Alert Sign Dear reader, online ads enable us to deliver the journalism you value. Please support us by taking a moment to turn off Adblock on

Alert Sign Dear reader, please upgrade to the latest version of IE to have a better reading experience



Your Name:

Recipient Email:

The depth of one’s spirituality is directly proportionate to one’s level of tolerance for other people’s beliefs. This means the more convinced a person is in his/her own beliefs and convictions; the less that person should be bothered by the beliefs of others. This is not to say that he is not concerned with their actions; his empathy comes from a deep concern for their well-being. But the calm of his inner ocean is less easily ruffled by the opinion of others and therefore, his actions are not knee-jerk reactions but well-intended, deliberate responses to the needs of the world around him.

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”


In today’s Pakistan, I see less people who seem comfortable in their own beliefs than when I was growing up. No doubt there is an increased display of outward religiosity, coupled with a growing intolerance for other people’s beliefs. The more need a person has to prove his religiosity to others, the less he is comfortable with his own self.

In our country there are several branches of Islam, some more and some less tolerant of each other, including Sunni, Barelvi, Deobandi, Shia, Agha Khani, Bohra, Wahabi, Salafi, and Ahmadi whom the second amendment of our constitution forbids from even calling Muslim. The Ahmadis have been persecuted in Pakistan for the last 40 years. Even a Nobel Laureate such as Dr Abdus Salam, internationally recognised as one of the greatest scientists of the 20th Century, was forced to flee Pakistan for being an Ahmadi. Today Shia doctors, scholars, intellectuals and professionals – especially those of the Persian speaking Hazara community are being targeted and massacred every day.

Because of a lack of communication between the different cultures and races of Pakistan there is a growing mistrust of each other in society, and whole communities are misjudged and condemned based on the wrong actions of a few: and hate-mongers and war-profiteers, who stoke the flames of prejudice and violence, often appear in the form of clerics.

“Under the guise of their apparent faith, they repel the people from the path of God. Miserable indeed is what they do.”

Al Quran 63:2 – Sura Al-Munafiqoon (The Hypocrites)

There also seems to be general amnesia about selected historical facts, such as that Pakistan was not created for Muslims (or certain sects of Muslims) only. In fact the Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah very much envisioned this country as being secular – which does not mean religion-less, but a state that treats all its citizens as equal and allows everybody to practice his/her own respective religion.

“You are free; you are free to go to your temples; you are free to go to your mosques or to any other places of worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion, caste or creed – that has nothing to do with the business of the state.”

Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s first Presidential Address to the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan – August 11, 1947

It is worth noting that the audio record of this historic speech, by the founder of this country, who’s portrait still hangs behind the seats of all senior government executives, was confiscated from the archives of Radio Pakistan and either hidden or destroyed, during General Zia’s regime.

But intolerance manifests itself in Pakistan not only against other Islamic sects and communities, but also against marginalised religious minority groups.

Of these the most ancient are the Pakistani Hindus, whose earliest scriptures have been around for at least 4000 years. Though over the last several years a growing number of Hindus are migrating out of Pakistan, Pakistani Hindus still constitute between 1.5 and 2 per cent of our total population.

Christianity has its roots in the Subcontinent way longer than in Europe, from the time when Saint Thomas, the apostle of Jesus Christ travelled here to spread the Gospel. Today, Christian Pakistanis constitute 2 per cent of our total population.

Punjab was the cradle of the Sikh religion, with several important sites in Pakistan, such as Nankana Sahab, the birthplace of Guru Nanak ji, the founder of Sikhism; as well as structures and temples from the empire of the greatest ruler of the Punjab – Maharaja Ranjit Singh. Today, there are at least 20,000 Sikh Pakistanis that continue to live here.

Besides this there are more than 4000 Parsi or Zoroastrian Pakistanis, whose religion has been around for at least 2500 years, when this land was part of the Achaemenid Empire of Persia; About 3000 Pakistani Kalashi animists, whom the rest of Pakistan refers to as ‘Kafir’, non-believers; and even a handful of Pakistani Buddhists. There are also several thousands that profess to the Bahai faith but choose to stay beneath the radar because of fear of persecution. The few thousand Pakistani Jews that used to live mostly in Karachi have probably all migrated abroad. Atheists are not recognised in Pakistan so there are no clear numbers available.

The curriculum of our government schools – instead of teaching us about each other’s beliefs, languages, histories, music, poetry and myths – has been systematically inculcated with a warped one-sided version of history since the late 1970-s, thus promoting religious intolerance and biased mindsets.

The history that is taught of our land omits the Indus Valley Civilization, the Vedic period, Persian, Scythian and Greek conquests, the Maurya, Kushan and Gupta dynasties, and starts with Muhammad Bin Qasim’s invasion of Sindh in the early 8th Century. Then another 3 or 4 hundred years are omitted and we come straight to the Turkish and Afghan invasions that formed the Delhi Sultanate. This is dwelt on lightly until we come to Babur’s invasion and the founding of the Mughal Empire. Of the Mughals, the role of Aurangzeb is eulogised while that of Akbar is criticised. Then we come to the British colonisation and the Partition of India and Pakistan.

I am not saying that we are the only country in the world to teach history selectively, or that things are better across the border – in fact few States around the world promote a completely objective understanding of history, which is usually rewritten by people in power to suit their own political agendas. But since I am primarily concerned for the wellbeing of my own country Pakistan, I am focusing my critical analyses for now as to how history is taught in this country.

The following excerpts from the Social Studies textbooks of the Punjab Textbook Board illustrates the values we are imparting to our children:

“The Muslims of India provided all the facilities to the Hindus and Sikhs who left for India. But the Hindus and Sikhs looted the Muslims in India with both hands and they attacked their caravans, busses and railway trains. Therefore about 1 million Muslims were martyred on their way to Pakistan.”

“The foundation of Hindu set up was based on injustice and cruelty.”

“India is our traditional enemy and we should always keep ourselves ready to defend our beloved country from Indian aggression.”

To make my point clear, I am not saying that crimes were not committed by the Sikhs and Hindus during Partition. My own mother bears witness to how her neighborhood in Delhi was sacked and torched and her family was forced to flee to find safety in Pakistan. But I am saying that excesses happened from all sides and only self-criticism and self-appraisal by all sides can set us on the path to peace.

England and France have fought countless wars in their bloody history; yet today are the best of friends. Germany, which invaded half of Europe 75 years ago, is today the leading partner of the European Union together with its former enemies. Why cannot then India and Pakistan forge a mutually beneficial alliance, instead of allowing the spiritually devoid, religiously intolerant sections of our societies to dictate their agenda?

Intolerance goes against the tenets of humanity and all religions. Those who would seek to find the origin of intolerance in religion or seek to justify their own prejudices on the basis of religion would do well to note the following quotes.

The Prophet (PBUH) said: Beware! Whosoever oppresses a Muahid (a non-Muslim living in Muslim land with agreement) or snatches (any of) his rights or causes him pain that he cannot bear, or takes anything from him without his permission, then “I will fight against such (a Muslim) on the Day of Judgement”

Sunnan Abu Dawood, Volume No. 3, Hadith No. 3052

O people, we created you from the same male and female, and rendered you into nations and tribes, that you may recognise one another. The best among you in the sight of God is the most righteous. God is omniscient and cognizant.

Al Quran 49:13 – Al Hujurat (The Walls)

Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from evil: whoever rejects evil and believes in God hath grasped the most trustworthy handhold, that never breaks. And God hears and knows all things.

Al Quran 2:256 – Al Baqarah (The Heifer)

Author Image

Arieb Azhar is a singer songwriter based in Islamabad. He studied Philosophy and Indology from the University of Zagreb in Croatia, where he also used to lead an Irish Celtic World Music band.

Learn more about him here.

The views expressed by this writer and commenters below do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.

Comments (72) Closed

Feroz Jul 16, 2013 06:18pm

Text books definitely have radicalized society but there is no inclination to reform the curriculum. Secularism depends on the upbringing children are given at home at a young age. Secularism promotes tolerance, without it minorities will be annihilated and humiliated. History when tampered with to suit convenience comes back to haunt and taunt. What must be accepted is that Pakistani citizens are converts, originally being Hindu, Christian, Buddhist and Zorastrian. Running down any religion is nothing but insulting ones own Forefathers, whose blessing we need to invoke, not curses. Pakistan is paying a price for the choices it has made with insecurity, instability, bloodshed and violence. Till lost human values are regained, reformation occurs and Love replaces Hate, blood will continue to flow. There is nothing anybody sitting outside Pakistan can do to help.

Tanvir Jul 16, 2013 07:43pm

Every Civilization goes through its dark ages before it reaches a shining light. The Europe was in dark ages when Islam was shining. Now it is the reverse. Who knows you my be a helper in pulling Muslims out of their dark age. Who knows the US & the West might be entering their dark ages by restricting freedom, justice and privacy rights, after 9/11? Let's do good and continue to teach good as we pass through this world.

Aamir Jul 16, 2013 08:12pm

A very succinct yet comprehensive summary of important points we must consider in order to inculcate tolerance in our society.

AB Uzair Jul 16, 2013 08:23pm

The article ended abruptly. The author probably needs some other venue to publish his thoughts or may be break the article into several parts.

Omar Qureshi Jul 16, 2013 11:39pm

"In today

Sonal Jul 16, 2013 11:41pm

Very insightful blog!

I know I will be criticized for asking this, but I have a genuine question - from what I understand, Jinnah wanted a separate country for Muslims, so that they weren't disadvantaged by the Hindu majority population in an undivided India, right? That's fair enough, but how can a country that was formed FOR Muslims and to protect Muslim interests be a "secular" country? Isn't that a contradiction in itself? The dictionary defines secular as "not connected with or pertaining to religion". I will appreciate any constructive responses!

Mr Author, I studied history on the other side of the border in the '80s and '90s and I can assert that the history I studied was not as biased. As far as I remember, we learnt everything from Mohammed Bin Qasim to the Mughals, and the Indus Valley Civilization, the Mauryas, the Guptas, the Khilafat Movement...everything! In our textbooks, Jinnah fought for India's independence just as much as Gandhi did. He wasn't a bad man. The Brits followed a policy of Divide and Rule which finally strengthened the Muslim Movement and led to a Partition into a Muslim state and a secular India.

BRR Jul 16, 2013 11:56pm

If a society needs the sanction or approval of a prophet to treat others as humans, then that is really sad. If a society looks into a religious book just to behave peacefully, to treat others humanely, and cannot rely upon basic human nature such as love, compassion, reasoning, then no amount of religious books can guide them - they are likely to be hypocrites. Case in point.

VR Jul 17, 2013 01:56am

@Tanvir: They were dark ages because that was centuries ago.. people were not civilized, education was not available to all and communication and media did not exist. What exactly is the excuse for the dark ages now? Stop making excuses and fight for yours and your children's future

Shamoon Ahmad Jul 17, 2013 03:41am

People like the writer of this article as citizen of Pakistan, gives me hope that someday Pakistan WILL rise from the ashes of fire which is raging in my country today. Let us rise above political and religious division and become a nation of good human being. We will be appreciated more just being the good people then for our political or religious ideologies. Eighty percent of world population is non Muslim, and to them it does't matter how many times we pray, but they do pay attention to how we act as a humans first and as Muslim second..

Ibrar Jul 17, 2013 03:48am

Great article and good to see you speak your mind. I was shocked to see what is still beng taught in our schools, we are our worst enemies,

Arnold W Bush Jul 17, 2013 04:21am

@Feroz: Some of your points are well put. However, your claim secularism promotes tolerance is insubstantiated. Secularism merely separates religion from the rest of our daily lives. That does not prevent serial-killing and other hate crimes. Perhaps it gets rid of religious hate crimes, but it certainly doesn't preach tolerance unlike what you claim. In a secular society, there may be political factions fighting each other, for instance. The problem is much more deep rooted and rooted somewhere else.

Civi varghese Jul 17, 2013 04:33am

I studied in govt school in India.But I have never read hatred to any country or religion in text books.

Muhammad Younus Butt Jul 17, 2013 10:35am

We differ from this statement that Quaid-AZ am thought about Secular is not acceptable. We must avoid to attach our discussions with the dignities. In India even nobody tries to speak about their big dignities at public forum. In Pakistan everyone tries to avoid to include their names in our arguments and discussions which are now leading factual positions of continued freedom struggle from British colonies phenomena. According to Islamic Teachings whole private or official medias,newpapers and other public gathering organs must state for the welfare and wellbeing of all Pakistanis not any section or group.Be united,work unitedly and think on one line.

Shyam Jul 17, 2013 10:55am

A very good article. I think we get caught in "displaying" that we are religious. We dont realize that we all are so full of 'sins' that buy just displaying sign of religion, God is not going to give us Nirvana. Forcing and killing other people is just going to take us other way. an example, If we find a 'treasure' tomorrow, how many of us will go telling everyone about the treasure. We will not, for we are selfish people. And we will definitely not kill someone if he denies to take the treasure. Now we all know (theoretically, cause we are sinners) that "God" is the biggest treasure. Yet we go forcing other people on that treasure, telling "My God is better". Reason is, none of us have not realized that "treasure" yet. Once we realize the "treasure" there will be no jealousy, falsehood, killing and desire to dominate. We will realize that religion is just a path to God and not the destiny by itself. All these desire are closer to animal behaviour and definitely are in opposite direction in our journey from "human" to "devine". i have to keep coming back to Dawn to read good stuff.

Burhan Jul 17, 2013 12:35pm

A wonderful piece :)

Wajeeh Jul 17, 2013 12:49pm

@Omar Qureshi: The same is attitude author highlighting in the article. Reactionary and agressive

Tahir A Jul 17, 2013 12:54pm

@Feroz: A superb post Feroz. I have always enjoyed your inspiring, logical and inspiring replies. May God bless you.

And I sincerely hope that you are not one of those persons, who while travelling in the seat besides when he comes to know which community I belong to, turns into a rage of hatred and changes his seat.

Farooq Jul 17, 2013 01:20pm

Very good article. Unfortunately it is true, our society tolerance level is diminishing daily and there is no awareness for common man where he comes from.

I remember having discussion with a pathan friend who is educated and jokingly told him his ancestors were probably a buddhist 3000 years ago considering the buddhist stupas in Northern Areas. He gave me a look saying he wanted to kill me.

The thing is no historical or geographical context is given to the common man on history of Pakistan and the people. Hardly anyone is aware that Guru Nanak was born in Pakistan or that Taxela was capital of Buddhism thousands of years ago.

The common man is just interested in identities as Punjabi, Balochi, Muhajir, Sindhi, Pashtun, etc and will follow it with his 'beradri' name. They have a religious sect but no awareness how the sect was created or any islamic history.

Sadly common sense and general knowledge is evading our society. It may not be the case for all the population, but a huge portion lacks basic tolerance and awareness

Guest63 Jul 17, 2013 01:31pm

Valuable writings with quite a fundamental references to the Quaid's , the Divine message and the hadeeth of the prophet (PBUH) . A brave attempt i may say , Try teaching the factual meanings of the Divine message you have referenced in your article or to be precise , EXPLIAN the Haddeth No 3052 vol 3 Sunnan abu daoud , to the so called self confessed , self believed , self proclaimed Up holder of the Prophet and his seerat ( the Taliban , the Lakashre jangvi , the killers of Shia , Christians, hindus , ahmedis ) and you will face the fatewa of Bidah (interpolation into the seerat by announcing your quote as a very week hadeeth etc etc ) and liable to be killed cos you are not one of them who are out there to uphold and implement the Sunnah and Seerat of the prophet (PBUH) . These so called monsters jehadis , will kill every voice of reason .

AP Jul 17, 2013 01:57pm

Nice article but has many contradictions.. My two cents.. 1. How is that Jinnah created Pakistan in the name of Islam and later proclaims that people of every religion can prosper there? This is double standards by Jinnah. Just by reading a speech in Parliament to sound secular does not mean anything...

  1. In 1951, Hindus were 22% of Pakistan!! now there are 1.7%. So all these talk of freedom of religion in Pakistan doesnt fly.
  2. A non-muslim is not allowed to hold top posts in Pakistan And i can go on and on..

People of Pakistan should link themselves to the heritage of thousands of years they have inherited..if they can. Till Pakistanis drop the hypocrisy and face facts they will keep feeding themselves to the vultures..and even the medicine is going to be very bitter...

I think that Pakistan will prove to the world never to make a nation in the name of Islam. Never.

Rajiv Kaushal Jul 17, 2013 02:07pm

When an author writing about religious tolerance and harmony is so dependent on the selective verses of Quran, there is simply no hope for such country... why we need a religious book to tell us that everyone has the right to live in peace and simply the way they want to live... if you were a real progressive pakistani, you should have quoted your constitution rather than quran...

Feroz Jul 17, 2013 02:35pm

@Tahir A: Thanks brother, may God Bless you too ! I may be born into a religion and not very religious, but am very curious about all. I follow a very basic religion --- do not lie, do not hurt, do not cheat, do not preach. I believe no one needs to go searching for God, he resides in all of us and we only need to recognize him and HE will guide us. Even if I am brainy enough to fool the World it is impossible to deceive HIM or cheat ones own Conscience. Every living thing is HIS creation so I cannot but respect all forms of Life. Violence in the name of religion is possibly the worst sin a human being can commit. Take Care !

SFW Jul 17, 2013 02:46pm

It's funny how people who know the least about Islam are the most vocal about it. A secular state by definition separates religious affairs from state affairs. Hence, the saying "give to caeser what caeser wants and give to god what god wants". If the author was educated even a little bit about Islam or secularism, he/she would know that both can not co exist. As far as equal rights for all, it is a duty of an Islamic State to provide security and equality to all of its citizen. I would like to request the author and others like him/her to firstly, do not present their opinion as a matter of fact. Secondly, publishing their opinion without comprehensive research is just un-ethical and irresponsible.

P.S. Allow me to re quote the verse that the author quoted

Chaman Jul 17, 2013 03:37pm

Hatred towards others is generated at primarily at the level of an individual himself primarily due to personal inadequacies of education, understanding, poverty and upbringing but does reveive encouragement from text books provided by the schools, religious and political exploiters and to a large extent by misuse and misinterpretation of the word "Infidel". Until the education spreads, it's quality improves and the political system becomes progressive and clean, this bigotory will continue. In Pakustan, this problem is worsened by the fact that fifty percent of the population is uneducated and power thirsty exploiters both political and religious abound and flourish. Truly, Pakistan also like the other civilized societies will eventually emerge out of the primitive thinking when education and economy improve.

Majority Jul 17, 2013 03:52pm

Very well written with just the right points to ponder upon. Politicizing religion for personal means is a rising trend today that is most harmful and dangerous. The Taliban do it, governments do it, political parties do it and individuals of all categories do not want to be left behind. I am always skeptical of those who outwardly show what religion, sect, group they belong to in quest of showing that others in the same category are less of the same. Thanks for a wonderful analysis. Jul 17, 2013 04:22pm

@Aamir: good job

Caz Jul 17, 2013 04:48pm

The fundamental problem is that religion is simply a brotherhood and can never be a nationhood. If it could we would not have umpteen different arab countries. All Abrahamic religions are essentially exclusivist clubs which confer privileges on its members and consider those not in the fraternity as lesser beings.

Only a secular space provides the prospect of equality to all who inhabit it.

Sandeep Singh Jul 17, 2013 04:53pm

Article is usless for Pakistani Masses.

Nauman Jul 17, 2013 06:07pm

@SFW: That makes the two of you then to know the least about Islam. Nice of you to presume so much about the author which may be notional in value and reality.

Caz Jul 17, 2013 06:44pm

@Caz: You are a bigotedand feeble mind. A Hindu, Christian or an Atheist can be the Prime Minister In a secular space. That is not so in the failed experiment islamic republic of pakistan. Surely that is not equality even to your mind trapped in the cage of islam.

RAJA Jul 17, 2013 06:48pm

AGREED that the level of one's spirituality is directly proportionate to one's level of tolerance to other people beliefs....But I want to add as I always WONDER and maybe I need answers...

How can you hate a person whose perception of future ( which no one has seen) is different than your's. You may disagree but how can you hate and to the extent that you want to kill that person and eliminate that group of people on a thing which no one is sure off. I say that there is a goat behind this wall and you say ...NO... it's a cow...we may disagree and may have strong points to prove but how can we hate each other.... The universe is collapsing and everything is going towards that big black hole....No... the universe is expanding the other group has strong reasoning to prove their point...they may disagree about future..but how can they hate the other group to an extent that they want to KILL THEM....I would want to fight with a person ( if I have a power ) who wants to grab or steal my land, my possessions, my money etc....but why would I want to fight a person who didn't know what happened millions of years ago but has a belief what would happen million years from now and his belief is different than what I think of what would happen...WELL let him thinks what he thinks..I would stick to what I think...But WHY SHOULD I HATE HIM ?

Caz Jul 17, 2013 06:53pm

@Sonal: You are absolutely right. Jinnah's ego got the better of him and he tipped things over to create the monstrosity pakistan. If he was a secular and wanted a secular state why could he not fight for a secular undivided India. There is a stench of hypocrisy about Jinnah aka qatil e azam. That is the accursed mistake he made.

Curious Jul 17, 2013 08:13pm

@SFW: Why exactly can islam and secularism not co-exist? It does in most countries in the world.

sa Jul 17, 2013 08:36pm

In an an ideal world, religion should be a personal & private choice, with the state not being involved.

But then, how would one justify division of British ruled India on the basis of religion?

It seems the situaion in Pakistan, is more likely to become grimmer, before improving.

Curious Jul 17, 2013 08:51pm

@SFW: You don't need to read the Quran, bible, bhagvat gita to know that you are following the religions of your birth/choice. As long as you do good, be good and be tolerant of other peoples beliefs you can be sure you are following your religion as true as any other.

haseeb Jul 17, 2013 09:50pm

Absolutely agreed with your opinions.. But in one place u have written that Quaid e Azam envisioned Pakistan a secular state..I know that u didn't mean what that clause actually depicts but that can create misunderstandings too.. Quaid e Azam repeated frequently that Pakistan is to be a democratic state which is to be run by principles enunciated by Islam.

Ashutosh Jul 17, 2013 09:59pm

Excellent views. There is goodness available on both sides of the border. Ashutosh

pk surendran Jul 17, 2013 10:21pm

a good contemplative piece. the last para of Jinnah is important. he was a visionary but the laterday politicians and military rulers were selfish and nursed great parliamentary ambitions and the greatest harm was done by priests and scholars who spread this canard that pak was created for sunny muslims. the Indo-phobia was kicked up to support it. not nipping this bigotry was pak's unmaking. if you allow mullahs and priests to preside over parliament, what else you expect? first let us understand that god is as much near to you as to me, and we dont need the priest's mediator role to reach Him, do we?

Ahmer Jul 17, 2013 11:28pm

@Rajiv Kaushal: You need to read and understand the book bro to comment on it. Quran is a constitution for humanity until the very end. Our constitution takes much of its clauses from the book as well and it explains in detail the rights of all human beings.

Its sad we muslims do not read it with the prime objective to learn and become a better human beings. If you follow the teachings of Quran, there can be no injustice in the society al all.

Shamoon Jul 17, 2013 11:33pm

@Rajiv Kaushal: Religious text books have been part of human society from the very beginning. And that is the case even today in every society, nation and their country. Religious text books cannot and should not be banned, these books were the first to introduce the basic laws pulling humans out of barbaric cultures. But then society evolved, man made law and order infrastructure came into being, and with that came the concept of secularism. In secularism we can have our books, and they can have their books, but respect each others book and faith.

Solitar Jul 18, 2013 01:59am

Congrats Mr. Azhar for presenting objective historical facts!

lance Jul 18, 2013 02:04am

Useless article most of it, and some parts i would say just irrelevant. But most importantly the propaganda being created OR the confusion that this gentleman has (whichever) is fundamental i.e. Pakistan's religion was not to be Islam. He obviously has had the wrong reading list in my opinion.

lance Jul 18, 2013 02:12am

In all the comments, 'Sonals' seem most appropriate to sum up a feedback on this piece. Let us not dwell too much on ONE statement that Jinnah had made and forget the entire empire of muslims had built from starting from Medina! - how was it run? was Islam not an integral part of the way they planned, conquered, ruled other lands and conducted Business. In Islam a trader/business man is called 'pillar of religion' - what does this mean? it is such an important claim to make... it means that religion is integral to the way of a muslims life.

it is , allow me to say rubbish to tout for secularism and claim that problems arise out of that. it is almost like saying walking on my head is easier than on my feet!. irrelevant . please polish your skills Dawn editors before allowing publishing such content.

Saad Jul 18, 2013 04:54am

It's great to read a comprehensive history of all peoples. I would like to know how people's beliefs are changed by knowing about religions of their forefathers. It seems they were all superseded because of injustice, crime, usurpation, poverty, war, plunder and not listening to the previous revelations. Humans needed a new code that would renew their faith in peace, love and empathy. That's why Al Quran was revealed. It forbids injustice based on caste, religion or gender, as in a neighboring country of Pakistan. Al Quran helps you differentiate between right and wrong, because the rest of humanity, in this day and age, are confused about the very concept of good and forbidden. If Raja Dahir had not erred in sacking a ship carrying Muslim women and children, Muhammad Bin Qasim would never have been. I would like to see a 17 yr old Muslim man who dares take on the pantheons of ignorance, debauchery and injustice in today's age. I would like to see one Hindu condemn the rapes and girl infanticide in his secular homeland of Hindustan, the land of Hindus, a name oozing bigotry. Reality is painful when you are at the receiving end of it. Having said that, Pakistan must continue to strive to cater well to its minorities as mentioned in Al. Quran. Our historical narrative must be factual, but unbiased at college levels.

Ernest Bowen Jul 18, 2013 06:44am

@SFW: My dear Friend SFW, it's not a saying, it's the fact that is in the Bible, give to God what belongs to God, and give to Ceaserwhat belongs to Ceaser the writer is very true religion has nothing to do with State, Pakistan was created for minoerties muslim christian alike and not in the name of Islam as the Muslim and christian were in minorites in India GBU

Sanjay Jul 18, 2013 07:30am

Respect everybody as a human secular and be happy........

Reas Ekberg Jul 18, 2013 07:51am

@Sandeep Singh: I agree with your interesting comment. Pakistan masses have chosen to ignore Quran and believe the clergy..

Bareerah Fatima Jul 18, 2013 10:27am

Dear Mr Areb, I agree with all the contents of your essay, but the last two Aya's that you have quoted adresses well the secterian voilance and cultism but as far as religious intolerance is concerned we have to work on the univarsalism of Islam besides promoting tolerance.

RK Singh Jul 18, 2013 11:03am

good article.

pramod Jul 18, 2013 11:08am

@Arnold W Bush: when you do not hate a person who has different sets of belief than yours that means you are tolerant . you ll not take a decision based on religiosity. Serial killing is more of a mental disease and it can happen to any body. But definitely when you judge some one without the veil of religion you can see much clearer .

sherie Jul 18, 2013 11:38am

This is jihad, what you wrote Mr Azhar. Having lived as a muslim in various parts of europe for 5 years now, it would be difficult to stay here if the states were not secular. I feel less persecuted here than I was back home, even when belonging to a majority islamic sect! you are right again, its the insecure that are intolerant. I factually remember the quotes from the social studies books you mention. lets bin this subject along with islamiyat (neither brought me any enlightenment, we all learn our deen at home dont we?) and switch to pakistaniyat, humanity, ethics and manners as a subjects... direly needed I would say. I choose to see hope for us and our homeland as long as people who think like you keep writing and insisting to stand up for equality for all Pakistanis :)

Zahid Anwer Jul 18, 2013 12:36pm

@Sonal: well said

dev Jul 18, 2013 12:38pm

I believe the primary reason why history is not taught correctly in Pakistan is that, if they read the right history they would not be able to accept it. Will most of the Pakistanis be able to accept the fact that most of their fore-fathers were hindus and they were converted to muslims by the muslim invaders forceibly. Will the Pakistanis accept that the majority of people who live in todays Pakistan are the original inhabitants of the land and their fore-fathers did not come from muslim countries(gulf) but were subsequently converted by the invaders. Since the Pakistanis adore the muslim invaders they would not be accept the truth.

adnan Jul 18, 2013 01:02pm

The distortion of facts at least as much as Pakistani Text books present, even more. There are historical records available in British libraries showing statistics of violence in all regions in 1947 and before . Check and see what happened where and when. The ground realities are even worse than records. The violence is not supported by great majority who read Pakistani Text books,

Tito Jul 18, 2013 01:06pm

@Rajiv Kaushal: Your national anthem is derived from the Geeta. And please dont use India as an example of religious tolerance, as it may be better than Pakistan but still has a long way to go.

insomniac Jul 18, 2013 01:19pm

ok bit confused now.. if going by what Sunnan Abu Dawood, Volume No. 3, Hadith No. 3052, prescribes, the prophet will fight against those muslims who persecute the non-muslim living in muslim land (muahid), however conveniently in some other text (not sure which one) it is being prescribed to kill all who do not follow allah (basically the non-muslims, non-believers)... i have always believed that the book is contradictory and ambiguous, and the above proves it is.. can someone pls help me explain why two contradictory statements...

wondering here...

Rao Jul 18, 2013 04:02pm

@Civi varghese: History becomes a powerful tool in the hands of a state or political party or ideologues in perpetuating a myth, or its agenda. Distortion of history and falsification are some of the methods . These are successfully used in Europe and elsewhere- Nazis, Fascists and Communists etc. Pakistani politicians, intellectuals and willing collaborators and fanatical Islamists are second to none. In this practice. It's blow-back is being felt and seen already.

kk Jul 18, 2013 04:09pm

I hope this artilce reflects the views of all young, literate and sensible pakistanis. Believe me, if majority of pakistanis subscribes to this views, more than half of the problems will be solved and it will become a safer place to live.

Best wishes to author and dawn..

Rao Jul 18, 2013 04:11pm

@haseeb: MAJinnah got what hewanted- Pakistan of course! He even became born again secularist too in Aug. where talked freedom for and all that kind of things. But remember he used the communal card(religious ) to achieve his goal.

Did he , before 1947, go around non-Muslims telling hem his idea of Pakistan is a secular one for all? Did he say it is inclusive one?

It is important to note that choice of methods are as important as the end goal. He very successfully used the idea and tools of divisiveness- Muslim vs non-Muslims. Others took over this tool later.

Hence is this tragic story of Pakistan.

Fazil Jul 18, 2013 06:08pm

@Arnold W Bush: In a secular state you do not kill somebody for his/her belief.

Fazil Jul 18, 2013 06:17pm

@Farooq: Unfortunately, for most Muslims, world history starts with the birth of Islam and a country's history starts with its conversion to Islam.

SFW Jul 19, 2013 12:34pm

@Curious: The reason Islam and secularism cannot co exist is because they are both different ideologies and have different approach to governance. There are a number of countries with Muslim majority, but unfortunately there is no true Islamic state.

SFW Jul 19, 2013 12:55pm

@Ernest Bowen: Hi Ernest, you are absolutely correct and I appreciate your opinion. However, I'm not debating the ideology behind Pakistan's creation. The point i was simply trying to make is that societies do not need to be secular to be tolerant. The author did not consider how Islam or any other religion deals with religious intolerance, but simply suggested that secularism is the answer, which I

abc Jul 19, 2013 01:17pm

every muslims duty is to show the right path and the true words of god to others. hence, muslims are only helping them(non-muslims) in seeking the eternal joy of life here after. Non muslims living in muslim majority nations are blessed, because, they have more proximity and accessibility to choose the right path of god.

Ajay Vikram Singh Jul 19, 2013 01:23pm

@lance: let me put it in straight words that Sonal was trying to say in a polite tone. When an "atheist" like Jinnah, create a "Secular" nation for only "Indian muslims", in the name of "Islam" and try make it work like a Democracy full of feudal lords, a confused idea like Pakistan happens.

abdul Jul 19, 2013 01:35pm

@Tito: EPIC FAIL !!! Get your facts right

Abb Jul 19, 2013 02:14pm

I think their is no religious hate in Pakistan it's some anti Muslim group working for money for some foreigners , kills Shias and Sunni etc to spread voilance and hate among Muslims sects . My both parents are Sunni and shai and their is no hate I am practiceing Muslim married to a Christian European woman their is an absolute respect among us. So really I think Pakistan is a very tolarent country and very brave ....we are just going through a very bad time ......and INSHAHALLAH we will rise from ashes and become a great nation. MASHAHALLAH .INSHAHALLAH

Narayan Iyer Jul 19, 2013 02:39pm

interesting discussion! had to reply to Tito - the Indian national anthem is NOT derived from the Gita and two - India may have its fair share of shortcomings but remains Light Years ahead of Pakistan when come to religious tolerance and a few other things. Please get some basic facts right before debating in public....

rahamat Jul 19, 2013 02:50pm

@Tito: who said you it is derived from geeta please verify the fact

Chaman Jul 19, 2013 03:24pm

@Reas Ekberg: Not true my friend. Clergy teach portions of the book that suit their survival or political ambition

Sonal Jul 19, 2013 03:41pm

@Ajay Vikram Singh: Haha. Thanks for attempting to paraphrase :) It's not what I intended to imply. I don't question what Jinnah did, and I don't question the premise on which Pakistan was created. I just don't understand the term a 'secular Islamic republic', so I'm curious to know what Jinnah really had in mind when he declared it a secular state. Did he just want a smaller 'India' with a Muslim majority? That just doesn't make sense given his rationale for creating a separate country.

I watched the Pakistani movie - Mr Jinnah, the Making of Pakistan - few weeks ago. People who knew him firsthand (including his daughter, who lives in India) spoke about him and what he wanted. He didn't really envision Pakistan as a new country to start with. It seemed like he was content with a separate state within India, and Pakistan was created by chance, given all the surrounding politics. It's fascinating.

That said, I was recently chatting with a Pakistani friend who was thinking of not fasting for Ramzan because days are long in London - 4am to 9.45pm. We also talked about drinking alcohol. She said her father's generation (and all generations prior to Zia ul Haq) were quite liberal on all these issues. Religion was a matter of personal choice, but things are different today. That makes me think that perhaps what Jinnah wanted got lost in translation somewhere down the line.

SaAd Jul 19, 2013 03:46pm

I appreciate the writers effort in highlighting the religious prejudice and barbaric persecution of the minorities in Pakistan. Plus references from Holy Quran and ahadith were perfectly apropos, illuminating and pleasing to read. I pray our nation starts to follow the true Islamic teachings and treats all religious sects in minority equally and fairly.