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A comment on Imran Khan and Tahir-ul-Qadri’s sit-ins in Islamabad – by Pejamistri

1 Back in 2007/2008 when the Lawyers or Judicial Movement was in full swing, there was a novice but vibrant social media. It was very exciting campaign against the mad dictator of his time and that too in a new and novel way. There was a mushroom growth of social media blogs and websites all full with the comrades shouting against mad dictator. In such situations it is really hard to distinguish or guess the primary reasons for anyone who stand against the dictatorship. I usually say that politics involving large number of people is as complex as the quantum physics, it is almost impossible to exactly know what is really going on inside a political movement just like it is almost impossible to know what is going on inside a mechanical system at a quantum level. However on a higher level (in physics terms at a classical level), you can almost reliably predict the outcome of a political movement as you can predict the outcome of a physical system. During the judicial movement there were all types of political forces active with a common objective. From the killers belonging to Taliban and their supporters on social media who were against the mad dictator Pervez Musharraf because he happened to be a Sunni Bralevi Sufi Muslim to the ultimate liberal from PPP/ANP whose life was spent in struggle for democracy everyone was one voice against the mad dictator. It was irrelevant to identify the true objectives of different sections participating in it. Later on however gradually we came to know the true objectives of all the players in judicial movement including Iftikhar Muhammad Chudhary. It was an interesting movement in many aspects, it had everything a true democratic movement could have, the dreams of a new future which were summed up in the great poem by Aitzaz Ahsan or in a single verse “ریاست ھوگی ماں کے جیسی“. There were two objectives of this movement, one a stated one and another unstated one. The stated objective was to get the Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhary restored and later on all the judges that were dismissed via November 3rd, and the unstated was to have a democratic government in place after getting rid of Pervez Musharraf. Interestingly enough the second objective was achieved earlier than the first objective. Unfortunately however nation paid the ultimate price in terms of death of Benazir Bhutto. After the PPP government in place the objective of the restoration of judiciary had become less attractive for most of the liberal and democratic stalwarts. However it was an unfinished work and Aitzaz Ahsan along with several comrades kept on leading the movement. It was at that time when the first long march happened under the leadership of Aitzaz Ahsan. But before I talk about this let me go little back in history. In 90’s I used to work in a telecom company and we used to have a radio frequency scanner, that could scan frequencies of Police and other agencies. It was the time of Dharna by Qazi Hussain Ahmed against PPP’s government. While listening to conversation of several high ranking police and other agencies officers on radio I realised that Pakistan military somehow is so afraid of bloody civilians taking over the capital that they will not allow anyone to enter Islamabad ever. I was told by one very high ranking army officer that COAS himself will ensure that no large hostile crowd ever enters Islamabad even if they have to open a straight fire. In that context I always thought that any sit-in will be impossible in Islamabad particularly in “Red Zone” as it is called now. But Aitzaz Ahsan with Zardari had different designs, he knew that once this fear is overcome on both sides people and the army that Islamabad is no go area for bloody civilians then we shall achieve another milestone in the democratic struggle in Pakistan. And lo and behold, bloody civilians entered the red zone and sat in their for whole night and that was the start of a series of long marches and sit-ins in Islamabad. The current sit-ins by both Imran Khan and Tahir-ul-Qadri have as much importance in the history of democratic struggle of people of Pakistan as the judicial movement. I have always said that Pakistan is not a Middle Eastern state, the democratic values and liberal views held by people of Pakistan come from a 4000 years of history of a diverse, vibrant culture. Pakistan society roots originate from the thousands of years old Gandhara civilisation, our ancestor’s came from the liberal and diverse religions like Hinduism and Buddhism. This is the civilisation that has welcomed all kind of religions and ideologies with open hearts. From Islam to Christianity land of Buddha has welcomed every ideology. It is for that reason despite the cancerous nature of “Islamism”, the “Islam” of Indo-Pak subcontinent is essentially different than the “Islam” of Middle East. Democratic values are part of the nature of people of Pakistan, a 60 years struggle for democracy is the evidence of how people of Pakistan can pay ultimate price for the rule of democracy. It is for that reason no dictator however tyrant he may be had ever been able to rule people of Pakistan for more than a decade. Historian will write the current sit-ins by both Imran Khan and Tahir-ul-Qadri as a signifiant milestone in the achievement of a liberal, secular and democratic Pakistan. Just like the judicial movement, the current sit-ins also have both types of objectives: stated and non-stated. I won’t discuss here the stated objectives. But let me talk about the unstated objectives of these sit-ins. Let us first start with Tahir-ul-Qadri’s Inqlab March. Let me put some context to Tahir-ul-Qadri. First of all it is important to distinguish between “Muslim” and “Islamist”. A vast majority of people of Pakistan are “Muslims” belonging to different sects. The “Islam” of these muslims is totally different from the Islam of “Islamists” in both its essence and practice. This is a colourful Islam, a religion as dynamic, natural and elastic as any other religion could be. This is the Islam which is commonly known as Sufi Islam, in which people have simple beliefs most of them very innocent and childish beliefs. The people of that Islam practice rituals which are also simple in nature as the rituals of any religion containing music, dance and fun. It is the Islam where people are more concerned about their own salvation than the salvation of others. It is not the “Islam” which tries to convert every other person and if he can not convert them it kills them. This “Islam” is not a single homogenous entity consisting of rigid rules and extremist views. It is a heterogeneous solution consisting of all types sects from Shias to Ahmadis, from Agha Khani to Bralevis and having common religious personalities and rituals. It is not the “Islam” that consists of one “Allah” but consists of 100’s of religious personalities. These are the “muslims” who are declared Kafir and Mushrik by the Islamists. The non-muslim world does not realise that the largest number of people killed by “Islamists” are these muslims. They are the front line martyrs in the war of terror. They are the people who are saving the world from the onslaught of this maniac knowns as Takfiri Deobandi Islamism. It is this Islam Qadri and his associate which include Shias, Bralevis and other sects of Islam, represent. A lot of people wonder how come Qadri always become so relevant in politics of Pakistan, it is not just his followers who come to show their support for him, all kinds of the people come out for him to show the other face of Islam. In the social media a lot of “Islamists” were sharing the pictures of colourful young ladies dancing and chanting slogans on the beats of music. They will share such pictures with the comments that “Is this the kind of Islam, Qadri is propagating?”. They share videos of Qadri’s comrades dancing on the beats of music with the comments “Is this the Islam?”, they don’t realise that they are indeed helping in spreading the message of Qadri which is “This is really the Islam”. Several “Liberals” who are affected by the acute lack of sense of proportion syndrome (ALSPS), scream that Qadri is another Taliban, another religious leader like Sufi Muhammad and Molvi Abdul Aziz. They equate the ladies in Qadri’s sit-in with the terrorist ninja women of Laal Masjid, trying to portray them as extremists and terrorists. They don’t realise that the pictures they share with such comments mock at them. Any real liberal who is not affected by ALSPS will immediately know that this is not extremism, these girls do not wear dreaded black veils, do not carry firearms, neither these girls are abducting Chinese girls from massage centres nor they are chanting the dreaded slogan of “Allah-o-Akbar” in a dreadful voice, they are the regular womenfolk, playful, beautiful, full of energy and life. These “liberals” also try to portray that Qadri’s protest is similar to protests by parties like Jamaat Islami and Jamat ud Dawa. They give the examples of processions by Khatam-e-Nubawat and Ulama Council in favour of Taliban, in an attempt to scare the world that it is the same Taliban in the cloths of Qadri they scream. What they don’t realise is that the sheer peacefulness if Qadri’s people, their message against Taliban and extremists, their civility for the common people, their peaceful nature even in the face of police atrocities, all make such insinuations rubbish. They mock at Qadri when he delivers his lecture in English, they mock that he is talking to his masters, what my “liberal” friends don’t realise is that they are helping spreading his message. The message that people of Pakistan, the muslims have no hatred against western nations, they consider them their friends and seek their help against the maniac of extremism. So in a nutshell one of the unstated objective of Qadri’s march was to make the world aware of the presence of large population of muslims and their rejection of the message of “Islamism” in Pakistan. The peaceful demonstration by the colourful muslims coming from all sects of Islam, the music, the girls, the colours all added to spread the message and exhibit the face of Islam that is usually ignored by the world. I live in a western country and one of my colleague asked me that usually he does not see pictures of “muslim” women with such colours and he does not see the muslim “religious” scholar talking in English and speaking respectfully to Western People. And when I heard this from colleague I realised the unstated objective of Qadri’s March has been achieved. ..to be concluded…   2 PAKISTAN-ISLAM-UNREST-FILM-US 4 5 6 7 8101112131432312322212019171615141311-b1211108333435363738394041424345mir76521

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  • On misogny and puritanism against women, music and dance in PAT and PTI’s sit-ins in Islamabad

    Ayaz Amir

    Boys and girls dance in the PTI rallies in Constitution Avenue, fume the clerics of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam led by Pakistan’s leading political acrobat, Maulana Fazlur Rehman, with his uncanny ability to be part of every power setup no matter what its colour or stripes. What should the boys and girls do instead? Attend tutorials in suicide bombing? Study how to make the most of diesel permits, the word diesel forever associated with the Maulana’s name?

    What hypocrites are we dealing with here? On a TV talk show I had the misfortune to be part of, Senator Hafiz Hamdullah of the same party described the PTI ongoing rallies as a nightclub show. I looked up in surprise and asked the maulana that as a man of the cloth how did he know what a nightclub was? Had he ever been in one? Smirking, he gave no answer.

    Maulana Fazlur Rehman has described the dharnas as an onslaught of ‘western culture’. At least he is being original, no one taking this line before. His problem is simple. Imran Khan’s PTI is now a power in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa where in happier times the Maulana stood tall and imposing. He doesn’t like this one bit. Hence his anger.

    Mufti Muneeb-ur-Rehman who as head of the Ruet-e-Hilal Committee never fails to send the entire nation into fits of laughter as he squints into the telescope to see whether the Eid moon has arisen, has also denounced the PTI rallies. If he had come out in the PTI’s support, that would have been something to worry about.

    We should understand this phenomenon. No self-respecting maulvi true to his calling can abide the spectacle of men and women enjoying themselves. Their stuff is hellfire and denunciation, not singing and dancing. And they have a problem with women. For some reason rooted deep in their understanding of theology, they want to keep them under lock and key. Venus has never been more triumphant than in the morbid nightmares of the ulema.

    And it is not just the PTI rallies which they find so galling. Close by on the same Constitution Avenue is the massive sit-in of the Pakistan Awami Tehreek led by Allama Tahirul Qadri in which women, matrons and young girls, are to be found in great numbers. The PTI folk come and go, the PTI amphitheatre, for it looks like that, looking empty in the mornings but filling up in the evening. The thousands who are in the PAT sit-in have been camped there, facing great hardships, ever since the march from Lahore. Their discipline and dedication to their cause are something to be seen.

    And Allama Qadri in speech after speech talks of gender equality and equal opportunities for women and even for minorities. For the typical maulvi subscribing to, say, Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s Takfiri Deobandi brand of Islam, this is subversive stuff, alien to all that in his narrow understanding of the faith he has believed in. No wonder hardline maulvis can barely contain their anger against both Imran Khan and the Allama.

    – See more at: https://lubp.net/archives/321499?


    Dance, dance revolution
    Sarwat Ali August 31, 2014 Leave a comment

    How politics is being tarred by the brush of deep seated prejudice against certain artistic devices

    There have been multiple reactions to the political rallies, demonstrations and the sit-ins held both by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) and the Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT). But the one constant pointed out and condemned by most from all sides of the political spectrum has been about the style adopted by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf in particular.
    They have all focused on dance and so have cast the entire politic protest as being very frivolous. Thus, it can be argued that the political protest or the dharna became non-serious affairs because physical bodily movement was used. Similarly the presence of a large number of women, young women and those not from the slums, too initially evoked surprise, and then gradually the pleasant reaction turned into banter before it started to get nastier.
    As if not to be kept out the Pakistan Awami Tehreek also organised a qawwali in the dharna; those media men monopolising the talk shows were initially baffled by this form included in the protest before they started to ridicule it on the basis that no serious political movement could make music its vehicle of dissent.
    It may be said at the very outset that the writer has no sympathy with the political stand taken by the Pakistan Tekreek-e-Insaaf and the politics of the Pakistan Awami Tehreek in substance. But it is only surprising that the criticism from the other parties instead of being on substance — and there is plenty of meat in it to feed on — has unfortunately spilt over to mannerism and style. Politics at hand is being tarred by the brush of deep seated prejudice against certain artistic devices.
    The reaction to music, dance and women is a reflection of the deep seated bias that this society at least the middle classes in this society have about the performing arts. Within no time people jump in their assumption from the practice to the practitioner and then feel great upliftment in slotting them. If they happen to be women then the slotting is easier done, and the case is rested through a said condemnation or an unsaid castigation through leery expressions and all knowing smiles.
    Some of the most vibrant or intensely political movements have made dance their mode of expression, a protest or a style of defiance.
    People find it difficult to come out or break the stereotype or a stock impression but find great solace in reaffirming a stated position. Some of the women politicians and commentators unfortunately were the most vocal, seeing their gender on the streets shunning inhibition to enjoy the street party. If nothing else their envy may have turned into a grouse.
    In the psyche is embedded the image, the oft drummed view or an estimation that this society has nourished its norms with. Whenever any physical movement is seen, it is considered as an expression of leh o lab and hence enticing, — alluring and so frivolous as not to be worthy of adequate attention. Not meant to be taken seriously, it is merely light heartedness and a means of unwinding.
    Some of the most vibrant or intensely political movements have made dance their mode of expression, a protest or a style of defiance. The most notable being the African National Congress. Dance accompanies it even now in both formal and informal occasions. One of the first gestures to be made by Nelson Mandela after he was released was the raised fist and then steps of the dance which had become the signature tune of movement/emblem of the African National Movement.
    But people will say that all that may be integral to the African culture or acceptable in their daily lives but that does not mean it is universally applicable. People will say that what is right in Africa is not right in Pakistan, and the protest or the expression has to be culturally specific and acceptable.
    Such narrow reading and acceptance of culture has been the bane of our society. The prejudice was rampant in alienating the Bengalis from the mainstream cultural expression of a united Pakistan. People came back from East Pakistan vexed to take a stated position of the Bengali society being too influenced by Hindu Culture. The acceptance of music and dance as part of everyday culture could not be digested by the Punjabi Pathan Inc and had to be denounced as the other.
    The artistic devices are being used or employed in society all the time. It is music as in recitation of a text, the national anthem, a taranna or a slogan that is repeated, chanted or uttered in a charged fashion facilitated by versification.
    The usual method of livening up a political rally or to make it an embedded memory, the slogan or the narra is endemic.



    Dharna dances — a parliamentary debate?
    By Abdul Majeed Abid

    In my opinion, one can disagree with the ‘dharnistas’ on dozens of accounts, without any mention of the term ‘vulgarity’. In Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s opinion, not so.

    Yesterday, the JUI-F chief again invoked the ‘fahashi’ argument against men and women dancing at the Azadi march. And it wasn’t even a talk show this time; he was standing inside the Parliament House.

    Some people went to the extent of filing a petition against the dharna’s ‘vulgarity’, which the Islamabad High Court thankfully rejected.

    Who is to decide what does or does not constitute ‘vulgarity’ anyway? It’s a subjective notion, one lying ‘in the eyes of the beholder’.

    The concept of ‘vulgarity’ is important only in bigoted, misogynist societies such as Pakistan.

    People suffering from this mental state are shocked at the very sight of anything that’s not conforming to traditional norms.

    For them, just seeing a woman outside her home is shocking enough; and any dress or activity which falls outside the purview of their self-styled moral values, is thought to be invoking the devil itself.

    Such incidents, unfortunately, are hardly rare in Pakistan. Women are regularly harassed and punished by men for so much as talking to a man outside the house. It is these baser tendencies which lead to bigger evils like honour-killings and acid crimes.

    Unlike most civilised societies, the concept of personal space is non-existent in our society. One can find people decrying vulgarity for a-dime-a-dozen in our alleys (and parliaments, as it appears).

    I’m sure a major reason for that is the absence of entertainment places and the reluctance to travel abroad. Parks, waterways, cinemas, clubs, theatres, quality book-shops or similar places for public assembly are few and far between in even our major cities.

    Instead, what we have is a multitude of gaudy shopping malls, ever increasing in number. The absence of genuine entertainment has resulted in stagnation and negative thinking.

    In that, it is nigh impossible to broaden one’s horizons and explore the sheer diversity of values and ethics, which other people live with. Already no one from other countries is willing to come to our country and we no longer see any tourists on our roads.

    The party-like environment in these dharnas proves that there is a desperate need for the government to increase entertainment opportunities for the masses. Based on anecdotal evidence, most of the dharnistas come to the late-night ‘festivals’ to enjoy and have some fun.

    Read on: ‘Azadi’ March brings entertainment

    If the youth, tired and sick of political theatrics, wants to dance to some music, why does that twist the knickers of our ‘moral guardians’? If women, who form half the population of this country, want to be a part of the political process, why does that fire up the mullahs?

    Whatever the female workers of PTI do in their spare time should be of any concern to anyone; not to mention it is outright disgusting for anyone to allege them of obscenity.

    In my humble opinion, this country needs more of social change than a political one.

    This change should be against narrow mindsets. Right now, no political party seems interested at all in that cause.

    I hope that Imran Khan will not remain silent on this moral and mental decline and will start a practical movement to eradicate this hypocritical mindset because the first requirement to ‘change the system’ is to ‘change the national mindset’.


  • ڈاکٹر قادری اور عمران خان کے دھرنوں سے گھبرا کر صحافی طلعت حسین محفل سماع اور قوالی کے خلاف خودکش حملوں کی دھمکیاں دینے لگے – خرم زکی https://lubp.net/archives/320903

    تحریک انصاف کی سیاسی خواتین کارکنوں پر تنقید اور شیر مارکہ لبرلز – از عمار کاظمی https://lubp.net/archives/321314

    تحریک انصاف اور عوامی تحریک کے دھرنوں میں شریک خواتین پر شرمناک تنقید: جعلی لبرلز، اعتدال پسند مولوی اور ترقی پسند پختون قوم پرست بے نقاب ہوگئے – عامر حسینی https://lubp.net/archives/321182

    A comment on Imran Khan and Tahir-ul-Qadri’s sit-ins in Islamabad – by Pejamistri https://lubp.net/archives/320490

    تحریک انصاف اور پاکستان عوامی تحریک کے دھرنوں میں شامل خواتین کے بارے میں دیوبندی مولویوں اور کمرشل لبرلز کی بد زبانی – خرم زکی https://lubp.net/archives/321158

    دیوبندی نواز حکومت کے ہاتھوں شہید ہونے والی ایک سنی صوفی کارکن عورت کے نام ایک نظم – از عامر حسینی https://lubp.net/archives/319857

    Is it fair to criticize CM Pervez Khattak’s dance in the Islamabad sit-in? https://lubp.net/archives/320341

    Activate all cadres to save democracy from Imran Khan and Tahir ul Qadri – by Samad Khurram https://lubp.net/archives/320510