Books and Documents

Pakistan Press (24 Mar 2017 NewAgeIslam.Com)

Between The Doctor and His God: New Age Islam's Selection, 24 March 2017

New Age Islam Edit Bureau

24 March 2017

Between The Doctor and His God

By Yousaf Rafiq

Awami League’s Sham Genocide Day

By Sultan M Hali

The Myth of Equal Rights: Religious Minorities in Pakistan

By Kaleem Dean

Back To Square One

By Kuldip Nayar

Pakistan’s Minorities: Second Class Citizens

By Zeeshan Salahuddin

Compiled By New Age Islam's Edit Bureau


Between The Doctor and His God

By Yousaf Rafiq


There are very few worse moments in life than the wife attempting suicide, especially with two grown children in the house, and the lord of the manor (yours truly) a heart patient. Yet while her recovery, implying the failure of her attempt, owes in no small way to the good work of the doctors at Services Hospital, Lahore; things were going to get much worse before getting any better. And that too, unfortunately, owed primarily to the senior doctor at the said hospital.

It turns out that the emergency ward for ladies allows only women attendants, and rightly so. But what is a man to do if his sister is abroad, so are his sisters in law, own mother dead and mother in law in Islamabad, a 15-year-old daughter who is in the biggest shock of her life — that is, no immediate female family members except the wife, and she is the emergency? So, when the urgency of the moment found me sitting in the emergency ward — the only man among the ladies, waiting for the doctor’s prognosis — the doctor did come but refused to check on my wife in protest.

Now, this raises at least a few critical questions. Not doubting the good doctor’s sharia compliance, but in his anger at my presence in the room, he chose not to attend to a patient who had just survived a suicide attempt. Even if my concern for my wife did in some way offend his religious sensitivities — which is absurd — didn’t his professional, not to mention moral and human, duties mandate checking on the patient first? And if he did have to do something in protest, should he not just have tended to the patient and turned me out? How does one justify ignoring a patient because a man sat among a bunch of women to see if his wife was living or dead and that somehow offended God for somebody?

Fortunately, or unfortunately, a bully doesn’t always get a walkover when confronted with an editor of a daily newspaper. And, as expected, upon inquiry the doctor bolted. And nobody on the staff would even reveal his name; just that he was a full professor and the senior doctor at Services Hospital. And, at the risk of repetition, he did not check on a potentially dying patient on apparent moral/religious grounds.

This, according to my observation after manning the newsroom for years, is symptomatic of a disease whose tentacles have spread right through not just our body politic but also our social fabric. The few that first warned then cried hoarse about this were, over the years, either ignored, sidelined, made to disappear, or even simply ‘removed’ from the spectrum.

It started with that ridiculous idea of strategic depth that supposed to make Pakistan the centre of an Islamic renaissance across the region, especially Afghanistan. First, we brainwashed those fabled Mujahideen and spun the story about the greater jihad, etc. That, as we all know, triggered the madrasa frenzy, and the indoctrination spread to the mainstream. Before long, the average Joe on the street had been pushed so far to the right that the majority wore Salafist trends on their sleeves; deeming every ‘other’, whether of another Muslim sectarian strand or another religion, “Wajib Ul Qatal”.

When the war against terrorism turned into a nearly full-blown civil war, at least in much of the northern part of the country and now spreading all over, a lot of emphases was placed on the so-called national counter-narrative that was necessary to win hearts and minds in this crucial war. Yet more than a decade into this fight, that national narrative is nowhere in sight. Even the National Action Plan (NAP), which was hammered out in the immediate aftermath of the Peshawar school massacre more than two years ago, noted the narrative as an essential component. Still, it does not feature too high on the government’s priority list.

It is this deep-rooted brainwashing, which has its roots in the political/geographical grab of the Zia presidency that now reflects in incidents like a misguided doctor that ignores patients battling for their lives on frivolous religious grounds. One could have paid him back in the same coin, looked him up more properly and given him the proper ‘newspaper treatment’. Or one could just bring his behaviour to light, hoping to trigger a more thorough corrective cycle. Sooner or later society will have to take steps to arrest this insane slight to the extreme right. Already we have become a completely different people than the tolerant society that fought for and then made this country. And that moment of necessary change will just not come till our leaders wake from their slumber and finally being doing the right things.

Source: dailytimes.com.pk/opinion/24-Mar-17/between-the-doctor-and-his-god


Awami League’s Sham Genocide Day

By Sultan M Hali

March 24, 2017

AWAMI League, ruling dispensation in Bangladesh has declared henceforth March 25 to be observed as “Genocide Day” to mark the alleged atrocities against Bengalis in 1971. Many myths have been created around the severance of erstwhile East Pakistan and the creation of Bangladesh but none as deadly and inaccurate as the allegation that Pakistan Army carried out atrocities against Bengalis in 1971, massacring 3 million Bengalis and raping 200,000 women. Researching how and when this myth was created is of extreme importance because Sheikh Hasina Wajid, the daughter of Sheikh Mujib ur Rehman has been flogging this dead horse now for decades. Dr. Junaid Ahmad, renowned academic, in his recent book Creation of Bangladesh: Myths Exploded has exposed the falsehood of the genocide claim while numerous other authors have revealed the bogus claim of the exaggerated figures.

According to Dr. Junaid, “A myth has been repeated ad nauseam over the years by various Bangladeshi and Indian political personalities to undermine and shame Pakistan and its armed forces. Let’s be very clear, the historical roots of this myth of 3 million is based on an editorial piece published on Dec 23, 1971 titled Enemy Occupations by Pravda – the mouthpiece of the now defunct USSR. This hit piece on Pakistan claimed that 3 million Bengalis had been killed in the war of 1971. This ‘figure’, which was not based on any body counts, expert testimonies or photo/video evidence, got further legitimacy after it was endorsed by Mujib ur-Rahman in his interview with BBC’s David Frost on Jan 18, 1972. Eye witnesses reported that Mujib ur-Rahman, during this interview, was heavily intoxicated.”

The learned scholar goes on to add “In order to cherry pick proof for the plucked-out-of-thin-air 3 million figure, Mujib ur-Rahman constituted a Commission on Jan 29, 1972 to locate mass graves or other verifiable evidence. Chowdhary Abdul Mumin in his book Behind the Myth of Three Million, published in 1973, reported that this Commission comprised representatives from the BD Army, Border Security Force, Rangers, Police and Civil Administration. Despite their best efforts, this Commission completely failed to locate any mass graves or other evidence of any kind. The Commission conjured up a figure of a maximum 56,743 deaths as a result of the 1971 insurgency. This obviously was far less than the 3 million being held up by Bangladeshi politicians to cry victim. As a result, Mujib ur-Rahman showed great displeasure at the Commission’s findings and disbanded them, stating, I have declared three million dead, and your report could not come up with three scores thousands! What report you have prepared? Keep your report to yourself. What I have said once shall prevail”.

H M Seervai in his book, Partition of India, Legend and Reality, published in 1989 reports that till March 25, “the number of West Pakistanis and Biharis killed by Awami League militant were more than 100,000, including 15,000 at Santahar, 10,000 at Chittagong and 2,000 at Mymensingh”. LF Rushbrook Williams, in his book, The East Pakistan Tragedy, published in 1972, summarizing the events from the postponement of National Assembly meeting to the beginning of Operation Search Light writes; “The widespread and inhuman massacre of men, women and children by Awami League militants during their brief reign of terror in March and April 1971, although factually reported by several foreign correspondents, aroused comparatively little attention throughout the world.

Yet it was true genocide in the worst sense of the word. No pen could do justice to their ghastly nature as shown by the Photographs taken by the Army authorities. Rooms ceiling splashed with blood and carpeted with corpses; pariah dogs and crows feeding on the dead; men, women and even small children hurriedly shoveled into graves; bloodstained dolls and toys pathetically testifying to the fate of their baby owners – these were some of the sights which the Army met when at length they overcame the obstacles of blocked roads, blown-up bridges, and the water-transport destroyed, the number of murdered cannot be less than 120,000 and may be far higher, as corpses were just thrown into the rivers and carried away”. Another authentic and credible source emanates from Colonel Akbar Hussain, a decorated officer of the Liberation War, who on June 15, 1993, stated in BD Parliament: “After creation of Bangladesh, govt made an announcement of Taka 2000 compensation to every family that suffered loss of life in 1971. Only 3000 turned up.” In addition to the above myth of 3 million killed, Pakistan Army is also accused of raping more than 200,000 Bengali women. This too is a false figure which has been widely condemned. The gross inaccuracy of this allegation was borne out when an abortion team from Britain in early 1972 found that its workload involved the termination of only a hundred or slightly more pregnancies. The figure was also denounced by Australian Research Analyst Bin D Costa. He argued, “The figure of 200,000 women raped by the Pakistani Army in 1971 is considered to be too high”. Likewise, US Congressman Charles Wilson, who was eulogized in the Hollywood movie Charlie Wilson’s War, on December 9, 1987 stated, “To say that Pakistan army massacred its own 3 million Bengali people and dishonoured 200,000 Bengali women, to me is an allegation so gross that it goes beyond human imagination.”

Dr Junaid concludes: “Even basic arithmetic, which seems to be beyond the grasp of the Bangladeshi establishment, shows the unabashed absurdity of the 3 million killed and 200,000 women raped myths. To illustrate, perhaps at the expense of disgusting my readers, the Army action in East Pakistan started on March 26 and lasted till Dec 16, 1971 – a total of 262 days. This implies that about 11,450 Bengalis would need to have been picked-up, killed and buried every day. When compared to the 2nd World War for instance, the 6 million Jews killed by Nazi Germany in 6 years comes to only 2,740 killed every day – markedly less. Both the figures of the daily killings are fantastically preposterous and defy common sense.

Source: pakobserver.net/awami-leagues-sham-genocide-day/


The Myth of Equal Rights: Religious Minorities in Pakistan

By Kaleem Dean


The government recently approved a five percent job quota for minorities in all official departments. This development largely owes to the selfless efforts partaken by late Clement Shahbaz Bhatti, a Christian Minister of the PPP cabinet, assassinated in 2011.

The 1998 census showed as much as 20 percent of the country’s over 163 million population employed in the government sector. While no further census was conducted in the last 18 years, other surveys observed that the Pakistani population has crossed 200 million. As the 2017 census is still underway, its results, when tabulated, might even reflect a higher number.

It can, thus, be expected that the demographical changes would finally help establish an accurate population percentage of minority groups. Although birth and death rates are bound to impact all Pakistanis, official statistics are determined to put down their share at a mere three percent. If the country’s estimated population was assumed to be 180 million in 2009, then its minorities would also have increased proportionately. Further, if the increase in governmental employment quota had been actually implemented, these reforms would have markedly helped in reducing poverty from ethnic minorities. Nevertheless, these groups are still fighting for the realisation of this approved legislation. It is quite disheartening that even the available job opportunities are mainly used to recruit religious minorities for menial jobs, particularly sanitation-related. In lieu of considering non-Muslims for all jobs, their special quota is usually filled by recruitment in municipal corporations. The few exceptions to this rule are the unusually talented individuals from minority communities, who are employed in various governmental departments solely because of their personal achievements, not any state reforms.

Minorities, in general, have to struggle in life for the acquisition of smallest of governmental jobs. However, their absolute poverty and a dismal lack of development opportunities continue to incessantly posit them at the bottom of the ladder. Recruitment advertisements, mostly sponsored by governmental institutions, have repeatedly reserved sanitation posts for minorities during the last several decades.

The caste system prevailing in pre-partition India was heavily criticised by Muslim scholars, who condemned this discrimination as Hindu bigotry. However, the same discrimination based on the descent is also seen at play in Pakistan, where the pure and impure dichotomy continues to dictate the social structure.

Being an Islamic country, Pakistan should act upon principles of equality, brotherhood, justice and tolerance. However, such ideals have not yet been included in the social order, at least for the country’s minorities.

Whenever brought to light, discriminatory advertisements always spark heavy criticism from all corners. A similar advert published for vacant jobs in Sheikhupura was recently condemned for its blatant discrimination in the British parliament. With great dismay, Member of the Parliament Jim Shannon even wrote a letter to the Punjab chief minister. He raised serious reservations against the violation of minorities rights and said, “According to the constitution of Pakistan, all citizens are equal regardless of race, religion or any other differences, however, I have (recently) noticed a job advertisement... (which) skirted the government’s allocation of 5% quota in employment sector to be reserved for the religious minorities; by reserving all the sweepers’ jobs for the non-Muslims. The advertisement is blatantly discriminatory against the religious minorities because whereas the females and the disabled people’s quota is widely spread among all the vacancies: The religious minorities’ quota, on the other hand, has been limited to sweepers only.”

This was not the first time that the government reserved specific posts for non-Muslims. Only this month, The JUI-F elected Tehsil Nazim in Bannu also publicised a similar advertisement, which reserved sweeper vacancies for “Shias, Hindus, Balmeeks and Christians”. The resulting uproar, especially on social media, influenced the PTI chief, Imran Khan to instruct the provincial chief minister to take strict action against the spread of bigotry and discrimination.

Time and again, the political elite in Pakistan are asked to work towards the provision of equal rights, as guaranteed by the constitution. However, the imperial law of “might is right” continues to orchestrate a societal chaos by infringing upon the rights of the religious minorities. This marginalisation can be well reflected by a decrease in their population share from 23 to a mere three percent in the last seven decades. It is largely because of their fragile situation that minorities continue to flee the country. Given the present state of affairs, they might soon be reduced to negligible numbers if not disappeared altogether.

Thus, Pakistan should at least try to provide them what is offered by its constitution, in true letter and spirit. Article 27 of the constitution, which safeguards them against discrimination based on work, states, “No citizen otherwise qualified for appointment in the service of Pakistan shall be discriminated against in respect of any such appointment on the ground only of race, religion, caste, sex, residence or place of birth.”

As for job advertisements in Punjab, The UK All Party Parliamentary Group on Pakistan minorities Secretary General, Morris Johns, precisely summarized his concerns in these words, “To avoid allocating the required 5% jobs quota to the minorities, the advertisers often add all the vacancies together, e.g., in this case, the minorities’ share of 14 vacancies out of total 271 have all been put in the sweepers’ column. However, the female, disabled and the employees’ children quotas have all been divided among various categories. These jobs are not skilled or well-paid jobs. They are gardeners, drivers, and lab attendants, but the hatred against the minorities is such that they are not given an opportunity to apply even for these lowly paid jobs. They want to confine the minorities to just one occupation.”

Minorities in Pakistan greatly appreciate Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s recent speeches that talked about the importance of solidarity, assuring them of their rights and development. Nonetheless, the complacency previously shown by the government in this regard paints every promise with hues of dubiety and uncertainty. Only time will tell how long the state would take to resolve the problems of the people it has always treated as the children of a lesser God.

Source: /dailytimes.com.pk/opinion/24-Mar-17/the-myth-of-equal-rights-religious-minorities-in-pakistan


Back To Square One

By Kuldip Nayar

March 23, 2017

We are back to square one. The Supreme Court has advised the two parties, those who want the Babri Masjid to be reconstructed and those who claim that the site is that of Lord Rama’s. In its judgment, the court has advised the different parties to sit together and sort out the problem through negotiations.

One surprising part of the advice is that the Chief Justice of India is willing to mediate an out-of-court settlement. He has said “give a bit and take a bit. Make an effort to sort it out.” He points out that these are issues of sentiments and he can even step aside and let his brother judges to decide. How can the chief justice or, for that matter, his brother judges mediate because their very office is supposed to be above controversies?

Yogi Adityanath, a Hindu icon, has been elected the leader of the Uttar Pradesh (UP) legislative assembly with a huge margin and installed as chief minister. Whether the credit for securing this majority in UP goes to Prime Minister Narendra Modi or to the Yogi, who has the reputation of being a hardcore Hindu leader, it shows that Hindutva is sweeping the country. Obviously, the RSS is behind the move.

In the past, the RSS always stayed distant although it was the final arbiter. But now it is so confident of the Hindu majority, particularly after the BJP swept the elections in UP, that it doesn’t mind coming out in the open. It is already preparing for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Its chief, Mohan Bhagwat, minces no words when he tells the swayamsevaks to be prepared to meet the increasing attacks on the RSS and get ready for the next Lok Sabha polls.

In the face of what has happened in recent assembly elections, the RSS fears that the opposition parties might join hands together to fight it out. In such a scenario, the BJP-led NDA may lose ground. The RSS, or for that matter, the BJP knows that despite getting 42 per cent of the vote share in UP, the combined efforts of the other parties fetched 55 per cent of the vote share. It means that the non-BJP parties would have to come together. This doesn’t seem possible at present.

The bigger danger may force them to sink their differences and fight the saffron brigade. As Nani Palkhiwala, the late eminent jurist, said: “When the house is on fire you don’t think whether you should save the drawing room or dining room. You want to save the entire house.” He was referring to the looming threat of the erstwhile Jan Sangh getting a majority in parliament. It is another matter that the Janata Party, comprising most Jan Sanghis, came to power at the centre in 1977. But the sticking point was to sever relations with the RSS.

However, the Jan Sangh elements which are now a part of the ruling BJP, refused to snap ties with the RSS. Subsequently, L K Advani walked out and founded a separate party, the BJP. Liberal elements in the party like Atal Behari Vajpayee, too, left the Janata Party. It turned out to a blessing in disguise that his sobering influence did not allow the hardcore elements to take over when the party came to power.

It, however, shows that secularism has not taken root in the country. It is unfortunate that the independent struggle, aimed at a secular democratic country that included this noble thought in the preamble to the Constitution, seems to have gone awry. The Hindutva elements, slowly and gradually, swept the country. Today, you can see that soft-Hindutva has spread even in Kerala where the BJP, for the first time, has made inroads.

As it is, the party has captured the imagination of people and has brought to power in over a dozen states. This also means that a secular party like the Congress has been losing its grip in the states which it ruled once. Even the regional parties are losing their relevance as it happened in UP. Obviously, the BJP has been able to influence the minds of most people. The Rajya Sabha elections look like strengthening the BJP’s hands.

The assembly elections in the states of Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh will really show whether the Lok Sabha would be captured by the BJP or not. However, the future is ominous. The revival of the Ram Mandir issue could shape the future of the country and would polarise the nation further. Yogi Adityanath has repeated the Modi words of ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas.’

But the content of the party cannot change overnight. Though the UP chief minister may not be saying it in as many words, he will have to follow the RSS and the BJP agenda of the Ram temple at Ayodhya, sooner or later. As the all-powerful Yogi has been installed as chief minister by the BJP high command, it must be with a clear-cut intention.

Whatever may be the outcome, the court cannot decide on what is apparently a matter of faith. That is perhaps why the CJI has offered to mediate an out-of-court settlement. But then there have been several attempts since 1986, involving five governments of different colours. It was mainly because both parties seem to be adamant since they don’t want to make any compromises. Under the circumstances, another attempt by the CJI may not help.

Except for the BJP, none of the other parties is enthused over the offer by the Supreme Court bench. It looks as if the apex court also is not clear in its mind on how to settle the dispute. This long-ranging issue needs a quick solution for the comfort of all parties concerned. But, unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be coming, at least in the near future.

Source: tribune.com.pk/story/1363065/back-square-one/


Pakistan’s Minorities: Second Class Citizens

By Zeeshan Salahuddin

 24-Mar-17 441

A newspaper advertisement in Bannu, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) recently called for applications for the khakroab position. This is the official term for a sweeper, a member of the janitorial staff. Historically, because of institutional racism and religious persecution, this role has been almost exclusively reserved for Hindus, and especially Christians. The advertisement, in the column labeled “religion”, listed Hindu, Balmiki (a sect of Hinduism), Christian and Shia.

The ensuing rage on Twitter and other social media platforms was immediate. The resulting apology was swift, and predictably spun to feign sincerity and innocence. But even then, they only apologised for using the word “Shia”. Congratulations Shias, you have been upgraded to first class citizens.

There are so many thing wrong with this picture, that it is difficult to determine a starting point.

First, how did this advertisement ever get past the approval process? Second, how did the newspaper itself not object to such open discrimination, not just against Hindus and Christians, but also the fact that it tacitly labels Shias as non-Muslims? Third, and perhaps most importantly, why was there even a need to drag religion into a job posting? The answer to all three is simple. We have come to accept that such positions will only be applied for (and subsequently granted to) Christians and Hindus, as it is beneath our collective, imagined station. And this was no accident; it was deliberate, because it is considered common practice.

This is the state of affairs in contemporary Pakistan. A provincial government that touts itself on inclusion and tolerance, and wants to set the new standard for both politics and governance in Pakistan, allows this to fly under its nose. Even when the apology is issued, it completely ignores Christians and Hindus, because honestly, who cares, right?

During the coverage of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) recently, a comedian on television said the following verbatim to showcase his patriotism: ‘I am ready to do anything for Pakistan, I will even become a choora’. A choora is a derogatory term for a Christian khakroab, and this statement elicited thundering applause from the studio audience. What a great man, he is willing to sink all the way to the level of a choora to save Pakistan! No one questioned the logical inconsistency. No one questioned the deep-seated racism and hatred for minorities. No one questioned the comedian on this exceptionally insolent and crass claim.

The racism continued in various forms on the program. A short while later, the comedian asked a former cricketer, a question about Chris Gayle. He asked whether Gayle feels disgusted when he looks at his own black hands. Surely it must cause nausea when he is eating. Tactfully, the guest stayed quiet on the issue, and the show moved on as if nothing had happened. The comedian, however, looks quite pleased with himself, for he had cleverly snuck in both religious discrimination and racism into the affair, and no one had been the wiser.

All of this is normal, but it should not be. All of this is accepted, but it should not be. Within our so-called liberal bubbles, we feel secure that we clamoured over social media. But the dirty secret of social media is that most of what is said on social media is not seen by most people. It is not sufficient to just tweet a picture of the newspaper. As citizens, we need to hold our leaders more accountable. Make calls to their office, write letters to their secretaries, send emails with demands for a better apology, and a promise to refrain from tinting a job posting in religious racism ever again.

Discrimination against minorities seems to be the true national sport of Pakistan. In our textbooks, in our daily social upbringing, we are lead to believe that non-Muslims are lesser beings, second-class citizens meant for janitorial jobs, indifferent attitudes, and universal disdain. This institutional racism has crept into every crevice, every pore, and every corner of the Pakistani society. It is our responsibility, as conscientious citizens to keep to in check, to challenge it, and to demand a better environment for everyone as equal citizens, as afforded by Article 25 of the Constitution of Pakistan.

Souce: dailytimes.com.pk/opinion/24-Mar-17/pakistans-minorities-second-class-citizens

----URL: http://www.newageislam.com/pakistan-press/new-age-islam-edit-bureau/between-the-doctor-and-his-god--new-age-islam-s-selection,-24-march-2017/d/110509


Compose Your Comments here:
Email (Not to be published)
Fill the text
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the articles and comments are the opinions of the authors and do not necessarily reflect that of NewAgeIslam.com.