Monday, October 16, 2017


“…statements ‘distancing themselves’ from Captain Safdar’s views
came several days too late for decency,
and much too late for  a family belonging to the Ahmadi faith
that was shot to death in Sheikupura
a day after Captain Safdar’s speech
in the National Assembly.”

 The similarities never cease to amaze. There’s Donald Trump and his equally unfortunate son in law, and there’s the not very different family in Pakistan that harbours Captain Safdar, who more than unfortunate, is a danger to the society that he imagines has granted him permission to spout his sectarian views. Mr. Kushner’s dealings with Russia might well be on a similar plane, but it is the wellbeing of Pakistan that concerns us.
The Prime Minister of Pakistan Khaqan Abbasi, and the former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s statements ‘distancing themselves’ from Captain Safdar’s views came several days too late for decency, and much too late for  a family belonging to the Ahmadi faith that was shot to death in Sheikupura a day after Captain Safdar’s speech in the National Assembly. The husband, wife, and their two year old son were murdered in their home by ‘unidentified gunmen’, while their five year old son who hid under the bed in terror escaped being killed. The heart of each and every person calling himself human must bleed for this family, and for the little boy so brutally deprived of his loved ones, and who witnessed their murders. If Captain Safdar thinks for a single split second that the Prophet of Islam Muhammad (PBUH), a man who loved his grandsons and all humanity so tenderly would condone any such thing, any such thing at all, he is supremely deluded, and commits the greatest blasphemy of all by saying so.
It is no coincidence that the US has seen a sharp rise in racist incidents since Mr. Trump succeeded to the Presidency, and it is no surprise that such an incident as the murder in Sheikhupura took place in Pakistan right after the Captain’s speech in the National Assembly.  Views do filter down from the top and attitudes are given legitimacy when they are supported by people in power, however flawed, feeble and ill their minds may be.
There is a reason for the existence of the constitution of the country which is formulated after much deliberation by some of the best minds the country can afford. The constitution is meant to guide laws and to protect people from just such views as the Captain claims were the driving force behind his entering politics.
There is something seriously wrong with the state of a country if people can openly profess that they entered politics with views such as Captain Safdar’s. You wonder how Captain Safdar means to protect anyone by means of ideas that, as stated by himself, are violent, divisive, and selective in their choice of whom to protect.
According to the Constitution of Pakistan a person stands disqualified from the National Assembly if he or she is found to have opposed Pakistan’s ideology. Do we need a reminder that as per that ideology and according to Article 20 of the Constitution of Pakistan, its citizens are granted the right to profess, propagate and practice their religion? That Article grants every denomination and sect the right to establish, maintain and manage its religious institutions. In which case the Captain stands to be disqualified from his position in the National Assembly, as well as held for incitement to violence and murder, because in his speech he called for ‘action’ against members of the Ahmadiyya community, and praised Mumtaz Qadri. Qadri, remember, is the man who murdered the Governor of Punjab Salman Taseer for showing sympathy for a woman of that community condemned to death for blasphemy.
It is hard to imagine why a person or a group of persons should feel inclined to use violence as a first resort, to defend his or her beliefs. Violence, except when resorted to in self-defence, is by its very definition unconstitutional, and not a rational act. It takes place with the view to hurt, damage or kill someone or something.
The first thing anyone who considers himself to be a patriot must do is stand up to any infringement of the constitution. One of those infringements, quite incidentally, is to consider khaki above green. That just needed to be slipped in.
Standing up for the constitution means upholding the law and justice, and does not mean using violent means. That, strangely enough, is not as understood by lawyers in this country, who assaulted security personnel at the doors of a court of law in Islamabad recently, and threatened the judge in the same court.
Defending the constitution also does not mean ‘taking action’ against any community simply because of their views. Especially if those views have not translated to violence, and the only violence surrounding the Ahmadiyya community is that which has been committed against them.

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