Stories about non-muslims

How long will Pakistan continue to marginalise Ahmadis?

One thing I have often heard from some ‘moderate’ Pakistanis is that we are more rational and thoughtful than Indians since religious parties here have not been voted into power. Many a times I have heard people say that we don’t have a popular “fundamentalist” party like the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in India. As I have written before, this assertion is far too simplistic. Back in August 2018, while analysing the results of the 2018 elections, I wrote, “The problem is that these aggregate numbers hide a far more complex story. Yes, religious parties do not get seats, but ...

Read Full Post

Why can’t a non-Muslim dream of becoming the prime minister or president of Pakistan?

When Sajid Javid announced that he would join the race for 10 Downing Street earlier this year, the news was met with a joyous reception in Pakistan. Just the thought that a man who was raised in a Muslim household was even in contention to become the next prime minister of Britain was seen as a matter of great pride; after all, we feel it is imperative that all other nations ensure an equal access to opportunities for all religious minorities and do not discriminate on the basis of religion. However, how many in Pakistan would be celebrating if ...

Read Full Post

To eat or not to eat: If you support the ban on eating publically in Ramazan, your faith is weak

Ramazan is a one of the holiest months known to all Muslims. In fact, fasting in Ramazan stands as one of the five most important pillars of Islam; it is an essential act which makes up the religion. There are some very clear guidelines on how to act during this month in order for a person’s fast to be accepted and counted as successful. It is believed that during the fast, one should abstain from all bad deeds. A person fasting should not indulge in arguments and disputes nor use obscene language; should not show bad temper, should be ...

Read Full Post

South Korea is my home away from home, but not during Ramazan

Pascal Mercier once said, “We leave something of ourselves behind when we leave a place; we stay there, even though we go away. And there are things in us that we can find again only by going back there.” Thus, it goes without saying that people who move to foreign countries, where they perhaps enjoy a better system, modern technology, a peaceful environment and numerous social benefits, will also undoubtedly miss the true colours of their homeland. No matter how wide your social circle is, or how awesome the foreign land you have moved to is, when it comes to ...

Read Full Post

Karachi – the city where your ‘mochi’ can also mend your soul

Karachi is home to the most diverse of populations across Pakistan. Muslims, non-Muslims, Shia, Sunni, Muhajir, Balochi, Sindhi, Pashtun, Kashmiri, and also many other minority groups; many a people have found home here. Some of them love Karachi, others hate it. But Karachi has embraced them all – giving them the freedom to be themselves. Some folks weave dreams during the day. Some have adopted a nocturnal lifestyle and work during the night. Some read Jane Austen, while some unfalteringly quote Faiz Ahmad Faiz. Some revere and find solace in its shrines. And yet, others destroy the very sanctity of ...

Read Full Post

Demanding equal rights in Pakistan can turn even model citizens into traitors

For too long, the faction of Pakistani society that upholds the principle of equal citizenship as a fundamental human right has been in despair. This is because human rights are an ideal no one disputes in theory but which, in essence, depend on the non-discrimination of individuals, whether based on religion, language, political opinion or socio-economic standing. However, human rights often becomes a provocative term when applied to a blogger with a dissenting political opinion, or to those we celebrate as symbols of our diversity on Easter and Christmas, or to those listening to speeches about their heroic contributions to the war on ...

Read Full Post

How was I supposed to know about Dr Ruth Pfau, who she was or what she had done for my country?

On August 10, 2017 I heard about the demise of Dr Ruth Pfau. Within hours, social media was filled with condolence messages and appreciation posts for Dr Pfau’s efforts to counter leprosy in Pakistan. Prayers for Dr Ruth Pfua. "We shall remember you as Ambassador of humanity and for selfless services to the people of Pakistan. RIP", COAS. — Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor (@OfficialDGISPR) August 10, 2017 Saddened to learn of Dr Ruth Pfau's passing. Her spirit of selfless dedication leaves a void that will be difficult to fill. — Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) August 10, 2017 Dr Ruth Pfau. Pakistani legend. Represented the pinnacle of human empathy ...

Read Full Post

I met a Jew who didn’t judge me for being a Muslim or a Pakistani

We believe we live in a connected world today, but is that really true? A few days ago, I asked my friend what she thought of it and she said, “We can connect to any part of the world with one click. We can access any information in the spur of a moment. What else is connectivity?” I partially agreed with what my friend had to say but I still wondered if we really are living in a connected world. We live in a world where we are limited within our own small worlds, which are usually only as big as our mind-sets. And the ...

Read Full Post

Let us return to March 23, 1940, and start over, Pakistan

On March 23, 1940, the All-India Muslim League adopted a historic resolution in the city of Lahore. This resolution has since come to be known as the Pakistan Resolution as it became the forerunner to the formal demand for an independent nation state for the Muslims of India. The following is an extract that provides the essence of this resolution: “Resolved that it is the considered view of this session of the All-India Muslim League that no constitutional plan would be workable in this country or acceptable to Muslims unless it is designed on the following basic principle, namely, that geographically ...

Read Full Post

Can we blame the West for thinking of Muslims as they do?

In recent times, religiously motivated terrorism incidents have taken place in the West, from Brussels to New York. Due to these barbaric acts perpetuated by extremists, ordinary Muslims are also facing excessive backlash in Europe as well as in the United States. We, as Muslims, are correct to complain that it is unfair to bracket ordinary Muslims with the extremists, but at the same time we need to understand that our negative reputation is not merely due to organisations like ISIS but also because of our behaviour in general. I am not trying to equate extremist organisations like ISIS with normal and moderate Muslims here, ...

Read Full Post