assad is using these things to strengthen his position in killing innocent people. At the same time I cannot oppose Syrian opposition to accept help from where ever it comes from as they are victim side and prime responsibility lies on the shoulders of Assad who initiated the brutal actions against civilian populations which includes merciless aerial bombings.
To all Pakistanis : Happy illusion of independence day!
May Allah give us the true day of independence with sense of justice and respect for humanity beyond the social-class, sectarian, ethnic and other prejudices.
It seems that 65 years ago we had a brief moment of truth and triumph which lost after few more moments of confusion. Pakistan changed its masters from British Raj to other powers of imperialism which were also allies of British Raj. Military and Feudal ruling elite played their usual role of proxy rulers which they were playing in British Raj days with support from sometimes so-called liberals (in fact sectarian and social-class fascists) and sometimes through theocratic mindsets (actually exploiters of religious beliefs for political and financial gains). Pakistani ruling elite especially military establishment played the role of mercenaries for foreign powers, fighting their wars and as a result giving heavy losses to the country. Now we are in a mess of fake war on terror meant to fulfill the lust of money and sectarian/social-class prejudices of few in ruling elite but taking the whole country into a self-destructive mode. Even losing half the country after almost only two and a half decades, Pakistani establishment didn’t learn its lessons and nothing has ever fulfilled their greed.
65 years of illusion, a long time to live a lie. Its time to free our minds and set course for a new frontier of freedom and prosperity with incorruptible sense of justice and respect for humanity. We may not achieve this as humans but certainly we can give it a try.
Looking at the history of Pakistan, it seems society here was a bit open-minded with respect to religious and social class differences. No one makes much fuss about a person being religious or secular, 5 times prayer person or a full party person, Mr. or Mullah etc. It was the same Pakistan where Sheikh Mujeeb and Maulana Maududi both Sunni men (one secular and other religious) supported a Shia Lady Fatimah Jinnah against a Sunni Male dictator (Ayub Khan).
People blame Afghan-Soviet War, Iranian Revolution and attempts to replicate it in Pakistan or traditional Red/Green blocks struggle for current intolerance. But the main thing which I see is the gradual tight grip of centralized power structure over the lives and business affairs of the people. The tight grip of ruling elite consisting of Military and Feudal class, supported time to time by so-called liberals in the name of centralized secularism or so-called theocratic mindsets in the name of religion, made it clear to various groups in society that only method of honorable survival is to capture the center and control the lives of others.
The philosophy of centralist control of power is a gift of continuous martial laws, rise of socialism and resulting drives to counter the first two through theocratic ideology. If we look at Islam, its doctrine is based on rule of law not rule of government or central authority. Supremacy belongs only to God means no one else has supremacy and everyone is equal before law. Sharia cannot be imposed on non-Muslims as there is no compulsion in religion. One cannot simply make people pious or secular by law. It’s a matter of freewill which should be respected for mutual existence with peace and harmony.
Even Sharia is limited to very few things where state can interfere and so there is a distinction between Sin and Crime. Similarly the unnecessary control of state in the name of illicit taxes (taxes like income or sales tax can only be right if extortion is a right thing), semi-socialist economic and power structure, and unjust regulatory authorities also contribute to this problem of strong center and power struggle to control the center. Neither centralized secularism nor theocracy represent the freedom of choice given to a person by Islam for deciding his ways to achieve piety as long as those choices don’t inversely impact others in a clear way. Even the adultery laws (part of Muslim sharia law and being a Muslim is a choice not compulsion according to Quranic teachings) requires 4 willing witnesses giving credible evidence which shows that specific acts of adultery were happening so openly that they were harming society which can include kids and other groups which can get negative influences.
Even in that room is given for other religions and state has to respect the laws and values of other religions (see example Meesaq e Madina). But now it seems people have a habit into poking in the affairs of others that what they are doing in their houses, hotel rooms, mosques etc. This is not just limited to so-called religious people but our so-called self-righteous pseudo liberals have a similar issues of poking in other issues and labeling others with different names because of their religious practices. Labeling someone a terrorist because of beard or other religious symbolism. It seems in Pakistan pseudo liberal breed has mutated into pro-imperialism and pro-war sectarian and social class fascists. Many so called religious groups have considered to be something related to putting nose in the lives of others.
We need to realize that we are too diversified to have a centralized system. Our cultures, values and ways differ from province to province, city to city or event town to town. We cannot make Karachi and Khyber culturally same by force nor we can force people to follow one ideology. One size fits all simply is not a solution for our diversified society. We need decentralization of legislation, economy and governance with minimum(or no) involvement of state in personal affairs and business of the people. Dispute resolution requirements, defense and some other issues might require us to make some common arrangements but they can be made more transparent, flexible and accountable based on the principles of justice, freedom and equality before law. It is high time for the state to give up its authoritarian control over the lives and businesses of its people for a more breathable environment.