If you think Trump is racist, come to Pakistan

Published: November 23, 2016

One of the reasons Pakistan was founded was for the Muslims to show the Hindus of India how they were supposed to treat the minority communities. PHOTO: TWITTER.

A cursory glance at the treatment of our fellow countrymen would suffice to demonstrate the layers of discrimination that unfortunately exist in the land of the pure. PHOTO: TWITTER One of the reasons Pakistan was founded was for the Muslims to show the Hindus of India how they were supposed to treat the minority communities. PHOTO: TWITTER.

Muslims in the US and across the globe are condemning, in the strongest possible words, the US President-Elect Trump, for his anti-Islam rhetoric during the election campaign. And now that the British and American people have made the seemingly impossible possible, in the form of Brexit and Trump’s victory respectively, Muslims have every reason to be worried about a substantial increase in Islamophobia in the West.

But while the concern for our Muslim brethren living abroad is completely legitimate, let us introspect and have an objective, impartial discussion about Pakistan’s own covert affair with bigotry.

One of the reasons Pakistan was founded was for the Muslims to show the Hindus of India how they were supposed to treat the minority communities. In Pakistan, the Hindus, Christians, Sikhs and other marginalised groups would live side by side with the Muslims as equals. How we have failed in that pledge!

A cursory glance at the treatment of our fellow countrymen, who have beliefs different from us, would suffice to demonstrate the layers of discrimination that unfortunately exist in the land of the pure. What is more shocking is that this unconscious prejudice has provincial and sectarian dimensions to it as well, meaning that even Muslim Pakistanis are not immune from such intolerant tendencies.

Let us begin with the brand of racism that non-Muslims face in the Islamic Republic. If we see the status of Christians, we know very well that derogatory term used when referring to a Christian. They have been relegated to cleaning duties, working as sweepers in our homes, offices, and on the streets. Though our government has allotted a quota for the Christian community in educational institutions and for jobs, it has clearly not been enough. Just ask yourself, when was the last time you met a well-to-do Christian doctor, engineer or bureaucrat in Pakistan? The picture of the young boy, probably a university student, getting his celebratory picture taken at the scene of a mob attack, which was vandalised homes in Youhanabad, a Christian neighbourhood in Lahore, is indicative of the xenophobic mind-set some people have in our nation.

Now let’s talk about the Hindus. Jinnah went out of his way to have a constituent assembly that represented the diversity of the country. That is why Jogendra Nath Mandal, a Hindu who chose to stay in Pakistan, was elected as the first Chairman of the Assembly. It is saddening to note that, disillusioned by the theological course Pakistani politics was taking, Mandal decided to leave Pakistan and relocate to India.

The same practice was repeated in recent years, when scores of Sindhi Hindus, living in Pakistan for generations, left for India, because our state failed to protect them against the scourge of forced conversions. Muslims hardly ever interact with Hindus in Pakistan, let alone befriend them. As the majority, it was our collective responsibility to make them feel safe and secure. Instead, we maintained silence whenever such incidents occur, thereby validating our inner dislike for them.

As pointed out, even Muslims face prejudice in Pakistan, unless of course you are a Sunni – the Pakistani equivalents of Caucasians in America. Take, for example, the plight of the Shia community. On social media, in books, in educational institutions, and even in mosques, our Shia brethren are ridiculed, denounced as ‘kafirs’ and verbally abused. What right does anyone have to label another kafir? We lie, cheat, womanise and accept bribes, but the moment it comes to calling Shias or Ismailis kafirs, suddenly we ‘find our faith’ and transform into the most zealous devotees of Islam. Allah is the Creator of everything in this universe; surely we can entrust Him to determine better who is or isn’t a Muslim.

Having discussed our peoples’ racist attitudes from a religious context, let’s turn our attention to the provincial aspect of this intolerance. Ask the average Pakhtun, Sindhi, or Baloch what he thinks about Punjabis, and most likely you will receive an answer loaded with curses and utter loathing. Agreed, the Punjabi establishment – military, politicians and the bureaucracy – has wrongly maintained unchecked control over national resources at the expense of other provinces, but does that in turn justify such hatred against the entire population of Punjab? This is the very definition of racism.

A somewhat similar situation exists in relation to the status of Muhajirs in Sindh. Muhajirs have been treated with contempt and disdain by the indigenous Sindhis, who think the Muhajirs – who left everything to come to Pakistan – are destroying their culture.

All this, taken as whole, shows that rather than calling foul at the west for its discriminatory attitude towards Muslims, it is high time that we in Pakistan realise and stop our own bigoted failings, by treating our minorities equally, with the respect that they worthy of as our fellow Pakistanis.

Do you think Pakistanis are a racist people?

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Usman Ali Virk

Usman Ali Virk

The author hails from Lahore and is a lawyer by profession. He recently graduated with a Masters in Law from the University of California, Berkeley.

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

  • Critical

    Muslim Americans are afraid that Trump might treat them the same way Non Muslims are treated in Muslim countriesRecommend

  • Ahmar khan

    A case of the pot calling the kettle black. Pakistanis should examine their own behaviour towards minorities before declaring Americans racists.Recommend

  • Pure ind

    Well this sort of racism is bound to happen when the very basic education system in Pakistan is flawed. The very denial of hindu roots propagating open hatred thru books for hindus & christians forcing children of other faith to learn islamiyat as a subject having & using blasemhy laws to settle scores with minorities. Second citizen treatment by law for Ahrmadis. Need i say more. When children are brought up with such mindset no wonder they will grow up to be very insensitive towards others faith. Yes threre are issues in India as well but one cant deny that indians have been much successful & sensitive migrstors in the world they are flexible & sensitive towards other faithsRecommend

  • Asad Shairani

    I agree with your premise that we are racist. I disagree strongly with at least two points.

    One – The point that Muslims wanted to show Hindus how to treat minorities is plain wrong. Muslims ruled India for centuries before the British came in and so the idea of Pakistan was pretty “racist” (if you decide to call Islam a race) since they only decided on that once they realized they won’t be able to rule a majority anymore. That point is valid only if you meant it in a negative sense, as in how the Hindu majority in India is now following Pakistan in being xenophobic.

    The second point I disagree with vehemently is about Sindhis and Muhajirs. I am the descendant of Urdu speaking Muhajirs who came and settled in (initially) Larkana and then Karachi. Not one family member or elder has ever hinted that Sindhis discriminated against us or ridiculed Muhajirs whatsoever (till Bhutto’s time at least). In fact, Sindhis have been extremely gracious and loving to the Muhajirs – who, in my opinion, have a large part of the blame with them for not learning the ways of the land. Of course the matter is not that simple and things have complicated since then for various reasons, but your point is much exaggerated.Recommend

  • Ak

    There are indeed loads of issues in Pakistan like most other developing countries… but like most blogs in ET this too sounds more like a superficial rant rather than a thought through article.Recommend

  • Keyboard Soldier

    Pakistanis are scared that Trump will do to Muslims what Pakistani Muslims do to non-Muslims in Pakistan.Recommend

  • Pakistani_Jawan

    First of all. Let me tell you Mr. Writer. I had many Christian and Hindu Class Fellows even Ahmadies. But We were like one unit. in my whole life I never found any such example, you are sharing here. Stop Defaming Pakistan uselessly on NGO’s payroll. One more thing, my father was in Army and we had been living in many cities, we lived with hindus, christians, shias, hazara, baloch, pushtoons, kashmiris, etc but never found one single example as you stated on here. yes individual acts are there with foreign funded motives but you cant name Pakistan as a Sectarian State. I found Express Tribune as one of Anti State Media and always busy in defaming and insult Pakistan. You will never talk about Kashmir, Palestine, Syria, Afghanistan but you are all open to speak negative against Pakistan. Rather giving positive suggestions to eliminate such things you people always burn such issues. Negative Media and Yellow Journalism at its worst. Rest in Peace Pakistani Journalism..Recommend

  • Haider Khan

    It looks like the author does not know what racism actually means.

  • numbersnumbers

    Wow, and just what jobs are available to Christians and Ahmadis in Pakistan? Please stop supporting intolerance in Pakistan by pretending it doesn’t exist!Recommend

  • Khuram Iftikhar

    Dude, why are you confusing religious extremism with racism?Recommend

  • Miyagi Jr.

    A very accurate image of Pakistani mentality when it comes to minorities. All that hue and cry about poor Palestinians and Kashmiris suddenly looks completely fake and bogus when Pakistanis do exactly the same with their own minorities.Recommend

  • Sane

    Answers of all surveys is mainly responded by Indian trolls. The article is baseless and far away from the fact. There is no discrimination at general at mass level, except isolated incidents. 2ndly, there is no such discrimination at government level. What Trump is says is government of USA.

    So, before you conclude anything and jump on writing a motivated through some ‘agenda’ first have the facts. By writing such contents you may please Indian specially, who die to have some of such contents. Contrary to Pakistan, India is a hell for minorities. Why don’t you write about discrimination and en-mass killing of minorities in India, if you get ‘permission’.Recommend

  • Sane

    more than 100% correct.Recommend

  • ab

    You are absolutely wrong. The alarming high number of articles printing in the media has nothing to do with the reality. Isolated incidents do exist every where even in in the countries in Europe. How come every random person living in US,and started writing about the ordeal minorities feels 3000 km away.

    out of 20 people that work in my company 2 are Hindus. so it does exist in my office and my office lies in my country Pakistan. They got the job on merit and in the future also i will hire anyone who will justify their place in my company.Recommend

  • ab

    How come you know and how can you say that there is a flaw in education system in Pakistan living in India and never visiting Pakistan.? Your parents told you, or Mr Modi told you.Recommend

  • zubairw

    So now facts and figures quoted and no actual evidence given. Simply hearsay and rumors now make for good journalists Recommend

  • shahid jamal tubrazy

    author seems confused, could not differ with extremism and racism, there is no single event of racism ever occurred here. actual here is extremism but not racism.Recommend

  • Asfandyar Khan

    What Race Is Hindus?Recommend

  • SamSal

    It’s a BLOG – not a news item.
    People who write blogs are bloggers, not journalists!Recommend

  • SamSal

    So, you are saying your 1 company makes entire Pakistan?
    What world are you living in?Recommend

  • liberal-lubna-fromLahore

    pakistanis are not but the author seems to beRecommend

  • Ali

    Very honest & correct views by author, laudable. Most Pakistani are hypocrite who are actually engaged in discrimination but won’t publicly share it. I hope to see similar good piece of work. Best wishes & thanksRecommend

  • Guest

    Racism is an inherent character.Pakistanis are no better or worse than any other country.Individuals are to blame.In Sindh Hindus live side by side with Muslims and so do Christians.I am a proud product of a Convent School and still proud of our Nuns.Sikhs are loved in KPK.Observations if Virk may reflect a Punjabi mindset and living there should try to correct their own perceptions and practices Recommend

  • numbersnumbers

    And why do Pakistanis agonize over alleged slights to Muslims 3000 miles away in America, but turn a blind eye to discrimination against religious minorities in Pakistan? BTW, could Christians, Jews, or Ahmadis be hired at your company and rise to the executive level, or would they be restricted to cleaning toilets?Recommend

  • numbersnumbers

    And how can you know about discrimination against Muslims in the WEST if you have never visited? Did Hafiz Saeed tell you?Recommend

  • Hira

    Your response is better put then this article…nice Recommend

  • Sami
  • Kashif Sardar

    At a large extent what the author mentioned exist in Pakistan in fact i support author by quoting an example of “Amir, Asif and Salman Butt” with comparison to “Danish Keneria”Recommend

  • Patwari

    Actually, you don’t know what racism is.
    The blogger described it in clear cut terms with numerous
    examples….but that is understandable, …….
    you being a Land of the Pure denizen.Recommend

  • Patwari

    Exactly!! Exactly!!Recommend

  • Patwari

    What ab has stated is the truth. True. But then truth always hurt.
    Specially by people who are unable to grasp simple concepts beyond their stunted minds.Recommend

  • Patwari

    He knows thru CNN, BBC, NBC, Fox News, ITM,
    Deuschwells, France One, etc. etc. etc. also through
    Times of India, The Hindu, Khaleeg Times, Straits Times,
    Now, do you understand how he knows??Recommend

  • Patwari

    Elephant-pucky. Bullheaded stuck in a ditch people will
    understand logic. It’s people like you who have given
    the Land of the Pure a sickening reputation worldwide.Recommend

  • AN

    I guess killing of Shias & Ahmedis is a not a solid proof!! Stop living In lala land and face the facts. The blogger has stated correct info. Thank you. Recommend

  • Jaleel

    Why there is no mention of ahmadies.Recommend

  • LL

    It’s easy to turn your head to facts when you don’t fall into the group under discussion. Recommend

  • numbersnumbers

    So tell us how Ahmadis are treated in the land of the pure!Recommend

  • ab

    ok great good. keep understanding what you like terrorism, power crises is the number 15 ,16 problems Pakistan . The first 14 problems are the discrimination against religious minorities on Express tribune and by you people. isn’t it ridiculous?Recommend

  • ab

    You people seems to not forget Hafiz Saeed sahab. Did he done something to you.Recommend

  • Pure Ind

    I am a grown up educated male I dont need parents & Modi to tell me any more, thats what I meant by quality education & reading independent stuff, I know truth hurts, now dont deny that Pakistanis are also supposed to sign documents that Ahemadis are non muslims while applying for Passports, this doesnt happen in India…Recommend

  • Pure Ind

    Just answer me one thing what is the present population of Hindus in Pakistan as compared to 1947?? from 14% has come down to less than 2%. The problem is it really pricks you guys when a singe muslim is harmed anywhere in the world may be except China, but this very sensitivity is not shown to minorities in your country. Why the difference in the treatment between Asif, Salman Butt, Amir & Danesh Kaneria, the reason is simple, think about it. Admit it acknowledge it the condition of Muslims in India is way way better than the condition of Hindus in Pakistan.Recommend

  • Pure Ind

    Asad first of all lets get this thing correct Muslims or mughuls never ruled the whole of India may the the northern Part, may be you havent heard or read about Shivaji, Bajirao, Peshwas, Rajputs etc. What the author said is absolutely correct that Jinnah wanted to show the Hindu majority India how to treat minorities respectfully, thats the reason the first law minister in Pakitan was a Hindu that too from the backward caste, but unfortunately he absconded Pakistan & settled back to India,that the beginning of the end for minorities in Pakistan, advise you to please read independent articles as well.Recommend

  • numbersnumbers

    So then you agree that “Pure Ind” ALSO knows all about Pakistan through ET, Dawn, CNN, BBC, FOX, NBC, ITM, etc etc, regardless of “ab”s claim that “Pure Ind” never visited Pakistan!Recommend

  • numbersnumbers

    Once again, could Christians, Jews, or Ahmadis be hired at your company and rise to the executive level, or would they be restricted to cleaning toilets?Recommend

  • Dr Mubeen Malik

    There is a great difference in the narrative by the author & the ground realities. This is the beat of the drum by those inwardly defying the mere existence of Pakistan on the map of the world. In my personal opinion & experience to-date, Pakistanis are a very humble nation & are open minded in general. I have seen no such event in my life which can be accredited to the racism, in Pakistan.Recommend

  • Patwari

    But of course!! You don’t have to visit a country to know about it!! You can do research.
    Just as we all know about the reign of terror in I O Kashmir,
    Laddakh, Kerala, and Arunachal Pradesh in Hindustan.
    My comment should have been… ‘what Pure Ind has stated’.
    The goofies at ET edited it.Recommend

  • inam
  • Sane

    Better you tell as what discrimination Ahmadis face? They are allowed to build their worship place, but cannot call it a Masjid. And they have to declare that they are not Muslims, as they are not. Otherwise, they freely mingle with other people including Muslims and enjoy all privileges like other citizens of Pakistan. They are not mob attacked or killed due to difference in religious belief. Please do not mention isolated incidents of violence against them. This phenomenon of religious based isolated crime is against all like Sunni, Brelvi, Shia etc. etc. and this exits in every part of the world. Can you tell any incident where Ahmadis were killed and their properties were burnt sponsored by federal or provincial govt. in Pakistan. If you talk about India, to which you look to have lot of praises; there Muslims were killed and their properties were gutted by state sponsored terrorists in a well planned manner.Recommend

  • hore choopo

    Pakistanis are racist to some extent.Biradri system is one aspect.They are also sectarian in their religious values.Overall they are less racist compared to caucasians.Recommend

  • vinsin

    Then why minorities population has increased in India? What happened to Hindus from 22% to 1%?Recommend

  • vinsin

    What was Bangladesh genocide? What was killing during partition? Then how come Muslim population increased in India? Why Indian Muslims dont move to Pakistan, a country created by them?

    There is nothing called state sponsored terrorism.
    Do Hindus and Sikhs still own properties in Mall Road, Lahore?Recommend

  • vinsin

    Muslims never ruled India may be northern India. British fought Marathas and Sikhs mainly not Muslims.

    So what do you want another partition of India? Why India cannot follow Pakistan? So rejecting demand of another partition is being xenophobic.Recommend

  • Fair Reforms

    Muslims following a brutally racist and xenophobic ideology calling Trump a racist is the biggest irony of the century. Unlike Obama he does not call a religion that propagate hatred and jihad against other faiths as a ‘religion of peace’. He is simply more honest and calls a spade a spade. If he were a racist he would not have happily accepted a jew as his son in law. He has no issues against any harmless religions or faiths as long as it do not promote murder. He loves Buddhists, Jains, Parsis, Hindus, Sikhs or any other peace loving ideology.Recommend