Pakistan: the land of irony | Pakistan Today

Pakistan: the land of irony

All Pakistanis are equal, but some Pakistanis are more equal than others,

especially if they’re Muslims

Literary folk would have a field day explaining the stuff that a good irony is made of, if they could see the potential that Pakistan has as the poster child for all that is ironical. The nation that was created to protect the rights of a minority i.e., the Muslims in India, but has some of the worst statistical data to its name for crimes against marginalised groups (specialising in the persecution and demolition of minority rights).

Adding to the pretty paradox that is Pakistan, Hafiz Saeed (amongst others) has now offered Shahrukh Khan – not a mistreated common man, but a Bollywood giant – refuge from his harsh life in India. He’s looked into the biggest and most comfortable spots in his dust trodden and bug infested heart and opened his arms to Khan, promising comfort, security and respect. Hafiz is joined by a number of Pakistanis chanting their alhamdullilahs and astagfirullahs in Khan’s favour. But before Khan can actually make a decision on whether or not he wants to live in Pakistan he will first have to figure out just what kind of a Muslim he is. And while in India his biggest problem is being a Muslim, within Pakistan he will have to declare what sect he’s from – being a Muslim in Pakistan is no small affair. It would be interesting to see who protects him from people like Hafiz Saeed if he declares he’s Shia or Ahmedi.

Minorities in Pakistan have been living a scared life for a while now. It’s bad enough if you’re in the wrong sect as a Muslim, it gets much worse if you’re not Muslim at all. From being passed over for well deserved jobs to simply being burned alive – if you’re a Christian, Hindu, Parsi etc, you’re in for one brilliant ride of horror in Pakistan. So, it’s great that Shahrukh Khan is being welcomed with open arms, but what of his extremely Hindu wife, and his daughter who is more inclined towards the Hindu faith?

Instead, why hasn’t anyone thought to offer help to the dozens of families that migrate from Pakistan on an annual basis because of persecution? Within 2012, it was reported that on average over 8-10 Hindu families try to run away to India every month. And rich, well established families at that. And that’s just Hindu families, there aren’t any accurate numbers on the other minorities we manage to squash on a daily basis. If help was to be offered, were there no persecuted Muslims on the other side, just like the people we manage to alienate?

I’m sure Pakistani minorities can relate to Shahrukh’s plight, just as Hafiz did. It has to be hard to be that rich and comfortable, to have the vast majority of a nation love you endlessly. It isn’t everyday that you end up giving your children generic names so they aren’t singled out because of their religious heritage. Here in Pakistan, we’re extremely against giving generic, pan-religious, or pan-ethnic names to children born to minorities. We are instead in favour of calling them by names which are oft painfully obvious as Muslim names. We’ve known many a Christian “Yousuf” and a couple of Hindu “Danish” boys in our lives. And we don’t stop at names – we try to purge minorities of any faith they have whatsoever. There are numerous cases of abducted people from minority groups resurfacing to announce their “miraculous” conversions. Christian/Hindu, unfortunate one day – Muslim, bewildered and confused the next. We’ve even made a circus out of faith completely. In 2012, Maya Khan had a fantastically monstrous show where she documented the conversion of a Hindu boy on live TV. Had a Muslim willingly converted to another faith, we would’ve screamed bloody murder and chanted our regular “off with his head, her head, every non-Muslim head” slogan.

This is the same country which, although created by a Shia leader, was able to ignore more than a handful murdered Hazara Shiites and their protesting families, who sat in the dead cold for four days decorated with the 86 coffins of their dead. But the Hazara Shiites had it easy compared to the Ahmedi population. It was only in 2012 that over 300 of their graves were desecrated for absolutely no productive reason whatsoever. Till death don’t us part – in Pakistan even the dead have to answer to atrocity, it’s not enough that we punish the living for being alive on our soil.

From the outside it seems almost as though we hate any religious minorities that walk the earth within our borders – how amusing that we’ve decided to extend help to wounded Muslim brethren without realising where we’re going wrong. Without realising that, forget non-Muslim minorities, we can’t even protect the marginalised Muslims in this country. Without realising that we have to be forced to care about Muslim minorities in other countries (remember Syria? Probably not). The country which was created by a man from a persecuted minority, it cannot stop itself from persecuting its minorities. And the people who we believe most need our help are not the persecuted Muslims and non-Muslims in our country, but Shahrukh Khan.

The writer is a journalist based in

Lahore. She tweets @luavut, and can be emailed at: [email protected]

Luavut Zahid

Luavut Zahid is Pakistan Today’s Special Correspondent. Her work places an emphasis on conflict and disasters, human rights, religious and sexual minorities, climate change, development and governance. She also serves as the Pakistan Correspondent to the Crisis Response Journal. She can be reached at: [email protected], and she tweets at: @luavut.



23 Comments

  1. Chicago Friend said:

    Chicagoan

    Very appropriate analysis of the problem of minorities. Pakistan is sinking in all aspects of its existence and there seems no solution in sight. People are confused on all fronts and hope new government can adopt a policy to safeguard the lives of minority population. At present one sees no hope.

  2. Ullu Ka Pattha said:

    Well written article with a sucker punch of brilliant irony & satire.

    • Ullu Ka Pattha said:

      However, you forgot to include another minority which has no voice at all. Ex-Muslims. I'm talking about apostates-Atheists-Agnostics, basically free-thinkers. Apostates in particular have been subject to savage behavior by the rabid Muslim population. The recent incident of a man in Hyderabad burned alive for supposedly desecrating the Qur'an, is horrid.

      Give us a voice too. And they wonder why we don't believe in Islam anymore

        • Ullu Ka Pattha said:

          🙂 If speaking for freedom, equality & justice, then in that sense I am one.

  3. mianm said:

    The author of this article is a degenerate moron.In Pakistan hundreds of Sunnis get killed by terrorists in mosques,schools etc.In fact more Sunnis die than people from other sects and all she has to talk about is minorities getting killed as if they are the only ones that are targeted.

    • talib said:

      How often are they being killed because they're sunnis? Minorities are targeted BECAUSE they're minorities. GROW A BRAIN!

      • mianm said:

        You dyslexic crook, I have more exposure,education and brain as compared to you.The purpose of terrorism is to spread fear and anymosity amongst people by targeting minorites specifically.How many Shia's were being persecuted in the 90's? Go do some reading on geopolitics and history to get some understanding of world affairs. If you are in capable of finding good books on these subjects than well that is a different issue altogether.Enough said

  4. Z Khan said:

    Minorities are way safer and respected in Pakistan than in India, as far as Pakistani Hindus moving to India they move because they feel happier with rest of their homies in India and get govt. funds and free housing along with royal treatment by people because of their sharp features and fairer skin.

    • SriVara said:

      yeah right! how could you lie so blatantly?
      Pakistani Hindus are afraid to go back to Pakistan(20% of them who visit India never return). They had lands and jobs and wealth in Pakistan. Do you think they would leave all that and come to a uncertain scenario in India where they have neither?
      India houses Rohingya muslims and Eelam Tamils; do you think they are unsafe?
      They are the most safe here. Have you heard of reservation to muslims in India?
      funds, free housing and royal treatment? as damn ugly as lies can be..stop feeding horse crap to people. stop instigating them, at least not on lies.

  5. Nadeem said:

    Before this so called war on terror every thing was fine. I lived in all my life in Pakistan studied in chritain school. There was abosolutely no such thing there as Dicremination agisnt minorities. But now may be there is because look arround you. Babri Mosque Shahadat. 3500 Muslims killed in Indian Gujrat. Hundreds of thousands Killed in Occupied Kashmir. Genocide in bosnia. Genocide in Pelestine, Thousands killed in Iraq war in the name of weapons of Mas destrcutions. Albrigt statement that half million children killed in iraq is price worth paid I can go on for 10 pages. Yes there is resentment. Still I would say 99% Pakistanies wants to live in harmony. One note Ahmadi is not a Muslim sect. THey are non Muslims.

    • SriVara said:

      Do you know nothing other than qouting Post-Godhra crap and Kashmir Issue;
      Godhra was started by Muslims.They were the ones who burnt the train.Though I condemn it, Post Godhra was inevitable. What did you expect? to go scott free?

      And as for Kashmir, at the time of Independence, Kashmiri muslims were given the choice of migrating to the newly formed country of Pakistan and Hindus to India; they did not; now, they want independence(or they want to align with Pak, they differ); how is that in anyway fair? you want more and more land for yourself; have you ever thought about Kashmiri Pandits, who were driven out of their homelands? have you ever thought that you would be surrounded by 3 powers who would crush you without a second thought(if Kashmir had gained independence)

      • Nadeem said:

        In September 2004, a one-member committee appointed by the Railway Ministry then headed by Lalu Prasad Yadav and consisting of former Supreme Court Justice Umesh Chandra Banerjee to probe the Godhra train fire, concluded that the fire was accidental. Rest is manufactured by indian media.
        Nehru took the matter to UN and resolution was passed for the right of self determination for Kashmiries. You are trapped in your little mind but history is documented which you can't change. To you killing of 3500 people was crap. Indians are stuck in hotel taj crap where only 200 or less people were killed.

  6. Ullu Ka Pattha said:

    Sad to see, that silly Muslims under the spell of gullible nationalism, crying out their hollow slogans. These people are blind to reality. What honor do they talk about. They believe in a murderous ideology aimed at annihilating any opposing ideology on "Allah's Earth".

    There is no peace with Islam. There always will be schisms upon schisms, and internal strife.

    We need to bring objective education and enlightenment to Pakistan, to end this disease of medieval religion.

    • Nadeem said:

      Medieval very funny worshing rocks is very enlightened. Philosophy of chankia and ashoka is very peaceful. You must be living under a rock to make such comments.
      Rss and bajrang's slogans are very encouraging to bring peace.

      • Ullu Ka Pattha said:

        Huh? Why do Pakistanis think that any criticism of Islam is from a Hindu or a non-muslims. I'm an Atheist and all religions is BS.

        So Islam & Hinduism are equally repulsive.

      • SriVara said:

        do tell me, where is spirituality in Islam?
        My belief is that a religion's foremost duty is to help man attain spirituality and not to dictate how to rule a country or impose punishment upon law breakers.
        Even though we medieval people worship rocks, we are deeply spiritual and peaceful. we would never execute blasphemers or carry out religious persecution

  7. Lucky said:

    so now being dyslexic is something to be ashamed abt? lol "Mianm" (i guess thats the exposure u have that gives u the right to use learning difficulties as an insult)thats seriously not cool aspecially since i'm dyslexic! and two some1 said that there were no attacks on christian before the war on terror(like thats a justification) but let me remind u the ShantiNagar incident and second just a few day after the september 11th attacks came the massacre of christians in a church in Bahawalpur! and forced conversions of Hindu's in Sindh,Christian's in Faislabad,etc

    • mianm said:

      @Lucky what about the murder of hundreds of thousands of Bosnian Muslims as the hands of Serbs.Last time I checked Christianity was the dominant religion amongst Serbs n well that occured in early 90's. So don't give me that bull that Muslims started it first.As for Hindus well i have a alot of good hearted hindu friends who told me that during the Muslim massacre and rape in Gujrat by hindu fanatics they provided shelter to some of there Muslim friends.Well what do you have to say about this?Oh we have'nt even mentioned killings of Muslim Kashmiris. But i guess what in addition to being dyslexic you're also ignorant

  8. Raju said:

    The minorities in Pakistan really do not have such a bad deal. Problem is with rogues, be they likes of Shahrukh Jatoi, son of Pervaiz Khusro, or a powerful khaki, or even Moonis Elahi, etc who get away with murder and robbing the state. It is this lawlessness which facilitates, the disorder within our country. Forget about Shahrukh Khan, who is a billionaire and lives comfortably in India. We, inspite of all our weaknesses are still better than India, where minorities are brutalised and men like Mody who ordered the train massacre become so popular that they get elected. At least none of these white collar terrorists have got elected in Pakistan, with one exception the butcher who lives in London.

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