Pakistan: the country entangled in religion, army and other conundrums


It was when I was in a bus that I got this news of the Taliban lashing a 17-year-old girl for doing something which was against (their version of) Islam.

As the details had it, she was flogged publically at least 30 times in front of many onlookers. She kept crying and begging for mercy. But why was anybody gonna help her? After all, she had committed a ‘sin’ which was against the Shariah (according to the Taliban)!

یا رب! دلِ مسلم کو وہ زندہ تمنائیں دے، جو قلب کو گرما دیں۔۔۔

The punishment was awarded to her for her ‘crime’ of being seen with a man who was not her husband. Yes, world, that’s a crime in the eyes of the Talibanist Islam! *Beware all!*

So, this is the scene in the land of the pure!

،محبت امن ہے

!اور اس کا ہے پیغام پاکستان

What has the government did for the incident? The president and the premiere have made public their messages in which they have ‘severely’ condemned the brutal act of whipping the teen. What else did you expect?

And, by the way, who the hell are these djinn-like creatures called Taliban? Are they so many that they’ve (almost) hijacked the whole system of government by threatening, and carrying out, suicide bombings and other forms of attack?

Well, not really!

As far as my good brain helps me, I think it’s true that Pakistan’s intelligence agencies and themilitary are conniving actively in this whole situation. Otherwise, how could you think of a situation where a government surrenders to the militants, who are involved in killing of hundreds of innocent people, by signing a ‘peace deal’ with them? Not all: The government has actually given them this license of whipping and chopping hands off as part of punishment – in form of what they call the Sharia, or Islamic system of judiciary – in the once peaceful and beautiful vale of Swat. This all happened because the Pakistani army supposedly couldn’t conquer the Taliban militants with force.

Voila!

Here we have the brave army of Pakistan which claims to crush the mighty India (and other countries, if needed) surrendering to the Taliban who are said to have a strong control only in the area of Swat! Yes, the army claiming to defend the whole country couldn’t cope with the Taliban – the mightier!

!اے وطن کے سجیلے جوانو

!میرے نغمے تمھارے لیے ہیں

The Pakistanis are never tired of eulogizing their ‘jawwans’ and boast about their morale and courage!

—–

Well, it should not be off-the-track to mention here what Sain GM Syed is reported to have said in as early as 1952. He said:

The way religion is promoted in this country (Pakistan) will make it (religion) to be one of the most difficult issues to deal with and it would be a deadly threat not only to the country itself and South Asia but for the whole world.

May Truth prevail!


Turn to the Sufis of Sindh; they’ll help you out!

PAKISTAN IN PERIL

by: William Dalrymple, The New York Review of Books

(An excerpt)

A third factor, which Rashid does not discuss in this book, is somehow finding a way to stop the madrasa- inspired and Saudi-financed advance of Wahhabi Islam, which is directly linked to the spread of anti-Western radicalization. On my last visit to Pakistan, it was very clear that while the Wahhabi-dominated North-West was on the verge of falling under the sway of the Taliban, the same was not true of the Sufi-dominated province of Sindh, which currently is quieter and safer than it has been for some time. Here in southern Pakistan, on the Indian border, Sufi Islam continues to act as a powerful defense against the puritanical fundamentalist Islam of the Wahhabi mullahs, which supports intolerance of all other faiths.

Visiting the popular Sufi shrine of Sehwan in Sindh last month, I was astonished by the strength of feeling expressed against the mullahs by the Sindhis who look to their great saints such as Lal Shabaz Qalander for guidance, and hate the Wahhabis who criticize the popular Islam of the Sufi saints as a form of shirk, or heresy: “All these mullahs should be damned,” said one old Sufi I talked to in the shrine. “They read their books but they never understand the true message of love that the prophet preached. Men so blind as them cannot even see the shining sun.” A friend who visited shortly before me met a young man from Swat, in the North-West Frontier Province, who said he had considered joining the militants, but their anti-Sufi attitude had put him off: “No one can deny us our respected saints of God,” he said.

The Saudis have invested intensively in Wahhabi madrasas in the North-West Frontier Province and Punjab, with dramatic effect, radically changing the religious culture of an entire region. The tolerant Sufi culture of Sindh has been able to defy this imported Wahhabi radicalism. The politically moderating effect of Sufism was recently described in a RAND Corporation report recommending support for Sufism as an “open, intellectual interpretation of Islam.” Here is an entirely indigenous and homegrown Islamic resistance movement to fundamentalism, with deep roots in South Asian culture. Its importance cannot be overestimated. Could it have a political effect in a country still dominated by military forces that continue to fund and train jihadi groups? It is one of the few sources of hope left in the increasingly bleak political landscape of this strategically crucial country.

To read the full text cick here Truth Out, Pakistan in Peril