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Aisha Gulalai is the first female MNA from restive tribal areas. – Photo courtesy
Aisha Gulalai is the first female MNA from restive tribal areas. – Photo courtesy

Persecution of Ahmedis, Shias and other religious minorities has killed the true essence of secularist ideology of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, who never envisioned creating a theocracy or a religion-based state.

Under the garb of so-called reconciliation hardly any political party would afford to endorse those comments, but several young debutant Members of the National Assembly (MNAs) are poised to challenge the set norms and mindsets.

“I agree that declaring Ahmedis as non-Muslims was a wrong decision. State had nothing to do with the religion of people,” commented Alizeh Iqbal Haider, referring to Quaid-e-Azam’s most famous speech of August 11, 1947.

Ironically, it was one of the most enlightened prime ministers of Pakistan, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, who under severe pressure from right-wing forces had agreed to introduce a constitutional amendment, in 1977, to declare Ahmedis as non-Muslims.

Alizeh vowed to carry legacy of her late father, Iqbal Haider, who after proving his mantle in political arena attained an iconic stature in the field of human rights. He held the coveted post of Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP).

A TV anchor commented that Alizeh was going to be another sensation in the Parliament given her confidence, style and demeanour. The way she conducted herself on the day of oath taking left many onlookers impressed. She, however, did not like the idea of presenting female members as fashion models.

With high ambitions, big dreams and lofty desires the first-time MNAs are mindful of thorny path ahead. As many as 119 debutant MNAs have taken oath. Majority among them comprises young and energetic people. Some express a great deal of idealism at the infancy of their parliamentary career.

“The tormenting discrimination against minorities in Pakistan must be ended. And education is the only solution. May be a decade is needed for the reversal,” said Alizeh during an interview.

When asked how the term secularism should be interpreted in Pakistani context, she said one must be tolerant to the opposite views and let people do whatever they want within the confines of laws.

Being an advocate herself, she demanded changes in controversial Hudood and Blasphemy laws. Referring to brutal killings of Salman Taseer and Shahbaz Bhatti, she cast aside the potential threats to her life in case she raises such sensitive topics on floor of the National Assembly.

“I experienced hardships because of my father’s political affiliations. I grew up in a household which suffered. I am not scared. And why should I be,” she snapped.

Condemning religious intolerance is never welcomed in Pakistani society. The reactionary forces have always been vociferous against those who dare challenge them. The vocal liberals are pushed to the wall and, in some cases, silenced with the gun.

“I don’t know what true ideology of Pakistan is. Everyone has his or her own version. The predominant view was churched out after the demise of Quaid-e-Azam and got the currency during Zia dictatorship,” Alizeh said.

The young MNAs have been dreaming of changing the system – something quite normal for the first timers. Many would change themselves as the time goes by. A few would maintain the posture without creating much fuss. Still fewer would have the stomach to get vocal and invite the ire of their senior colleagues.

Aisha Gulalai thought otherwise. She had faith in her leader, Imran Khan, who awarded her a party ticket to become the youngest (among the present lot) MNA on women reserved seats. She said the chairman of Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI) wanted positive change in Pakistan and would support his comrades working to meet the same objective.

Gulalai is the first female MNA from restive tribal areas. Hailing from South Waziristan, she truly represents the soft image of Pakistan. She owes her political successes to her parents who were encouraging despite facing castigation from the people living nearby.

She had some firm views on how to deal with insurgency and militancy. “Dialogue is the only option to eliminate terrorism from Pakistan,” she declared. She demanded general amnesty for the militants, even those who had taken pride in killing innocent people.

The PTI MNA believed the US drone attacks were worsening the situation, only adding to the miseries of Pakistani people. She demanded complete halt on drone strikes.

Asked to comment on the success or failure of military operations in the tribal areas, she claimed the military operations would never succeed given the topography and demography of those areas.

The other young MNAs were also heard talking big. They may be justified in doing so, but reality is always far from fiction. It is to be seen how they will conduct themselves when their strong sense of idealism is not appreciated. And when would their dreams shatter in face of hardcore political realities.

Follow Shahzad Raza on twitter @shahz79

Comments (104) Closed

Tahir Jun 04, 2013 11:16pm

First person to have the guts to speak on behalf of minorities on the National Assembly floor and she is a woman. May God bless her. Why have the Muslims forgotton the Quranic commandment that La Iqra ha Fid deen( NO compulsions in the matter of faith is allowed by Islam. Bravo !

Taha Jun 04, 2013 11:27pm

Hmmm Interesting.... Looking forward to having more dynamic individuals such as Alizeh and Aisha Gulalai!

My personal vote goes, however, to Alizeh!

Agha Ata Jun 04, 2013 11:41pm

First we pronounce some act to be a sin; then we condemn any man who commits it. :) Like, pineapple eating is a sin, and one who commits it should be beheaded. You eat pineapple, so you are a sinner. So you should be beheaded (period).

Newyork Jun 04, 2013 11:46pm

Your article is focusing on young women MNAs and not young men debutantes it appears. Its well past time that our media take women seriously. While these women "may talk big", I like to remind this reporter to show more respect towards women members of parliament. Remember, its only recently that acid attack laws were passed and those on honor killings due to the efforts of women MNAs. Women make up 50% of our population and their participation in the workforce and in politics is crucial for a productive nation.

Ayesha Khan Jun 04, 2013 11:54pm

I don't agree with her point of views at all. Pakistan is a Muslim state and the government has all the authority to declare under the Muslim constitution who is a Muslim and who is not. It is not difficult to find who is crossing the limits of the religion. Moreover, as a Muslim women it is not advisable that women should come to the forefront and decide how the governments should run. Further, what is she talking about the people who has no regards of our national leader Muhammad Ali Jinnah , when these people who have divided themselves into so many different sects and they have no fear of their creator, after observing all this what one can expect from such people. And terrorism can not be solved with dialoges if it was all that simple,and easy then no body would see terrorism in any part of the world. When the evil elements are out then to deal with them with proper actions is the only way to eliminate them . According to Islam a place of a woman is in the house. It is not to say that she should give her liberty, or her rights but she must remain within the boundries set by the religion Islam . Double standards we have adopted, today we see the young generation of Pakistan on the foreign social networks and what picture they paint is extremely ugly. One should first practice what they preach. What ever she is addressing is absolutely irrelevant---

Babar Khan Jun 05, 2013 12:03am

I wish that the men of pakistan had half the courage of these brave women. Almost everyone knows that one must not impose one's religion on another, but Pakistani men are too afraid to speak out in public.

Arsalan Jun 05, 2013 12:11am

Another fine piece from Dawn.

She had faith in "his" leader, Imran Khan, who awarded "him" a party ticket

The least Dawn can do is to maintain the quality of the language which its founder was a master of.

salim Jun 05, 2013 12:44am

Ah a glimmer of hope and finally some one has the courage to speak against the injustices. A lady leading the charge is wonderful thing to see.

Mustafa Jun 05, 2013 12:53am

Secularist ideology of Mohommad Ali Jinnah? Jinnah never used the word secular in his life, not in his August 11th speech, not ever!. Equal status as a citizen for all citizens is enshrined in Islamic law, as was practiced during the time of the holy prophet and the four caliphs.

Nadeem Jun 05, 2013 12:59am

Dear DAWN newspaper, Secularism is not the only solution to protection of minorities. Islam has a large flexibility to accommodate minorities. Pakistan was never created to be a secular country. If secularism was the goal then why separated from india. Pakistan can handle minorities very effectively if a true Islam is implemented. Just because of those people who are using Islam for their hate or personal use ... please don't make a wish for a secular Pakistan. If you do, then God forbid, your daughter or female relative would be first one to show the bad/insulting image of secularism. Islam gives full religious rights to non-muslim on a mulsim land. West has been going through secularism and there is no definition of modesty... humans behaving worst than animal.

Nadeem Jun 05, 2013 01:14am

Dear DAWN newspaper, Why you guys Always forget those speeches of Quaid-e-Azam where he always said Islam, Islam and Islam. Be neutral and do justice to your arguments. If you are highlighting Quaid's speech with secularism emphases then also highlight Quaid's those speeches where he said Pakistan's ideology is based on Islam which was created 1400 years ago. If you (a newspaper) is not doing justice with your articles then what you expect from people of Pakistan... will they listen to you... NEVER!!!

TI Jun 05, 2013 01:21am

Bravo lady! You really ought be appreciated for your courage. Why there is a dearth of elected people like you.

Arman Zain Jun 05, 2013 01:53am

It is Great to have young representation in NA.

As per issue of Religion and State, I don't understand our Generation's inspiration to Western concept of Separation of Church and State.

Lets look at large facts of history, Pakistan was created under the slogan of two nations, Muslim and Hindu. Muslims desired Pakistan so they can build an Islamic State per dreams of Sir Dr.Iqbal.

After some 60+ years we stand today and talk about separation of Church and State. If anyone wants to stand by the Slogan then that person first has to accept that creation of Pakistan was not justified.

I firmly believe that Pakistan is Islamic state created under the Slogan of Islam and all the laws in Pakistan must be within limitations of Islam.That said, I am not advocating hatred against non-Muslims, Ahmedis or Shias. They all should be treated with respect as defined by Islam.

It is time that we come out of our identity crisis and truly accept that we are Muslims and Islam provides us the System and Way of Life rather then living under Western clouds.

Regards Arman Zain

T Khan Jun 05, 2013 02:13am

I firmly stand by Aisha Gulalai views and wish that other so-called politician in country can at least have courage to give similar statement!!! Religious extremism along with other social/regional issue caused huge damage to country economic stability, prosperity and common living standard. The majority of population in Pakistan lack basic civic sense of live & let other live philosophy. Keep up the good work Aisha. We all stand by you

Karachi Wala Jun 05, 2013 02:21am

l salute Alizeh Iqbal Haider. When it comes to touchy subjects many stalwarts are running for cover, she is standing tall and firm like her father. May Allah protect her from all evils. Ameen

independentthinker Jun 05, 2013 02:25am

Am i reading it correctly - is the author of this article referring to Ms. Gulalai as a he? - it is not once, but on several occasions she is referred as a "he" or "him" or "his". I had to read the paragraph a few times to confirm we were still talking about the same lady and have not changed the gender in the process. As for what she stands for - i am in full agreement with her beliefs and her views. We need more people like her to implement the change that the country so desperately needs. Fearless and determined. May God bless her and may God bless Pakistan.

sattar Jun 05, 2013 02:29am

Pakistan need to take Drone attacks as an act of war by us and respond with missile attack or nuclear weapons to the american bases from where these attacks are carried out. ACTION is needed not just words.every pakistani govt has used words to condemn the attacks and in the back support these drones. what we need is the ACTION.

Razzaq Jun 05, 2013 02:48am

It is really heartening to know that some of the newly elected young MNAs supporting the vision of Quaid-e-Azam. I wish them well in their chosen field and pray to all mighty to be with them and protect them from evil forces infested in our country. Hope they also remember the fate of Salman Tasir and Shahbaz Bhatti.

dar Jun 05, 2013 03:09am

Bravo Alizeh Haider, You choose the right way that is always hard way. Fresh air and first one to challenge the so called mute intelligentsia of Pakistan who do not have the courage to speak truth.

Aamir Jun 05, 2013 03:42am

Why is the writer not optimistic? why would this new generation's dreams and idealism be shattered? a defeatist mindset can never win. However I dont agree with this respected New comer who feels.. "Dialogue is the only option to eliminate terrorism from Pakistan,

Saeed Shah Jun 05, 2013 03:44am

Alizeh says that declaring Qadian as non-mslim was a wrong decision. I would like to ask her as to What would have been the right decision? Declaring them as Muslims, so that they could contine to misuse Islam and confuse people? If it was up to Bhutto, he would not have change the status quo. It was tremendous pressure from people of Pakistan that made Bhutto to declare them non-muslims. What is wrong with calling spade a spade?

Samina Dar Jun 05, 2013 03:59am

Ms Alizeh Iqbal Haider, I am not sure whether what I have just read is true or am I going through a fantasy dream, but if you could achieve even half of your goals, that would be a HUGE step forward and in the right direction.

May I wish you a successful and safe career. It could well be the dawn of a new era and the emergence of a new and tolerant Pakistan. May the new generation of Pakistanis show us the way forward.

Let's meet at the same forum in five years time and compare notes. All the best and look after yourself.

bharat Jun 05, 2013 04:17am

It is good to have some one like this lady in parliament. But she will never understand the pain that such severe human rights offences conducted by the state can cause to minorities. plus for successful management of a country, both economically and socially , you need absolute tolerance , with a zealous guarding of minorities rights, pluracy and a lot more transparency from official bodies.

I have doubts that Pakistan will ever get there. They will never understand the pain of being hounded out of your house in fear and then being hunted down like a dog.

xulf Jun 05, 2013 05:55am

These women have more courage than all the men in the assembly...bravo!!

Khalid Bin Waleed Jun 05, 2013 06:55am

Shahzad Raza should declare her true Athiestic values in public such that God can show us where the correct path is.

There are reprocussions from angels that can hear what we say.

Al Fatihah.

Suhail Chaudhry Jun 05, 2013 06:54am

Let's hope the invigoration of youth does freshen the rotten status quo that pervades this country. "The young do not know enough to be prudent, and therefore they attempt the impossible, and achieve it, generation after generation." Hopefully Pearl Buck proves to be right in this case. While there's not so much they can do while sitting in the benches of the opposition, maybe, just maybe, they may manage to slowly educate some of the fools who share the National Assembly with them.

Shair Khan Jun 05, 2013 07:49am

Alieza is a brave women. May Allah protect her from religious extremists.

Ali Jun 05, 2013 07:59am

I wish young MNAs good luck in fulfilling their obligation to the Country. Please do not let this Country down as it has suffered lot in last 5 years. Open new schools and let future generation be more educated than the old generation. Since English is international language it should be introduced as soon as possible. We should not attach any emotions as far as the medium of instruction is concerned. Urdu will not take anywhere if we become emotional and teach everything in Urdu. Whenever I visited Pakistan I have tried my best to communicate with young people in English but sorry say that 90% could not answer in English. I don't know if they ever understood what said. If Pakistan to compete in this fast moving world, we should face the reality and change our educational system which is out dated. Good luck again to young MNAs and hope untiring efforts, hardwork and sincerity will bear fruit for Pakistan. Amen. Pakistan Zindabad.

jari Jun 05, 2013 08:20am

Hope to see a positive change. I fully agree that education is source of illumination; Secular education i mean. I never thought of discrimination by looking at Pakistani Flag but now it sees very clear. why there was a separation in minorities and majority even in Pakistani Flag

havi Jun 05, 2013 08:23am

This article is well eloquently narrated and I salute for her dashing opinion. Minority should be protected in all aspects. I think this nation has been awaken and cautiously moving forward.

Naeem Khan Jun 05, 2013 08:53am

Alizeh Iqbal, you are an honest and brave human being and women. I support you a 100%. Pakistan needs such forward thinking leaders as yourself. You are the future light of Pakistan- honest, brave and candid. May Allah keep you in His protection. You can teach Imran Khan a lesson or two on bravery and honesty. It is only leaders like you who can bring real change to Pakistan!!!! May Allah be with you always as you deeply care for Pakistan!!!

pakone Jun 05, 2013 09:12am

Adopting a secular system, separating religion from state is the only solution to Pakistan's problems. On one hand we honour Jinnah as a hero but have no clue about his vision for a SECULAR Pakistan built for the minorities of India. It is ironic that the same Pakistan is now despised for its oppression of its non-muslim (i hate the word minorities) citizens! It is also ironic that a secular leader like ZAB sold out to the so called "mullahs" in the 70's and implemented the Hudood ordinance. Zia came in and destroyed whatever little social fabric we had left. Btw, these same mullahs get less than 5% of the vote in every election but every leader kisses their behinds for some reason.

Truthful Jun 05, 2013 09:32am

Why Dawn posted a picture of Aisha Gulalai on top, while lines just below the picture are having nasty view, I deplore them, of Alizeh Iqbal Haider ? Truthful

Kashif Jun 05, 2013 09:39am

Treating Non-Muslim minorities equally and protecting their rights is one of the most prominent and earliest teachings of Islam, taught by example by the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) himself. Declaring Ahmedis as Non-muslims is calling spade a spade. Whoever believes this constitutional amendment was a wrong decision, is totally ignorant (no offense) of even basic essentials of Islam. Every religion has a definition, and whoever does not fulfill the defined criteria can not claim to be a believer in that particular religion, be it Islam, Christianity, Hinduism or any other religion. Ahmedis simply do not meet the basic definition of Islam, presenting them as muslims would be a misrepresentation of fact. They should accept this reality and shall name their religion distinguishly.

pathanoo Jun 05, 2013 09:40am

Every Big Change starts with a little shift in the wind. Let us hope these new MNAs will change Pakistan for the better.

Saad Jun 05, 2013 10:12am

The existence of this universe is based on God's will. I came to know about it through our Holy Prophet PBUH. If this universe can't work without existence of true religion then how can we say that the State has nothing to do with religion.

Musafir Jun 05, 2013 10:13am

Alizeh thoughts are typical as from elite class of Pakistan and as usual she was rewarded by our politicians for being family member of the politician

majid Jun 05, 2013 10:53am

Amazing brave woman. i have never heard any pakistani politician speak this bravely and that includes nawaz shariff.she touched the real problems of pakistan in her two sentences.i hope our seasoned corrupt politicians learn something from her.

yousaf Jun 05, 2013 11:46am

Is there any dawn column or columnist who is optimistic about anything.

Basir Sami Jun 05, 2013 11:52am

Well done

Basir Sami Jun 05, 2013 11:54am

Well done.

Imran Jun 05, 2013 11:59am

Very brave. But I wonder how she can follow her dreams with PTI.

SK Jun 05, 2013 12:17pm

Sincerely hope that for the sake of this country . The current parliamentary dynamics is changed gradually but inevitably through the process of extinction and elimination replacing old hogs in Parliament with youthful , vibrant, visioned and enlightened middle class law makers who could lift this country from its present perils and doom.

SM Jun 05, 2013 12:45pm

What happened to the Hindu women from Sindh who wanted to abolish slavery? Did she win. I cannot remember her name but I wanted her to win.

A Pakistani Jun 05, 2013 12:53pm

Mr. Jinnah never envisioned creating a religion-based state!!!!!!!!!!

Well, following is quoted from his address at the Karachi Bar Association on January 25, 1948 on the occasion of the Holy Prophet

vijay Jun 05, 2013 01:34pm

With people like Aisha, Pakistan has a bright future. Salute to a daring lady.

Gerry D'Cunha Jun 05, 2013 01:37pm

a very brave lady who has spoken the truth - will her truth hurt the sentiments of the people in the parliament and specially the fundamentalist groups - can this truth get her into trouble?

Kamaran Jun 05, 2013 02:48pm

This daughter of Waziris has changed many horses during her quest. She is another face of our establishment and global imperialism. She has valid points, but these cannot obscure her hidden agenda.

akram Jun 05, 2013 02:52pm

@Ayesha Khan:

Its women like you who have held back the development of Pakistan's women, and indirectly Pakistan itself. According to the Mullahs, Pakistan should never have been created, but here they go dictating to Pakistanis yet again how the state they don't believe in should be run. If you don't believe in Jinnah's Pakistan go live in India, That's where the mullahs wanted to be.

Susan Jun 05, 2013 02:53pm

@Ayesha Khan:

I hope you can at the least see that your's is only a point of view. It is so unfortunate that you dont appear to see yourself first as a human being before all these other categories that you allude to

Bilal Jun 05, 2013 03:20pm

@Ayesha Khan: Live in past glory of Islam,

haris Jun 05, 2013 03:35pm

"...the true essence of secularist ideology of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, who never envisioned creating a theocracy or a religion-based state."

Where does this mentioned? Show me the proof that Mr. Jinnah want a secular state. dig down all his speeches and his statements and present it here. I bet you won't find a single piece of it. Otherwise, keep silent and don't try to overwrite your agenda upon others.

Muhammad Mustafa Abeer Jun 05, 2013 04:00pm

All may be true, but I disagree with the personal interpretation of actually Pro-Islamic views of Muhammad Ali Jinnah by the personalities mentioned hereby, as liberty to practice one's own religion is one of the basic human rights conferred by divine Islamic teachings not by the so called a human created thought called Secularism.

ahmed Jun 05, 2013 04:06pm

ahmedis do not accept prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) as the last prophet so how can they ever be muslims. Pakistan was never a secular country. If it was based on such an ideology then there was no need to separate from India as it too is a secular state. Pakistan was built for the muslims hence it will always be the "islamic" republic of Pakistan

ahmed Jun 05, 2013 04:08pm

Pti is slowly showing tis true secular liberal open minded colorss..

zak Jun 05, 2013 04:50pm

Reality follows a dream. If this visionary from PTI wants to do something good for all pakistani's, minorities, women, children, men and the aged then let her do it. why discourage. See her essence not her looks. She is speaking as a true muslim would. PTI has laid the foundations for future leaders who will come to the top through hard work and proving their mettle not hereditry politics as we have had and have now.

Amir Jun 05, 2013 04:54pm

Bravo Alizeh! You have said in one interview what most Pakistani politicians fail to say in their entire careers. You are clearly your late fathers daughter, and a fresh voice of reason we are in dire need of. Keep it up.

Mukesh Jun 05, 2013 05:29pm

@Arman Zain: nothing new! when in minority demand democary and secular laws, when in majority support Islamic state and Sharia.

Mukesh Jun 05, 2013 05:33pm

@Nadeem: Pakistan can handle minorities very effectively? How come minorities have gone down by over 80% in the last 60 years? If Pakistan could not protact them for last 60 years, what are the chances in future? Very bleak chances!

Kamran Jun 05, 2013 06:24pm

I agree with dialogue,but someone who has been involved in killings and terrorism has to be brought to justice. I am sorry,but cannot agree with amnesty to KILLERS.

MK Jun 05, 2013 06:39pm

@Saad: Mr Saad, with due respect a phrase "think before you speak". All i will say that if religion has to do with the state than think about all the muslims living in the europeon country. What will happen.

That is why religion has nothing to do with the states.

debater Jun 05, 2013 06:58pm

I do not see her support beyond Dawn readers, and yet another story will be buried within the readers of Dawn.

M Afzal Qamar Jun 05, 2013 07:07pm

Brave stand of Alizeh Iqbal Haider - may Allah save her from extremists.

Mohammad Faizan Jun 05, 2013 07:07pm

Its all fine in all what u have put up here, except the preposterous demand of what has been termed as General Amnesty for militants.. Can someone elaborate please the reason for such a soft corner to those who have nothing but ruined the life in the state?

Syed Ahmed Jun 05, 2013 07:11pm

You say 119 first time MNAs in this new Parliament - that must be a record, Change has come. It doesn't matter if it didn't come in the form of PTI having a size-able number of MNAs. Irrespective of party lines, these 119 should work together to forge a new destiny for this blighted nation and not kow tow to the purveyors of 5 more years of the same.

Dr. Emile Unjom Jun 05, 2013 07:26pm

The convictional words of Aisha Gulalai, offer hope to all those who believe in the Quaid's secularist view as expressed in his 11th of Aug, 1947 speech, which had been kept in the cold storage ever since, while Pakistan had been watched to move from one peril to another in religious pursuits of some and the political interests of others without caring how it mattered to our national interests or the different minorities or other suffering marginalized economic groups. A VOICE OF REASON IS HEARD AND IS FELT BY THE VOICELESS. I THANK GOD FOR THE BIRTH OF A POLITICIAN, THAT HAS THE CONVICTION, WILL AND THE WISDOM TO SAY THAT HAD BEEN OVERLOOKED AND IGNORED FOR SO LONG WHILE THE WORLD WATCHED US TO REGRESS PROGRESSIVELY TO OUR PRESENT STATE.,

Fika77 Jun 05, 2013 07:36pm

@A Pakistani: Thanks yaar, you saved me writing the same thing. I don't know why people think that Jinnah wanted a state not in the name of religion. If that's the case India was better united. Nowadays, seculars like the writer want to put their words in your mouth.

Fika77 Jun 05, 2013 07:39pm

@Imran: Which party do you think would be best for her to follow her dreams??

Masood Hussain Jun 05, 2013 07:47pm

Aisha put to shame all the so-called liberals of PPP and ANP. What a speech from a debutant.

rana1 Jun 05, 2013 08:05pm

@ahmed: so if pakistan was built only for muslims,then why are pakistanis divided under the sunni sects and why does pakistan have all the ills in its society?Where did Islam go?

WAN Jun 05, 2013 08:09pm

@Kashif: What is "basic essentials of Islam"?

Madan Jun 05, 2013 08:10pm

Wonderfully articulated secular views of the debutant MNA should be followed by some law by the Nawaz Sharif Government.

Ghoast ridder Jun 05, 2013 08:25pm

Come on people!!!!! You are living im 1940s if you still belive Pakistan can not be a secular state. Pakistanis must treat all people as human and must not discriminate based on their religious believe. Pakistan must provide security and peace to all human who live in Pakistan regradless of their religious belives. Lets not use Islam for women rights, people with different faith and people who can not defend themselves. Islam is a best religion so please read and learn about Islam in your language so you all can form your own opinion and prevent you to hurt humans feelings and human in name of religion.....

MAK Jun 05, 2013 08:37pm

Very Nice Article

Laeeq, NY Jun 05, 2013 08:46pm

Why our people start feeling dizzy when the word "Secularism" is used for any one. As a matter of fact, secular governments are more progressive than the states which created in the name of religion. Those secular countries has tested religion as a base of their govenments and it gave nothing more than hatred and wars between the different groups. If Pakistani people still want to experiment Islam as their way of government(instead of way of living), let them do that. Eventually, they will find that religion should not be the part of Govenrment agenda but democracy is the way to move forward. Democracy is only compatible with secular government and bringing religion in the system will just open a pendora box of muslim and non muslim mantra. Let us leave the religion any body,s personal matter, not the state nor the mullahs problem.

muhammad Jun 05, 2013 09:04pm

@haris: Jinnah never envisaged a theocratic state and he expressed this through his speeches his dressing, way of life, his choice of foreign minister and finance minister and above all his opposition which consist the prominent religious clergy of that time kindly read the history yourself not the novels of Nasim Hijazi and you will find the truth

Lakhkar Khan Jun 05, 2013 10:15pm

It is interesting how people say

Lakhkar Khan Jun 05, 2013 10:18pm

@Imran: Highly unlikely.

Mohammad Faizan Jun 05, 2013 11:47pm

Its all fine in all what u have put up here, except the preposterous demand of what has been termed as General Amnesty for militants.. Can someone elaborate please the reason for such a soft corner to those who have nothing but ruined the life in the state?

Azhar Jun 06, 2013 12:00am

@Kamaran: Tunnel vision and theocracy will not help this country. Kudos for such a brave woman, she is the voice of freedom and conscience. May Allah be her guardian..Amen

Azhar Jun 06, 2013 12:28am

@Saad: The theme is that state should not interfere with religion, religion is a bond between the Almighty and His creation. He has not delegated His powers to Mullahs or Priests to decide on peoples faiths and religions. And if it is not so and all states start doing what theocrats believe in, then there would be disharmony and wars all over. Prophet Mohammad PBUH, brought the final and true message from the Lord of Heaven and Earth, The Greatest The Almighty which over the years has been molded by mullahs and their associates to serve their personal and vested interests. I hope some day people of Pakistan will start living again in peace and harmony, and propagate the true message of Islam.

Azhar Jun 06, 2013 12:32am

@Ayesha Khan: So you want to play God.... distort His teachings the way you want. Go ahead, fight the Lord of Heaven and Earth and negate the true teachings of Islam brought to us by the Holiest of all the prophets, the one and the only, Mohammad PBUH.

Hasnain Haque Jun 06, 2013 01:07am

@ahmed: So what is wrong with that?, do you want to live in a extremist corrupt Pakistan.

Ghazala Naim Jun 06, 2013 01:12am

Again shame on Raza for taking quotes out of context from Mr Jinnah's speech. Certainly Mr. Raza have a "secular" and "liberal" agenda. That is the reason this news paper is providing space so liberally. Ghazala

Tahira Jun 06, 2013 01:32am

@ahmed: Do you think Jinnah would be called a muslim by those who are too keen to call every one a Kafir? And who had called Jinnah a Kafir e Azam? These are the same people who do not want any changes that Alizeh is talking about. All muslims expect the Prophet Isa A S to return to correct the muslim Ummah but that does not make them Kafir but if Ahmadi says the same thing, he is called kafir. I ask who has given ANY muslim the right to determine another person's faith except what he calls himself. Alizeh please also raise your voice for Asia Bibi and the Hindu girls converted by force to Islam. This is totally un-Islamic.

Tahira Jun 06, 2013 01:40am

@Kamaran: You think so because you are jealous that you and the likes of you could not be bold enough to open your mouth against the total injustice that prevails in Pakistani society. What Alizeh has said resonates with millions around the world. So shame on you for reading hidden agenda in her open statement.

Tahira Jun 06, 2013 01:57am

@Saeed Shah: The thing that is wrong with that decision was that they did not choose it for themselves. Can I insist that you are a hindu if you call yourself a muslim? Your answer should make it clear to you why this decision was wrong. What is further wrong is that you first label them a minority, take up all the seats in professional schools that their brilliant children used to take and NOW, by force and terrorist activities, force them out of their homes, jobs and country. The Pakistani muslims are strictly following the path that arabs took in the ill-treatment of early muslims. May the light of reasoning spread in Pakistan.

ffk Jun 06, 2013 02:18am

@ahmed: alizeh haider is not from PTI

wally Jun 06, 2013 02:56am

I agree drone attacks must be stopped as they are against the sovereignty of Pakistan Drone attack must stop as claimed by rulers of Pakistan even though they are bunch of liars and make secret deals and real culprit here is govt of Pakistan not usa But this stateswoman asking general amnesty for militants , she must be out of her mind , in which world she is living you pardon them now and then tomorrow what will happen all militants will give away their weapons and start selling vegetables or etc on the street LOL

no they will never stop but just re-enforce more stronger their might and do more damage

sf Jun 06, 2013 03:25am

@Fika77: Historically there had been a bitter rivalry between two groups Hindus and Muslims, and Jinnah's main objective was to protect Muslim community from Hindu majority and not to create a religious state as it has become.He himsel was far from being or follower of Islamic tenets.

sf Jun 06, 2013 03:36am

@ahmed: It was never meant to be an Islamic state, It was made only to protect Muslim minority in India from Hindu majority and make it progressive and torant

Akil AKhtar Jun 06, 2013 04:25am

Its a new way of getting sympathy from teh west and finally a visa

Ashok R.Prabhu Jun 06, 2013 05:17am

Quaid-E-Azam created Pakistan not only for majority Muslims in the areas,but he declared that Pakistan will be a land where all Religions will have Equal Righta and there will be no discrimination to followers of every religion.After his death,Ahmedias were quietly persecuted and even killed.Then came the turn of Mujahirs or people who came from Bihar and UP of India and sacrificed everything to follow their dream of Pakistan.Baluchis and Sidhis,at best are a disgruntled lot.East Pakistan was lost because they did not honour the Democratic Verdict and make Shaikh Mujibur as the Prime Minister.At this rate,it is time to pause and think whether we are headed in the right direction?

EQ8Rhomes Jun 06, 2013 05:47am

I write encouragement to these new MNA's with a great deal of caution. Dialogue, Education, and Gentle Persuasion are probably some of the best approaches Pakistani reformers have at their disposal. Having followed Pakistani news and politics for decades, I must say that hot debates and "Why should I?" arguments will only elicit "Wait till we deal with you!" Gentle wisdom and a thorough understanding of people (forces) that are used to having their way are indispensable. And working "within the limits of law" is futile when the laws have to be changed--as in the case of blasphemy laws! so, law makers---get to the table and there are parliamentary precedents all around the world for you to emulate. Good Luck to Pakistan and its new, "energetic" MNA dreamers! Entrenched power blocks do not like urbane "fancy talking" reformers who "argue too much"--in their estimation!

EQ8Rhomes Jun 06, 2013 06:18am

@M Afzal Qamar: Interesting. But so far those who have dared to speak for those without a voice have seen no divine intervention! What gives?

salim Jun 06, 2013 06:31am

@ahmed: It seems you have done your research in Ahmadi belief system and you and Ahmadies will be answerable to God one day soon. Leaving the theological debate aside the question at hand is .. Should the state treat its citizen equally... irrespective of color, creed and religious beliefs? Should the state protect all its citizen equally? If not, then soon enough it will turn into preferred treatment based on mutual sect and or preferred color of skin etc. Dont you find it strange that all muslim heavy-weights were against creation of Pakistan under Mr. Jinah.

EQ8Rhomes Jun 06, 2013 06:36am

@Ghoast ridder: Alizeh Haider seems to be lost her words for a clear secular Pakistan. Simply put, it means that while there is freedom of belief (for all), people's beliefs are private and do NOT influence laws that apply to ALL Pakistanis---regardless of their beliefs or lack thereof. Your Prophet said: There must NOT BE COMPULSION in religious faith. Never forget that. SIMPLE: Just educate your religious leaders to honour that first. Then learn to bite your tongue about religion. Each to his own. Repeal laws that discriminate against those who have different views on life, religion, politics, education, the nature of social life and freedom to enjoy life without restricting the freedoms of others. One more point: Your freedom to swing your fist ends where someone's nose rests. In other words: MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS and let others do so freely. In conflict, use laws for resolution ---NOT VIOLENCE. And: NO ONE IS ABOVE (a just law). Unjust laws have to be repealed ---and the test of unjust laws is that offer protection to some but not all. Invite international legal scholars to help test laws before enacting them.

salim Jun 06, 2013 06:44am

@Lakhkar Khan: You are right .. there are other people who stood up to tyranny and then there were the tyrants too. It will be a long while to rid the world from tyrants, but right now the apathy in general public has reached the level that the silence is deafening. what happened to 'shujaat' ... the courage to speak against the wrong. We must appreciate the people who are speaking up.

Muhammad Farooq Jun 06, 2013 09:13am

@Lakhkar Khan: I agree with you both Abdul Ghaffar Khan and his son Wali Khan (May they rest in peace) have given many sacrifices to improve the lot of the poor and downtrodden people. We don't have politics of principles now. Whatever these new MNAs are saying may sound strange to new generation as they don't know how our leaders made sacrifices for the country.

N K Ali Jun 06, 2013 09:57am

@Laeeq, NY: Writing from New York is meaningless, because you left your country and chose the citizenship of another country. Writing from NYK about the weaknesses and demerits of the society you left, leaves me to suggest you look after that society. Many thanks and Salams

Majority Jun 06, 2013 01:11pm

"The young MNAs have been dreaming of changing the system

Lakhkar Khan Jun 07, 2013 07:29pm

@Syed Ahmed:

Change has come but based on false promises and false hopes. But to be fair, we are waiting...... tik tok tik tok.

Lakhkar Khan Jun 07, 2013 07:32pm

@Laeeq, NY:

Islam is a great religion but the current version of mullahs' Islam? Not only "NO but HELL NO. Keep mullah away from the public office.

Lakhkar Khan Jun 07, 2013 07:34pm

@Masood Hussain:

Let's see what Imran Khan will deliver. These young leaders have far more courage than Imran Khan will ever gain in the next 50-60 years.