Posts Tagged ‘ secularism ’

In our beginning is our end

Ardeshir Cowasjee in DAWN:

We must read to remember. The early days of Pakistan were far from halcyon, though those of us who lived through them look back with some nostalgia. Whatever progress we have made in this country’s 63 years of life has been, as it turns out, on the negative side.

Where have we progressed in leaps and bounds? Well, in the scale of wholesale corruption, political and administrative ineptitude, and bigotry and intolerance and their accompanying violence — they were all there at the beginning which was in itself violent.

Perhaps the presence of founder-maker Mohammad Ali Jinnah for the first year of Pakistan’s life kept things somewhat in check, though his loyal lieutenants did take advantage of his state of health. His exhortations of Aug 11, 1947 to his constituent assembly were in vain.

All that he laid down — tolerance, equality of citizenship, the shunning of corruption, nepotism and jobbery, and above all that law and order was the first priority of any government — was all lost. It was never digested, the quality of manpower saw to that.

Having dipped into an OUP 2010 publication, The Culture of Power and Governance of Pakistan 1947-2008 by Ilhan Niazi, it has sadly dawned upon me how misplaced was the early enthusiasm for the new country and the belief that the words and teachings of Jinnah would prevail.

In January 1949, governor of the Punjab Francis Mudie sent a note to Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan complaining that Punjab Chief Minister Mamdot was one up on the centre and even Jinnah “every time that they have intervened and the feeling is growing that the centre is powerless even when the government is hopelessly corrupt and the administration paralysed … no questions of policy are even contemplated”.

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The Trouble with Dr. Zakir Naik

Sadanand Dhume for The Wall Street Journal

If you’re looking for a snapshot of India’s hapless response to radical Islam, then look no further than Bombay-based cleric Dr. Zakir Naik. In India, the 44-year-old Dr. Naik—a medical doctor by training and a televangelist by vocation—is a widely respected figure, feted by newspapers and gushed over by television anchors. The British, however, want no part of him. On Friday, the newly elected Conservative-led government announced that it would not allow Dr. Naik to enter Britain to deliver a series of lectures. According to Home Secretary Theresa May, the televangelist has made “numerous comments” that are evidence of his “unacceptable behavior.”

The good doctor’s views run the gamut from nutty to vile, so it’s hard to pinpoint which of them has landed him in trouble. For instance, though Dr. Naik has condemned terrorism, at times he also appears to condone it. “If he [Osama bin Laden] is fighting the enemies of Islam, I am for him,” he said in a widely watched 2007 YouTube diatribe. “If he is terrorizing the terrorists, if he is terrorizing America the terrorist, the biggest terrorist, I am with him. Every Muslim should be a terrorist.”

Dr. Naik recommends the death penalty for homosexuals and for apostasy from the faith, which he likens to wartime treason. He calls for India to be ruled by the medieval tenets of Shariah law. He supports a ban on the construction of non-Muslim places of worship in Muslim lands and the Taliban’s bombing of the Bamiyan Buddhas. He says revealing clothes make Western women “more susceptible to rape.” Not surprisingly, Dr. Naik believes that Jews “control America” and are the “strongest in enmity to Muslims.”

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