Desi in DC

April 15, 2017

Mardan and the death of forgiveness and education

And we call ourselves Muslims? When did it become ok to lynch mob and kill a student or anyone for that matter? What happened to if you save a life you save all of humanity and if you kill a person it’s like you killed all of humanity?

What worries me and concerns me is that the mob killing of Mashal Khan happened in Abdul Wali Khan University. Three to four thousand university “students” were apparently involved as part of the mob. University students means they have received at least a high school education most likely even a bachelors before gaining admission to the university. In Urdu students are called Talib-e-ilm ie “seekers of knowledge”.  An education is meant to open your hearts and minds, it allows you to ask questions rather than just believing in rumours. This act highlights the problem of our education system were rote learning is rampant and rote learning is rewarded over actual understanding. Are we removing the capacity of our youth to think and ask questions so that they can no longer question authority and like robots believe anything that is said to them? Are we not required to use our brains to seek out answers?

We also seem to have lost the message of forgiveness. First of all there was no conclusive proof of what this young student had done, there were only rumours. In fact media sources report that Mashal was an active and vocal voice on the campus and someone had recently created a fake social media account in his name. Even if, for arguments sake, we assume he was guilty of blasphemy (for which there is no proof) what happened to forgiveness. We didn’t even give him a chance to defend himself.

The Quran says

“Keep to forgiveness and enjoin kindness, and turn away from the ignorant” (Surah 7, Verse199).

And again

“”If you take retribution, then do so in proportion to the wrong done to you. But if you can bear such conduct with patience, indeed that is best for the steadfast.” Surah 16, verse number 126[1]

Blasphemy is an act best left for God to judge. We as humans and Muslims must not judge these actions especially since the Quran does not prescribe a punishment for it in this world[2]. Instead, we must persevere patiently and with forgiveness as prescribed in the Quran, and exemplified by the Prophet.

For all those involved in the mob, I wonder how they plan on answering to God when the question arises who were they to judge whose live should or should not be taken

 

[1] This translation has been taken from Zafar Ansari’s English Translation of Mawdudi’s Translation of the Quran in order to have an easier understanding of this verse.

[2] Kamali, Mohammad Hashim, Freedom of Expression in Islam

 

 

 

 

 

 

April 6, 2009

The Fame That Was Not To Be

On Sunday, while walking down the streets of Arlington, just a couple of miles from Georgetown, my partner and I were stopped by Richard Reeves, one of the satellite anchors for ABC7 news. The hot topic of the day was the missile test by N Korea.

He wanted to find out what our reaction was to the test. He was hoping that we would say it was a terrifying experience. Being the ND taught pacifist, my responce was not going to be that simple.

Instead I just said I think all countries need to do away with nukes, the US and Russia started it, they need to take the first step. As long as even one country has it, how do we expect the others to give it up. infact the danger of other countries acquring it will always remain. Its only when we all do away with then only can we see some peace.  Otherwise what N Korea did was not unexpected so why is there such a big fuss.

He tried again to see if he could get me to give him a more mainline answer.. I knew  I had shot all chances of my claim to fame when I gave him a response similar to my first answer.. so did I make the 9 oclock news?? Obviously not:)

September 27, 2008

US Elections; the North West and Pakistan

Who would have thought that I would say this but after yesterday’s US presidential debate it seems maybe McCain may be better for Pakistan. I disagree with most of his policies except his foreign policy stance related to Pakistan, In Obama’s case his domestic policies make sense but his foreign policy views on Pakistan show his lack of experience..

When will US policy makers realize what a number of US Academics and South Asian experts have been trying to tell them, you cannot look at the north of Pakistan and think its a simple problem that the Pakistani’s don’t want to do anything about. On the contrary its an extremely difficult situation that may require the best minds who know the area to come up with a possible solution that “may” work.  if you look at Pakistan’s statistics you will note that there has been a massive spike in the number of suicide bombings all over the country. As was typical during the cold war, it seems the War on T has done the same, the war turf had moved from the country’s at war to that of ours. It is the Pakistanis who have been losing their lives. Let someone at least recognize that we too have lost thousands of innocent lives due to no fault of our own.

At the same time as Pakistanis we can’t sit and accept the increasing impact that the  right wingers seem to think they are having on our country. Shutting down girls schools, threatening media shops and barber stores, if we don’t do something about this now the situation will only get worse. A number of tribal elders who have tried to help their communities by standing up to these guys have already been killed. We cannot let their deaths be in vain.

We’ll realize too late that the demographics of our country have changed. It is important that for once instead of having a reactionary policy ( ie reacting after the effect) we need to have both an offensive as well as a precautionary policy. It may already be a little late for that and we may already be in the reactionary stage but we still need to make the effort.  We have been complacent for too long and have accepted this violence for too long, its time we stepped up and protected our cities so that our children can be free to go where they wish without us worrying about potential suicide bombings…

July 2, 2008

Power of the pen

Filed under: Desi,Education,Pakistan,Peace building,Politics,Uncategorized — dcdesi @ 12:54 pm

So I finally discovered the design option at wordpress. My sis who just started who own blog http://nidagivesvent.wordpress.com had to show it to me, so now we know who has the tech degree in the family. I guess the power of the pen does identify the reasons so many of us have started writing blogs..

The Pakistani political situation keeps reminding me why democracy is something we love to hate. Our esteemed politicians are more concerned about transferring poor poultry officers for doing their jobs in order to please land lords and farm owners then they seem to be in bring some semblance of peace in our border regions.

This is our country too, and it deserves a lot better then what we have out there..

February 29, 2008

The genocide of Pakistani Humanity….

Over the past few decades, acts of violence and terrorism and singlehandedly attempted to kill all levels of humanity within the Pakistani society. Every value that we are proud of, that makes us different from the west, that makes us appreciate our culture seems to be targeted by these senseless acts of violence. As if someone is bent on removing them from the very core of our existence.

What do I mean by it?? Lets identify what we value and then move forward from there.

As a kid, growing up in Karachi, if someone had a flat or car problems, I remember my father offering to help. I remember people helping us as well. As I became a teenager that became less and less. Why was that the case? My father said people would use it as a ploy to steal your car or harm your family. It was safer to help a family then to help a single individual, especially a single male.

As part of Pakistani humanity, I remember driving down stadium road and seeing this old Afghan woman walking through the back routes trying to reach the road. My brother and sister in law stopped the car and offered her a ride. Their good deed for the day. This month I read something in the news that really scared me. A couple was driving their on one of the busy roads of Karachi. Someone got in the back seat and said that he was a suicide bomber and to ram the car / building/ police car etc//   This act has killed another aspect of the Pakistani humanity. Anyone who in the past wanted to offer a ride on a hot day to an old man will no longer do so..

On a hot day, I remember poor kids and old beggars knocking on the door asking for food. I don’t remember anyone sending them empty handed. If there was no cooked food in the house, we would hand them some fruits, if nothing else them a glass of water and something to eat. Today we ask how old is the person. Make sure there is no dacoit waiting to  rob the people..

and the list continues…

Are we going to let them completely annhilate our values and our humanity. Our we going to let them completely take over who we are? are we going to let these so called protectors of religion hijack our values and beliefs?

I don’t think so.. I don’t intend to let these terrorists and perpetrators of violence destroy the goodness in our society. What about you? 

This is a work in progress..

February 18, 2008

PK Elections 2008

Today the prayers of many Pakistani’s were answered. The elections were relatively peaceful. As the election results come out it is clear that there will be many changes in the upcoming years.. Many of the existing ministers were thrown out, including the minister for water and electricity. The last would make it seem that the people have decided to exercise their vote. At this point in time it doesn’t see if any one party will have a clear majority. So far the PPP and PMLN seem to be leading and media seems to be supporting the idea that the new government may actually be a coalition of PPP. PMLN and ANP.

For us as a country maybe that may be the answer. No one party be given so much power that it can actually blindly raid the country.

The second positive outcome of the elections is that so far the MMA has lost quite a few seats. In a way that was expected since the Jamaat had decided to boycott the elections. I hope this is a clear message from the citizens of Pakistan that we are proud Muslims and we don’t like people who tell us how to practice our faiths. WE decide what is Islamic and what is not. We will not have ideas of a few imposed on the many..

over and out, time to go back to watching the election transmission

PS: I really liked what the television host on GEo Stated. IS you have the right to vote and you did not exercise the right to vote then you have no right to complain about what happens in the country in the next 4 years.

December 18, 2007

Of BB, Emergency and the birdflu

Filed under: Benazir,Education,Elections,Islam,Karachi,Muslims,Uncategorized — dcdesi @ 1:48 am

I am finally back after disappearing for a few weeks in between. Much has happened in Pakistan. Our President has paved the way for Ms BB to rule the country again. I seem to be see sawing between respecting our President and wanting to have him removed for allowing BB to come back.

But another important news that is just now gaining world attention and is a source to concern to many all over the world is the occurance of human cases of the Bird flu in NWFP.  If the proper authorities do not take the proper care Pakistan could well be named the most dangerous country to visit and this would not be because of the terrorists but instead because of biology.

November 18, 2007

Madrasa Reforms- Part2

When Madrasa Reforms part 1 article got published, one of the response that we received asked do you know how expensive it is for the government to board hundreds of students and provide two square meals a day..and how do we address that?

following is the response I wrote back.
I wrote the article since the government has been speaking about madrasa reforms for the last few years and nothing seems to have been done. My concern is primarily due to the long term effects of this education. The madrasa system in Pakistan has become extensive in the last 2 decades and we have started to see the effects in Pakistan in the last few years. In Indonesia the government was providing partial support to the pesantrans, the remainder was coming from private sources similar to those providing support to madrasas in Pakistan. It is up to the government to make the change. If there is no choice of religious education without some secular education, then funds will accommodate as well.

Why is it that the Punjab government can implement free primary education, but we are unable to do so for the rest of the country? Other provinces need to receive similar support, but at the same time the provinces need to show a similar commitment to education.

My only response to the government official is that drops of water make an ocean. If we can identify areas where “extremism” is more rampant (for the moment, these areas include but are not limited to bordering Afghanistan, FATA areas and the province of NWFP), we should start with making changes in the system here and then with more sources try and move to the other provinces as well. We acknowledge that the problem cannot be solved in one day. It took 15 years and more to create the problem and will require a similar amount of time to resolve it, but we need to start somewhere to possibly reach a solution someday. If we keep looking at the situation in a complex manner which is what it is, we will never come up with a solution. In order to reach a solution, we need to simplify it and take it one step at a time.

You have NGO’s like the Zindagi trust who are attempting to make a difference, one school at a time, and frankly that is the approach that we also need to take. Please read the book “Three Cups of Tea”, building peace one school at a time to see what I mean.

November 8, 2007

of Lawyers, Kalam and emergency

Back online after staying away for a few days. Protests in Pakistan still continue. According to the latest news the lawyers are planning on switching their protests from out in the streets to the working of the courts. The lahore jails have become so overcrowded that the homes where political leaders were being kept under house arrest have been declared as subjails. Furthermore the factory at landikotal was also shut down to create more room.. refer to urdu press for more details

I guess the Jail bharo movement seems to be succesfull. The students of FAST and LUMS seem to have joined the protest and youtube is filled with videos coming out of PK.

Our TV channels were not to be left behind. Most channels especially GEO, ARY and DAWN have posted links on their websites where people can see live streaming.

BUt the one news, which has brought hope has nothing to do with the emergency. It is a news from KALAM that dawn reported. It seems that the tribal elders had called a jirga and then informed the “local taliban” that they were not interested in having the militants control their area and just basically asked them to get out.

good for you! the people of Kalam. I thank you from the depths of my soul heart…Now if we can get the “taliban” out of the other areas then the poor people of swat will be able to lead their own lives without fear of bomblasts and threats and the government will no longer have an excuse to continue with this “emergency”. So the question is.. is it still being called that or have accepted that it is a martial law.

so is a martial law in any other name still a martial law??

I am still wanting to be an optimist and may even wait and see if uncle musharaff plans on living up to his promises of holding elections in February. I guess the situation will hopefully be a lot clearer in the coming weeks.

over and out

a confused citizen of Pakistan.

November 5, 2007

God takes care of Pakistan

2 days have gone, we’re all back at work.

so what has happened in the last 2 days. According to Reuters mush has said that elections will be held on time, or at least within the same period.  lets wait and see what happens.

It has been interesting to see the role of the Internet.

8 yrs ago the internet was just starting to gain popularity. During the blackout then although were able to gain news, it was in no way comparable to what we are able to do today.

so thank you all of you who have contrived to make the media available to all of us online.  I was able to hear mush’s speech online. not much of a speech but was at least able to hear what he had to say.

Its frustrating to hear the news, but to quote one of my KU professors.. God takes care of Pakistan. The country has been through so much, and so often that only God is responsible for its survival.  come what may we will survive b/c God takes care of Pakistan;). Interesting belief don’t u think. Its what makes all of us keep going.

On a side note.. saw a documentary on the actual blood diamonds.. ( not the movie) it put things in perspective. We still have a lot going for us. its just time for all of us to put our act together and start doing our bit.

Over and out.

A frustrated yet still optimist pakistani

PS: dawn website has a link connecting to their tv channel.. its working on and off. but good source of news.

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