Friday, 30 December 2011

Allama Iqbal: a critical perspective

Allama Iqbal: a critical perspective

“Every generation has its own dreams and vision which it wants to accomplish without interference. Not imitation but freedom is required to build a new world. Therefore, an attempt should not be made to repeat but to make new history. People should be liberated from the shadows and allowed to flourish in a free society. Great leaders should be respected but not worshipped”.
(Dr Mubarak Ali)
Ibne Khaldun, the doyen of Muslim Historians, described History as a science and not an art. He was of the view that History should be objective, not subjective to the historian’s whims or the needs of the hour. The problem with later-day Muslim historians arose when they tried to “glorify” Muslim history and “re-invented” certain personalities as shining examples for the modern Muslims. This historical revisionism was at its peak during the 19th century and early parts of the 20th century.
Dr Mubarak Ali, in his book, “Taareekh ki Daryaft” (Exploring history) provided some glaring examples of historical revisionism from sub-continental history. The most famous religious figures from 15th to 18th century are supposed to be Sheikh Ahmad Sirhindi(also known as Mujaddad Alaf Sani) and Shah Waliullah. According to Dr Mubarak, the hype about  Sheikh Ahmad was propagated by Maulana Manazir Ahsan Gilani and Maulana Abul Kalaam Azad while Shah Waliullah  was “re-invented” by Obaidulah Sindhi as he was searching for someone resembling Karl Marx in the Islamic world. Sheikh Ahmad was made out to be the nemesis of Mughal Emperor Akbar. Another very important source of such revisionism was famous novelist Naseem Hijazi. This trend of bending history according to the time was continued after creation of Pakistan. An “Ideology of Pakistan” was created during the 1960s. The father of that Ideology was designated to be Allama Mohammad Iqbal, poet and philosopher. (For more on the story of creation of this so-called Ideology, I recommend reading the book “Dau Qaumi Nazriya: Aik Taareekhi Jaiza” by Professor Amjad Ali)
As a part of Historical Revisionism, Allama Iqbal’s poetry was used to stir up emotions of Nationalism and Pan-Islamism. Thousands of books have been written on Iqbal, most of them in his praise and very few in critiques. I will try to present some aspects of Iqbal’s poetry that I consider to be erratic and anachronistic.
Iqbal himself can be categorized as a historical revisionist. He remained passionate about Pan-Islamism throughout his life. While the argument that all the adherents of a religious ideology should combine and form one entity is very promising but it is utopian at best. Iqbal, of all people, would have known that since the death of Caliph Usman, Muslims have NEVER been a single entity throughout history. In fact, more Muslims have been killed by other Muslims in the last 1400 years than by people from other faiths.
Iqbal’s idea of an all conquering  “Mard-e-Momin” is not very different from the “Superman” of Neitzche. Allama Iqbal also propagated the idea of Muslim Supermacism i.e. only Muslims deserve to lead the world. This approach has led to a national cultural narcissism.
There is no place for women in Iqbal’s poetry, echoing a patriarchal approach by the esteemed poet. According to Mohammad Haneef, Iqbal wanted Muslim youth to take refuge in Mountains and that Martyrdom should be our ultimate aim. Now that the youth (TTP) has taken up all these endeavors, we can’t even stop them because we always taught them to do so. Interestingly, the most remarkable work done by Iqbal were his lectures titled “Reconstructing Islamic thought”. We do not find any reference to those lectures in mainstream media or textbooks only because they don’t teach anything about following without thinking(Taqleed) rather they slam this approach. There are also many contradictions in Iqbal’s poetry regarding structure of State. Iqbal criticized Democracy, Capitalism and Communism but did not hint at what kind of state he perceived. This issue has been highlighted by Dr Javed Iqbal, Iqbal son, in his autobiography(Apna Garebaan Chaak).Iqbal wrote most of his poetry in either Urdu or Persian, while the majority of Muslim Population communicated in Bengali, Punjabi, Sindhi or Pashto. According to figures collected in 1951, 54.6% people in Pakistan spoke Bengla, 28.4% spoke Punjabi, 7.2% spoke Urdu, 7.1% spoke Pashto while 5.8% spoke Sindhi. Keith Callard, Pakistan: Political Study, George Allen & Unwin, Oxford, 1957, p. 181). We declared Iqbal as our national poet despite the fact that fewer than 8 per cent of Pakistani people spoke Urdu as a first language(1981 national census). Iqbal’s so-called plan for Pakistan(due to which we credit him as the “dreamer/thinker of Pakistan, wrongly because 64 such suggestions had been publicly presented before 1930) did not include East Pakistan which was the hub of Muslim political activity in United India.  
Due to so much diversity in the message of Iqbal, many elements have tried to use his poetry for their own agendas. Mullahs(clergymen), whom Iqbal opposed all his life and actively wrote against, blatantly used Iqbal’s message of Pan-Islamism for their own purposes. 
 In recent years, Iqbal’s poetry has been used for propaganda-mongering by Glenn Beck of Pakistan, Zaid Hamid who did two shows namely ‘Iqbal ka Pakistan’ and ‘Iqbal the Mysterious’ eulogizing the “mystic” aspects of Iqbal and attributed all kind of supernatural powers to Iqbal.    
According to Nadeem Farooq Paracha, writer and blogger, “ I sometimes feel, a non-critical stance towards Iqbal’s work in this country has actually damaged his standing. He was a product of his time and well suited to compliment what was going in the minds of Indian Muslim men in the first half of the 20th century. But was he a visionary? I don’t think so. I don’t think his work is as relevant today as it is made out to be. Certainly not in a post-modern world where the notions of universalism based on certain singular concepts of faith and progress have long crumbled and given way to a healthy respect and need for democracy, pluralism and diversity.”  
Despite all the above-stated criticism, I cannot deny the importance of Allama Iqbal as a poet and as a Philosopher. All I am saying is that we need to project a balanced image of Allama Iqbal and refrain from deification of a mortal man. We also need an objective approach towards history so that our future generations do not suffer from paranoia as we are. We should also encourage constructive criticism of Iqbal and leave behind the notion that saying anything about Iqbal is akin to blasphemy.

(also published by Pak tea house)

Sunday, 18 December 2011

A short guide to weddings in Pakistan (And Why do I hate attending them)

A short guide to weddings in Pakistan (And Why do I hate attending them)

(Disclaimer: I want to make it clear at the outset that this is NOT a tirade against the institution of marriage, just a rant about the state of weddings as they happen in Pakistan.)

I hate weddings, just hate them. I hate everything about them. From the process of bride/groom selection till the 'maklaawa'(tradition according to which groom has to stay for a day or two at brides’ home after Waleema), I hate every single aspect of weddings. Weddings in Pakistan are nothing but  exercises in pretentious-ness and hypocrisy.
For the un-initiated, I would like to give an overview of a typical Pakistani/Punjabi wedding.
 Let’s start with the 'selection' process. The standards of future mothers-in-law about their prospective daughters/sons-in-law have skyrocketed courtesy Karan Johar, Ekta Kapoor and Umera Ahmad. The scrutiny process is comparable rather tougher than the vetting done by parties for the candidates of US presidential elections. I have seen an ambitious mother visit no less than TWO HUNDRED houses and still not being able to choose a bride for her Russian-graduate doctor son.
Then there is an engagement ceremony which is quite like a practice session before a Test Match. Almost all the ingredients of weddings are present in engagement ceremonies. There is a formal date-fixing ceremony named as 'Dehaaray'(punjabi word,meaning date-fixing). There is dholki, which consists of family members gathering for 4-5 days before the wedding to play dholak,a musical instrument and sing songs. There is an 'oil' ceremony and mehndi. Mind you, the 'actual' wedding hasn't happened yet. Then is the wedding “proper” i.e. Nikah ceremony in which the two people who are “actually getting married” are wed according to Islamic way. This leads to Rukhsati(means departure) of bride from her home(mostly, from marriage halls) to Groom’s place. At groom’s place, there is a “reception” for the bride. Next day, there is Waleema, which means a party from groom(and his family) to their friends, extended families and brides’ family. Maklaawa is the last brick in the block and is followed by parties by members of both families. 
I feel that a simple, elegant, beautiful event i.e. wedding between two people is made sooooooooooooo complicated that it becomes a bloody mess. I have only mentioned the most popular ceremonies, different parts of country have additional stuff to do on weddings. Many people will accuse me of thinking like a salafist and being against the “cultural invasion”. For those people, I want to make it clear that I do not oppose all this “drama” because of any religious leanings but because I can’t stand hypocrisy and doing things JUST BECAUSE that’s the way it is done. What I have found extremely hypocritical is that most of the ultra-religious people I knew did ALL the things that they used to criticize about others’ weddings. One frequent excuse for extravagance and the ceremonies is that weddings are moments of happiness, moments to be cherished and somehow EVERYTHING is justified when you are happy. I believe that the Urdu word for wedding, “shaadi” means “happiness” and that happiness ought to be celebrated but going beyond your means and hiding your real faces is not the definition of celebrating happiness. My feelings when someone asks me to attend a wedding are summarized eloquently by Nabiha Meher,
“ I feel like I’m being asked to sacrifice MY happiness for yours for no good reason other than the fact that you want to show off your popularity. “Look at me!” these weddings scream. “I am so rich, so popular!”
I’ll now list some particular aspects that I don’t like from the weddings.

1. Photography
It seems to me that the most important person at the weddings these days is not the groom anymore, it’s the photographer. All the festivities are choreographed so that the photographer can get better 'shots'. Starting from sehra-bandi to the dance in front of the groom when he reaches the marriage hall to the photo session, the photographer is present everywhere. People wear good clothes partly because of the occasion and partly because of fascination with getting their pictures taken by a photographer. I do not blame the photographers themselves for this because they are only doing their job. I have never seen a wedding without a photographer. Why do we have to 'play to the gallery' all the time.? After the marriage, the photo albums circulate the whole neighborhood and after few years, the albums are usually lost in trash. So much for “preserving memories”.

a disturbing trend that I find is the association between weddings and food. If you ask a person going to attend a weding as to where they are going, the response of 90% of them would be, 'shaadi Khaanay jaa Rahay hain'(translation: going to eat {at} the wedding). Relatives of bride/groom from other cities come to stay at their place 1-2 day before the wedding and have to be “fed” by the hosts. Then the companions of groom, known as “Baarat” has to be served food by the brides’ family. On Walima, the roles change and grooms’ family has to serve food to the brides’ family and their own. From my personal experience, the food at weddings is of abysmal quality. It is full of spices, cheap oil and un-known ingredients. As a medical student, I would recommend to anyone willing to protect their health to refrain from eating such food. Also, food is not a problem it’s the WAY people react to food that is obnoxious. As soon as some-one announces that food has been served(or its punjabi version, “Roti Khul gayi jay”) a pandemonium takes over the marriage hall. People jump over chairs, tables, even human beings just to get to the table where food is placed. If I am given one chance to prove as why I am so disgusted by the thought of attending weddings, I will point out that moment. It is said(as satire) that at that very moment, people forget everything that they are doing and dash towards the nearby table as if their lives depend on it. No wonder gluttony was a part of the seven deadly sins.

3. Over-spending
Weddings have become a competition here and to keep your place in the “society” you have to WIN that competition. It does not matter If you have to take a massive loan to marry your son or sell your house to arrange for wedding of your daughter. You can spend the rest of your life paying loan but you are not supposed to do a simple wedding If you do not have the resources. Otherwise your nose would be cut (literal translation of “naak katt jaye gi”, a phrase meaning a loss in social status).

4. Fascination with Attending weddings
I have seen women on wheel-chairs, on crutches, barely able to walk attending weddings with beaming eyes. I do not want to criticize anyone because of the choices they make but I can’t understand this weird fascination with attending weddings at the cost of misery. On the wedding day this weirdness is manifested as the fascination with WATCHING THE BRIDE.Gimme a break. As soon as a bride enters the arena, EVERY single woman in the hall starts moving closer to have a look depicting a scene from the “Pied-Piper”. In my very honest opinion, a bride is supposed to look as the ‘lady of the evening/afternoon’ but the brutality that is done in the name of make-up makes everyone look similar to a Geisha. If this is how a woman looks at her “best”, I would like to emigrate to Canada/Scandinavia (to look for ‘dudes’ if u didn’t get the joke).

5. Dowry
Marriages are supposed to be made in Heaven; the dowry however has to be made in this very world. This is the reason why a woman starts collecting stuff and saving money the moment a daughter is born to her. Even in this so-called modern era, dowry is an important part of wedding. God Forbid If the brides’ family cannot arrange “enough” dowry, All hell would break loose. The sad fact is, NOTHING is enough.

6. Showing Off
From gifting expensive watches and jewelry to the in-laws to showing “Bari”(clothes prepared by groom’s family for the bride), from arranging an expensive marriage lawn to dowry, EVERYTHING about weddings is a show-off.

Conclusion: This post is not supposed to make you hate weddings, If you have read this, it is my request to Please notice for yourself what I have written(when you attend the next wedding) and If possible, try to change things for the better. 

Saturday, 17 December 2011

"After the Prophet" by Lesley Hazelton

"After The Prophet: The Epic Story Of The Shia Sunni Split In Islam" by Lesley Hazelton is one of the finest books written on the topic of shia-sunni problem in Islam. It is based on a neutral narrative and both the shia and sunni views about the incidents are given equal preference by the author in describing the incidents that took place after the death of Prophet Muhammad.
The book can be downloaded in PDF format from here.

Highly recommended for reading to those people who want to understand the basis of conflicts between Sunnis and Shias.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Law and Disorder

(published by Pak Tea House on 10th December,2011)

Law and Disorder: Radicalization of the legal community

Greek philosopher Aristotle famously remarked “The law is reason unaffected by desire”.                                                                                     Going by that description, lawyers should be the most logical/reasonable people in a society. In context of Pakistan, lawyers have played an important role in both creation of Pakistan and evolution of society. Founder of Pakistan Mr Muhamad Ali Jinnah and national poet Allama Iqbal were both lawyers. Lawyers are also the most politicised section of the society. Every major party in Pakistan has its legal wings. A disturbing trend of increased religious intolerance has been witnessed in the last few years. One basic reason for this has been the increasd influence of student wings of right-wing parties in law colleges across the country. Even the historic lawyers' movement was almost hi-jacked by the right wing elements among lawyers. According to Saroop Ijaz, a lawyer and partner at Ijaz Co in Lahore,
“The lawyers’ movement in 2007 started as one of the most principled revolutionary movements that this country has ever witnessed. The primary reason for its initial success was the organisational structure of the district Bar associations. Hence it was possible to mobilise the lawyers in most cities in the country, almost simultaneously. The realisation that a movement restricted to lawyers is unlikely to culminate into a movement of the masses in the true sense resulted in accepting assistance from anyone who was willing to offer it. The religious right was the first to see an opening and seize the opportunity. Initially, it was the religious political parties like the Jamaat-i-Islami but this degenerated into the appearance of members of the Sipah-i-Sahaba and other banned outfits at protests.. The not-so-subtle irony here was that groups that did not believe a constitutional form of government to be permissible and longed for “Sharia” rule were cheering on for the restoration of the Chief Justice. It was the classic example of not being ‘Hub-e-Ali’ (‘love for Ali’) but ‘Bugz-e-Muawiya’ (‘opposition to Muawiya’) and the enemy of the enemy being a friend etc. I am certain that the leadership of the lawyers’ movement smugly believed that the rational utilitarian choice at that moment was to garner support from whatever quarter it emanates to pursue the immediate objective of the restoration of the judiciary and of kicking out Musharraf. While both these aims were not only honourable but desirable, nevertheless there was definitely myopia displayed by the leadership of the lawyers’ movement. Faustian bargains once made cannot be undone”
A unique achievement on part of the increasingly radicalized lawyer community was the funeral prayers that were offered after the death of Osama bin Laden at Lahore High Court, Peshawar High Court and Rawalpindi Bar Association.(Despite the fact that 66% Pakistanis do not even believe that OBL was killed by US SEAL team Six that night) . This act is described as unique because these funeral prayers preceded those at either Mansoora or Qadsia Mosque(the fortresses of traditional sypmathizers of Osama i.e. Jamaat e Islami and Jamaat ad Dawaa). As if this was not disturbing enough, lawyers in Rawalpindi went a step further and showered rose-petals on the murderer of Governor Salman Taaseer in Rawalpindi.Those lawyers probably did not know that one of their own-Justice Arif Iqbal Bhatti-was murdered on the same issue in 1997 in his chambers in Lahore or that two of the very well-esteemed members of Judiciary over the years i.e. Justice Alvin Robert Cornelius and Justice Bhagwan Das were non-muslims. The image of Qadri being showered with  rose-petals by Lawyers projected to the world how insecure our minorities are and highlighted the level of religious intolerance. Later, when Qadri was sentenced to death, the judge who gave the verdict faced threats to his life and had to flee the country. Haider Imtiaz, from the Rawalpindi Bar, wrote,      
“When the verdict[against Qadri] was given, it reminded me of the age-old phrase, ‘Let justice be done, though the heavens fall’. The heavens have indeed fallen upon the judge who had, until a few weeks ago, enjoyed a reasonably good reputation. Expecting violent reprisals, he was forced to take leave and stop performing his duties. The day after the DBA resolution was passed, the same lawyers who had attended the ‘emergency’ session vandalised his office. Keeping in view the threat to his life, he was eventually transferred by the authorities. It was indeed a sad and shameful day in the history of the District Bar Association Rawalpindi which had, only a few years ago, played the role of the vanguard in the lawyers’ movement for rule of law and the independence of the judiciary.”
Azhar siddique is the poster boy for the born-again religious lawyers. He submitted an appeal to the Lahore high court praying that Facebook be banned. In may 2010, facebook was banned for a few days by PTA. Recently, Lahore high court ordered the authorities to block blasphemous pages on facebook. He was also leading the effort by certain quarters to declare Sherry Rehman ineligible for the post of of Ambassador to the United States. According to those people, Sherry Rehman introduced a bill in the parliament to amend the infamous blasphemy law and took a courageous stand on the matter of Aasia bibi which somehow justifies her to be killed or at least be declared non-muslim.(That appeal was ultimately dismissed by the Lahore High court
The founder of Pakistan would be turning in his grave due to these “stunts” by certain sections of our legal fraternity. The only positive thing is that there still are prominent lawyers with progressive thought and all is not lost yet. Law colleges across the country should try to negate the influence of radical parties and factions upon the students. Similarly, progressive lawyers need to unite and form a bulwark against the rising tide of extremism in society in general and particularly in lawyers.
It is time for the “reason” to rise above “passion”. 

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Healer, Heal thyself

(also published by Pak Tea House)

Healer, Heal thyself

Science is supposed to inculcate rational thinking among its practitioners. The whole scientific methodology relies on definitive evidence and not just myths or fable. Paradoxically, in case of religious extremism, it has been observed that students of science have been actively involved in acts of terrorism and their scientific education failed to change their narrow-mindedness and bigotry.
Research by Diego Gambetta and Steffen Hertog has shown that engineers are more susceptible to join Islamic Radical groups than other people. Similar data is not available about Doctors. However, based on information about the terrorist networks and terrorists themselves it is not difficult to find doctors in prominent roles. Most famous and perhaps dangerous is Dr Ayman-az-Zawahiri, a pediatrician from Egypt believed to be the second-in-command of Al Qaeda and the chief ideologue. Abu Hafiza, the master-mind of Madrid bombings, Dr Akmal Waheed, accused of having links with Al-Qaeda, attacking the convoy of the Karachi corps commander in 2004 and providing financial aid to the banned Jundullah activists, Bilal Abdulla, who attempted a terrorist attack on Glasgow Airport in 2007, Dr Nidal Malik Hassan, who killed 13 people and wounded 29 others in the worst shooting ever to take place on an American military base at Fort Hood, located just outside Killeen, Texas, Dr Ali Abdullah, who abetted terrorists in attempted murder of wounded Ahmedis in Jinnah Hospital, Lahore, Professor Dr Zafar Iqbal Chohdary, a pioneer of Lashkar e Tayba and last but not the least, Dr Afia Siddiqui(though not a practicing physician/surgeon, she did her PhD in neuroscience), who was one of six alleged al-Qaeda members who bought $19 million worth of blood in MonroviaLiberia, immediately prior to the September 11, 2001, attacks and who was married in 2003 to al-Qaeda member Ammar al-Baluchi, in Karachi. Al Baluchi is a nephew of al-Qaeda leader Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.
Khaled Ahmed, veteran journalist, noted in his book that “In 2005, I was asked by the Lahore Chapter of doctors’ association to address them on current national issues. I was prepared to discuss the problem of growing religious violence, but when I saw that most of the medical specialists in the high-income bracket were sporting flowing beards and already making speeches in favour of an Islamic revolution, I changed my mind and did not broach the subject of increased religiosity among the scientists in general and doctors in particular. The meeting was finally dominated by Dr Israr Ahmad, himself a medical doctor, and Dr Amer Aziz who had been to Afghanistan to treat Osama bin Laden.”
(Khaled Ahmed, Sectarian War, Oxford University Press, Karachi; 2011; pp 173) The growing radicalization has also caused problems for doctors aspiring to get training in the United States (US being the country with most advanced training facilities).
According to Dr Saima Zafar, president-elect of the Association of Physicians of Pakistani descent in North America (APPNA), this past year 22 physicians from Pakistan who had managed to get through the rigorous process of residency interviews and were matched with residency programmes lost their spots after being refused visas.
Those already in residency programmes also found their positions precarious. One resident at a prestigious programme who had returned to get married found himself being taken off his return flight to America. His visa was revoked without explanation. His programme at Pennsylvania State University’s Hershey campus announced soon after that it would no longer be recruiting Pakistani medical graduates.
What prompts these people to turn towards extremism is hard to judge. We will examine a few theories about this phenomenon though. Hajra Mumtaz, in an article titled “The benefit of grey” opined, “Science teaches certainties that have the equivalent of a moral upper hand through being absolutely and invariably correct. In this way, we have in people the inclination to either totally accept as right, or totally reject as wrong, ideas and attitudes. And so, quite possibly, we have a society that is one step closer to allowing extreme viewpoints or ideologies to take root.
Students of the social sciences and humanities, by contrast, are taught to navigate their way through endless possibilities with no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answer to light the path. Philosophy, history, literature, anthropology, etc are all areas that require the student to traverse the grey areas and the ‘what ifs’, where the only moral upper hand can be logic and rational, coherent debate. These subjects ask the student to take in context and connections and search for alternatives.”
In a research report named “Red Hot Chilli Peppers Islam – Is the Youth in Elite Universities in Pakistan Radical?” It was stated that “The majority believed that madrassah reforms were being imposed by the US and  hence were a ruse to manipulate traditional institutions. Majority of respondents also viewed Islam as the right formula for governance. 62% considered Shiites as Non-Muslim. 40% of respondents didn’t believe that imposing military rule was an act of treason. 57% respondents viewed USA as the biggest threat to Muslim Ummah, 43% listed Israel and 33% considered “West” as the biggest threat to Muslim Ummah. 46% were willing to believe that the Taliban were sponsored the US.” The study concluded that, “they[students of Elite Universities] suffer from a closed mind or are prone to exclusivity rather than inclusivity. The ‘us’ versus ‘them’ divide compounded with greater insensitivity towards social and political issues has created an elite generation which may be incapable of mending fences with other groups. Being affluent these youth may have greater stakes in not turning towards active militancy. But then, cases such as Faisal  Shehzad or Afia Siddiqui can always happen. These two cases, in fact, indicate the possibility of latent radicalism transforming into radicalism and militancy. 
 This study did not find any remarkable difference between the thinking of the youth going to elite institutions. Access to better education did not necessarily produce better quality thinking” The sample for this study included 2 medical colleges as well. A worrying thought is that extremism in medical professional is increasing and not decreasing. A “radd-e-Fahashi seminar” was held in a  medical college in Lahore. In the same medical college, Hizb ut Tehrir(a banned organization) conducted many workshops and a similar organization “Sout-ul-Ummah” are quite active there. Student wings of Religio-political parties are active in medical colleges especially in Faisalabad, Multan and Bahawalpur. Doctors are considered as one of the most educated group of people. If they are treading towards the path of extremism, what hope there is for illiterate people who form the majority of Pakistan’s populace?  

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Diaries from Punjab

Diary of a typical PTI suporter
Woke up early in the morning at 8.30 am. Had pancakes and coffee for breakfast. Drove to the university. Used internet to solve surprise quiz in class. After all, it’s fair to do so, it’s not Corruption. Only Politicians do corruption. Was also helped by a class-mate. Socialism is cool, until practiced during exams. Hung out with my group after that. Discussed inqalab and the latest episode of Heroes and Breaking Bad. Reminisced about Strings performance at The Jalsa. Came home and slept till 6 o clock. Got up, checked facebook statuses on my iPad. Removed people from friends list who had criticized 'Chairman' today. Flagged the “Aalu Anday” video as Inappropriate. Stalked a few female class fellows. Later, checked latest news via twitter. Was pleased to know that Chairman had formed a committee to vet all our party candidates. Exchanged furious tweets with some anti-Chairman, anti-revolution people. Switched the TV on but turned off after channel surfing. I don’t understand why this liberal fascist media doesn’t understand that “Chairman” is not pro-Taliban and is not being backed by the Brave Khaakis. That meeting with Pasha was just for congratulating him on Afridi’s performance. Can’t wait for 2013 when Kaptaan and our party will sweep the elections and we can show the pessimists that Inqalab is Possible. We will talk to the Taliban, cut off all relations with the big evil Amrika and may be; just maybe we will be able to convince other Muslim countries and Cheen to form a combined state, our Khilafat. Ham dekhain gay, lazim hai kay ham bhi dekhain gay. Talked to some girls on phone. Ate some chicken bread and dozed off.

Diary of a typical PPP Worker
Woke up early in the morning at 6 am. Asked wife to prepare lunch box while I sipped tea. Walked for half an hour to reach bus stop where factory bus picked me up. Shift started at 8.30 am. Around 10 am, a co-worker got his arm injured due to some machine malfunction. He was not even provided first aid. We decided to stop work and protest in front of manager's office. After all, we have that right because Bhutto Shaheed made labour laws for us. Shift In charge finally called 1122 and our co-worker was taken to the hospital. Manager announced that half our today's pay will be cut because we are not allowed to protest. Now I will have to pay my daughter's fee from the Income Support Program. I wish I had gone to Dubai when the party was sending people in droves. At the very least I could have gotten a better job. If Mirza can get sugar mills from the party, I should have gotten a departmental store if not anything else. The party has gone to the dogs now. My shift ended at 5 pm. Reached home at 7 pm. Dinner consisted of same saalan that I had for lunch. Watched PTV news at 9 pm. Talked to my daughter. She wants to become doctor. I will have to start a part-time job next year to afford her fee. Jiye Bhutto and good night.

Diary of a typical N-league suporter.
Woke up early in the morning at 8.30 am. Took a light breakfast of desi ghee paratha and 4 omelets.     Reached my shop at 9.45 am.  Watched repeat telecast of last nights' talk show. I cannot understand why the TV walas invite these godless secular-liberal types to their programs. They are the scum of earth. Just wish musharraf had not conspired against Mian sb, he would have been Amir ul Momineen by now and we would have eliminated the godless numpties. I will advise ameer sahb on upcoming Ijtema to plan a strategy against secularism as well. They also deserve our tableegh. Maybe my next Seh roza would be to Islamabad. Sale went well till around 1 pm. Then there was load shedding. Why on earth does Zardari not understand our misery and give us electricity. Asked a worker to fetch me lunch from Gourmet at 2 o clock. Shezan is located closer to the shop but you know, we don't do business with people who claim to be musalman but they are not. Who knows what they mix in their pasteries,cakes,sandwiches or beverages.
Attended a meeting of local trader association at 3 o clock and it was decided unanimously to close our shops for 2 hours from next Jumma till Ghazi Mumtaz Qadri is released. At least our nation is united on that front. Came back to shop and received shipment from abroad. It did not come through legal way but who cares anyway.
A molvi sb came to collect money from the box that is present in my shop and which asks musalmans to donate money for mujahideen. Molvi sb inquired if I was interested in sending my elder son to his madrassa for free education. May god have mercy on him,he is such a gentle soul, he didn't know my son was already at an expensive english medium school. One of my cousins has a mentally handicapped child,I referred Molvi sb to his shop.
Reached home at 8 pm and had dinner with the family. Watched a pakistani soap drama. Elder son asked me to buy him a mobile or at least a PSP. asked him to wait till my brother comes back from Amrika. Slept while watching a sports channel.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

PTA Banned List Fiasco

Disclaimer: - This article contains more than 20 words banned by the PTA in their now-defunct list. Continue Reading at our own risk.  

The cat is out of the bag folks. We have finally discovered the source of the recently circulated list of banned words by PTA. Interestingly, the origin of this list (the English one) was traced back to the United States, confirming our long-held beliefs about the orchestration of Pakistani state by Amrika and Jews. The list was actually formulated as the words that could not be chosen by players of American football as names on the back of their shirts.
The Urdu list has been traced back to Indian web sites, confirming our suspicions about RAW infiltrating the government departments. The person responsible for issuing this list was not revealed. This is just another example of the favorite tactic used by Pakistani students i.e. plagiarism.
We recently banned many porn websites too. The list of those websites has not been released as of yet. What’s the harm in releasing that list, after all they are already “blocked”. Perhaps the case of banned words taught the babus at PTA some lesson, but that is highly unlikely. As if we did not have enough bad publicity Internationally, this list has provided the world with another issue to mock us on.
Rachel Maddow wondered how a country facing grave problems as terrorism, load shedding and an existential crisis could focus more on censorship and less on its crises.                                                                                         Washington Post noted,
“Do not forget to strap on your helmet before getting on your motorcycle.” “I got the tickets for Twilight. Hurry up or you’ll miss showtime!” “This teacher is so boring. She’s killing me.”
Next week, these text messages could be banned in Pakistan.Do the above sentences seem innocuous? Harmless perhaps? If a proposed ban passes in Pakistan, none of the above sentences could be sent as text messages.”                                                         Guardian reported,
“Guardians of linguistic purity have long warned against the pernicious impact that text messaging may have on the young, but Pakistan officials have taken such concerns to a new extreme by demanding that mobile phone operators block all text messages using offensive words.”
According to Huffington Post,                               “The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority's ban on 1,600 words deemed "pornographic or offensive to Islam" has flabbergasted much of the international media. Now, many global gay rights advocates are drawing attention to the number of LGBT-related words on the black list.”
According to Time Magazine,                                “The list includes many crude and sexual terms that the government is attempting to root out as part of a 1996 ban on transmitting information through telephone systems that is “indecent or obscene.” Many of the standard curse words you’d expect have come under the hammer. Even misspellings were accounted for. But also banned are rather tame terms like fart and idiot.”
International Business Times said,                          “The next time, while in Pakistan, you find the need to text someone to "deposit" money in your bank account, call a "taxi" or simply write "Jesus Christ", check before you type.”
                                                                                                                                      Blogger Umair Tariq, writing for Express Tribune observed,                                                          “Rather than putting emphasis on character building and progressiveness, the government threw us into confusion that ultimately led us to religious intolerance and extremism. We have given up regard for the privacy of an individual and we have forsaken the golden rule of religious tolerance on which Islam was founded.”
National Newspapers like The Nation, Pakistan Today and Friday Times carried headlines such as “PTA comes up with vulgarictionary”, “Textual harassment” and “Obscene words or minds?”
This effort by PTA can be categorized as a classical symptom of “Ostrich Syndrome”. Nabiha Meher, a teacher, defines Ostrich Syndrome as, “We like to stick our heads in the sand, like kids sticking their fingers in their ears screaming “I can’t hear you! I can’t hear you!” Government should divert its attention to curbing the root cause of this dirty-messaging, as banning particular words would be tantamount to ignoring the cause and blocking the effect. PTA, of all people, should also have known that call and message blocking system is already being provided by many Network providers. If someone texts me something inappropriate or badgers me with incessant calls, I can block his number by subscribing to the Call-block or Message-Block service provided by my Network. Finally,on November 22, PTA backtracked from the list of words it sent to telecom service providers to block text messages as part of a ‘content filtering’ campaign after it met with widespread derision and a threat of legal action. The question still remains the same:- When will they learn? 

Story of Al Qaeda

9/11 was the day the world changed. It was the most important geo-political moment in the last 20 or so years. We live on in the post 9/11 world now. One prime actor responsible for 9/11 was Al Qaeda. A lot of efforts have been made in last few years to discover what Al Qaeda is and how it functions. Majority of Youth in Pakistan (according to researches by British Council and Pakistan Institute of Peace Studies) think Al-Qaeda is a front for US Imperialism. Similarly more than 60% people in Pakistan believed that the OBL-operation in May 2011 was a farce and Osama was not killed that day. To understand Al Qaeda a bit more and demystifying it for Pakistani Youth, I have compiled a collection of biographies of the ideologues and founders of Al-Qaeda.
The document can be downloaded from HERE

Friday, 18 November 2011

Deconstructing Zaid Hamid part 8

(also published at
Deconstructing Zaid Hamid
Myths gradually have lost their appeal in those societies where intellectuals produced new ideas, thoughts, and concepts to guide people. Myths flourish in those societies which are stagnant and rely on the out dated ideas
Dr Mubarak Ali
Zaid Hamid is a TV-phenomenon popularized by his programmes like Brass Tacksand Iqbal ka Pakistan. Fourteen episodes of Iqbal ka Pakistan have been examined by this author in last six issues. Episodes 15 and 16 of Iqbal ka Pakistan, are reviewed below.

Episode 15
Ali azmat started the show by declaring that people have started seeing through the facades of democracy and freedom. He also stated that Zaid Hamid is now a popular icon of youth culture.

Zaid Hamid:- All the wars in human history have been fought for the sake of Dignity(Ghairat).
Comment:- This is a controversial statement by Zaid Hamid because If I believe his earlier sayings, All the modern wars were orchestrated by Zionist bankers. Which version should I believe.? Enough has been written about Ghairat brigade earlier.

Zaid Hamid:- Secularism(concept of separation of Church and State) started in the last 150 years.
Comment:-The concept that church should not interfere with the matters of state was the guiding principle during the Renaissance era(14th-17th Century). For it to be 150 years old, we'll have to be living in 1950.

Zaid Hamid:- Freedom is defined as rejection of all man-made laws/systems and acceptance of a God-made system.
Comment:- This statement by Mr Zaid Hamid reminds me of the words of Syed Qutb, the ideological father of Al Qaeda. In his book Milestones, he divides the world into two camps, Islam and jahiliyya, the period of ignorance and barbarity that existed before the divine message of the Prophet Mohammed. Qutb uses the term to encompass all of modern life: manners, morals, art, literature, law, even much of what passed as Islamic culture. He was opposed not to modern technology but to the worship of science, which he believed had alienated humanity from natural harmony with creation. Only a complete rejection of rationalism and Western values offered the slim hope of the redemption of Islam. This was the choice: pure, primitive Islam or the doom of mankind.

Zaid Hamid:- Nobody gives up on his life due to money.
Comment:- I would like to inform Mr Zaid Hamid that the word “Mercenary” in English language people who fight because of many. Such people are willing to even die for sake of money. Even in our own country,families of suicide bombers have been given money after their “missions” by their handlers.  

Zaid Hamid:- Suicide bombers are just anarchists
Comment:- In episode 4 of the same program, he implied that suicide bombers are doing what they do because west is trying to impose democracy on them. He does not seem to understand the ideology of takfir (rejection) that is the basis of such acts.

Zaid Hamid:- The most effective weapon in the hands of kufr is capacity to spread disinformation.
Comment:- From the evidence that we have, you are using the same “weapon” as kafirs are. Its like the pot calling the kettle black.Why don’t you give any references about your “knowledge”.?

Episode 16
Zaid Hamid:- Akbar started Deen e Ilahi which served to undermine whole muslim empire. It combined aspects of Hinduism, Judaism and Christianity.
Comment:- Dr Mubarak Ali-eminent historian-wrote in his book 'Tareekh ki daryaft' that the word 'Deen e elahi'  was never used by Akbar or his minister Abul Fazal(in the book Aiyeen e Akbari, the official history written in Akbar's time). They have called it Aiyeen e rahnmoni. He also noted that it was at most a cult, not a religion and it was not forcibly imposed upon anyone.  

Zaid Hamid:- We are muslims today because of efforts of Mujaddad Alaf Sani(Sheikh Ahmad Sirhindi).
Comment:- According to Dr Mubarak Ali, the myth of Mujaddad Alaf Sani(that he was a great person and that he fought single handedly against the fitna that Akbar started) was propogated by Maulana Manazir Ahsan Gailani and Maulana Abul Kalam Azad and that of Akbar being Anti-Islam by Abdul Qadir Badayuni in his book 'Muntakhib al Tawarikh'. There were other ulema as well at that time who did not approve of Akbar’s efforts to bring peace among various religions and sects. To be honest, these statements sound EXACTLY like those present in our textbooks. For a program that aims to bring about a revolution and spread awareness, such poor knowledge of history is not acceptable.

Zaid Hamid:- The1948 Kashmir war was thrust upon us.
Comment:- From the documents that are available from that era, there is no evidence that the 1948 war was thrust upon us. It was started by Pakistan, not India. Tribal militias were organized and duped in the name of Jihad to attack Kashmir. Nobody thrust it upon Pakistani authorities to start the war. Indian forces were not there, no attacking force was present there. Maharaja of Kashmir’s few troops defended the onsluaght but they were not the instigators of the conflict.  

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Of Conspiracy Theories and Conspiracy theorists

(also published at LUBP)

“Everyone is entitled to his own opinions; he is not entitled to his own facts.”
Daniel Patrick Moynihan

A Conspiracy theory can be defined as “collection of distorted or misrepresented facts presented to propagate a particular agenda”. Conspiracy theories consist of one or two established facts and a fantasy story woven around them. Most of conspiracy theories lie in the zone of absurdity and it is their characteristic feature that they can be disproven by using logical thinking. According to historian Dr Mubarak Ali,
 “Myths gradually have lost their appeal in those societies where intellectuals produced new ideas, thoughts, and concepts to guide people. Myths flourish in those societies which are stagnant and rely on the out dated ideas”. We have all heard the familiar phrases, “Everything is being controlled by America”, “Hindus and Israelis are working in tandem to destroy Pakistan”, “This is all a Zionist global conspiracy”, “Osama was dead long before the May attacks”, “Dengue is an American Conspiracy”, “Al-Qaeda is just a front for Amrika”, “Tehreek e Taliban are a bunch of Hindus” ,even “Imran Khan is a Jewish agent” and so on. It never ends. Such Conspiracy theories and people who promote them are present across the length and breadth of this world. From the most civilized countries to the most downtrodden ones, conspiracy theories weave their web of lies with relish.
In Pakistan, Zaid Hamid is the most prominent conspiracy theorist. He is considered to be the Glenn Beck of Pakistan without the drawing board. His ideologies have changed as fast as a chameleon that changes its colour upon sensing danger. (A detailed analysis of Zaid Hamid’s propaganda has been done by this author). He blames Christian Zionists, Hindu Zionists and Jewish Zionists for all our ills.
A primary factor responsible for proliferation of myths and conspiracy theories is the pathetic state of our textbooks. In 2003, SDPI (Sustainable Development Policy Institute) published a Report on state of Current Textbooks in Pakistan named, “The Subtle Subversion”. The report noted the ‘Insensitivity to the Religious Diversity of the Nation’, ‘Historical Falsehoods and Inaccuracies’, ‘Glorification of War and the Military’ and ‘Omissions That Could Have Been Enriching’ in the textbooks taught across Pakistan.
 A recent report by United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) stated that Schools in Pakistan are using textbooks that preach intolerance towards non-Muslim religious minorities. Probably the best text on the fallacies present in our textbooks is the book “Murder of history” written by historian KK Aziz in 1991. .  Nadeem Farooq Paracha and Fasi Zaka have written about the rise of conspiracy theories and the way they shape our understanding of the world. Nadeem F Paracha in a Television program on the topic of “Conspiracy theories” recalled that the film “Loose Change” (about the theories regarding 9/11) was broadcasted in Pakistan with much fanfare. In fact, there were 3-4 other parts of that documentary that were subsequently made, in which the earlier mistakes were rectified. Those “other” versions were never shown in Pakistan.
A second, very important factor is the lack of effort to search for the source of particular news. This societal trend finds its roots in the make-up of our education system. In our education system, plagiarism is given precedence over original thought. Students are supposed to write the answers mentioned in textbooks and not their own opinion. Even creative writing is not appreciated and people who are good at cramming get better grades than those who try to write their own stuff. Nabiha Meher, a teacher, says
“In schools across Pakistan, elite or not, very few of us teach critical thinking, which, in my opinion, is absolutely essential and should be compulsory from an early age. We need to stop deluding ourselves into believing that we are truly educating. Without the ability to think, education starts to resemble indoctrination. And in a country like ours, where private schools have no option but to teach state sanctioned propaganda under the guise of Pakistan Studies & Islamiyat, which aims to indoctrinate with a linear vision, this becomes even more necessary. One is not allowed to challenge the syllabus and one is expected to regurgitate, over and over again, one perspective, the chosen perspective. If you don’t, you fail & that’s not an option most are willing to take. The message this sends is difference & diversity will not be tolerated”.
According to historian Hasan Jaafer Zaidi, we should look at the example of the “Transfer of Power” documents that were declassified by British Government in 1976 and contained official documents pertaining to events in 1946-7. The presence of those papers should lay to rest many misconceptions present about issues surrounding the partition of India but sadly, that has not happened due to lack of interest of historians and Government.
Another important and recent factor that has led to the rise of conspiracy theories is the presence of sources such as YouTube and Wikipedia. It should not be forgotten that people who upload videos on YouTube are not College Professors (in most cases). Similarly, Wikipedia is not a substitute to a Scientific Journal.
The rising tide of conspiracy theories and theorists needs to be halted in its ranks. It needs a collective effort. It requires a change of mind-set. It is only possible if we upgrade our textbooks and inculcate our future generations with quest for knowledge and research.  

Vote for this blog.!!!

Dear Readers, I have participated in the 2nd Annual Pakistan Blog awards in the category "Agents of Change"..
If you like my blog, Here is the link to my nomination.
For instructions on HOW to vote, If you can't figure that out, THIS is the link.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Veggies are humans too..!!

(Published in Express Tribune)

Societies are usually gauged by the way they treat their minority. Folks, I confess to being a minority. No, I am not a non-Muslim, gay, lesbian, Atheist or fat(Not that there is anything wrong with that). I am a vegetarian. I have spent most of my life answering stupid question like 'Why aren't you eating anything baita, do you have a medical problem?' or 'You don't eat red meat, that is all right. Have some chicken.?' with uneasy looks and evasive answers. I have had to laugh off jokes about me being 'born on the wrong side of the border' and 'to the wrong parents'. I have left countless weddings, dinner parties and eid get-togethers with an empty stomach. I have quoted facts and figures and even Dr Zakir Naik to argue against the assertion that you just can't live without consuming meat. I have frequently been diagnosed as someone who has 'nakhra', attitude problem or phobia. There are NO exclusively vegetarian restaurants in Lahore, Islamabad or Peshawar(I haven't been to Karachi yet). The maximum I can get at fast food restaurants are French Fries. This despite the fact that around 5% Pakistanis are vegetarians(This is mostly speculative as no definite data is available). There is even a Pakistan vegetarian society whose primary objectives are to 'promote humanitarian, moral and nutritional aspects of vegetarianism'. According to blogger Maryam Arif, “Being vegetarian in Pakistan is highly suspect, Indian-like; even though most Indians I know ask for beef kebabs first thing they come to Lahore. Yet in our minds vegetarian = Hindu = Indian = weak. The popular thinking is that meat gives us an edge over them grass-eaters across the border. Carnivores are stronger and taller; even light-complexioned than herbivores. Isn’t that so? It has to be.” Amber Raheem Shamsie writes, “In our culture, the not eating of meat is considered a compulsion rather than a choice. Vegetarianism in Pakistani culture can be a rebellion.” As if  living as a vegetarian was not difficult enough, living as a vegetarian in Lahore is even worse. It is a bit like blasphemy to live in Lahore and NOT eat meat. Lahoris are often offended when you tell them you are a vegetarian. It is an insult to their intelligence. How can anyone voluntarily give up the meat delicacies that constitute our cuisine? Surely you must crave Mohammadi Nehari, Behari Kebab from Bundu Khan, Seekh Kebab, Siri Paye, Macchi of Mozang Chungi and the mouth-watering abundance of Food Street. I have decided that enough is enough.  I am out of the closet now. I am sick of your Siri Paye, Qormas, seekh kabab, gurday kapooray or whatever and you do not dare question my eating preferences again.!
I would like to finish off with a saying of Albert Einstein, “Nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances for survival of life on earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet."

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Deconstructing Zaid Hamid Part 7

(Also published at
Deconstructing Zaid Hamid

All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered. The point, however,  is to discover them

Zaid Hamid is a TV-phenomenon popularized by his programmes like Brass Tacksand Iqbal ka Pakistan. Twelve episodes of Iqbal ka Pakistan have been examined by this author in last six issues. Episodes 13 and 14 of Iqbal ka Pakistan, are reviewed below.

Episode 13

Ali azmat confessed at the start of the show that he does not even remember how many episodes of their show have been televised and predicted that he would be killed because of 'this' revolution.

ZH:- The message of Iqbal has been oppossed by molvis, modernists(including capitalists,comunists and people who like democracy) and freemasons.
Comment:- This comment would have been true,if it was made in 1930s or 1940s. After Iqbal's death, his poetry has been used by Islamists(molvis) and Socialists alike,for furthering their agendas. Iqbal and his ideology were a bane to Mullahs during his life time and his lectures aimed at Reconstruction of Islamic thought were considered heretical by orthodox clergy. The situation changed dramatically after Iqbal's death and now his poetry can be heard in the sermons delivered by clergy and by Islamist political leaders. Regarding freemasonary and its alleged opposition of Iqbal, a lot has been written in previous articles.

ZH:-People who opposed creation of Pakistan are rejected by God.
Comment:- That includes most of Hindu and Sikh population of India and also millions of Muslims in India. This kind of sweeping declarations showcase the narrow mind set of Mr. Zaid Hamid. Pakistan was not built exclusively for  muslims,as Mr. Jinnah told the Constituent Assembly on 11th August, 1947. There were a lot of non muslims living in the areas that formed Pakistan. We were supposed to ensure minority rights and provide them equal opportunities to live better lives.

ZH:- Terrorists in Pakistan are actualy people who never liked creation of Pakistan.
Comment:- This is another sweeping statement that is not exactly based on facts or research. This statement declares that all the terrorist activities in Pakistan are supported by India and Afghanistan. (Similar allegations have been made by ISPR in last few years). While it is partially correct,it does not take into account the ideology of Takfeer(translated as Rejection). The ideology of Takfeer,  proposed in the modern times by Syed Qutub, states that anyone who opposes their definition of faith is excluded from faith and killing him/her is not a sin. This ideology is the basis of brutality of Pakistani Taliban and Al Qaeda. It is worth mentioning that similar ideology was used for the first time by Khawarij, in attacks against Caliph Ali and Caliph Ma'aviya. I would like to refer him and anyone interested in root causes of terrorism in Pakistan to Syed Saleem Shehzad’s book, “Inside Al Qaeda and Taliban” and “The Looming Tower” by Lawrence Wright.

ZH: Modern Science learnt everything from Muslims.
Comment:- It is true that during the reign of Abbasid Caliphs, a lot of muslim scientists did amazing and in some cases groundbreaking work in fields of science. However the notion that “Everything” was learnt from muslims is not true. It should be mentioned here that the attitude of rulers and clergy, towards scientists in those times was pathetic. They were considered heretics. Also, most of the scientific advances occurred when a particular sect i.e “Mu’tazila” were in power. Regarding the myths about “Islamic Science”, read this.  

Episode 14

During a question,Ali Azmat mixed the identities of Sharif of Mecca and the House of Saud. That happens when you are doing a show about historical revivalism without learning any basic history.
ZH:- Seculars are immoral people. Religion should not be separated from Politics.
Comment:- The concept that non-religious people are inethical has been propogated ad nauseum by religious people. Blogger, Hazrat Nakhuda says, “Morals and Ethics have evolved to their current state. The "evils" of the society cheating, stealing, wars and oppression taught us that these things are wrong because they hinder the establishment and progress of a cooperative and effective group. It wasn't divine intervention. It was evolution of human thought. In order for societies to function it became necessary to put in some guidelines and rules. Societies that refused to set these guidelines failed to grow ("Survival of the fittest"). Members of that society either moved to another society (immigrations/asylum) or fell victim to the law of the jungle. While the societies which were more advanced intellectually survived better than the others.” Regarding the assertion that “Religion and Politics are inter-linked and should not be separate”, I would like to point towards the last 1432 years of Islamic history. Apart from the reign of the first 4 pious caliphs and Caliph Omer bin Abdul Aziz, the custodianship of matters of state and custodianship of matters of religion have not co-existed. This has happened because there is no prescribed method of government in either Quran or Hadees, the basic texts of Islamic faith. In Pakistan, religious parties have never had an elctoral success and have acted more as pressure groups and proxies in the hands of establishment than act politically.  

ZH:- AIDS was spread just to sell medications.
Comment:- Being a medical student and a research-oriented person, I can testify that NO such thing has ever been reported or even discussed in Medical Science Journals or forums. AIDS(Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) is caused by a virus, HIV(Human Deficiency Virus). It was first reported in homosexual males in early 1980s. This disease affects the immune system of body i.e. the defence mechanism of body against pathogens. We are exposed daily to hundreds of pathogens but we do not get sick until our immune system is weak. In AIDS, the immune system loses its strength and patient can easily get sick and recover with difficulty. To put things in perspective, a patient of AIDS can die even from common cold. Thankfully, durgs are available that can protect from frequent illnesses in AIDS patients. In Pakistan, those drugs are provided free of cost by National AIDS prevention and control Programme which is actually funded by World Health Organization and World bank. Meanwhile, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation  donated a grand total of US$287 million to variousHIV/AIDS researchers. The Clinton Foundation has helped bring AIDS care and treatment to over 750,000 people living with HIV/AIDS around the world. Can the comment by Zaid Hamid be justified in light of all these figures.?

ZH:- Kufr can be in form of our politicians, in form of Baitullah Mehsud or in form of Zionists.
Comment:- Zaid Hamid is applying the aforementioned concept of “Takfeer” on whoever he does not like. While his opposition to brutal terrorists like Baitullah is laudable, he loses the plot suddenly and includes his favorite target groups i.e. politicians and “Zionists”.
These are the few mistakes/debate-able points that I found, as the rest of these episodes was spent in word to word recitation and translation of Iqbal’s work from some book. There was also repitition of mistakes that we have discussed in the previous issues.

Monday, 31 October 2011

Deconstructing Zaid Hamid (12 episodes)

A lot has been said and written about the menace that is Zaid Hamid. I started analyzing Zaid Hamid's lies/hyper boles in his program Iqbal ka Pakistan and wrote down six pieces which contained analysis of the first 12 episodes of Iqbal ka Pakistan. The pieces were published on and this very blog. I felt that reading different parts of this work was a bit burdonsome and thus I combined the stuff and it turned out to consist of 65 pages and around Twelve THOUSAND words.!! This document is in PDF format and can be downloaded from here . Enjoy
The updated version of this document which contains analysis of 15 episodes and which is error-free can be downloaded from here.
 Episodes 16-20 can be downloaded from here

Friday, 28 October 2011

Steve Jobs Biography by Walter Isaacson

Love him or hate him, but you can't deny his status as the most famous innovator of the last 50 years. This book contains interviews with Steve Jobs conducted in last one and a half years. Worth a read
Can be viewed and downloaded here

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Muder of history (part 2)

(This is part 2 of the article, Murder of history)
1. Mujahideen had gone to conquer Kashmir in 1948.

The first war between newly-independent Pakistan and India happened in 1948 A.D in Kashmir Valley. It is postulated that the prime objective of Mujahideen(mostly from NWFP) was the liberation of Kashmir. Actually,when they reached near Sri Nagar, they forgot their “objective” and started criminal activities. Regarding this, Owen Bennet Jones in his book writes, “At this crucial juncture, when Kashmir was ready for the taking, Pakistan paid the price of the haphazard nature of its operations in Kashmir. Rather than striking forward, the tribesmen became distracted by the opportunities for plunder. Their increasingly lawless conduct had a disastrous consequence. The local Muslim population, rather than seeing them as liberators, began to fear them and, far from providing help to the tribesmen, turned against them. These developments and the bad international press Pakistan was receiving as a result of the invasion dismayed the government in Karachi. Officials not only disowned the tribesmen but also obstructed them. (Owen Bennet Jones, Pakistan:Eye of the storm, Yale University Press; 2002; Chapter 3; page 65)  Sherbaz Khan Mazari, a seventeen year-old tribal leader from Balochistan who tried to take some men to join in the fighting, later recounted that when he tried to enter Kashmir, ‘I was stopped by Pakistani officials who told me in clear cut terms that I would not be allowed to cross into Kashmir. It became clear that they thought we were intent on partaking in the plunder that was taking place.’ (Sherbaz Khan Mazari, A Journey to Disillusionment, Oxford University Press,Karachi, 2000, pp. 11 and 12.)

2. The wars between India and Pakistan(1948, 1965, 1971,1999) were a Jihad.

According to the book Al-Jihad Fil-Islam written by eminent Islamic scholar Abu-al-Ala Maududi, there are certain definite situations when Jihad becomes obligatory on Muslims. The pre-requisite conditions of waging Jihad are
a.    There should be an Islamic State(i.e which is based on Sharia Laws)
b.    Governed by a Ruler who is (a Muslim and whose political authority has been established either through nomination by the previous ruler similar to how Abū Bakr transferred the reins [of his khilāfah to Umar] or through pledging of allegiance by the ulema or a group of the elite-elaboration by Javed Ghamidi, in his booklet The Islamic Shariah of Jihad, page 43, Reference from Hadith # 2533 in Sunan Abu Daud)
c.    If the ruler has the moral grounds and the military might to curb the oppression and injustice of the country against which jihād is to be waged.
When the head of the state declares Jihad against the enemy, it becomes Farz for Muslims to help the state fight that enemy. The Conditions in which the head of state can declare Jihad are

1.To curb oppression and persecution in another country – whether Muslim or non-Muslim.(Surah Al-Hajj, Ayah 39-40)(Surah Bakarah, Ayah 190-191)

2. To apprehend those who stop people from adopting the right path. (Surah Anfal, Ayah 36 and 47)(Surah Tauba, Ayah 9 and 34).

3. To punish those who have reneged on promises/pacts with the state.(Surah Anfal, Ayah 55-58)(Surah Tauba, Ayah 1-2,5-8)

4. Against the Internal saboteurs. (Surah Tauba, Ayah 73) (Surah Azhab, Ayah 60-61) (Surah Nisa, Ayah 89)

5. To ensure Peace. (Surah Al-Maida, Ayah 33-34)

6. To help Muslims living in Non-Muslim states If they are being oppressed and they call Muslim state for help.(Surah Nisa, Ayah 75)(Surah Anfal, Ayah 72-73)

7. To defend the state. (Surah Anfal, Ayah 60)

It is up to the reader to decide If any of Pakistan-India wars fulfilled the criteria. We didn’t even fulfill the Pre-Requisites.Regarding the fact that the wars are portrayed as  “Jihad”, lets have a look at Brig Gulzar Ahmad’s book “Pakistan Meets Indian Challenge” written about the 1965 War. He wrote, “Incidents have occurred, during this war, which remind one of the Golden Age of Islam, the days of Badr and Ohad which was the age of supreme sacrifices and the pride of achieving it”(Page 7). Mr Gulzar, on page 69, wrote “There was a hidden hand deflecting the rounds which would otherwise have taken a heavy toll of the advancing troops”.(Gulzar Ahmad, Pakistan Meets Indian Challenge; Al Mukhtar Publishers; 1967;Pages 7,69)            Brig ® A R Siddiqi in his book, “Image of Military in Pakistan” writes, “In his broadcast to the nation on the eve of the cease-fire, Ayub spoke eloquently of the performance of the armed forces. He declared: ‘Our forces were heavily outnumbered and they fought against tremendous odds, but God in his infinite mercy granted them the courage and determination not only to throw back the enemy forces but to inflict crushing blows both on his armour and on his infantry. Let this blessing of God and these achievements of the people and their brave and dedicated armed forces never to be forgotten. By this faith in God and in his cause and by his indomitable courage and superb craftsmanship, the fighting man has written in his blood a golden chapter in the history of Islam.’ The President’s broadcast was a go-ahead signal to the image-builders. His reference to the Pakistani’s soldier faith in God and contribution of a golden chapter to the history of Islam, gave the war a historical perspective and the military an indelible ideological image. The war became a total Jihad-a crusade against the evil o caste Hinduism”. Also, “The editor of a mass-ciculating literary Digest, Inayat Ullah, wrote: ‘Every officer, JCO and jawan of the army is a war hero. Every drop of the blood of these Ghazis and Shaheeds makes the heading of a separate chapter in Pakistan’s history’.(Brig ® A R Siddiqi, The Militray in Pakistan: Image and Reality; Van Guard Books; 1997; Chapter 5; Pages 103-108, 121)  Regarding Pakistan Army’s role in War of 1971, Lets examine the testimony of Army Officers given before Hamood-ur-Rehman Commission Report.
*There was a general feeling of hatred against Bengalis amongst the soldiers and officers including Generals. There were verbal instructions to eliminate Hindus. In Salda Nadi area about 500 persons were killed. When the army moved to clear the rural areas and small towns, it moved in a ruthless manner; destroying, burning, killing. (Lt. Col. Mansoorul Haq)
*Many junior and other officers took the law into their own hands to deal with so-called miscreants. There have been cases of interrogation of miscreants which were far more severe in character than normal and in some cases blatantly in front of the public. The discipline of the Pakistani army, as was generally understood, had broken down.  (Brigadier Mian Taskeenudin)
*General Niazi visited my unit at Thakurgaon and Bogra. He asked us how many Hindus we had killed. In May, there was an order in writing to kill Hindus.           (Lt. Col. Aziz Ahmed Khan)
(Hamoodur Rehman Commission Report, supplement, part V, chapter II, paras. 12–17, Dawn; 6 February 2001; page 16)

A look at the genealogies of two of our founding fathers i.e Jinnah and Iqbal tells us that Mr. Jinnah belonged to a Sindhi family that had migrated to gujarat.(Akbar S Ahmad, Jinnah, Pakistan and Islamic Identity; Routledge, 1997; Chapter 1,page 1 ) while Iqbal belonged to a Kashmiri sheikh family. Also, there was a considerable population consisting of Jatts and Gujjars before Islam came to our part of the world. Most of us are descendants of those early converts. The people most likely to have come down from Arabia are the Syeds who claim to be direct descendants from the Prophet (PBUH). Interestingly, in a research  conducted by University College London, Y chromosomes of self-identified Syeds from the Indian subcontinent show evidence of elevated Arab ancestry but not of a recent common patrilineal origin For more on the castes of our country, visit this page.

4. Sheikh Mujib ur Rehman and his Awami league wanted to break the country.

In its report on the events of 1971, the Hamood-ur-Rehman Commission argued that: ‘We must give full weight to the fact that before the elections he[Mujib] offered the Council Muslim League and the Jamaat-e-Islami a number of seats in East Pakistan which would have still permitted him to obtain the majority of the East Pakistan seats but not to have a clear majority in the whole house. Quite clearly his purpose was to be able to play the role of the leader of the largest single party without being under pressure for (sic) members of his own party to go through with the Six Point programme on the basis of an overall majority in the house. This fact clearly established that Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, at that time at least, had not decided on secession’. (Hamoodur Rehman Commission Report, part I, chapter VI, para. 96; Dawn; 13 January 2001; page 21)