“And thus I clothe my naked villany
With odd old ends stol’n out of holy writ,
And seem a saint, when most I play the devil.”
_Shakespeare – King Richard III (I, iii, 336-338)_
The evil which men do lives long after their deaths, and shades of Nazism are alive and kicking in Pakistan, evil clothed in odd ends of holy writ, brandished about by the Taliban and much of the mainstream media in Pakistan.
Nazi Germany started presecuting their Jewish citizens slowly, with many steps along the way like banning their employment in Government in 1933, than in 1935 banning them from the Army, in 1936 declaring them non-citizens of the state and banning them from all professional jobs. Only half the Jewish population of Germany had emigrated by the start of WWII…Than there was the holocaust during WWII…
Pakistan is well along the Nazi playbook for getting rid of the Ahmadi’s – they’re already for all practical intents banned from government and military service, and back in 1974 Pakistan passed a law declaring them a despised minority – heck it’s part of the Pakistani constitution. This not being enough, in 1984 even more draconian laws were passed, which in short make it a jailable offense for Ahmadi’s to live life as they would like to (some of the punishments carry the death penalty).
Things as trivial as calling their places of worship a masjid (which is what they call them) is a jailable offence!
Ordinance XX of 1984 for example makes it a crime for Ahmadis to even use the Islamic greeting of “Assalamualaikum” and other Islamic symbols and religious verses. This hits at the root of the Ahmadi mode of worship. It defeats the purpose of Article 20 of the constitution which gives citizens the right to practice and propagate their faiths and offends Article 2-A, which after the necessary correction by the 18th Amendment, promises all religious minorities can practice their faith freely. #
While the government squeezes them from one end, all the terrorist groups the government used to sponsor or still sponsors uses the Ahmadi’s as one of their favourite whipping boys, along with America, Jews, Hindus, heck, just about everyone else who isn’t Sunni Muslim.
In a surprising display of tolerance, the government in it’s infinite wisdom a few decades ago decided to ban Ahmadi’s from going to mosques, but thought it was ok for groups preaching hatred and teaching terrorism to continue building madrassas all over the place. Heck, it’s even paid some of the more academic ones to come up with justifications for keeping anti-ahmadi laws on the books.
None of this is surprising in a country whose statute books are riddled with discriminatory laws, where jingoism is drummed into the heads of schoolchildren and where radio and television talk show participants can casually state that “we are all Muslims here in Pakistan”, which is patently not the case. This is a country where a non-Muslim cannot, by law, become president or prime minister. The blasphemy laws continue to be abused to settle personal scores, evade debts owed to non-Muslims and to grab their land by forcing them to flee in the face of violence. The state, meanwhile, remains largely unmoved by the plight of minorities — and that isn’t surprising either for it is a party to this persecution.
It’s not just the government – people all over Pakistan over time shut of their brain and justify terrorism in the name of Islam. In 2009 there were over 200 sucide bomb attacks in Pakistan – and the video below gives a chilling view at one of the many bomb factories, many of which function openly all over Pakistan:
There is no Pakistani Hitler yet, but he could be lurking in any of the tens of thousands of Madrassas, born in the bloody chaos of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and further trained fighting the American invasion of AfPak. Revolutions happen, and given the complete lack of confidence in the present govt coupled with the govts sheer incompetence and ongoing support for various Taliban groups, it’s not a stretch to imagine a very different Pakistan ahead.
Anatol Lieven is one of the many people saying the Taliban don’t have much chance in taking over the country, and I recommend his book, and at least the podcast about the book (both linked below), but like so many other observers, he just looks at things as they are today and projects them forward. History doesn’t quite work like that – it’s unexpected events which end up shaping the world, not things continuing as they are. No one expected WWII, steam power, electricity, or so many other things which shape the world today.
Pakistan: A Hard Country
Speaker: Professor Anatol Lieven
Chair: Professor Athar Hussain
This event was recorded on 9 May 2011 in Old Theatre, Old Building
In this talk on the subject of his new book, Pakistan: A Hard Country, Professor Anatol Lieven will analyse the Pakistani state and political system, and explain how those factors which give the state its surprising resilience in the face of revolution also hold it back in terms of economic and social development.
Available as: mp3 (39 MB; approx 85 minutes)
A few days ago, it seems the ISI might have killed a journalist for writing about… well for writing about news worthy events. And the depressing news marches on… the following quote from the Guardian sums up the Pakistani security state quite well:
Zaffar Abbas, editor of Dawn, Pakistan’s most respected paper, paid tribute to Shahzad as “a fine reporter, one of a breed of Pakistani journalists who really believe in investigative journalism”. In the light of the death, he is was looking at scaling back his own paper’s coverage.
“I am seriously considering the entire process of reporting, and to what extent I can put my own team at risk. It is becoming increasingly dangerous for people to openly report, whether militants or security agencies are involved.“
What a place, where journalists are scared of both the terrorists and the people supposedly hunting the terrorists. Though I wonder, which one do they fear more?