They chose to ‘mourn’ a murderer by storming Parliament and destroying public property

Published: March 29, 2016

This is not about a man who committed the premeditated murder of a man he had sworn to protect. PHOTO: AFP

Riot police confronts protesters near the Metro station in Islamabad. PHOTO: AFP This is not about a man who committed the premeditated murder of a man he had sworn to protect.

The last megalomaniac, who stood outside parliament in an attempt to take down the government, showed he still has a shred of compassion for his countrymen when he gave up his campaign in the face of a horrible terrorist attack committed by a religion-inspired group of sadists.

On Sunday, hours after the same group of sadists murdered more of our brethren, like-minded people descended on Islamabad.

But unlike their politician predecessor, these people have shown they are not here for blood. Their charter of demands literally calls for killing people. And between the lines, it calls for purging innocent people who disagree with their desire to retreat to the good old days when lynching, slavery, child marriages and wife beating were still in vogue.

That they chose to ‘mourn’ a murderer, nay a traitor, by destroying public property when they could have mourned the innocents killed in Lahore speaks volumes for their motives.

This is not about a man who committed the premeditated murder of a man he had sworn to protect. This is about regime change. They want to dice up the already-tattered social fabric of this country.

Much as Ibn Saud signed a Faustian deal to take over the Hejaz and found his kingdom, these goons, followers of a corrupt clergy financed largely from the kingdom, want to impose their bloodthirsty interpretation of a religion.

Conversely, on Saturday, as part of an Easter ritual, the Pope washed the feet of refugees – Muslims, Hindus and Copts among them – many fleeing from Wahabbi/Salafi terrorism, and said,

“We are all children of the same God.”

To explain, the leader of the Catholic Church just stressed that whatever name one refers to a deity or deities by, is of less significance than our shared humanity. Religious leaders don’t do that.

Oh wait, the Dalai Lama, when asked about terrorist acts committed by Muslims, has repeatedly defended Islam as a whole and specifically cited the lack of separation between politics and religion, describing it as,

“… a situation which creates violence because emotion is involved.”

And the same is the case with most religious figures with sizeable followings.

Now listen to the language at D-Chowk and remember that some of these people are the heads of schools of thought for millions of people. Foul language, false accusations and outright slander (sometimes relating to the chastity of people’s female relatives).

To my understanding, a good Muslim should provide an example for others. If the people using such language think they are worthy of teaching anyone anything about being good Muslims, I shudder to think what their students will be saying and doing.

Incidentally, many of these men seem to have tremendous paunches, which would go against the teaching that gluttony is a sin, unless a disproportionate number of people with thyroid issues end up becoming mullahs.

As for the flimsy arguments presented amid the violence, I can only say that anyone who brings a gun to a war of words has lost the war.

If there is any strong evidence in your belief or argument, present it. Don’t accuse someone of blasphemy if they tear up your argument by presenting one with facts and don’t accuse them of incest. And if you can’t, stop to think why that is so. Why wouldn’t you have the words or the evidence to defend something you claim to believe so strongly in?

Could it be that your convictions are wrong? Could it be that your revered teacher is wrong? Could it be that your parents are wrong?

Yes, it could.

People ‘knew for a fact’ that the world was flat. They ‘knew’ that man could never fly and that nothing could be faster than a steam engine train. They ‘knew for a fact’ that women are not as smart or as tough as men.

Reason proved them wrong.

But then, the people on the streets do not believe in logical reasoning. They don’t care whether or not Salman Taseer or Asia bibi committed blasphemy or whether it was their accusers and executioners who should be tried for levelling false accusations.

All they want is power and as history shows, the rise of authoritarian rulers is based on nonsensical propaganda that hits at people’s fears. In this case, that in a country that is over 90 per cent Muslim, Islam is under threat.

So what is the solution?

Thomas Paine wrote in the Age of Reason that one good schoolmaster is of more use than a hundred priests. In the context of Pakistan, I would correct him. Keeping in mind that priests such as Maududi opposed Pakistan and the only education that most madrassas, including the ones run by politician-priests is jihadi ideology and no functional literacy, I would opine that one schoolmaster is worth a million priests.

We don’t need state funded Hajj and mosques when the heads of these religious groups travel in fleets of luxury vehicles purchased with tax exempt cash.

We need state-funded quality education. We don’t need every Pakistani to only rote-learn the Quran and little else by the time they reach adulthood. We need them to be fluent in math, sciences, and the arts, especially philosophy, which teaches one to think beyond literal interpretations and look for deeper meaning and understanding.

Daesh is already knocking at our doors. The men at D-Chowk are their ideological brothers. As Daesh would kill Yazidis, Christians and non-Salafi Muslims, they have freely expressed their desire to kill Ahmadis and anyone who would ‘hurt their feelings’. To give these people another inch would be akin to inviting in Daesh.

I strongly doubt that the booze-swigging, cigar-smoking, dog-loving, suit-wearing founder of this country wanted a constitution under which he would be ineligible to hold high office and under which many of his trusted party members would be ineligible to hold high political offices, or possibly be deprived of their right to life. But then, history was rewritten to suit a certain narrative and the result is visible on the streets of this country.

Secularism is not a war on religion. It means religious freedom – equality for citizens regardless of belief. Religious states, however, elevate certain citizens over all others. This also creates infighting within religions, because one school of thought will have more power than others, with terrorism and violence being the end results.

Don’t believe me?

Look at the only other country which claims a divine right to exist – Israel. Look at the lives of Muslims in the occupied territories, which these clergymen regularly rant about. Both are terrorised by right wingers who want to punish them for simply being born in a home with the wrong holy book.

One may argue that Palestinians are also the victims of state terror, but then, the Palestinians fight back. Imagine what Pakistani police would do to slum dwellers if they used rockets on them. By the way, in both, the liberal egalitarian minorities are demonised by the right wing simply for caring about the plight of the less fortunate, regardless of religion.

Fascists, utilising support from the illiterate and the literalists, will keep manipulating democratic tools to try and create an authoritarian state unless they are put in their place.

Make an example of the protesters. Lay out their options – back to their mosques, or off to jail cells or graves. Just make sure they cannot return to the political sphere.

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Vaqas Asghar

Vaqas Asghar

The author is a senior sub-editor on the Islamabad Desk and also reports on diplomatic events. He tweets as @vasghar (

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

  • Imran Supariwala

    Had Imran and Qadri’s gang been exemplary punishment for destruction and mayhem they caused last year outside parliament then all this wouldn’t have happened again today. Any party be it religious,political or extremist,if they resort to violent protest which results in destruction of public property and loss of lives then govt should deal with them sternly and no leniency should be shown so that it discourages other would be criminals who think they can destroy Pakistan and get away with it without being punished.Recommend

  • Imran Supariwala

    Train load of the thugs and terrorists were entering Islamabad from Karachi and other cities,even in flights too these thugs were quite obvious and detectable(those involved in attack on Junaid Jamshed were part of these criminal mob),they had already preplanned the mayhem and destruction that they planned to cause in Islamabad. Govt’s intelligence agencies failed to stop them. Last time Imran’s PTI and Tahir ul Qadri’s mob caused destruction and were allowed to go scot free without any punishment,this happens when criminals are not made to pay for their crimes then other criminals get motivated and confident that they can cause as much destruction as they like but no action would be taken against them and they would go scotfree.

    Ban these organisations which damage public assets and govt building which were built using tax payers money. Add their names to proscribed organisations list and actively hunt them down and make them and their leaders and workers pay for the damages and destruction they have caused.Recommend

  • vinsin

    Equality for citizens in Islam is achieved by making all non-Muslims to convert to Islam as in Saudi Arabia. Israel has close to 20% as Muslim population and they have both Syria and Jordan.

    Jinnah never used the word secular. Religious freedom is liberalism.Recommend

  • oats

    I agree with the author but he didn’t need to make an unfair reference to Israel. Any Arab will tell you than Palestinians under Israeli rule enjoy a higher standard of living including better health care, education and amenities compared to most Arab countries. Despite being occupied. Also when you see the scores of Arab refugees from Morocco, Algeria, Libya, Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Yemen smuggling and crying to get into Europe for asylum, there are no Palestinians among them. This government allowed PTI to hold the parliament and the country hostage for many months so now other groups will do the same. The answer is to stop any of these lawless protests outside parliament.Recommend

  • ZAK


  • Vegetable Man

    “Imagine what Pakistani police would do to slum dwellers if they
    used rockets on them.”

    Probably turn around and RUN!!! and definitely treat them with More Respect next time.. specially considering that they seem to pander to extremists and violent thugs more than they do to anyone else.
    Also, its extremely disingenuous comparing the suffering of the Palestinians to anything that is happening in Pakistan or even name dropping them in any article. You get a C- for making the comparison.Recommend

  • siesmann
  • Parvez

    Nicely said. As long as the thinking that these ‘ religious thugs ‘ are useful as ‘ strategic assets ‘ or for political patronage, this harm to the country will continue and it is the people who suffer and not our leaders nor the leaders of these thugs.Recommend

  • Hamza

    Not taking sides here…. but everyone and i mean everyone uses shameful language…it is now a trend among young ones to use the F word..but…Hay….its cute when you say it in English..right?………..Recommend

  • Hira Saeed

    Seriously? don’t you think abusing or calling someone with bad names in Islam is prohibited? and if these Mullahs do what is prohibited in Islam is also blasphemy?Recommend

  • Read Below

    Author sounds confused.

    Israel’s 20% population comprises of arab muslims. There are arab muslim parliament members, muslims also join their defense forces, and are productive members of their society.

    On the other hand, Gen Zia who created the menace of mullahfication is credited to brutally killing over 5,000 palestinians while they were living in their “refugee camps” in jordan. It is called “Black September.”

    There is a reason why palestine has never been pro-pakistan in the diplomatic circles.

    Pakistan’s history books are all based on lies and prejudice and very rarely reflect the truth, if at all.Recommend

  • siesmann
  • Hamza

    YES………..and it is also not limited to Mullahs and those with beards………the prohibition is for every one…………here we single out those people but remain perfectly perfectly fine when someone say words like WTF…etc etc………. if this is blasphemy then everyone one of us is blasphemous………….This is the usual manner of us Pakistanis when someone without the TITLE of Mullah (given by us mostly based on the beard) abuses someone the whole nation become so offended and starts speaking that it is against islam.. while when someone without beard ( but a MUSLIM) use foul language no one even bothers to shrug even a little to show his/her dislike…………………. WHY?………….. Abuse is prohibited whether it is given by a MULLAH or a desi LIBERAL………. both are equally wrong……………..Recommend

  • Sheraz Khalid

    You called Imran Khan “megalomaniac”. This word also well define Pakistani pseudo-liberal fascists.. Publish my comment ET if you have enough “respect” for ” freedom of expression”.Recommend

  • Solomon2

    “Look at the only other country which claims a divine right to exist – Israel. ”

    In addition to the Israel-related fallacies pointed out by other commenters here, there is a core misunderstanding Pakistani have about Israel’s nature: Israel is not a country founded upon the Jews’ religion. Israel is a country founded for the Jewish PEOPLE, and Judaism is their religion. That’s why there are no religious tests for immigration to Israel: rather, the requirement is that the person be of Jewish descent. It’s no more onerous a distinction than Germany’s law that German-speakers from the ex-Soviet Union are automatically eligible for citizenship, as most of them are the descendants of Germans who immigrated to Russia from the days of Catherine the Great.Recommend

  • Imran Khan

    Each person needs to fix himself for the nation to prosper. The riots may have been helped by the government agenices, the intelligence either failed or was helping the rioters. They failed to anticipate or in reality participated in these riots. The riotrs are all equipped with sticks issued by their evil masters.Recommend