A question of religion

Published: May 10, 2011

While in the UK, the question of identifying one’s religion on a census form may be a cause for uproar, in Pakistan our entire selfhood is determined by the doctrines we profess adherence to.

A furore was recently raised in the United Kingdom (UK) over the voluntary religion question in the 2011 census. Humanists and secularists attacked it for being ‘fatally flawed’ because the information, according to them, can be used to influence public policy and services.

For anyone living in Pakistan the outcry might seem a smidgen over the top, given the country’s strident penchant for religiously determined identity systems.

Here almost every conceivable form or questionnaire comes replete with a doctrinal question. For example, anyone wanting a passport has to first declare their faith of preference. Need an ID card? Then identify yourself as a Christian, Muslim, Hindu or other. Even for the purposes of opening a bank account one has to first confirm their belief system – of course – in this instance some Muslims would dearly love to be considered non-Muslims so as to be allowed to keep their share of the dreaded usury, but that is another matter entirely.

Just so you are aware, the official line is that all this is done to help protect the status and rights of Pakistan’s minorities. Fair enough, some might say – but one question still looms large – protect them from what exactly. Discrimination? Maybe not, especially when one considers Pakistan’s appalling human rights record against minority groups at both a state and non-state level.

Political disenfranchisement, random acts of violence and social and economic prejudice are the everyday norm for marginalised communities. More harrowing is a growing trend of abducting girls belonging to minority groups. In 2010, 71 Dalit Meghwar families belonging to the Aakalee village left their ancestral home in protest of the abduction of a 15-year-old Meghwar girl. It was alleged that she was forced into marriage with a prominent Muslim.

Last year’s floods further highlighted the hideousness of the bigotry that blights the country. In interior Sindh, Hindu flood victims were attacked and looted and at the same time, in South Punjab, some 500 Ahmadi families were refused shelter by government workers and local clerics.

Intolerance then?

Well tell that to the Christians of Gojra or the Ahmadis of Lahore – two communities that were butchered at the hands of religious extremists.

Perhaps then it is to safeguard their rights and freedoms? Wrong again.

Pakistan’s pernicious blasphemy law ensures that minority groups necessarily exist outside the purview of the law simply on account of their professed beliefs. Since 1986, 30 people have been killed extra-judiciously after allegations of blasphemy were made against them – all of them belonged to minority groups.

The case of the Ahmadis is particularly galling. Not only do Pakistan’s laws seek to prevent them from calling themselves Muslims (even though if you speak to any Ahmadi they will say that they firmly consider themselves within the pale of Islam), but they are also prohibited from ‘posing’ as Muslims or participating in Islamic activities. Ludicrously, if an Ahmadi says salam he or she is committing a crime despite the fact that it is the only common greeting in the country. Similarly, any Ahmadi with a Muslim name is liable for arrest and a three year prison term – no respect for ‘minority’ rights there then.

Maybe, just maybe then, religious columns are meant to protect minorities from themselves? Nah, we really are clutching at the old proverbial straws now.

While in the UK, the question of identifying one’s religion on a census form may be a cause for uproar, in Pakistan our entire selfhood is determined by the doctrines we profess adherence to. It is one thing to inquire into a person’s beliefs for the sake of statistical analysis, but quite another when it is done to effectively marginalise some groups and confer privilege on others.  To define and then harass people on the basis of the vague definition of what religion they owe allegiance is not a thing to be proud of.

Human rights are exactly that – human rights – they have nothing to do with a person’s race, creed or politics or beliefs. Alas, the people at Metro seem to be the only ones who still understand this.

Usman Ahmad

Usman Ahmad

A freelance writer who also contributes to the Daily Times and Pak Tea House.

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

  • Fahad Raza

    Totally disagree …as this is a useless debate that religion question should be avoided. What we need to do is to identify the different community living within the state and Protect them. Its ironic when ever we talk of intolerance we set the wrong standard that we shouldn’t know/ask who practices what, because if you don’t know the person how can you show intolerance towards the same person.
    For example as mentioned some cases above of our intolerance toward religious minorities in rural areas we should counter the atrocities committed, not by wiping out the identities/religious beliefs of a whole community. Uk’s humanist are saying we shouldn’t ask such question, which is fine in a Job interview but when a census is conducted, yes secular or nonsecular countries have the right to ask about your belief if they don’t know otherwise how will they provide you religious liberties.
    Now their is strong shift in European countries that as such an such religions are violent so let all become no believer, which is also absurd as most of the religions instruct about violence
    under the pretext of war and defense against enemies *Nearly all (with some exception of course).
    Religious tolerance is different than Religious information ask by the government.
    No Offence Intended.Recommend

  • Burn Terry Jones

    @Fahad Raza:
    Totally disagree with you mate – what does one’s religion have to do with their national identity -nothing. The UK Humanists might be on one side of the extreme – but Pakistan is on the other.
    There is even a religion column in education forms now – what a joke!!! So if I want to sit my maths paper I have to declare my religion – what is that all about.

    What is worse is that in a lot of forms you are only asked to identify whether you are a ‘Muslim’ or a ‘non-Muslim’ – what the hell is a non-Muslim – do Christians say ‘our religion is non-Muslim’? Of course not the while thing is absurd.

    And you miss the point of Ahmadis – they refer to themselves as Muslims – we say ‘no your not’.Who is to decide on a persons faith.

    Religion is and always should be a private matter. The French have got it right on this.

    You sir are a bigot of the highest order.Recommend

  • Fahad Raza

    @”Burning” Terry Jones:
    Its ok dude if you dis-agree, no problem for me; but I think you didn’t get me when I said
    What we need to do is to identify the different community living within the state and Protect them
    I was referring on purely census level. Yeah we should have all column of religion from A-Z.
    As you said There is even a religion column in education forms now – what a joke!!! So if I want to sit my maths paper I have to declare my religion – what is that all about.
    That is the intolerance I was talkin about when I said Uk’s humanist are saying we shouldn’t ask such question, which is fine in a Job interview * just as an example of an ordinary scenario like sitting in an exam why would religion be an issue that’s what I meant.
    Now about Ahmadis I think you couldn’t get that I DID NOT specify any
    community I don’t know if you know this not that Ahmadis WERE DECLARED NON MUSLIMS BY THE PARLIAMENT OF PAKSITAN AFTER VARIOUS DEBATES DURING Z.A.BHUTTO’s GOVERNMENT. So its the same like Christian were declared Non JEWS Long ago even if CHRISTIANS BELIVE in OLD TESTAMENTS. * so AHMADIS,They have the right to practice their beliefs.*
    Now Understand this how could the government know that a community need a Synagogue or Church or Temple or Mosque if it negates by not identifying a certain community. Like do you Know JEWS Practicing JEWS live here Pakistan and as they don’t disclose themselves their isn’t any Synagogue. Again tolerance is the key even if Pakistan is an Islamic Republic minorities have all the right to practice and preach. Religion has nothing to do on ordinary course of engagement amongst population.
    French have lost the essence of secularism to tolerate anyones private beliefs
    I think on the basis of your nick it can be said you Intended to be Quite Offensive and I
    hope you select nice name* for yourself before calling someone. Recommend

  • deedee

    I’m a muslim british citizen..I filled out the UK 2011 census a couple of weeks ago..like many people I too ticked ‘no religion’ (that goes for any form I have to fill out in the UK)…since I believe and feel religion is something personal and has nothing to do or should have any business with the state.Recommend

  • hassan

    Jinnah might have said differently at the time of Independence, but, all along, he sold the idea of ‘Pakistan’ to the poor masses of undivided India as a Islamist paradise ‘of muslims, for muslims, and by muslims’.

    That idea found resonance among people who felt, they needed to rule themselves, to continue the 1000 years of Muslims rulers. Partition was demanded on Two Nation Theory, a theory that said, Muslims needed a separate nation so they could get justice and prosperity.

    So, religion was the basis the nation was formed. And all along, we had another concept built into our psyche. Whatever India does, we should do the diametrically the opposite.

    Pakistan means ‘We-are-not-India.’ India was supposed to be a Hindu country. And so, by extension, our country exists solely for, of and by Islam. It defines our identity. *We have to live with it.*

    PS: Now, don’t give me the usual pretzel on the the founding vision speech of Jinnah. No one believed it then and no one believes it now. His own followers – who had heard him speak on countless occasions on Pakistan being a country for Muslims alone – naturally they did not swallow it, because, they knew it was meant for global audience, not for local public.Recommend

  • Ameer

    This is one of the best articles I’ve read in a long, long time! It’s so true though, in todays Pakistan, if you aren’t Muslim – you’re a second-rate citizen.Recommend

  • Henna

    I can’t believe ANY educated person would disagree with this.Recommend

  • Qurratulain

    I had to declare my kid’s religion in the admission form of ‘play group’! and being an ahmadi i know some people at her school would never ask her to come up and recite the Holy Quran on stage or a na’at, or during islamiyat studies she’ll be either conveniently ignored or subtly challenged. Slowly others will realize that she’s an ahmadi and some girls wont want to eat with her, and the treatment will get harsher with time.
    So, the question of religion doesn’t affect ‘sarkari muslims’ , but it does to others!Recommend

  • murassa sanaullah

    one of the best articles and a verytrue one. i dont think in any country including muslimscountries u have declare ur religion inprobably every form ,this is it self a clear violation of human righs and safety of an individual,in our country countless have been murdered due to thier religion. Recommend

  • Usman Ahmad

    As the author of the piece – I have to say I completely disagree with the comments made by Fahad Raza

    The only thing religious columns achieve is to antagonize minority groups. Does a Pakistani Christian need to be constantly reminded that they are categorized as ‘non-Muslims’ and that is the totality of their identity. Worse still, the moment you begin to divide people on the grounds of their beliefs you begin to rupture the fabric of society. Once this begins there is no stopping it. So, firstly it is Muslim and non-Muslim, then it is Muslim, Christian, Ahmadi, Hindu etc, then it is Shiah, Sunni, Christian, Hindu, Ahmadi etc. Then society begins to fragment further and is divided on even finer lines – so Barelwi, Ahl-Hadith, Ahl-Quran Shia Christian…………This is exactly what is happening in Pakistan today.

    One could argue that if minorities had equal status in a country and were duly being protected what harm is their in the official recognition of their religious status. Fair enough – but that is palpably not the case. As a small example – no non-Muslim can attain to the office of President in this country. What message does that send to minorities? It only reinforces the fact that in Pakistan they are second class citizens.

    The Islamic principle of ‘no-compulsion’ in religion does not allow for this. If there is no-compulsion in religion then surely one has the right to keep the matter of their faith private. Moreover, privileging one religion over others – as is happening in Pakistan – is most definitely a subtle form of coercion.

    One final point – I agree with BTJ – ‘non-Muslim’ is not an identity. Recommend

  • Usman Ahmad

    @hassan:
    Even if your contention was accurate – and that is highly debatable (but more on that later) – it doesn’t mean that this is the best way or indeed only way to run the country. Recommend

  • Deen Sheikh

    @Usman Ahmad:
    My dear Usman if you live in the UK, one point I would like to bring to your attention, the Pakistani diaspora in the UK has played a small role in exporting religious intolerance back to Pakistan. The way things are going, it is Punjab that is getting radicalized the most, Punjab is the province with more affluent people than any other province in the country, and if the rich and the influential people of Punjabi society develop heightened religious sensitivity and indirectly condone religious extremism or such sentiments amongst others around them, we can all expect what will happen. By export, I was referring to Right Wing Religious Extremist Scholars from the UK such as the Hashmi sisters, who have been targeting the affluent segments of Pakistani society whether in Karachi or Lahore by preaching religious intolerance, taking Islam literally and too much focus on symbolic rituals and practices.Recommend

  • parvez

    What is happening in Pakistan has nothing to do with religion as it should be known. It has to do with the misuse and abuse of religion in the pursuit of power by a few, to the detriment of the many. Recommend

  • Moderate

    @Usman Ahmad The no compulsion thing in Islam has nothing to do with hiding of faith, it was actually in reference to forceful conversions of non-muslims into muslims which sadly is done in our country.

    Ones, religion should be mentioned on his/her NIC/bay-form.

    @Qurratulain I understand your concerns as a mother, but are you sure ‘play-group’ students will indulge in such kind of discriminations towards his/her class fellows? certainly NO!Recommend

  • Ali

    The story about Ahmadis Muslims has been argued endlessly on these forums. Their promised reformer, son of their prophet declared all non muslims as kaffir and outside the pale of Islam. Although it is wrong for the state to target them or high lighting their beliefs, individuals should feel free not to interact with them if they should so wish.

    Ahmadis operate a system of social boycott within their own community, atleast in the US, UK and Canada do so before they come on here and complain please consider the actions and beliefs of your own Khalifa’s since Mirza Mahmood Ahmad.Recommend

  • Talha

    @Ali

    How odd, every time Ahmadi’s are mentioned in any article or blog post, your turn up with manufactured lies and inane stories to discredit Ahmadi’s.

    I have argued with you on a number of occasions and you pull off a disappearing act when your false arguments are exposed.

    Below is the link to one of the earlier debates we had, please do not derail this debate too and let the people learn about the matter themselves.

    Shahzad Bhatti’s Death Gives Me HopeRecommend

  • Qurratulain

    @Moderate
    uhh…she wont stay in ‘playgroup’ forever (hopefully :) ).In class 6th, my friend’s class fellows refused to have lunch with her at the same table,some girls dont even reply to our salams, islamiyat teachers put many of my cousins on the spot by asking them questions and then arguing them in their classes.There are a million such cases.
    my point is how does the question of religion ensure equality?Recommend

  • Ali

    Talha, I think you left it at, let’s agree to dis agree.
    You never proved anything wrong. When presented with the beliefs of Mrza Mahmood Ahmad you wilfully distort them and claim the exact opposite.
    That accusation still stands. The book The Truth About The Split is written in perfectly good english for any sane person to understand what the author is trying to say.
    Live in denial about this man and your khalifas if you want, just don’t peddle these lies to other people.Recommend

  • http://bleedinghumanity.wordpress.com Ahmed Aziz

    @Qurratulain:
    I cant even begin to understand what you might be going through in your everyday life. We have actually lost our humanity in Pakistan or even in the muslim world. We have forgotten that we are all human beings, same species, But No.. we continue to create division within our ranks based on religion, province, caste whatever. Hate is instilled in our schools, I remember very clearly, regarding Ahmadis. I am saddened by the fact that your bright kid would not be able to escape the bigotry that even our brightest – Dr Abdus Salam – couldnt escape.

    @Fahad Raza:
    Well whatever you say, this is a sad state of affair. It was a sad day in the history of Pakistan when the whole parliament sat down and made a judgement about someone’s religion. It serves the Jews right not to declare themselves, you know what will happen to them if they reveal themselves? They can see whats happening to the self revealing Christians and other religions so they have made the right decision not to declare themselves.

    @Usman Ahmad:
    Excellent piece, my sentiments exactly!Recommend

  • http://bleedinghumanity.wordpress.com Ahmed Aziz

    @Ali:
    What are you talking about? It does not matter what their Khalifa or whoever says. This is a question of human rights. Are they not human beings? Let them believe what they want to believe. What is your problem with that? We are all Children fighting about something as small as this. Live and let live. I will say it again, they are human beings let them be. We should all mind our own business and be tolerant. Recommend

  • Burn Terry Jones

    @Ali – I agree with Talha on this – why do you always turn things into a theological debate. It is getting beyond the stage of parody. The question is not whose beliefs are right or wrong – but rather, whether citizens of a nation ought to be judged and defined in accordance with their religion. Simples.

    @Moderate – you make me laugh. Playgroup students might not indulge in discrimination but the process of indoctrination will have begun. Look at where this country has been heading since the Zia era – its a mess and a lot of it has to do with religion, and by that I mean hardline extremist interpretations, being allowed to govern the national and political discourse of the country. Recommend

  • Talha

    @ Ali

    I know you and your ilk very very well.

    Your distortion, lies and hate has caused Pakistan to end up in this current dismal state.

    Let me reiterate, it is because of people like you the world despises this nation and the religion it follows.

    If you were on the right path, you and your ilk would not be in this cursed situation.

    Look at how the Muslim world is burning, look at how many problems there are in these countries.

    All of this is only because there are people like you who have caused nations to split into groups and fight each other rather than working in unity.

    This is not about Muslim or Non Muslim, its about Humanity, a concept you are not familiar with.Recommend

  • Bin Ismail

    For the sake of hypothesis, let’s examine some interesting scenarios.

    Scenario # 1: Let’s assume that Jesus of Nazareth comes to Pakistan, in the form of “Jesus of Nazareth”. Assuming, for some unthinkable reason, he chooses to adopt Pakistan as his country. Now, what does he fill in the blank titled Religion? Jesus, as we all know, was a Jew. In fact, he was a Jew of the highest order. So, let’s say Jesus writes “Jew” in the Religion blank. Then comes along a Pakistani Christian, who fills in the word “Christian” to define his religion. Now we have an interesting situation. Jesus is enrolled as a “Jew”, while his followers are enrolled as Christians.

    Scenario # 2: There’s a guy named Syed Abdul Kareem who has of late developed doubts about the existence of God. What does this Agnostic fill in the blank of Religion? The poor fellow is by descent a Syed but genuinely does not know whether there is a God or not. If he writes “Muslim”, he’s guilty of lying and perjury. If he writes “Agnostic”, the State doesn’t know where to place him.

    Scenario # 3: There’s another guy named Abdullah (literally meaning Servant of Allah), who, thanks to the mullas, has evolved into a confirmed Atheist. He believes with certainty that there is no God. Unlike Syed Abdul Kareem, he has no doubts. While filling in the NIC form, he says to himself, “What the hell. Let me just write Muslim.” And so he does. Now the State enrolls him as a Muslim and the guy doesn’t even believe in God.

    In conclusion, we can safely say that whatever data, regarding the religion of individual citizens the State would finally have, would only be fictitious. Even if the scenarios depicted above do not materialize as such, even if Jesus of Nazareth never returns, even if the Pakistani Agnostic’s name is not Syed Abdul Kareem and even if the there is no Pakistani atheist named Abdullah, even then the State’s curiosity regarding the correct religious identity of its citizens will forever be irrational and uncalled for due to the simple fact that this information would forever be susceptible to error.Recommend

  • Asghar

    How ironic is it, that the comments section of an article arguing against the prevelance of religion in our daily lives should descend into a theological discussion. Hilarious!!!

    Also I Agree with author of article.Recommend

  • Ali

    Talha -The Islamic system of governance , i.e. Khalifat makes no distinction between religion and state. Does this sound wrong? Then go tell it to Mirza Masroor, as he is claiming to be a khalifa of your prophet Mirza Ghulam Ahmad.
    If this makes sense to you then how can you object the state making decisions on religious issues.
    If Mirza Mahmood had been in power during his 50 year odd reign he would have declared Sunnis and Shias as Kaffirs and outside the pale of Islam. This is a fact. Read the book the Truth About The Split. Its essentaily explains Ahmadi beliefs with regards to main stream Islam.
    You willfully tell lies about the beliefs of Mirza Mahmood Ahmad. Is this not a sin in the sight of your religion?
    I am far more tolerant then any Ahmad Khalifa in the last 100 years – this I can guarantee.
    Your Khalifa frequently uses social boycots to keep his followers in line. Am I a liar?
    If this sounds OK to you then you are far more of an extremist then I am.Recommend

  • Fahad Raza

    @Ahmed Aziz, Qurratulain Talha, & who ever is agreeing to Author Usman Ahmad including Burn Terry Jones.
    My Argument is that It feels to me that Under the umbrella of “Rights of Minority” You guys are on the wrong side. Why? The reason is, to practice any religion a place for worship, preach and congregation is required. When you say the question on the basis of religion shouldn’t be asked in a CENSUS form you are denying your own rights by agreeing that don’t ask this question, giving minorities a disadvantage of not being recognized officially on governmental level, thus when their right are violated nothing can be done as a ready made objection is present that they don’t exist her so what are they complaining about.
    I AGREED elsewhere in normal Practice of LIFE like EDUCATION it shouldn’t be asked,
    And any discrimination should be reported and condemned on highest level.
    Having said that what if they don’t want to do any certain thing like sitting in an exam or class or they dont want to give Islamiat paper for that matter as they have the right to abide by their belief and values. They should have a choice otherwise, what reason should they give in this situation.
    Referring to Ahmadi’s It looks very odd like they want to be treated same as Muslims when they don’t acknowledge the standard belief of “Khatm-e Naboowat on Prophet MUHAMMAD (SLAWSuLm)” integral part of any sect in Islam. Its is also very odd why a person has to resolve to abuse anyone who doesn’t believe or agree with what he or she has to say.
    Its not about reminding but recognition and Right to coexist and Practice Interfaith harmony. Human right is not about neglecting other beliefs and Minority rights is about protecting others belief.Recommend

  • Silas

    @Bin Ismail:
    I can relate to both scenerio 2 and 3 here. :DRecommend

  • bharat

    @Burn Terry Jones:
    agree
    google about minority population in pakistan,
    it is half of what it was in 1947; while pak population is doubled itself in 60yrs.Recommend

  • Talha

    @Ali

    Continue to show everyone your mindset, keep going on about this and that even when it is not required, what difference does it make?

    What difference has anything you have said made?

    The Islamic system is spiritual and does not need to be confined to a particular state.

    You have no argument, I have been through this with you before and you will continue to repeat what has been fed to you.

    Unto you your religion, and unto me my religion.

    Then what is the problem.

    Oddly you continue to do what you accuse us of, you lie, you had us declared Non-Muslim, yo are the ones who have colluded with others.

    Yet your argument is based on selective texts and your thinking that has been built up throughout your life.

    I have said it to you and I am saying it once again.

    This is about humanity, then why must your bring religion into it.Recommend

  • Talha

    @ bharat

    There is common misconception that the population of religious minorities has decreased in Pakistan, in actuality the numbers have increased over time.

    First of all you cannot use the data from 1947 because migration of Hindus and Muslims to India and Pakistan did not end till about early 50′s ref.1, similarly there is the matter of Eastern and Western wings of Pakistan. The Eastern wing (now Bangladesh) had a higher percent of minorities especially the Bengali Hindu community which opted for Pakistan.

    Now lets consider the case of West Pakistan alone because that is what is left from the Pakistan that was originally conceived. Data from 1947 cannot be used becuase of mass migration of Hindus towards India. Lets use 1950 for a better comparison shall we as it was when the migration and internal displacement was somewhat over. There were 39,448,232 people in West Pakistan and a total of 6.54 milllion hindus, of which 5.4 million left for India. ref.2

    Now West Pakistan was left with 1.1 million Hindu’s, half of whom were unfortunately killed by Muslims in the riots that broke out. So by that account 500,000 hindus were left in West and today they are higher than 7 million ref.3, percentage does not matter because Muslim population boomed (much like in India) and there were alot of immigrants who entered Pakistan since that time.

    So you can see that by just looking at the example of Hindu’s, we can see that the numbers are much higher than what they were before. This is also true for Ahmadi’s, Christians and a few others. Another thing to note is the under reporting of minorities in this country. ref.4

    However it could be much higher but many fled Pakistan and continue to flee because of inane laws and the current situation.Recommend

  • Ali

    I think he number of Ahmadis can be best established by statements of Mirza Mahmood Ahmad. He claimed in a 1950s khutba that their numbers ranged in the region of at most 400,000 but more likely in the 200,00- 300,000 range.
    Assume doubling time is about 30 years (which is about appropriate for Pakistan as a whole) this would put their numbers in the region of 800 000-1.6 million.

    Mirza Tahir had set them the aim of doubling the number of converts every year, I think in one year they managed 40 million converts, (I am not sure if they ever claimed 80 million).
    Their websites used to calim 180 million followers. Not sure if they are sticking to that line at the moment.
    Obviously they never reached anywhere near that figure.Recommend

  • Asghar

    Ali – time and time again people have warned you that this is not a religious topic. Please take your prejudices somewhere else!!!!!!

    Talha – stop feeding the troll!!!!!!!Recommend

  • Usman Ahmad

    @Ali I don’t understand the point you are trying to make. Are you are basically saying that because of certain inflammatory beliefs of Ahmadis they deserve to treated like second class citizens in Pakistan?

    What about certain Christians who suggest that anyone who doesn’t believe in Christ is eternally damned. Surely that is also an inflammatory belief. Or Jews who say Semites are the chosen people of God at the expense of others. If this is your criteria then would you be happy if non-Muslim countries conferred second-class citizenship on Muslims because of inflammatory beliefs they held?

    You are just making a baseless argument which betrays your prejudices against Ahmadis.

    The article about religious beliefs but whether are public lives should be defined by them. I agree with some other commentators here, please don’t turn this into a theological debate.Recommend

  • Tinku

    Then why does fb ask about our religious beliefs?Recommend

  • IndependentPakistani

    I think I agree with Ali and Fahad Raza. Valid points raised, if I am holding an executive office like Prime minister of President in government of Pakistan, it will be on my neck to take care of Religious minorities. It is Islamic Republic of Pakistan people NOT ISRAEL where they just build a big wall of concrete and shove the minorities in it then label it as Gentiles. It should’t happen here.
    Certainly Governments All over the need to know who practices what.
    I think the issue is wrongly deviated by a specific Community of Ahmadiyyas here and its only them to be blame as they bypass the merit whenever they like, majority of them recruit and distribute job to their own community.They are not like Ismaillis the most gentle and humble of people involved in all kind of trades and profession taking part in all kind of events and things.
    but should they (Ahmadiyyas) be treated like second grade citizen Of course NOT. Even if they have bad reputation of being non social and self centered never deny them to practice their faith
    Anyway, Fahad Raza pointed out Jews living here, astonishing but they shouldn’t be treated like Gentiles giving full right to practices their faith. Recommend

  • Humanity

    @Bin Ismail:
    “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” – Mark Twain

    :):)Recommend

  • Humanity

    ” Pakistanis are gods, who are not good”; an apt observation that was stated in Fasi’s article yesterday :)

    This is a question for the state certified Muslims, please.

    Ahmadis are prohibited from greeting others with a salutation of peace, salam. Should they instead wish for curse of God to greet a fellow being? Recommend

  • Tinko

    what about religious beliefs option on facebook?Recommend

  • Asghar

    @Tinku – Facebook then doesn’t discriminate you or treat you as a second class user on account of it. Also it is not compulsory. Also it is to flesh you out as a person and your characteistics for the benefit of other users. Just answer me this – what other passport in the world tell what a persons religion is – only Pakistan.Recommend

  • Talha

    @ IndependentPakistani aka Fahad Raza.

    Stick to one name or change your typing format so that you can come across as another poster.

    lolRecommend

  • waqqas iftikhar

    @Tinko….facebook gives you the option to choose whatever catches your fancy….my religion(s) being george best and diego maradona …..in that order….this is a question of systematic discrimination….why cant we let a non-muslim be the leader of the country?Recommend

  • Tinko

    @ Waqqas Iftikhar : Then why did facebook delete the group ”‘Third Palestinian Intifada”, the group was only asking for a peaceful protest.

    and my 2nd question to you, why can’t a non-jew be the leader of Israel?Recommend

  • Bin Ismail

    @Humanity

    “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” – Mark Twain

    Good quote. The truth of these words can be proven through words written on this very page. For instance, when Ali says with respect to Ahmadis, “Their promised reformer, son of their prophet declared all non muslims as kaffir and outside the pale of Islam”, this is a “lie”. Similarly, when Fahad Raza says regarding Ahmadis, “they don’t acknowledge the standard belief of “Khatm-e Naboowat on Prophet MUHAMMAD”, this is a “damned lie”. On the other hand, when Talha says to Ali, “I have argued with you on a number of occasions and you pull off a disappearing act when your false arguments are exposed”, this is “statistics” and of course very true.

    Interestingly, Ali says to Talha, “When presented with the beliefs of Mrza Mahmood Ahmad you wilfully distort them and claim the exact opposite. That accusation still stands. The book The Truth About The Split is written in perfectly good english for any sane person to understand what the author is trying to say”. Actually, I would have to agree with him on the fact that the said book is indeed in “perfectly good English”. I would also tend to agree with his claim that this book can indeed be easily understood by any “sane person”. Sanity, indeed is a prerequisite to understanding anything. People deficient in sanity will expectedly confront difficulties in understanding this book. Unfortunately, our friend Ali seems to be having serious problems in comprehending the contents of this particular book.Recommend

  • patriot

    yes everybody, if ahmadis and israel can discriminate, why should we stay behind?
    we have ‘equal’ right in discriminating against people!Recommend

  • Ali

    OK Bin Ismail, I will present you with a quote from the said book. Will you explain it’s meaning to me?Recommend

  • Ali

    “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” – Mark Twain
    It’s an amazing achievement but your Khalifa Mirza Tahir Ahmad managed to combine all 3 when he announced 40 million (It might have been 80 million) converts in a year!!Recommend

  • Asif

    @ Ali
    Hahahaha, at long last your psychobabble brings you to this point you were so evidently dying to come upon.

    Nobody is peddling lies here aside from you. Hypothetically speaking by your terms, if indeed in doctrine Ahmadis do not consider those outside the community as non-muslims but you see Ahmadi children growing up and being taught that those Sunnis and Shias around them ARE in fact muslims, you reasonable decent and educated Ahmadis categorically testifying so, then what is your agenda? Why would you take it upon yourself to preserve the integrity, as you misconstrue it, but integrity nonetheless of Ahmadi texts? Recommend

  • Dodo

    Separation of religion and state is paramount. The ideal situation is to get rid of religion all together but since that is not possible (because of a significant superstitious bourgeois) the least we can do is make people aware of its irrelevance in today’s world. Only then can we have proper human rights in the world when people actually see others as humans rather than christians or hindus or muslims or what have you. Again this is not going to eradicate racism or discrimination entirely but will surely reduce it a lot. We can start by taking the “religion” question out of our census, passport and other forms. Recommend

  • IndependentPakistani

    @Talha:
    Just because I am agreeing and using format makes me one and the same person. Well if thats the case then every one else commenting here is no one but you. Your mental dude lols i dont think I you are not worth replyin againRecommend

  • http://dinopak.wordpress.com Hasan

    A very hot debate is brewing on this particular article. I can see it is ‘mainly’ because of Ahmadiyyas. I think a fellow author of Tribune who posted “I will not dance on Osama bin Laden’s grave ” would love to see this. The typical Pakistani hatred towards Ahmadis (read my comment on his post). Goes to show how bigoted Pakistani Muslims are.

    Any how, back to the topic, the column of religion really doesn’t achieve anything, it is just another way of discrimination and targeting of a minority sect or group.

    Apart from this I would like to reply to Mr. Fahad who claimed

    “Khatm-e Naboowat on Prophet MUHAMMAD (SLAWSuLm) is an integral part of any sect in Islam”

    Mr. Fahad, please get your facts straight, Their are five pillars of Islam and six articles of faith (Imaan-e-Mujammil), none of which claim to profess Khatm-e-Nabuwwat. It is another drama from the clergy to ‘get donations’ and control the public.Recommend

  • shy

    Religion should be separate from the state.Recommend

  • Bin Ismail

    @shy

    Religion should be separate
    from the state”

    I fully agree and may I add that nothing short of a complete divorce will do.Recommend

  • Fahad Raza

    @Talha WHat!!!? I think I have never seen such a retarded comment from anyone. and @IndependentPakistani thanks but no thank Dude. YOU I think went too far in assuming you will become the Prime Minster one day NO CHANCE. Recommend

  • MastMaula

    The religion divide in Pakistan is more like muslims and human beings rather than muslims and non-muslims Recommend

  • Syed Imran Ahmed

    @MastMaula:
    you are right friend. This truth is not easy to go down the throat with ease but we have to swallow it. May allah show us the right path the human path.Recommend

  • Dodo

    @Syed Imran Ahmed:
    We need Allah to show us how to treat fellow human beings? Do we not have minds of our own? Is our ability to make humanistic decisions been suspended or something? Stop asking Allah for the petty things. Humans have brains for crying out loud, START USING IT!!Recommend

  • Ahmad Qamar

    @Fahad Raza:
    ‘Totally disagree’…it seems as if that’s what you always do to everyone and everything…That’s the problem with half- baded Muslims, who think they are Muslims, rather the true and most genuine Muslims, just because they were born of a woman who said she believed in Islam…For God’s sake, change your attitude and be rational in your arguments…The Holy Quran, the Holy Book you profess belief in, teaches you to speak the truth and be moderate…reflect upon what someone says before you form an opinion…Dont be so opinionated that you are unable to cope with the modern times….Recommend

  • Ahmad Qamar

    @Bin Ismail:
    Very Very true….but not going to happen in the so- called Islamic Democratic Replublic of Pakistan…….Recommend

  • Dodo

    @Ahmad Qamar:
    Its “Islamic [Democratic] Republic of Pakistan” mind you! Notice “democratic” in brackets because it gets suspended more often than not in this great land of ours. Recommend

  • Vir Raichand

    @Talha:

    I am sorry but its either gross ignorance or deliberate twisting of facts that’s resulted in you writing something that’s totally bereft of logic. What you say about the Hindu migration from Bangladesh to Pakistan is a load of bull. Having experienced the trauma of partition, why would Hindus migrate to Pakistan and not India, which is a predominantly Hindu nation? Besides if you trace the migratory route, India will come first and after crossing its huge expanse, shall come Pakistan, so, where would these traumatized people prefer to migrate – India or Pakistan? If you say, the Hindu population in Pakistan has in fact increased based on whatever fairytale data you seem to have at hand, why is the data showing a decline in numbers? Besides, why is the Hindu population in Pakistan complaining about religious persecution and forced conversions? The fact of the matter is that Hindus, as are other communities in Pakistan, are being systematically exterminated or converted to Islam, so that the nation of the “deen” or the idea on which Pakistan was propounded, could be fulfilled.Recommend