There is a lot of worry in the US and the West right now about Pakistan. And, as expected, the Pakistani Ambassador, Hussain Haqqani, to the US has been defending his country. It’s semantics whether you call his rhetoric “defense” or “denial”. Somewhere along the way, the line blurs.
One quote from him this week intrigued me.
“We admit Taliban pose great threat to Pakistanis, and Pakistanis are Muslims and wanted implementation of their religion, but neither we believe in flogging of girls nor locking up women inside homes,” he said in an interview with the BBC here Saturday.
Think about it again. Read slowly. What does it mean? Why is Haqqani bringing up Taliban being Muslim and Pakistan being Muslim? If you were to decipher the semantics, it would be clear that he believes its not easy to fight Taliban when they profess an Islamic rule in a country that was clearly created for Muslims! Which, if you read the statement and pay attention to its tenor, he sorta agrees with.
However, what he (and ostensibly other Pakistanis) do not agree with is the “version” of Islamic rule that Taliban will bring – flogging et al. One would want to ask – How so? How does what has been happening in Pakistan since its creation ANY different from what will happen now?
It may look rhetorical – but its an important question to ask.
For, here we are talking of “Muslims” being “converted” to a stricter Islam.
But haven’t non-Muslims been subjected to SIMILAR treatment all through their history in Pakistan??
For example, persecution of the Ahmadiyas is well known.
So, ask yourself from the context of a Ahmadiya – wasn’t he getting the “Taliban treatment” in Pakistan all these years sanctioned by the Constitutional Authorities of the country?? Not as an aberration mind you.. but as a MATTER OF LAW! It was lawful to subject an Ahmadiya to death penalty if he just called himself a Muslim!.
To understand what I am saying, I refer you to this statement from US State Department Report on Religious Freedom in 2006, which in its ironical use of words articulates my point the best:
Freedom of speech is subject to “reasonable” restrictions in the interests of the “glory of Islam.”
It is known that during Partition, after it, in 1971 in Eastern Pakistan, and beyond that Hindus and Sikhs have been subjected to unprovoked killings and inhuman treatment in Pakistan. Forced conversions of Hindus and destruction of temples in Pakistan is well known. For example, there were many temples in Lahore, but the last one, Krishna Mandir, was demolished in 2006 without much heart-ache.
Now, I want you to read the first hand account of a guy who personally killed Sikhs and Hindus during the partition in Lahore. Read the entire testimony properly, and you will find that his personality – the hatred, the longing for “Islamic Rule”, his knowledge of his crime but glossing over and hoping for a “heaven” that this crime promised him but he couldn’t get – all of that perfectly .. PERFECTLY encapsulates the personality and predicament of Pakistan.
Until the killing of other promised a heaven based on “MY” terms, it was worthy. But when my “MY” and my neighbor’s “MY” clashed, then the urban Pakistani started defining “our” “MY” in some very humanistic terms.
It ok if the one who gets killed because of “Glory to Islam” is a Hindu or a Sikh or even a Muslim who thinks Muhammad was not the last Prophet, but when the person getting killed for “Glory to Islam” is “me” as in a last-prophet-is-Muhammad-believing “Muslim”; then its something to be sad about or call it injustice. Do you see how it goes? And the nonsense of its all??!
When a “Glory” of an ideology is predicated on “Demise” of someone, then any pretensions to its humanistic tendencies can’t help you for very long. For, one day, your own “demise” will be the requirement of the “Glory” of that ideology.
The Thanedar (sub-inspector or S.H.O) of Mozang Police Station, Malik Maqsood
masterminded the attack on the Chaeveen Padshahi. He trained some of us for four days. We
were to take possession of important Hindu and Sikh places when Partition occurred. He told
us that if we died fighting against the non-Muslims we will be shaheeds (martyrs) and if we
survived we will be ghazis (soldiers of Allah). He told us that our Muslim brothers and sisters
were being killed in India, and the main objective of the training was to protect Muslims and
to take revenge.
We were given a security plan to protect Mozang from Hindu and Sikh assault. Thus
we established our morchas (defence posts) at Mozang Adda, Safan Wala Chowk, Mozang
Chungi and Kanak Mandi. Those of us who took part in the training besides me were Zahoor
Din Khaksar, Naseer, Bau Amanat, Hussain Ganja kabadi-player, Bashir, Rasheed, Alamgir
Baloch and Shah Din.
It was the 26th of Ramadan (13 August) when we stormed the Sikh temple. I, along
with five others entered the temple by climbing its high wall. We gave a lalkar (battle cry) to
the Sikhs to come out. Nobody responded. It was pitch dark at that time. We broke open the
front door and entered the temple. The Sikhs had splashed hot kora tel (mustard oil) on the
floor with the result that our feet slipped as we walked on it. When we lit up a matchstick the
oil started burning.
I took the kabza (possession) of the main takht (a long bench). We were 25 to 30
altogether. We were shouting ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ (long live Pakistan) and challenging the
Sikhs to come out. Suddenly one of them appeared from under the takht with a talwar (sword)
in his hand. He delivered a blow at me, which struck my hand and I received a deep gash on
my wrist. I succeeded in snatching the sword from his hand and killed him. Meanwhile many
other people had entered the gurdawara. Now, the Sikhs came out of their hidings and a handto-
hand combat began in the darkness. Talwars, churras (big knives) and dandas (heavy
sticks) were used. Some pistol shots were also fired. Someone put on a fire with the help of
petrol. In my opinion, Thanedar Malik Maqsood had provided the petrol to someone in our
group. I myself was not informed about it. There were some 20 to 30 Sikh men and women in
the temple. All of them perished in the inferno. From our side, we lost Naseer.
How do feel about what happened at that time? Do you regret what you did?
With tear in his eyes, Taj Din said:
We were told that Pakistan would be an Islamic State where the nizam (system) established
by Allah and his Prophet would again be revived. For doing that, Hindus and Sikhs, who were
kafirs (infidels), had to be killed or kicked out of Pakistan. Only then could it be a successful
Once Pakistan came into being, I, like many others, began anxiously to await the
revival of the true and just Islamic state and society. During the period of General Ayub
Khan, I was particularly hopeful that things would change. I wrote to him and to the governor
of Punjab, Nawab Amir Mohammad Khan of Kalabagh, and became very close to them.
Later, I pinned my hopes on General Zia-ul-Haq. I even corresponded with the Shah of Iran
and many other Muslim rulers of the world in the hope that they will do something for the
glory of Islam and the uplift of Muslims. (Many certificates from such dignitaries and the
bloodstained sword that he wrested away from the Sikh in the temple were hanging on the
walls in which the interview took place)
However, we never got our Islamic state. Every ruler looted us. Pakistan is a very
corrupt society. If all this were to happen, then why were we asked to do what we did?
Sometimes at night I cannot sleep because of the crimes that I have committed. The faces of
those Sikhs whom I killed are always in my mind.
In 1968 I went with a delegation from Pakistan to attend the Urs (annual religious
festival) of Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia at Delhi. At the border Sikhs welcomed us. They gave
each of us two oranges and one apple. In Delhi I was recognised by a Hindu who used to live
in Anarkali, Lahore. He was very kind and offered his help and services for anything that I
It happens quite so often that I pray to God to give me mafi (pardon) for the murder of
those Sikhs and Hindus. I have a feeling that Allah understands me and has forgiven me. We
were misguided and used by our politicians.
1. Stop lecturing, help us, Pakistan tells West
2. Persecution of the Ahmadiyya Community in Pakistan: An Analysis Under International Law and International Relations
3. Forced Migration and Ethnic Cleansing in Lahore in 1947
4. Another temple is no more
5. International Religious Freedom Report 2006
Get Drishtikone Updates
in your inbox
Subscribe to Drishtikone updates and get interesting stuff and updates to your email inbox.
Thank you for subscribing.
Something went wrong.