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 22, 2009

CNN, Farid Zakarya and Karzai

There seems to be no point in watching CNN on a Sunday afternoon because all I see is Farid Zakariya on his favourite topic. Labeling Pakistan as a failed state, a rouge state and any other similar word he can get his hands on. First it was via newsweek and now its through CNN . I first thought I was paranoid but after seeing the same trends week after week I know I am not.

On this particular occasion, he had invited Mr Karzai, Afghanistan’s President to provide his comments. His introduction stated that this is the man who controls Afghanistan, why is it then that all unbiased scoops coming out of Afghanistan state that the US is doing miserably in the Afghan war and to be honest all Karzai controls is Kabul and the areas surrounding it.

According to Mr Karzai, the Taliban problem in Afghanistan is because of Pakistan. umm hello.. The Taliban problem in Pakistan is because of Afghanistan, as are the drug, guns, extremism and refugee problems!!

MQM, the talibans and Buner

Who thought there would be a day when I would support the MQM. Growing up in a family with strong supporters, I had the tendency to move the other way. Today after reading the Dawnregarding parliaments shameful reaction to the Nizam’s Adl and Sufi Mohhamad (SM) and his followers, I have to respect the party and thank them for their stance.  At Karachi Univeristy, while the APMSO was involved in all the activities that made us dislike student political parties with their phaddas and fights, they were also the party the girls went too when they  had “guy” trouble in the form of stalking and teasing.

Let’s just say that the girls were not bothered again.

Although I am a 90% optimist and have always believed that Pakistan can come out of everything, and that things will pass, I also don’t believe in just sitting back and not doing anything. I think the people of Pakistan need to be more vocal about their desires. Why is it that a bunch of extremely vocal “Talibans” can aspire to control the country and the silent majority just stay silent? If all its going to take is a “dozen” individual to invite SM into Buner, I would say to everyone please don’t keep sleeping. We saw the way the movement to restore the Chief justice succeeded, we need a similar one to ensure that Pakistan remains the relatively secular, moderately religious state that it is and that these people go back to where they belong- ie Afghanistan.

After all wasn’t it in my Islamiat class that I learnt that the Prophet (PBUH) said we should adopt the middle path ie moderation.

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.

November 27, 2007

The People of Swat

Filed under: Islam,Muslims,NWFP,Pakistan,Peace building,Politics,Swat,Uncategorized — dcdesi @ 7:45 pm

DAWN News reports that the Pakistani Military has reported Big Gains in the Swat Valley. The report also stated that the Military has taken control of  the FM radio Station being run by Maulvi Fazlullah.

I hope the news is true. I know for some people it seems that the government is targeting its own people, and I know for the people of Swat its not easy having to leave their houses not knowing whether they will have survived the heavy military firing etc. But its equally important to remember the wider picture. It is these poor people of swat who have had to deal with M F. It is these people who have had to shut down their girls schools, barbars and local musicians have found themselves out of business after receiving threats. Tourism, the mainstay of the region has almost disapeared due to the prevailing conditions.

I am a peacebuilder, I am not supposed to condone violence, but in this instance the army has my support. Watching some group control and impose its values for quite a few months now has been enough for me to want and support the military action.

I just hope that the government clears up the mess once and for all so that the “taliban” don’t oppress the area again and the people of swat don’t need to suffer endlessly. I hope the people of Swat are soon able to return to their lives without fear of bomb threats.

Over and Out

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.

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