Hijab, or else…

Published: October 10, 2011

60 men beating school girls with iron rods for not 'dressing moderately' is no less than a national tragedy.

The recent attack on the MC Model Girls High School in Rawalpindi is no less than a national tragedy. When 60 men, armed with iron rods waltz into an educational institute to mete out violent justice against women and children for not ‘dressing moderately’, it is a low point in the very substance of a nation.

When an armed mob of religious vigilantes entered the school they did more than just beat innocent children and teachers. They instilled fear in every female student, in every girls school, and in the mind of every parent of a girl. The fact that the assault was allowed to happen is perhaps what is most terrifying. A massive group of sixty men, armed with rods and sticks, does not go by easily unnoticed. Moreover, the reports of a police official actually stating that they were under instructions not to do anything about the attack is enough to send shivers down the spine of any self respecting Pakistani. The realisation that the children of our nation are not safe while studying at their schools erodes whatever faith we may have left in the system.

A number of people (myself included) have been shedding light on the fact that the gate to the school was left ‘mysteriously open’, and how there should have been more security in place to prevent such an incident. Yet, focusing on these aspects of the tragedy tends to miss the point and the larger problem. This is that in no respectable society should there be a need for security against such an attack. Armed men assaulting women and children in a school should be an idea so abhorrent in itself that its possibility of occurring should never even enter anyone’s mind. The larger problem at hand, thus, is that what we need is religious reform, not gates and security guards.

Sadly, this event is not unique in any way. In fact, if we jog our memories, we are reminded of the atrocities committed against girls studying in schools in Swat, and more recently the attack on a van filled with school going children near Peshawar. What is unique about it, however, is the location. Rawalpindi is not Swat, neither is it in any way, shape or form geographically outside the influence of the state. Indeed it is only a twenty minute drive from the capital of the state in question. The implications of this are as important as they are chilling. If such events can be allowed to take place in main urban areas without the perpetrators being reprimanded, then what is to stop it happening all over in girls schools in Lahore, Karachi, Islamabad and elsewhere.

The answer is nothing at all.

Yet the conviction of Mumtaz Qadri did not silence advocates of the blasphemy law, neither did the arrests of some thugs stop violence against Christians. Thus one can imagine that a couple of arrests are unlikely to dissuade people with deep seated religious convictions from doing such a terrible thing again. The solution, therefore, lies at the root of the problem, not the branch, or in this case, the twig.

What is essential for Pakistan to progress past such events is widespread religious reform. Our own cultural heritage, with respect to religion, is far removed than what is observable across Pakistani society today. This region was the region of mystics, of Sufi’s and saints who, with their emphasis on spirituality, created an understanding of Islam that was far more tolerant, peaceful and respectful to humankind than what is seen today. Yet even after that heritage was lost to Wahabi influences, it was not till recently that we began to see people misuse Islam so blatantly and grotesquely as we are now. For where in Islam does it say that it is permissible to use violence to communicate an idea? The answer is nowhere at all. Islam is a peaceful religion that preaches respect for humanity as a principle.

One might say that the group of attackers did not represent Islam or Muslims – which they most certainly did not – and that they were just a rogue group of extremists acting in an otherwise moderate atmosphere. One might say that using such an event as a wake up call (which I hope it is) is perhaps a case of blowing things out of proportion. To those people I would show videos of Mumtaz Qadri’s police van being showered with rose petals. To those people I would recount the incident of the SHO in Lahore who entered an art gallery and trying to have it shut down on account of fahashi or lewd. I might even point to the fact that Malik Ishaq, one of the founders of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi  not only walks free today, but was received by a crowd of twenty thousand upon his return to Bahawalpur from his stint in jail.

What is evident is that something needs to change and that something has got to be the prevailing understanding of Islam in our country. No longer can we allow religion to be misused and if and when it is, it is vital that our leaders have the wherewithal to condemn it and speak out against it, using Islam itself as a base for their condemnation of such an act.

I invite you to imagine what it must have felt like for a girl studying at the school present at the time of the attack; try and feel for yourself the pain, confusion and gripping fear that must have taken hold of the girls when a mob of angry men started beating them with rods for a fault which was not theirs. Ask yourself how you can live in a society where such an event does not prompt nation-wide uproar.

Finally, I ask you to do something about it, whatever that may be.

Ibrahim.Pataudi

Ibrahim Pataudi

An undergraduate student at Claremont Mckenna college, California, studying Philosophy, Politics, and Economics

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

  • http://fruitforbidden.wordpress.com/ Forbidden Fruit

    Wish I could shove 60 burqas down 60 throats!Recommend

  • http://www.hyderabbas.wordpress.com Hyder Abbas

    It was clearly the mental (mainly sexual) frustration of those ill-minded ignorant who tried the same practice on Laal Masjid, if you remember the ghazi rashid announced it if a young woman of age b/w 25 and 35 wants to marry him, she should come to her, as he is ready..!!..These dirty minds should be dealt with an iron hand..its time to defy them, confer them and fight them or else they are going to do worse than this. Our demand from Govt is to find them, arrest them and charge them with the crime of spreading terror among our mothers and sisters. Bravo my brother who wrote this lucid and meaningful piece of writing.Recommend

  • faraz

    For 3 decades, our state recruited children from poor families, indoctrinated them with vicious ideas and had them killed in Afghanistan and Kashmir. The middle class and elites loved it. Now the chicken have come home to roost. Recommend

  • deedee

    made me sooo sad! what has happened to this country!!!!!! God help us all!! Recommend

  • WF

    I really just wanna know is it not very clear that there is an umbilical chord that runs betweenn extremists and Islam( or any religion if its followed as an obsession) then why the middle class Pakistanis ( who say they are liberal) still support religion and state together. WHY CAN’T PAKISTAN BE SECULAR, if INDIA is SECULAR?Recommend

  • MD

    Talibanization of Pakistan is rapidly gaining momentum and hope seems to be fading fast. Perhaps, it is already too late.Recommend

  • http://assmkhan.blogspot.com/ Asma Kahn

    Hmmm v sad… :/Recommend

  • Ahsan Jahangir

    Shameful! who were the people behind the incident? did they belong to some party or what?Recommend

  • http://pioussluts.wordpress.com EoH

    And still Imran Khan and PTI Trolls want to surrender to Taliban so that they impose their black shariah on us! Shame on Imran Khan and PTI Trolls! Like seriously!Recommend

  • mf hussain

    aur Islam Islam karoRecommend

  • http://deleted khawar kazmi

    when a woman is covered, men cannot judge her by her physical appearance but are forced to evaluate her by her personality, character, and morals.hijab is not a responsibility, it’s a right given to women by Creator.but having internal modesty is more important than external modesty.there is no compulsion in religion , you can’t cast an impel on a person to follow a certain command instead help him in ascertaining the logic and reason behind it.it’s up-to that person whether he adopts or not.in individual affairs it’s ok to respect the individuality of a person but in collective affairs , espouse justice and make sure everything is fine.Recommend

  • Naumaan

    I’m a Pakistani and I have no problem admitting that Pakistan is simply a failed experiment. Make all the provinces independent. Those who want to go with India can. Those who want to remain independent can remain independent.
    Pakistan as an idea never had much of a reason to be made a reality, and we can now see why.
    Regards,Recommend

  • http://salmanzq.wordpress.com/ Salman Qureshi

    Shameful what has happened. But the battle has to be won by fighting ‘mullah islam’ with education. Opening of minds is the only solution. And we’ve got to stop associating everything with religion!Recommend

  • M Ali Khan

    Coincidentally, the Sipah-e-Sahaba was holding a massive rally at the same time in next door Islamabad with ‘special guests’ including the Lal Masjid fitnah brigade.

    So lets add 2+2 together.Recommend

  • Sara Khan

    I know one of your sections is called ‘Welcome to Pakistan’ I think that it is absoutley wrong! It should read ‘Welcome to Talibistan’ Recommend

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

    Salman,
    It’s fascinating how for most Muslims, religion is the elephant in the room that they never address in these situations. Even when all terror, bigotry and ignorance dance around the camp-fire of religion…even when these terrorists scream out that their actions are indeed inspired by religion, and hold up religious text to validate their deeds, we say, “Nope. This has nothing to do with religion.”

    Really, it fascinates me!Recommend

  • malik

    What I find ironical is that….despite so much evidence to the contrary…we keep insisting that ‘there is no compulsion in religion’….

    It is high time we accepted the fact that there is nothing wrong compelling someone..especially when we know what is right for him !Recommend

  • Yuri Kondratyuk

    @khawar kazmi:

    when a woman is covered, men cannot
    judge her by her physical appearance
    but are forced to evaluate her by her
    personality, character, and morals

    implies that a man be judged by his physical appearance since there is no hijab for men?Recommend

  • Mrs K

    Another day, another great news from my great country.O boy am I proud to be Pakistani.Recommend

  • A.

    @Loneliberal PK:
    when people say that it has nothing to do with religion they mean that religion does not preach their actions or violence. and their understanding of the texts is wrong bc no religion preaches violence, or oppression.Recommend

  • http://www.hyderabbas.wordpress.com Hyder Abbas

    I have seen so many girls in my varsity who don’t wear Naqa’ab, but their “Krdaar” and “Hijaab” is far more stronger than (few of) those who do, they are the modest ones…!!!Recommend

  • http://bakedsunshine.wordpress.com Shumaila

    I feel like weeping for my country sometimes.
    .
    @malik, fascism is not islam. No one has the right to judge what is ‘best’ for anyone else, nor to enforce it. Recommend

  • HH

    What the hell is the problem with these hijabi-niqabis, why can’t they just let be. I mean, come on this is the modern era, not 7th century in a desert. These misogynistic idiots need to get life, perhaps, working their backs off for some religion. Come on, people! A religion which advocates so much discrimination cannot possibly survive in a rational and logical environment. When will these people break free of such fanatic mindsets.
    Being a female, it is utter disgrace to ask a woman to cover herself in a tent, and that too in this scorching heat. I could never even contemplate how uneducated and irrational these people must be to follow such dogma. Even if they have their own opinions, why can’t they just keep it to themselves, what is the need for enforcement. They act as if un-hijabed women are the major problems?
    Guys, come on, visit the world and explore it, there is so much out there than just hijabs and forcing your women to wear them. I’m lucky this dogma doesn’t pass as a justification in the West.

    Peace.Recommend

  • Religion is Opium

    This is what Islam/Religion is, whether any of my “moderate” middle class brother like it or not. One cannot travel onto two boats for long.Recommend

  • HH

    yes, religion is opium of the masses. That is one point of Marx I fully agree with. Guess these people are addicted. We need rehabilitation centres for them, so that they can understand life, which is not just following some religion.Recommend

  • Prometheus

    @A : Oh really? Go read the Quran (and hadith) and the Bible. Then come back and talk. isn’t there a hadith which says that apostates are to be killed. What would you call this? “an act of peace” ? What would you call enslaving women and children after taking them as captors? Is this a non-violent act? For when I look back I see humanity in general and Muslims in particualr ( since the onus is on them here) enslaving child after child, and now when slavery has finally been abolished ( even though the Taliban want it back for it hampers their supply of concubines) you people claim that Islam abolished slavery even though for more than a thousand years Muslims enslaved their captors.

    Whoever says that no religion preached hatred needs to read some religious texts ( not all of them preach hate though). Recommend

  • Cheddar Man

    I consider hijab/niqab/whatever as a sign of misogyny and oppression. But consider for a moment that it does what islamists claim it does i.e safeguarding women from ‘evil’ men, still i don’t see any logic whatsoever in imposing it in an all girls school. Islamists must be really dumb!! Recommend

  • Huzaifa Akbar

    More likely to get raped, a covered female or a beautifully dressed western female who asserts her own independence? Islam liberates women and has given her a much higher status than men. Providing liberty and giving rights is just not restricted to allowing people to do whateve they please, it also involves protecting people. The concept of hijab is not only restricted to woman, it is also for men as well. The Hijab means to protect, for men it is the hijab of their sight. Men are supposed to protect their gazes, and women are to be covered. This concept is very simple and self-explanatory as to why any religion would wan to propagate such a concept. Islam is a religion that provides liberation to women from the evil eyes of males, and similarly liberates men from the lustrous magnet of that of females. You say Islam restricts freedom and rights to women? That is not true, when a woman freely in a group of men without any hesitance, possibility or any foresight of being physically assaulted/abused under the next ten minutes, I say “Here here!”, not, “What a shame!”. The mental, emotional and sexual calmness that Islam or any other religion that propagates a similar ideology, should a model way of life, not a condemned one.

    One more important aspect, if someone provides examples of ‘Red-necks’ or Extremists/Fundamentalists of a society to negate any idealogy, then that person too is practising fundamentalism/extremism by providing such an example. Do you tend to forget the better side of the story, the sunny side up of the story? Shame shame! By using such examples, you’re practicing the same sensationalism that the media uses and you people openly condemn!

    My request to all is that, before you comment, especially using such fundamentalistic terms such ‘disgusting habit’ etc, try to acquaint yourself to the entire knowledge and wisdom behind the initial prattled or statement. Recommend

  • Cynical

    To all the apologists of Jinnah and his so called ‘vision’ and their endless reffering to his speech of 11th August’1947.

    Pakistan today is the result of his short sightedness born out of his tunneled vision, matched with his monumental ego. Recommend

  • csmann

    Poor girls will carry the mental scars for life; But then it is pure-stanRecommend

  • ukmuslim

    @Naumaan
    i am more han sure, indians will say / shout NO NO NO. so better join with ksa or yemen or china. they will be more than happy to embrace you.Recommend

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

    A.
    That is your interpretation of religion, and is no way a universal one.
    Religion’s basic flaw is in teaching people to be content with just “having faith” in things, and not demanding actual evidence.

    That spawns ignorance, and ignorance is from what evil stems.Recommend

  • http://www.hyderabbas.wordpress.com Hyder Abbas

    @Religion is Opium: No….you are wrong…this is not Islam…tell me a single reference from Qura’an and Sun’na that shows such a cruelty, maliciousness and brutality..!!..does Islam tell or allows to enter into a Girl’s Area with such shameless faces, to touch somenones mother or sister…were they Muhar’ram to all those women in there kya..!!!…don’t blame Islam and Sunna for what is done to satisfy ones own sick minded catharsis…i talk about those Educated Ignorant Talibanz…!!!!!Recommend

  • rehmat

    Interestingly the wonderful CJ who took notice of the woman carrying alcohl will not take notice of this. And if by any chance these people are prosecuted, then the ex-CJ of Lahore high court who saw it fit to defend Qadri will also defend these hooligans.Recommend

  • Shiraz

    I live in that area,nearby school, when I came to know about this incident and asked about it people living around, they were like ‘ oh its nothing, they just asked to close down the close for a day. it was happening all over the city due to protests’ I mean W-T-H??? Nobody bothers about it??? only a very few at social media trying to raise voice against this barbarianism? I am really disappointed and hurt!Recommend

  • Aftab Ismail Khan

    This is what happens to a society when it is neglected to rot. Pakistan since its creation in 1947 has been degenerating in the absence of sincere leadership, rule of law and accountability – education and human development of an ever growing population (one hundred and eighty million at the last count) has to begin soon or else no one within or without Pakistan will be safe from the ignorance of the ignorant. Recommend

  • Awais Khan

    The level of intolerance within our society has taken the face of violence. The values are disintegrating and radicals are attempting to take over.Recommend

  • Ibrahim Pataudi

    What is important to remember is that these people do not represent Islam. The second we concede that they do, we begin a discourse about religion being the problem here. It is not. Negligence, ignorance, illiteracy and the absence of the rule of law are the important factors which we must strive to improve if we want to move past such atrocious incidents as a nation.Recommend

  • S.Dholasania

    Agree 100%.Recommend

  • hassan

    @Hyder Abbas:
    “you say; “this is not Islam…tell me a single reference from Qura’an and Sun’na that shows such a cruelty, maliciousness and brutality..”

    I can show several, but, you will keep denying them with the following excuses;

    1.) These verses have been taken out of context.
    2) You should read the verses in the time and context it was mentioned and then only you will get the perspective.
    3) You have been reading the wrong translation. To understand the beauty, you should read the book in original, poetic Arabic. (This is the most popular defense in the Ummah.)
    4) The translated book you read is not authentic; it has been done by a western guy who was prejudiced against islam.
    5) The verses were directly given by God Almighty. We might not understand the logic and reason behind these verses; because Allah knows best.
    6) You have been reading the wrong websites which are there only for maligning islam, They have only lies.
    7) The verses you quote is wrong; there is no such verses in the book i have.
    8) Whatever you say is wrong, because islam is a religion of peace and islam says there is no compulsion in religion.
    9) If you say there are violent passages in Qu’ran, how come islam is the fastest growing religion in the world?Recommend

  • Noor

    @Yuri Kondratyuk:
    Man also is supposed to cover himself from navel to knees in such a way that even his body shape is not evident outside his garment, just as women’s body shape should not be evident outside her entire body structure.

    Moreover, just as men are not supposed to stare at women beyond a lust-free first glance, even women are not supposed to stare at men beyond a lust-free first glance.

    Islam is a great Natural code of life, the problem is nobody tries to study or understand its teachings, even most of the Muslims need to study & practice.Recommend

  • Saher

    a person who has rape in mind will rape a child… it has nothing at all to do with how a woman makes him do it! stop blaming women for the wrongs of men!
    if that was true then rural areas, from where most of the news item come of women being gang raped, would have been free of all these things, because as far as i know they dress up much more decently and are fully covered.
    rapes are not result of women exposure (Although i am not for it) but of mental sickness.. people with sick mentality can rape their own blood.
    So please stop this insane war of words of how Islam has liberated women by giving it Burqa or how it has put her in jail using it, because Islam never gave her a Burqa.

    black burqa.. weird how u can only wear white during hajj and can not let the cloth touch ur face.

    take the middle road people! 15 years back the situation was much better without rods and sticks, Mosques were safer and people did actually went to pray without fear of being shot just because they had a different way of connecting to Allah.
    Although my family belongs to the mainstream sect but still men of my family have made it a habit to pray at home. I hardly know anyone in the new locality i have moved in, because ppl feel that Quran Khuwanis are biddat, and probably milna milaana with people outside the home is also bidat.. :).. so although it has been 2 years, i don’t know who is my next door neighbour.
    previously ppl used to make religion an excuse to meet, khatams, milaad, bismillah, ameen
    (Though i am pretty much against the excess in those gatherings at times )… today they make religion an excuse to not meet. :).. namehram, hasna nai zour se, no reciting Quran for the dead, etc etc.

    i am just too saddened by the religious polarization i guess.. :(Recommend

  • Ali from Karachi

    Dont blame Islam or Jinnah for these maniacs, blame the maniacs!Recommend

  • Yuri Kondratyuk

    @hassan:
    you forgot;

    10) This is a false hadith inserted by Jews
    11) This is a Shia hadith not acceped by SunnisRecommend

  • iqbal akhund

    Reading your blog Ibrahim and the comments, there is hope still.Recommend

  • Cynical

    @hassan

    You nailed it.Recommend

  • ukmuslim

    @Hyder Abbas
    i am sure people like you, do daily tasks like cleaning house, brushing teeth early in the morning only after getting approval from koran. what do you do, when you are travelling in a car and there is a red light asking you to stop. do you try to find answer in the supreme book. i am sure you do.Recommend

  • Hassan

    Everyday from last few years this question keeps on creeping in my mind…Does Pakistan has a right to exist? I am a loyal person by my very nature. But I am not going to be a part of a society where maulvis and mullah have there way.
    I fear for my way of life and the way of life for my future generations. Islam has been thoroughly corrupted and trying to preach the correct, the peaceful version of islam is utterly useless in this day and age. Peaceful Islam is a source of comfort for naive people like me, who sit in an air conditioned room with presumably, a bright future ahead. For a person on street Mumtaz Qadri is Ghazi. This is the way it is going to remain unless i go out on the street and i am will to blow up my self up for my version of Islam.Recommend

  • Parvez

    This incident was a disgrace, you have spelt it out correctly.
    Those who call in anguish for God to to help – forget it. You have to help yourself.
    The involvement of the State and the armed forces who have arrogated the responsibility of defending the countries ideology to themselves, have to act if this is to be contained.
    Saudi Arabia and Iran have been using Pakistan as a field to sponsor their proxy wars to further their ideologies.
    Money from these countries is the lubricant that all know we Pakistanis will sell our souls for and as such this madness will not stop by wishing it away.
    Finally one sees a complete absence of will to do anything, so things will get worse our only hope is that this monster of religious extremism, due to the many contradictions harboured in it, will self destruct.Recommend

  • Vishnu

    Great article, Ibrahim, but I disagree with the lessons you have drawn from the episode.

    I completely agree with you that these people do NOT represent Islam and that Islam is not the problem. But you are equally wrong when you say that religion is not the problem here. They do not represent Islam, but they DO represent Wahabbi Islam, which I am sure no one would doubt, is a very very specific RELIGIOUS doctrine. So Wahhabism is the problem, and by extension religion is definitely the problem. By religion I’m not referring to Islam as a whole, but the spread of an extreme interpretation of Islam that is Wahabbism.

    Yes, ignorance, illiteracy and the absence of the rule of law definitely allow Wahabbism to spread much more rapidly, but the core of the problem is the fact that powerful wahhabi forces that wield huge power in pockets of Pakistan exist. Thus, for Pakistan to rid itself of islamic radicalism, it has to target the specific enemy that needs to be eliminated first; alluding to vague notions of improving economic and political development to prevent the spread of radicalism doesnt help, because better socio-economic-political indicators( like rule of law, education) obviously results in almost all serious social ills disappearing. What i mean is that a stronger rule of law, less public ignorance and illiteracy will definitely mean that religious fanaticism will fall, but so will murder, theft, starvation, hunger, disease, and any other social ill you can think of.

    The issue is whether radical forces are powerful enough to shape the understanding of a whole country’s majority religion and culture; and if they are powerful enough as it appears in Pakistan, whether their very existence prevents and precludes any meaningful improvement in the political culture and civil consciousness of the people.

    The crux of my point is this: I think you have got your order wrong when you say that Pakistan must try to improve the rule of law and education to get rid of radical forces committing dastardly acts. I think that the power centers of Wahhabism need to be eliminated FIRST; only after this can Pakistani society begin to improve the rule of law and rid itself of negligence, illiteracy, and ignorance. Recommend

  • Noor

    @khawar kazmi:

    And Why, pray, does that principle not apply to Men?
    Why exactly doesn’t the creator want men to dress up in bedsheets? They could also then be judged on the basis of their intelligence, wit and other sundry ‘inner’ qualities.
    In any case, this is a case of the chickens coming home to roost.
    I am a kashmiri and I distinctly remember the forible Hijaabization of our society by pakistani thugs in the early 90′s.
    Seems like the thugs have decided to focus their energies back home. Recommend

  • Amit

    The cult of violent extremism that is developing around religious dogma in Pakistan needs to be tackled urgently. Otherwise, we are looking at the rise of another fascist state where the citizens of the country will suffer most of the violence.Recommend

  • Huzaifa Akbar

    @Loneliberal PK:
    You say Islam does not demand proof, Islam consistently says to not accept arguments, even what is Holy, and that people need to seek the truth for themselves. If the Qura’an or any other scripture says something, then search for yourself if it is false or not. The Qura’an challenges everyone to find flaws and false, irregular or dubious statements in it, and none have so far found any. And I can testify and that all those who say have, have never opened the Holy Text even once and are simply parroting what others have said before them, for this parroting has been going on since the time of the dawn of time.

    If you liberals and atheists believe that Islam is flawed, then open the Book, pin point as many fallacies as you can, and then we’ll talk. Recommend

  • hassan

    @Huzaifa Akbar:
    you say; “If you liberals and atheists believe that Islam is flawed, then open the Book, pin point as many fallacies as you can, and then we’ll talk.”

    I want to pinpoint the fallacies…but…i don’t want repeat myself…

    Please read my post above in response @Hyder AbbasRecommend

  • http://www.hyderabbas.wordpress.com Hyder Abbas

    @ukmuslim: Don’t play with the words around. I hv asked a simple question, Does Islam allow any one to disrespect our women like this..?? Now u’ll find thousand excuses to answer this…coz you can’t even know the logic behind my comments, this is why we are being beaten in the clash of civilizations, as other blame Islam was imposed by swords and arrows…!!..today, we are proving them true..!!!Recommend

  • http://www.hyderabbas.wordpress.com Hyder Abbas

    @hassan: You are not good enough to judge others my bro…present your argumnts and prove your logic here…!!…I request the Admin to please don’t show any discrimination here…you did not splashed my thorough response to Mr hassan.!!!Recommend

  • Acha bacha

    @Huzaifa Akbar:
    hi bro, u said “Men are supposed to protect their gazes, and women are to be covered.”, but still male watch women as if they are watching there each part thoroughly. Here question arises “should women initiate danda charge against male as some so called “fundamentalist” initiated danda charge against women? your statement was pretty biased.Recommend

  • KolachiMom

    @Huzaifa Akbar:

    What I find fascinating is people such as yourself, who crawl out of the woodwork immediately to defend yourselves, and lecture people about religion, when they are guilty of nothing more than a comment/opinion on an online forum. Yet, there are thousands out there abusing your religion, using it as a front for violence and crime, and not a word against them? Does the cat get your tongue then? Why are you not “requesting” or insisting to THOSE people to gain more knowledge/exercise wisdom? Is this just a more convenient place for you all so you can later pat yourselves on the back, that you “defended” your religion? Recommend

  • rehmat

    @Huzaifa Akbar:
    “If you liberals and atheists believe that Islam is flawed, then open the Book, pin point as many fallacies as you can, and then we’ll talk.”

    Saying that something in Quran is very far. Even saying that the implementation of a man made law should be reviewed is enough to get one killed. Even Muslims who do not subscribe to the extreme Wahabi interpretation of Islam put our lives at risk – what to talk of non-Muslims.ALso just because I am not as extreme as you, that does not make me an atheist.

    This reminds me of a verse from an old Hindi ghazal.

    “Jab honth see chuke to zamane ne yeh kaha
    Yeh chup si kyon lagi hai, aji kucchh to boliye”Recommend

  • http://sahar-syed.blogspot.com/ sahar syed

    for some people Islams preaching and implementation starts and ends with a woman’s way of dressingRecommend

  • Ibrahim Pataudi

    Vishnu, thank you for your comment, but I disagree with you. Wahabi ideology is definitely a problem in Pakistan, but to single it out as the primary hindrance to progress is a little bit naive. To say that Wahabism needs to be eliminated before the rule of law and other important factors can be improved is more than naive, it is grossly misleading, and is a statement that smacks of misunderstanding of the dynamics of religious organizations in Pakistan.

    You seem to assert that the entire problem is a Wahabi influenced interpretation of Islam. This sounds like a very India-esque statement. I say this as Indians have traditionally misunderstood the complex nature of religious loyalties in Pakistan, and are subsequently quick to jump to general conclusions like Wahabism is the problem. The fact of the matter is that Wahabism is nothing new in Pakistan. It has been around a very long time, and is divided amongst itself. In Pakistan there are a number of different Wahabi schools, some of which are most certainly a danger to the state, and some which are not. What one risks by incorporating phrases like down with Wahabism (in general) is alienating a large group of people that were otherwise not a danger.

    My point, Vishnu, is this. Perhaps you do not know this about Pakistan, but if there is one thing that everyone has historically responded to and understood, it is danda (the rule of law). Be it the Wahabis, the MQM, the BLA (Bugti included) or just petty low level thugs, everyone thinks ten times before doing something when they know they will be dire consequences. Pakistan should not look to kill every would be criminal, as that would be downright stupid. Instead it should look to curb violence and militancy first and fore mostly by demonstrating that it, as a state, will bring quick and terrible justice to those who look to antagonize it. This must be the primary objective. Once this is achieved, or perhaps in tandem with this achievement, there must be a push to single out individuals who sponsor and propagate violence. Whether these people happen to be Wahabis, Hanafis, Hanbalis, Sha’fis, Shias, Sunnis, Balochis, Punjabis, Pasthuns or Sindhis is of no consequence. Pakistan must endorse a policy of targeting wrongdoers, not beliefs. Recommend

  • Huzaifa Akbar

    @Acha bacha:
    Sir the thing is, the ogling of men is possible an applicable to uncovered things, and when men dO not practise guarding of their gazes. Hence, the plausible way, irrespective of a religious feel, is to either cover oneself, or look down. Sir, let’s put religion aside, and when we look upon at it in a rational and non-extremist, ie non lathi method, only with mutual agreement, and not one sided, can this matter be resolved. One sided compromise, hijab or lowering gazes is a biased action, when both occur, it is mutual and successfully. Agree?Recommend

  • http://www.google.com Noman Shakil Qidwai

    Catastrophie this is wahat is called the real catastrophie in our nation, society, country or what so ever u call it,,,, all illiterates who are neither known to our religion, nor have the proper interpretation of what has been conveyed to muslims for reacting and treatments of Muslims. Even Non Muslims treatment is being explained in Quran, Sunnah and shariah. But these Bastered who are doing such acts without even having the capacity to understand religion are not only running our image in the world but are showing all muslims as butchers who are totally illmannered and un disciplined not even have any norms and values in society at all. Recommend

  • http://www.hyderabbas.wordpress.com Hyder Abbas

    @Noman Shakil Qidwai: Agreed my bro.!Recommend

  • hassan

    It is sad when educated, well-travelled muslims who have had opportunities to explore the world culture choose to continue to nurture old ideas and ignore the elephant in the room.

    Vishnu says the ills of modern-day Pakistans stem from the growing influence of Wahabism, but you say this wahabism has always been there in pakistan and so whatever happens now has to be treated as a law-and-order issue. By equating actions that seek to derive strength from a serious religious influence to ‘rule-of-law’ issue, by saying that these people will understand only the language of ‘danda‘, you are really paving the door for ‘police-raj’ and creating conditions for the return of the commandos at power.

    Maybe, the word ‘wahabism‘ is wrong, but, it is a fact that the number of people who say that ‘my version of Islam is the best and only my version makes me a True Muslim’ is growing in numbers. Since you say ‘wahabis’ have always been there in Pakistan doing no visible damage, I’d like to call these groups as ‘Religious Righters’, since they think that only version is right. They know that Qadri has done a major job for islam; they know that it is a sin to look at the faces of women; they know that girls should cover their faces so that men do not commit sin; they know that shias, ahmedis, and other sects are infidels; they know that the western countries – even those who give us aid – are rotten to the core etc etc etc.. We don’t know whether these Religious Righters belong to Taliban or whether they are a self-grown group. But it is a fact that such heterogeneous groups that are striving impose their supremacist world-view are growing in numbers and they feed on paranoia and thrive on conspiracy theories. And they have high-profile converts in their groups, as you can see from the TV shows and in print opinion pieces.

    It is these people who dominate the political discourse. These Religious Righters decide your foreign policy, your education policy (including the development of hatred-based course curriculum), your defence policy and your internal security policy. They are the ones who set yardsticks for patriotism and national interests. In short, the people whom you want to be handled using ‘rule-of-law’ are the ones who draft the very same laws.

    These Religious Righters power cannot be met using ‘danda’. You have dismantle their infrastructure, by choking their financial support and by monitoring madrassahs and by declaring that religious persecution will be made a crime.

    Masked men are barging in girls’ school; people are clamoring for Qadri’s pardon’; the judge who gave the verdict runs for his life; son of Tasseer gets kidnapped; minorities are getting massacred; common man has a problem distinguishing between right and wrong; religion is forced by someone or the other in our lives, more and more, whether we like it or not. And you call this a Rule of Law Issue ? Recommend

  • Ibrahim Pataudi

    Hasan, I never said ‘but you say this wahabism has always been there in pakistan and so whatever happens now has to be treated as a law-and-order issue’. This would be twisting my words. What I said is that while Wahabism is certainly a threat to the state, blanket phrases such as down with the wahabis run the risk of alienating/ radicalizing a whole host of people that would have otherwise not have been part of this equation. And, yes, I call this a rule of law issue. It is only because there is an absence of the rule of law that people feel bold enough to do things like this. Let me be clear. I am not defending Wahabism at all. What I am trying to bring to your attention is that the strengthening and growth/ spread of this fundamentalist mindset is directly because of the absence of the rule of law, good leadership, writ of the state, and other factors.

    As for your assertion that our policies are formulated by what you call ‘religious righters’, I suggest you take a deeper look at the functioning of Pakistani politics, the military and their interconnection. This might have been true in Zia’s era, but it far more complicated than that today. Yes, religious leaders and religious discourse have an impact on the political scene, but they do not control it.

    And again, I never said that wahabism was existent and was doing no visible damage. I said that it has been existent for a long time, and only recently has it been allowed so much wriggle room, directly because of the absence of rule of law. The absence of the rule of law leads to absence of faith in the system at the level of the average man. This leads to him reverting to whatever other network will have him, which often happens to be a wahabi madrassah.

    Perhaps you misunderstood the meaning of the word ‘danda’. Dismantling infrastructure and choking resources is not at all mutually exclusive from the concept of ‘danda’. Again, let me reiterate, pakistan needs to endorse a policy of targeting those individuals and groups that support and propagate religious inspired violence. This could range from pressuring the saudi government (and other arab countries) to clamp down on funding sent to pakistani wahabi groups, to banning and targeting organizations, to monitoring and moderating madrassah curriculum (and a whole host of other methods). The word ‘danda’ implies that the government actually starts addressing the problem, using force, tact, and whatever other measures it must employ to protect its interests.

    Let me reiterate once again, Pakistan’s primary problems are good governance, a lack of leadership and a lack of political consensus on any issue. Regardless of how big a problem Wahabism, or religious righters, or fundamentalism is, institutional inefficiency will always be bigger. Should institutions strengthen themselves, everything else will follow as a consequence. We must prioritize. Recommend

  • aisha sconmeyr

    After being in pakistan for over sixteen years, i must say its taken so long, for people to start taking and rising against the injustice that is firstly happening to islam,and then to the country,wish we had looked accoss the border when taliban were shooting women in stadiums in kabul and shutting schools one after the other,did we really belive it would not spill over? As i follow the news daily, i feel so sad thinking about all the women and girls that are married or children of the loonies that attacked the girls school,what must their daily lives be like,these men must hate there mothers,wifes and daughter,and yes having a daughter living here is really getting scary,but i still have not lost faith,i belive the youth is strong and will fight for pakistan,i cant belive so many people think the solution is to break up the country,that is just what they want,remember together we are strong,broken up we shall turn into nothing,and as a county we will have nothing,dont tell me, we can all just throw away the dreams of our grandparents,after all,we are a rich country and have so much to offer.I think the goverment needs cleaning up,the courts of pakistan should spend more time on real issues and not on a women they claim had 2 bottles of booze,i also think this countrys media has to unite to highlight real issues for cjp and goverment as they seem to only respond to scandals on air,anything to be on camera for a few minutes.Well done ibramhim.Recommend

  • Liberal

    @Huzaifa Akbar:
    “If you liberals and atheists believe that Islam is flawed, then open the Book, pin point as many fallacies as you can, and then we’ll talk.”

    In all honesty, you can (and will) only offer proof that everything written is true, because the book itself says it’s true. And because it says it’s true, then it must be true right? ;) Recommend

  • zalim singh

    @ Author,

    Islam is a peaceful religion that preaches respect for humanity as a principle.

    why is this statement being repeated everywhere? If this is the case, why is the situation so bad in Pakistan and all the Islamic countries?

    Western nations have majority of Athesists. Do they behave the same way? Its all in the religion. I am sure many readers will advice me to read the Pl wake up and correct yourself and reform your religion, beofre it becomes too late for that.Recommend

  • Nimo

    hmm… its means in coming years we’ll witness also here in Pakistan that how these talibans(besats) use to move Afghan’s street and cities.. :)Recommend

  • http://www.onlinebazaar.pk/ Pakistani dress collection

    the article is really nice it took me time to read but u have written all the facts thanks for sharing!!Recommend

  • Patriotic Pakistani?

    It is absolutely sad to see the direction Pakistan is headed in. I used to be proud to be a Pakistani, but honestly there is not much to be proud of anymore. Our nobel prize winner Abdus Salam had to leave this country because he belonged to a particular sect. We do not treat other scientists who spend their entire lives servicing our country well. I am in the U.S to get a degree in Chemical Engineering, and my plan was to come back to Pakistan to start my own company, but seeing how everything is going downhill, why should I? While India is miles ahead of us in technology and development, we live in fear of an attack from them everyday instead of trying to establish a good relationship with them. We should open up trade with India. It is shocking how this mob of 60 people beat girls just because they do not wear burka, yet these people are probably the most sexually frustrated people standing and staring at women who pass by. The sad thing is that it is not only these 60 people, it is probably 600, or 6000, or 6 million, or 60 million. Youth of the country believe in stupid conspiracy theories and are easily recruited by extremists. If we do not change now, it would be too late. Jinnah and Iqbal were great men who had a vision for Pakistan, but they would probably be assassinated if they were alive today because they drank alcohol, etc. Stop blaming the west for everything. The lack of morality is due to west? no it’s not. The people here in general are much nicer than people there. They do not stare at women. They do not care what religion or lack thereof do you believe in. You have the right to an opinion here. I am not saying everything is perfect, it’s far from perfect but much better than Pakistan.

    What Pakistan needs is a new way of thinking. We need a rEVOLUTION to get rid of these scum of the earth politicians. We need to hang these mullahs rather than giving them the right to influence youths. There should not be any state religion. Make this country a constitutional republic, or if not democracy is a more realistic goal.

    P.S: Pakistan, I want to come back to you, but I will not come back if I have to wake up with the fear of death everyday. Recommend

  • Hasan

    “I invite you to imagine what it must have felt like for a girl studying at the school present at the time of the attack; try and feel for yourself the pain, confusion and gripping fear that must have taken hold of the girls when a mob of angry men started beating them with rods for a fault which was not theirs. Ask yourself how you can live in a society where such an event does not prompt nation-wide uproar.”

    Rightly said
    And then
    I invite you to imagine what it must have felt like for innocent children whose school is being bombarded by US/NATO Forces every now and then in Tribal Provincces.
    Try and feel for yourself the pain,confusion and gripping fear that must have taken for the families of those girls who were bombed to death in Jaamia Hafsa.

    P.S
    I am not at all in support of Ghazi Brother’s action but yes I think whatever they demanded was correct but their wway of demand was totally wrong.
    When a nation can sleep peacefuly and calmly on almost daily Drone Attacks,Laal Masjid Incident,Sucide Bombings then this incident is not a big deal…Recommend

  • Sigh!

    @ Huzaifa Akbar,

    Castrating males is also a way of preventing rape … shall we go ahead with it? Instead of punishing the perpetrators, you adopt the view “she invited it”.

    Shameful thinking and women are equally responsible for their bigotry. If they could reform the sons they raise, and teach them to respect women, most people would get by without getting sexually excited every time a woman comes within a mile radius of them. “Men getting tempted” is just a social conditioning problem. You cannot condone a thief who steals your watch, because you wore a Rolex. Recommend

  • Mariam

    I just have one question for these very pious 60 men.How can you even touch these girls when you are not even allowed to look at them? Its a disgrace to our society that Islam is being used as a political tool.Also religion is personal.Why doesnt everyone get that in Pakistan? Before judging the person next to you.why not look at yourself? Recommend

  • http://www.connectture.com Suraiya

    Has any legal action been taken by the Schoo or by the parents of the girls? Its shameful that such things are happening and we are silent spectators?Recommend

  • Asma

    @Loneliberal PK:

    When a mad person screams “I AM NOT MAD”… do u believe him and set him free? Those against Islam can only prove it to be an extremist religion and an obnoxious philisophy by potrying it that way so those who scream out that they r beating women or committing suicide attacks because their religion say so are only putting bad name to the faith and if u r not smart enough to sort that out then i guess they are quiet seccessful in potraying and spreading what they aimed at!Recommend

  • dream for a better pakistan

    the article appeared on 10 Oct……………….today is 25………….has any action been taken?Recommend