Stories about intolerance

Gojra slaughter: Keeping the faith

While the reopening of the Bhutto case has the courts frothing and fulminating and the newspaper headlines screaming, perhaps one should give thought to another case, in which, little progress has been made in bringing justice. I speak of the Gojra case of 2009, in which hundreds of people were initially charged with murder and violence in a Christian neighbourhood in the town situated in Toba Tek Singh district. Eight Christians, including four women and a child, were burnt alive when attackers set 40 houses and a church ablaze following allegations that members of a local Christian family had desecrated ...

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The demise of reason

“Being in your company”, said Bahadur Shah Zafar, the principal convict after India’s battle for independence in 1857, “is nothing like what it used to be; it’s harder for one to speak up than it ever was.” The entire experience of those troubled times informs the verse. Strangely, what we are going through nowadays is very similar. Voice the littlest of dissent and you hear a bullet whiz by or a must-be-killed edict. The prudent counsel, therefore, is to shun religious debate. To hear whatever interpretation is being put forward for Islam and to remain quiet. But there are those ...

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We do not deserve Shahbaz Bhatti

Minister for minority affairs Shahbaz Bhatti has been brutally gunned down today –  joining the list of many to have been killed.Voices of sanity do not do well here in Pakistan. Just when you start thinking things will be okay, that now the maniacs have safely put away Aasia Bibi and they’ve killed Salmaan Taseer so maybe that’s enough to make their point – you are jolted into the reality that is Pakistan. You understand completely and fully, even if you did not that morning when reading the opinions page of The Express Tribune, why George Fulton is leaving. Today’s breaking news ...

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It is time to reclaim the mosque

The battle for blasphemy reform is not over. It needs a change of strategy. Currently it has consisted of people demanding a change in the laws but to little effect. There is a need to get various influential lobbies and stakeholders involved. One of them is the mosque. The mosque, as a center of ideas, has been severely under-utilised by reformist Pakistanis which is unfortunate. I’m sure some of us go to the mosque once a week or so. It is time we should engage our maulvis into debate and discussion. Many of them will not change the way they ...

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The noble intentions of Salmaan Taseer

When people pass on, you are suddenly bombarded with memories. Both significant and insignificant, random phrases from different conversations and events flood in. With Salmaan Taseer, the only thing that flashes to my mind is his gallant, challenging smile.The smile that conveyed what his personality was all about – the lack of fear, the conviction in his own opinions, the zeal to do and say what he believed was correct and above all the refusal to back down under threats or pressure. The governor was one of the very few educated politicians who led and lived by his own set of rules. ...

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Burqa, bombs and intolerance

A look through the timeline of bomb blasts and terrorist attacks indicate that a majority of attacks in Pakistan are carried out by young men – some wearing vests, others using cars laden with explosives. I believe this spells out a legitimate case to ban young men, vests and cars from public places. After all, in a country like ours which is always on high alert for terrorist attacks, we can’t allow such security risks to roam about freely, can we? If you find my logic ludicrous, you might want to take a look at the recent debate on banning ...

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Fresh Prince of Pakistan

I’m a huge Facebook games addict; to the extent that I’ve added random strangers just so I have lots of friends to send me free gifts. They’re always nice strangers though, normal, sane people that post pictures of their children and pets, or whine about university issues, things I can relate with. I normally ignore updates by these “application limited profile friends” but when I read the word Pakistan on the status of a Briton while scrolling down my homepage, it caught my attention. I thought  “wow, someone is actually talking about helping the flood relief victims.” Then my heart ...

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Our culture of intolerance

When quizzed about our culture we Pakistanis can go to any length to prove that we are like any other normal and civilised nation having no dearth of artistic sense and know how to appreciate sports, good music and movies but sadly many people in the Western world fail to buy that. Those who identify Pakistan through the daily dose of media coverage believe us to be an uncouth nation, sans values and compassion. Our country is considered synonymous with terror where killings and human slaughtering are undertaken without any remorse. That almost makes us look like a psychologically ...

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