‘Zaid Hamid told me so’

Published: August 23, 2011

Zaid Hamid is back in the news and regrettably for all the bad reasons - so I decided to meet him...

After a hiatus of few months, Zaid Hamid is back in the news and regrettably – though not surprisingly – for all the wrong reasons. Apparently, his labeling of SAFMA as an extension of RAW, didn’t sit too well with the SAFMA people and they have decided to press libel charges against them.

A week before this new development, a few friends and I met him at his house:

The assistant introduced us and left. The desk, the comfy seat, the black monitor and sheets of papers scattered all over the table were a shock. I was expecting a middle-class drawing room embellished with cheap vases and dirty artificial flowers. The eagerness with which the occupant of the house met us belied the impression that the untidy office gave. He wasn’t that busy after all.

This middle-aged man with his square glasses, short-beard and trademark red cap, knew more of the youth psyche than could be guarded by a cautious young interviewer. Articulating our names with a vigor that one associates with army generals, he embraced each of us as if we had just volunteered for a battle no one was ready to fight. His dripping self-assurance made us realize that none of us would leave unimpressed. And surely none of us did.

Zaid Hamid is a fascinating being. Equally comfortable and convincing in both English and Urdu, he gave disillusioned people what they want the most and need the least: stirring words. A well-endowed tongue is not a waste; it’s a guarantee of survival in bad times and fame in good ones. However, listening to Zaid Hamid hardly reminded me of Jacque Vergus, Abu Zayd of Saruj, or any other devil’s advocate. He didn’t dissemble; what he said was what he meant. His assistant had already encouraged us to put any kind of questions to the man he considered ‘a holy warrior, an intellectual, and a saint’.

In spite of all his attempts to act humble, Zaid Hamid’s words were pregnant with the vanity which every famous man, especially the one who has raised himself from complete oblivion to the pedestal of popularity, subconsciously considers his hard-earned right.

The image that he had built of himself was not a simple one: he was a humble, ordinary citizen in relation to his country and an ideologue and a mentor in relation to his countrymen. It might be difficult to reconcile his ‘ordinariness’ with the ‘extraordinariness’ that elevated him to the position of a mentor, if one fails to see the awkward position it puts a well-known person in to only self-efface himself or to only glorify himself.

Conviction offers nothing to a good orator. Speaking is just a science: you know when to talk loud and when to whisper; when to punch the dais and when to move away from it; when to recite a ditty and when to use foul language. From the first word to the last, sincerity can’t play any part in a speech. Yet, the conviction with which Zaid Hamid spoke reminded me of Malcolm X and Trotsky. He had more in common with them than his eloquence. He had not only revised his ideas once but had also unwittingly planned out his own fall.

Zaid Hamid is abhorrent to the idea of both western democracy and totalitarianism. The system he proposes is a child of both and something which is, according to him, similar to the early Islamic caliphate. It requires no overhaul of the present system, he asserts; one just has to follow the constitution. The clause of constitution which interests him the most is the one concerned with the character of the parliamentarians. He wants a supreme panel to decide if a candidate passes the leadership criteria set in the constitution or not. It would effectively filter out the ‘undesired candidates’.

But wouldn’t this system give way to dictatorship?

It certainly would. As it turns out, the ‘undesired candidates’ include not only the corrupt and opportunists but also the separatists and candidates with secular leanings. The greatest benefit of this system, he explains, would be to get rid of MQM, ANP and PPP, all avowed enemies of Pakistan and on payroll of Hindu, Jewish and Christian Zionists.

The idea of uniform state that he promulgates bears uncanny resemblance to the Soviet Politburo of early 1920s: the state is to become an idea. Though he repeatedly states otherwise, only the secular parties draw flak from him; apparently the conservative parties aren’t as grave a danger as the secular ones.

So is his Takmeel-e-Pakistan just a right-wing movement?

Not according to him.

Zaid Hamid had used ‘Hindu baniya’ and ‘Indian’ interchangeably in many of his speeches. To many, it laid bare his deep mistrust of the minorities and his fascist tendencies.

On being confronted with the question about his careless choice of words, he took pains to explain that the Pakistani Hindu was never his target. In fact, many Pakistani Hindus had joined his movement because ‘they felt more secure with them’. The ‘Hindu baniya’, to him, was the name that the Hindu Zionists, ‘who have been ruling over India since its independence’, have begun to signify. Asked if one could have a positive attitude towards India and still have a positive attitude towards Pakistan, he answered in the negative. America was in hands of Christian Zionists, India in hands of Hindu Zionists and Israel in hands of Jewish Zionists, who were bent on destroying Pakistan. In such a situation, there couldn’t be a constructive dialogue with any of these countries.

He rubbished all peace proposals and roundly condemned Aman ki Aasha. Until his one demand was met he was indifferent to any kind of bilateral relations: the triumvirate would have to ‘back off’.

Since Mr Zaid adamantly denied that he was discriminating against the Pakistani Hindus, his viewpoint on their citizenship status was noteworthy. Sharia Law demands that the state exact Jizya tax from its non-Muslim citizens as a fee for the security that the state provides them. Zaid Hamid took some time to shed light on the positive aspects of Sharia law (e.g. the command to keep streets clean, to establish peace etc.) and to expose the West’s ignorance of it.

Soon his passion took hold of him and he started repeating things he had already explained. This was the only moment when magic of his words began to weaken and I became more aware of the petite newscaster on the monitor screen behind him than of him.

Thankfully, this did not last long. As regards the Jizya tax, he was wholly in favor of it. According to him, treating Hindus as Dhimmies wasn’t akin to giving them a second-class citizenship since they didn’t have to pay Zakat and were exempted from military service in return.

If the state of Pakistan were to tax its nationals on the basis of religion, wouldn’t it alienate the minorities?

Again, his answer was in negative. Jizya, he explained, ‘is peanuts’ and thus couldn’t force any man to ‘revert’ to Islam.

Listening to this man speak in person is no worthless experience. Of the four of us who went in, three returned converted. Some of his theories seemed just too far-fetched to me (maybe because I never had stomach for them). For instance, he considers that the genocide of Bengalis was ‘the biggest lie of the 20th century’. ‘We have no credible information about the killing’, he claimed, ‘since everything came from Indian or American sources’.

On being reminded of Sadeeq Salik’s ‘Meine Dhaka Doobtay Dekha’, Mr Zaid conceded that in the war some isolated incidents might have occurred. Still, Zaid Hamid is one of the very few people who can never be pessimistic and who are so fanatically devoted to one idea. He is not as intolerant of criticism as the press made him appear after the assassination of a respected Sunni leader.

On being informed of Amir Liaqaut’s recent allegation that he considers himself a prophet, he only guffawed and changed topic. When asked for a message for the youth, Zaid Hamid had two words for them: ‘Educate Yourself’.

Orr Ali

Orr Ali

The author is an undergraduate student at LUMS, pursuing a degree in Bsc. Electrical Engineering.

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

  • tariq

    the authors efforts actually make me take sides with zaid hamidRecommend

  • hamzad

    No place for secularoon liberaloon in Pakistan…Pack up and LEAVE.Recommend

  • Aisha Abid

    I would have appreciated your article, if it was written in favor of Zaid Hamid. Can you tell me of something you did for Pakistan rather than criticizing the most respectable people of Pakistan? Recommend

  • Faial

    @faraz:
    I think u must read some books to understand what Zaid hamid is saying.like u never gonna understand because u r following a different agenda.If u love secularism so much u should go to america Recommend

  • faraz

    @Faial

    Do you know about Cabinet Mission Plan, 1946? Do you know that Jinnah accepted this plan which called for a federation, and not independence? Do you know that Iqbal, in his Allabad Address, called for joint defense of Subcontinent by Hindu, Muslim and Sikh troops? Do you know that Jinnah belonged to minority sect, his foreign minister was Ahmadi and law minister was Hindu?Recommend

  • Salman Orangiwala

    Did anyone notice by any chance , when Mr.Zaid Hameed “speaks ” he looks absoluteley like an animated character ( read: parroting zombie ) .Starts yelping when the toggled button would be pushed by no other than the mighty Pakistan army and the unholy agencies .

    Another Goebles in the offing , who would ultimately be the waterloo for his master the HITLER of the
    Paksitani Reich ???Recommend

  • Mutee

    Irrespective of the conclusion of the article, you are a great writer with above average analysis skills. The honesty your words show and they way you interlaced the pros and cons was a sheer delight to read.Recommend

  • Ali Hasnain Ghumman

    I have been to his place and met him, his place nor him are anything like the writer describedRecommend

  • My Name is Khan

    I continue to be saddened and shocked by the number of fellow Pakistanis who defend Zaid Hamid. He is a liar and a demagogue but we Pakistanis love chest-beating types who blame everyone else for our problems.

    Our youth does not want to open their eyes and deal with Pakistan’s real issues. No, they would rather support guys like Imran Khan who just blame everyone else but have no real solutions.

    To all those who criticize the author for speaking against a “pro-Pakistani”: I doubt any of you are actually pro-Pakistani. Zaid Hamid’s brand of “patriotism” is what’s driving our country into oblivion. If you were pro-Pakistani, you’d want to address corruption and the Talibanisation of our country but instead you want to believe that our biggest issues are drone strikes and India. Please grow a brain before our homeland is ruined forever.Recommend

  • Asim

    Zaid hamid is a intelligent pakistani and we have to support such kind of people.Recommend

  • Ahmed

    @ Asim: You are funny!Recommend

  • samra zulfiqar

    Why every blog that i read on Tribune represent an opposite of the popular sentiment? Is this your way of increasing readership and inviting heated comments? Well, its quite cheap!Recommend

  • faraz

    Concluding Author’s point of view and comments.One thing is agreed that “Tehqeeq”(Research) is only the Act which can bless us in True People Que and segregate us from Cursed people. May ALLAH bless Sir ZaidHamid! Aameen. Recommend

  • Mani

    @Rehan:

    Can u justify the allegation that you made on Mr. Zaid that he’s on payroll of certain agency ?Recommend

  • EoH

    For more on Sir Zaid Hamid, please see the below link. It has very useful info about Sir Zaid Hamid and it shows the real mission of Sir Zaid Hamid.

    http://pioussluts.wordpress.com/2011/08/29/zaid-hamid-saint-or-satan/Recommend

  • ahmad

    where is Imam Medhi? is he hiding somewhere still according to some shia n sunni scholars? its the 15 century according to the islamic calender….imam mehdi was suppose to have arrived by the early 14th century….the 14th century ended on 1980 if we compare it with the georgian calender, 14th century ended in 1980…. @Muhammad: Recommend

  • Subhash, India

    @X:
    Friend, if in India we have a system of reverse Jaziya then how would you feel. Religion is a personal matter & shoild remain so.Recommend

  • Ghalia saad

    The writer has used very appropriate words and for that I really value this article. Although, some of the material is very inappropriate according to my observation.But still, he knows how to debate on a topic whether in favor or against. The writer in such a young age has shown his brightness, so I would like him to go ahead and show his talent to the whole world rather than acting like a sleepy head… Recommend

  • Ghalia saad

    @Aisha Abid: you have written absolutely right but a point to be noted is that rather than criticizing the youngsters, we should encourage them. Recommend

  • sajjad akhter

    it is said that great minds discuss ideas and average minds discuss personalities, i would have appreciated this article if u had differed from any idea of zaid hamid and put forward your views with logic and reason, however i am impressed with your english writing capability.Recommend

  • aamir

    @N.S:
    well mr or miss N.S i may b a naive person so i couldn’t understand what are you want to put forward. whatever i gathered i well comment on it .. i dont agree or disagree with the author but want to say something ….. just read muslims killing by hindu of gujrat how well it was planned and how well it was executed. do u need any other example of hindu brutallities? about hindu zionism…. india usa and israel are about to make a brutal example of pakistan china and iran … we need to wake up and understand whats happening around …. shah rukh khan aamir khan salman khan are nor representatives of india .. they are an eye wash for the entire world and fools of pakistani media who are promoting them ……Recommend

  • Excalibur

    @My Name is Khan: Respect. In a sea of mind-boggling endorsements of Pakistan’s Glenn Beck, I read comments like yours and cancel my soosiiiiide.

    @Author : Orr, are you still friends with the 3 people who “returned converted?” Don’t worry, you’ll find sane people to hang out with eventually. Consider yourself lucky; you have a critical brain and can think for yourself, which is a rare blessing among young adults your age.Recommend

  • Excalibur

    I don’t care how great (read : manipulative) his oratory skills are, comparing him to intellectual heavyweights like Malcolm X and Tolstoy is a travesty. If that’s all that Pakistan’s got in comparison, that’s pathetic.

    For the “patriotic” pro-Zaid Hamid peanut gallery, chauvinistic displays of nationalism won’t change embarrassing facts about Pakistan. I know it’s hard to digest, but beating your chest won’t change the genocide the Pakistani army carried out against Bengalis. Rewriting and censoring your history books won’t turn this country into a superpower. Blaming the CIA/Mossad/India won’t change the fact that our leaders are corrupt nor will it raise our literacy rate. A country which cannot introspect critically will implode. The cancer that will eat this country inside out is home-grown. Congratulations.Recommend

  • http://Karachi Anwar Hasan

    Zaid Hamid works very well for Pakistan where the majority are illiterate. They are not interested in thoughts or ideas. They only want to hear a loud and impressive voice, no matter what the content. Recommend

  • Ali Hasnain Ghumman

    @omer:
    Minorities are exempt from Zakat they pay Jazia(my personal opinion as an accountant). They are two different form of Taxes. If you can’t understand the Islamic model it doesn’t mean the System is at fault.Recommend

  • MUNIB

    @X:
    “Strategic patriot “??
    everyone else who takes on ISI and establishment is NOT patriotic right ?
    thats the problem with people like you. Self made , self judges of one’s patriotism and that “agent” crap. He might be patrioc but he is the mouth piece of people living in PINDI you forgot to mention that part.Recommend

  • jssidhoo

    “Our Intelligence Agencies are only good at creating problems for other countries – they are powerless to stop terrorism in our homeland.”. Pearls of wisdom brotherRecommend

  • Ayesha

    bad man:@Recommend

  • omar

    Why am i not surprised. Same old rants about the man as any bigot would have. These “authors” who are nothing but a mockery of journalism have steadily increased in number during the recent years for obvious reasons. Any powerful country trying to gain influence in this region will take control of the media as a priority, and here we see the results. Shameless, pointless “journalists” oblivious to actual troubling matters going on under their nose. Each one of these people have EXACTLY the same thing to say, and that being EXACTLY what they blame Zaid Hamid of doing. “Stirring words”.Recommend

  • khurram

    Zaid Hamid should become a story writer for Hollywood movies. He as a very fertile imagination.

    Watching him rant is so comical…Recommend

  • INFIDEL

    Reminded you of TROTSKY and MALCOLM X. Can you publish the detailed meeting and interview you took of the above as well, that will give us a clearer comparison. Don’t you think?Recommend

  • http://sanarites.blogspot.com Sana Iqbal

    What does he have to say about muslims living in India that exceed the number of muslims in PakistanRecommend