Don’t let mullahs take over Pakistan

Published: December 28, 2011

While the mullahs in Lahore were waging jihad (at least through their hateful speeches) many progressive Pakistani and Indians were praying for peace. PHOTO: REUTERS

I had goosebumps reading the recent news that several criminals gathered in Lahore under the banner of the Jamaatud Dawa (JuD) and aligned themselves with the Pakistan Army. Was it a conspiracy to malign the army, I wondered. Who could be behind this?

You see, I have no sympathy for characters like Hafiz Saeed who have eroded Pakistani society and have pushed it in a state of profound crisis. Our health, livelihood, the quality of our environment, our social relationships, our ideology, economy, and politics have all been affected. It is a crisis of intellectual, moral, and spiritual dimensions; a crisis of a scale and urgency unprecedented in the 65 years Pakistan has existed.

I called a progressive friend (a leading journalist) to share my concern and at least rhetorically, he had gone back several years – suggesting we need a rag-tag army of people like Hafiz Saeed to counter threats from India. My friend had a fit when I suggested that India is not a threat.

Undoubtedly, India has the potential to become a regional hegemony and Pakistan must protect it’s sovereignty, independence and dignity. But these wayward mullahs who have managed to drown the voices of reason and rationality are rapidly destroying our country. With petrodollars supporting tribal and Wahabi influence, Pakistan’s social structures and behaviour patterns have become so rigid that this country can no longer adapt to changing situations.

But I am lucky to have many other friends who are willing to give peace a fighting chance. While the mullahs in Lahore were waging jihad (at least through their hateful speeches) many progressive Pakistani and Indians were praying for peace. A prominent Pakistani activist Beena Sarwar wrote on her Facebook wall:

There were a dozen people over at our place for nihari this afternoon, watching football (!!). We turned off the TV at half-time and sat in silence together to Pray for Peace Between India & Pakistan.

Here is my response to the Facebook posting mentioned above:

Beena Sarwar my friends know that I am not a “praying type” so I didn’t pause between Jets and Eagles game today to pray  Had I taken a moment of silence I would have said the same lines that many of my tribe have been saying for centuries: “Dear God, I have come to the conclusion you probably don’t exist, but I’ve also come to the conclusion that any one view I hold may turn out to be mistaken, however unlikely the odds seem. So if you are there, if I am wrong will you please slap some sense into my people in India and Pakistan. Would you please explain to them that what divides them is so tiny compared to what unites them. Please give my friends on both side of the borders, courage to find the similarities instead of accentuating differences. Please give them the strength to negate the narratives of division crafted by those with hegemonic intentions. Please give them the intellectual integrity so they can recognize the good in each other. Please God – if you really have all the power that everyone assigns to you, will you please let South Asia unite in my life time. I don’t ask for much God- let my people travel and trade freely. Learn and entertain openly. Work and innovate collaboratively. Please God, if you are there….

I am glad to have people like Beena – but unfortunately she is an exception and not a rule. I am concerned about Pakistan’s outlook because there is an eerie uniformity of opinion. Even those who are tolerant, progressive and democratic are willing to condone mullahs. Whereas growing civilisations display endless variety and versatility, those in the process of disintegration show uniformity and lack of inventiveness.

Unless Pakistan’s progressive and democratic forces are willing to take on the retrogressive elements, we will concede our right to opinion, education, and a way of life that is unacceptable to the mullahs.

Fundamentalists will prohibit freedom of expression and use all coercive apparatus to crush opposition. Education will be discouraged, and whatever little is allowed, will be subverted by distortion of curricula. You can argue what is new – it has always been the case. It is the intensity that will change. We are not talking about tribal areas. This monster is already in cosmopolitan cities like Karachi and Lahore.

I want to simply point out that religious conviction and religious doctrine have contradictory effects. Some people are motivated by their religious beliefs to challenge oppressive social systems and oppressive relations in the world. At the same time, organised religion and much of religious doctrine is used to reinforce the oppression of the masses of people, to preach submission before the established authorities and their oppressive rule. In Pakistan, rulers have used religion to oppress masses – and we must not empower these mullahs to oppress us any further. As Lenin said, every reactionary order is in need of two functions, the hangman and the priest, and they go hand in hand and complement each other.

So unless you are ready to lock up your sisters and daughters and throw away reason and rationality, you must fight back. Without an iota of doubt these monsters will destroy Pakistan to the point where you will not be able to recognise this country. It is not enough that Jamaat-e-Islami does not win votes – their ideology has hijacked our entire parliament, perhaps even our entire nation. Unless you clean up your offices, your neighbourhoods, and your educational institutions from tyrannical views, Pakistan will not survive.

Stay on high alert! Don’t let proponents of the past take over your beautiful cities like Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad.

Ibrahim Sajid Malick

Ibrahim Sajid Malick

A Pakistani-American writer, technologist, and social entrepreneur. Malick graduated from New School for Social Research with a masters degree in anthropology. He holds several technology and management certifications.

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

  • Lt Col Imtiaz Alam (retd)

    @G. Din: My , My, how riled up you both are. It is just a discussion. Chill out.Happy New Year.Recommend

  • Prabhjyot Singh Madan

    @Ayesha:

    My dear friend,
    I am happy emotionally, spiritually and financially. I respect your views. We have lot of Indian Muslims here. I know about Islam . I am happy. Relax dear. Bless you . Sat Sri akal. Take care . Bless everyone, one humanity. CheerioRecommend

  • Prabhjyot Singh Madan

    @Saad Raees:

    Thanks buddy, I am a young Punjabi living in Calcutta. Our relationship with our border countries are not bad. We, calcuttans love the bangldeshis coming here. Our border enclave issues are being settled. Anyways, Bangladeshis like me because I am Indian too. Talking from exprience. My moms family was from pindi…rawalpindi oops. Dads side from gujranwala. I know from the set of peoples I meet, they are more concerned about food and land. I respect everybody. I got a education here in India like that. We are all rabs creation, why argue. I even respect ayesha’s view even if I disagree with her. Humanity first praji.sat Sri akal, salam, namaste, peace whatever. CheerioRecommend

  • Vikram

    @Ayesha:
    What is true Islam? What country follows true Islam? Do you follow true Islam? Do you know wnay one who follows true Islam? How many Muslims take Western medicine or wear western style clothes or drive western style cars? Do you use Islamic transportation (camel)?. Do Muslim read non-Islamic books in schools, like books on Physics, Chemistry, Astronomy ? Do Muslim doctors read Koran only or they read Western style medicine books.Recommend

  • Vikram

    @samia:
    Other politicians could have cleaned the mess. You can’t blame what is happening today on what happend 40 years ago. Pakistan is run by army and ISI. ISI and army can flourish under war or terrorism situations. Mullahs, army generals and politicians make millions of dollars in the name of freedom for Kashmir and war on terrorism. Recommend

  • imran

    who told you that Hafiz saeed is against india and arises hatred towards india. i want to ask you did you through so called biased Media or its your personal hatred.Recommend

  • Cynical

    ‘Don’t let mullahs take over…..’

    The taking over is complete, almost.Recommend

  • http://- Abid Khan

    @Cynical

    ‘Don’t let mullahs take over…..’

    The taking over is complete, almost.

    When Liaqat Ali Khan was murdered, the nation lost the script.Recommend

  • Naveed

    I am glad to read most of the comments of general Pakistani public here……..outright majority is against the retiree army officers who bred and brought up the Talibans and have destroyed the basic fabric of our society, yet these retirees are still so steadfast and think that their rigid agenda has been correct all along. majority of the comments and their respective approval in terms of “likes” should be an eye opener for those retiree mullahs. if they think that Pakistan is for Islamists and liberals should go somewhere else, maybe its time they should move somewhere else or accept majority verdict.Recommend

  • intelektual

    OMG the very thing this article aimed to eliminate has started over it by the people obsessed with past ! and as the writer says rigid uniform minds fail to accept the similarities yet successfully form difference of opinions into a huge matter of National & religious integrity.
    Just cuz an indian said dont be over obsessed with india and focus to the clear and present danger lingering on intellectual law and order fronts, the whole argument became about negating the indians.

    @Lt Col Imtiaz Alam (retd):
    1946 was a very horrid picture but it was not Pakistan Vs India because Pakistan did not even exist; it was the struggle for Pakistan not now decades ago and I am surprised how do you remember it so vividly being an infant.
    Another fact Pakistan has attacked India four times, India has never been the aggressor in any of the wars fought between the two nations. You from the army background must be aware of the facts rather then the army funds securing mass lies we have been fed.
    Stop creating divides based on religion because hindus and Christians living here are pakistani too.Recommend

  • Wonderer

    @Lt Col Imtiaz Alam (retd)

    I am a retired officer of the Indian army. I was 11 years old when I had to leave my home in Rawalpindi and escape to India, in 1947, to save my life. I have seen with my own eyes what was happening in Pakistan at that time. I also saw in East Pakistan what your army had done there before we reached Dhaka to take the surrender. I do not even wish to relate what I saw. But I can not be fooled as I know the truth.

    You would be doing a disfavor to your country if you wish to build your future based on your interpretation of events at those times. Hatred and the resultant savagery will give you nothing but destruction. People like Hafiz Saeed can mot be your saviors. You must learn from your history and what is happening in Pakistan at present; for your own sake. I wish you all the best.Recommend

  • Lt Col Imtiaz Alam (retd)

    @Wonderer: I like to point out at the outset that those who use Pseudos are afraid to face the truth. They hide behind a facade of lies. You could’nt be more wrong because what you saw in BD was a manifestation of the Indian Govt who had infiltrated agents to do the dirty work & blame it on the Pakistan Army to create hatred between the Muslims of Bengal & the Pakistan Army or for that matter the then Govt of Pakistan. You also did your dirty job by helping the Tamil Tigers which is again recorded History. See the recent TV talk Show on Geo on U Tube between Mr Shashi Tharoor & Mushaid Hussain on 5th Jan 2012.
    You were certainly fooled because that was what was fed to you by your Govt. Now for the truth, You will be sad to know that I belonged to the former E.Pakistan & My friends and family are eye witness to the massacre carried out by Indian Agents.
    Allah is our Savior and by his grace he will be always at our side. If you want to be friends then you must stop the genocide in Kashmir. As a soldier you must know the purpose of Seven lacs Soldiers in Indian Held Kashmir. Why keep such a huge Force there.This core problem must be solved first.Recommend

  • Wonderer

    @Lt Col Imtiaz Alam (retd)

    You are welcome to say whatever you wish. But you can not fool me.Recommend

  • Wonderer

    @Lt Col Imtiaz Alam (retd)

    You are welcome to say what you wish. But you can not fool me.Recommend

  • Lt Col Imtiaz Alam (retd)

    @Wonderer: It is very difficult to swallow the truth, Mr. Faceless.Try to set your house in order. Lots of Insurgencies are taking place in India which the average Indian is not aware of. You have marginalized the Low Caste Hindus for too long. Watch out he is going to suddenly explode if not given his rights. Recommend

  • Wonderer

    @Lt Col Imtiaz Alam (retd)

    No change.

    You are welcome to say what you wish. But you can not fool me.Recommend

  • Vikram

    @Lt Col Imtiaz Alam (retd): Saya “I was then an Infant & stuck in Calcutta because of the Riots. The Muslims were being massacred across undivided India and the Rape, butchery, kidnapping the looting & destruction was unabated. Thousands lost their near& dear ones, suffered the humiliation of their young daughters being raped and kidnapped. It was in a dismal state that they crossed into Pakistan in tattered clothes shed off their last visage of respect.”

    Lt Col was an infant and still remembers all this. This just shows what kind of person this Lt Col is. I have heard stories from Indians who came from Pakistan. More of less they tell the same stories which make me conclude same thing happened on both saides. I bet there were good people on both sides who tried to help people who were in danger. I remember one story where Indians claim that after Pakistan sent a “gift” of train full of slaughtered people, Indians did the same. I guess Pakistanis have a similar story blaming Indians for starting killing first.

    Every one knows Pakistan played a Kargil when Shareef was president of Pakistan. Pakistan even did not claim dead bodies ot all of its soldiers from India. Pakistan played Kargil in 1947 also by attacking Kashmir which has opted to stay idepedent. Pakistan is playing Kargil with American and NATO forces by provoding help and men to plant road side bombs that kill Americans and NATO troops.Recommend

  • Vikram

    @fatimah Tahir:
    You don’t want your sisters in Saudi arab or Iran to enjoy the same freedom you want for Pakistani women.Recommend

  • Shahzeb

    mullahs are better than zardari, nawaz, and the rest of those thieves.Recommend

  • Lt Col Imtiaz Alam (retd)

    l@Vikram: You are all mixed up young man. Get your facts straight.You should know that Mr.Shareef was never the President of Pakistan. It is useless commenting any further.You need to improve your English. Recommend

  • Vikram

    @Farhan javed: Says”I am so glad to see a pure Man”. You mean pure like a taiban or like an average Pakistani from Land of Pure.Recommend

  • Humanity

    @Lt Col Imtiaz Alam (retd):

    Just curious to know your thoughts about whether or not a state (as in Islamic Republic of Pakistan) has the jurisdiction to judge a person’s faith, when the Holy Quran categorically establishes Allah as the Master of the day of judgment, in its opening chapter called Surah Fatihah, which the Muslims recite in each rakat of every prayer.

    Please enlighten us!Recommend

  • Mast Maula

    @Lt Col Imtiaz Alam (retd): Islam takes care of it’s minorities ? Can you explain why we kill ahmadis ? Why we hate mohajirs ? Why did we hate our eastern brothers so much that they broke away from us ? Why do Shia and Sunni kill each other ? Dude you are just flooding this blogs with your constant non sense. My ancestors are from Calcutta and they moved to Karachi during partition and I have always listened the horror stories of partition from my parents and grand parents. I know what your next comment will be but let me still set your record straight. Calcutta riot was started by thugs and looters who were incidentally muslims as a response to Jinnah’s direct action. Please check any neutral statistics and you will see the majority killed and rape during then were hindus. It was for this reason Indians did not wanted Gandhi to give any money to newly formed Pakistan and Gandhi had to pay with his life when he agreed to fund the newly formed Pakistan. So Mr fake Lt Col, Islam preaches you to speak truth and not spread lies. First follow what you preach. You are insulting my pious Islam by calling yourself muslim. Recommend

  • Wonderer

    @Lt Col Imtiaz Alam (retd):

    I am eagerly waiting for your replies to the above comments by Mast Maula and Humanity.

    Do you still think you can fool all people all the time?Recommend

  • Jannat

    @Pallavi:
    You are very wrong. Indian people talk about Pakistan too. Everyone in this world talks about something. and India talks about Pakistan, trying to destroy Pakistan but guess wat? That will never happen… and sure people will think of you crazy if u ever sya no one talks about Pakistan in India. LOL!!!!!Recommend

  • Aryan

    @fatimah Tahir:
    Please help @Ayesha to move from Pakistan to KSA.Recommend

  • Syed

    Ah, yet an other weeping article, complains, complains and complains. Where is the solution? Or may I ask where is the problem in this?

    @Lt Col Imtiaz Alam (retd): You kept your stance well so far. Adding further, I think Pakistan may need to re-define enemies. Pakistan claim it’s existence based on religious ideology, yet I don’t see any religion on street. As an instance, search Salman Ahmad (Junoon) on you tube ridiculing Islam. You will find such characters in abundance through out Pakistan. They are idolized and followed all over. Don’t take me wrong, I do see India as an enemy, but I don’t blame India. They are doing what is best in their interest. I see India is taking concrete steps in that regards, blocking water is one example. Why I don’t see Pakistan doing something similar. Why only words? What is Pakistan waiting for? And who is asking Pakistan to wait? Why 63 years of genocide in Kashmir is considered worth waiting? If Pakistan don’t take matters in hand who would?

    Again, I don’t blame India, as an enemy there actions are expected. I believe Pakistan’s enemy are the Pakistan’s real intentions, expectations and self believe. All others are by product. Recommend

  • Vikram

    @Humanity: What happened to the doctor who discarded a business card of a man named Muhhamad?

    freethinker.co.uk/2010/12/14/blasphemy-and-a-business-card/Recommend

  • Syed

    I just check writer’s profile and article. Based on all his article posted, I don’t see him as a well wisher to Pakistan.Recommend

  • Tahir

    @Lt Col Imtiaz Alam (retd):
    I can’t absorb that you are from Pak Army.Recommend

  • sarita talwai

    Most Indians do not think about Pakistan because they are busy trying to solve immediate problems of food, clothing,shelter,jobs,children,health,old parents,pollution,scarcity of water,corrupt officials etc.We all can pontificate in our plush houses on a full stomach.The poor on both sides do not have that kind of luxury.Satisfy their basic needs and allow them to lead their life with dignity.Peace without cannot be attained unless there is peace within.Recommend

  • Syed

    @ sarita talwai: Indian people may not think of Pakistan, but Indian Govt does.Recommend

  • Nasrullah Khan

    the fact is that peace between Pakistan and India will never be possible, nor they will fight on ground, there are solid reasons for this, like, if there is peace between Pakistan and India, than why both will buy weapons from US, France, Israel etc, so why they would allow us to solve issues, so fighting India and Pakistan are in best interest of west, because both are bread and butter for their weapon industry, secondly if there is peace between India and Pakistan, than why we both would need strong armies, no need if peace, so why our powerful military will allow politicians to go on tables, because if peace and no burning than no need of big armies, mean no funds etc, etc, so burning issue of India and Pakistan are most important to survival of Pak army and Indian Army, thirdly if there is peace between two countries than why we both would need USA for support, than why we both give us offer after offer for supporting our cause, if peace than Pakistan do not need US for supporting over Kashmir, same way India will never require USA to support for same Kashmir,, than Pakistan can say no do more to USA if Pakistan have friends around it, same way India, so why USA will want us to get peace, because no one want to be less important, USA is important for Pakistan because of India and for India it is important because of Pakistan, so even they will never allow us to fight and will keep us alive to keep control over both, if there is peace among Pakistan and India, it means we will not spend billions of dollars over defense and our public will be prosperous, and if Indian and Pakistani will be prosperous than who will clean west houses, who work at their patrol pumps, who will wash their dogs, who will clean their cars, no one, so why they will not create problems between Pakistan and India for keep heavy armies with west weapons, so Instead of blaming each other we should try to find the actual enemies of both of us, just think peace between Pakistan and India will favor to poor public of both and who will get the loss of this peace, only west, by shutting down weapons Industry, cheap labor, importance in region etc etc, Recommend

  • Wonderer

    @Nasrullah Khan

    Why don’t you take over as Foreign Minister or Defense Minister of Pakistan?

    @Lt Col Imtiaz Alam (retd):

    You seem to be very good at withdrawal operation.

    I am still waiting for your replies to the comments by Mast Maula and Humanity.

    Do you still think you can fool all people all the time?Recommend