Monday, May 31, 2010

Mosques or Places of Worship?!

There was a mosque in Medina built by hypocrites or the munafiqeen. It is one of the five mosques mentioned in the Quran and was ordered to be demolished in the verses of Surah Tauba.

107 And those who built a masjid to cause harm and for unbelief and to cause disunion among the believers and an ambush to him who made war against Allah and His Apostle before; and they will certainly swear: We did not desire aught but good; and Allah bears witness that they are most surely liars.

108. Never stand in it; certainly a masjid founded on piety from the very first day is more deserving that you should stand in it; in it are men who love that they should be purified; and Allah loves those who purify themselves.

Yet even the God Almighty called it a Masjid that is a place of performing sajda. Through out history Islamic historians refer to it as the infamous Masjid e Zarar but Pakistani lawmakers and clergy have assumed powers that they were never given to by God.

The Pakistani law forbids the Ahmaddiya Community to call their places of worships mosques and the act is punishable by fine and up to three years imprisonment. The Ahmadi community has responded to the injustice remarkable tact by changing the names of all their places of worships from Masjid to Bait. Bait or house used abundantly in Quran for the Holiest site of Islam, the mosque in Makkah in context to it being called Bait-ullah or house of God. Thus even though the attacks in Lahore on Bait-uz-Zikr and Bait-ul-Noor were attacks on places of worships, today Western Europe's biggest mosque belongs to the non-Muslims of Pakistan, called simply Bait-ul-Futuh or The House of Victories!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Attacks in Lahore: Wajib-ul-qatal!!

95 people killed and hundreds wounded but what I failed to understand was that what was the fuss about? My family and friends were truly horrified, in fact saddened, disgusted and many other things, but I remain confused, why?! Were not those who died Ahmedis? Correction; Qadiyanis? Were those not Ahmedi Mosques? Correction: Qadiyani places of worship? Didn't the maulvi sahab say these people were wajib-ul-qatl?

Not long ago I was in a debate with someone at my workplace who advocated how and why ahmedis are wajib-ul-qatl i.e. those whom a Muslim is duty bound to kill. The fact that the term was never present in the days of Prophet Muhammad pbuh or the four succeeding righteous caliphs aside, the term is accepted by almost all the clerics of Pakistan who rely on jurisprudence of the clergy of medieval age of Islam when religion was abundantly used to crush any dissenting voices against the Ummayad, Abbasid and Ottoman caliphs.

The point?! Point of the matter is that all these clerics like Mufti Muneeb and religo-political leaders like Munawar Hasan, Fazal-ur-Rahman and others firmly believe that Ahmedis should be killed. They are not alone, they are joined in the fray by almost the entire educated middle class of Pakistan who firmly believed until a year back that Taliban are good and their version of shariat will prevail, as Islam will emerge victorious over the West.

They also believe that, tazeers that is man made punishments like killing the apostates and the blasphemer, flogging the alcoholics and the unveiled and stoning the adulterer are necessities without which our faith would be incomplete.

They believe that Taliban are on the right path, in fact many women among this 'educated' middle class of ours firmly believe that Taliban's prohibition of female education was entirely justified. Obviously a major chunk of these women remain in denial and would have us believe that it was all media propaganda and not Taliban but Indian agents destroyed these schools in disguise.

The media, staffed by this exact middle class, sympathizes with Taliban. It is the same media who was madly criticizing the government when it was reluctant in signing the Swat Nizam-e-Adal pact and when it was conducting an operation. But today it was a new low altogether, the shameless display of yellow journalism in their relentless effort to link this event with India, the US and Israel was unbelievable.

Today every deobandi, salafi, ahl-e-hadis and ahl-e-tashee madrassa in Pakistan tells its pupils that Ahmedis are wajib-ul-qatal. Every imam of every mosque believes that Ahmedis are to be killed on sight. Our media refuses to call those killed 'jaan bahaq' i.e. lost their lives-the proper Urdu term but prefer to use halaak i.e. died and maaray gaye i.e. got killed for the victims of terrorism. And the biggest media group runs a television show where by the faithful are told to take matters into their own hands unhindered by any threats of suo moto notices.

So my point is, what is the fuss about? Is this not what we belief in? Did we finally realize that the mutant in the mirror is us?

The term crocodile tears is not befitting here because there are no tears, just a lot of noise about whether we should be using the words mosques and sect of Islam for the victims. A lot of complains but not a lot of condemnations, be it media, clerics, politicians or the educated workforce every eye is dry. Pakistan committed murder today!!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Cricket at the Courthouse!!

What happened in the Supreme Court of Pakistan on the 24th and 25th May 2010 was some brilliant politics by President Zardari, which despite my avid support of PPP I had never expected of him. It was cunning yet simple. In fact what he did was a nine year old's trick that resulted in the judges and media getting caught in public unaware, with their pants down. Here is what happened, in full view:


A couple of weeks before 24th, the judges coincidently decide to hear the following cases one after another,

1: NRO review petion
2: Review of 18th amendment
3: NRO implementation case

What a mighty display of strength would it be?! The judges will set an example and show these crooks their rightful place, they will be mocked about in broad daylight. We will ridicule their arguments, which shall make headlines. On rhetoric not reason we shall decide but decisions will be made, it matters not who is being punished as long as some one is being punished. So what if our blatant disregard for law in convicting Rehman Malik was spoiled by Zardari, we will show them who's the boss.

Statements are made, from the two towers of Lahore and Islamabad under the shadow casted from the heart of Pindi. "If heavens fall, so be it; justice shall be served," roars Islamabad, "we are with you, your soldiers! united under your command" retorts Lahore (right now on some brief excursion to another of those petty bar associations). Enough fodder is provided to the media, armor is strapped on, judges assembled and orders from the pit of doom in Pindi in hand, countdown to May 24th begins!


"Hail thou mighty, thee is our only saviour." I am not praying to God but that is what is going on or rather was going on until a few days back in the media. Every statement of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and LHC is the first headline. All the six major Urdu channels go into a trance, not unlike that of Shoaib and Sania's wedding (duh don't you get it?! It is the eighteenth amendment, yes, happening for the eighteenth time where as Shoaib-Sania's wedding is a first). So yes it will be the first headline on the news, on the newspapers and the most frequented piece on the newsticker that runs on the bottom of your screen.

All columnists write about the magnamity of the Chief Justice and his pure intentions. How the Pakistan Peoples Party under Zardari is being stubborn and if BB was alive she would have done things differently (that is why we were talking ill about her until the day she died)? How Zardari is mistaken in trusting Babar Awan and Rehman Malik when he should be trusting maybe Hamid Mir and Shaheen Sehbai? The daily batch of two dozen programs start airing war chants, predicting an impending clash which shall finally call it a day for the current setup. With dearth of people with integrity available to support their cause, non-representatives like Qazi Anwar, Imran Khan and a long list of the PML-Q members are invited to comment on the government's unacceptable attitude towards the judiciary. The matters pertaining to ordinary citizens are forgotten, this jive by judges is what matters, or so the boss said.


To the annoyance of many, PPP personnel on talkshows remain a mood kill. There are sporadic accusations against the obvious bias by that Abidi guy and Ms Wahab but nothing concrete, nothing tangible. Then what? Media prays hard and their prayers are answered, Babar Awan delivers a defiant speech in support of the President lambasting his critics with Maula Bakhsh Chandio joining in the frenzy to defend the Presdient. Everything makes headlines and the discourse of talk shows that air eight o'clock onwards. PPP though keeps playing dumb and it starts getting annoying for all including many in their own ranks I'm certain.

As the day nears, Prime minister calls up Chief Justice, to assure him of full cooperation. The media is immediately divided, half the channels consider his inappropriate behaviour on the part of the PM and the other half resort to the old rebellion against Zardari mantra.

Day 1: The beginning

24th of May is here, the government lawyers are not prepared. They request withdrawl of their plea, then eventually ask time to reconsider. Similar proceedings take place in the sitting on Eighteenth Constitutional amendment. The lawyers representing the Federation seek refuge under some article which requires that they be officially informed about the need to file a reply, which according to all legal minds was not required in this case. Either way, the judges are forced to give time to the Federation's lawyers who are now dubbed by all lawyers coming on tv as complete morons for over looking such an obvious legal clause. Still tomorrow is another day, in fact the real showdown, fireworks may still happen.

Day 2: The (anti)climax

The judges are in the courts, the lawyers, the media and anyone else who can be there is there. Cameras roll as the cars pull into the driveway. Babar Awan flanked by a dozen ministers, walks in. The judges are all ready to bat, they jump a couple of times,
stretch out their muscles, the grip is straightened out, gloves are restrained and tightened, helmet is positioned, this ball will be a six, they huddle up to nervous their oppponents, the crowd begins cheering as Awan paces to deliver, the crowds cheer harder, commentators blabber, momentum peaks as the bowler approaches to deliver and when he does, he delivers a wide ball. The climax is an anti-climax, there are more balls to come but these batsmen are no Bradman, with the momentum gone, the media discredited and judiciary effectively disgraced by themselves tomorrow may now be another day but it surely will not be this one!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Die Facebook Die!!

The media, mullahs and many of the educated folk have hailed the Lahore High Court's decision to ban Facebook, Youtube and many other websites in Pakistan. The ban imposed in response to the drawing of blasphemous caricature is however, as unfortunate as the incident it self.

Bans are counter productive and in this instance they have set an extremely dangerous precedent. The Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) could have blocked selective links on both these sites but the Court ordered a blanket ban. Cutting the entire youth's social link from each other and rest of the world. Some quarters are now calling for a permanent ban while it is being reported that a further set of 450 sites including Orkut are going to be blocked. See the problem now?

This seemingly innocent act of Lahore High Court allows a ban on any material deemed against Islam. If the act goes unchallenged or uncorrected the precedent paves the way for future blocking of websites which are deemed un-Islamic if not anti-Islamic. Who shall decide what is un-Islamic? Given the state of our Courts, modeling, dance, music, secularism and a whole lot of other topics would make it to the list. Indeed bans and prohibitions are the first step towards a dystopia.

The law, if need be could be extended to include anything anti-Pakistan being banned, and we might soon discover blogs with dissenting opinions being blocked as was done with the Press not to long ago in this country. Comments about the establishment, courts, armed forces and ruling elite being censored and writers being rebuked even punished.

The imposition of blanket ban on websites is a cause for concern. The ban on Facebook needs to be reviewed and revoked. In this Islamic Republic of Pakistan, You Tube is banned, however, lay back and relax mates, why don't you tune into X Tube for a change!