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Pak Tea House » Al Qaeda, Opinion » What Pakistan thinks about the taliban

What Pakistan thinks about the taliban

By Momo Khan

I belong to an era in Pakistan where we fight against terrorism every single day. The stories to world of getting killed, blown up or abducted are realities to us.  The thing which world fears has its home in Pakistan— the Taliban.

So, what is it Taliban… to me, Taliban is a fear, a fear which is haunting our abilities to erase them, to take back the charge from them and to stop them from further invasion into our religious and social freedom.

To no surprise Taliban encapsulate nefarious agendas and that too in the name of religion. Islam means peace which has its teaching poles apart from the practices of Taliban. Religion must be understood from its scripture not the followers. People here in Pakistan, are miffed with the conceptualization of Islam by Taliban, for them it’s a wrong message being conveyed. We dislike Taliban for many reasons and first and foremost are the portraying of Islam according to their wills. How can a religion allow killing a young activist (Malala Yousafzai) for her educational advocacy? Getting blown up with several innocents never takes anyone to heaven but certainly makes lives behind much miserable.

Taliban sneaked into Pakistan when the war on terror heated up in Afghanistan; there were no Taliban before 2002 in Pakistan. Pakistan coalition with United States against the terrorism made it victim of merciless killing, abduction, bomb blasts and ban on girl’s education.  To majority in Pakistan, Taliban dwells on anarchy and is an out-lawed group of people.

People think that Pakistan has been divided into parts, one that is free from the worries (Rich or poor), living by religious beliefs and the other living in fear of Taliban. We believe that Taliban mindset is dictated by their cultural norms, too conservative to see their societies grooming and allowing their women to do household activities only. Taliban are promoting their culture, a culture which is a plague, away from the realities of this world.

So what does Taliban fears… education? The reason why Taliban fears education is the awareness being brought forth by education, a light into the darkness which gives strength to the roots and the branches of the minds began to grow widely. Education widens the vision and teaches us the difference between right and wrong. We as a society have the rights to stand up against the lawlessness but do not have the abilities. We fear Taliban, we fear to get tracked by them, for us our own lives are important than the rights of this society.

Many believes in Pakistan that Taliban force is not to be fought in their way, we have enough bloodshed of around 40,000 Pakistani in this holy war. There is no need to go below the belt and get further innocents blown up. There should be a dialogue— yes a cease fire with Taliban, what do they want out of this piece of land and what book of rules they follow.

It’s not alone the Taliban who are attacking normalcy in Pakistan all by itself but their sudden burst out is surely the reaction of military operations being carried on in Tribal areas. Dictator government took this measure on its own showcasing the flash of power and began to kill down terrorists along with many innocents. This move ignited Taliban who later invaded into crowded areas in Pakistan and blew themselves up.

Today, here in Pakistan we fear Taliban, if we keenly understand their mindset it becomes easier to resolve this matter. Not more than 3-5% of Taliban are upholding nefarious agendas, the rest are either followers of this rule or away from the understandings of their regime.  For us, the Pakistani, tribal area residents are our own blood, we cannot see them getting hurt by drones unleashed. As far the inhumane Taliban goes, we are afraid to look into their eyes and hear the sound of their breath. We have made Taliban a monster which in reality is not. This fear has helped out-lawed organization to widen and spread its tentacle across the country. While going into shopping areas or eating places we fear Taliban presence. Every bearded man attracts several eye balls. We go out praying for a safe return and come back thinking how are we safe despite so many incidents being shown on international TV about Pakistan.

The reality of these thoughts is nothing…there is no Taliban rooming on streets but it’s the fear haunting us since many years. It was our choice to push them down hard with the use of power and erase them without listening to their demands. Of course Taliban has wounded our hearts and minds but somewhere the fault also lies in us for ignoring their areas for 50 years, no educational measures and health facilities ever provided to them. They grew and learnt on their own. Today, we have given enough space to the fear of Taliban then to the courage to face them and change them.


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67 Responses to "What Pakistan thinks about the taliban"

  1. AKB Pakistan Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    @ Momo
    There is absolutely wrong perception about the Talibans. They are NOT against education….that is plain propaganda. The reason for their blowing up schools is related more to destroying places which might serve as sanctuaries for their ‘enemies’ who want to kill them.

    If Talibans are as evil as you stated then why are two members of theirs invited to attend the Conference being held in France right now???
    Only this one fact proves that they are fully not as generally imaged by political propaganda ….what they want is Islamic jurisprudence to prevail in their territory….and majority of them want this, by dint of democracy. Hold a referendum or elections there and they will surely win!!


  2. Mustafa United States Internet Explorer Windows says:

    @AKB: Your foolishly falling for the western narrative. There is a world of difference between the Afghan Taliban and the Pakistani Taliban. I am not a fan of either of them.

    But the Afghan Taliban is an unrelated separate organization, that is fighting imperialism in Afghanistan and a struggle to free it of American occupation.

    The Pakistani Taliban are Takfiri extremists. Few elements among them are backed by RAW and CIA. While others are just plain religious extremists and takfiri Khwarij. This is the main point. They blow up everything in order to destabalize Pakistan as per thier religious extremist agenda which to an extent also forwards agenda of foreign powers.

  3. MilesToGo United States Safari Mac OS says:

    Muhammed and his shahaba squad were first Taliban. All Taliban want is Islam like Muhammed, like bin quasim, bin laden and bin Jinnah.

    If Pakistan can not give them Islam, then give them homeland to practice Islam freely.

  4. Rex Minor Germany Google Chrome Windows says:

    A very well balanced written article about the so called Talibans! The opinion of the author is different from those of AKB which moe or less is the position that I have who has never sighted or experienced a Taliban during day time. Mustafa has additioal info about a group. Let me explain my anology of what the author has said;

    . The fear in Pakistan is an import from America.

    . There is nothing holy about a war. The word holy was first used by the crusaders agaist the arab population of Jerusalem.

    . A muslim invokes religion in desperation, especially when his freedom, dignity and faith faces dark forces of the demons.

    A dialog is the only recipee for peace; confrontation will force Pashtun leaders to separate from Pakistan which is currently ruled by evil forces. By the way the hate campaign of Pakistan Govt. under the slogan of nationalism in schools agaist non muslims is shabby and evil. No taliban faction is known to be involved here.

    Rex Minor

  5. AKB Pakistan Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    @ Mustafa
    You are imitating Imran Khan’s gibberish..Talibans are Talibans where ever theymay be found. However I have never seen a Taliban on the streets…never.

  6. Arshad Ali Canada Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    @ Mustafa

    Your comments make no sense, An Afghani Taliban who was fighting imperialism crosses into Pakistan and the magically he transforms into a Takfiri extremist, and he is now associated with RAW and CIA.

    What an argument. I hope all of us Pakistanis don’t think like you or we don’t have a hope in Hell.

  7. kahn achakzai India Internet Explorer Windows says:

    Reads like a high school essay with atrocious grammer.PTH your standards are taking a nosedive

  8. Mohammed Iqbal India Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    CIA and RAW – Two favourite whipping boys for Pakistanis. Indians substitute ISI for RAW.

  9. Rex Minor Germany Google Chrome Windows says:


    We should not use the taliban label for groups with different names such as Taqfiri extremists. The talibans are not extremists, their task is to clean up the mess with the use of explosives and suicide commandos. The common denomination between the two taliban groups is Resistance; whereas the Pakistani talibans have also the possibilty of sending uniformed opponents straight to the paradise, reserved for believers. The Afghan Talibans usualy come to Pakistan major cities peacefully during the lunch break, and after a Protein meal return to the front.

    Rex Minor

  10. saadh Canada Internet Explorer Windows says:

    Taleban of all stripes and across borders are wonderful and peaceable shalwar-clad gentlemen who are fighting a “godless” superpower and its mercenaries. Once the Taleban win which they will because they are pure, Pakistan and Afghanistan will turn into a land of milk and honey with highly educated men and women (previously suicide bombers) discussing (separately of course) the Taleban’s major contribution to the development of modern arts and sciences.

  11. AKB Pakistan Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    @ saadh

    A worm will turn if you step on him. Same is the case with the Talibans, regardless of who they are. They are defending their homeland and why shouldn’t they do it?? Will you not? Will the Hindu’s sit with their hands crossed if the gora comes and begins to publicly slaughter cows for his steaks?? Or, will the Indian Hindu’s like if the gora bahadur comes again and lays a ban on ringing madir bells???No. then why overlook the real problem with the Talibans most of which are Pathans and Afghani’s….cousins?

  12. AKB Pakistan Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    @ Mustafa
    If the Pak Talibans are agents of RAW or ISI then it could equally be said that the Mirjai’s are the slaves of MOSAD.
    Pakistan is an Islamic country with Muslim majority. (Mirjai’s are non Muslims and they must count them out)So, what buggers the West if they democratically want their faith to prevail in their homeland???

  13. Shirazi Pakistan Internet Explorer Windows says:

    I see the stage when a common person cant distinguish between what is write and what is wrong. Sad.

  14. kaalchakra United States Google Chrome Windows says:

    The odd fact is that the very ‘Taliban’ who are abused daily by liberal Pakistanis would fight the hardest were Pakistan to be attacked by enemies like America and India. As a matter of fact, the only people who HAVE really given their all to fight against Pakistan’s enemies are these much maligned Muslims.

    The problem seems to relate exclusively to disparate visions regarding the nation’s “internal” management – how is the land carved out for Muslims to be managed and defended – according to the tenets of Islam or according to the methods and traditions of America and/or India.

  15. Habib Khan Pakistan Google Chrome Windows says:

    Very well written…..surprised to see Talent emerging
    & I second all thoughts here

  16. Habib Khan Pakistan Google Chrome Windows says:

    Great work piece….I adore the spirit of speaking out, again WELL DONE @momo

  17. Sajjad Ahmed Pakistan Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    If we want to resolve the issue then we must read about the actual fact & figures about the Taliban like what are the Taliban’s, where did they come from etc.Pakistani Taliban said to the Government of Pakistan should focus on Pakistani domestic problems and withdraw from war-torn Afghanistan as soon as possible to prevent the deaths of more of Pakistani Peoples. That is right and in this article in paragraph No. 8 the author gave a better solution to resolve the issue.
    Pakistanis s are tired of the war and the extravagant military expenses as every body knows that this is not our war. Government should listen to the people of the Pakistan and put an end to all the hollow wars call back the army from different points of Pakistan and stop the operation against innocent Pakistani citizens and withdraw all the services providing to the Americans in Afghanistan. I think this will break up the issue of Taliban in PAKISTAN . Good Effort and keep it up Momo@

  18. Rex Minor Germany Google Chrome Windows says:

    Let us please do not complicate things more than they are! The talibans are Pashtuns whose culture of Pakhtunwali is linked with the rules of Ummah, the protection of family, the tribe and the one who has been granted asylum. Anyone who deviates from Pakhtunwali risks becoming an outcaste in his tribe.

    They do not negotiate with any one outside their culture nor with those who use force agaist them. In any case they are not trustworthy outside their culture but freely accept money if it comes from the enemy.

    Rex Minor

  19. Dr. sara Pakistan Google Chrome Windows says:

    first of all, Brilliant piece of work!! though-provoking…I must say eye opener…n i loved these lines ——————-
    “The stories to world of getting killed, blown up or abduction are realities to us” GREAT piece @MOMO

  20. Rex Minor Germany Google Chrome Windows says:


    A dialogue is a proper weapon for Tafqiris as well, whosoever they are.

    Rex Minor

  21. Rex Minor Germany Google Chrome Windows says:

    It was about time that after Malala drama, Momo came! Excellent piece that is attracting bloggers who were critical of those authors who bicker a lot but offer no solutions for the problems which Pakistan citizens are facing on a daily basis while the President of the country has become the roving ambassador for the western capitals.

    Rex Minor

  22. Momo Pakistan Google Chrome Windows says:

    @Rex minor…. thankyou!! I have offered solutions = )

  23. Rex Minor Germany Google Chrome Windows says:


    You are just great!! People like you have the power to determine their fate, one, two and more than two can force the earth to move, give way to the angel of peace and shun all those who are living in the cantonment of the Hindukush, with lethal arsenal of nukes, to spit them out at a short notice against one or another country.

    Fear me and no one else, says our God who created us and this is the key, the code, to win over the enemy. The former military President of Pakistan choose to fear the yanks and brought fear to Pakistan.

    Rex Minor

  24. Dronacharya Saudi Arabia Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    AAP LOG C.A. kyoun nahin karte ? You eat such good food. Biryani, Kababs, Dry Fruits. And the end result of it all is : You play cricket (poori qaum – 17 crore – test player hai). Why dont you do C.A. What is the OBSTACLE ? HURDLE. Hayn ? Kya jawaab hai ?

    APPFEST kyoun nahin kartey aap ? Cloud Engg ke baarey mein kya khayaal hai? Taweel – Urdu Shaayri ko chhoro. C. A., MBA., Start-ups karo., aur Kuch techonlogy mein INTEREST DIKHAAO. History-Shaayri bahut ho chuki. Time to bury it for 300 yrs. We can pick it up later (after 300 yrs)., after we re-gain our Financial Health.

    Application Developers trying to beat 24-hour deadline before which they have to develop an app and impress the judges at the AppFest

    Some have already given up, some still hopeful

    Hanging in the middle of the spacious hall, huge digital clocks tick away for a count down of 24 hours. Fully loaded coffee machines are ready to serve through the night and in an adjoining room, few cots have been placed to provide power naps for the developers.

    And to beat the deadline of 24 hours to come up with ideal mobile applications for a clutch of companies, close to 400 young app developers started to slug it out non-stop on Friday morning at the ‘AppFest 2012’ organised by Internet And Mobile Association of India (IAMAI).

    The nail-biting phase to beat the deadline and present an impressive and workable app has begun. The strain in their eyes is already visible. Some have already given-up and are just happy to be a part of the process. Others, the more experienced and gritty ones, are still holding on to the hope of finishing the challenge and creating the perfect app in time.

    The developers will work all through Friday night and by 10 a.m. on Saturday have to submit their apps to the judges. The AppFest 2012 is featuring two competitions- Hackathon and Challengathon- for developers. In Hackathon, developers come together to form a team and contest by designing an app of their choice to win a prize. In Challengathon, a team of developers will develop apps for private companies and if they succeed, they will get an opportunity to work for the companies in future. “We are participating in both the challenges. So, we just have 12 hours to develop each app. This is tough and challenging, but we are excited,” says Vikash, fourth year engineering student from Institute of Technical Education and Research, Bhubaneshwar, Odisha. Along with five others, the engineering students are attempting to make an app for J.K. Ansell Group, the manufacturer of Kamasutra condoms. The developers have been asked to design apps for any one of the companies that include Ashok Leyland,, J.K. Ansell, Marico, Geetanjali, Allen Solly and HDFC Standard.

    “We have decided to work on an app for Ashok Leyland. We are hoping that the app will turn out to be just fine,” said T. Satish Kumar, Co-founder and Chief Architect for CloudPact, a start-up company. The apps designed by the developers will be judged by experts and winners will be declared on Saturday.

    ————— Warna… Wohi raftaar-e-bedhangi…

  25. Shoaib Ali Pakistan Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    good article. kudos to the writer.

  26. Rex Minor Germany Google Chrome Windows says:

    You are a fine inividual and sincere too and write a lot. But I have not the clue what your post is all about. People of Pakista are running around like healess chickens while their political leadership ca neither manage the affairs of the citizens nor their relations with other muslim and non muslim world. You tlk about education and wealth; the two have nothing in common; your istitution should facilitat the ‘bildung’, the development of individual humans who with inovation can turn around and straighten the world before them. The Indian Tycoon Mittal was rcently accused by France to have been telling lies to the French Govt. about his investment plans; it is now revealed that all his life he has been engaged in lies to the Indian leaders as well. Despite promises he has not followed through in any Indian project which should improve the economic welfare of the people i India. His entire fortune is invested in Africa, USA and Europe.

    Germans love sport and have the institutions and facilities for it; they are racing champions because the motorways in the country have practicaly no speed limits. Besides we drive on the right side and act in the right mode, whereas you people drive on the wrog side. This has othig to do with MBA! Capitalism without a social market economic system can no longer survive in civilised societies. The new economic order must bridge the vast difference between the haves and the have nots before the world returns to anarchy and revolutions.

    Rex Minor

  27. Rex Minor Germany Google Chrome Windows says:

    20 cents an hour for the textile labour in Bangla Desh, where the factory has no exit in case of fire, to supply the product to wall Mart for the American consumer is below the dignity of a human.

  28. Momo Pakistan Google Chrome Windows says:

    @Rex Minor
    What you do since you know alot about Pakistan’s grave problems?

  29. Dronacharya Saudi Arabia Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    OVER-PRODUCTION. Who asked Bangladeshis to produce kids (in excess of their ability to feed them to age 18 ?). Set aside skills/soft and hard., i am talking in ‘survival-threshold’ terms ! Who asked Pakistanis to over-produce 18 crores. The population of US is 300 MM. Combined (Pak and Bangladesh) population exceeds the US population !

    Masha Allah !

    Due to over-production, the seed of Adam., is cheaper than a man-made gadget (for instance Samsung III or Apple’s i-Phone). This is a harsh reality ! There is a limit to bluffing.

    Punjabi (only spoken. Language without script. SO naturally no literature is produced. Punjabi is written in Urdu in W. Punjab… and Gurmukhi Script in E. Punjab). SO its okay for verbal communication (BOLI/Dialect hai). They talk about Bulhe Shah., Noorjehan, Anarkali, Iqbal, Jinnah.. only PAST.

    Fine, they were all great.. but where are the ICONS of my Generation. 2012 ? Why have you failed to produce men and women who are gifted.. creative.. creators of WEALTH – Institutions – knowledge !

    Only talk of Kabab – food street – Anarkali ! Huh. I dont care a damn about the 3 ? WHere is your Silicon Valley ? Where are your Start-ups.

    Only talk about the Past.. and a desire to re-create THAT ! Huh ! Even God cannot change the past. Its best to bury the past.. and move on.. and CREATE a great Present. The PRESENT is the main thing. The past is deadwood.

    Over-population : Will lead to a situation when man is cheaper than a goat (infact man is a 2-legged goat). So they must go for fewer children… or no children at all. Look at China’s 1-child policy. It entailed huge personal pain (in micro terms)… but for a SOCIETY.. from a societal viewpoint.. IT WAS CORRECT. It was a correct intervention.

    So instead of goods and Intellectual Property.. send men thru-out the world.. to clean cars.. roads.. do odd jobs.. (and talk about the future. Noorjehan – Jinnah – Iqbal)..

  30. Milestogo United States Safari iPhone says:

    Allah has gifted vast amount of wealth in the form oil to Muslims so that they can pray to Allah almighty. Mahdi will destroy the western civilization.

    Unless the entires world is Islamic, Allah will not be happy.

  31. Milestogo United States Safari iPhone says:

    Population growth is allah’s gift to Muslims, so that they can overpower the kuffar.

  32. Milestogo United States Safari iPhone says:

    Urdu and punjabi are both kuffar languages. Arabic is allah’s mother tongue. Every Muslim should learn Arabic so that Quran can be understood directly.

  33. Rex Minor Germany Google Chrome Windows says:


    I am a blogger and write my views to stimulate others and my interest is in human brains which is rarely used since the geist(mind and soul) play a greater role on humans decisions. I also try where applicable ,to point out that peoples actions do not always reflect their faith.

    People from your part of the world are highly emotional and most of the times overreact to what in the west is a normality. Pakistan problems are not graver than that faced by any other country in the planet. Incompetence, corruption and criminality is more serious in the Western world than that in the East.

    We are in recession because the Lehman Bros went broke in USA. The Greeks rich do not pay taxes and other European rich avoid taxes and deposit their wealth in Switzerland and Malaysia. Our politicians are influenced by the lobbyists who support poltical campaigns with illegal money. The capitalism is based on corruption which is now imbedded in institutions. But this is another subject. Good luck an if you hve time send a copy of your article to your political and military leaders.

    Rex Minor

  34. gautam United Arab Emirates Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    The capitalism is based on corruption which is now imbedded in institutions. But this is another subject. Good luck an if you hve time send a copy of your article to your political and military leaders.


    our goverments dont want the population capable of critical thinking.
    they just obedient workers.people smart enough to run the machine and just dumb enough to passively accept their situation.

  35. Rex Minor Germany Google Chrome Windows says:


    Our existance gives us freedom! Our freedom helps us to think idependently and without any coersion or force, we act because we are endowed with human reaction. Reaction is very important and could be energised with a week or two of physio-therapy.

    What is the Govt task. in all this. Human initiative is required, the less the role of the Govt in a project the more successful would be its completion. Beauracracy creates obstacles. Watch how NGO’s operate, without any private funds but with charity contributions. There is a lot of unused money in the system; just grab it and with a bit of enterpreeour talent you are the CEO.

    Rex Minor

  36. Mustafa United States Internet Explorer Windows says:

    Sorry I was away for a while, didnt get time to respond. But here goes.

    Many say that the Pakistani Taliban are Afghanis crossing over from Afghanistan. THIS IS FALSE. THE AFGHAN TALIBAN AND PAKISTAN TALIBAN HAVE NO COMMON PERSONNEL. Pakistani Taliban consist of Pakistani AND NON AFGHAN MILITANTS.

    Someone previously mentioned I was wrong because Afghan Taliban come to Pakistan to fight Pakistan Army, this is false! They have no relation whatsoever.

    @Arshad: I responded to your comment above. The point is beig open minded. I HOPE PEOPLE ARE OPEN MINDED REGARDLESS OF WHETHER THEY THINK LIKE YOU OR ME.

    @AKB: I dont know who Mirjai’s are but nevertheless, like I mentioned the Pak Taliban and Afghan Taliban are worlds apart. The only thing they have in common is the word ”Taliban” in thier name, thats all!

    Taliban like many other labels are open to misrepresentation and hijacking.

    @Mohammad Iqbal: Giving an analysis of foreign forces in Pakistan IS NOT TO SHIFT THE BLAME AWAY FROM OUR OWN STUPIDITY AND OUR OWN WEAKNESS. THE PURPOSE IS TO GIVE AN ANALYSIS . We are the main people at fault! If we improve our education , poverty, and our security, both enemies foreign and domestic will never succeed in making trouble.

    The unfortunate part is that bloggers and opiniated people attack people who think differently from them. Everyone wants to say that I am right and everyone else is wrong, it is this mentality that keeps us from having a productive discussion.

  37. Rex Minor Germany Google Chrome Windows says:


    No one is wrong! Everyone has an opinion and everyone has the possibility to learn from one another. I am certainly tryig to learn all along. We are the society of knowledge and collectively we shall overcome the conflicts if we have solutions for social problems. Both Afghanistan and Pakistan were first destabilised and only later became the free for all foreign elements while the majority citizen looked on as non participant spectators. Neither the media nor the regular talk shows reached the majority of the populace.

    Two great actors who caused destabilisation were the military commanders of foreign force as well as of Natioal armies. Both these elements must first be deactivated so that the civilian leadership restore their control in the communities. Natives and natives alone can protect their own villages and towns.

    The alternative would be to turn Pakistan into a gang-ho land copying the American way of life which the world is witnessing.

    Rex Minor

  38. Momo Pakistan Google Chrome Windows says:

    Agree, Pakistan problems are not graver than that faced by any other country in the planet. Incompetence, corruption and criminality is more serious in the Western world than that in the East.

  39. saad United States Google Chrome Windows says:

    Hurrah there is agreement between the two great social scientists Momo and Manure that:

    “Pakistan problems are not graver than that faced by any other country in the planet. Incompetence, corruption and criminality is more serious in the Western world than that in the East.”

    Beam me up, Scotty!

  40. tajender United Arab Emirates Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    TRUE STORY…………………Modi: The opium for Gujarat’s masses

    As expected, the Gujarat elections could hardly have escaped national attention. Narendra Modi will have probably won the polls even before the last votes are counted. This nation is at the crossroads: a demagogic leader, conceited in thoughts and uncompromising in actions, is wiping clean his past with the present. He could soon push India into a phase of unilateral politics, ascending to the very top. This could also mean less legroom for India’s much-vaunted democracy.

    In Gujarat, the meek has had little chance of inheriting the earth. It’s for those who can marshal industry, movie stars and pricey international lobbying firms to create a hallucination-inducing hallo around their heads to hold nation spellbound.

    What will Gujarat be remembered for? What should it be remembered for? As a vibrant economy or as India’s Auschwitz?

    I still remember my 2008 summertime trip to Gujarat – Ahmedabad first, Vadodara and then to Surat. It was an early morning flight. At the airport, Mahmood Madni, the Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind leader, rolls out his Persian-style prayer rug at the VIP lounge of Indira Gandhi International Airport. Its time for the fazr namaz, the first of the five daily prayers. Soon, a prominent BJP leader, Ravi Shankar Prasad, strolls in. The men exchange warm greetings.

    Yet, they are headed in different directions: Madni was going to extend a hand of support for Gujarati Muslims and Prasad was flying to Patna to shore up some more support for his Hindutva-based party, whose leader Modi is often accused of letting deadly mobs butcher Muslims in 2002, although he denies this.

    An aisle seat separated Madni’s seat from mine. On an empty stomach, the frugal Air India breakfast seemed like a hearty meal, which gave way to a wink of sleep.

    On arrival at Ahmedabad, swarms of Muslims greeted the maulana with passionate hugs. Soon, we were joined by Mahesh Bhatt, the Bollywood film-maker whose support for Muslims is now famous. From there, we proceeded to a venue where Bhatt and Madni addressed a huge crowd, denouncing terror yet accusing authorities of picking up innocent Muslims merely on suspicion.

    During the course of the next two days, I got glimpses of a changing Gujarat. A tarmac-like highway to Surat via Vadodara, half-finished residential high-rises, glass-fronted office buildings and brisk business, with the state’s own version of Davos, called “Vibrant Gujarat”.

    Duty waivers for developers of IT parks, concessions for investors lapping up special economic zones, cheap real estate, cheaper power, labour laws loaded in the favour of employers and AAPCO Worldwide, an influential PR machinery – all of this and more, so that you can take in the change. It is Modi’s temerity that he frequently criticizes Indian prime minister Manmonhan Singh for his single-minded worship of economic growth, while being unmindful of ordinary folks, although that’s exactly all Modi has been singularly gunning for.

    India’s Auschwitz
    These days, they say a lot is changing in Gujarat. But is this changing the lot of its millions? Rather than what’s changing in Gujarat, I am interested in what’s not.

    So, the next morning, after breaking bread with a family, I headed to India’s Auschwitz, a walled residential complex called Gulbarg Society In Ahmedabad that burned with sectarian rage under Modi’s watch.

    An iron gate opened to a narrow path, lined on either side by empty houses with windows shut tight.

    At the first instant, these homes seemed to house happy families behind its walls, basking in the privacy of shut doors and windows. It’s only when 42-year-old Maulana Hakimuddin, my guide, opens one of the windows of that horror strikes.

    It was a window to a lost world from where dead people wailed in my mind’s ears. Empty rooms, house after house. Blackened walls, toppled chairs. Each house had its own a horror story. After all, close to 70 people had died here, waiting for help from police that never came.

    Every other day, bakery worker Abdul Hannan takes groups of curious Muslims on a tour of Gulbarg Society as if it were another mausoleum. Hannan hates it, but visitors insist he lead them down memory lane.

    Gulbarg Society’s lane is a cul-de-sac. It leads to Ehsan Jafri’s house that stands as a testimony to an unspeakable crime. Nearby, Jafri’s remains lie buried in what is a small mound. On February 28, 2002, a mob hacked its residents, including Jafri, and dumped their bodies into fire. They then danced over the dead.

    Muslims transiting the city often come inquiring about Jafri’s house. “People come to just gaze at Jafri’s house in silence,” said Hannan. “They either get in touch with local mosques or with the Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind office.”

    Almost a week after rioters cleaned Gulbarg Society of all signs of life, Hakimuddin, accompanied by a Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind team, reached the plundered neighbourhood on the morning of March 6.

    Hakimuddin was rushed urgently to bury those killed, including Jafri, as required by Islamic religious norms. Hakimuddin, who is now the national general secretary of Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind, wants a mausoleum built where Jafri’s empty house stands.

    In changing Gujarat, little has changed inside Gulbarg Society. Another visit a year later, the same old shrieks ring out from behind the doors and windows. Restless souls in search of peace, whose wails hit a sound barrier called AAPCO Worldwide.

    Inside a Delhi safehouse
    Yakoob Rasool has haunting eyes. They are cold. The man is cautious, unwilling to lower his guard. He will not tell you where he lives. Or what his future holds for him. But you will understand his discretion once you know who he is: the husband of Gujarat riots survivor Bilkis Yakoob Rasool Bano.

    On a windy afternoon of January 2008, I had met him at a safe-house in the sprawling heart of Delhi. He was taking a quiet break from a battle that had entered a turning point. A Mumbai court had convicted 12 people, including a police official, for attacking 14 members of Bilkis’ family, in which eight were killed and six went missing.

    The Rasools hate Randhikpur — a small hamlet some 250 km from Ahmedabad — where they lived in a small cluster of 60 households belonging to the local Ghanchi Muslim community. Ghanchis traditionally are members of the Tablighi Jamaat or voluntary Muslim preachers who are often looked upon suspiciously.

    Rasool, however, like others of his ilk, was a cattle-rearer and a milkman. “It’s difficult to believe that the people who I supplied milk to each morning had raped my wife in turns and slaughtered my relatives. They knew who Bilkis was their doodhwala’s (milkman’s) gharwali (wife),” he says.

    When Bilkis was raped, Rasool decided that there was no point hiding it to avoid social embarrassment. He decided not to rest till justice was done. “Organised sexual violence was used as a tool,” says human rights activist Malini Ghose, who along with colleagues, Lucknow-based Huma Khan and Delhi-based Farha Naqvi persuaded prominent lawyer Harish Salve to take up her case.

    Reflect on what happened in Randhikpur on February 28, 2002, a day after unidentified people torched a train bogey carrying kar sevaks (Hindu devotees) in Godhra, killing them in a horrific moving inferno.

    It started as a sunny morning, calm and cool. Rasool could soon sense that Randhikpur’s skies had turned black with smoke. When the fires started by mobs reached his doorstep, Rasool knew what was going on — mass murder. He gathered Bilkis and all other women, asking them to flee as a group. The men would take another escape route.

    Rasool thought the rioters might opt to leave the women unharmed. The strategy did not work. On a lonely stretch a few km away, one neighbour raped Bilkis and another shoved his foot into her mouth, even as she desperately wanted to tell them she was pregnant. They then tossed her three-year-old girl in the air so that she would smash her head upon landing on the rocky ground on that road to death in Panevala.

    It’s the native optimism of Muslims – the Quran forbids cynicism — that makes Rasool say Hindu-Muslim unity in Gujarat is possible. “Log agar chahein to mumkin hai, par Narendra Modi ko jaana hoga (it can happen if people want, but Narendra Modi has to go).” Gujarat doesn’t look prepared to make that change yet, where Muslims and Hindus still live largely separated lives.

  41. Rex Minor Germany Google Chrome Windows says:

    Sad is a sad case; it was Rene Descartes the 17th centurytheologist and thinker who said along the line that since no one complains about the common sense which each one of us has, simply proves that God has provided equal share of common sense to all. He was in error;

    1. How could the one with less should know about it?
    2. How should one know if the common sese one is born with is gesund/healthy in english.

    Unfortunately, you are a unique case affected by above two and after having lived with the inferiority complex over react to social ills of your society and overlook the inherent corrupt democratic order of the western societies. Do ot tell me that you are not unaware of the organised Mafia in Italian politics or the about the lobbyist controlled houses in the land of milk, honey and equal opportunity.
    Now tell your scotty to beam you to the US senate and watch every now and then the members coming in and out of the house.

    People like you need more than two centuries to rid themselves of the colonial implant in your system. You are not the slolutio but part of the problem.

    Rex Minor

  42. Rex Minor Germany Google Chrome Windows says:

    40,000 americans are estimated to die in 2013 if the afro-am President does not take the lead for a gun control, says the mayor of New York.

    Pakistan leaders need only to have a dialogue with tribal leaders of the groups, who are operating under the label of taliban and intruding into security areas with their fireworks.

    Rex Minor

  43. MilesToGo United States Safari Mac OS says:

    Afghans have the real solution for Pakistan. Afghan only can bring real Islam to Pakistan. Once Pakistanis follow true Islam, there will be peace and prosperity. Islam is the only answer.

  44. Momo Pakistan Google Chrome Windows says:

    @Rex Minor well, dialogue with Taliban is certainly the only solution to the prevailing issues, we need to feed this into our ruling leaders to halt bombardment, leashing drones etc.

  45. Momo Pakistan Google Chrome Windows says:

    @MilesToGo I agree to disagree that only Taliban know Islam and have solutions to our problems. to me, it’s all about winning hearts and minds of the people !! We need a leadership which has the tendency to maintain balance in the society and not to impose what they believe in. we all are Muslims and already follow the scripture of Islam, we don’t need an extremist mindset to lead !!

  46. Milestogo United States Safari iPhone says:

    If we were following Islam correctly, there would have been peace and prosperity in Pakistan.

  47. Momo Pakistan Google Chrome Windows says:

    We really need to follow Islam to have peace and prosperity !!

  48. Rex Minor Germany Google Chrome Windows says:


    I heard this evening Pakistan foreign minister on BBC Panorama program stating that the Govt. of Pakistan is against the America drones which is loosing us the war to win hearts and mind of people though the Americans are winning the battles. She also stated that they, the Pakistan Govt. and the American aministration will come to an agreement.
    The rational attitude of the Pakistan Govt. should be to degrade the diplomatic relations with the USA Govt. as a first step towards terminating all agreements if the Yanks do not respect the sovereignty of Pakistan.

    Rex Minor

    PS The Drone commander is on his way to witness the collateral damage in New Port.

  49. MilesToGo United States Safari Mac OS says:

    Umma should stop selling oil to kuffar – drone attacks will stop the same night.

    There is a reason why Allah gifted oil to Muslims.

  50. MilesToGo United States Safari Mac OS says:

    Taliban are simple people, they are not materialistic like PAkistanis. All they want is Islam. They are sacrificing their lives for Allah – that is enough evidence that they are more committed to Islam than Pakistanis. Pakistani’s are getting kaffirized by the day.

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