Stories about mullahs

Don’t touch my bakra!

Eidul Azha is probably one of our most anticipated holidays in the yearly calendar. Depending on one’s inclination, people normally plan for this religious duty months in advance. Its popularity is also due to the high level of interest that children take in the festivities and it would not be incorrect to say that it is more of children’s Eid than ours. Personally, I am not inclined towards it – I guess the sight of animal blood, urine and faeces all over our cityscape is not very appealing to me and we have our efficient government to thank for this. We have had roughly 69 Eids ...

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Is George Bush responsible for creating ISIS? Not really

The bloody Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) onslaught has left us bewildered, slammed into a corner with little hope of return to peaceful times. Humanity has been blatantly pushed into an unprecedented, smouldering pit of fire that refuses to die down, butchering innocent masses simply trying to get through their days. While bringing to justice this portentous enemy may be an impossible adventure, clearly an axis of evil has descended upon us. All bets are off. Rules have been summarily dispatched out of the window. To every action, there’s an equal and opposite reaction – doesn’t take a ...

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Playing god in the land of the pure

People everywhere look for answers in stark black and white, and love the comfort that gives them the ability to use it as a club against others. For some reason, people keep recreating the very issues in their religions that the founders of those religions sought to eradicate. True spirituality should bring complete humbleness and love. What is common to all of us is how we struggle for an authentic faith without taking refuge in the absolute; that, to my mind, is the classic source of apostasy. There is nothing I ever read about Islam that didn’t pertain equally to other religions’ ...

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Dear ZAB, this is what you have left behind

Dear Great Leader, I’m writing to you to wish you a happy 87th birthday. Sorry I’m a bit late but, hey, it’s the thought that counts… Right? After all, in these sombre and remorseful times, it’s difficult to keep one’s head straight. Too much in today’s Pakistan is out of sync with the changing realities. It’s a sad situation, one that is testing people’s patience and crushing their souls. You want to know what else is sad? It’s the political party that you created in the 60s that shook the foundations of a terrible dictatorship; the organisation that glued together a broken nation ...

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Will we ever hold Aamir Liaquat accountable for spewing hate?

December 25th has always been an important day for Pakistan. It was on December 25th that our founder – Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah – was born. Officially dubbed Jinnah’s day, many celebrate it by remembering Jinnah’s enduring struggle for freedom and equal rights for the minority Muslim community within United India. Jinnah’s selfless struggle was driven by a passionate sense of respect for human freedom and equality. He dreamt of a state where there was no discrimination, one that stood firm on the values of tolerance, acceptance and pluralism. It is well known that Ahmadis played a very prominent role in the creation of ...

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24 absurd beliefs Pakistanis have

Norms are beliefs about how members of a group should behave in a particular context. They are informal and often ‘invisible’ understandings and rules that govern a group’s behaviour towards particular religious, social, cultural, political and socio-economic triggers. Norms generally define what is acceptable in a society or group and are the building blocks for appropriate and inappropriate values, beliefs, attitudes, behaviours, ideologies and narratives. These rules are generally implicit. In addition to what is considered normative in societal, political or cultural context, there are smaller groups within a society which endorse a particular norm. On one hand, norms define how to move, what to wear, how ...

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My father was an Ahmadi serving the Pakistan Air Force

On October 14, 62-year-old Mr Latif Alam Butt, an Ahmadi retired Pakistan Air Force (PAF) serviceman was gunned down at Kamra Air base, Attock District. He was shot due to his religious beliefs. My father was also an Ahmadi and a retired PAF serviceman, who also happened to die at the age of 62. But my father was not killed, only marginalised, for his religious beliefs. But he and Mr Butt share more than meets the eye. In 1965, when Mr Butt was only 13-years-old, my parents, newly married at the time, were making plans to start their married life at my ...

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I want my daughter back

August 20, 2001 – Islamabad airport: I said ‘Khuda Hafiz’ to my 17-year-old daughter, my only child; she was on her way to college in the US. She had the honour of being accepted at Yale University on a full scholarship and like always she had done us proud once again. Tearfully, I hugged her and whispered in her ear, “Don’t come back.” Quick on the uptake, she smiled that sweet endearing smile of hers and shot back, “Abba, you have brought me up with the lesson to have a mind of my own.” She defied me continuously for four years; came back twice a year during ...

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Banish the CII

In a more civilised society where progress is equated with innovation, technological advancement and competitiveness, the recent ‘suggestions’ put forth by the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) and its band of brothers would certainly have been political suicide. This ‘advisory’ body – which has remained dormant until its ineptness surfaced – has proved itself to only serve as a control mechanism as to how people should live and conduct their lives, as is the case with all religiously sanctioned forums. The clerics, who constitute the CII, and many of their kind elsewhere, have served one and one purpose only: societal control for self-fulfilment. Because ...

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Re-imagining Pakistan

Pakistan continues to dominate the headlines in the world media but for all the wrong reasons.  Judging from the books that continue to be published, the authors seem to be in a race to tell the most depressing tale they can conjure up. More than one analyst has called Pakistan ‘the most dangerous country in the world’. While that moniker can be debated, what is beyond debate is that Pakistan is afflicted with multiple ills. The top seven are urban anarchy, load shedding, illiteracy, unbridled population growth, ethnic conflict, Talibanism and Indophobia. These ills are so common place that most Pakistanis do ...

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