To the Atheists and Agnostics of Pakistan – you are not alone
This statement is posted on the recently launched website of Pakistani Athiests and Agnostics (PAA), which describes itself as a “social organisation for atheists, agnostics and freethinkers of Pakistan.”
The website claims to be affiliated with Atheist Alliance International (AAI), an international community that aims to educate its members and the world at large about issues related to secularism and atheism.
Like its international counterpart, PAA hopes to promote the separation of state and religion and spread awareness about atheism by providing a forum for visitors and users who comment on the various blogs and articles posted on the site.
According to a report published in Pakistan Today, the site got more than 17,000 hits in a mere 48 hours after its launch from 95 countries, including Saudi Arabia.
The Press Trust of India reported last year that PAA was founded by Hazrat Nakhuda, a former Muslim and young computer programmer from Lahore. In a discussion on PAA’s closed Facebook page with the subject “How did you become an atheist” Nakhuda writes:
I used to be a practising Muslim. I used to live in Saudi Arabia. I have done two Hajs and countless Umrahs. Used to pray five times a day. When I turned 17-18, I realised that the only reason I was a Muslim was because my parents were Muslims.
The Facebook group currently has 644 members and applicants are told that their requests to join may not always be successful, with the simple statement:
If your profile does not show that you fit under the definition of the community title or if your profile is closed drop me a message. Otherwise i will not let you in.
Aek, a founder of PAA, says that almost two weeks went into designing and planning the project another went into coding and debugging. The website was tested for three days and major bugs were spotted and fixed.