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Showing posts from May, 2012

We, the intolerant

My last column in Mid-Day was about the rights (or lack thereof) of minorities in Pakistan. This week I planned on writing on a different topic but reading these chilling lines from I. A. Rehman’s column titled ‘Patterns of intolerance’ in Dawn made me revisit the topic: “A young non-Muslim woman has been living in Lahore for quite some time. A few weeks ago she married an American citizen — a crime her neighbours apparently did not forgive. A group of hotheads raided her home at night early this month and on their inability to break into the house they damaged the car parked in the porch and pasted a notice on it: ‘kalima parh lo warna’ (convert to Islam or else).”

I happen to know this young woman personally. She is one of the kindest, hard-working and honest people I know. Just because she happens to come from a religious minority community and decided to marry an American citizen when anti-American sentiment is at an all-time high in Pakistan does not give anyone the right to van…

Indifference and complicity

The case of Rinkle Kumari, a Pakistani-Hindu woman, opened our eyes to the plight of the Hindu community in Pakistan. It is not as if we were not aware of forced conversions before but Rinkle’s case highlighted how complicit the state is in oppressing religious minorities in our country. Recently, the police got Quranic verses removed from the walls of an Ahmadi mosque in Lahore so that it does not ‘look’ like a mosque because the Ahmadis were declared ‘non-Muslims’ by the state of Pakistan in 1974 and when General Ziaul Haq came to power, he introduced the draconian Ordinance XX so that they were not allowed to freely practice their faith. On May 28, 2010, two Ahmadi mosques were attacked in Lahore during Friday prayers. More than 80 people died and over a hundred were injured during those deadly attacks. The Ahmadiyya community lives in constant fear due to the complicity of the state. They are not the only ones. Christians in Pakistan are discriminated against and have faced persec…