Yesterday, I found out from one of my ex-Professors that members of the Islami Jamiat Talba (IJT), the militant student wing of Jamaat-e-Islami, attacked and subsequently banned girls from playing cricket in my alma mater, University of Karachi.
Hearing about this incident and reading more about it on the Internet took me down the rather unpleasant and dark memory alley, where I had confronted these Jamati thugs. It reminded me of the time when I stood strong in face of adversity and was willing to take a bullet for my beliefs.
My core values of freedom and justice for all haven’t changed and have only grown stronger with time. Incidents like these make my skin crawl and I wonder if the situation back in Pakistan will ever improve. Pakistan is going to the dogs. Almost every month, I seem to be greeted with news such as this one. And Islam is one of the root causes for all this mess.
What kind of a culture do these Islamic zealots want to promote? They want to convert Valentines Day into Haya Day. (Haya is an Urdu word meaning modesty). But exactly what sort of modesty are they looking for?
Beating women in the 21st century and not allowing them to play a sport of their liking appears to be their definition of modesty. I just don’t have words to describe the situation and their twisted logic any more.
According to me, university life is an embodiment of freedom. That’s what students want: freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of thought and freedom of action.
In Pakistan, however, Islamists don’t want freedom. They want to impose 1400 year old Shariah system that is supposedly God-sent and cannot, in any way, be changed by mere mortals like us. The Islamists such as members of IJT are willing to take all measures necessary to impose their parochial interpretation of Islam on the entire society. There’s no room for disagreement. Those who differ, face dire consequences. This is the sad reality. This is the bitter truth.
This interpretation of Islam will continue to repulse every sane person and modest person living in modern times. And as long as events like these happen, we, as freedom-and-peace-loving individuals, will continue to provide counter-narratives in a hope that things improve.