Monday, November 27, 2017
By Saeed Qureshi
In his landmark speech of August 11 1947 delivered before the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founding father of Pakistan proclaimed:
"We should keep that in front of us as our ideal and you will find that in course of time Hindus would cease to be Hindus and Muslims would cease to be Muslims, not in the religious sense, because that is the personal faith of each individual, but in the political sense as citizens of the State.”
“You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place or worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed that has nothing to do with the business of the State.”
He announced that despite Pakistan being a Muslim majority state, all minority religious denominations would be treated as equals in observance of their religious obligations. This speech outlined the freedom of all non-Islamic religions as well as denominations within Pakistan.
But later the guidelines set out by the father of the nation were set aside in the Objective Resolution adopted by the same Constituent Assembly on 12 March 1949. The Objective Resolution proclaimed that “the future constitution of Pakistan would be modeled on the ideology and democratic faith of Islam.
The resolution, in its entirety, has been made part of the Constitution of Pakistan under Article 2(A). Subsequent to the passage of the Objectives Resolution, all of Pakistan’s constitutions contained religious provisions. The name of the country was changed from the Republic of Pakistan to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
There are contradictions in the Objective Resolution. In Article 25 it is written that all citizens are equal before law. However, Article 2 says that Islam shall be the state religion. Also, the denial of the right to non-Muslims citizens to become the head of state or government also negates Article 25, which requires equality before law.
By virtue of being in majority, the Muslims in Pakistan naturally have the benefit and upper hand to elect the Muslim members of the parliament which is in accord with the basic ingredient of the democracy. Yet it blocks the possibility of any non-Muslims to become the prime minister or the head of state which in fact is the denial of the basic principle of the democracy. In India We have seen that head of the government were Muslims despite that country being a Hindu majority State. Moreover, in India the majority being those of Hindus, the name of the country was not changed to Hindu Republic of India.
But in Pakistan over a period of time not only that the religion Islam has been politicized but made part of the constitution which obviates religious freedom for other sects and religious denomination. It is essential in Pakistan to be a Muslim for being the president or the prime minister.
Various Islamic religious parties and sects opposed the creation of Pakistan one of which is the Jamaat-e-Islami. Yet despite their opposition in the creation of Pakistan they succeeded in changing the nomenclature of Pakistan to Islamic Republic of Pakistan. It should have been the Democratic Republic of Pakistan or simply the Republic of Pakistan.
Although Pakistan, by any definition, is an Islamic state yet the urge, efforts and activities of the religious demagogues and parties have turned Pakistan in an intolerant bigotry ridden and non-democratic state. With branding Pakistan an Islamic state, the question arises which sects or denomination’s Islam? India under the colonial rule of the British was more peaceful as there was sectarian and religious harmony than one cannot witness now.
There is such an unbridgeable rift between the sects within Islam that their coexistence in an Islamic state has always been at risk after the demise of prophet Muhammad(pbuh). The minority sects such as Hinduism, Sikhism, Christianity, Bahais, Sikhs, Parsis or Zoroastrianism, Ismaili and others look like culprits and remain the target of the onslaughts from the main Sunni sects including Qadria, Chishtia, Wahabi, Naqshbandi and generally Brelvis.
The main religious groups have the street power to threaten the governments, harass their religious opponents and force the people to adopt a rigid mold and style of Islam which should be in accordance with their perception of Islam.
Now in Pakistan we have Brelvis and Wahabi fighting each other and branding each other as infidels and out of the pale of Islam. Pakistan has always been a fertile ground for clashes between Sunnis and Shias which are the main sects opposing each other from the day the first caliph of Islam Hazrat Abu Bakr succeeded the final prophet of Islam.
That irreconcilable tussle has been running through islamic history causing horrendous slaughter, wars, massacres and genocides of the people and populations on both the sides. The faith-based and clannish animosity between Banu Hashim on one side and Umayyads on the other and later between Ommyads and Abbasids is dripped in Muslims’ blood. Presently this rivalry continues between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
Coming back to the camping at the Faizabad vantage interchange or crossroads, one can imagine the power and resourcefulness of the religious parties to stage such a prolonged protest hampering the normal life of the citizens and crippling the government and state functioning.
Now the finality of the prophet-hood of Hazrat Muhammad is not a big issue because all Muslims profess that belief. But under that pretext, paralyzing the entire country, entailing huge loss to the economy and disturbance of normal life is frightening.
Let us compare that situation in India which is patently a Hindu State. It is majority Hindu state, yet it is secular and nowhere in the Indian constitution it is written that it is a Hindu state. Why don’t the Wahabi and Deobandi and Brelvis sects fight each other there. In India, Shias and Sunnis perform and observe their religious undertakings with peace and without any fear or confrontations.
It means a secular state ensures the religious peace and coexistence without labeling each other Kafirs (non-believers and enemies). If in a Hindu state and in Islamic Bangladesh state there is religious harmony why it can’t be brought about in Pakistan.
The Demagogues and vested interests of professional clergies, spiritual figures and so called self-styled saints, witch doctors, Shamans and mediums claim to pray to God directly. These people have been exploiting the common folks by being closer to God than the common man. This a not a real Islam but a travesty of Islam.
Saudi Arabia is the birthplace of Islam. Yet in Saudi Arabia, no one can claim to be more pious and nearer to God than the common man. There are no peers, no saints no religious or spiritual healers and no worshiping of the graves and mausoleums. Then why is this religious pattern in Pakistan? This question must be answered by those why are religious scholars and who can guide the faithful to unite upon a common Islam and live with each other and with minority faiths.
We can see that culture in Europe where the Catholics and protestants live together and don’t indulge in religious or sectarian battles. They used to do so in the past but the papacy has been confined to the premises of the church and catholic Pope to a small portion of Rome.
Finally, the state of Pakistan has got to be serving the people including the minority religious or social communities generally. The religious harmony is the dire need in Pakistan. otherwise the country would remain hostage to the religious goons and ruffians. Common believers are used by the religious fanatics, preachers and custodians of their branch of faith to keep the cauldron of sectarianism boiling so that they can maintain hegemony and inflow of the perks and privileges unhindered.
The State must be out of the religious confrontations and deal with the trouble makers with ion hands for the sake of the sovereignty and stability of Pakistan as well as for peace and safety of the people.
I shall mention only some measures which can improve such appalling state of affairs. Religious madrasas (institutions) should be integrated with regular educational system. The opening and closing of the mosques’ hours should be strictly maintained. The prayer leading imams should be selected like other services.
All the self- appointed or family oriented saints sitting on graves or self-styled peers (spiritual solicitors or healers) should be ousted and these places should be brought under the control of the government and state institutions. The hate or sectarianism-tinged speeches and sermons should be banned and severely punished. The rest can follow.
Wednesday, November 22, 2017
By Saeed Qureshi
The sit-in assemblage (Dharna) by the Muslims and upholders of the Khatam-e-Nabuwat (the belief in the finality of the prophet-hood of Hazrat Muhammad) is still continuing at the Faizabad interchange located between cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan. This colossal protest congregation was initiated by the indignant Muslim protesters and religious and spiritual leaders on November 6 and is still continuing. The TLP leaders and activists have been picketing at the interchange since November 6, disrupting the routine life in the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad.
This huge protest was sparked because some individuals in the government recently changed the oath related to Khatam-e-Nabuwat into a simple declaration and repealed Clauses 7B and 7C from the Election Order 2002 that made it obligatory for the government servants and all people serving on coveted positions and jobs to declare the finality of Prophet Muhammad for all times to come.
Apparently, it is a matter of faith and the Muslims particularly, the clerical classes and religious circles cannot accept the removal of those clauses from the oath that are related to the faith that prophet Muhammad is the final prophet of God. As such the colossal reaction to the removal of those controversial clauses recently were resented and hugely protested on the countrywide scale.
Tanzeem Islami (TI) Ameer Hafiz Akif Saeed has demanded “unmasking, punishing, and expelling the ministers and government officials responsible for repealing the clauses of Khatam-e-Nabuwat oath”. He pleaded that “those responsible for the misadventure of altering the Khatam-i-Nabuwat Declaration had committed a crime against entire Muslim Ummah and deserved punishment.”
The situation has become very precarious and problematic for the movement of vehicles of all kinds between these two cities. As we all know huge number of employees, businessmen and students travel between these two cities every day. As such with the Dharna and blockade caused by the demonstrators has caused inexplicable hardships for the employees and bread earners of the families and other commuters.
The students cannot reach their educational institutions easily. The patients cannot be moved from one place to another due to the persistent and stubborn protests and obstruction by the “do and die” protesters who stop the travelling of all kind by raising slogans and physically reprimanding and turning back the ordinary citizens. This is an alarming situation which has immensely disrupted the normal life of the citizenry in these most important cities of Pakistan.
In the meantime, and in response to the extremely delicate law and order situation and disruption of normal life, the government as a remedial measure, has removed the controversial “change of the oath related to Khatam-e-Nabuwat into a simple declaration and repealed Clauses 7B and 7C from the Election Order 2002”
The Pakistan’s Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal has claimed that “not only that those clauses have been restored but “The Khatam-e-Nabuwat law” has been strengthened more than ever before. So much so that Sections 7B and 7C which were made part of the Constitution during the Musharraf government in 2002 for 10 days only and were recently repealed, have been reinstated and made permanent part of the Constitution”.
Nevertheless, the leaders of this unrelenting religious protest must realize that the government will have to take stern action to clear the roads and disperse the crowd of protesters by using force including the deployment of the Frontier Constabulary as ordered by the High Court. That might entail casualties for which the entire responsibility will be leveled on the religious scholars and leaders who refuse to disperse and doggedly continue their protest and hampering the normal life of the citizens including the employees, the students and the general commuters.
In that situation, the prominent religious heads leading the protests will be held responsible for that mayhem, loss of life, damage to the property and vehicles etc. It is therefore, imperative that the religious leaders spearheading Khatam-e- Nabuwat should sit with the government functionaries on the negotiating table and sort out the whole issue in a peaceful manner. That is the best, viable and wiser course than having head-on collision with the government. If the purpose behind this protest is the removal of the incumbent government then it is a different scenario.
In the meantime, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) has ordered the government to explain as to why it had failed to clear the Faizabad Interchange of Tehreek Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) protesters.
"This is a very serious situation that despite a request to the leadership of the sit-in and directions given to the district administration, no material progress has been shown except negotiations, negotiations and negotiations," said Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui, who heads the one-member bench.
The court served show-cause notices on Secretary Interior, IGP Islamabad, chief commissioner and deputy commissioner Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) seeking explanation as to why the protesters had not been removed from the interchange despite the November 17 directions.
The protesters are demanding resignation of certain ministers somehow related with that decision that patently hurt the religious sensibilities of the believes of Khatam e Nabuwat or the finality of the prophet-hood of Hazrat Muhammad.
It appears that the protests and their powerful religious guides and leaders have some other motives beyond the restoration of the concerned clauses. If it’s merely a question of resignation by some ministers let the government take that decision as well.
But per say had Prophet Muhammad(pbuh) been alive, he would have certainly advised and commanded the Muslims protesters to call off their strike for the sake of the people. He would have counseled them restraint and patience and not to be rowdy.
It is certainly advisable for the protesters to call off their protest when the basic conditions and demand of the protesters have been accepted and the necessary legal action taken by restoring the original clauses related to finality of the prophet-hood of Hazrat Muhammad (Sallalah-o-Alai - Wassallum) have been reinstated. It is all the more necessary to restore normal life of the citizens.
Tuesday, November 14, 2017
By Saeed Qureshi
Going through the Bible (old testament) one comes across such descriptions and narrations that defy the perception that the holy books revealed by God to its chosen representatives on earth can contain highly immoral, lecherous and sleazy material. In Bible the sex and lewd incidents has been abundantly mentioned in graphic details. The female human body has been portrayed with rich and florid diction. The sex stuff that one finds in the Bible is mostly attributed to the prophets who were against the vices of their own times.
Now with the seductive or enticing narration of body parts of women, the Bible cannot be treated as the word of God or the inspired word of the divine power. God cannot reveal on the prophets unchaste and dirty material that instead of reforming the morals of the people would further push them towards moral morbidity and licentious behavior.
To say that God makes people fall into adultery (Amos 7; 16, Isaiah) is a statement that cannot come from God. It must be the figment of some one’s mind to attribute such insinuation to God who encourages goodness and piety instead of debauchery and obscenity. Several other observations and remarks that were uttered by the prophets are so morally questionable that their very reading makes a nauseating feeling.
The descriptions of women’s breasts, the songs of Solomon and psalms of the David, the story of two prostitutes, eating dung and drinking piss, the commands to Ezekiel and a surfeit of descriptions about sexual activities are utterances or writings of such persons who would not treat unbridled sex as a sin or violation of social and divine law.
The passion for sex and mindless and blind indulgence in sexual activities were traits of a pagan society such as the Romans whose vulgar and unabashed sexual bouts were part of that society. But since religion is attributed to God and the holy men are supposed to be the custodian of the moral code sent by God such obscene stuff makes a mockery of those pious teachings that are at the core of all the religions. Somewhere in the history, some people made it a part of religious literature. Now David or Solomon are the prophets of God.
Yet in the Bible, their poetry and general conduct is laden with sex and lustful enjoyment. The brash sexual manifestations were practically available in the form of large fleet of wives and concubines they kept in their palaces. It means that besides being the believers in one God and acceptance of morality as virtue they would deviate and breach it as much as they could or else the parameters and perceptions of morality as far as sex was concerned was very permissive.
But interestingly if a common man of present times, when society is so liberal and sex is abundantly free in several societies, makes such lustful and pornographic statements in writings, he would at once be labeled as immoral and of unworthy conduct. But on the contrary the prophets who should have been symbols of self-denials and far away from the mundane pleasures were steeped into such lecherous activities up to the neck. On top of it these activities and pronouncements are sacrosanct and part of the holy writings and scriptures. What if the people start following in the footsteps of these profligate prophets and make a mess of the moral fiber of a society?
Why not judge a holy book whether Quran, Bible or other religious books on the basis of their contents? We practice and follow a section or selected portion of these holy books and leave the rest as if it didn’t exist. A holy book should be all clean and embodiment of stuff of piety for men and women alike. Even if the prophets that we believe have strayed from the recognized moral path and maintained some sort of equilibrium between their good and bad acts then we should not go only for their good act but take exception of their wrong doing. If a prophet of God who is guided by God shows by his conduct propensities for sex and womanizing and adultery then we should not blame the ordinary people for such indecent pursuits and drives. Then the line that divides the pagan rulers from the religious messengers is eliminated as both seem to be sailing in the same boat.
While Islam believes in polygamy up to four wives, the sex is a part of the Hindu religion. Those women who are infertile go to the temples to pray before the symbols of human sex organs for cure or removal of their infertility. But to have concubines means no holds barred situation, to satisfy one’s wild desires sexual urge. In Islam in the early stages Bandis (maid servants) a euphemism for concubines and chattels was in vogue. The Muslim stalwarts depending on their social status would keep scores of such maid slaves with whom they would have extra marital or marital relations but they were treated equal to the regular wives. It was in fact a way to bypass the condition of four wives. Those women who were brought from the conquered territories would be taken or possessed as Bandis and it was perfectly in order to do so from moral, social and religious point of view.
In the Shia sect of Islam, a temporary wedding called Muta is allowed that legitimizes intercourse with any woman who agrees to be a temporary wife. This injunction of temporary marriage was the result of the sex needs and fulfillment of sexual desires of the warring soldiers who were away from their families and wives. But while it would satisfy the lust and sexual desires of the victorious soldiers, for the women folk of the vanquished nations, it would spell disaster, as they would be treated as the mere objects of providing sexual pleasure.
Can prophets be immoral as mentioned in the scriptures? However, in the scriptures, the apostles and prophets have been described as being involved in vulgar sex pursuits. Those who have read the scriptures would bear this contention out that the description of some of the aspects of ancient prophets painted them as morally bankrupt and lascivious. Going by the character sketches of the prophets and kings who were from the line of Abraham and who believed in one God, it surmises that they were very lustful and indulged excessively in sexual pursuits to the extent of being totally being unchaste and indecent. Take for instance the example of King Solomon who built the magnificent temple at
He is mentioned to have 700 wives and 300 concubines. Notwithstanding his
mythical wisdom and belief in one God, with such a huge crowd of women folk he
would be deemed as someone completely immersed in pleasure making and
excessively indulging in sex. It is also written in the Old Testament that
Prophet Solomon worshipped false God s in his old age (1 Kings 1:9-10). It is
also stated that his wives too believed in other gods (1 King 11-3).
About prophet David, it is written in the Bible that he committed adultery with the wife of his neighbor and before that he got him killed her husband by sending him to a battle. Thereafter he married her (2 Samuel 11:3-5). David according to these scriptures danced naked before the people (2 Samuel 6:20). David’s son committed incest with his father’s concubines. David’s son Amnon committed rape and incest with his half-sister Tamar (Genesis 19:32-36). Prophet Judah, the father of Jewish race committed incest with Tamar who was his daughter in law (Genesis 38:15-18). About Prophet Noah it is written that he was a drunk and was seen naked by his son Ham in the tent (Genesis 9:21)
It is written in the old testament(Bible) that the two daughters of Prophet Lot the nephew of Prophet Abraham committed incest with their own father who was very old. They carried child from their own father (genesis 19:32-36)
Samson the legendry hero of Jews is mentioned to have slept with a prostitute (Judge-1). Besides he killed 30 men (Judge 14-19)
One of the sons of Prophet Jacob Rueben lay with one of his father’s concubine (genesis 35-22).
Talmud’s Filthy Contents
· The holy book of Jews Talmud contains such stuff as “all gentile children are animals”
· “Adam had sexual intercourse with all the animals in the garden of the
Eden” (Yebamoth 63 a)
· “A woman who had intercourse with a beast is eligible to marry a Jewish priest. (Yebamoth 59b)
· “Gentiles prefer sex with cows”
· “Jews may use lies to mislead a gentile”
· “Jesus was strangled after being lowered into the dung” (Sanh 56a, 106b)
· “Jesus limped on one foot, was blind in one eye, practiced enhancement by way of member, committed bestiality with an ass and was a fool who did not know his bestiality”
Now these are only a few quotes from the Jewish holy book. No person with an iota of sensitivity and decency can accept this absolutely filthy and obscene stuff as gospels or inspired words of God or utterances and acts of apostles. These have been written or added by the people who were filled with hatred against their religious rivals. This also shows that the writers couldn’t understand that God cannot utter or command such dirty diction.
With such derogatory and rather putrid material no book or literature can be termed as the word from God of at least from the civilized human beings, let alone by the prophets. There is so much of hatred and venom in these holy books against the followers of the other religions that the stinking invectives and vituperation is used to degrade the opponents.
Now those who read such stiff don’t understand or realize that God or for that matter any prophet cannot use such filthy language or indulge in hideous sexual pursuits. Such remarks are written by the biased and extremely prejudiced fanatics of the religions. But in the heat of writing such vilifying material they give a very negative and wrong picture of God besides of their own faith as well as apostles. Such nauseating substance cannot make one to believe that God can stoop so low as to abuse the believers of a religion other than the Judaism.
The use of Indecent and intemperate language in the holy books of Jewish faith emits an impression that crazy zealots were the authors of such abhorrent stuff. Such teachings would not generate sympathy for these religions. On the contrary they would lead to aversion, repulsion and repugnance for such a religion.
By Saeed Qureshi
The Foreign Minister of Pakistan Khawaja Asif is concluding his three days’ official visit (Oct 4-6) to United States today. During his stay in the US capital Mr. Asif met with three most important members of the Trump Administration. One is the US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the other is US National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster. The third important person he met is the Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. These crucial meetings came after the newly elected president of United States, Donald Trump accused Pakistan for "being a safe haven for terrorist organizations".
It surmises from the statement of the Rex Tillerson given after the parleys that a lot of misunderstanding between Pakistan and USA has been cleared. Mr. Tillerson in his comments paid tributes to Pakistan for playing a historic role in curbing the militancy in Afghanistan as an ally of the United States.
After his meeting with Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif, Secretary Tillerson said, he believed the United States has a reliable partner in Pakistan. He said Pakistan’s role is critical for the long-term stability of South Asia. In his brief remarks to the media, Secretary Tillerson expressed concern about the future of Pakistan’s government, stressing that Washington wanted a stable government in Islamabad. He stated “Pakistan’s relations with the US are extraordinarily important”.
Khawaja Asif also met with the US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis who said that the United States would try "one more time" to work with Pakistan in Afghanistan. "We intend to work with Pakistan in order to take the terrorists down. I think that's what a responsible nation does," Mattis said at a media briefing. Khawaja Asif held another meeting with US National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster.
In his meetings with the US National Security Adviser McMaster and Tillerson, he emphasized that Pakistan has a "diminishing" influence on the Taliban, who were its one-time ally.
Refuting the allegations that Pakistan maintains close connections with Taliban he said that “You want us to sniff them out, we will do that. You want us to take action against them, whatever action you propose, we will do that (but) these hollow allegations are not acceptable," Khawaja Asif told the journalists.
It seems that after their meetings with Pakistan’s foreign Minister, the new American administration had revised its hasty opinion about Pakistan and branding Pakistan as a scapegoat for her failures in Afghanistan. It also surmises that the visit of Mr. Khawaja has been effective in reversing or tone-downing the adverse American opinion about Pakistan.
What was most admirable is his eloquence in English and courage that he displayed for strongly refuting president Trump’s misrepresentation of the historic role that Pakistan played as an ally of USA for ten years in Afghanistan. Khawaja exuded enormous confidence, knowledge and fluency in clearing the fog of mistrust that has been developing after the advent of a Republican president with a peculiar mindset in the White House.
Later in a session with the media, Mr. Khawaja answered a host of questions that encompassed US-Pakistan relations, the erroneous perception of America about the role of Pakistan in Afghanistan and in dealing with the Taliban and other militants, the Pak-American bilateral relations, the Afghan Refugees in Pakistan, the Religious educational institutions(Madrasas) and their role in Pakistan. In that press conference that continued for 20 minutes, Mr. Khawaja was not evasive but gave detailed answers to all questions that needed clarifications.
Answering a question about Afghan Refugees in Pakistan and the allegation of their being involved in terrorism, Mr. Khawaja said that they are not involved in terrorism and were our brothers and sisters. However, he called upon the United States to resettled these uprooted people because it was due to American war in Afghanistan that such a huge refugee influx in Pakistan took place.
About Taliban and their present role, Mr. Khawaja stated that now the leading factions of Taliban including the Haqqani faction were in Afghanistan and both Afghan government and Taliban are trying to hammer out a constitution which he indicated was a positive development.
He alluded to the visit of Pakistan COAS General Bajwa to Afghanistan and hoped that the process peace in that country would move forward. He said that a road-map to restore peace in Afghanistan was underway as all the underwriters were aiming at that coveted goal.
Answering a question about the presence of religious Madrasas in Pakistan and their role in fomenting unrest and terrorism, Mr. Khawaja answered that their role was patently positive like NGOs. They were educating millions of students, providing them food and shelter and other amenities.
About peace in the region, he emphasized that it was not incumbent upon Pakistan alone to engender peace but for all the regional states to undertake that mission. He patently meant India, China Afghanistan and Russia and Iran as well.
He said that there have been low and high stages in bilateral relations between America and Pakistan. He emphasized that during the cold war periods of 50s, 60s,70s, Pakistan and USA were close allies. There have been alliances and pacts between the two countries.
About the continuance of democratic order in Pakistan, the foreign minister opined that leaving the past behind we can now vouch that Pakistan is on the road to a stable democratic path. He cited the period of the past ten years and argued that there have been elected representatives and democratic governments in Pakistan.
He said that in Pakistan now we have independent judiciary, parliament and assertive media which were playing their roles strengthening a democratic culture. He pointed out that there have been four military interventions in Pakistan patently abetted by the United State. He maintained that now democracy was premised on firm footing and Pakistan actually entered into a civilian threshold in 2013.
To follow up the process of normalizing relations between America and Pakistan, the US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson would be visiting Pakistan later this month.