Subject: Fw: Society of Pakistani American Secularists – Discussion

Subject: Fw: Society of Pakistani American Secularists
On Friday, August 18, 2017, 8:06 AM, Wequar Azeem <azeemtranscriptionservise@gmail.com> wrote:

Dear Mirza Saheb,NS advised to hold back a comment on your email until others have responded to it. No one did.So here’s my comment.Secularism is the social contract for governance of a country and its people. Its the best system so far. Like all other systems, Secularism also suffers from occasional viruses like White Supremacy, Hindutva, Wahabism elements and so on.. You take out the virus when it inflicts, not the system itself. Karl Marx’s political philosophy was built around the economic policy where individual ownership was replaced by People’s collective ownership. The reward of economic activity was to be divided equally in a classless division of fruits. That system of course failed like many other philosophies, including some religious and social philosophies.21st century is in transition from the old 20th century technology to modern blue tooth and nanotechnology of current century. The common behavior in transitory times is always chaotic. Besides, the technology is upgrading from moment to moment and hence the transition time is of uncertain duration. All you can do on individual basis is to keep pace with upgrading technology. On a collective basis it remains compartmentalized to highly educated societies, to less educated societies to illiterate bodies of masses. There is no way to apply one technique to all.Having said all this, please focus on the scene in Pakistan and suggest ways and means based on your wisdom and intellect, to change Pakistanis’ perception of Secularism and how to win overwhelming votes in favor of it. WA
On Tue, Aug 15, 2017 at 6:22 AM, Mirza Ashraf <mirzashraf@hotmail.com> wrote:
Wequar Sahib,
Secularism today is becoming a problem for all the nations with secular political system. In European countries, America and India, it is being misused particularly by the Muslims and is being counter-misused by other faiths as well as the state authorities. Because of freedom of religion clause in secularism, 9/11 atrocity has made a big dent in it. It is becoming difficult, rather I would dare say, ideologically impossible to save secularism as it is in practice today. Consequently countries with secular political system are step by step imposing restrictions on freedom for all and are framing new rules and regulations to control the rising “faith-awakening.” By faith, I do not mean only religious faith; it can be faith of white supremacy, faith of black victimization, faith of ethnicity, faith of atheism and we can keep on counting.
Before you started discussion, I remember I had suggested that the world needs a new political ideology. Carl Marx was the last political ideologist. Since his ideology has failed, the gap is being filled with religions. Today, with a piece of machine in every one’s hand, every one is individually free in getting informed according to one’s own choice, but is globally connected with every other person. Surprisingly, with all this global connectivity of “every one is connected to every one” the world is rejecting globalization. It is not only Pakistan, or Muslims, Hindus or Christians, and believers and non-believers, but the whole humanity is in crisis.
I believe mankind needs a new political system. Modern technology is bringing a new social evolution. We need to think and work on different level rather than wasting our time and energy on the sick-secular system. It is clear that out of our group of 23,  only two or three have seriously participated in our discussion on secularism, while two to three have just shown some interest.
Mirza
From: Wequar Azeem <azeemtranscriptionservise@ gmail.com>
Sent: Monday, August 14, 2017 11:30:27 AM
To: Mirza Ashraf
Cc: Suhail Rizvi; Mian Vequar Ahmed; Khalid Sayyed; Saqlain Malik; Noor Salik; Saiyid Ali Naqvi; Sarwar Ali; MM Abbasi; Rizvi Syed Suhail Rizvi; Mehfooz Rehman; Azeem Farooki; Dr. Shoeb Amin; Zafar Khizer; Dr. Syed Ehtisham; Asad Mahmood Sayyed; aziz ahmed; e Irfan Hussain; Nisar Kidwai; Dr. Rashid AHMAD; Syed Ajaz ud Din Shah; Dr. Fayyaz Sheikh; Babar Mustafa; Imtiaz Syed Bokhari; Dr. Nasik Elahi; Noor Salik
Subject: Re: Society of Pakistani American Secularists Mirza Saheb,Did you read my mail ?Wa
On Aug 14, 2017 10:57 AM, “Mirza Ashraf” <mirzashraf@hotmail.com> wrote:
Why don’t you ask Noor Sahib.
Mirza

From: Wequar Azeem <azeemtranscriptionservise@gma il.com>
Sent: Monday, August 14, 2017 9:41:14 AM
To: Mirza Ashraf
Cc: Noor Salik; Dr. Nasik Elahi; Mian Vequar Ahmed; Suhail Rizvi; Khalid Sayyed; Saqlain Malik; Sarwar Ali; Saiyid Ali Naqvi; Noor Salik; MM Abbasi; Rizvi Syed Suhail Rizvi; Mehfooz Rehman; Azeem Farooki; Dr. Shoeb Amin; Zafar Khizer; aziz ahmed; Asad Mahmood Sayyed; Dr. Syed Ehtisham; e Irfan Hussain; Nisar Kidwai; Dr. Rashid AHMAD; Syed Ajaz ud Din Shah; Dr. Fayyaz Sheikh; Imtiaz Syed Bokhari; Babar Mustafa
Subject: Re: Society of Pakistani American Secularists Mirza Saheb,Once again, please advise what did Noor Saheb say about Secularism in India as I have not seen such e-mail from him.I stand corrected; I found the email sent by NS to NE and ccd to all of us about Secularism in India. Yes Indian Secularism is not perfect. Its dysfunctional in some aspects because It provides partly theocratic laws for Indian Muslims at the expense of secularism. We are aiming for real Secularism like in Scandinavian countries etc. However to achieve real Secularism, a long and hard struggle is needed to reshape people’s perception, as so rightly pointed out by NE. Under real Secularism Islam will remain unchallenged as a religion of the great majority, but discontinue as a modus oprandi for governance. 14 centuries ago there was no concept of common law. They depended on age old customs and traditions of the past elders. Which is why Islamic rules (Sharia evolved as a school of law much later) filled the void and became law of the land. Every thing evolved over time with changing circumstances in the whole world. Hence, Deen remained intact but Mazhab evolved and will keep on evolving because it is tied to local conditions, customs and traditions. Therefore it only makes good sense to adopt a system of governance that suits all human beings on exact same level of rights, obligation and access to opportunities. That purpose is served by real Secularism. Deen, the essence of Faith, remains on the high pedestal and Muslims should not be wary of its divine position as Secularism does not cross its path. But Secularism offers equal rights and position to all the minorities, which is where the whole world wants to see us, except KSA and the molvi brigade.
On Sun, Aug 13, 2017 at 10:43 PM, Mirza Ashraf <mirzashraf@hotmail.com> wrote:
Wequar Sahib, whatever my poor understanding could reflect on Noor Sahib’s presentation regarding Secularism in India, I have already expressed. However, an intellectual like yourself can only give an ENLIGHTENED exposition. Please explain to every one in this group the in and out of Secularism in India and enlighten us with your deep thought.
Mirza

From: Noor Salik <salikain@gmail.com>
Sent: Sunday, August 13, 2017 4:44:07 PM
To: Dr. Nasik Elahi
Cc: Mian Vequar Ahmed; Suhail Rizvi; Khalid Sayyed; Saqlain Malik; Sarwar Ali; Saiyid Ali Naqvi; Noor Salik; MM Abbasi; Rizvi Syed Suhail Rizvi; Mehfooz Rehman; Azeem Farooki; Wequar Azeem; Dr. Shoeb Amin; Zafar Khizer; aziz ahmed; Asad Mahmood Sayyed; Dr. Syed Ehtisham; e Irfan Hussain; Nisar Kidwai; Dr. Rashid AHMAD; Syed Ajaz ud Din Shah; Mirza Ashraf; Dr. Fayyaz Sheikh; Imtiaz Syed Bokhari; Babar Mustafa; Noor Salik
Subject: Re: Society of Pakistani American Secularists Secularism in India~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Secularism in India means equal treatment of all religions by the state.

With the 42nd Amendment of the Constitution of India enacted in 1976,[1] the Preamble to the Constitution asserted that India is a secular nation. However, neither India’s constitution nor its laws define the relationship between religion and state. The laws implicitly require the state and its institutions to recognise and accept all religions, enforce parliamentary laws instead of religious laws, and respect pluralism.[2][3]

India does not have an official state religion. In matters of law in modern India, however, the applicable code of law is unequal, and India’s personal laws – on matters such as marriage, divorce, inheritance, alimony – varies with an individual’s religion.

Muslim Indians have Sharia-based Muslim Personal Law, while Hindus, Christians, Sikhs Muslim Indians live under common law.

The attempt to respect unequal, religious law has created a number of issues in India such as acceptability of child marriage,[4] polygamy, unequal inheritance rights, extrajudicial unilateral divorce rights favorable to some males, and conflicting interpretations of religious books.[5][6]

Secularism as practiced in India, with its marked differences with Western practice of secularism, is a controversial topic in India.

Supporters of the Indian concept of secularism claim it respects a Muslim person’s religious rights and recognises that they are culturally different from Indians of other religions. Supporters of this form of secularism claim that any attempt to introduce a uniform civil code, that is equal laws for every citizen irrespective of his or her religion, would impose majoritarian Hindu sensibilities and ideals, something that is unacceptable to Muslim Indians.[7][8]

Opponents argue that India’s acceptance of Sharia and religious laws violates the principle of equal human rights, discriminates against Muslim women, allows unelected religious personalities to interpret religious laws, and creates plurality of unequal citizenship; they suggest India should move towards separating religion and state.[9][10]

Secularism is a divisive, politically charged topic in India.[10][11]

On Aug 13, 2017 4:59 PM, “Nasik Elahi” <nasikelahi@yahoo.com> wrote:

WA the foundational, secular basis of the U S constitution and bill of rights of a majority Christian country fits what you describe.  The societal behavior is guided by religious beliefs but the laws are supposed to be neutral.  The push and pull of the two guiding principles continues to this day.  In other words no country in history has or can attain the perfect balance.  We humans are too self centered to allow such absolute standards to exist.
Nasik
Sent from Yahoo Mail for iPhone
On Sunday, August 13, 2017, 4:33 PM, Wequar Azeem <azeemtranscriptionservise@gma il.com> wrote:

Mirza Saheb,What political system can there be in the name of Secularism, other than what I described ? Can you cite an example? Are you referring to a government chosen by a means other than universal suffrage?WA
On Sun, Aug 13, 2017 at 2:59 PM, Mirza Ashraf<mirzashraf@hotmail.com> wrote:
Wequar Sahib, here it is important to add that the secular law of the state is to be based on natural moral law. If you have any other secular legal system in mind, please clarify this in your statement.
Mirza

From: Wequar Azeem <azeemtranscriptionservise@ gmail.com>
Sent: Sunday, August 13, 2017 12:27:04 PM
To: Mirza Ashraf
Cc: Noor Salik; Dr. Nasik Elahi; Suhail Rizvi; Mian Vequar Ahmed; Khalid Sayyed; Saqlain Malik; Noor Salik; Saiyid Ali Naqvi; Sarwar Ali; MM Abbasi; Rizvi Syed Suhail Rizvi; Mehfooz Rehman; Azeem Farooki; Dr. Shoeb Amin; Zafar Khizer; Dr. Syed Ehtisham; Asad Mahmood Sayyed; aziz ahmed; e Irfan Hussain; Nisar Kidwai; Dr. Rashid AHMAD; Syed Ajaz ud Din Shah; Dr. Fayyaz Sheikh; Babar Mustafa; Imtiaz Syed Bokhari
Subject: Re: Society of Pakistani American Secularists What I understood from the comment of Dr Nasik Elahi is the impression one gets from reading many different perceptions and definitions of Secularism. To that extent I agree with Dr Nasik Elahi.
To avoid any confusion I would draw the attention of the recipients, at the risk of belaboring the point, that the Secularism we are talking about is the same that Jinnah had persuaded. Jinnah’s  sense of Secularism was to have a government which does not carry any one particular religion  on its sleeve. All citizens are to be on one and same level as far as rights and opportunities are available in the country, regardless of their individual religions, sects, gender, race, ethnicity or their mother tongue. It also means that following any religion and its rituals, or not following any religion at all, is the fundamental right of each  and every citizen. Neither the government, nor any individual or organization can supercede that right in a Secular government.Hopefully, all of us are on the same page, as far as mission objective is concerned.
WA
On Sun, Aug 13, 2017 at 9:57 AM, Mirza Ashraf<mirzashraf@hotmail.com> wrote:
Regarding the issue of “secularism” Nasik Sahib’s comment was right–“Dilettante.” So let us take up cosmology, which means “close secularism and open cosmology.”
Mirza

From: Noor Salik <salikain@gmail.com>
Sent: Sunday, August 13, 2017 7:07:57 AM
To: Dr. Nasik Elahi
Cc: Suhail Rizvi; Mian Vequar Ahmed; Khalid Sayyed; Saqlain Malik; Noor Salik; Saiyid Ali Naqvi; Sarwar Ali; MM Abbasi; Rizvi Syed Suhail Rizvi; Mehfooz Rehman; Azeem Farooki; Wequar Azeem; Dr. Shoeb Amin; Zafar Khizer; Dr. Syed Ehtisham; Asad Mahmood Sayyed; aziz ahmed; e Irfan Hussain; Nisar Kidwai; Dr. Rashid AHMAD; Mirza Ashraf; Syed Ajaz ud Din Shah; Dr. Fayyaz Sheikh; Babar Mustafa; Imtiaz Syed Bokhari; Noor Salik
Subject: Re: Society of Pakistani American Secularists Hi ALL in CC List,Yesterday I sent you an article on COSMOLOGY.Please read it and we can talk about it, if anyone will be interested.
For a Muslim believer there is a comprehensive and intellectually satisfying answer in Qura’an for the question:How the UNIVERSE came into existence?Qura’an says:کن فيکونWe will talk more, if you are interested..I also sent you an article published in daily DAWN in Pakistan by Imran Hussain.The article speaks for itself.We can also discuss this article, if anybody will be interested.In my humble assessment, these issues are linked to Secularism.If you disagree, please say so….NE {Dr. Nasik Elahi} and/or ALL in CC List.Can you please share with us – What is your definition of SECULARISM?
NS

On Aug 12, 2017 11:28 PM, “Noor Salik” <salikain@gmail.com> wrote:

Hi All in CC List!Last item I forwarded to you was from Wequar Azeem.It has more than one item -a speech and music video/s.Speech is great.But music videios can touch you really deep inside!      بقولِ فيض !وهيں لگی جو ناذک مقام تهے دل کے
Shared by Wequar Azeem!Must watch !!

On Aug 12, 2017 11:16 PM, “Noor Salik” <salikain@gmail.com> wrote:

Shared by Wequar Azeem!Must watch !!
https://www.facebook.com/mashh ood.e.khan/videos/vb.528243784 /10154164725353785/?type=2&the ater

https://www.facebook.com/mashh ood.e.khan/videos/vb.528243784 /10154175800798785/?type=2&the ater

https://www.facebook.com/mashh ood.e.khan/videos/vb.528243784 /10154175800798785/?type=2&the ater

https://www.facebook.com/mashh ood.e.khan/videos/vb.528243784 /10154175841948785/?type=2&the ater
| | Virus-free. www.avg.com |
On Aug 12, 2017 10:28 PM, “Noor Salik” <salikain@gmail.com> wrote:

IH {Irfan Hussain}Dear Irfan Hussain Saheb!I read your article in daily DAWN.I forwarded your insightful article to our group in USA.Let us see how they respond.
Without asking your permission I included your email in the CC list.You are most welcome to participate in this discussion.We are talking about:”Society of Pakistani American Secularists”.
If you decide not to be part of this group, please let us know, your name will be taken out.
My assumption was that by publishing your article with your email address in daily DAWN, you are already in public domain.
If you get a chance, please access WWW.ThinkersForumUASBlog.orgYou might like this intellectual environment.
We are Thinkers Forum USA.Through Ghalib this group can described as:رندانِ درِ مے کده گستاخ هيں ذاهدذنہار نہ هوناطرف ان بے ادبوں سے
Best regardsNS {Noor Salik}

On Aug 12, 2017 9:57 PM, “Noor Salik” <salikain@gmail.com> wrote:

NE {Dr. Nasik Elahi}The following article about partition of India in 1947 is from daily Dawn.We should talk about it.~~~~
irfan.husain@gmail.com

I WAS three years old when our family came to Karachi from Delhi at Partition, 70 years ago.

While I have no memory of the journey, I learned later that our train had been attacked on the way, and we had been saved only by the presence and courage of the handful of soldiers who escorted us. Hundreds of thousands who fled the madness on both sides of the new border had been less fortunate.

Years later, I asked my late father — a well-known writer and Sanskrit scholar in undivided India — why he had taken the decision to migrate to the new state. “Well,” he replied. “My Hindu and Sikh friends said they were not sure they could protect us at the height of the rioting. Also, I thought there would be more opportunities for you children in Pakistan.”

So what have we gained from Partition?

Since then, I have often wondered how life would have turned out had he decided to stay. Until a couple of decades or so ago, it was less clear he had made the right choice. This was when India still seemed to be following the secular path charted by its founding fathers, a path abandoned long ago by Pakistan.

However, as the extreme Hindu nationalist philosophy of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh has taken root, India is becoming a depressing mirror image of Pakistan, something columnist Mahir Ali noted recently in these pages. Over the years, I must have received scores of emails from Indian readers saying how glad they were that Pakistan had gone its own way, otherwise India would have had to cope with millions of more Muslims.

Similarly, Pakistanis have justified Partition by pointing to the plight of millions of marginalised Indian Muslims. But as I wrote at the 50th anniversary of Pakistan, an undivided subcontinent would have had around 600m Muslims. This is not a small minority that could have been easily kicked around by the majority.

So what have we gained from Partition? And what have we lost? In 1947, the land that now constitutes Pakistan was among the most undeveloped areas in India. There is little doubt that much physical progress has been made since Partition. Universities, colleges and schools have proliferated; hospitals built; an elaborate network of roads links villages to towns; and telephone lines and electricity connections are available to millions.

But at the same time, the perpetual state of hostility with India over Kashmir has ensured a huge and continuous drain on our resources. And there has been the immeasurable cost caused by our powerful army’s constant meddling in politics. This has skewed and stunted democratic institutions, and given birth to the Islamist militancy used by our establishment to further its regional agenda. And this, in turn, has led to a shredded national reputation abroad, and the loss of thousands of lives to home-based terrorism.

In search of a national identity, Pakistan has looked west to the parched deserts of Saudi Arabia for cultural inspiration. Disregarding our rich South Asian heritage, there have been plans to impose Arabic on schoolchildren; the establishment of madressahs has been encouraged, often with Saudi funding.

These multiple threads of enforced religiosity have produced an overarching environment where reason and rational thought are rejected as western inventions. To illustrate our backward trajectory, Hafiz Saeed — leader of the Jamaatud Dawa, and a man with a $10m bounty on his head posted by the US government for his alleged history of armed militancy — is setting up a political party to contest the next elections. Unsurprisingly, he is using a new version of Mr Jinnah’s party, the Muslim League, as a vehicle for his political ambitions.

The growing fundamentalism in Pakistan is the result of the inescapable logic of demanding a state in the name of religion: sooner or later, it will come to dominate the social and political landscape.

A dearth of vision, imagination and political courage has defined the leadership we have been cursed with for most of the post-Partition years. Mr Jinnah and his colleagues and contemporaries must be turning in their graves at the thought of the pygmies who succeeded them. Nawaz Sharif, Imran Khan, Asif Zardari and Tahirul Qadri are only some of the political stars on our horizon, though the latter is more like an asteroid who makes an annual appearance to sow further discord.

At Partition, we were a country of around 32m; since then, we have multiplied like rabbits, and now number 200m. Had so many Pakistanis been educated, we could have been a powerhouse of creativity and productivity. As it is, millions live in abject poverty with no access to schools, hospitals or clean drinking water.

So while many middle-class urban Pakistanis will celebrate our country’s 70th birthday with much fanfare, millions of women and members of our minorities will have little to cheer about.

On Aug 11, 2017 12:42 PM, “Nasik Elahi” <nasikelahi@yahoo.com> wrote:

Should this discussion chain be placed on the Thinkers forum website.  What say members of the group.Nasik

Sent from my iPhone
On Aug 10, 2017, at 11:55 PM, Noor Salik <salikain@gmail.com> wrote:
Malaysia government minister calls for atheists to be ‘hunted down’ and ‘re-educated’
Atheists in Malaysia should be “hunted down” as they violate the constitution, a government minister in the increasingly fundamentalist Muslim-majority nation has said.

Shahidan Kassim, who serves in the Prime Minister’s inner circle, called on Islamic scholars to re-educate non-believers.

Apostasy is not a federal crime in Malaysia, but critics say the country’s increasingly conservative trajectory is threatening religious freedoms.

“The [Federal Constitution] does not mention atheists. It goes against the Constitution and human rights,” Mr Kassim said during a press conference.

“I suggest that we hunt them down vehemently and we ask for help to identify these groups.”

The MP for Arau, a town in the far north of Malaysia close to the border with Thailand, said atheists were “misled” and claimed they “don’t want to be atheists but it happens because of the lack of religious education”.

Mr Kassim called on “all muftis [Muslim religious scholars]” to “return them to the faith”.

It comes as the Malaysian government ordered an investigation into an international atheist organisation that is operating in the country.

A photo of a meeting of the Kuala Lumpur chapter of Atheist Republic sparked uproar among some Muslims and lead to death threats against the group on social media.

Malaysia’s deputy minister in charge of religious affairs, Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki, said on Monday he had instructed the Federal Territories Islamic Religious Department to investigate the Atheist Republic chapter to see if any Muslims were involved.

“We need to determine whether any Muslims attended the gathering, and whether they are involved in spreading such views, which can jeopardise the aqidah [faith] of Muslims,” he told Reuters.

Ex-Muslims in the group would be sent for counselling, while attempts to spread atheist ideas could be prosecuted under existing laws, Asyraf said.

“We need to use the soft approach with (apostates). Perhaps they are ignorant of the true Islam, so we need to engage them and educate them on the right teachings,” he said.

Atheist Republic’s founder, Armin Navabi, said the group’s gatherings caused no harm to the public and were not considered a threat in other countries.

“They [atheists] are treated like criminals. They are just hanging out and meeting other atheists. Who are they harming?!” he said in a post on his Facebook account.

Malaysian states, which have their own laws governing Islamic affairs, do not allow Muslims to formally renounce Islam, preferring instead to send them for counselling, or fining or jailing them.

The country’s apostasy laws have left many former Muslims in legal limbo, as they are not allowed to register their new religious affiliations or legally marry non-Muslims.

In 2007, Lina Joy, a Malaysian convert to Christianity, lost a high-profile legal battle to have the word “Islam” removed from her identity card. In delivering judgment in that case, the Federal Court’s chief justice said the issue was related to Islamic law, and civil courts could not intervene.

Additional reporting Reuters

On Aug 9, 2017 10:08 AM, “FAYYAZ SHEIKH” <fay707@hotmail.com> wrote:
I agree with the statement by Wequar Sahib. None of the major three religions per se are compatible with secularism and want to control the political power. Church has done so for centuries and was pushed out by politicians by ignoring Bible teachings that were not compatible with modernization and secularism. Israel does not have constitution, and is ruled by parliament laws as necessity arises because constitution cannot be above sacred Torah and extremist insist on making Torah constitution. Both Christians and Jews has found a way around religious hurdles by ignoring the teachings that are not compatible with secularism and modernization. Muslims mostly on individual’s levels and few Muslim countries on national levels are doing the same but major hurdle is the collaboration of West and Saudi Arabia like monarchs in blocking this to move forward for personal interests. As soon as middle east monarchs, especially Saudi Arabia, fall the change will be rapid.
Fayyaz

From: Wequar Azeem <azeemtranscriptionservise@gma il.com>
Sent: Wednesday, August 9, 2017 7:51:06 AM
To: Aziz Ahmed
Cc: Noor Salik; Suhail Rizvi; Mian Vequar Ahmed; Khalid Sayyed; Saqlain Malik; Syed Suhail Rizvi; Saiyid Ali Naqvi; Sarwar Ali; Nasik Elahi; Mehfooz Rehman; Azeem Farooki; Dr. Shoeb Amin; Zafar Khizer; Dr. Syed Ehtisham; Asad Mahmood Sayyed; Nisar Kidwai; Dr. Rashid AHMAD; Mirza Ashraf; Syed Ajaz ud Din Shah; Dr. Fayyaz Sheikh; Babar Mustafa; Imtiaz Syed Bokhari
Subject: Re: Society of Pakistani American Secularists No Aziz, I’m not saying that Secularism should replace Faith of any person. Secularism is not a religion. If you follow secular approach, you respect the Faith, no matter which, of a fellow human being. My desire is to have the leading persons of our community to spear head a campaign to bring back Secularism in Pakistan’s constitution. That will give complete freedom to all Pakistanis to practice their Faith and religious rituals without fear or favor from any body. Pakistan should keep religion out of its constitution thereby making it an even playing field for Hindus, Sikhs, Parsees, Christians and Muslims alike. All people of whatever faith they belong to, should have equal rights and equal opportunities, period!Are you in agreement with this campaign ?
On Wed, Aug 9, 2017 at 2:07 AM, Aziz Ahmed <aziz.ahmed76@gmail.com> wrote:

Hello all,
I have not read all the emails on this thread but I will sometimes later.If I (we) for an instant accept my learned friend WA theory, he has just deliberated that Muslims had been following something blindly what their elders told them but with no logic. So there is no place for religion which is outdated and Secularism should be the way of life. Suppose we wipe clean our minds, burn all the Holy Books forget about the teachings of the prophets. Let the scholars and intellectuals who are secular tell me how the world was created. Who told mankind about good and evil. When did the first marriage between a man and women took place. Show me a book or books, scripture written before the first prophet was sent, that tell us about the way of life. Aziz
Sent from my iPhone
On Aug 8, 2017, at 9:49 PM, Noor Salik <salikain@gmail.com> wrote:
Hi All in CC List!WA {Wequar Azeem} has written a thoughtful response to Syed Imtiaz Bokhari’s input.It is an important topic which confronts the modern day Muslims.Please read WA response and share your comments with CC list.I will definitely share with you my views about this topic – especially what WA wrote.~~~~Here is WA’s latest comment for ready reference….Dear Mr Bokhari,Yes, Islam and Secularism is not compatible. Yes, Pakistan is a state whose overwhelming majority is casual Muslims, because they were born in Muslim families and raised to be CASUAL Muslims like their parents and several generations of fore-fathers.Times demand a rethinking and adjustment with modernity which the orthodoxy does not allow. Orthodoxy is a conspicuous minority, although its numbers are ascending due to forced indoctrination from official podiums, public places and pulpits of Mosques during last couple of decades. The irony is that the real Orthodox Islam does not provide room for clergy, because it is always directly between the Creator and the created, without any via media like a Mullah, Molvi, Maulana, Pir/Murshid, Mufti, Mohaddis to spoil the broth. The Mohaddis and Mofassir belong in the madressa, not in public life. The only position allowed in public life is Mujtahid, to keep updating the Mazhab (Not Deen, as Deen is unalterable) according to changed circumstances with advancement in technology and its impact on universal human life. Ijtehad and Mujtahids were regretfully shot down by Imam Ghazali. Instead, the clergy has occupied the pulpits, (which actually belongs to govt functionary) and are abusing it for furthering their cause.I have to disagree with you that the majority of Pakistani diaspora in USA is orthodox in their compliance with Islam.The majority in Pakistan too is unorthodox and casual in their Faith. Secularism is the right prescription for regaining their place in the comity of nations with the prestige they deserve. In short, the campaign to restore Secularism in Pakistan is in no way intended to maul and disfigure Islam, but to leave religion out of public policy making. Public policy should be formulated on the golden principles of progressive humanism. Theocracy, however diluted, is not tenable in the 21st century.

On Aug 8, 2017 4:49 PM, “Noor Salik” <salikain@gmail.com> wrote:

WA,There is a story behind every story:هر کہانی کے پيچهے ايک کہانی هےYes you are right.You are the only guy in this CC list whom I can hit hard, if a situation arises.Normally I am not an overtly confrontational type of guy.
Actually I wanted to make a point that CC list should be checked before SEND button is pressed.Sayed Imtiaz Bokhari wrote an important input but he chose to send those people whom he know personally – about 6 to 7 people.
I asked his permission whether his input can be shared with all CC list, and I put your name in his CC list.After his permission I sent his input to ALL.So you received Syed Imtiaz Bokhari’s input twice.First with truncated list and then with complete CC list.
You picked up the truncated one and wrote your comprehensive response.If you had checked your CC list before sending, you would have asked me why I sent you a truncated list.It did not happen.
I did not point out to Mirza Sahib.I did not publicaly point out to Syed Imtiaz Bokhari.In your case I did, but you came back with your explanation..Now the point is clear to everybody in CC list to verify that CC list is not truncated because this topic is so important.
In real life some time we have to truncate the CC list.It depends upon the situation.
NS

On Aug 8, 2017 3:35 PM, “Wequar Azeem” <azeemtranscriptionservise@gma il.com> wrote:

NS,I did not intend to truncate the list serve. I simply pressed the ‘reply all’ button in response to your mail.WA
On Tue, Aug 8, 2017 at 2:08 PM, Noor Salik <salikain@gmail.com> wrote:

WA: First truncation was done by Mirza Ashraf, second truncation was done by Syed Imtiaz Bokhari, third truncation is done by Wequar Azeem.I requested all of you before to make sure your CC list is not truncated.Now there are 23 people in CC List.NS~~~Latest input from WA {Wequar Azeem}Dear Mr Bokhari,Yes, Islam and Secularism is not compatible. Yes, Pakistan is a state whose overwhelming majority is casual Muslims, because they were born in Muslim families and raised to be CASUAL Muslims like their parents and several generations of fore-fathers.Times demand a rethinking and adjustment with modernity which the orthodoxy does not allow. Orthodoxy is a conspicuous minority, although its numbers are ascending due to forced indoctrination from official podiums, public places and pulpits of Mosques during last couple of decades. The irony is that the real Orthodox Islam does not provide room for clergy, because it is always directly between the Creator and the created, without any via media like a Mullah, Molvi, Maulana, Pir/Murshid, Mufti, Mohaddis to spoil the broth. The Mohaddis and Mofassir belong in the madressa, not in public life. The only position allowed in public life is Mujtahid, to keep updating the Mazhab (Not Deen, as Deen is unalterable) according to changed circumstances with advancement in technology and its impact on universal human life. Ijtehad and Mujtahids were regretfully shot down by Imam Ghazali. Instead, the clergy has occupied the pulpits, (which actually belongs to govt functionary) and are abusing it for furthering their cause.I have to disagree with you that the majority of Pakistani diaspora in USA is orthodox in their compliance with Islam.The majority in Pakistan too is unorthodox and casual in their Faith. Secularism is the right prescription for regaining their place in the comity of nations with the prestige they deserve. In short, the campaign to restore Secularism in Pakistan is in no way intended to maul and disfigure Islam, but to leave religion out of public policy making. Public policy should be formulated on the golden principles of progressive humanism. Theocracy, however diluted, is not tenable in the 21st century. Show quoted text

On Aug 8, 2017 1:23 PM, “Noor Salik” <salikain@gmail.com> wrote:

Syed Imtiaz Bokhari wrote the following:~~~~~“Society of Pakistani American Secularists”
It is an intriguing article not worthy of discussion we discussed lot of topics of such nature in our monthly discussions but to no avail.
Islam is declared to be incompatible with secularism because in a secular state there is no place for divine laws, and secular laws are unacceptable to Islam. Also it is believed that in Islam religion and politics cannot be separated. On these grounds secularism is totally rejected by orthodox Muslims.

This standard definition clearly manifests that Islam and secularism are not compatible based on religion and spiritual dimensions.
John Esposito, Professor at Georgetown University, has stipulated that most Muslim countries struggling how to reconcile Islam with Secularism, they adopted Western institutions with ease but they are reluctant to separate religion from governing. Majority of the Muslim countries chose a middle ground in nation building, borrowing heavily from the West foreign advisors and Western educated elites. Parliamentary government, political parties, capitalist and socialist systems like Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Iran and Tunisia adapted this expediency.
Most government retained  a modest Islamic façade, incorporating reference to Islam in their constitution such ruler must be Muslim and Sharia must be source of law and design religious courts to adjudicate cases bordering on blasphemy laws.
Coming back to Pakistan American they have hard time to reconcile Islam with secularism, they are extremely devoted to traditional Islam with slight modification not impinging the very fabric of Islam as practiced in most of the Muslim countries. They even don’t allow a discussion on Islam in their masques and other intellectual forums, discussions often resulted in shouting.
Imtiaz
On Aug 8, 2017 12:37 PM, “Wequar Azeem” <azeemtranscriptionservise@gma il.com> wrote:

Dear Mirza Saheb,Deen is the essence of Faith called Islam. It focuses on Tauheed (Monotheism) + Risalat (Divine Ordaining). Mazhab is the way Deen is complied with in conjunction with local traditions and pre-existing customs, some of which may be rejected by Deen, but most of them continue as part of new Mazhab. This is why the Mazhab aspect of Islam in Hijaz is different and distinct from Islam in Iran, Indonesia, Malaysia, China, Libya or Indo-Pak separately.  Using Mazhab in place of Deen and vise-versa non-challantly, causes confusion to the less aware Muslims and non-Muslims alike.Yes I agree that these questions entail in-depth knowledge on the part of all participants to conduct a sensible discussion. Most people are like me, only casually and inadequately informed.
Wequar
On Tue, Aug 8, 2017 at 11:06 AM, Mirza Ashraf <mirzashraf@hotmail.com> wrote:
Wequar Sahib, these three questions need a lot of discussion. Mazhab, religion in English, is dogma. Deen, way of life is what, you once showed an intention of writing Islam as Deen-e-Muhammadi. Deen-e-Islam is a continuum of the ways (not essentially beliefs) of all the prophets, for example, 3 time talaq, hlala, stoning, hand cutting, animal sacrifice, and so many are the ways and traditions of almost all the previous prophets.
Mirza

From: Wequar Azeem <azeemtranscriptionservise@gma il.com>
Sent: Tuesday, August 8, 2017 9:13:57 AM
To: Noor Salik
Cc: Mirza Ashraf; Suhail Rizvi; Mian Vequar Ahmed; Khalid Sayyed; Saqlain Malik; Saiyid Ali Naqvi; Sarwar Ali; Rizvi Syed Suhail Rizvi; Mehfooz Rehman; Azeem Farooki; Dr. Shoeb Amin; Zafar Khizer; aziz ahmed; Dr. Syed Ehtisham; Asad Mahmood Sayyed; Nisar Kidwai; Dr. Rashid AHMAD; Syed Ajaz ud Din Shah; Dr. Fayyaz Sheikh; Babar Mustafa; Imtiaz Syed Bokhari; Dr. Nasik Elahi
Subject: Re: Society of Pakistani American Secularists NSI like to share my two bits on the difference between Mazhab and Deen and how this difference manifests itself in the context of Islam. However, I think it is prudent to wait till after Mirza Ashraf Saheb has responded to your questions.The incident of mass killing of a jewish tribe soon after conquest of Medina, like all other such horrors of history, has the two versions i.e. one of the conquerer (biased muslim historians) and two, of the independent, objective and unrelated scholars. The incident itself is not denied. Most readers overlook the condition and causes leading to creation of Misaq e Madina, why it was drawn and on whose behest. Those circumstances form the significant causation of the effect called Misaq e Madina
Misaq e Madina too has been viewed in opposing lights. A secular document in hagiographic terms, or, a strategic document, based on cunning maneuvers with certain objects to achieve in the end. Misaq e Madina is one of the reasons why the warring factions in Madina invited Prophet Muhammed to migrate to Madina, not only for his own safety, but primarily for him to arbitrate and decide terms of retaining peace in war torn Madina. Misaq e Madina is not a role model document unless the circumstances are same as those in Madina at the time of Hijra.
On Tue, Aug 8, 2017 at 8:39 AM, Noor Salik <salikain@gmail.com> wrote:

Hi All in CC List:I asked 3 questions addressing MA {Mirza Ashraf}.Actually those questions are for all of us.If you feel like you can answer those questions too.I am sure most of you can.Here are questions again:~~~~MA {Mirza Ashraf}You are one of those people who have added to my limited knowkedge of Islamic history.I respect you for your knowledge but I disagree with lot of your inferences you draw from that knowledge..Let me ask you few questions.(1)What is diffetence between DEEN & MAZHAB                       { دين اور مذهب}Based on your definition, Islam is a DEEN orIslam is a MAZHAB.
2nd Question:Would you please share with us your information about Jewish killing by Muslims in 5th year of Hijra in or around Madina?
3rd question.You mentioned many times that that “Charter of Medina”was a secular document.In your opinion, if it is so, then please elaborate and explain why you classify “Charter of Medina” as a secular document.ThanksNS
On Aug 8, 2017 8:20 AM, “Noor Salik” <salikain@gmail.com> wrote:

Hi All in CC List!I included Saiyid Ali Naqvi, Sayed Aziz Ahmed, Saqlain Malik, Mian Viqar Ahmed already.I am including Azeem Farooki in CC list as well.Azeem Farooki is an Islamic Scholar with no beard.
He is the head of ICR {Islamic Centre of Rockland} interfaith activities group.He teaches various courses on Islam in local collges.He is a prolific writer and a consummate speaker.Hopefully he will enlighten everybody  in CC list with his profound Islamic insights.Last time I spoke to him, he was going on a European tour for two weeks.I am not sure where he is now at present.If you have any question about Islam and Modernity,you may ask in this email loop which was initiated by WA {Wequar Azeem} and expanded by NS {Noor Salik}.More later on.
NS
On Aug 8, 2017 7:10 AM, “Noor Salik” <salikain@gmail.com> wrote:

Hi All in CC List:Yesterday I added two names in CC List.(1) Saiyid Ali Naqvi(2) Sayed Aziz AhmedToday I added two more names:(3) Saqlain Malik(4) Mian Viqar AhmedNow the total numbers in CC list is 23.Whenever you add a new input to this important discussion, please make sure that your CC list is not truncated.It is imperitive that every input should go to everybody in CC list.Thanks for this consideration.~~~~~~~~MA {Mirza Ashraf}You are one of those people who have added to my limited knowkedge of Islamic history.I respect you for your knowledge but I disagree with lot of your inferences you draw from that knowledge..Let me ask you few questions.(1)What is diffetence between DEEN & MAZHAB                       { دين اور مذهب}Based on your definition, Islam is a DEEN orIslam is a MAZHAB.
2nd Question:Would you please share with us your information about Jewish killing by Muslims in 5th year of Hijra in or around Madina?
3rd question.You mentioned many times that that “Charter of Medina”was a secular document.In your opinion, if it is so, then please elaborate and explain why you classify “Charter of Medina” as a secular document.ThanksNS
On Aug 7, 2017 8:56 PM, “Noor Salik” <salikain@gmail.com> wrote:

Hi All in CC List:Two new names have been added to CC List.(1) Saiyid Ali Naqvi(2) Sayed Aziz Ahmed
The latest input to this discussion of “Secularism in Pakistan” by Mirza Ashraf is below:~~~~~
Wequar Sahib, your argument, what happened after Jinnah’s demise, is as true as an eyewitness account. British form of democratic system is not fit for the uneducated masses in Pakistan. A Prime Minister has to rely on members of the Parliament who are mostly landlords. The PM, in order to keep the support has to feed them and corruption starts. Bhutto, in order to get support from Mufti Mahmood and his other accomplice was forced to declare the Ahmadis kafirs and laid the foundation another bad example.
I agree with you that “Secularism” is the only solution for Pakistan; rather before you raised this issue here I had mentioned it in my book Islamic Philosophy of War and Peace in the chapter on Political Islam. In my latest book, I have at many places mentioned the importance of secularism. When I write critically, my argument is not to discourage your efforts, but to explains the hurdles which our efforts will have to face.
Mirza

On Aug 7, 2017 8:34 PM, “Mirza Ashraf” <mirzashraf@hotmail.com> wrote:
Wequar Sahib, your argument, what happened after Jinnah’s demise, is as true as an eyewitness account. British form of democratic system is not fit for the uneducated masses in Pakistan. A Prime Minister has to rely on members of the Parliament who are mostly landlords. The PM, in order to keep the support has to feed them and corruption starts. Bhutto, in order to get support from Mufti Mahmood and his other accomplice was forced to declare the Ahmadis kafirs and laid the foundation another bad example.
I agree with you that “Secularism” is the only solution for Pakistan; rather before you raised this issue here I had mentioned it in my book Islamic Philosophy of War and Peace in the chapter on Political Islam. In my latest book, I have at many places mentioned the importance of secularism. When I write critically, my argument is not to discourage your efforts, but to explains the hurdles which our efforts will have to face.
Mirza

From: Wequar Azeem <azeemtranscriptionservise@gma il.com>
Sent: Monday, August 7, 2017 7:08:30 PM
To: Noor Salik
Cc: Babar Mustafa; Suhail Rizvi; Khalid Sayyed; Sarwar Ali; Rizvi Syed Suhail Rizvi; Mehfooz Rehman; Dr. Shoeb Amin; Zafar Khizer; Dr. Syed Ehtisham; Asad Mahmood Sayyed; Nisar Kidwai; Dr. Rashid AHMAD; Syed Ajaz ud Din Shah; Dr. Fayyaz Sheikh; Imtiaz Syed Bokhari; Dr. Nasik Elahi; Mirza Ashraf
Subject: Re: Society of Pakistani American Secularists Liaquat was a good second but not fit for #1 spot. He did not have the strength of conviction nor an steely resolve like Jinnah. Soon after Jinnah’s death all Islamists who had initially opposed Pakistan ganged up to usurp the initial decision of pre-partition Muslim League leadership to draft a Secular constitution for Pakistan. Liaquat was weakened by the fact that he did not have a constituency of his own being a Mohajir and he needed enough supporters for the first general election to be held after independence. Hence he succumbed to the pressure of Islamists and undermined Jinnah’s legacy. The Objective Resolution became the preamble of the Islamic constitution in years to follow and the rest is history.What

Disqualified Nawaz Sharif’s road journey to Lahore

Disqualified Nawaz Sharif’s road journey to Lahore

Panama case dented Pakistan’s progress

Pakistan had begun to get stronger at the start of 2016 after tidying over energy crisis, economic crisis, and existential threat of terrorism. Target killings, kidnapping for ransom and extortion in Karachi had almost ended. Up swinging of macro-economic indicators together with launching of $46 billion worth CPEC opened up broad vistas for economic progress and prosperity. The dream of making Pakistan an Asian Tiger looked real. Amid the happy tiding Panama scandal cropped up from out of the blue which gave a chance to the political rivals of PML-N to block and pull down the rising graph of affluence. From April 2016 onwards, the PTI assisted by electronic and social media riveted the nation towards Panama issue alone. Removal of Nawaz Sharif (NS) from power which Imran Khan (IK) relentlessly pursued since June 2013 became his goal. This ambition bred negativism, intolerance, hatred and dissipation of morality.

Culture of allegations, abuses, slander became a norm because of which social and human values dipped low. NS was presented as the most corrupt man this country had ever seen and responsible for the afflictions of Pakistan. For unknown reason, the apex court hearing the high profile case gave suggestive and loaded statements, thereby providing fodder to the media to indulge in sensationalism. It made no effort to curb media war by both sides. Notwithstanding the outright negativity of PTI and rating hungry media, the ruling regime kept its focus on development, while the security forces kept fighting the foreign paid proxies.

Impact of Supreme Court decision

The decision of 5-member Supreme Court Bench (SCB) on July 28 against NS made his opponents particularly IK led PTI euphoric, but shocked the ruling PML-N and its allies. The PTI didn’t bother about the political vacuum that occurred and its hazardous repercussions, but rejoiced over the thought that victory was within its grasping reach. Its optimism rested on the assumption that the PML-N fort would crack up and at least 50 MNAs would join PTI or PML-Q. Lot of work had been done in this regard and it was expected that old PML-Q lawmakers who had reverted to mother party and some others would join the celebrations of PTI on July 30. These defections in their view would make it impossible for the PML-N legislators and their allies to win simple majority of 172 seats for the next PM and thus pave the way for early elections.

Apparently, the wind started to blow entirely in favor of rivals of NS after his disqualification from holding public office for life. The PML-N seemed to be on a downhill journey as a national party with no hope of recovery. For them NS and his family had become history and there was nothing stopping PTI from gaining power. It was shortsightedness and wishful thinking and nothing else.

Political vacuum bridged

So far nothing of the sort has happened as assumed by foes of NS. The defendants of the Panama scandal case and the ruling regime accepted the Supreme Court (SC) decision but didn’t agree with it and decided to opt for review petition and to take the case to the people. On 01 August, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi was elected new PM securing 221 votes. Allied parties NP, PkMAP, JUI-F and MQM (Pakistan) voted for Khaqan. Opposition couldn’t put up a consensus candidate because of which their votes splintered. PPP candidate won 46 votes, PTI’s candidate Sheikh Rashid 33 votes and Jamaat Islami candidate 4 votes.

Soon after, a new 43-member cabinet was sworn in and the political void was filled. Slot of Foreign Minister lying vacant for 4 years was also filled by Asif Khawaja, while Ishaq Dar and Saad Rafique retook their old ministries of Finance and Railways. Ahsan Iqbal and Khurram Dastagir took over Interior and Defence Ministries respectively. It has now been decided that Khaqan will continue to perform as PM till next elections in May 2018, while Shahbaz Sharif (SS) tipped as his relief will stay put as CM Punjab. SS will also take over as president of PML-N after vacation of the seat by NS.

No dent in NS popularity

What is most bewildering for many is that NS has not lost his old gloss and popularity within the party parliamentarians and among the voters of PML-N. After his disqualification, the parliamentary party meeting on Jul 29, 2017 reposed full confidence in NS leadership and with one voice termed the July 28 verdict as a judicial oversight, and vowed to support him. He named the new interim PM and the future PM and also approved the names of new cabinet members. A glimpse of his popularity among the people was seen on his two-way journey to Murree and back to Punjab House and now it is being further echoed by the human sea of his fans moving with his convoy to Lahore.

Game changing road journey

NS changed his initial decision to proceed to his hometown Lahore on August 6 via Motorway and has embarked on a 400 km road journey along GT Road on August 9. His cavalcade will pass through PML-N’s 14 constituencies and at each constituency NS will be welcomed by slogan-chanting and flag-waving Leaguers. He will terminate his journey at Data Durbar Lahore by next Friday.

Huge preparations were made and security arrangements tied up. PM Khaqan and PML-N lawmakers hugged him and saw him off at Punjab House at 1130 hours while many accompanied him. His fans emotionally kissed his vehicle and showered rose petals. A container equipped with resting facilities accompanied NS and catered for night-stay facility at one-two cities. Senior hawkish leaders of PML-N have started to heat up the political temperature to trigger sympathy wave for NS. The epic road caravan may prove to be a game changer.

Anxieties of foes of NS

Alarmed and flabbergasted by the sudden change of tide, the PTI leaders are making hue and cry as to how come a disqualified PM on whom references have been filed in the trial court can take part in politics. They demanded that he and his family members should be put on exit control list. A case was moved in the SC on August 7 requesting it to disallow NS from undertaking the road move. The petitioner took the plea that the move is intended to discredit the judiciary. Impressed by the turnout of PML-N workers and fans, the SC turned down the petitions.

Woes of IK

IK is faced with court cases ranging from his party’s foreign funding to purchase and sale of his flat in London and purchase of huge land in Banigala in Isbd over which he built a palatial house and his luxurious lifestyle without any source of income. He is at risk of being disqualified. Bounce-back by PML-N has distressed him.

As if these worries were not enough, his party’s MNA Gulalai from Waziristan levelled accusations against IK and called him characterless on account of sending her erotic messages on his mobile phone. She stated that scruples of women parliamentarians and workers in PTI are unsafe. She also accused PTI Ministry in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) of being involved in corruption.

It created an uproar and put IK on the defensive. PTI women parliamentarians feeling sheepish are in ugly mood and are berating well-educated and bold Gulalai who is eloquently and forcefully putting forward her grievances. She has left her party but much to the chagrin of PTI, she refuses to vacate her seat. A parliamentary committee has been formed to probe the truth, but IK is reluctant to appear before it.

Efforts to scare NS

To frighten NS, PTI recalled PAT leader Tahirul Haq Qadri (TuQ) based in Canada. Opportunist TuQ with dubious track record seized the opportunity and suddenly landed at Lahore on August 8 and held a public meeting at Nasir Bagh which was attended by PTI leaders and Sheikh Rashid. TuQ announced that he will reinvigorate the July 2014 Model Town case in which 14 workers of PAT were killed during a clash with the police. After the fall of NS, TuQ hopes to get SS and Rana Sanaullah disqualified through apex court/JIT and then demolish the PML-N Punjab fort. He exhorted his followers to be prepared to stage a decisive sit-in in case blood money was not paid to the families of 14 victims.

Propaganda machinery of PTI has been geared up to further heap abuses on the cast-off NS and IK has decided to hold a public meeting on 13th to water down the impact of NS road move. Punjab PPP

leaders are also shamefacedly trying to undermine the strength of supporters of NS who have come from far distances in large numbers. ARY TV and some other channels as usual are giving false coverage. There is so much of rush that the huge caravan of vehicles and walkers has till 9 pm not reached Committee chowk on Murree Road where NS will hold his first address. NS will spend the night at Punjab House Rwp from where he had started in the morning.

IK’s improper sarcasm

IK has sarcastically asked NS that he should tell who signaled him to come on roads. Before NS answers his silly question, IK should first tell the nation who signaled him and TuQ to undertake a long

march from Lahore to Isbd in July 2014, assault the PTV building, Parliament and PM Houses, stage a six-month sit-in at D-Chowk to paralyse the government and put people of twin cities to great inconvenience. IK should tell who told him to lock down Islamabad on Nov 2, 2016. He should answer Javed Hashmi’s allegation that he changed his mind when a better course was offered to him by the apex court judge to remove NS and dissolve the NA through courts.

IK should state who signaled rabble rouser TuQ to reach Lahore posthaste and make it difficult for NS to enter Lahore on 9/10 August by staging a sit-in and blocking the entry road. TuQ had almost decided to do so but then sense prevailed and he changed his mind. He is also required to extend support to PTI candidate contesting NA-120 seat, the result of which will prognosticate the future political strength of PML-N and PTI.

IK had lost in May 2013 elections but he never reconciled to it despite the apex court ruling that elections were free and fair. His allegations were entirely based on suspicions and conjectures. NS is not reconciling with the apex court judgement based on controversial JIT report and he smells conspiracy.

NS says that he was not disqualified on account of corruption, but on a frivolous charge of receiving salary from the Capital FZE Dubai based Company owned by his son Hassan Nawaz of which he was a Chairman. NS says he was not convicted on charges made by the petitioners, but was sentenced for not mentioning the salary he had not drawn, as ‘receivable’ (asset) in his 2013 income tax return. He has decided to seek a review petition and to request the chief justice to appoint a larger bench to hear his case.

Some queries/realities

While IK was never questioned as to why he has not reconciled with 2013 elections; NS is being ridiculed for not reconciling to the apex court judgement?

One may ask PTI leaders as to why they have got so upset over the road convoy led by a disqualified and powerless man. If according to them he is a highly unpopular and despised leader, then what is the worry? Let the people boo him. This road move will give a clear glimpse of NS popularity or unpopularity.

Unlike IK, NS doesn’t intend to stage a prolonged sit-in or to lock down a city to cause inconvenience to the public. It will be a two to three days journey and will be undertaken peacefully.

If IK has been holding public meetings for the last 3 years to convince the public that he was a clear winner in 2013 elections but he lost on account of massive rigging, why can’t NS present his case to the public that he has been wronged and the people’s mandate not respected?

IK despite being out of power, took the country for a ride all these years and made a mockery of all the state institutions including the Parliament, Election Commission and the SC, but was not obstructed, imprisoned or disqualified. While he left no stone unturned to boot out NS, the ruling regime refrained from deposing PTI government in KP despite constant coaxing by Fazlur Rahman. It also didn’t make any effort to block his politics of slander through social media.

NS was a democratically elected leader with a heavy mandate and had produced highly pleasing results in his 4-year rule. Not a single mega corruption scandal took place whereas there were dozens during PPP rule under Zardari. This is what has pained NS that in spite of his all-round performance which none can deny, he has been unseated from PM seat prematurely and disqualified for life under Articles 62 (1) (f), terming him as dishonest and untruthful.

The matter doesn’t end here. Several references have been sent to National Accountability Bureau (NAB) against NS and his 3 children for trial and given time frame to start the proceedings within 45 days and complete the trial in six months. On top of it, a SC judge has been mandated to supervise NAB’s progress which is unprecedented. Supervision of JIT by 3-Member Implementation Bench was also unparalleled.

NS has strong reasons to suspect that the decision was predetermined and feels he has the right to present his case before the people who had voted him to power and still hold him in highest esteem. He rightly says that he never committed a penny worth corruption throughout his 35-year political history. He draws strength from the unity within the ranks of PML-N and the eyebrows raised by legal luminaries and analysts both inside and outside the country about the court’s decision. During his addresses on his way to Lahore, he may share his grouses with his supporters.

Views of Legal experts/analysts

Legal experts say as to why the SCB disqualified him for life on the findings of JIT when the respondents had raised so many objections against the biased attitude of JIT.

They ask as to why it announced the verdict without ascertaining the validity of references through the trial court, whether he was guilty or not? The nation would have been quite satisfied had a charge of corruption, or embezzlement or money laundering been proven against NS.

They ask as to what was the grave emergency to take this extreme decision at a time when the country was faced with grave internal and external dangers, it was getting ripe for an economic takeoff, and there were few months left for the next elections?

Wasn’t a smooth political transition better for growth of democracy than futilely trying to cure the cancer of corruption by axing one rich family?

Was it that the decision couldn’t be pended because the country was economically sinking as had happened in 2012/2013?

Or the ruling elite was callously gobbling up the resources and breaking all records of corruption as was done by previous regime?

Or the country was at the verge of disintegration due to terrorism in FATA, Baluchistan and Karachi as was the case in 2013?

Or the constitution and rule of law were being compromised and there was wide scale nepotism and poor governance?

Or the regime had become a security risksimilar to Memogate scandal in Oct 2011, and Altaf Hussain’s diatribe against Pakistan on August 22, 2016?

If NS had become a security risk owing to his suspected softness and closeness with India on account of business interests, he should have been disqualified on this charge and not on Iqama. But which leader has ever been punished on account of his/her ties with India?

If any of these fears were non-existent, then should it be assumed that urgency of IK to seize power in a jiffy was considered as most pressing and in national interest?

Current Situation

The internal situation although returning back to normal is in actuality in a state of flux. The ones who have engineered the political instability after dividing the society to halt Pakistan’s economic progress must be sitting with cans of kerosene oil in their hands to fuel ongoing political polarization and instability.

PML-N, PPP, PTI, PML-Q, JI, JUI-F and PAT together with smaller regional parties are flexing their muscles. PTI-PAT nexus is eager to achieve their objectives by resorting to violent means, while PML-N leaders want NS to be absolved by the apex court and restored to power.

Hafiz Saeed heading Jamaatud Dawa and placed under house arrest has decided to enter the political arena by launching his party. Besides Samiul Haq party JUI (S) and ASWJ, all defunct extremist groups will join this party to save themselves from the claws of Raddul Fasaad. Possibility of grand alliance of religious parties like MMA cannot be ruled out.

The proxies on payroll of foreign agencies are eagerly waiting for the political duel to get out of control so that they can strike their targets with ease.

Daesh has been brought into Afghanistan by CIA-RAW for use against Afghan Taliban and Pakistan and to keep the pot of terrorism boiling for next 10 years.

Threat perception. Externally, Pakistan faces hostile India, Afghanistan and USA; lukewarm Iran, not-so-friendly GCC states. Sinister objectives of Indo-US-Afghanistan against Pakistan remain unchanged. Internally, war on terror is still raging with no end in sight. Politicians are at each other’s throats. PML-N relations with the Establishment and judiciary are tense.

 

Hoax of corruption and accountability

Is it not a fact that menace of corruption in Pakistan is endemic; it has seeped into all segments of society and the society suffers from moral decay? Political system is dogged by corruption. Can across the board accountability be undertaken without the accountability bill, which is yet to be framed and passed by the parliament, without an independent Ehtesab Commission and without correcting the flaws in criminal justice system?

Elites of Sindh notorious for corruption have saved themselves by framing their own accountability law to keep NAB at bay. NAB in KP was inactive till Gulalai’s revelation. Holy cows have remained above law. Articles 62 (1) (f) and 63 are most likely to be scrapped by the parliament since none among the parliamentarians pass the litmus test of these clauses.

If that be so, who will perform the surgery to remove the malignant part and cure the cancer of corruption? From where will we find honest and upright surgeons and if we succeed in finding some, will they be allowed to perform the surgeries of the entire elite class when seen in the backdrop of divided society, polarized political class, dynastic politics, curse of materialism, feudal nepotism, and lack of social justice?

Can this cancer be cured before first reforming the education system, carrying out ideological reformation of the society as a whole to upgrade moral turpitude, reforming the electoral system to elect morally clean leaders, reforming bureaucracy, and last but not least reforming the judiciary to dispense justice fairly?

Ground realities

It must not be forgotten that PPP has turned into a regional party and suffers from leadership crisis and internal malaise. Possibility of its revival is so far bleak. Political forces in Sindh are joining hands to end PPP misrule in Sindh.

PTI has no seat in Sindh and Baluchistan. PTI has failed to deliver good governance in KP since IK has shown disinterest in parliamentary affairs. It has not won a single seat in bye-elections and its performance in local bodies’ elections was dismal. It seems that PTI may lose power in KP in the wake of its opponents ganging up to move vote-of-no-confidence against Pervez Khattak. With so-called electable PPP leaders with murky past record swamping PTI, the party has lost its trumped up credentials of being a party of cleans. The reputation of IK himself is at stake. It has become a party of opportunists hungering to enter corridors of power. So, on what moral ground it claims to build Naya Pakistan and how does it qualify to start across the board accountability process if voted to power unless it first cleanse its own house?

PML-N is the only national party with strong roots in all the provinces including AJK and Gilgit Baltistan. NS is the lone leader who was elected PM thrice with heavy mandates, but each time he was ousted from power prematurely on unconvincing grounds. Yet, he has some feathers in his cap. He continues to act as a glue for his party and his appeal to his voters will be tested in the ongoing road journey. The way the sea of his supporters are welcoming him has dispelled the propaganda of PTI that he has lost his popularity. He is still the most popular leader of Pakistan. While Bhuttoism has kept PPP alive, sway of NS, which has further wired up because of the sympathy wave, will help PML-N to once again win next elections with a thumping majority.

It is still to be seen how the PTI and PAT reacts to the power show of PML-N, and whether it will have any impact on the judicial course. Reversal of the SCB decision is least likely, unless a larger bench is formed and it takes a lenient view and it calls off trial by NAB and reduces his disqualification sentence.

Judiciary had gained ascendency over the parliament after its July 28 verdict, but has come under pressure as a result of power show of NS and its credibility is under duress.

After NS, SS is the best bet for Pakistan. Besides his outstanding administrative skills, statesmanship, rich experience of handling problems of compound nature and leadership qualities, he is a go-getter, workaholic and indefatigable. He enjoys deep ties with Presidents of Turkey and China and has earned their respect. He is an asset for Pakistan and he has the capability, drive and willpower to build Naya Pakistan and none else. Although the critics will criticize this suggestion saying it will strengthen dynastic politics, but owing to leadership crisis, this factor may have to be ignored.

Courses open

Under the circumstances, the preferred course open is to forge unity, let the political process continue unhampered, strengthen economy and save the country from external and internal threats, and work for smooth transition of power next year. Till then, carryout essential reforms, pass effective accountability bill and empower NAB. Other weaker courses open are across the board accountability without an apparatus and then elections, or abrupt change of regime followed by accountability.

The writer is a retired Brig, war veteran, defence, security and political analyst, columnist, author of five books, Vice Chairman Thinkers Forum Pakistan, Director Measac Research Centre, editor-in-chief ‘Better Morrow’ and editor of web site ‘The Patriot’. Takes part in TV talk shows and delivers talks. asifharoonraja@gmail.com         

Partition, 70 years on: Salman Rushdie, Kamila Shamsie and other writers reflect

Pankaj Mishra

To think about partition on its 70th anniversary is to think, unavoidably, about the extraordinary crisis in India today. The 50th and 60th anniversaries of one of the 20th century’s biggest calamities were leavened with the possibility that India, liberal-democratic, secular and energetically globalising, was finally achieving the greatness its famous leaders had promised. In contrast to India’s grand and imminent tryst with destiny, Pakistan’s fate seemed to be obsessive self-harm.

The celebrations of a “rising” India were not much muted in 1997 and 2007, even as hands were dutifully wrung about the imperialist skulduggery and savage ethnic cleansing that founded the nation states of India and Pakistan, defined their self-images and condemned them to permanent internal and external conflict. Today, as the portrait of a co-conspirator in the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi hangs in the Indian parliament, it is the scale and ferocity of India’s mutation that haunts our thoughts.

But should it really be so shocking? Were we too beguiled by the intellectual complacencies of historians and journalists, who turned liberal democracy, secularism, globalisation and economic growth into articles of a new faith?

It is of course easy to ignore the malign and enduring potency of partition. Many of our everyday experiences of pluralist identities comprehensively negate it. My own life has been enriched by Pakistani writers, musicians, cricketers and friendships across borders. Yet the Hindu fanatic who murdered Gandhi for being soft on Muslims and Pakistan exemplified early the lethal logic of nation-building. So did many avowedly secular Indian leaders who used brute force to hold on to Kashmir.

In many ways, Narendra Modi and his mob are completing the unfinished business of partition: the unification of a political community through identification and persecution of internal and external enemies. In conforming to this grimly familiar historical pattern, India has outpaced Pakistan, where regional differences serve to check a ruthlessly homogenising nationalism (and Islamism), and no single ideological movement is able to colonise all key institutions of the state and civil society.

We persuaded ourselves that India was somehow exceptional, immune to the political pathologies that have infected almost every nation on earth, and entered its bloodstream at birth. It is frightening to contemplate on this 70th anniversary what lies ahead for nuclear-armed south Asia. No illusions of a liberation from history, of a rising or emerging India, comfort us today. And we – Indians as well as Pakistanis – are forced to acknowledge the partition as the great atrocity that decisively shapes our brutish present.

Pankaj Mishra’s most recent book is Age of Anger: A History of the Present (Allen Lane).

Salman Rushdie

Midnight’s Children was published a few months before the 34th anniversary of Indian independence in 1981, and another 36 years have elapsed since then. The novel now feels like a half-time report. The second half deserves its own novel, although I am not the right person to write it.

When my novel was published, some people criticised it for ending too gloomily. It’s true that much of the novel was written during the mid-70s “Emergency”, Indira Gandhi’s shameful 21-month suspension of democracy, and it bears the marks of that dark moment. But in the novel, as in real life, India emerged from the Emergency into a new day, and the narrator Saleem’s son Aadam represented the hope of a new generation. That new generation has grown up to inherit the world of midnight’s children, and India is becoming a different country. When I look at the last pages of my novel now, they feel almost absurdly optimistic.

The country is rapidly being pulled in the direction decreed by the proponents of “Hindutva”, Hindu nationalism, and away from the secular ideals of the founding fathers. To criticise this movement, in the age of the political Twitter troll, is to be branded “sickular,” or, even worse, a “sickular libtard”. Meanwhile, in the land of the sacred cow, people are being lynched for the “crime” of allegedly possessing or eating beef. History textbooks are being rewritten as Hindutva propaganda. The government’s control over a largely acquiescent news media (there are a couple of honourable exceptions) would be envied by the president of the United States, if he happened to concern himself with such faraway matters. The “world’s largest democracy” feels more authoritarian and less democratic than it should.

But the Modi government is popular. It’s very popular. This is the greatest difference between the India of Indira’s Emergency and the India of today. Back then, Mrs Gandhi called an election, wrongly believing she would win, and by doing so would legitimise the excesses of the Emergency years. But she was voted down resoundingly and driven from office. There is no sign that the Indian electorate will turn against the present government any time soon. Midnight’s grandchildren seem content with what’s happening. And that’s the pessimistic conclusion to volume two of the Indian story.

Salman Rusdhie’s latest novel, The Golden House, is published by Jonathan Cape in September.

Kamila Shamsie

Kamila Shamsie.
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 Kamila Shamsie. Photograph: Sarah Lee for the Guardian

When I was growing up, partition was not so much a historical event as a family story. Partition had made half my family Pakistani and the other half Indian; partition meant my grandmother couldn’t get a visa to visit her dying mother; partition meant that while I cheered on Pakistan’s triumph against India in the 1987 Test series, my great-uncle, who was then visiting his sister/my grandmother, in Karachi, was despondent that his cricket team had lost. Partition also meant that I grew up in Karachi, multi-ethnic city of migrants, which I loved fiercely enough to make the loss of half a family seem like a price worth paying in a child’s black and white way of seeing the world.

But at the level of official and national conversation in Pakistan, 1947 was a year to which the word “independence” rather than “partition” was attached. It was in British text books and British Raj revival films that “partition” almost always trumped independence. Of course it did. To talk about the independence of Pakistan and India is to acknowledge the yoke of colonial rule. Far easier to talk about “partition”, with its implication of everything falling apart as the British left, as though the falling apart wasn’t the direct result of a policy of divide and rule. And so I’ve always been uneasy – and continue here to be uneasy – when I’m asked to talk about partition rather than independence in Britain.

But the complicated truth is that the entwined nature of independence and partition must be acknowledged. These were nations born as a result of a heroic opposition to imperial rule, but their birth was also marked by hatred and bloodshed. Contemporary conversations often focus on what that bloodshed means for India and Pakistan’s relationship to each other, but increasingly as I look at both nations, now so mired in violence towards their own minorities, I wonder what it means for each nation’s relationship to its own history, its own nature. There was never a reckoning for the violence of partition; that would have got in the way of the narrative of a glorious independence. Instead it became easier to blame the other side for all the violence, and pretend that at the moment of inception both India and Pakistan didn’t wrap mass murder in a flag and hope no one would notice the blood stains.

Kamila Shamsie’s latest novel, Home Fire (Bloomsbury), has been longlisted for the Man Booker prize.

Mohsin Hamid

Mohsin Hamid.
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 Mohsin Hamid. Photograph: Sarah Lee

Seventy years after partition, the old hatreds are alive and well. India is descending into an intolerant Hindu nationalism, apparently intent on imitating the religious chauvinism and suppression of dissent that have served Pakistan so poorly. In Pakistan, a moment where it seemed that the press might finally become free and elected civilian rulers might regularly complete their terms has passed.

We are back in the murk of the unsaid, the unacknowledged, the undemocratic. Soldiers of both sides are firing across the line of control in Kashmir. Nuclear stockpiles grow. Rhetoric is unmeasured, indeed often unhinged. A person brought forward in time from the murderous slaughter of 70 years ago would probably look around and say, yes, this is what I expected.

What a failure. A failure for all of us, who live in south Asia. And for all of you, who live abroad, in countries whose governments see only market sizes and geopolitical advantage, and turn a blind eye to the great and mounting danger your angry brothers and sisters pose to each other.

Mohsin Hamid’s most recent novel, Exit West, published by Hamish Hamilton, has been longlisted for this year’s Man Booker prize.

Kiran Desai

Kiran Desai.
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 Kiran Desai. Photograph: Samuel Aranda/Getty Images

Every Saturday I suffer from a depression I call my Saturday depression. The main symptom of this is that when I look in the mirror I don’t see myself, I see a ghost. The sight of this ghost fills me with fear. I know this spectre is merely the cumulative result of one more week in one more year of many years of self-imposed isolation for the sake of a book I have been working on a long wh

Last Saturday to avoid my unavoidable depression I went to the Rubin Museum in New York to see the Henri Cartier-Bresson photographs of India. One section of the exhibition displays the photographs – I almost wrote paintings – that Cartier-Bresson took during the last days of Gandhi’s life and the days following his assassination. The photographs are painterly. Rather than emphasising a passing event, they have a staying presence; while the days they were taken were chaotic, they have a composed stillness; while it was surely noisy, the photographs are overcome by a hush – as if violence has blasted the scene still and all the millions of people in the crowds have been condemned to an eternal moment. The quantity of people is important here, and the fact that every individual in this crowd of millions appears to be missing his or her face. You cannot see the person for an emotion more primal than our human selves has consumed their individual natures to make them part of a whole catastrophic betrayal. Pandit Nehru wears the same loss as Brij Krishna, Gandhi’s secretary, as a man who has clambered up a tree for a view of the funeral pyre, as a refugee on a train leaving Delhi for Lahore.

I was glad to be alone for I found my face was wet with tears. But I wasn’t weeping over the past, I was grieving for the present. The political wing of the RSS, the organisation to which Gandhi’s assassin was once a member, is the party that runs the country now, and it exults in the same vocabulary of violence now as then. The faces of the poor are the same now as they were then. An exhausted labourer sleeps on the street beside his cracked shoes in the same way. The footage of a Muslim dairy farmer, Pehlu Khan, begging for his life before a Hindu mob, one of many such attacks this year – link back to these photographs as if the nation is condemned to forever return to the time of its conception. Perhaps India will never overcome this moment photographed here. Everything that has happened since feels fateful, cyclical, endless and pre-determined.

I thought for a guilty moment that I had no right to feel this for I had not been there to share it. But when I looked at these photographs, I didn’t see them from a foreign distance.

I remembered the story of a grand uncle jailed by the British — when he came out of prison he never left his room, he had been so damaged he stayed inside spinning khadi. He shared a special bond with my German grandmother who had sailed with a trunk full of china to marry the engineering student from East Bengal she had met in Berlin. She made a home in a country that would soon fight Germany alongside the British, became part of a family that was meanwhile fighting for Independence from the British. Everything a contradiction in ideologies, but not in the one thing that could undo it all, the personal story against all this history, all these wars.Gandhi’s funeral train leaves Delhi for Allahabad, the ancestral home of Nehru, reminding me of my childhood visits to my grandparents for my grandfather was a judge at the Allahabad high court. They were also Gujarati like Gandhi, and like millions of others had made a harsh journey away from their landscape, language, religion, their notion of caste for a secular ideal of India. My parents, born in British India, saw their childhood landscapes of Delhi and Allahabad alter beyond recognition as half the population departed for Pakistan. By the time I was born, things must have seemed comparatively quiet, although it was a year in which India and Pakistan went to war, but I too growing up had witnessed Delhi burning in another incarnation of violence. I remember the disabled Sikh gentleman down the road from us who was carried out of his house by a mob and never seen again.

I thought of my father who taught himself to read Urdu and took pleasure in reciting Faiz and Ghalib on his rooftop on a summer night. I thought of my mother’s book, In Custody, about a professor of Hindi literature trying to record the poetry of an Urdu poet. That India, the inclusive India, my natural birthright, is once again under threat, and it has always been so.

As I composed myself in the cool darkness of the museum before I stepped back into the bright summer day, I felt a private gratitude to Cartier-Bresson, for his example of an artist who erased himself becoming a ghost behind his little 35mm Leica in order to memorialise the erasure of others. While the pictures depict violence, looking at them restores one to a place of humanity.

Kiran Desai is the author of the Booker prize-winning The Inheritance of Loss.

Siddhartha Deb

A refugee camp in Delhi in 1947.
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 A refugee camp in Delhi in 1947. Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo

Baniachang, the village in Sylhet from which my father’s family came, became part of East Pakistan in 1947. Today, after the secession of East Pakistan in 1971, it is in Bangladesh. I’ve never been there. How difficult was it, I thought when hearing my family talk about leaving Baniachang, for them to choose one kind of identity over another, in this case religion over language and culture? Partition, as books in recent years by Yasmin Khan and Vazira Zamindar have shown, was a different process depending on which part of it you were caught up in. The British and Indian elites making their new nations – men exemplified by the British viceroy, Louis Mountbatten, the future Indian prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, and his hardline Hindu nationalist deputy, Vallabhbhai Patel, the Indian industrialist and Gandhi patron GD Birla – were all in a hurry to force the process through. Mountbatten insisted on 15 August 1947 as the date for partition, just two and a half months after the decision to divide the subcontinent had been made. The boundary commission headed by the barrister Cyril Radcliffe finished preparing their maps only on 12 August, although these maps would not be made public until 17 August, two days after partition

By then, the ethnic cleansing was well under way. Over a million were killed, thousands raped and abducted, and between 12 and 20 million displaced in the process. Trains criss-crossed the landscape with carriages filled with corpses. Those escaping on foot travelled in columns that were sometimes 45 miles long. None of this violence and pain has really worked its way into the official histories of Britain, India, Pakistan or Bangladesh. This is surely one reason why the partition shows an uncanny ability to replicate itself through the decades, in mini partitions, mini pogroms and the steady marginalisation and brutalisation of minorities that has become the governing spirit of nationalism in south Asia.

The Urdu writer Saadat Hasan Manto, who reluctantly moved to Pakistan from Bombay after partition and found himself utterly disillusioned in his new nation, captured the situation best in his short story about patients in a Lahore asylum being divided up as assets for the new countries. The Sikh protagonist, named Toba Tek Singh after the village he comes from, is taken to the border to be sent to India, although his village happens to be on the other side, in what is now Pakistan. Lying down on “a bit of land that belonged to neither India nor Pakistan”, he refuses to take part in this process of exchange that has already blighted so many lives. Seventy years after Partition, Toba Tek Singh’s defiant madness evokes freedom better than anything achieved by the supposedly rational nations that came out of that bloody process.

Siddhartha Deb is the author of The Beautiful and the Damned: Life in the New India, published by Penguin. An excerpt from his new novel, set in part against the backdrop of partition, will be published in the autumn issue of N+1.

Fatima Bhutto

Fatima Bhutto.
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 Fatima Bhutto. Photograph: Sophia Evans for the Observer

India takes its name from the Indus, which flows through Sindh, my hometown in Pakistan. The mighty river is a force that animates the legends of India and Pakistan. Mohenjo-daro, the seat of that ancient river culture, is shared – no matter modern partitions – between our two countries.

Today Hindus and Muslims gather to pray together to the saint Udero Lal, a form of the beloved Jhulelal, in the complex where both a temple and a mosque stand together. Jhulelal has many avatars: for Sindhi Muslims he is a manifestation of Qalandar, a Sufi mystic who travelled from the Middle East to our shores to bring the faithful closer to God; for Hindus, he is an incarnation of a Varuna, a Vedic god who ruled the oceans. Across the border, the holy city Varanasi is named partly in his honour.

I spent many days in my childhood among the bricks of Mohenjo-daro. My brother spent his teenage years journeying to Udero Lal. Both of us have driven hours from our home in Karachi to sit under the golden dome of the Sufi shrine of Sehwan Sharif, where rose petals are offered to the tomb of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar by all faiths. Last year, the shrine was bombed by Isis because of what it stood for – a refuge, a site of adoration and love, for Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Sehwan, the name of the town where Pakistani Sufism’s most cherished shrine stands, is believed by many to be derived from the name of the god Shiva.

Sindh’s syncretic culture, its centuries of tolerant co-existence and even its turbulent present defy the sectarian logic of partition. And I have faith that it will survive the disasters designed to flow from it, even 70 years on.

Fatima Bhutto’s most recent book, The Shadow of the Crescent Moon, is published by Penguin.

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