Showing posts from December, 2012

Weapon of Mass Deception

Rehman Malik is in the news again. This time, too, for the wrong reasons. A petition has been filed against him for misuse of taxpayers' money during his recent trip to India while the Indian media is still perplexed at various statements made during the visit. India wanted the visa accord signed at the secretary level but Malik, realising this was a major confidence-building measure by Pakistan, wanted to flaunt it before the international community. Never one to miss a photo-op, he flew to India to sign the accord between the two countries.

Malik is possibly the most powerful minister in Pakistan right now. As interior minister, he has at his disposal the Intelligence Bureau (IB); the Rangers, the biggest paramilitary force after the army; and the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), which he once headed. He is Pakistan's most colourful character; somebody everyone loves to hate. Some hate him because he has clawed his way to the top while others hate him because he is rich. …

Hitting rock bottom

It seems that there is no respect for human life anymore in Pakistan. Sister Bargeeta Almby, a 70-year-old Swedish charity worker who spent four decades in Pakistan, was shot in Lahore earlier this month. She passed away a few days later. Even in times of war, women, children and older citizens are spared. Not so in the ‘land of the pure’. Over here, terrorists are free to kill and maim whosoever they want to while the government shirks away from its responsibility to protect its citizens, religious minorities, ethnic minorities, aid workers and countless others. Shias, Ahmadis, Hindus, Christians, foreign and local aid workers, health workers, ordinary citizens – nobody is safe. Everyone is a target; some more so than others. The culprits are hardly ever caught and punished. A culture of impunity prevails, leading to more threats, more murders, more fear.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), only three countries remain polio-endemic in 2012: Afghanistan, Nigeria and Paki…

The living dead

William Butler Yeats said: “Once you attempt legislation upon religious grounds, you open the way for every kind of intolerance and religious persecution.” These wise words were certainly not heeded by Pakistan’s rulers.

In 1974, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s government declared the Ahmadis ‘non-Muslims’ under the Constitution of Pakistan. General Zia-ul-Haq’s dictatorial regime made it even worse for Pakistan’s Ahmadiyya community when it promulgated the draconian Ordinance XX, which restricts religious freedom of the Ahmadis. The Ahmadiyya community has suffered at the hands of religious extremists for decades now due to successive governments’ (both civilian and military) criminal apathy. Mr Bhutto and his government made a criminal mistake by passing the Second Amendment; what makes it even worse is the fact that no government has had the guts to repeal it. Nobody dares (or cares).

In 2010, terrorists carried out simultaneous attacks on two Ahmadi mosques in Lahore. More than 90 Ahmadis w…