Stories about religious intolerance

Why would India elect Yogi Adityanath as CM of Uttar Pradesh?

Is the expanding dominance of Narendra Modi on a national political landscape a reassuring sign for India as a nation? Can we, Indians, rest assured that the country is in the hands of an enlightened leadership who will strengthen the idea of India? The answer is a big no. Despite the electoral dominance of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Modi’s overarching presence in Indian politics today, the plural democracy has never looked as vulnerable in independent India as it looks today. How will one explain the anointment of Yogi Adityanath, a rabid sectarian figure, as the chief minister (CM) of Uttar ...

Read Full Post

The world will judge Islam by the way Muslims behave in the name of Islam

A year ago, the government took a bold decision by hanging Mumtaz Qadri, the murderer of late Salman Taseer. The funeral, despite the media’s lack of coverage, was attended by thousands of people, highlighting the appeal of a man who was nothing but a murderer. One year later, thousands of hardliners defied the rally ban to attend his first death anniversary. The sad reality is that for many, Qadri is a hero, and the significant percentage of those who disagree with his actions have an “empathetic” attitude towards him. I have heard people coming up with all kinds of justifications ...

Read Full Post

Why was this Christian boy beaten for drinking water from a mosque?

News and images of Pakistani Christians being beaten up or being wrongly prosecuted are not surprising for the Pakistani public, especially since Pakistan ranks number six on the Open Doors World Watch List for Christian prosecution. Verily, one cannot turn a blind eye to such violence when it takes place so often. With the growing intolerance rate in Pakistan, many members belonging to minority groups continue to pay the price for acts they don’t even know constitute as crimes. And, realistically, they aren’t. A couple of days ago, a Christian boy was shown to be brutally beaten up in a video ...

Read Full Post

The Noorani attack proves Pakistan will continue being religiously intolerant

A few days ago, a friend of mine (who is a renowned activist) jokingly made a comment on Facebook that no suicide bomber would ever consider detonating in Lasbela, Balochistan because it’s unbelievably hot there; no bomber is mad enough to kill himself in such scorching heat. Alas, he was proven wrong. On Saturday, a young suicide bomber targeted a Sufi shrine near Lasbela, killing around 60 people and injuring more than a 100. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack, and right now, I wish – as insensitive as that joke was – that my friend had been right. His words ...

Read Full Post

Remember this image, O’holy Muslim brethren?

Does anyone remember this image? It’s not that old. But I suppose it has been forgotten. Let me remind you. This image is less than three-years-old. This is March 2013, Lahore. Triumphant and probably feeling much closer to God, this man stands before a burning heap of what was once a Christian colony. In November, three years before that, a Christian woman named Asia Bibi was charged with accusations of blasphemy and she sits in jail to this date. In March 2015, two churches were attacked in Lahore and 14 people were killed. The same year, just a month or two later, a ...

Read Full Post

Sorry, Mr Jinnah, we had to ruin your beloved Pakistan

You wanted Pakistan to be a state where we would be free; free to go to our mosques, temples and churches, but today it is a country where many are free to bomb places of worship. You said there would be no difference between Hindus, Christians and Muslims, but today Pakistan’s Muslims are killing each other (as well as Hindus and Christians) because they cannot tolerate those whose beliefs are different from theirs. Your Pakistan would have been a model democracy, but 10 years after your death, a military dictator took over the reins of the country, and we hailed ...

Read Full Post

Dear Aamir Khan, if India was an intolerant nation, you wouldn’t be where you are

Aamir Khan, one of the biggest movie stars that India has ever seen, has made a controversial statement about his wife, Kiran Rao, contemplating leaving India because she is concerned about incidents of “growing intolerance” that India has witnessed off late. He is quoted to have said that as a mother, Ms Rao fears for the safety of her child and has expressed her concerns to her husband. I believe in free speech and as citizens of India, both of them are entitled to their opinions and have the right to voice their apprehensions. But like many of my fellow countrymen, I disagree ...

Read Full Post

Will Gilgit-Baltistan witness a peaceful Muharram this year?

As the Himalayan peaks witnessed their first snowfall, I was automatically reminded of my days in Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B). I turned towards the window overlooking the silhouette of mountains, and I wondered whether Gilgit will witness a peaceful Muharram this year. Gilgit, being the capital of the province, is home to a fair representation of all sects; Sunnis, Shias, Ismailis and Noor Bakhsis. During Muharram, streets are thronged with men, women and children making their way to various majalis and processions.  “We climb the mountains around Gilgit valley to illuminate the name of Imam Hussain (RA), drawn out with candles,” says a young ...

Read Full Post

To those polluting Twitter with #IamMumtazQadri: Stop

The Supreme Court of Pakistan, in a landmark decision, maintained the death sentence awarded to Mumtaz Qadri, the man who murdered Governor Punjab, Salman Taseer. The judgment today must have led to a sigh of relief from the family of Mr Salman Taseer. They will finally get the justice they have been battling for an arduous four years. This is a bold decision by the Supreme Court, which has upheld the institution of justice in the country. It clearly indicates that the country’s highest court has distanced itself from the likes of Maulvi Mushtaq. Justice might have knocked on the doors of the Taseer ...

Read Full Post

Is it compulsory to hate India, America and Israel, in order to love Pakistan?

A few days ago, I was sitting by the Indus River in Jamshoro, singing a patriotic song. Moments later, I noticed a fisherman who burst into laughter observing me. When I asked him why he was laughing, he said, “Saeen where is this Pakistan this song speaks of? Here, I don’t have the money to send my children to school or even shop for Eid. That aside, women are continuously killed in the name of honour, children are raped and such brutalities are recorded then sold. People are murdered because they belong to different sects or religions, be it Shias, Ahmadis, Christians etcetera. There’s no tolerance in this society. Hindus ...

Read Full Post