Can we please think of an answer other than death?

Chairman of the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) Maulana Mohammad Khan Sheerani

Chairman Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) Maulana Mohammad Khan Sheerani issued a statement on Wednesday that condemned religious violence, terrorism, and sectarianism. Unfortunately, the solution proposed by the respected clerics was…death.

“It is an un-Islamic and condemnable act to declare any Muslim sect a disbeliever and deserving of death.”

There is no question that sectarianism and hate speech are diseases that are crippling this country, but why does the answer to everything have to be to kill someone? Life is already too cheap. Yes, we need to discourage sectarianism and hate speech. We need to discourage violence. And, yes, there are certain crimes for which death is a fitting punishment. But we need to think of a better way of discouraging people from declaring someone as kafir and condemning them to death than declaring them as kafir and condemning them to death.

 

Pakistani Hawks Threaten India, the U.S. – and Peace

Munir AkramPakistan’s long-serving ambassador to the United Nations, Munir Akram, is known for his close ties to Pakistan’s intelligence service and for reflecting the most hawkish stance of the Pakistani establishment against India, the United States and Israel. His other claim to fame is that, while serving at the UN in New York, the U.S. State department had to ask Pakistan to withdraw Akram’s diplomatic immunity when his then girlfriend Marijana Mihic charged him with misdemeanor assault Akram got out of that mess by getting his girlfriend to withdraw the charges.

Since his retirement from the Foreign Service, Akram (like some other former colleagues of his) has taken to espousing Pakistani hyper-nationalism in the Pakistani media. Unlike the domestic violence against Marijana Mihic, this chest-beating has significant implications for Pakistan’s future. It reveals the deep-rooted ideological pre-disposition of Pakistan’s establishment to take risks with the country’s security, based on incorrect assessments. (The 1965 and 1971 wars and the Kargil misadventure come to mind).

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Bilawal Re-Energizes PPP, Stuns Critics At Karachi Rally

PPP Rally Karachi

PTI may be famous for it’s political rallies, but it was PPP that stunned the nation with its rally on Saturday. No matter whose numbers you want to believe, it is undeniable that the turnout was massive enough to put to bed silly questions about whether the party is ‘finished’. In fact, the question being asked today is whether or not Saturday’s rally – and more specifically Bilawal’s speech –  marks a turning point in a national politics that has grown stale and disheartening for so many.

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Foreign Office Loses All Credibility With Response To Iran Crisis

Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ spokesperson Tasnim Aslam

The Foreign Office has lost any remaining thread of credibility in response to heightening of tensions with Iran. On Friday, Iranian soldiers crossed the border into Pakistan and killed one Pakistani soldier and injuring three others. This came just days after the Iranian government threatened to hold Pakistan accountable for terrorists operating from within its borders. The immediate reaction from Pakistan was a stunned silence, with hours passing by and no response from ISPR. After some time, Foreign Office issued a statement demanding Iran to provide proof that there are any terrorists in Pakistan. At this point, the Foreign Office lost all credibility.

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Ulema Council’s Qualified Condemnation of Militancy Highlights Double Standards

Pakistan Ulema Council

Pakistan Ulema Council issued a condemnation of IS militants on Friday as reports of infiltration by the jihadi terrorist group across the country. This condemnation of IS militants by the respected clerics is welcomed, but the qualified statement highlights dangerous double standards toward extremism and militancy that must be addressed.

The PUC statement only addresses one group (IS) and includes the following qualification:

“The PUC appeals to people and youth in Islamic countries to not cooperate with any violent group whose teachings or actions are against the teachings of Islam and Prophet Mohammad (PBUH).”

The problem with this statement is that it gives a free pass to violent groups who do believe their teachings and actions are in line with Islam and Prophet Mohammad (PBUH). In other words...all of them.

Freeing Pakistan of the scourge of extremist violence requires a comprehensive, unqualified condemnation of militancy. No exceptions. Until then, qualified condemnations will not only be fruitless, they will continue to provide an ideological justification for terrorists of all stripes.