A few months back I was in USA to meet with some family and aunts. During this time I spent a lot of time with my cousins. When we were told there was some traditional Indian Bhangra event us girls decided it would be fun and decided to check it out. We had some fun and it was nice seeing some brown people around other than my family. We even had some drinks and by the time we were out of there we were kind of wobbly on our legs though my aunt had told us not to drink too much…

So as we were walking back to the car quite drunk and fooling around, I faked putting the Dupatta over my head which drew chuckles from my cousins. A white man who had been staring at us all this while with a cigarette in one hand stared at us, shook his head and said “F***** terrorists”. I froze right there and stared at him for one long second. I heard my cousin say come on but I just stared at the man.

Even though I happened to be a little drunk at that time and not to mention I am a devout Christian my brown skin color and messing around with a Dupatta made me a ‘terrorist’. Perhaps it was the alcohol or maybe my own feeling for my homeland set my blood on fire. But at that moment I actually felt something I admit to have never felt so deeply before, being part of a minority in a country where some people are not very tolerant. I really felt sympathy for what Muslims were going through. I also understood what it felt like to be called a terrorist just because you belonged to a particular race. In that one moment I knew exactly what Havi had probably felt when some Indians admitted murder and threatened to kill him, then tried to frame him as a terrorist or what other leaders may have felt when faced with similar situations. I felt angry and very annoyed.

Over whispers of my cousin to let it go and nudging from the other side I walked towards the man. The guy, probably a professional at calling people “terrorists” and being ignored actually looked surprised when I walked towards him and shouted at him to shut up. Then as I was walking back he finally found a tongue and asked “Is that what your religion teaches you?” I replied “I am a Christian” though I could not help the expletives  that came out of my mouth either. My friends half pulled me and I half walked away to the lot where our car was but the event taught me a very important lesson. It taught me to look with another persons eyes. A very valuable lesson.

Perhaps if we Pakistanis were as afraid of something as the west is of “Pakistan” or “Muslims” we would have died of a heart attack a long time ago. That we survived the wave of terrorism and great odds speaks of our resilience. But only God knows how much more we will have to suffer for our dreams of prosperity, peace and equality regardless of caste and creed to come true because all of us perhaps would prefer to stay in Pakistan had that environment of personal freedom existed.

The notes about Havi may be information that we don’t discuss but we all know what happened and it deserves to be known because in all these years no one has supported the cause of minorities and in general tolerance as this guy. Try to appreciate the article than picking things out.

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An anonymous letter (translated)

Pakistan has been in existence for more than 60 years. In this time this Nation has seen it all. War, death, destruction, internal strife, corruption, power-hungry heads of state, severe foreign interference. Everything. Everything but the progress and prosperity we dreamed off. Power to some extent we have attained but still how does it matter when 60% of our people still live below a dollar a day? In this case it is something to wonder why we are constantly interfering in wars and countries where we do not belong. Why not concentrate almost completely on developing the country?

Recently we received a letter from a member describing his experiences in the past and questioning when we would rise above our differences and start putting Pakistani interest first rather than taking the first opportunity we find to interfere in another Nation. The letter also asked why we are worshiping US aid, much of which is eaten by the corrupt bureaucracy.

The letter also questions why despite all our sacrifices the west does nothing but treat us as terrorism suspects and how can we continue in this way if we are being treated as an inferior group of people even while we take their losses. Here is the letter.

Dear Zerab,

I became a part of the movement on 4th of July 1986, the years of the Soviet Afghan war. I saw the turmoil that the war had brought. I watched the years pass as the drugs, the illegal weapons and the refugees filled my land becoming a burden on our beloved country. I, a resident of Peshawar watched as my beloved city was turned into a refugee camp. All this was happening when we could barely feed our own. Pakistan’s involvement in Afghanistan is often a hotly debated subject when there are people of highly religious backgrounds present but most today agree that it was one of our foreign policy blunders that resulted in three things:

1)      More fanaticism in society

2)      US achieved its goals in defeating the Soviets but when it did the aid to us ended. A valuable lesson.

3)      Taliban gained an opportunity to spread terrorism in Afghanistan successfully making it a fanatical nation till the Allied invasion.

What happened during the War should have become a valuable lesson for us that taught us that interfering in another country always has consequences and should be avoided no matter how horrible the situation of that country seems to be. But we don’t learn our lesson’s because when the United States again came to us asking us to declare war against their own funded terrorists we accepted. Now this would have been a brilliant thing if it was not for the truth that we would be the ones who took all the losses and directed a highly fanaticized population against ourselves. We have taken more causalities than the United States and the war is being fought right on our land.

I doubt the Nationalist values of honour and many of our members thirst for vengeance will allow them to even think about not waging war on Tehreek E Taliban Pakistan movement. But maybe it is more than time to declare ourselves completely neutral to what happens in Afghanistan, that means both to the USA and the Taliban. This will:

1)      Destroy TTP’s excuse that we are supporting the USA which they use to recruit and brainwash. An upcoming withdrawal by NATO forces will improve the situation in Pakistan further. We just need wait. This should leave their most fanatical core. That core must still be finished.

2)      Pakistan will stop being treated as a colony by the USA and we will at least live with some honour. Their agents like Raymond Davis won’t be killing our people in broad daylight for one.

3)      Will allow us to look at other foreign policy options. The relationship with USA is outdated. In the beginning of this war they were mad but now they are stuck in Iraq and Afghanistan, bullying Iran and Syria, they won’t do anything to make the matter any worse. We should use the opportunity to slowly draw away from the country and look at a closer relationship with Russia. After all at least they are more reliable allies.

4)      Pakistanis are being pulled out of lines at airports. A suspect generally has to be Pakistani. Further evidence is our own chapter heads in some countries are becoming victims of severe persecution. We are treated as terrorists when we have the highest number of losses. Even patriotism is a crime today. We have nothing to lose. We had more respect before.

I hope our various organizations follow this strategy and accept it as our policy idea. There is no end in sight to this madness and only if we adapt a principle of non interference no matter what the situation can we succeed. What happens outside our country is not our problem.

(Member not comfortable with releasing name here)

It is quite sickening that there would be people in this country that actually celebrate the murder of another human being. This scenario has been most evident in the recent murder of Punjab governor Salman Taseer by his guard Malik Hussain Qadri of the Elite Force.

Even the religious parties instead of coming out and condemning the killing have used the murder as another opportunity to continue with their piggish ranting over not repealing the Blasphemy law without concern for how the law is being used even while a murder has taken place in the country .

The Blashphemy Law: Legalizing Terrorism

The blasphemy law has no doubt become a tool for terrorists to use to punish and murder innocent people. This entire debate has nothing to do with the Prophet being insulted. It is simply about the fact that terrorists and such like-minded individuals continue to have the right to frame innocent people for acts of blasphemy they never committed in the first place. Over 90% of the cases of Blasphemy are raised on the basis of people trying to settle personal scores and blaming others to achieve their land or settle a dispute in their own favor. Not all of them are even Non Muslim but still the terrorist supporters have such influence that they continue supporting the law. These core supporters of terrorism are the real troublemakers as they try to make the others believe that repealing the law is actually against Islam even when the law is so vaguely worded and murderers and killers are using it.

This terrorist law is being used to frame innocent people of having insulted Islam and anyone can make that dubious claim. Even a cleric who has released fatwas against terrorism have been killed by mobs who claim he was a blasphemer. In another famous case Akhter Hamid Khan who was working for the people of Orangi in Karachi to help them move to a better standard of living was booked under the law by criminals and other groups with vested interests who did not want his development work to continue in Orangi because it was against their own. He was booked under false charges of the blasphemy law even though he never insulted the Prophet or Quran as he was Muslim himself. Of course the terrorists on the other hand go unpunished as they kill and pillage because of this law every single time and get what they want. In fact this is a law that facilitates terrorism and it is terrorists who are actually defending the law.

The fact that Salman Taseer was killed because he rightly opposed this law must ensure that the law is destroyed completely and a message be sent to the traitorous terrorists and their cohorts that they will not be allowed to treat Pakistan as their play area.

I personally am not a supporter of Salman Taseer and I agree that he was corrupt and has habits that may be described as UnIslamic but murdering someone just because we disagree with him is TERRORISM. The groups celebrating the brutality committed this day must be very ashamed of themselves.

The Quran states “Whoever kills a human being it is as if he has killed all of humanity”

It also states “Let my faith be mine and yours be yours.”

We have no right NO RIGHT to kill someone because we see him as Unislamic. Malik Hussain Qadri has committed a major crime and people must stop presenting him as a hero because he is not. He is a major traitor who has committed an unforgivable crime. Salman Taseer may have been many things but he was not a blasphemer and we have no right to randomly name anyone as such much less kill him.

It is sad that Pakistanis are simply not understanding the idea of live and let live. Some of these people supporting the murder may think they are the better Muslims but they are in reality the ones who have deviated from their religion.