I am a terrorist and so are you

04Jun10

[picapp align=”center” wrap=”false” link=”term=pakistan+lahore+attack&iid=8939974″ src=”4/0/3/7/An_Ahmadi_Muslim_c58f.jpg?adImageId=13093023&imageId=8939974″ width=”380″ height=”254″ /]

There are many before me who have written about Friday’s attack on the Ahmadis in Lahore. By the time this piece goes into print, still more will have written – and written better – of the audacious attack on Jinnah Hospital by the terrorists who came back to save their own. However, if I do not write of these attacks, I will become more complicit than I already am, for isn’t it true that every time I renew my passport I am complicit as are you? Every minute that I hold my national identity card, I may as well be holding a gun to the head of any Pakistani minority.

The power-holders who created and bred these killers were complicit. Those who continue to feed them for strategic reasons are complicit. Whomever the voice in the recording that did the rounds on the internet before it became a scandal and threatened to be a lawsuit, the man who pronounced Ahmadis to be the worst kind of kafirs, he is complicit. Let us also not forget the immediate reaction from the state, which was predictably to not look inward but to blame the ‘foreign hand.’ I could almost see Tariq Aziz, fist raised in the air standing at the stage of his Neelam Ghar, bellowing, ‘Sahee jawab kay liye, Rahber water cooler aap ka hua! Denialistan Zindabad!’

But wait, it’s not over yet. We cannot overlook the judiciary on which we have pinned our hopes, the Supreme Court that set free the greatest hate monger against religious minorities, Hafiz Saeed. Then there is the government, which indicates a possible military operation against what have now been conveniently coined the Southern Punjab Taliban while allowing Saeed to embark on the extremist version of a rock tour.

One thinks there is hope yet. There is the activist community. A few members of Karachi’s civil society collected at the Press Club to agitate against the assault on the Ahmadis. They could only assemble for half an hour, and had to cut their protest short. Why? Because, reminiscent of a Monty Python skit, next in line was the anti-Israel protest. Of course, this was the real crowd-puller. They easily managed to nudge and jostle their way in. ‘Well, it’s our turn now, innit?’ The liberals, having been threatened by a bunch of murderous thugs just a week before over the Facebook fiasco, complied and withdrew.

Much as I disagree with Israel’s actions, I was ashamed to read in the papers the following day that in Islamabad alone a thousand people came out to protest within minutes of Flotilla.

No matter what I write, and how I may protest or apologise, it does not change the fact that I am complicit.

I am a terrorist and so are you.

This post was first published in the op-ed pages of the Express Tribune.

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10 Responses to “I am a terrorist and so are you”

  1. Excellent piece Naveen. However, I’m afraid our voices will fall on deaf ears. In an interview recently with Najam Sethi, Kabir Ali Wasti mused that near the outset of his tenure Gen. Musharraf had claimed to speak on behalf of the silent majority of moderates. When he embroiled himself in the judicial crisis however, and began throwing in jail the very liberals and moderates whose support was needed to move the country in the right direction, Wasti asked him why he’d jail people who shared the same goal as he… Musharraf is said to have replied that he was wrong, we (the moderates/liberals) are actually a minority.

    I’m not sure how true that is, but increasingly my idealism about Pakistan is beginning to chip away. Most analysts and political scientists are beginning to lose hope for Pakistan. I now understand why. We are at an unprecedented juncture in our history. The left vs. right, the liberal vs. conservatives. The idea of Pakistan was hijacked, before Jinnah made it into his grave, by vicious mullahs and opportunist politicians. You’ve pointed out the bigger and better protests and rallies against Israel. I myself have witnessed, as President of the Pakistani Students’ Association at my university here, Pakistanis participating and even volunteering with the Muslim Students’ Association much more often than with the PSA. Of course there’s nothing wrong with that in itself, but it is a symptom of a bigger problem. Many, perhaps even a majority, of us identify with the issues that fit in with the so called ideology of Pakistan, a supposed leader of the Islamic fraternity by virtue of its nukes at the cost of its own issues: Palestinians over Shias and Ahmadis, Palestine and Kashmir over Balochistan and Sindh, Aafia Siddiqui over Mukhtaran Mai.

    At this point in time, particularly after the gruesome attacks on Ahmadis, when the ‘mainstream Pakistani’ also has been subjected to a torrent of extremism. We have a particularly ripe opportunity to wage a propaganda war of our own and undermine the BS of 60 years by the overzealous religious right and their lackeys in the state institutions. The likelihood, at least at this point, of us failing is greater. But I’d go down while putting up a fight.

  2. 2 Zainab Ali

    Naveen has very rightly pointed that we all are terrorists and one way or the other we have contributed to this issue of Ahmadis being subjugated in every walk of life; I personally know a few persons, especially a girl who was not given a sharing space in a public hostel and had to stay alone.

  3. Thank you for being a great voice for the minorities.

  4. You are not a celebrity blogger, but your blog itself has pure content of goodness

  5. Nice Story keep it up http://social.guluna.com/

  6. hello, new follower here 🙂 and new to the blogging community in general actually. i like how your words and logic flow.

  7. 7 F K

    You hit a chord with me. The chord of realism, non entitlement, and the strength to say it like it is. Bravo. Lets hope and pray this inspires many more to do the same.


  1. 1 I am a terrorist and so are you | Tea Break
  2. 2 Global Voices in English » Pakistan: Bloggers Reject Religious Hatred
  3. 3 Pakistan: Bloggers Reject Religious Hatred :: Elites TV

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