Just another story

Yesterday in the evening, I sat down with a drink in small bar to relax and reflect on all that is happening around us.  As I started typing my thoughts, I couldn’t help but think about the news that greeted me yesterday morning on the Internet. It was about the massacre of the Ismailis in my home-town, Karachi.

Words will do no justice in lamenting over the tragedy that has beset the Pakistani nation. At the same time, a train was derailed in Philadelphia yesterday killing some and injuring many. Sad news is all around us. The axioms of the fragility of human life are reinforced ever more forcefully.

Why are people killed in the name of God? Why are religious minorities not safe in Pakistan? According to the Chairman of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, “this is the first such incident of its kind towards the Ismaili community.”

I am not an expert on Isma’ilism. I do, however, wholeheartedly support the religious rights of Ismailis. I believe that modern, mainstream Islam needs a thorough revamping. This can happen, in part, through the “explicit concentration on the deeper, esoteric meaning (batin) of the Islamic religion.” This is, in fact, a common Ismaili belief.

Am I an Ismaili? Certainly not. Does Isma’ilism bring a valuable Islamic view-point to the table? Most certainly. In fact, and at a more abstract level, what’s common between all the Muslims being targeted in Pakistan is their belief in the spiritual interpretation of Islam. Barelvis, Shias, Ismailis and even Ahmadis believe in some form of Islamic spirituality which is antithetical to the puritanical, Wahabi school of thought.

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What is truly in danger is the mystical dimension of Islam from the Wahabi onslaught. Much to my chagrin, it seems as if the days of gradual reformation through education are over. Senior educationist, Dr. Bernadette L. Dean, recently had to leave Pakistan as she was receiving death threats from political and religious parties regarding her work on curriculum and text-book reform.

There seems no option for the secular, liberal and mystic Muslims but to form a united front to ward off the Wahabi evil. If left unchecked, as it is now, the Wahabi mindset will engulf and subsequently destroy Pakistan.

Islam entails one of the greatest ironies of modern times. In order to preserve the so-called ‘peaceful’ side of Islam, the peace-loving Muslims will have to wage a bloody war against the so-called ‘violent’ Muslims. Which faction will win this epic battle is an open ended question, which only time will answer. I just hope for sanity and peace to prevail. Islam is a complete mess.

One by one

Another professor of my alma mater, Dr. Syed Wahidur Rehman, was killed a few days ago. His body was riddled with bullets. Why was he murdered? In a lawless country like Pakistan, asking this question is pointless. As always, people are only left speculating.

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Some believe he may have been killed because he belonged to the Shia sect. Other’s speculate that his death can be linked to assassination of Dr. Shakeel Auj, who was killed last year. Whatever may be the reason, the situation is not improving.

In fact, within 30 days, 3 assassinations have occurred in Karachi. Sabeen Mahmud, the director of T2F, Masood Hamid, the marketing director of  The Dawn Media Group and Dr. Rehman of University of Karachi. It’s been more than a year and the killers of Rashid Rehman, the lawyer who was fighting for a victim of blasphemy, are still at large.

At this point in my life, I am finding it rather hard to write about the inhumane killings going on in my country. There seems no light at the end of the tunnel. Pakistan is going to the dogs. There is absolutely no sense of security for an average Pakistani citizen.

I am at least glad that New York Times picked up this news and there is at least some concern in the West about the situation back home. The least that can be done, in times like these, is to openly condemn the perpetrators of this incident. It is about time that more and more Pakistanis rise up against the growing lawlessness in the country, speak against the hatred spewed by religious and political people and organizations and be ready to face on these cowards head on. Enough is enough!