‘Sindhi Activists Condemn Ban on Sindhi Nationalist Group’

The Pakistani state fears not just ethnic identity but any political parties that have ethnic roots. The deep state’s fears of Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM), Baloch parties and the Sindhi Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz- Arisar (JSQM-A). On Thursday, the federal government announced its decision to ban JSQM-A.

According to an investigative report in The News “The sources claim that the intelligence agencies had approached the Interior Ministry for banning the above-mentioned groups. According to reports of the agencies, SRA and SLA are actively involved in terrorist activities in different parts of Sindh and Balochistan. Intelligence agencies believe that both the militant groups are provided political support by the JSQM-A. Another source claimed that these militant groups are also a threat to the CPEC projects which Pakistan is undertaking with the help and assistance of China. “We have credible reports that these militant organizations are being used by the anti-Pakistan forces,” a key civil servant linked with the latest developments at the federal level shared this while requesting anonymity.”

The World Sindhi Congress issued a strong statement condemning this action. Their statement is below.

‘Mullah Rule: Is Pakistan more Islamic than everyone else?’

Around the world, religious leaders, political leaders and celebrities are urging people to stay home to fight the Covid pandemic. During Easter, the Pope addressed an almost empty St Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Across the greater Muslim world, from Saudi Arabia to Turkey to Indonesia, religious clerics and political leaders, have asked people to pray from home and closed mosques and religious places. Saudi Arabia suspended Umrah and now even Haj.

The exception in all this is the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Not only have mosques and other religious places not been closed, but the largest cluster of Covid cases in the country relates to the Tableeghi Jamaat congregation— 20,000 people are under quarantine!

Experts argue that the government has been hobbled in its Coronavirus response not only by the activism of the clerical class against any restrictions on Muslim religious life but also by the Prime Minister’s strong public identification as a Muslim who envisions Pakistan as a new Medina, reproducing the city state as it was governed by the Prophet of Islam Muhammad in early seventh century.

As Cyril Almeida, former columnist in Dawn, tweeted, maybe the problem isn’t that the government and establishment are afraid of mullahs.

What we should ponder on is — What if Imran Khan and the boys [meaning the military establishment] actually agree with the mullahs?

Ehtram-e-Ramazan Vigilantes Attack Journalists In Islamabad

Haqqania Masjid VigilantesIn May I predicted ‘will we see Ehtram-e-Ramzan lynch mobs‘ this year due to government and media whipping up hysteria over anyone smoking or eating or drinking during Ramzan. With Eid only a few days away, I thought my prediction was completely wrong, but now thanks to these Haqqania Masjid vigilantes it has been proven partially correct.

On Tuesday, a crew of journalists was attacked by some Mullahs on an out of control rampage in the capital. According to reports, cameraman Rashid Azeem was performing ablution at Haqqania Masjid to offer Zuhr prayers when he was confronted by a cleric who based on nothing accused him not being honest about observing his fast. After being corrected mistake, the cleric became enraged. When the journalists went outside to begin their recording, clerics and students of Haqqania Masjid viciously attacked the journalists even sending cameraman Rashid to Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) for a medical examination.

As a result, officials have threatened to throw the journalists in prison for violating Ehtram-e-Ramazan Ordinance even though there is no evidence that any one of them has committed any crime and that they were the actual victims of these violent and out of control Mullahs.

Eid Mubarak.

Ian Chappel feels safe. Do you?

If you haven’t seen it, you have probably been in a coma. Ian Chappel said that he felt safer in Pakistan than in England. It was a statement that has been broadcast and re-broadcast and printed and shared over and over again. Why? Because it fits the narrative that the state wants to project and the narrative that we want to hear. But is it true?

Obviously Ian Chappel is not a state mouthpiece, but his actual statement has been taken out of context. Here is what he actually said:

“We have only been here for a few days… we are probably safer in Islamabad than we are in England at the moment”

Why ‘at the moment’? Because at the moment, England was experiencing tension following another terrorist attack. It was not a statement about the security of Pakistan, but the momentary insecurity felt in England.

Making the point even further, let us look at what else is happening at the same time as we are celebrating being ‘safer than England’.

In a breaking development, the state is now saying that the Chinese teachers murdered by ISIS were ‘preaching‘. Authorities have not said what they were allegedly ‘preaching’, but the message is clear that after terming the reports as fake news designed to humiliate the armed forces, now the state is blaming the victims for their own killings.

Is Pakistan safer than England? Who am I to answer this question? Instead let us ask Ian Chappel.

Or maybe we can ask the 38,500 Pakistanis who applied for asylum in UK last year what they think.

Pakistanis-2nd-highest-asylum-seekers-in-britian

Recent events prove now is the time for a modern nationalism

Diverse PakistanSeventy years ago, certain social and political ground realities existed which resulted in the political movement that created this country. I am not questioning the motivations or the historical environments which preceded the formation of our proud nation. However, it is also undeniable that since the past 70 years the regional and global order has undergone evolutions that have created new social and geopolitical realities that call for an evolution of our strategic and theoretical thinking to match.

Just as a person must evolve and adapt to take his proper place in the community when he ages, nations and societies must also evolve and adapt otherwise they will be unable to properly achieve their rightful place in the global community. What was necessary and proper 70 years ago has been established just as one’s culture and personality are established as one matures. However, one is not the exact same as he was even 10 or 20 years earlier but rather becomes more complex even as he is still grounded in his past.

Recent events have made clear that we have entered a new era in which the religious nationalism that may have made sense in the past is no longer sufficient to guide us in the new millennium. This has become increasingly obvious with the troubles of our participation in the Saudi military alliance, which was presented as a ‘Muslim NATO’ but was soon exposed as a dangerous experiment that threatens our own national security. The stakes were raised once again when a Saudi-led alliance of Arab states announced cutting diplomatic ties with Qatar and closing borders, putting Pakistan squarely in another bad position.

While alliances with Muslim allies are causing no end of uncomfortable situations for Pakistan, it is ironically the atheist China which is proving to be more sensitive to our own needs. Where Saudi has given some loans that must be repaid, China is investing billions in infrastructure and resources that will advance Pakistani businesses and develop our own economy. It is not just economically that atheist China has proven a strong ally, but also in terms of respecting Pakistan’s positions in global forums such as the UN. Even on Kashmir, China has respected Pakistan’s position but not from any religious motivation as China is not Muslim proving that religion is not the only bond that can bring two nations together.

Just as religion is not the only bond that can bring two nations together, also it is not the only bond that can unite our own nation.

Now imagine a Pakistan that would have embraced its diversity instead of treating it with fear and loathing. Imagine a Pakistan that would give equal rights to all its citizens without considerations of religion or gender. Imagine a Pakistan that would not be held hostage by its religious clergy and where the rulers would refuse to be blackmailed by these contractors of faith. Pakistan as a territory blessed with geography, relief, natural resources and a rich cultural heritage.

If its leaders had any vision it would be the magnet for the world both for business and for tourism. The tourism potential alone should have been enough to transform us rapidly into a rich and prosperous nation.

As an example, we can see India is being torn apart by religious chauvinism and majoritarianism. We cannot allow ourselves to fall further into the same trap. Now is the time for an updated nationalism not based on our differences but on our diversity which is our strength.