Living in a state of sickness

The sense of religious superiority that an increasing number of people seem to be developing has made us intolerant, to say the least.

Zehra Abid September 01, 2010
Ahmedis say they are not provided space in relief camps, Hindus say goods are not distributed to them, when non-Muslims die in a plane crash their coffin says 'kafir' – Pakistan is suffering from a sickness.

The sense of religious superiority that an increasing number of people seem to be developing has made us intolerant to say the least. And so in times of hunger, homelessness and even death, it remains important to point someone out as kafir. Quite obviously, our increased religiosity has failed to inculcate basic humanitarian values.

Hindus and Muslims that have lived together in Dera Allah Yar and Usta Muhammad since Independence have moved to different relief camps in Quetta. The Hindu community chooses to live separately because it fears that it may be penalised for not fasting and following Muslim traditions. They have therefore sought refuge in their temples. It is an unfortunate state of affairs indeed.

Once again, much is to be learnt from the western world. According to a BBC report, the British public has given £40m to help the flood victims. The Disasters Emergency Committee of the UK says it has never seen such a pattern of giving for any appeal in its 45-year history. The funds come despite growing militancy in our region, reservations regarding money falling into the wrong hands and of course, Pakistan’s shameful misuse of funds from the 2005 earthquake. Nonetheless, people continue to give purely for the sake of humanity, undeterred by boundaries and beliefs.

Maybe hoping for religious tolerance in our environment is futile since the sense of religious superiority is injected from childhood. Years ago I would occasionally go to teach a special class of visually impaired kindergarten students. There was a girl I was particularly close to, and when one day I gave another child more attention than her she came to me and said: “Don’t talk to him, he is Hindu.” The little boy looked down quietly – maybe he knew his voice didn’t matter.
WRITTEN BY:
Zehra Abid Peshawar desk in charge at The Express Tribune. She is fluent in Urdu, English and Turkish. She studied at the Middle East Technical University in Ankara
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.

COMMENTS (16)

Disturbed | 10 years ago | Reply I am appalled and disturbed by the following statement: "Once again, much is to be learnt from the western world. According to a BBC report, the British public has given £40m to help the flood victims." Really?! The essence of Islam does not consist of excluding and alienating other human beings regardless of religion. Even God reprimanded Prophet Abraham for being cold to a non-Muslim. Elite Pakistanis like you idealize the West but are partly responsible for why Pakistan is the way it is. Education, wealth, and social mobility are so difficult to obtain in Pakistan; if you want it, you most likely have to be born in it. Why not share education, wealth, and privileged lifestyle with the rest of society? It's amazing how generosity can change the world. Why should Westerners have to donate to Pakistan. It's about time Pakistanis get off their lazy bums and do something about their country rather than idealizing the West and/or fleeing there.
Dildar Zaidi | 10 years ago | Reply Remove our clerics and ulemas and we will have sanity restored.
VIEW MORE COMMENTS
Replying to X

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.

For more information, please see our Comments FAQ