How Pakistan got boxed into religion

Published: April 14, 2012

Why do we have a “religion box” on our passport anyway? DESIGN: JAHANZAIB HAQUE

The National Database and Registration Authority’s (NADRA) refusal to change MPA Rana Mahmood’s religion from “Islam” to “Christianity” has many boxed in.

A plethora of questions have arisen. Is this a human rights violation? Will Mahmood be considered an apostate if his records were to reflect that he left Islam? How can you change someone’s faith with a stroke of a pen?

But no one is talking about the real question: Why do we have a “religion box” on our legal documents anyway?

Say that and you essentially open Pandora’s Box. After all, in a 97% Muslim majority country, what good can come out of knowing someone’s religion? What are we really trying to achieve except demonising, harassing, and isolating the 3% of Pakistan’s Hindu, Ahmadi, Christian and other minorities who have made equal if not more sacrifices for the creation and preservation of Pakistan?

When Pakistanis travelled internationally in the 1960s, religion was not mentioned anywhere on their passport. Things were different. We elected our first president, won a war against India and our average annual GDP growth rate was 6.8% – the highest for any decade in the history of Pakistan. Suffice it to say, we were free thinking people who refused to be boxed in.

Then came Ziaul Haq in the 1980s, pitting one Pakistani against another, by creating a “religion box” on the national passport. And do you know what many didn’t know? This box was to devour the whole society, not just the travelling class. So in the year 2000, the box swelled up to encroach on the Computerised National ID Cards (CNIC).

For the present generation of Pakistanis – the one going to universities and applying for jobs – the “religion box” is becoming almost ubiquitous. Whether they are applying for admission in the University of Engineering and Technology, Lahore or looking for a job in reputable companies like Engro or Dawood Hercules, they must face it.

Thanks to the “religion box” in the 21st century, folks like Rana Mahmood will go through unnecessary suffering. A Pakistani Muslim would grudgingly suck up to his Christian servant to buy alcohol, Engro would conveniently bypass a Hindu for a promotion, University of Engineering and Technology would covertly impede Christians from their hallowed grounds, mullahs would blithely prevent Ahmadis from performing Hajj, and 97% of the nation would deliriously sign a declaration that they have no clue about.

Voila: what a fully boxed in country!

The supporters of the “religion box” don’t do as big a disservice to Hindus, Ahmadis, Christians, (or any Muslim sect who might be next on the list to be declared non-Muslim) as they do to Islam itself. This pettiness is an affront to a faith rooted in universality.

And to those who are “proud” of the “religion box” I can only wish some international exposure. Don’t go to Europe and America for a lesson. Just look at the passports, national ID cards and application forms in the most populated Muslim countries – Indonesia, India, Bangladesh, Egypt, Nigeria, Iran, and Turkey – and you won’t find the “religion box” anywhere.  Heck, even Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates don’t see a need for it. See how lonely your pride is?

Rana Mahmood’s case did not happen in a vacuum; it is a consequence of a horrible policy. A policy that violates basic human rights, discriminates between equal citizens, tramples over simple logic, and isolates Pakistan internationally.

Changing Mr Mahmood’s faith on his CNIC is like moving him from one box to another.

Instead let him freely embrace his faith and get rid of this box of discrimination from every document and every application form in Pakistan.

This will take someone to think outside the box.

Read more by Faheem here or follow him on Twitter @FaheemYounus

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Do you think Pakistani citizens should be required to declare their faith on official documents?

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Faheem Younus

Faheem Younus

The writer is clinical associate professor at University of Maryland School of Medicine, USA. The author can be followed @Faheem twitter.com/#!/FaheemYounus

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Yousuf Malik

    Why doesn’t NADRA change the religion box if a person changes religions or becomes atheist?
    This is pure barbarity , that people are being forced by the govt. to remain muslim. What if someone is an ex-muslim and wants atheist or agnostic to be written on NIC, will the request be denied by the govt.
    Does NADRA think that keeping someone muslim by zor zabardasti is serving the cause of Islam?Recommend

  • B N Mohapatra

    There will few takers of this article because people blinded by religion don’t see outwards..Pathetic state of affairs but still we hope that one day sanity will prevail upon and discrimination of all sorts including religious bias will be things of the past like colonialism.Recommend

  • Gulalai Ismail

    I mistakenly clicked yes on the vote! Recommend

  • Multan

    We are not first, Egypt already faced it.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egyptianidentificationcard_controversyRecommend

  • Usman Malik

    @Faheem, UAE, Saudia as you mentioned in your article doesn’t need “Religion Box”, then why we need it? If the people of these countries left Islam then do we also follow them because they leave Islam? Also, If you are a Muslim or hindu or christian or ahmedi by belief then why you are ashamed to write it on your legal document. Simple question, please reply. Recommend

  • Adeel Jamshed

    This is outrageous behaviour by the state institutions . This is a shocking violation of basic human rights. Does the state want people to live in a prison? What about the rights of ex-muslims, why are they being forced to live a lie. Why did the nadra guy say thinat we don’t change religion of anyone who has originally written muslim. Why the double standards, so you’ll change the CNIC of an ex-hindu or ex-christian but won’t change it for an ex-muslim; What sort of open hypocrisy is this.

    Why is the state denying atheists and other freethinkers in pakistan their basic rights.
    Nobody should be coerced into following or remaining in the fold of any religion.Recommend

  • M Ali Khan

    For a country that is supposedly 98% Muslim already, for it to require – rather force – its citizens to always prove what caste or religion they are is a type of extreme paranoia which the mard-e-momins and mard-e-mujahids cant seem to get out of.Recommend

  • Anon

    Excellent Article!

    well done!Recommend

  • Truthteller

    LOL @ won a war against INDIA :DRecommend

  • sharjeel

    “When Pakistanis travelled internationally in the 1960s, religion was not mentioned anywhere on their passport. Things were different. We elected our first president, won a war against India and our average annual GDP growth rate was 6.8% – the highest for any decade in the history of Pakistan. ”
    All well and good but pray tell me which war did we win ? Also I didnt know we elected Ayub KhanRecommend

  • Nadeem Naqvi

    There should be a box on the CNIC form to mark non-religious or atheist. The blog mentions Ahmadis,Christians,Hindus facing problems in this regard but nowhere does it mention the mental torture for atheists to identify themselves as following a religion.

    Columnists and bloggers in our society disregard the rights of atheists completely , atheists are never mentioned when describing the problems faced by the minorities in pakistan.Recommend

  • suleman

    Thank GOD someone said it. What have pakistanis done to the definition of a muslim just to exclude ahmedis. And people signing the definition on passport form never ever read it… Recommend

  • http://Islamabad Shafqat Ali Khan

    Excellent article! its not even in Islam to disgrace someone on the basis their religious beliefs. Recommend

  • http://www.mzahoor.blogspot.com maryam zahoor

    If Nadra does not properly register someone according to their religion, why is the ‘Religion Box’ being blamed?

    It’s like the Christians driving away Christianity from their lives because the Church was corrupt.Recommend

  • http://www.mzahoor.blogspot.com maryam zahoor

    And since when has the UAE or Saudi Arabia become the hallmark of religion?Recommend

  • Murtaza Ali Khan

    It’s simple. We DON’T need a religion box.

    And as Usman Malik asked above about not being ashamed to admit religion on a box, well that’s the exact dilemma that arises with a religion box. The person is discriminated in different fields of life like entering a university, getting a promotion among others. When 97% of the population is Muslim in the country, it’s natural that this outnumbering will cause the pressure of inequality of religion, which is what’s faced by that 3%.

    I’ll share something personal here. A couple of months back, I had to get a new passport in order to enter a university here in UAE. I live in Abu Dhabi and I went to the embassy. I felt depressed when I went into the embassy. Being with my mother, the authorities gave priority and cleared the process for us. Something which should’ve been 4 hours or more took only 15 minutes. This will be the happy part. What wasn’t nice was the way the authorities treated the majority of men there, most of them were poor laborers and slaves of the rich corporations on which UAE finds its pride in.

    The authorities were arrogant and were scolding people who couldn’t understand the process. And I still remember when I had to sign the passport form and declaring that Ahmadis are not Muslims. Even as a Muslim, I have nothing against Ahmadis, I appreciate peace. Signing that form was like signing a lie. Is this what we’ve come to?Recommend

  • Shahid Orakzai

    Leave alone a religion column, UAE even has a sect column. Get some research done Mr. AuthorRecommend

  • Uzair

    Way I see it, the religion field in the passport is very similar to the requirement that Jews wear armbands identifying themselves as Jews, and as such, “subhumans”, in Nazi Germany. Nazism is definitely a part of our society and laws now. Discrimination is the name of the game, whether against non-mainstream Muslims, non-Muslims, or women (witness the furore over the bill which simply would have lead to outlawing violence against women).Recommend

  • Shadytr33

    @Nadeem Naqvi: When according to you when God doesn’t exist, why does it matter that a box for you exists or not.?? lol Recommend

  • Zeeshan Mir

    @Nadeem Naqvi:

    Atheists and agnostics have no human rights as far as Pakistani people are concerned. That is the regressive mentality prevailing in all sections of society , even the enlightened,modern, self-proclaimed liberals spew hate against atheists.Recommend

  • Shadytr33

    @Nadeem Naqvi: When according to atheists God doesn’t exist, then why does it matter to them that a religion box exists for them or not. Ya’ll should be happy that it doesn’t exist for you.Recommend

  • http://A SK

    @Usman Malik:
    It’s not a question about people being ashamed of their religion but that of others not misusing this information for example in denying admissions, promotions etc to people who are not Muslim.Recommend

  • Mustafa Moiz

    You go from the 1960s straight to the 1980s. Why do people so easily skip the decade when all these changes really started, the 1970s, and start attacking Zia ul Haq everytime?Recommend

  • Mustafa Moiz

    Musharraf tried to get it removed but was unsuccessful.Recommend

  • Mustafa Moiz

    @Truthteller:
    Stop whining. We beat you. Get over it.Recommend

  • Osama Ahmed

    Its about time we need to decide as a responsible nation, do we want our state’s policies to be defined by our fanatic mullahs , who have discriminated among-st us on the basis of religion or do we need to re-establish the policies of Allah for equality among all , irrespective of what religion they are of.Recommend

  • http://lonepkliberal.wordpress.com Loneliberal PK

    Maryam,

    Believe it or not, a lot of people prefer to keep their beliefs private. Maybe because we live in a country where many people believe in killing apostates. Or maybe because some people just don’t like the idea of their identities being reduced to religious labels.Recommend

  • BlackJack

    @Usman Malik:
    The question is not whether anyone is ashamed to state their religion – the question is why the Government needs to know. The problem is that you guys are brought up on an unhealthy diet of fanciful stories, some of which become part of your religious identity and history, which then complicates your concept of national identity. Add a bunch of outright lies like Pakistan winning the 1965 war (which the poor writer of this article still believes despite enough statements from several intellectuals in Pakistan to the contrary) and you have a very confused nation that needs an external enemy or will find an internal one.Recommend

  • Parvez

    Excellent write up apart from the bit on the 65 war which should have been avoided.

    If one looks at it dispassionately the biggest threat to Islam is from Islam itself. The use of religion as a political tool, coupled with extremist tendencies, has brought nothing good to the name of this great faith. The people spearheading this movement play upon the sentiments of the masses deprived of an honourable existence by corrupt political leaders.
    When their means are violent, then their ends can not be good and their goal is to achieve power and control over the state. Religion is just the vehicle and nothing else. In short, I deeply distrust the intentions of people who profess religious piety but act contrary to the values to normal human decency. Recommend

  • Abbas, ZA

    When you place islam in constitution and every second guy talks of sharia and jihad without know the implications of use of such terms in modern era, when your textbooks talks o islamic glorification, when you conveniently ignore the past history of the subcontinent and teach young minds that only islam is great and ignore the basic truth that islam was the last religion that came to the sub-continent, you ask why this happened to Pakistan. ????? What a misery?
    Pakistan will spend this entire generation trying to wipe out the religious evil that Zia spread. Yes any religion can turn to evil if not properly put to use. Even cricket stars (Afridi likes in India) cannot stop mentioning religion in game –you talk of what happened by using boxes. Simply stated..Pakistan cannot hope to achieve peace with India or US until it changes this history and knows its limitations. Recommend

  • Aquarian Truths

    @sharjeel:
    Really, I lost quite a few hairs trying to figure out which war we(India) lost? and Suddenly Ayub Khan is a first ruler. Common people get a life.Recommend

  • mr. righty rightist

    “won a war against India”

    Ohhhooo! Did you add that line on purpose to get maximum comments?

    You are going to, anyway!Recommend

  • Beenish

    @Usman Malik I m a Muslim and in this country thats a privileged position. I am also a sunni so i am almost perfect. Only problem is not everyone is treated that royally. And had u paid attention to the main point of the article the problem is that a man proudly wants to declare that he is a Christian and he is not being allowed to change it from Islam. If an atheist wants to proudly declare his position which they really really do want to they cant.
    Secondly when they do proudly declare so, as u so kindly advised, they are discriminated against at every stage.
    We raise such a hue and cry when the west tries to box us in and racial profiles are made by them because there they are in a position of privilege and Muslims the victim. But atrocities we commit in the name of religious pride is all fair? I don’t think so. My friend before you so casually dismiss someone’s claim try to understand their problems and walk a mile in their shoes.

    Excellent article. We do not need a religion box. If one wants to show pride in one’s religious beliefs or lack thereof one should do it through their actions. No declaration on a piece of paper is going to make u a better or more religious person or otherwise. Recommend

  • Atif

    UAE and Saudi Arabia Both require religion in their official documents …. Infact they are really in tolerant of sects … It would be nice if bloggers do some research before giving verdict about anything… Recommend

  • Syed Ali Zia Jaffery

    @Atif:
    Inserting or deleting a box is perhaps immaterial, for it does not gloss the id card or the current abysmal conditions of most Pakistanis.

    I concur with youRecommend

  • Aziz Bhatti

    The writer proposed some international exposure for those who support the religion box and I propose Australia or USA or UK (just for one year or at least for six months – just to teach Muslims around the world and specially Pakistanis living in these countries) change their names to “Chriatian Republic of USA/Australia/UK, and use the same blasphemy laws as are in Pakiatan and treat the Muslims exactly the same way Pakistanis treat their minorities!!!
    Tablighees would be in deep trouble the way they stick to us in Melbourne on Jumaas for their Tableegh :P Recommend

  • Hold your horses

    @Usman Malik:

    As a member of the majority community it’s easy for you to say that…..

    I am a member of one of the minority communities in India but never had to mention my religion in any official document, except for the population census…reason being, I am privileged to be a citizen of “REPUBLIC of India” and not any “Islamic republic”…

    Let me ask this question. – whats the need for someone to mention religion while applying for jobs or universities or passport, if the state considers all citizens equal…Recommend

  • Syed Faizan

    All molvies should be banned and there should be only one Islam of our Prophet Mohmmed (SAW).
    Good Article.
    Molvies are destroying our Islam we should follow them……Recommend

  • Big Rizvi

    I wonder… Pakistan is the only Muslim country where you will get support just because you are a Muslim. There is absolutely no country in the world which lets you in just because you are a ‘Muslim’. We even went as far as supporting Afia Siddiqui just because she was a Muslim. She was’nt a Pakistani, she is an Afghani. The ideology of our religious right is always 16 annas short of a rupee. Recommend

  • Pakistani 786

    @sharjeel:
    I agree. Its probably better to call the military outcome of this war, like many wars, inconclusive. But tell me. What do you call when a country gallantly confronts and forces to retreat another country that is 8 times in population, many times in resources and area? When an infantry of 260,000 resolutely face an infantry of 700,000? I am proud of my country’s resolve in 1965 – regardless of how the world classifies it.Recommend

  • Qasim

    good observation by the author. I agree that there is no need of “religion box”. Irrespective of religious orientation a Pakistani is a Pakistani. I guess this illusion that “only a muslim is a true and patriotic pakistani” has plagued us as a nation since long. I strongly believe that Pakistan was supposed to be a liberal state and we have failed in achieving this due to many reasons, one of them being misunderstanding the ideology of Pakistan. “Pakistan ka matlub La iAllaha iIalAllah” never meant that people for other faiths had no place in this country. This religious discrimination should end for the future betterment.Recommend

  • Vijay K

    Excellent article. The religion box was created by the British during the first census of India. They don’t practice this in any of their colonies themselves (USA, Canada, NZ etc) but they knew the potential for this to create endless mischief in the sub-continent.
    Re 1965 though, please listen to Dr Farook Khan on youtube.Recommend

  • faraz

    @maryam zahoor

    People were executed in Gilgit because their names appeared Shia; which world are you living in. Contrary to myth, the educated class is more bigoted than uneducated one and thoroughly hates minorities. If I had been a minority, I would have definitely tried to conceal my religious identity. Saudi Arab is an Islamic state which our mullahs want to emulate; it is exactly how Islamic states look like. Recommend

  • Reddy

    @Mustafa Moiz: “won a war against India”ya, that’s Sony PS#3,hazardous digital dream and stay away from it..on more serious note,common thing among pakistanis is,their religion.it’s Islam on steroids is the USP of entire pakistan,that’s precisely the reason you find religious POV in varying degrees from polio drops to nuclear weapon,with out that ancillary religious flavor what would be pakistan like ?Recommend

  • Reddy

    @Pakistani 786: it’s pakistanis who went russia,USA to convince India on cease fire agreement,not the other way around.your state run television has a tendency to buy the helmet even before the bike.Recommend

  • RuKidding

    “won a war against India” @faheem really? what war are you talking about? Go check your facts first. Having said that I admire your shedding light on this shocking process of announcing ones faith to the entire world. Your country has gone terribly wrong with religious persecution of minorities. I don’t think your society will ever become tolerant and equitable.Recommend

  • sharjeel

    @Pakistani 786:
    do u think im less proud of my pakistan.only problem i have is we should not lie to ourselves to make us feel good.primary objective of ’65 was to liberate kashmir and we failed in that.Recommend

  • Mustafa Moiz

    @sharjeel:
    We won the 1965 War.Recommend

  • Shabbir, UAE

    @Pakistani 786: Don’t be selectively proud, I am sure you are also proud of Pakistan Army’s record in the 1971 war when it gifted away half the country, in the Kargil War when it stupidly supported the Jihadi forces and muddied the Kashmir issue forever, and then recently when it slept through the night when the Goras came and took care of OBL who was himself sleeping comfortably right next to our equivalent of WestPoint. Read what is written about the 1965 war from outside what has been written the Pakistani schoolbooks. Indians had captured the Haji Pir pass, they gave it back after the war. I know that was a big deal because that was in my folks backyard.

    @Author: Even somebody like you who is championing openness and peace and taking Pakistan into the 21st century to become like other civilized countries, why do you have to bait the Indian’s by bringing in the 1965 war – which is controversial at best.Recommend

  • Ali Tanoli

    Getting american emigration in the forms u gotta write your reliegen and in the election time lot of reliegouse votes called conservative why is that in the secular country i dont understand
    may be auther of this article can answer us???????Recommend

  • Ch. Allah Daad

    Long before Zia, there was a man called Z.A. Bhutto who for his own survival, fell on Mullahs feet. It was him who involved and authorized “State” to decide different levels of her Citizenry on Faith basis. That was end of story. Religious fanatics are doing what they got to do. They don’t hide their ambitions. Its the corrupt, meek and coward seculars/ liberals, who are bigger problem.Recommend

  • http://bigsaf.newsvine.com bigsaf

    @Atif:

    UAE and Saudi Arabia Both require religion in their official documents …. Infact they are really in tolerant of sects

    ‘Tolerant’? Saudi Arabia discriminates against Saudi Shia Muslim citizens A LOT, and brutally cracked down on them in their oil rich province. Sometimes treated worse than Pakistani Shia expats, again, whom the bigoted extreme Wahhabi ideological Gulf Arab govt has no love for. They even made it a point to let Pak know that they didn’t want any Pak troops of Shia Muslim backgrounds training with them.

    Just because the UAE don’t indulge in full blown brutal abuse domestically, like they aided in suppressing the Bahrain protesters along with Saudi Arabia, doesn’t mean there isn’t level of bigotry or discrimination at the workplace or in law, even in this supposed moderate or liberal Sunni Muslim ruled nation.

    Shia Muslim Emiratis and Shia Pak expatriates, have a higher chance of being let go or denied opportunity or application compared to their Emirati and Pakistan counterparts. Yes on the whole tolerant…but like most things in UAE, superficial as underlying bias and currents are obvious and felt. Recommend

  • kashif

    Ironical statements from the likes of Shahis Orakzai reveal their defeatist mindset. If Saudia Arabia and UAE have religion boxes, maybe because of population census not for harming and targeting the ones who ticked the boxes.Recommend

  • dv sikka

    Thank you for a bold presentation of truth. A beautiful country lies in ruins. Even within Islam we are seeing sectarian killing are on the rise. I hope that a large majority in Pakistan has those views but because of a few radicals people dare not speak. It is efforts of people like you who can give Pakistan a hope of a better and prosperous Pakistan tomorrow. Please keep up with your crusade. Get the word hate out of politics.Recommend

  • http://uptonogood.tumblr.com/ Red

    I don’t want any religion on my passport or ID, not even atheist or agnostic. I wish it to be done away with completely.Recommend

  • Umer

    Bahrain has a Sunni and Shia Box and a declaration to sign if Sunni. Funny you didn’t mention Bahrain but Handpicked Saudi and UAE and made them look like the example we must follow. Recommend

  • Iqbaal

    @Multan:
    Great. So we are second.

    I agree with you Multan. But we remain an extreme minority. And even that would have been ok if we were producing a couple nobel laureates a year and inventing a few new machines. But we are unable to even feed our own people.

    Please dont imply that this practice is ok. Thats not what you are saying, right?Recommend

  • Pakistani 786

    @Usman Malik:
    I am failing to see your point though. Are you implying that Pakistan somehow “gets it” more than any other Muslim country? Are you saying that other Muslims countries, a vast majority of them, are somehow less Muslim because they do not have such a box?Recommend

  • Pakistani 786

    @maryam zahoor:
    You are not serious, right? Because what it sounds like you are ok with this box? If thats the case, then there are a few things I can guess about you. You are likely a born Muslim, born in Pakistan, traveled to less than three other countries in the world if at all, you dont have any close friends who belong to a Pakistani religious minority, and your family was, on the outside, less Islamic two decades ago than now.

    Honestly tell me if I am wrong.Recommend

  • Iqbaal

    @Shahid Orakzai:
    Ok Shahid. Your fact might be right. But your premise is wrong. Unles syou are saying that the sect column is equally repugnant.

    BTW, if my information is correct UAE asks for a sect on the form – but its not mentioned on the passport or the ID card. Correct me if I am wrong. I really would like to know the exact fact.Recommend

  • Pakistani 786

    @Mustafa Moiz:
    I so much agree with you. Five stars Mustafa! ZA Bhutto was the biggest hypocrite. But proves one thing: if you are a good orator, people will have a high tolerance for you. The guy had this evil charisma. Pakistanis could not and are still not able to see beneath the surface. BUt good point.Recommend

  • Iqbaal

    @Loneliberal PK: I agree 100%. People are afraid of the animal mullah, not ashamed of their identity. Recommend

  • Pakistani 786

    @Atif:
    But is that information displayed on the passport and the ID card or it remains in the records? That is the point. In Pakistan, you have it displayed on the cards and passports so every one knows.

    Not trying to prove you right or wrong. But do you see the difference?Recommend

  • Iqbaal

    @Syed Faizan:
    Couldnt agree with you more man! Recommend

  • Pakistani 786

    @Reddy:
    I see your point Reddy. Instead of going into an area where we may have a fine disagreement, why not focus on the larger issue and the real issue of the article. Do you not agree that Hindus are being mistreated in Pakistan? Do you not believe that this is box is misplaced?Recommend

  • Iqbaal

    @Ali Tanoli:
    Ali, you miss the point.

    There is NO document in America where religion is publicly displayed. Show me ONE. You cannot.

    As for the conservative votes, again, you dont seem to understand how that is done. People come out of the polling station and THEMSELVES volunteer the information to the news polls. No one forces them to declare their faith.

    Huge difference.Recommend

  • gp65

    @Pakistani 786: “What do you call when a country gallantly confronts and forces to retreat another country that is 8 times in population, many times in resources and area? ”

    You did not confront India who attacked you. Instead you attacked India. Your own air marshal Asghar Khan admits that. In 1965 Indid DID NOT have more military resources than Pakistan. US was giving free arms to Pakistan whereas India had to pay for arms from its own small budget.
    Usually the attacker has an advantage. But in the 1965 war, even though Pakistan attacked India, at the time of ceasefire India was in control of far greater Pakistani territory than Pakistan controlled.

    The questions raised by you would be releveant if it wa sIndia that attacked Pakistan. When Pakistan chooses to attack India despite being well awae of the size of population of both countries, those factors cannot be taken into account while judging the outcome.Recommend

  • gp65

    @Mustafa Moiz: “@sharjeel: We won the 1965 War”.
    Dream on buddy.There is no tax on dreaming.Recommend

  • Pollack

    Pakistan was born in a religious box. People have a very short memory, shortened for convenience.Recommend

  • Umer

    Dr Mubashar, Bhutto’s comrade has this to say on the religion box on the passport;

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KLQqsKnC17cRecommend

  • kdp

    won war against India?\
    When was that?Recommend

  • raw is war

    @ FaheemYounus
    How Pakistan got boxed into religion

    You ask this question. Reality my friend. The very first statement you give shows how you got boxed into religion. you claim you won a war against India. Which in relity is hilarity. You cannot accept the fact that a muslim nation can lose a war with a Hindu nation. You want to drown yourself in lies and deceit. You are nothing but a answer to your question. Nobody can help your nation/religion as long as you do not want to criticise or look into inner self.

    Even educated people like you are scared of questioning Islam- if everything is right with it. Hindus and Christians have reformed themselves.

    The problem is not Pakistan (They are Hindus converted). They can be as peaceful as Indians. Islam needs to be looked into. Take any Islamic nation. Minorities are literally finished off. In Arabia there were jews who were dominant. They were finished off by genocide over the last 14 centuries. In Indinesia too there is lots of hatred against minorities. Even in nations Muslims are in minority, they make a nuisence of themselves- like Philipines, UK, Denmark, Belgium,India list is endless.

    Muslims go to UK as refugees and start misusing the liberal rules there. They rape their women and expect sympathy. And they even take benefits from european nations without contributing anything. Hindus never do this. Where ever Hindus are there- they made significant contributions.

    In USA less said the better. Nobody respects muslims. It is time you looked into religious reforms.Recommend

  • DM

    won a war against India !! ha ha ha I can just pity on you Mr Author.Recommend

  • Tony Singh

    @Usman Malik:
    It is not matter of being ashamed. It is a matter of being dicriminated because of your religion. Read the article before commenting.Recommend

  • sharad

    God does not hurt anyone. God’s followers box others using him.Recommend

  • Usama

    @Usman Malik:
    It’s not a matter of being ashamed. But with a country of 97% Muslims there is a great likelihood of discrimination against 3% (which is not just a myth but a blatant reality). Besides no country in the world Muslim or otherwise has such “Religious Box” than why Pakistan? Especially, when the father of the nation had quite an opposite approach towards an individual’s religion.Recommend

  • Sana Kulsoom

    Dont blame our religion if the system is not working according to the rules NADRA or any other authority….identity is really very necassary (i.e. 1st we are humans and then we are muslims)….specially in the world which is slowly and gradually heading towards the end…since signs are already here…as all of the knowing ones know that Islam is the only religion that will survive…and is dangerous to all of different faiths (like ahmadis, christians, hindus, jews, atheists etc)
    please don’t forget that ELITE or MASONIC class take blood and faith very very seriously..
    If you are giving example of saudis..then just check the passports of muslims and non muslims…they are different!!!!
    If you are giving example of Saudis…tell me why a non muslim cant enter Makkah Shareef? religion matters…
    Why Malcom X was killed?….we know by whom! just because of his faith.

    Please tell me Mr. Writer would you be writing the same article if the situation turns around? That is Muslim Ummah becomes the leading nation of the world?

    Yes I agree with you that mullahs and our leaders are planned by THEM!! and that is why some leaders, Mullahs and so called self claiming liers…that claimed themselves prophet have tried and succeed to distort our religion and misleaded most of us and have divided us into different sects…and still they are should be completely banned..
    and we should follow only the religion and instructions that is sent by Allah SWT through our Beloved Prophet Hazrat Muhammad S.A.W.Recommend

  • http://India vasan

    I dont get the question at all. Pakistan was born because of Islam religion, whose followers hypothecated that they cannot co exist with hindus. So was their Two nation theory. They have to pass this on for generations and hence the religion box. So in a sense Jinnah boxed them into religion as a concept before 1947 and physically in 1947.Recommend

  • Mustafa Moiz

    @Reddy:
    I’m sorry I didn’t understand the PS3 thing.Recommend

  • Rex Minor

    Perhaps the religion box could become necessary in tax papers, not in the Passport or ID card, when the zakat payments for mslims become compulsary and the state strts collecting it in place of the income tax? It has no other function and is a discrimination, disgraceful and only a lunatic could have thought of introducing it: Besides a muslim who simply declares that he is a muslim does not become a muslim. He must live a muslim life, simply commitment to the tenets of Islam does not legitimise muslims?

    Pakistan needs real political leadership, the one who is one of them and is compassionate and feels the pains of the Nation and has solutions for the issues which concern the people. Payimg visit to the graves of deads is unlikely to linder the pains of the Nation.

    Rex Minor Recommend

  • Naseer

    [email protected] Malik: You don’t have to be rocket scientist to know that religion is something personal between man and his creator. A clerk in a Pakistani office has nothing to do with Tom, Dick and hary’s religion. When General Akhtar Hussain Malik and his brother general Abdul Ali Malik and of course Brigadier Iftikhar Janjua fought for Pakistan in 1965 war with India they were not fighting as Ahmadis, they were fighting as proud Pakistanis. They were more proud citizen of this land of pure than any thuggish mullah of Jamaat Islami and any other so called religious parties. However I personally think all these comments are wasted on the population a sorry state which is taking this country to the dark ages. Recommend

  • K B Kale

    Sab Zia-sahab ki meherbani! Long live his memory & the Frankenstein he created!!Recommend

  • Ayesha

    @Usman Malik:
    No one is afraid to declare his/her religion. The issue is that the religion box serves as the first tool discriminate against someone. You missed the entire concept of the article. Recommend

  • Nobody

    @Usman Malik:
    It’s not about being ashamed, they may very well be proud of their personal faith as we all have a right to be, be it islam, hinduism, christianity, sikhism, atheism, etc., but the sad fact is given the turbulent situation in Pakistan at this point in time, they can’t be openly proud about it. And THAT’S something all Pakistanis should be ashamed of if we’ve got any sense of humanity and civility left. Recommend

  • Pakistani 786

    @vasan:
    I don’t agree with you vasan. Jinnah included Ahmadis, Hindus and others in his cabinet. There has been so many articles on ET about his secular vision. Please refer to them.Recommend

  • Pakistani 786

    @Sana Kulsoom:
    Follow whoever you like Sana. Just don’t kill those who don’t like to follow you or your leaders:)Recommend

  • http://India vasan

    Pakistani 786: No You did not get my message. Whether Jinnah was a secularist or not is not the issue here, I only mentioned he brought religion into the Indian Independence movement which resulted in “boxing” the muslims in Pakistan.Recommend

  • MUBARAK

    nice article .. religion is the matter of faith ..not descrimination!!!!,I am not able to sort out the logic behind this why authorites deny to change religion other than islamRecommend

  • Sana Kulsoom

    @Pakistani 786:
    You have not got my point……I have not talked about any of the leaders except Hazrat Muhammad S.A.W.:)
    leaders..who are currently running the system are not leaders….foxes and coward dogs they are, because of those the system is failed….

    @All of the above: the author is giving example of NADRA that they deny to change religion other than Islam…. Nadra even denies making CNIC of twins and fails to identify both,,it even changes the sex of a female into male my misprinting…
    So its not Mr. Jinnah to blame upon…its the leaders who have failed to run the system and mullahs who have disoriented us.
    Please dont forget that our Holy Prophet Muhammad S.A.W Sunnah is to respect other religions..not discriminate them and not hate them.Recommend

  • Reddy

    @Mustafa Moiz:”I’m sorry I didn’t understand the PS3 thing.” play station 3,that is only place where pakistanis can not only crush India but you can also turn us into zombies,or even arabazied zombie Muslims.Recommend

  • Katarina

    Religion is a personal issue and the government should not have the right to ask what religion you follow. Ridiculous to put this kind of information on a passport. Recommend

  • http://how-pakistan-got-boxed-into-religion Jakir Hussain

    Saudis and other Arabs do not require this box because they are all originally Muslims whereas we, Pakistanis are converts from other religions. Now and then we should be knowing whether we are increasing our terrorist brothers or not.Recommend

  • Qaiser Aziz

    its really bad practice which is going in our country Pakistan, religion is a particular specific matter between a person and Allah and nobody has any right to decide that whether he or she is a true Muslim or not…..besides of all these things there is a minus point which we observed in previous years that from when we were decided to give a title to anybody that who is Muslim or not and also introduced religion box in our official papers that voilance has increased in our society day by day and tolerance almost has finished from us so its time to decide again that is this religion is necessary or other things in the light of teaching of true Islam………….Recommend

  • AIN

    @Parvez:
    Totaly agreedRecommend

  • http://Www.alislam.org Ahmad

    It’s all because religion and state are considered together. Religion should be separated from religion and we are at peace not because problem is with religion but because coercion is bad Recommend

  • prabhjyot singh madan

    Mr faheem , may I ask which war did Pakistan win 1960’s ? In 1965, Pakistan failed to achieve anything even with a element of surprise. It made India a permanant enemy of Pakistan for that generation. 1947 was looked as a one off madness of partition and after 1965, Pakistan army got more say and resources to starve ordinary Pakistanis. It was a predecessor event for 1971 war about which you all know well. What objectives were won by Pakistan in that war ? The railway link to munabao station ended.Indian films got banned and religious parties started to gain prominence. What were the gains ? The Indus water treaty was done before the war and still stands today . Hillarious. Sat Sri akal, salam, cheerio. Take care everyone.Recommend

  • http://hotmail Nasr

    Religion is not a matter of State . it is someone’s personal matter. Thats whuy countries like Saudia, UAE etc donot mention religion on the document. Moreover, if some one beleive him self or herself as a muslim then no one else has the right to declare him non-muslim and if some call a muslim as Kafir (non-beleiver) then according to the saying of Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad Mustafa (May Allah shower countless blessings upon Him) then that Kufar will be reflected back to that person who declared a muslim as Khafir. In our country, state is declaring some one’ faith which is not true according to the teaching of Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad Mustafa (May Allah shower countless blessings upon Him)@Usman Malik: Recommend

  • http://solomon2.blogspot.com Solomon2

    The “religion box” can be fought through civil disobedience. Either don’t fill it in or put in something ludicrous, expensive, and troublesome for the person or institution demanding the answer.

    For example, in Soviet times, even in the 1980s, job applications would demand to know whether or not the applicant had served in the White Army which fought the Reds in the 1920s. Some people brazenly lied and wrote in, “Yes I did and my rank was lieutenant-general!” That would send the KGB off into useless investigations. Eventually the matter was completely dropped.

    So maybe the next time a Pakistani is asked for his religion on a form he or she should write in “Spy!”Recommend

  • karachi

    i realy appreciate the writer fr enlightening the ppl ov r nation wid the stupidity behind incorporating a religion box in r nic nd pasport. Truly its the ulemas of pak tht try to take advantage frm this, trying to inhibit ahmadi propagation, though al there endeavors alwayz fail nd none cn stop the blesd jamaat frm escalation.Recommend

  • Pakistani 786

    @Solomon2:
    ha ha! I love the idea.Recommend