Pakistan’s real image

Published: March 16, 2013
The writer is a lawyer and partner at Ijaz and Ijaz Co in Lahore

The writer is a lawyer and partner at Ijaz and Ijaz Co in Lahore

The local police told the inhabitants of Joseph Colony, Badami Bagh, to evacuate their houses as they were going to be attacked the next day. This is shocking incompetence or perhaps complicity, even by our standards. However, if one absorbs the full implication of this warning, it seems to point to the major crisis we face. There is no “State” in Pakistan. It has withered away, and not in the Marxist sense but in the Weberian one. The monopoly over violence has been lost; violence has been privatised and has been sold cheap. The failure to honour Salmaan Taseer, the forgetting of Shaheed Shahbaz Bhatti, the intent to surrender to the TTP, the failure to crackdown on sectarian murderous outfits and now this. To be told officially that you are on your own.

Joseph Colony was not in Pakistan to begin with. A “Christian” housing society, separate housing communities, fenced and isolated, like Hazara town in Quetta, ghettos, perhaps in some way also like DHA on the other side of town. The Christians in Joseph Colony still love Pakistan. Why they do beats me, because this country surely does not love them back. It is not enough that they live in abject poverty in separate settlements. The faithful citizens of Pakistan proper have also the liberty to set fire to their houses and lives when fragile sentiments are hurt. The sentiments in front of which no other or no one else’s sentiments have any value — churches, crosses and Bibles will be burnt. How arrogant a person or a group has to be to believe that their sentiments triumph everyone else’s, also law and common decency. The minorities in Pakistan are guilty unless proven innocent, and then guilty still.

There will be multiple inquiries and findings, just like Shantinagar, like Gojra and then we will wait for the next incident and then another round of inquiries. It will happen again, because the Blasphemy Law provisions will remain on the books and we will keep on talking gibberish about correct interpretations and applications, silent peace-loving majority, etc. Does no one realise that all religions stand naturally and unequivocally in blasphemy to all other religions? There can hardly be sacrilege to a thing that you, in the first place, do not believe exists or is true. When the Ahmadi places of worship were attacked in Lahore, condemnation was hard to find; everyone in power wanted to change the topic. If the Muslims were required to sign a statement similar to the Ahmadi declaration on the passport in any part of the world, what do you think the reaction would be? Thermonuclear war, perhaps. Similar to this is the case of the members of the Tableeghi Jamaat. They attempt to save the infidels by inviting them to the truth but at the same time believe that once in if you want out, you are to be killed. They just do not notice the minor contradiction in their sales pitch.

How would it feel to lose everything and then hear that the real tragedy is that the image of this country has been tarnished? Your suffering and loss do not matter; you are just a marketing prop. You should, perhaps, be ashamed for having your houses burnt and bringing embarrassment to the Fatherland. Pakistan does not have an “image” problem. The gap in the conveyed image and reality is there, but it is the other way around. Pakistan should be thankful that most of the world does not read or hear the Urdu press, the local Friday Khutba, banners on Hall Road, Lahore, or pamphlets in the Civil Courts. Pakistan has an image that is softer than it deserves.

Most of this happening in Mian Shahbaz Sharif’s tenure should not come as a surprise. It was, after all, his political mentor Ziaul Haq who brought us most of these gifts. The elder Mian tried to become the “Amir-ul-Momineen”. The younger Mian is just keeping the torch blazing, in Shantinagar, Gojra and Joseph Colony. Zia made the “Objective Resolution” an operative part of the Constitution as Article 2A. Hence, very early in the Constitution all non-Muslims are told this country thinks that their beliefs are false and will be treated with little regard. Mr Bhutto had already extended the non-Muslim category in his attempt to appease the religious element; the appeasement did not work, and nevertheless, we were left with discriminatory laws. The non-Muslim category has for all practical purposes seen another increment; this time, the Shias are moving from the green to the white. Despite new entrants, the white portion seems to be diminishing in size and will soon disappear at the present rate. It will be painted red in the meantime.

Pakistan is hostile to all non-Muslims. That is a simple, cold truth. The laws are discriminatory and the pious population does not like the non-believers either. The size of the processions in favour of the killer Qadri as compared to the vigils for Salmaan Taseer was enough evidence of the violent majority. It is not only madrassa-trained jihadis either. Mumtaz Qadri was garlanded by lawyers and is represented by a former chief justice; the mastermind of the attack on Ahmadis in Lahore apparently is a doctor.

There has never been much of an argument for blasphemy laws. Yet, a lazy one was that it was there so that people do not take the “law” into their own hands when religious sensibilities are hurt. The suspect, Savan Masih, was already under custody when Joseph Colony was assaulted. That is all there is to this argument.

The scenes of Joseph Colony are the real “image” of Pakistan. That image is Pakistan going to hell on a metro bus. The rest, the cultural and literary festivals, the song and dance it seems are diversions, marketing ploys. The Blasphemy Law and Objectives Resolutions will have to be repealed, not amended or implementation ensured, etc; Repealed. Religion will have to be taken out of all public life and statutes books before we can legitimately complain about our “image”. That day will not be tomorrow, or the day after, or next year or perhaps decade. Till that day, if it ever comes, the least we can do is to be honest as we remain bystanders to slaughter and await our turn. Honestly, Pakistan does not welcome the non-Muslims or the “wrong” Muslims and encourages their murder and pillage.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 17th, 2013. 

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Reader Comments (119)

  • Iron hand
    Mar 16, 2013 - 11:03PM

    “The violent majority” – that about sums it up. Hard to imagine how Pakistan can ever pull out of its cultural nose dive into the depths of religious hatred and intolerance given what is taught in school and broadcast in the media. Good luck to the small and shrinking “sane minority.”


  • Faust
    Mar 16, 2013 - 11:09PM

    So true, so true.


  • Alan
    Mar 16, 2013 - 11:26PM

    Bravo – most accurate analysis and call to action seen in Pakistani press for some time. In Pakistan, even the liberals are afraid of writing down words to call for repeal of blasphemy laws and this author has the courage. Great job. Hope others start standing up with you.


  • Choclat85
    Mar 16, 2013 - 11:36PM

    @Author. Too good.You wrote a masterpiece. Specially these lines. “Pakistan should be thankful that most of the world does not read or hear the Urdu press, the local Friday Khutba, banners on Hall Road, Lahore, or pamphlets in the Civil Courts. Pakistan has an image that is softer than it deserves”.


  • Mustafa Kamal
    Mar 16, 2013 - 11:37PM

    just brilliant!!!!


  • Salem
    Mar 16, 2013 - 11:45PM

    Brilliant and honest…

    No excuses or explanations any more !!

    The Blasphemy Law and Objectives Resolutions will have to be repealed, not amended or implementation ensured, etc; Repealed.


  • Anon
    Mar 16, 2013 - 11:45PM

    You, Sir, are a brave man!


  • Parvez
    Mar 16, 2013 - 11:48PM

    I hope people reading will take heed, but I doubt it because as I see it, if the arsonist is also the fireman, then putting out the fire becomes a problem.


  • Ali
    Mar 16, 2013 - 11:54PM

    Everytime i come to this site i see hatred for Pakistan and all you highlight ever is the negative side. No country is perfect, the intolerant and violent population is created by our leaders. When you don’t give your students quality education, medical facilities, jobs and other basic necessities than you yourself are creating extremists.
    Majority has always been peaceful in the country, the problem is we have a vocal minority and silent majority and people like you who misguide through their writing.
    Get a life dude and do something productive.


  • huh
    Mar 16, 2013 - 11:56PM

    “the forgetting of Shaheed Shahbaz Bhatti” Shaheed? really?


  • BlackJack
    Mar 17, 2013 - 12:19AM

    Brilliant as usual. One wonders whether even (an unlikely) repeal of the blasphemy laws will result in any changes on the ground – will the uncivilized hordes feel duty-bound to administer their version of justice now that the state has backed out? Pakistan needs drastic course correction to change the prevalent public mindset, which is almost impossible given the fragile law and order situation.


  • Mar 17, 2013 - 12:19AM

    You should leave if you hate the country so much.


  • Adil
    Mar 17, 2013 - 12:39AM

    Absolutely Brilliant! I can’t remember the last time I read such an honest, to the heart, sincere and brave article! I could not have written that any better myself….!  Anything else I say will just belittle what you wrote….. Brilliant!


  • Jat
    Mar 17, 2013 - 12:48AM

    Mr Izaz, most Pakistanis are a little dense and slow, result of decades of brainwashing and indoctrination. They may eventually understand what you are saying, in at least a few years. But by that time it will be too late.

    By the way, if you need any help in migrating to India do let us know.


  • Faraz Kakar
    Mar 17, 2013 - 1:11AM

    Our country has become a Religion versus Humanity battlefield with conquerors being the pious violent majority population led by Judges like Khwaja Shareef, Lawyers and Politicians, who in their delusion to secure Houris and Heavens in the sky, are willing to fall to any extent. Be that celebrating the killing of Governor Taseer, burning people alive in Gojra, or houses in Badami Bagh.

    But your lonely voice, like that of Dr Pervez Hoodbhoy and others, is no less than a lighthouse for a lost ship in a stormed sea. Thank you for leading the resistance against this injustice.


  • kanwal
    Mar 17, 2013 - 1:18AM

    Yes the blasphemy law must be repealed. And yes we have a much dofter image than we deserve. One very important reason for this image is also the good hearts of the common people specially in western world. We see numerous scarf clad girls here as well as tableeghi jamat outfits. I challenge anyone to dare a western outfit for women in the public markets and places( leave the very posh out of this pls!) and go unnoticed as muslims do in the western society in general. These people can not even imagine how low we can go because they beleive in certain rules. We on the other hand, have yet to become human. I hate the 10 Downing street’s policies but the British public is centuries ahead of us in terms of compassion for fellow citizens and human beings in general.


  • saquib
    Mar 17, 2013 - 1:37AM

    Bravo! That is the first time I have ever witnessed someone in Pakistan so courageously calling a spade a spade. I salute your courage and pray for your personal safety. The blasphemy laws and objectives resolutions, both have no place in our books. either they go or this country would be destroyed.


  • Sid
    Mar 17, 2013 - 1:41AM

    Excellent! Now, do you have the guts to translate this into urdu and have it published in an urdu newspaper? No? Thought so.
    Unless people like you start writing such thought provoking articles for the masses, I’m afraid all of this is gonna fall on deaf ears.
    We, the “sane minority” cannot do much except nod in agreement and pat you on your back for your articulate writing. If that’s all you wanted then congratulations, you’ve achieved that.
    But what about the bigger picture?


  • Najeebullah
    Mar 17, 2013 - 2:08AM

    This is the best article of 2013, Hats off Saroop Ijaz such a brave and honest man.


  • Arifq
    Mar 17, 2013 - 2:13AM

    Saroop Thussi great ho! Long live Saroop!!


  • PiS
    Mar 17, 2013 - 2:41AM

    Reading this op-ed was therapeutic in a way. You did an amazing job writing about the “real” issues of the state of Pakistan that no one seems to notice. Thank you. In my books, you are the most patriotic pakistani there is out there.


  • What's in a name ?
    Mar 17, 2013 - 2:46AM

    May God keep you safe man. So true words. The ‘real’ image of so-called ‘Pakistan’; sad and depressing, yet still the truth.


  • sadia saba
    Mar 17, 2013 - 2:48AM

    this is such a great and true article


  • kanwal
    Mar 17, 2013 - 3:05AM

    The most productive thing for you may then be not coming to this hateful site anymore. Pls dont. We wont miss you. bcoz here we discuss what has gone wrong with our beautiful country. By the way, this vocal minority is what the pakistanis must treasure now. According to the main religion of pakistan, silent majority is considered complicit.
    Its pretty evident from the author’s writing that he loves pakistan right down to the core of his heart. Who else will dare to write a peice like this otherwise? Why dont you come up with a solid argument instead of taunts that just show how thick we are as a nation.


  • Mj
    Mar 17, 2013 - 3:57AM

    This is the kind of moral clarity I want to see from our army, judiciary, politicians, and the public.


  • Taniya
    Mar 17, 2013 - 4:00AM

    Why should he leave his country , we need people to speak up and voice the reality. Enough is enough ….you leave if you are too blind to acknowledge what’s really going on.


  • MSS
    Mar 17, 2013 - 4:06AM

    Mr Saroop Ijaz, you are brave and spot on.
    “Pakistan hates non-Muslims”. Rephrase. “Pakistan hates non-Muslims anywhere in the world.
    It is this hatred of ‘others’ that is taking its toll on Pakistan. Now, at last, people have started to recognise the flawed thinking in society that is ripping it apart. It may already be too late to bring decency and sense to masses. The future does not look very bright.


  • cautious
    Mar 17, 2013 - 4:13AM

    Pakistan is hostile to all non-Muslims. That is a simple, cold truth. The laws are discriminatory and the pious population does not like the non-believers either.
    Says it all – you can slice and dice things all you want but when you blow through the smoke this statement is spot on.


  • gtm2012
    Mar 17, 2013 - 5:00AM

    There are many millions of peace-loving honorable Muslims in Pakistan who seriously should consider migrating to India. Many, e.g. the Hazaras, Ahmedis, already are fleeing to Australia and similar western societies, even when it means death in the process of flight. Such people will be welcomed and will contribute to the uplift of all Muslims in an inclusive Great Society of the future.

    There should be a counter-exchange of the truculent, recalcitrant Muslim elements within India who subscribe to a varied assortment of daydreams, all of which they can sort out within the warm arms of their new home.

    When this is accomplished, the spirit of Partition will be complete in letter and spirit. There genuinely are those who cannot coexist together, and they should not. There are those who have no problems doing so, and will flourish in harmony. Their true place is elsewhere, not India, which they treat as an evil necessity, anyway. So, the above solution is quite logical but nothing logical works in the subcontinent!!Recommend

  • PiS
    Mar 17, 2013 - 5:11AM

    @Jat Knowing Saroop Ijaz, he would give a befitting reply to your generous offer. Let’s just say it’s good the author don’t reply directly to commentators in public :)


  • Yoghurt lover
    Mar 17, 2013 - 6:33AM


    “Mr Izaz, most Pakistanis are a little dense and slow, result of decades of brainwashing and indoctrination.”

    That made me laugh. LOL


  • Feroz
    Mar 17, 2013 - 6:35AM

    The State has been very successful in creating a certain mindset using all the propaganda and media tools at its command. Most often it has been an accomplice to the murder and mayhem we see. Yes, the world is very fortunate it cannot read the Urdu Press. Nothing but a total rewriting of the Constitution can help Pakistan.


  • Yoghurt lover
    Mar 17, 2013 - 6:36AM


    “By the way, if you need any help in migrating to India do let us know.”

    Are you a relative of Salman Khurshid? Do you have special privileges at India’s ministry of external affairs? Stop asking people to migrate to India. We don’t want any Pakistanis.

    And frankly, if they want to migrate they would choose USA or Canada or UK. Why would they migrate to ‘India’?Recommend

  • MilesToGo
    Mar 17, 2013 - 7:27AM

    Does no one realise that all religions stand naturally and unequivocally in blasphemy to all other religions?><



  • s shah
    Mar 17, 2013 - 7:40AM

    Brilliant and brave. Saying what needed to said and understood. Bravo. Mr. Saroop, may Allah SWT bless you for speaking the unvarnished truth and may He always keep you in His protection. Ameen.


  • Tariq
    Mar 17, 2013 - 8:04AM

    You wash our dirty linen, Saroop. This column should have been in Urdu. But then you’d be in the line of direct fire and peril. May the Lord keep you out of harm’s way.


  • Robert Kharsing
    Mar 17, 2013 - 8:13AM

    Thank you, Mr Ijaz, for feeling the pain of Christians and writing plainly. One just fails to understand why are the Christians so hated in Pakistan. They serve everybody in a way that is nothing short of slavery, compete with none for jobs simply because nobody wants their scavenging jobs, live in places nobody wants to live, their schools provide the best education that your country has to offer, and they have loyalties to none but Pakistan. Would Pakistanis, some day in future, reflect on it and show some kindness to these people with no hope! In India there are voices asking for allowing easy immigration to Pakistanis Hindus but silence when it comes to the Christians. At the very least India should offer a little hope by opening its bosom to the people who have none left.


  • Mozart
    Mar 17, 2013 - 8:19AM

    Extremely manipulative article. Author does not even know the facts of the Joseph Colony incident. Apparently, the cause of Joseph Colony incident was not at all religious. The perpetrators used religion just like you are using religion to promote your secularism. I don’t have a problem with secularism but atleast have guts to talk about your ideals without being manipulative. As I say our pseudo liberals and pseudo molvis are one and the same thing. Pakistan will do good by getting rid of them both.Recommend

  • RAW is WAR
    Mar 17, 2013 - 8:35AM

    good article.


  • Truth_Prevails
    Mar 17, 2013 - 8:46AM

    Its a shameful act that the Christians faced the known attrocities and now justice has to be transparent and we need to followup on it. You are a LAWYER so are you personally part of the team representing the Chrisitans? Or you are just one of those who have their way of stoning while protesting? Yeah? just defame Pakistan and thats it! Mr. Saroop has done his job. If I have to file a statement in any country in the world that I AM A MUSLIM, please be assured that I’ll be proud to do it. You probably feel proud with the ‘pats on your back’ you receive from the Indian Propagandists and that makes you flying high!


  • wonderer
    Mar 17, 2013 - 9:13AM

    The author seems to have concluded that Pakistan is a failed state already. He has many ideas about possible solutions, but what does he suggest we do with Islam and Jinnah?


  • Mar 17, 2013 - 9:13AM

    For me Direct Action Day call by Jinnah is still continuing. Yes, it was on pause for a few early years, but as Pakistan starting from being India to being Pakistan, slowly but relentlessly, Direct Action Day is happening more and more and embedding itself into the Pakistan psyche.

    Pakistan was NOT for Muslims, one Aug 11 speech is not going to change that. It is coming true to its promise.

    I understand the pain of the people at the receiving end, universe has dealt them a deadly blow. They should start seeking Asylum several countries.

    India should open its borders to the Hindus and Sikhs of Pakistan. Similarly, Christians can migrate to several Christian majority countries, can take Vatican’s help, whose powers are pretty substantial.

    Shias, well… Jinnah was a Shia, enough said.


  • Samad
    Mar 17, 2013 - 9:19AM

    The comments here regarding ‘hating Pakistan’, etc. are ridiculous. Mr. Ijaz is rightly pointing out that religion has pervaded all aspects of our lives. The very notion of a “Blasphemy Law” is absolutely sickening. There is no ‘misuse’ of the law – the law itself is horrendous, barbaric and against the concept of freedom.

    The majority of this country is violent because there can be no doubt that at any location in the country, if someone is accused of blasphemy, a mob will immediately head out to cause destruction and death. So there isn’t any localized extremist fringe – throughout Pakistan, people are ready to cause violence of varying degrees at the drop of a hat to “defend Islam.”

    Following such violence, there is barely a whisper of condemnation amongst the majority of people. Those who do come out and honestly criticise the current situation, such as the author, are termed “liberals” or “haters of Pakistan.”


  • Kajamohideen
    Mar 17, 2013 - 9:25AM

    So true! In Pakisrtan the arsonist and the fireman are one and the same.



  • Aviator
    Mar 17, 2013 - 9:27AM

    Well said. But you are merely preaching to the choir here on ET.

    Please print this in Urdu, and all the main provincial languages, and put up this messages in every town and village so that the masses can read this and understand what is going on with Pakistan.

    Only then can a change in the mindset of our society begin.


  • rapid
    Mar 17, 2013 - 10:00AM

    I agree 100 %.


  • Torch
    Mar 17, 2013 - 10:01AM

    Very well written, true analysis


  • Mar 17, 2013 - 10:03AM

    Thank you author! These are exactly my thoughts but so many people seem to shy away from the reality on the ground and point the finger at the ‘yahood’. about time we did some introspection.

    there are solutions to our problems’; they are hard but they are there. we have to make a call sooner or later.


  • Dr. Najam Mehmood
    Mar 17, 2013 - 10:03AM

    You seem to be under the illusion that money alone will cure our problems. Saudi Arabia and other gulf states have plenty of money but they still have problems with extremism. In fact they export their form of Islam to us. The author points out many of our extremists are Doctors and Lawyers. There is something sick in our society. Even if we were a 100 times richer our majority will still think the same. To move forward we have to change our thinking which money will not do.


  • Numan
    Mar 17, 2013 - 10:15AM

    The scenes of Joseph Colony are the real “image” of Pakistan.<<< Well excuse me, this place is FULL of diversity. On one hand some evil madman may drive a bunch to burn innocent houses, shameful disgusting and scary but then look around, we people have so many positive aspects, when it comes to that. Media, unfortunately, shows only side because fear sells. So yes we have had a bit too many such incidents of innocents being victimized lately, Shia Hazara community, Shias in Karachi, Lahore and Christian colony burnt, but this is not the ONLY thing in Pakistan. Bring that out someone please.


  • g Santana
    Mar 17, 2013 - 10:18AM

    though deplorable and despicable act..but the newspaper should present both sides of the story. ..reason behind such acts. only last week a church was attacked by SAFFRON BRIGADE in Indian state ..the news appeared in a couple of newspapers on internal pages and then disappeared. ..reason. ..our newspaprs are very sensitive about our image while paki media appears to be happy to further damage it.


  • Rafi
    Mar 17, 2013 - 10:19AM

    Great writing and bold too. The sickening site of seeing “educated” lawyers garlanding Mumtaz Qadiri and the destruction at Joseph Colony sums it all up. we are now a nation of congenitally violent populace.


  • Salman Shoaib
    Mar 17, 2013 - 11:09AM

    A brave and honest article. We can only stop the tide of insanity sweeping the country if we take a stand as Mr. Ijaz has done.


  • Anon
    Mar 17, 2013 - 11:13AM

    “Pakistan is hostile to all non-Muslims” – Author. That’s the whole problem, who is a muslim and who is not a muslim? Nobody seems to know, they all seem to have made definitions convenient to them…


  • Tas
    Mar 17, 2013 - 11:25AM

    I had sent you a comment yesterday saying that this was probably one of the very few articles which talked about the real hard issues confronted by Pakistan. Can anyone name me a country where rose petals are showered on a murderer? We have to admit the fact that most Muslim countries are far more intolerant and ruthless compared to the western democracies.Pakistan,unfortunately,is one of the worst in this regard. Just imagine what would be our reaction if the Muslim minorities were treated in Europe or America the way other minorities are treated in Pakistan. One of the main problems we have is that the so-called peaceful silent majority is totally silent. Is it because they have no courage to stand for the fundamental rights of each one of us ?


  • Aschraful Makhlooq
    Mar 17, 2013 - 11:28AM

    Pakistan’s real and true image has been covered by the extremists and terrorists just due to the misuse of the teachings of Islam regarding Jihad…….


  • Sindhu
    Mar 17, 2013 - 11:54AM



  • Jat
    Mar 17, 2013 - 11:54AM

    @wonderer: The author seems to have concluded that Pakistan is a failed state already. He has many ideas about possible solutions, but what does he suggest we do with Islam and Jinnah?

    Mr wonderer, we meet again. As an answer to your query, there is the Arabian Sea. But even this answer will have different connotations for different people…


  • Jat
    Mar 17, 2013 - 12:02PM

    @Mj: This is the kind of moral clarity I want to see from our army, judiciary, politicians, and the public.

    Mj, Mj, Mj, sighhh. So many Indians here say the same thing, and we are called “Pakistan haters”. And you can’t see “moral clarity” in your current brainwashed state and that too with dark religious blinkers on.

    As has been said so many times here, you cannot build a strong building on a weak and defective foundation. The stronger and weightier the building, the deeper it will sink.


  • Jat
    Mar 17, 2013 - 12:12PM

    @PiS: @Jat Knowing Saroop Ijaz, he would give a befitting reply to your generous offer. Let’s just say it’s good the author don’t reply directly to commentators in public :)

    Am not in a mood to fight right now :)

    Knowing Saroop Ijaz, he will be an valuable asset to any country, including India. And that is all I care. And I stand by my offer.


  • wonderer
    Mar 17, 2013 - 12:22PM


    ” ….. of peace-loving honorable Muslims in Pakistan who seriously should consider migrating to India….. “

    Do you think India will accept them even if they could make a bonfire of their Ghairat?


    Your comment about Jinnah’s call for Direct Action reminds me of March,1947. All over Pathowar, mobs not different from the ones that descended on Christians in Lahore, were on a rampage in villages like Sukkho, Daultala, Gujjarkhan, Banda etc. They were burning the houses of Sikhs and Hindus, killing them, raping their women, and carrying away camel-loads of loot. Nothing has changed in as long as 66 years. The question to ask is why?


  • wonderer
    Mar 17, 2013 - 12:28PM


    ” …… As an answer to your query, there is the Arabian Sea…… “

    Thanks, but Green Peace will strongly protest.


  • Truth
    Mar 17, 2013 - 12:45PM

    Perfectly narrated and honestly told… Thank you


  • Azfar
    Mar 17, 2013 - 12:59PM

    The real problem of Pakistan is that it’s stuck between “Religious extremists” and “Enlightened extremists”. It’s getting more diffucult with every passing day to find an optimum view to fill the gap between the two.


  • sure?
    Mar 17, 2013 - 1:04PM

    @Numan: ” but this is not the ONLY thing in Pakistan. Bring that out someone please.”

    So here is ONE side that covers events of last 12 months. Why don’t you tell me the other side:
    – Polio workers killed i Karachi
    – Red cross workers killed
    – Soldiers beheaded and videos uploaded on youtube
    – Hindu girls kidnapped, raped and forcibly converted throughout Sindh
    – Christians repeatedly accused of blasphemy falsely. First Rimsha and now Savan Masih
    – 100 Ahmadi graves desecrated in Lahore
    – Shias repeatedly being targetted (3 times already this year)
    – 100 year old Hindu temple razed to ground despite a stay order from the court
    – Soldier ordered by jirga to be stoned to death for talkig to a girl. 300 enthusiastic people gave vent to their blood lust by stoning a man who was buried in the ground
    – Girls school in Lahore burnt to ground due to one teacher accused of blasphemy
    – Several churches destroyed on ‘Love your prophet’ day


  • Jat
    Mar 17, 2013 - 1:19PM

    @wonderer: @Jat:
    ” …… As an answer to your query, there is the Arabian Sea…… “
    Thanks, but Green Peace will strongly protest.

    Sir, you possess admirable wit.


  • Jat
    Mar 17, 2013 - 1:24PM

    @Azfar: Your real problem is you equate “enlightenment” with “extremism”.


  • PiS
    Mar 17, 2013 - 1:40PM

    @Jat Whose fighting here bro? My response was a tit-for-tat for your ego-centric (and tasteless) comment. It’s the same attitude the british had for americans right before they burned the white house 200 years ago. Anyway I have huge respect for the author and he is spot on in his analysis. But since Indians have mastered the art of getting offended by drop of a hat (world reknowned now), we want you to look inwards before giving us lectures. Our own “assets” (to quote you ;)) are doing a far better job at it.


  • Watan-e-Hindustan(Indian)
    Mar 17, 2013 - 2:26PM

    Majority Pakistanis liberals are mute sectors and while the minority terrorists run the show.


  • Jeevan
    Mar 17, 2013 - 3:12PM

    The incident of Joseph colony show that Pakistan society is turning out to be more and more intolerant against minority religions and sects.


  • mind control
    Mar 17, 2013 - 3:31PM

    This reminds me of my reaction to a TV programme called Vision Pakistan, telecast, I think, on every Wednesday during 2002. The programme gathered together the brightest from Pakistani Universities for a Panel Discussion on problems of Youth and Higher Education.

    On each and every occasion, in response to each and every question some bright student would find a ‘Deeni’ solution and the debate would die then and there. For example once the debate was on the Medium of Education- Mother Tongue, Punjabi, Sindhi etc, National Language Urdu and English were the choices being discussed. Suddenly one participant said that God has delivered his message in a particular language and Pakistanis as pious Muslims did nod need any other.

    On another occasion the debate was on Science V/S Humanities. And again, some one found that Cardiology, Space Travel, Cosmology, History, Economics all were adequately explained by Islam, and therefore one only needed to study and research Islam alone. On both the occasions the debate was over even before it began. What amazed me was that not one of the ‘Brightest’ from NUST, LUMS and what have we, found the courage to challenge this.

    And I thought to myself, OMG, this country is on a slow fuse. What happens when these boys assume positions of power and responsibility in society at large. And 11 years later the answer is staring us in the face.

    Saroop Ijaz is absolutely right, this momentum, even if arrested, will take Pakistan in only one direction. What Pakistan needs is a change in direction. Hence the need to excise the Objectives Resolutions and the Blasphemy laws and complete ban on donations from Birader Islamic Mumalik.

    Moderator ET- The videotapes of Vision Pakistan can be found for verification. Deleting my post does not change anything.


  • Azfar
    Mar 17, 2013 - 3:47PM

    @ Jat bhai, it is not me who’s equating enlightenment with extremism. You may see that the so called representatives of enlightened class have been doing it themselves.


  • Tas
    Mar 17, 2013 - 4:08PM

    Sorry to say that it is totally rubbish; there is no such thing as ‘enlightened extremists’. If you nothing sensible to say, it is much better to remain quiet.


  • ahmed41
    Mar 17, 2013 - 4:17PM

    Not just in matters of blasphemy~~~~~~~~~~but in terms of heresy.

    Wikipedia :

    ” —-Heresy is any belief or theory that is strongly at variance with established beliefs or customs.[1] Heresy is distinct from both apostasy, which is the explicit renunciation of one’s religion, principles or cause,[2] and blasphemy, which is irreverence toward religion.[3]

    Probably this is the problem when religion becomes an institution , ~~~~~its grasp on the TRUTH slips.


  • Buddha(Indian)
    Mar 17, 2013 - 4:29PM

    Blasphemy law is highly discriminatory, why does it only apply to Islam and not to other religions?


  • choptocut
    Mar 17, 2013 - 4:39PM

    Salute, Salute, Salute to u Ijaz sahib


  • naive
    Mar 17, 2013 - 5:07PM

    @Yoghurt lover:
    “And frankly, if they want to migrate they would choose USA or Canada or UK. Why would they migrate to ‘India’?”

    Why did Taslima Nasrin migrated to India and not to any western country. Because India feels like home due to cultural similarities and will be natural choice for people who love their country.


  • Azfar
    Mar 17, 2013 - 5:33PM

    @Tas: bhai, in that case I hope that u r still far from enlightenment, as ur last comment to me sounds very much extremist.


  • Jat
    Mar 17, 2013 - 6:26PM

    @mind control: Great post.


  • Jat
    Mar 17, 2013 - 6:29PM

    @Azfar: Bhaisahib maybe a misunderstanding between what you meant and what I understood. Peace !


  • Humanity
    Mar 17, 2013 - 6:33PM

    The author loves the country enough to the try to prevent her from hanging herself by the self created noose. But you won’t understand.


  • Humanity
    Mar 17, 2013 - 6:39PM

    @Taniya: wrote”.you leave if you are too blind to acknowledge what’s really going on.”

    All, whom you disagree with, should leave. And you are not blind. It is your mindset. That is what is going on.


  • Tas
    Mar 17, 2013 - 7:40PM

    All I meant was that one cannot be enlightened and extremist at the same time. So, there was nothing extremist about it. Hope it is clear. Sorry, if It is still not clear.


  • Attiq Anwar
    Mar 17, 2013 - 8:16PM

    After reading the article i have a feeling that apparently writer and commentators were waiting for such a thing to happen.This nation is full of wise people and eminent critics ,but still our problems remain .If the writer and commentator had also gone on the sight and done something to rebuild ,it would have shown there resolve to attend to problems.Such division in society can only be addressed by society itself.


  • Genesis
    Mar 17, 2013 - 8:47PM

    @Yoghurt lover:
    and to the list why not Malaysia,Indonesia,Saudi Arabia,Sudan,Somali and many other Muslim nations.why the lands of non believers.After all partition was based on the principal of how Muslims could not live with Hindu majority…


  • Rex Minor
    Mar 17, 2013 - 8:49PM

    Two main causual factors are responible for the growing exrtemism in the contry resulting in communal riots and violence aginst minorities icluding christians. The ex-communication of ahmedis by the parliamentarians which is practiced by the catholic church for christians and the modified version of the colonial blesphamic law. Both these laws are not conformed with the religion of Islam, and were introduced by the PPP Govts. willy nilly to overcome certain social unrests. The outgng PPP Govt have in a real machiavilian style put tem on the back seat and not make an attemt to annul them. The citizens have poured out their emotions and blindly defended these laws, proves that the education level of the majority is extremely poor, specialy in religion.
    Did the author refer to the the laws of muslim certification and the Blesphamy? I did not read the article but read the bloggers comments which are real and tells me how the minds and the neurons of Pakistanis and Indians work. The use of muslim military not police against the muslim citizens and the assault on the house of God in Islamabad as well as the presence of the Americans in the region are other destabilising factors for instigating violence, but that is another subject.

    Rex Minor


  • Something Clever
    Mar 17, 2013 - 9:08PM

    @g Santana:
    Sorry but, if you didn’t know, and you obviously didn’t, writing “both sides of the story” doesn’t mean writing about “both sides of a border” if it requires citing a separate unrelated incident.


  • Kamran
    Mar 17, 2013 - 9:14PM

    @Iron hand: its called bad luck … wishing irrationally is by no means a rational behavior

    a very friendly advice for ‘sane minority’: If your can’t beat them, well you know the rest


  • Solomon2
    Mar 17, 2013 - 9:16PM

    I fail to see how repealing the O.R. and Blasphemy Law will be sufficient if the authorities continue to behave with such pusillanimity.


  • Hafeez
    Mar 17, 2013 - 9:31PM

    I don’t think PML-N has a choice and they will be in cahoots with the murderers of Lashkar-e Jhangvi. After all it is a proxy for Saudi Arabia and the Sharif family will always keep Saudis as their safeguard.


  • Babloo
    Mar 17, 2013 - 9:32PM

    “The local police told the inhabitants of Joseph Colony, Badami Bagh, to evacuate their houses as they were going to be attacked the next day.”
    With minor changes a day may come when
    “The local police told the minority inhabitants of Pakistan, to evacuate as they were going to be attacked the next day.”

    Where would they go ?


  • Babloo
    Mar 17, 2013 - 9:38PM

    I like the idea. An offer to exchange those muslims that believe in democracy, secularism and absolute separation of politics from religion in Pakistan with those muslims in India, who believe in islam is the only true religion, Ummah, Shariat etc.


  • Babloo
    Mar 17, 2013 - 9:42PM

    “Does no one realise that all religions stand naturally and unequivocally in blasphemy to all other religions?”

    Thats not true. In Hinduism, you may have as many ways to God and truth , as their are men and opinions. There is not a single road that leads to it. This blasphemy is a weird concept and does not find a place in Hinduism.


  • Riaz Khan
    Mar 17, 2013 - 9:46PM

    Superb! I salute you. Pakistan loves honest, dedicated & truthful writers like you. Even God loves you by highlighting the pain & ordeal of minorities.


  • Peace
    Mar 17, 2013 - 11:04PM

    Apart from all the problems, all the chit-chat, all the tantrums..
    what productive steps have you taken Sir Saroop for the betterment of the society?
    What initiatives or objectives have you fulfilled so far?
    I am an avid reader of e.Tribune and almost every other day you get to read something similar to the kind above, are we as a nation just here to throw tantrums of whats right, whats wrong and spectate Or are we really willing to stand up and MAKE an effort to bring a change.

    We must all give it a good thought before we are yet again forced with lord know what..

    Peace and keep safe everyone.


  • Homeless Lahori
    Mar 17, 2013 - 11:59PM

    You write well Saroop and you have the courage to say the truth despite the personal risk, I pray to Almighty to keep you and your kind in his protection…..!!!


  • Mar 18, 2013 - 2:59AM

    Just because I love to be accurate, I agree with this 99.9%.


    Mar 18, 2013 - 5:05AM

    @Yoghurt loser:
    I can see how well you have been brain washed for putting factless statement. My advice to you concentrate on sorting your country isses and stop putting assumpions about pakistanies. Pakistan is far better in human rights than India. Not a single pakistani would like to move to India … With growing rape issues i wonder soon any foreigner female wanna do the same


  • jokester
    Mar 18, 2013 - 7:17AM

    You should get a life, dude. Wake up and see the realities! It is about time we recognized that Pakistan is completely going to the dogs. Sure, we may have plenty of positive things to talk about, but those exist completely inside our little bubbles. What is happening across society at large is unacceptable, despicable, and quite frankly, too intertwined with “Islam” and this concept of religious identity which we absolutely have not been able to find. Yes, sure – the majority is peaceful and tolerant, but do they care about this increasingly violent minority that is able to get away with murder? No. So let’s not fool ourselves and actually wake up and accept that we are lucky that Pakistan’s international image is far better than it actually should be.


  • Zohra Raza
    Mar 18, 2013 - 10:33AM

    When there are more problems then solutions, when the only power people have is to share their thoughts and ideas through Journalism then LISTEN TO THEM. When you talk about all the good things going on in Pakistan all the time that doesn’t help more then 2/3 of the population in Pakistab who struggle 365 days a year to have the BASIC NECESSITIES of life like water, gas, electricity, sugar, flour my good the list can go on and on. Learn to face the issues, realize that today minorities are being attacked, when they all flee the country ( which they are) it will be you next, ppl of the same sect of Islam picking on each other. Realize that you have NO CHOICE but to be a part of the solution because if no one does anything today, this will be your future tomorrow!!!!!


  • Syed Rizvi
    Mar 18, 2013 - 10:39AM

    It is not about Pakistan’s real image, it is about Islam’s real image. What the so-called extremists are doing, they are simply following the Islamic Law of Sharia to its letters, and no wonder, no moderates have been able to publicly challenge those “extremists” within the frame work of Islam that has become the basis of Pakistan’s existence in recent decades. Pakistan has to bite the bullet and decide if it wants to continue function as a Islamic state and follow the leads of Saudi Arabia and Iran where apostasy can be punished by beheading or by being stoned to death; or take a secular path like that of the west and primarily EU where even the capital punishment is considered a reminiscence of the dark ages and is outlawed.


  • mind control
    Mar 18, 2013 - 11:51AM


    Pakistan is far better in human rights than India.Not a single pakistani would like to move to India

    OOPS. Looks like you spoke too soon or may be too late.

    The following reports talk about ‘Pakistanis’ migrating to ‘India’ on account of ‘Persecution’.


  • Riaz Ahmad
    Mar 18, 2013 - 1:16PM

    Real image of Pakistan?

    An ignorant society of chaos and anarchy that has no notion of ethics or morals, no respect for law or the rule of law.

    Politics and system designed to rob with impunity and bankrupt the country

    Religious leadership that has armed a corrupt society with ideology of barbarity and lethal weapons for self destruction.


  • In the Know...
    Mar 18, 2013 - 1:17PM

    Violence and intolerance IS the culture of Pakistan. It was carved out because of its intolerance of others and through violence. 90% of its rural population has lived under feudal violence all through its history. The remaining city-dwellers had carved out a niche of comfort for themselves, but that has now eroded and they are simply seeing the true side of our culture.


  • mind control
    Mar 18, 2013 - 2:24PM


    Pakistan is far better in human rights than India. Not a single pakistani would like to move to India

    Then why does this news item talk about Pakistanis running away to India on account of ‘Persecution’?

    Moderator ET- I hope quoting Tribune is not against your comments policy.


  • Sane lawyer
    Mar 18, 2013 - 2:27PM

    You instead should be thankful to people like Saroop that they still prefer staying here and are daring enough to say the truth out loud. They are not cowards and they don’t hate the country. They are just admitting the truth. And my dear, admittance is a blessing. Admit it so you can change it for good.


  • Kenneth
    Mar 18, 2013 - 3:05PM

    A very good article indeed but am sorry to say the real problem lies in the Madrassa’s and Islamic teaching institutes. My Muslim friends and brothers claim that Islam is a very peaceful religion where all can co exist but in Pakistan i guess they have a different version to appease all influential political parties for their personal benefit. Having stayed in Gulf for long now haven’t ever heard any kind of partiality towards other religions here . All live together from different religions and nationalities but all know their limits where to stop so that the other person doesn’t get offended from one’s comment.


  • Morons
    Mar 18, 2013 - 3:05PM

    @Author: May Allah bless you for writing truth which was much required. You are a true warrior of Islam (Peace) no matter which religion you belong to. I will pray for you and hope more brave journalist like you are born in Pakistan. Please keep up the good work and fight for the righteous.


  • Patriotic Pakistani
    Mar 18, 2013 - 4:00PM

    You how their you said this either you all are non muslims or want to become one of them you says this law is bad peoples like you put a banquet of flower on the people who do blasphemy.


  • Humanity
    Mar 18, 2013 - 5:21PM

    Crisp, clear!


  • Stranger
    Mar 18, 2013 - 6:14PM

    Pak – bring out your dead.


  • Bilal
    Mar 18, 2013 - 7:17PM

    and go where? the rest of the world hates us because of our complicity in violence and indiscriminate killings.


  • Burjor
    Mar 18, 2013 - 7:46PM

    Minorities should take stock, start making preparations and leave. Decision time has come.


  • Tera
    Mar 18, 2013 - 8:00PM

    I think you have only covered the surface.

    Dig deeper. I”m pretty sure that there is plenty more info you have not listed.


  • Furkan
    Mar 18, 2013 - 10:26PM

    Without doubt, the most courageous column I’ve read on these pages. Take a bow Mr. Ijaz. You live while the rest of us crumble, bit by bit.


  • Mar 19, 2013 - 4:52PM

    @abdussamad: – “You should leave if you hate the country so much”.

    This is not hate . It is anger towards the silent majority which has tolerated and allowed Pakistan to shape like this. .Leaving the country will be escaping and ignoring the problems. The author is right when he tries to correct the situation with prudence/ logic and common sense
    Every thing is seen from the lens of patriotism while the perception of patriotism is wrong. . Persons are well wisher of the country but in a foolish way


  • Mar 19, 2013 - 5:38PM

    Whatever the author may cry but one thing is sure, in the current scenario and the trend, and that is Sharia law will creep in Pakistan. It is a matter of time only. So long chill and thereafter feel.


  • skai
    Mar 22, 2013 - 5:27AM

    Are you out of your mind?


  • SJ
    Mar 25, 2013 - 12:52PM

    Something a bit more constructive would have been nicer to read like – If the police had done this it would have been better for us all because…


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