Honouring Dr Muhammad Abdus Salam (1926-1996)

15th October 1979: Joint Nobel Physics prize winner and Imperial College of London professor Abdus Salam, originally from Pakistan. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

15th October 1979: Joint Nobel Physics prize winner and Imperial College of London professor Abdus Salam, originally from Pakistan. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

Today is the 20th death anniversary of Dr Muhammad Abdus Salam, the first Pakistan to receive a Nobel Prize, which he was awarded in 1979. He was also awarded Sitara-e-Pakistan (1959) and Nishan-e-Imtiaz (1979) along with dozens of other honors both nationally and internationally. In a just world, he would be honoured as a hero. But the respected physicist did not live in a just world. He lived in Pakistan.

Dr Muhammad Abdus Salam was not only the first Pakistani to receive a Nobel Prize, he was actually the first Muslim to receive the Nobel Prize. After his death, this honour was noted on his headstone. Today, however, his grave has been defaced and the word ‘Muslim’ removed on the orders of government officials. His crime? He was an Ahmadi Muslim.

Dr Muhammad Abdus Salam grave

Today we express our sadness not only for the loss of Pakistan’s great hero Nobel Prize winner Dr Muhammad Abdus Salam, but for our own country that is so psychologically insecure that we cannot even honour its greatest citizens.

The Nightmare Comes True

Trump Muslims

Their country was founded as a homeland where they could finally be safe. Their religion would not be an issue. Their mosques would be be secure, and their children would not face discrimination. Here, their community members flourished. They were in government, they were successful doctors and scientists. Alhamdulillah, life was good.

Then something happened. A dark fog began to gather in the words they were hearing in the streets, and they began to worry that even here they would not be safe. They tried to protect their children, shooing them out of the room when the TV anchors were talking about politics. There was talk about banning their religion, demolishing their mosques, turning them into second class citizens in their own country.

They told themselves it couldn’t happen here. The father of the nation had declared this nation would be a homeland for them, too. But it did happen. The political movement was too strong, their neighbors were too apathetic, or did they secretly hate them too? The constitution was amended, and their religion was blacklisted. They found themselves attacked with impunity. Their mosques were demolished. They were forced to endure every type of humiliation. They were mocked and ridiculed and their faith was spit on.

The nightmare came true.

Anti Ahmadi Sign

 

Gaza Can’t Be Saved With Religion

Religion and War

Israel escalated it’s attack against Gaza yesterday by launching a ground invasion, adding tanks and soldiers to the already indiscriminate air strikes. Hamas has refused any offer of cease fire and warns of ‘heavy price‘ for the latest invasion. Meanwhile, the world is struggling to find a solution that will stop the unnecessary killing. Well, most of the world. In Pakistan, our leaders and supposed ‘security experts’ are trotting out well worn emotional responses without a hint of reason.

I have already discussed the insanity of PTI’s suggestion that Pakistan nuke Israel, though I did not even bother to mention then what such an irrational policy would result for Pakistan itself.

Ansar Abbasi has made a similar suggestion recently, except not just for Pakistan but for all Muslim countries to launch a joint military operation against Israel.

Maleeha Lodhi, may be more sophisticated, but she appears to have the same suggestion also, although presenting it in a more subtle, plausibly deniable way.

Maleeha Lodhi obviously doesn’t mention war by name, but since Egypt, Turkey, Qatar and Pakistan have all been working to try to negotiate an end to the violence, it is not unreasonable to assume that diplomacy is not a satisfactory means for our ex-diplomat.

Details aside, the idea is always the same – that the Ummah is under attack from Jews and all means necessary to secure the Ummah against the Jews is justified. Ironically, this is essentially the same idea that is guiding Israel’s policy of state terrorism against Gaza – a religious obligation to kill.

Gaza can’t be saved with religion. That does not mean we should not pray to Allah to intervene and stop this madness, but it means that giving the same prayers that the Israelis are giving – ‘Oh God Kill Our Enemies’ – is part of the problem not part of the solution. In the meantime, we need to start looking for solutions that do not involve religious violence. Both for Gaza, and for ourselves.

Reflecting On Quaid’s Birth Anniversary

Quaid-e-Azam

25th December is revered and remembered with a public holiday to pay tribute to the father of the nation Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah on his birth anniversary. For Christian Pakistanis, it is also revered as the birth anniversary of Jesus (Prophet Isa, PBUH). While most people will not consider these two leaders to have much in common, actually, there is some commonality to be found.

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Jinnah unequivocally wanted Pakistan to be a secular state

Ajeet Jawad Jinnah BookI am writing this article as a rebuttal to Khuldune Shahid’s article “Jinnah’s Pakistan a mirror of his contradictions.” It is necessary because if you do not counter a falsehood in public domain over time it is taken to be the truth. It is sad that there are many OpEd writers who when writing on this topic do not check their facts or at least try and understand what the point of view is that they are challenging. Khuldune’s article is no exception. It draws on several strawman fallacies which have nothing to do the argument that Jinnah’s vision for Pakistan was a secular one.

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