By Yasser Latif Hamdani
It has long been my policy to ignore altogether the blog that claims to be run by “critical PPP supporters” called “Let us build Pakistan”, though it really should be called “Let us Bomb Pakistan” because of the nature of its materials. Nor is it in the least bit affiliated with the Pakistan People’s Party.
Let me start by explaining why I am writing this blog post. Raza Rumi is one of the most extraordinary progressive intellectuals produced by Pakistan – the sort who will leave an indelible mark long after all of us are gone. His work as a civil society activist as well as an author is already well recognized and needs no elaboration. His work on behalf of minorities and his work to create an inclusive and liberal space in Pakistan is the kind of stuff that gives one hope. Rumi’s latest book “Delhi By Heart” is a magnificent effort which will heal many wounds of the subcontinent. All these are well known. Also well known is the fact that most intellectual giants of the subcontinent – and not just Pakistan – hold him in great esteem and regard. Every minute of his day is spent towards the cause that he has dedicated his life to. One may agree or disagree with something but to accuse such a man of being bigoted or biased is ridiculous to nth degree.
What are some of the claims that LUBP’s anonymous bloggers such as Abdul Nishapuri make?
1. First is that since as The Friday Times – a well known and well established liberal weekly – interviewed Ahmed Ludhianvi of ASWJ, it some how amounts to Rumi giving fanatics a platform. This is hogwash. Does that mean all those newspapers and magazines who interviewed Ossama Bin Laden or other terrorists were giving them a platform? Does this mean that CNN and BBC gave Al Qaeda a platform when it played videos of Ossama Bin Laden? This is a ridiculous argument and it needs to exposed as such.
2. A scurrilous claim is made that Raza Rumi and Jinnah Institute are being funded by someone in the deep state. How ironic that Jinnah Institute – as a liberal think tank – is slandered routinely by right wing organizations of being funded by “foreign forces”. Raza Rumi is an Executive Director of the Jinnah Institute. His work there on democracy, human rights, equal rights for all citizens of Pakistan and even such things as awareness on issues such as polio is part of public domain. Jinnah Institute is the brain child of and headed by none other than Sherry Rahman who is one of the courageous and liberal Pakistani politicians out there. She put her neck on the line on the blasphemy issue and to this day is hounded by fanatics. Unlike the cowards who write for LUBP, Sherry Rahman has taken on the real issues of this country by the horns. That takes courage. Slandering her or Jinnah Institute or Raza Rumi is plain and simple wrong.
There is nothing else in the claims of LUBP that make any sense. Badly written, it is clear that whoever is behind LUBP is neither well read, well educated or even sincere. Not long ago, LUBP was attacking Salmaan Taseer as an ISI agent. Here is a prediction- LUBP will soon list Malala Yousafzai as an ISI agent as well. After all they listed Ali Dayyan as one at one point.
Internet is a broad-based forum that allows for a variety of opinions. Some of them may be offensive and wrong. That is certainly the case with LUBP. LUBP targets anyone and everyone in Pakistan who stands for an inclusive democratic polity. The epithet “Shia Genocide Supporter” is affixed on anyone – including renowned Shias and people who have worked very closely with the Shia Community- who disagrees with or has a different point of view on any issue. Interestingly most Shia organizations do not own any of what LUBP says on their behalf. The Shia Muslims of Pakistan know very well that groups like LUBP are not in for their rights.
BTW if someone is wondering who LUBP’s “rights activists”, LUBP’s anonymous bloggers come from a variety of backgrounds. Abdul Nishapuri for example was known to be a member of Hizbut-Tahrir’s wing at a little known business college in UK, where he is an assistant professor. He visited Pakistan on a few occasions and was arrested by the police for inciting violence in the name of Khilafah. This was in 2004. Lo and behold the same Nishapuri has become the champion of Shias now. I challenge Nishapuri to prove otherwise because we have records and we will soon take appropriate legal action against this business school assistant professor right in his own home.
Now maybe it is a genuine conversion i.e. from Hizbut Tahrir to World Shia Conference or some such thing. Who knows? But what is certain is that Nishapuri’s support for the Shia Cause has never been consistent. Someone ought to ask who funds the website – lubpak.com? Now that I have given these internet trolls a lot more space than they deserve, I feel ashamed of having done so. People like Abdul Nishapuri and others like him will never amount to much.
Here is a little advice to Nishapuri, the Hizbut-Tahrir activist turned Shia Champion: Unplug. You are not doing anyone any good. Real Shias- those who never joined Hizbut Tahrir- do not care about your online targeting of people they know to be their friends. Creating confusion and chaos online is like a storm in a tea cup. You will never succeed in subverting the cause of Pakistanis struggling for a progressive and democratic republic.
As for the rest – take everything Nishapuri says with a pinch of salt. He is in my opinion a fifth columnist who is out to back-stab and sabotage those who have put their lives on the line for the cause of a just, plural, democratic and secular Pakistan.
* Views expressed are author’s own and nobody else’s. -YLH