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Rohingyas and Pakistan

Published Aug 11, 2012 12:06am


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THIS is apropos the articles, ‘The Rohingya and Pakistan’ by Huma Yusuf, ‘Karma and killings’ by Irfan Husain and the letter, ‘Persecution of Muslims in Myanmar’ by Naseem Ahmed.

Ms Huma’s stance is that the debate about how Pakistanis should react to the killings of the Rohingya has pitted liberals against conservatives. She alleged that the quick appropriation of an ‘us versus them’ narrative of (Rohingya) Muslim victimisation betrays the political opportunism of Pakistan’s right-wing parties and the easy use of religion as a way to claim moral high ground.

One would point out that defending the Muslims’ causes all over the world is not a new phenomenon for the local adherents of Islam or limited to religious parties. Remember the Khilafat Movement of the pre - partition era when the subcontinental Muslims had wholeheartedly espoused the cause of their Turkish brethren? The Turkish leaders and citizens to this day recall fondly how even the women over here had participated by donating their jewelry.

Then there’s been the Palestinian issue, followed by Bosnian and Chechen crises and the Kosovo problem. The Pakistanis have been helping morally, diplomatically and, where necessary, materially, the oppressed Muslims in these places. Most Pakistani Muslims and I myself have always sympathised with or helped such causes. However, I am advocating diplomatic effort, not jihad, for the Rohingya issue.

Regarding the criticism that why are the domestic or non - Muslims’ problems not receiving the same amount of attention as the external ones, a simple example would clarify. If there’s a large family with many siblings living in one home and there is a quarrel between two of them, some of the siblings might try to help resolve it while others may remain aloof. But if a group of outsiders attacks the duo, then all or most of them are likely to come to their rescue.

Irfan Husain has also observed that it’s very human to be selective in our sympathy: with all the suffering globally, it would take a saint to grieve equally for all.

Ms Yusuf then cited Dr Ayesha Siddiqa as saying no one is willing to remember that tensions between the Rohingya and the Myanmar state aren’t related to religion but to questions of statehood and territory.

If the Rohingya had been Buddhists, would they still be restricted to having no more than two children or require state permission to marry? Or, would they have been subjected to widespread killings, torture and rape, forcing 200,000 to flee to Bangaldesh in 1978 and 250,000 in 1991 - 92, as noted in Mr. Ahmed’s letter?

Pakistan, despite poverty and many other difficulties, is still hosting 2.5 million Afghans, besides nearly three million Bangladeshi and other economic migrants. The Myanmar people must have a heart and treat the Rohingya fairly.



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Comments (10) Closed

Noon Aug 11, 2012 03:53am
I see your point and I do sympathize with the Rohingya community, however, where are these same people when the Hazara Community is targeted in Quetta and the Ahmadi's in Punjab. Also, there is an area in Karachi called Burmese Colony where the same Rohingya community has been living for decades, with no proper documentation and lacking basic needs of life the entire area is using illegal means for electricity connection, should we accomodate these people first before trying to help others.
Sheeraz Nizamani Aug 11, 2012 07:19am
No one is taking action against them? everyone is silent, both islam and British Media , what's the reason behind it?
gfellow Aug 11, 2012 03:40pm
There are over a billion muslims in the world. Why is that all the readers point to the western world to take action in these kinds of situations.
Waqas Aug 11, 2012 05:21pm
@Sheeraz- unfortunately nobody cares. 1 white man's life is worth 20,000 muslims - its the way it has always been and always will remain the same.
MKH Aug 11, 2012 06:00pm
You tell us?
Shakeel Aug 11, 2012 07:41pm
Thing happening to Rohingyas is inhuman. But I fail to understand why Pakistanis are showing unnecessary emotional response. In our own country, 40000 have died in last decades in militant attacks. Relegious and sectarian minorities are persecuted and blatantly killed ( remember burning of christian villages in Gojra and execution style killing of Shias in Kohistan). Not to mention killing bouts in Karachi with private militias and political mafias killing hundreds in a single day. And we Pakistanis are shedding our tears for Rohingyas. Reading a Pakistani mind is a thesis in twisted logic and misplaced concerns
Saad Aug 11, 2012 08:45pm
What about Shia, Ahamadi, Hindu, Christians in Pakistan? Don't your pious heart bleed for us?
mohammad Aug 11, 2012 10:17pm
very well written article. dear abdul rashid , love this write up. exactly composed. keep it up. why is world silent on this issue.
shahid Aug 12, 2012 12:31am
i am amazed to see on the best and an eye opener article by someone in the past one decade. having one comment so far can tell you how much this article has caused irritation in the liberal anti islam readers of Dawn newspaper. well done. the cause of Pakistan has lost but its going to reborn once again. Islamic state of Pakistan
dr vimal raina Aug 12, 2012 02:52am
Sheeraz, you should know a strange thing that happened in Myanmar when a floods hit that country six months back. In a normal country in floods you are supposed to evacuate people who are threatened or are in the spate. Not in Myanmar. The order there was to stay where you are and do not create a refugee problem. Army was deployed to oversee that the people did not migrate. There was no Muslim or Bhuddhist angle to that problem. The whole world has been trying to reason things out with Myanmar but to no avail. It was only diplomacy that can solve the problem as it did to bring a shade of democracy back. Shouting at them will make them more unreasonable. The leverage has to be both diplomatic and economical.