Jinnah’s Pakistan- Are We Near?


Jinnah’s Pakistan. This is one dream that all of Pakistan yearns to achieve and are rueful over not being able to achieve in the past 63 years. Usually we blame others for what we face today but have we ever mused if we have even tried to be close to Jinnah’s Pakistan? Have we acknowledged our own weaknesses and faults? And the amends that we need to make? After reading a book of quotations of Jinnah that I posses, I decided to analyse and write about how far we are from being near to the land of pure that the Quaid envisaged.
Below are some quotations and the current situation of Pakistan in relevance to them:

“You must learn to distinguish between your love for your province and your love and duty to your State as a whole. Our duty to the State takes us a stage beyond provincialism. It demands a broader sense of vision, and [a] greater sense of patriotism. Our duty to the State often demands that we must be ready to submerge our individual and provincial interests into the common cause for a common good. Our duty to the State comes first : our duty to our Province, to our district, to our town, and to our village and ourselves comes next”

– Speech at Islamia College, Peshawar 12 April 1948

“Let me warn you in the clearest terms of the dangers that still face Pakistan…Having failed to prevent the establishment of Pakistan, thwarted and frustrated by their failure, the enemies of Pakistan have now turned their attention to disrupt the State by creating a split amongst the Muslims of Pakistan. These attempts have taken the shape of principally of encouraging provinicialism. As long as you do not through off this poison [provincialism] in our body politic, you will never be able to weld yourself, mould yourself, galvanzie yourself into a real, true nation….”

– Address, Public Meeting, Dacca 21 March 1948

[In Pakistan, such a divide, mentioned by our founder 62 years ago is still crystal clear in our nation. The poison of provincialism still lingers in the body of Pakistan. One of the most recent events that we saw last year were of the IDP’s of Swat entry in Sindh being protested and warned against by a few political parties. This was not a small incident but discrimination against our own Pakistani brothers only for the reason that they belonged to another province. This was not only against the definitions of a nation but also against the brother-hood that Islam strongly preaches.
The Sindh-Card hoopla and Sindhi-Topi Day are also both, in my opinion, a component of the very poison to spread it farther into the nation. I myself am proud of my province and do encourage the promotion of my province’s specific culture and specialities but I found the Sindh-Topi Day to be politically hijacked and motivated. Sindhis are also, repeatedly and wrongly, taught of a myth of their victim-hood facilitated by the Punjabis by certain political parties to gain their political mileage. Such selfish plots have lead to, although small, such as a movement for a separate province of Sindh and hatred amongst Sindhis for the people of Punjab. We are all Pakistanis and our province, city, district and towns do come after that. Pakistan is our identity, not our province.]

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“I want you to keep your heads up as citizens of a free and independent sovereign State. Praise your Government when it deserves. Criticise your Government fearlessly when it deserves, but do not go on all the time attacking, indulging in destructive criticism, taking delight in running down the Ministry or the officials.”
One of the most deplorable traits that have been developed within us due to a past marred with tragedies, losses, conspiracies and despair is the degree of pessimism and cynicism. We have lost all sense of respect and pride, disregarding the achievements of our people and the mere blessing of having been born in an independent land, a place to call home. We need to regain our sense of pride in our land and the fact that we belong to it, remembering that every nation has to go through a rough patch and a testing time before it reaches the height of success.
Our officials are corrupt and thus our criticism is natural but those steps that they take for the nation’s betterment (though seldom they are indeed) should be openly praised. Useless and baseless defamation and criticism of Government officals and those who represent us should certainly be spared. Above all, if they are indeed so wrong and devoid of honesty, why do we ELECT them?

– Reply to welcome address, Edwardes College, Peshawar, 18th April 1948

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“During my talks with one or two very high-ranking officers I discovered that they did not know the implications of the Oath taken by the troops of Pakistan. Ofcourse, an oath is merely a matter of form ; what is more important is the true spirit and the heart. But it is an important form and I would like to take the opportunity of refreshing your memory by reading the prescirbed oath to you :
‘I solemnly affirm in the presence of the Almighty God, that I owe allegiance to the
Constitution and the Domination of Pakistan and that I will as in duty bound honestly
and faithfully serve in the Domination of Pakistan Forces and go within the terms of
my enrolment wherever I may be ordered by air, land or sea and that I will observe
and obey all commands of any officer set over me….’

– Address, Staff College, Quetta, 14th June 1948

“Never forget that you are the servants of the state. You do not make policy. It is we, the people’s representatives, who decide how the country is to be run. Your job is to only obey the decisions of your civilian masters.”
– Address at Military Staff College

Four Martial Laws and almost 40 years of dictatorship in Pakistan’s 63 years which included the rape of our nation’s sovereignity and sowing the seeds of problems that we are reaping today, all were due to the Generals who like the Quaid said, had forgotten the oath they took.It is inevitable that in such a long time of dictatorship, the influence and role of the military in the decision-making of the country. Our army inherited the British Military traditions and its officer crops were trained under British Military institutions established under colonial rule. With the decline of political institutions, they expanded their role and even reached the Presidency. Corruption, nepotism, avarice and greed were rampant in these years. The cancers that reside in Pakistan today, were assisted by Generals and their cronies. Our Army has always seemed to be oblivious of Jinnah’s words and their actual duty. They have played a major role in pulling Pakistan to the brink of collapse and anarchy. Our Army-men need to read these quotes of the Quaid and imprint them in their minds, it was their this lack of morals and integrity and intentional neglect of the Founder’s words and not only the Generals but support of the presumed and self-proclaimed ‘intelligentsia’ and elite of our society for dictatorships that made us stand here today.
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“We do not cherish aggresive designs against any country or nation.”
– Part of a broad-cast to USA, February 1948

Ironically, Pakistanis nowadays have actually started buliding up an aggressive attitude towards certain nations for they blindly blame them for what we face today. I mean India and Israel, certain ‘intellectuals’ have began infusing the ideas and notions of a wars which is a blatant promotion of extremism. Their reasoning and ‘analysis’ of the current situation of Pakistan is that each of our conflicts and predicaments has been caused by other nations conspiring against us and their Ingelligence Agencies, for this they mould facts to their own liking and to back their views. Blaming others is the most simple way out to hide your own faults and to reason your suffering and so the popularity of such views are growing and farthering the cherishing of aggresive designs against countries etc (against Jinnah’s words).
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– Hafsa Khawaja

Hazrat Ali (R.A)’s Words On Governance [Comman Man, Counselors, Judiciary and Chief Judge]


I came across this letter [The links of the entire translated letter on different sites:
http://www.amaana.org/ismaali.html , http://sajshirazi.blogspot.com/2007/12/hazrat-alis-letter-on-inclusive.html ]
written by Hazrat Ali (R.A) to Malik Ushtar before appointing him as Governor of Egypt, He touched all issues and aspects of governance and the people.
His words on judiciary, comman man, chief judge and counselors are what I felt like sharing on my blog as they need to be read and then thought about, especially keeping the current situation of Pakistan and its government in mind.
The entire letter is truly is a beacon for all Muslim rulers to follow, here is the translated text of the letter about the aforementioned subjects:

The Common Man :

Maintain justice in administration and impose it on your own self and seek the consent of the people, for, the discontent of the masses sterilizes the contentment of the privileged few and the discontent of the few looses itself in the contentment of the many. Remember the privileged few will not rally round you in moments of difficulty: they will try to side-track justice, they will ask for more than what they deserve and will show no gratitude for favors done to them. They will feel restive in the face of trials and will offer no regret for their shortcomings. It is the common man who is the strength of the State and Religion. It is he who fights the enemy. So live in close contact with the masses and be mindful of their welfare.

Keep at a distance him who peers into the weaknesses of others. After all, the masses are not free from weaknesses. It is the duty of the ruler to shield them. Do not bring to light that which is hidden, but try to remove those weaknesses which have been brought to light. God is watchful of everything that is hidden from you, and He alone will deal with it. To the best of your ability cover the weaknesses of the public, and God will cover the weaknesses in you which you are anxious to keep away from their eye. Unloose the tangle of mutual hatred between the public and the administration and remove all those causes which may give rise to strained relations between them. Protect yourself from every such act as may not be quite correct for you. Do not make haste in seeking confirmation of tale-telling, for, the tale-teller is a deceitful person appearing in the garb of a friend.

The Counselors:

Never take counsel of a miser, for he will vitiate your magnanimity and frighten you of poverty. Do not take counsel of a coward also, for, he will cheat you of your resolves. Do not take counsel of the greedy too: for he will instill greed in you and turn you into a tyrant. Miserliness, cowardice and greed deprive man of his trust in God.

The worst of counselors is he who has served as a counselor to unjust rulers and shared their crimes. So, never let men who have been companions of tyrants or shared their crimes be your counselors. You can get better men than these, men gifted with intelligence and foresight, but unpolluted by sin, men who have never aided a tyrant in his tyranny or a criminal in his crime. Such men will never be a burden on you. On the other hand, they will be a source of help and strength to you at all times. They will be friends to you and strangers to your enemies. Choose such men alone for companionship both in privacy and in the public. Even among these, show preference to them who have a habitual regard for truth however trying to you at times their truth may prove to be, and who offer you no encouragement in the display of tendencies which God does not like his friends to develop.

Keep close to you the upright, and the God fearing, and make clear to them that they are never to flatter you and never to give you credit for any good that you may not have done: for, the tolerance of flattery and unhealthy praise stimulates pride in man makes him arrogant.

Do not treat the good and the bad alike. That will deter the good from doing good, and encourage the bad in their bad pursuits. Recompense every one according one’s deserts. Remember that mutual trust and good will between the ruler and the ruled are bred only through benevolence, justice and service. So, cultivate good-will amongst the people; for their good-will alone will save you from troubles. Your benevolence to them will be repaid by their trust in you, and your ill-treatment by their ill-will.

Do not disregard the noble traditions set by our forbearers which have promoted harmony and progress among the people; and do not initiate anything which might minimize their usefulness. The men who had established these noble traditions have had their reward; but responsibility will be yours if they are disturbed. Try always to learn something from the experience of the learned and the wise, and frequently consult them in state matters so that you might maintain the peace and good-will which your predecessors had established in the land.

Chief Judge:

Select for your chief judge one from the people who is by far the best among them -one who is not obsessed with domestic worries, one who cannot be intimidated, one who does not err to often, one who does not turn back from a right path once he finds it, one who is not self-centered or avaricious, one who will not decide before knowing full facts, one who will weigh wit care every attendant doubt and pronounce a clear verdict after taking everything into full consideration, one who will not grow restive over the arguments of advocates and who will examine with patience every new disclosure of fact and who will be strictly impartial in his decision, one who flattery cannot mislead or one who does not exult over his position. But it is not easy to find such men.

Once you have selected the right man for the office, pay him handsomely enough, to let him live in comfort and in keeping with his position, enough to keep him above temptations. Give him a position in your court so high none can even dream of coveting it and so high that neither back-biting nor intrigue can touch him.

Subordinate Judiciary:</em>

Beware! The utmost carefulness is to be exercised in his selection: for it is this high office which adventurous self-seekers aspire to secure and exploit in their selfish interests. After the selection of your chief judge, give careful consideration to the selection of other officers. Confirm them in their appointments after approved apprenticeship and probation. Never select men for responsible posts either out of any regard for personal connections or under any influence, for, that might lead to injustice and corruption.

Of these select for higher posts men of experience, men firm in faith and belonging to good families. Such men will not fall an easy prey to temptations and will discharge their duties with an eye on the abiding good of others. Increase their salaries to give them a contented life. A contented living is a help to self-purification. They will not feel the urge to tax the earnings of their subordinates for their own upkeep. They will then have no excuse either to go against your instructions or misappropriate state funds. Keep to watch over them without their knowledge, loyal and upright men. Perchance they may develop true honesty and true concern for the public welfare. But whenever any of them is accused of dishonesty and the guilt is confirmed by the report of your secret service, then regard this as a sufficient to convict him. Let the punishment be corporal and let that be dealt in the public at an appointed place of degradation. ”

[A Picture Of Our Today] – Bullet-Proof By Raheem DeVaughn Feat. Ludacris


Bullet-proof’ by Raheem DeVaughn feat Ludacris has been on my mind for quite a time due to its meaning which describe our happenings today and so I decided to share its lyrics :

Raheem DeVaughn:
Load It, Cock It, Aim and Shoot
Load It, Cock It, Aim and Shoot

Living like we bulletproof
We bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang
I say we load it, cock it, aim and shoot
Oh we load it, cock it, aim and shoot

Some will die over oil kill over land
Charge you for taxes and Blame Uncle Sam
Read you your rights and charge you for nothing
Now who’s really gangsta
And tell me who’s frontin’
Murder your sons, ravage your daughters
Here overseas and across the waters
Tanks and missiles, bombs and grenades
Inject the land with guns and aids

You better pray to the most high or who ever you praise
Politicians can’t help you they puppets to slaves
Trying to get paid and you are too
Whatcha gone do when the gun is pointed at you
Like bank robbers

Living like we bulletproof
We bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang
We load it, cock it, aim and shoot
(load it, cock it, aim and shoot)
We load it, cock it, aim and shoot
(We gone die)
Living like we bulletproof
We bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang
(I say) We load it, cock it, aim and shoot
(load it, cock it, aim and shoot)
Oh we load it, cock it, aim and shoot

Hey world !

Get you a paper turn on the news
Ride through the hood I witness the blues
How can you ignore it it’s easy to spot it
A trap house, a liquor store and your city’s got it

And my city’s got it, and they city’s got it
This world is chaotic and love is symbolic
So life don’t get cherished, and our babies perish
And your babies perish now tell me who’s careless
Now who should I pray to what should I pray for
You can’t pay the preacher for your redemption
I know where we’re headed, I already read it
The good book done said it
Like cowboys and Indians

We just living like we bulletproof
We bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang
We load it, cock it, aim and shoot
(load it, cock it, aim and shoot)
We load it, cock it, aim and shoot
(We gone die, living)
Living like we bulletproof
We bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang
(I say) We load it, cock it, aim and shoot
(load it, cock it, aim and shoot)
Oh we load it, cock it, aim and shoot
(We gone die, living)

Ludacris:
Luda! they say tomorrow’s not promised today
But today I promise if we don’t make our own way
Somebody’ll take it from us
Snatch it like rats to cheese
So, lord help me please cause I rather die
on my feet than to live on my knees
Living like I’m bulletproof

Xocking the glock and aim n shoot
My future’s ever clear a 180 proof
So I open the bottle then swallow my pride
And drink the pain away
I take shots and just lay up then fade away
Dreaming of betta days dreaming of betta pay
But we got our work cut out for us so we betta pray
Pray to uphold the week, not for eternal sleep
But if I die I pray the lord my soul to keep

Raheem DeVaughn
Living like we bulletproof
We bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang
I say we load it, cock it, aim and shoot
(I say I load it, cock it, aim and shoot)
We load it, cock it, aim and shoot
(We load it, cock it, aim and shoot)
Living like we bulletproof
we bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang
I say we load it, cock it, aim and shoot
(Load it, cock it, aim and shoot)
We load it, cock it, aim and shoot
(Oh lord)

Living like we bulletproof!”

The Video Link:

Lets Keep DHA Green and Waste Electricity On A Routine?


Street-lights lit on during broad daylight : Captured By Me.

Recently while crossing into the DHA of Lahore, I noticed the street-lights were still lit as far as one’s eye could see even during broad-daylight.

Today we face a shortage of 4000 megawatts causing the load shedding of nine to seventeen hours. According to analysts energy projects being worked on will not able to fulfill
the nation’s energy needs even in 2011 to 2012. The Governor of EGAT (Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand) Vitaya Kotcharak Iin 2009 said the authority estimated that power supply requirements for local consumption at the end of 2016 would total 48,271 megawatts.

The government and the local people of DHA along with those of other areas where such practises of keeping lights on are a routine, should take this issue up with DHA itself.
This will never end until the local authorities start to keep the electricity crisis in consideration along with projects of keeping the area ‘green’ and we start contributing to saving energy on an individual basis.

It is said that little things result into making a huge difference and we can all help in making that difference.

– Hafsa Khawaja

Nawaz Sharif : No Pious Priest Himself


With the unfurling of a series of events since the Judiciary Movement, Nawaz Sharif has surfaced as the ‘Saviour’ of the nation and a torch-bearer of a free judiciary. No doubt, that his popularity was on great rise especially after 16th March 2009 and he has once again come out to lambast the Government, but Mr. Sharif is no righteous priest himself.
Like most politicians and ‘leaders’ of Pakistan, he has no clean slate.

In his tenure as the Prime Minister of Pakistan, he is believed to have received kick-backs for contacts handed out for the Lahore-Islamabad Motorway and the Yellow-Cab Scheme. Also his family business, Ittehad Group also took hefty loans from banks that were never returned. Ittehad had taken huge loans from Bankers Wquity Limited and after the dismissal of the NS Government, he made the group’s chairman, Saeed Sadiq, the secretary of the PML-N Secretariat.

It is also reported that Sharif freezed all his foreign currency accounts after the nuclear tests of 1998. He was accused AND convicted of refusing to pay taxes on a helicopter he had purchased. Nawaz and his brother Shahbaz Sharif were also accused of using Hudaibya Paper Mills to launder money they had made illegally and using it to get a loan from the British-based Investment Funds Limited which they didn’t repay until the Company filed a law-suit in a British Court. In March 1999, when NS was the PM, the brothers were ordered to repay $450 million and when they still didn’t pay, the court ordered that the Sharifs’ four apartments in Park Lane be seized. Sharif claimed that nearly half a billion dollars were paid by an Arab ‘friend’. This very case is currently with NAB and Ishaq Dar, a former finance minister and a top aide of Sharif had testified before NAB in 2000, confirming the charges. The PML-N however says that Dar made the confession under pressure.

One of the most important cases that are against the Sharifs’ today is their non-repayment of huge loans that had once taken. After all, if he askes Zardari to bring back the nation’s money from the Swiss Banks then this money also belongs to the nation and is tantamount to the money in foreign accounts.

Mian Nawaz Sharif today voices his concern for harm to the ‘system’ and democracy and portrays himself to be a man who laid the foundations for a free judiciary, seeming to forget what he did to Ex CJ of Pakistan’s Supreme Court Syed Sajjad Shah and the attack he orchestrated on the SC Buliding in his tenure by PML-N jiyalas.

As Wikipedia contains and I quote :

“The first confrontation by Nawaz Sharif was the establishment of special Courts, which were established in contravention of the Chief Justices judicious advice. These special courts, which were established to benefit the Prime Minister’s allies and supporters, eventually proved to be a humiliating blot on the face of justice in Pakistan. Later on when the Chief Justice wanted to fill the five vacant positions of judges to be able to carry out the business of dispensing justice in a speedy manner, the Prime Minister not only refused to grant the request but went ahead and abolished those vacancies altogether. He had to restore the positions under pressure but refused to fill them up.”

About the attack on the SC :
“Pakistan grappled with its worst-ever constitutional crisis when an unruly mob stormed into the supreme court, forcing Chief Justice Sajjad Ali Shah to adjourn the contempt of court case against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Hundreds of PML-N supporters and members of its youth wing, the Muslim Students Front (MSF), breached the police cordon around the courthouse when defence lawyer S.M. Zafar was arguing his case. A journalist rushed into the courtroom and warned the bench of an impending attack. Whereupon, the chief justice got up abruptly, thanked Zafar and adjourned the hearing. While judicial members left the courtroom soon after, the mob entered it shouting slogans, and damaged furniture.The unruly mob, led by ruling party member from Punjab Sardar Naseem and Colonel (retired) Mushtaq Tahir Kheli, Sharif’s political secretary, chanted slogans against the chief justice.”

Where was the concern for the system then?

Nawaz Sharif had roared against bringing Musharraf back and facing the courts but one visit to the Saudi Palace had ‘tamed’ the so-called Punjabi lion. Not only did he excuse himself from running for a seat in the Parliament by saying that he wants to give a member of his party a ‘chance’ in his place, which is in accordance with the reported contract he signed with the Saudis which restricts him from running in the elections for 10 years (it ends this year) but his party is no where near the definition of an opposition in the National Assembly, acting as a ‘friendly opposition’ (an oxymoron itself) which many political analysts see as a way to secure their place as the next government. Neither has he spoken about inflation and shortage of gas and sugar with such passion as he speaks about the 17th Amendment and the removal on the ban on third time Priemership.

My intentions behind writing this are not to malign a leader or be part of a smear-campaign but to remind all that Mr.Sharif, no matter how much he might be seen as a saviour and ‘true’ leader of Pakistan, he is once again, from the same seed and breed of politicians.

– Hafsa Khawaja

Honouring Heroes and Facilitating Future Ones?


The heroes of a country are considered its irreplaceable asset but in Pakistan they are left forgotten.

A few years ago, it was discovered by a private TV channel that Pakistan’s star squash player was selling chips on a road-side.
Recently, more stories like the aforementioned are emerging by the day.
Of Pakistan’s once Olympian Bicyclist driving a rick-shaw and offering to sell his medals, a national heavy-weight lifter is also living a life of poverty and has put his medals and awards for sale to earn money.
Pakistan’s young boxer from Quetta who participated in many national and foreign boxing events is now working at a burger shop for a meagre amount of money to earn bread and butter for his family while his foreign peers reach new heights of glory everyday.

What we see in all these cases is one evident factor that all of these heroes have one thing in common, they are jobless.
It is definite that an athelte will have to travel down the mountain of success and glory after reaching its peak, they will have to do something to support themselves if they haven’t earned a great amount of money.

The Government should ensure these people who crowned Pakistan with numerous jewels of prestige and prominence, means to suppport themselves, that is to give them appropriate jobs. They Government had guaranteed and promised them of full facilitation in this regard but as usual, it reflected their attitude in politics of unfulfilled promises and lip service.

As far as the new and emerging talent of the country is concerned, such as Naseem Hameed who has proved to be the fastest woman in the region in SAG and young boxer from Quetta who selles burgers today, they should be given full attention and provided with the best of facilities.
Pakistan is not short of talent nor potential but only lacks the facilities to polish the skills of its future stars who can be a cause of great pride for the nation in the future.

If the heroes of a country are not valued and honoured, they country will eventually stop producing them at a point in time.

– Hafsa Khawaja

Punish The Culprits – Accountability For All


Sunday, February 07, 2010

Recently, Bangladesh hanged the murderers of Sheikh Mujib-ur-Rehman while India has ordered one of its most important generals to face court martial due to his involvement in a land scandal. This leaves me bewildered as even after 63 years, crooks, criminals and murderers of our leaders roam free in the Land of the Pure. The generals that tarnished our Constitution, damaged the entire democratic system, sowed the seeds of nepotism and corruption, shackled the media, deposed the judiciary and sold citizens to foreign countries — in short, left us teetering on the edge of collapse — haven’t been held accountable as yet. As long as the traitors of our nation are not punished, it is unlikely that our country comes out of the state of chaos it is in.

Hafsa Khawaja

Lahore

http://www.thenews.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=222996

Verdict Against Aafia Siddiqui


The verdict in Dr Aafia Siddiqui’s case has come as a shock for the Pakistani nation. With this we have lost our faith in the present government too. Dr Aafia is a daughter of Pakistan.

The government failed to bring her back. Our president, prime minister and foreign minister are always on foreign trips. Why didn’t they raise the issue of Dr Aafia with the US authorities? I also hope that Musharraf will now be brought back and made to face the courts for handing over Pakistanis to the US.

Hafsa Khawaja

Lahore

http://www.thenews.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=222704

A Pakistani Child’s Child-Hood


Harmless mischief and chaffs,
Slowly dwindle in little souls with withering laughs,
Smiles disapper replaced by streaming tears,
Peering wide with fear of the unknown residing in their eyes,
Awaiting an uncertain future,
Minds rolling with unanswered questions,
Stomachs filled with hunger pangs,
Beggining for peace and happiness are their tiny hands,
By over-flying drones,
Blood and deaths,
Bombs and threats,
Their home is torn asunder
Each child-hood carefully plundred

– Hafsa Khawaja

The Burqa and Burqini Threat


 

 

So the French Parliament finally passed the law against the burqa, igniting many controversies and anger from the Muslim community. France is home to Europe’s biggest Muslim minority but the sight of fully-veiled women remains rare. Only 1,900 women wear a niqab, 90 percent of them under 40, according to interior ministry estimates.President Nicolas Sarkozy set the tone in June when he declared the burqa “not welcome” in France.
 
The French government is concerned over the burqa as they believe it is threatening their ‘values’. The point lies, isn’t France supposed to be secular? Tolerant of all religions and the people who follow the prescribed practises of their faith?
 
Even some Muslims second them,  they acknowledge the Quran preaches modesty, but they believe that it doesn’t say that you have to cover your face. This is not a requirement of Islam or the Quran according to them, also believing that the burqa is giving birth to radical Islam.                   

                                                                                                                                         
How can one determine whether all women who wear it are forced to wear it?
Though it can not be denied that many women are forced or dictated by their husbands or men of their house and their society to wear the burqa but every woman who wears a burqa anywhere in the world can certainly not be classified as one being oppressed to wear it. Muslim women do have the free will to decide what they want and alot of women who wear the abaya, burqa or niqab, wear it on the basis of their free will.                                                                                         

                                                      
The second point given by those Muslims in regard of their support for the ban is that the Quran preaches modesty but it isn’t in the Quran or Islam to cover the face or wear the burqa. One of the major reasons that they feel the burqa should not be considered related to religion is that it is not among the 5 pillars of Islam. This is absolutely absurd.. The 5 pillars of Islam are indeed an integral part of a Muslim’s life but so are Hadith and Sunnah. Why are Muslims  forbidden from committing adultery or ordered to help the destitue ? These may not be part of the pillars of Islam but part of the Quran.                                                                                                                                       

Islam may not preach the covering of the face but as there are 72 sects in Islam so are there numerous schools of thought in it. Each follows practices and traditions that they have derived from their interpretation of the Quran. Some consider the burqa as a necessity and entwined with the sacredness and sacrosanctity of religion.
Such sects and schools of thought can not be ignored in any country.

Wearing a burqa does not mean that one promotes radical Islam or the ‘Islam’ of the militants. This is sheer bias and discrimination.
How is France threatened by the burqa which is worn by a mere 1,900 women of the Muslim majority that resides there.

Columnist Masooda Bano once wrote an article in ‘The News’ that how would we feel if French women came around our streets and roads wearing mini-skirts, wouldn’t we ban them from this? For it will destroy our culture. This made me muse but after alot of pondering, I came to the conclusion that mini-skirts are fashion accessories not associated with religion as in the case of the burqa, which is considered a symbol of religious holiness.

Leaving alone the ungraspable problem of France with the burqa, it has already banned the hijab from being worn in schools etc in 2004. In regard of that the Human Rights Watch stated that the law is “an unwarranted infringement on the right to religious practice”.

Exactly what threat or fear does the wearing of hijab cause?
The leader of Sarkozy’s right-wing party in parliament, Jean-Francois Cope, has already presented draft legislation that would make it illegal for anyone to cover their faces in public on security grounds.

The Netherlands and Austria are considering a ban on the full veil, while Denmark said it would limit the use in public of the burka and niqab although stopping short of an outright ban.

The question is not only about the burqa but religious tolerance. It’s about all other forms of practices that are associated with religion. The veil exists both in Christianity and Judaism. Is that a ‘threat’ to French ‘values’ too? Will they be banned too?

Ironically, freedom of religion was one of the 17 points in the ‘Declaration of Rights of Man and Citizen’ demanded and formed after the French Revolution stated as:

4. Liberty consists in the freedom to do everything which injures no one else; hence the exercise of the natural rights of each man has no limits except those which assure to the other members of the society the enjoyment of the same rights. These limits can only be determined by law.

5. Law can only prohibit such actions as are hurtful to society. Nothing may be prevented which is not forbidden by law, and no one may be forced to do anything not provided for by law.

10. No one shall be disquieted on account of his opinions, including his religious views, provided their manifestation does not disturb the public order established by law.”

As in Point no. 4,  any action which does not harm anyone is free to be practised by anyone. So on what grounds of harm or threat is the hijab or burqa?

Point no.10 is the most significant for the arguments in favour of the hijab and burqa, that no one shall be shackled on the basis of their religion in case it does not disturb public order.

It should be known to France, that the burqa is not a tradition or merely a culture but part of the religious culture of the second largest religion of this world, Islam. Religion is a matter of paramount importance, respect and sacredness.  And Islam is not just a religion but a way of life.

Freedom of religion is also enshrined in the French Constitution. The question arises? Where is the implementation of this?

 One can not force someone to draw a veil and neither can someone force someone to abandon it.

 

Moreover, France also seems to disrelish the ‘Burqini‘ , wearing which seems in no manner as threatening, an act of defiance or transgression of French values. It is a mere dress that Muslim women chose to wear to preserve and maintain their circle of decency that they must. 

“It was described as the perfect solution for Muslim women who want to swim but are uncomfortable about “revealing” bathing suits.”

The afore-mentioned lines are the only reason behind the Burqini. In what way does it affront the French? Why are those who wear it, disgracefully thrown out of pools or reprimanded?

Isn’t it usual for a person to have his reservations, aversions or opinions about certain things? If indeed some women do not wish to wear the Bikni or expose their faces and head by wearing the Burqa and Hijab to guard and follow their Islamic values, why is it deemed anomalous and shunned?

 

 

Had it not been for Islam being associated with these two dresses, one is left to think if the Burqa and Burqini had been show-cased at the Paris Fashion Week as an adornment for beautification or style , would they have still been banned or become the vogue? It is without any doubt, that this ban is a strangulation of freedom and an instrument for alienation.

 

France must remember that any proposed ‘liberation’  (that they base these bans on : stating that they are ‘liberating’ Muslim women ) can never be imposed on people. It is an oppression in its own right.

 

The French banned the burqa, the Swiss the minarets. It is even reported that some countries are musing over banning halal food.  These countries claim to be the torch-bearers of tolerance, human rights and freedom and development but what we see from the mind-set of their Governments is the portrayal of narrow-mindedness, hypocrisy and arrant ignorance of the basic rights of humans and disrespect for cultural and religious diversitywhich has sprung from their misunderstanding and wrong interpretation of Islam. Not only are they closing in on a peaceful practise but displaying discrimination and prejudice against a religion and the Muslims community. It is a shame and an out-right example of the growing Islamophobia in European nations.

– Hafsa Khawaja

”Let The Change Stem From Within”


“62 years ago,
By Jinnah, this land was on us bestowed,
Unity, Faith and Discipline its foundation,
Walking on thorny roads through the scorching heat of struggle and hardships,
Migrated the Muslims to this land for their future generations with great expectations..

Brimmed their eyes with hopes of parity, justice, tolerance and egalitarianism,
Desired they a land, replete with peace and devoid of religious sectarianism,
But soon, their dreams of prosperity shattered,
And at the hands of dictatorship, their fate battered,
Sybarites ate out of my soil’s flesh,
Every time, they escaped their time to be threshed,
Often unfurled the flags of democracy,
Banished were great leaders and of democracy was made a mockery,
To be the peoples’ saviour, many claimed,
Yet, each forgoed Jinnah’s dream and Iqbal’s vision,
And to the name of Pakistan, they brought shame,
On the fair face of Pakistan,
Thrown were blotches of injustice, corruption and brutality,
Raped was my country’s dignity and sovereignity….

Bleeds now my soil and in the sea of conflicts and problems, it drowns,
Infected is my homeland by terrorism’s cancer,
With a former dictator’s incisions,
My land is scarred and has many divisions…

Yet, not far off my eyes detect hope’s glimmer,.
In my heart, the light of love for my country does not get any dimmer,
Burns my soul with my country’s situation,
With my patriotism’s guidance,
And Mohammad (PBUH) as my source of motivation,
The evils of our society I shall uproot,
For the Pakistan, Jinnah and Iqbal envisioned,
And for the dawn of parity, liberality, altruism and progress,
I will contribute
I vow to serve my beloved land and make a change
By making it stem from within…”

 

Hafsa Khawaja

~ My Body and Soul


If death comes knocking on my door,
I shall welcome it with grace,
But never will I abandon this land, its embrace..

For from its soil, I rose to breathe,
And to it I shall return for eternal sleep!

As inseparable is the a human’s flesh and spirit,
Until death’s fragrance stings the heart’s core,
For my soul is Pakistan and I am a body,
And without it,
I am what the body is without the soul,
A mere heap of flesh and bones..”                                                                                                                                                                        

– H.K

“Change Awaits At Our Door”


 

“I open my eyes,
To an unusual world,
Stinged are my ears by the hollowness of cries,
There lies a blood-soaked soil,
By the sun of anarchy it is broiled,
                    

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              
Terror combs every street,
In every mind fear roams and fleets,
Lives are cut short,
My prayers get longer,
For Allah is our only resort,
Graveyards get crowded,
In the wrap of uncertainity we remain shrouded,                                           

                                                                                                                                                                                              
We search for the winds of peace gone adrift,
From the good and bad, it is hard to sift,
For behind their masks and masquerades,
They’re all the children of one seed,
      

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                
But deep inside us,
Passion stirs and brews,
For each dark night brings with itself a brighter dawn,
And these dreams of ours will not be of times foregone,
A Pakistan we’ll create that to Iqbal’s philosophy be a mirror,
To the thorns of times, we will not yield,
The wounds of our land will be healed,


We, the sons and daughters of Pakistan, to our ambitions will soar,
Waiting for us to pursue.
And the Pakistan of Jinnah to renew,
As change awaits at our door..”

 – Hafsa Khawaja