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Gandhi, Nehru, Jinnah and Partition

By Yasser Latif Hamdani Lately the news coming out of India is not good. Other than Modi’s unfathomable pronouncements about there being genetic science and plastic surgery in ancient India, there have begun mass “re-conversions” of Muslims to Hindus under the “Purkhon ki wapsi” events. Meanwhile one minister of the Modi government has gone on the offensive and declared non-Hindus to be bastards and another minister has declared Bhagwad Gita to be the “national scripture” of India which is constitutionally a secular state. The space for Non-Hindus in India is shrinking amidst protests by Indian liberals and those who have always argued in favour of India’s model of democracy and secularism that it is against the very ethos of India. Through this post I want to forward a couple of arguments which are as … Read entire article »

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Idiotic autocrats

Idiotic autocrats

by Saad Hafiz A Turkish government spokesman summarised the reaction to the outcome of the 2007 Turkish parliamentary elections in other Muslim countries as: “What the hell did the Turks do right that we did not do? How come they can manage a predominantly Muslim population, negotiate [for membership] with the EU [European Union], and have a workable democracy while we are stuck with these idiotic autocrats?” The spokesman may have lacked tact but he cut … Read entire article »

Filed under: Citizens, Democracy, Islam, Opinion, Pak Tea House

But What About Blasphemy Against Human Decency?

But What About Blasphemy Against Human Decency?

Usmann Rana A five month pregnant woman and her husband beaten up by a mob and burned alive in the very same kiln where they worked. A child with mental challenges (reportedly Down’s Syndrome) jailed for ‘allegedly’ desecrating the Holy Qur’an, the Muslim scripture. A colony set ablaze by self-righteous defenders of the faith which ended up costing the lives of eight Christian men, women and a child and damage to a church. In any society with human decency and compassion such … Read entire article »

Filed under: Blasphemy, Democracy, human rights, Islamism, Justice, Lahore, minorities, Pakistan, Punjab, Religion, Rights, Society, violence

Jinnah and the Blasphemy Law

By Yasser Latif Hamdani “I thoroughly endorse the principle that while this measure should aim at those undesirable persons who indulge in wanton vilification or attack upon the religion of any particular class or upon the founders and prophets of a religion, we must also secure this very important and fundamental principle that those who are engaged in historical works, those who are engaged in bona fide and honest criticism of a religion, shall be protected.“  Jinnah on the passage of 295-A of the Indian Penal Code (also Pakistan Penal Code) There is a common tendency – common between Islamists and self-hating Pakistanis alike – to tarnish Jinnah’s memory by saying that because Jinnah was lawyer in appeal (for a fee and purely in a professional capacity) for Ilam Din who was … Read entire article »

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I Love Karachi

I Love Karachi

We are posting Ali Jafri’s pictures – hope the readers would like them. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Architecture, Arts and Crafts, Economy, Heritage, Images, Karachi, Liberal Democratic Pakistan, liberal Pakistan, Pak Tea House, People's Pakistan, Photos, Tourism

Textbook Nationalism

Textbook Nationalism

By Saad Hafiz Prior to and since independence, both India and Pakistan have challenged and manipulated their joint histories for both political and social reasons. Evidently different nationalist ideologies also shape the message in textbooks that India and Pakistan seek to convey to their future citizens. Stark contrasts emerge in the portrayal of political leaders, as well as the causes, consequences and even dates of events. Historical events are politicised to substantiate present events with textbooks used … Read entire article »

Filed under: Citizens, Education, History, India, Jinnah, Pakistan, Pakistan-India Peace Process, Partition

Jinnah and the Shahidganj dispute: “Give me more Gokhales”

Jinnah and the Shahidganj dispute: “Give me more Gokhales”

Independence Day special By Yasser Latif Hamdani Jinnah’s role as the main leader of the Pakistan Movement 1940 onwards has overshadowed his other numerous contributions to India in the independence struggle and as a mediator between communities.  Jinnah, who even the mid 1930s, was denounced as “more Congress than Congress” on numerous occasions intervened in inter-communal disputes and resolved them, which tragically have been forgotten because of the partisan approach to the India’s partition.  Indians have since … Read entire article »

Filed under: History, Jinnah

Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah addresses to the nation on partition on 15 Aug 1947

Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah addresses to the nation on partition on 15 Aug 1947

Malik Omaid Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s vision for the Pakistani state was never controversial. It was nothing new to the people Jinnah was addressing to. But during the course of time when Pakistan’s state adopted the ideology or it was forced to do so, the secular ideas of Jinnah were also made to hide. People now mostly know the idea of Pakistan as an Islamic state. But the 11th August speech was a stone in the way … Read entire article »

Filed under: Anniversery, Citizens, Constitution, Democracy, Egalitarian Pakistan, History, human rights, Islam, Jinnah, Karachi, Liberal Democratic Pakistan, liberal Pakistan, minorities, movements, Pak Tea House, Pakistan, Pakistan-India Peace Process, Partition, peace, People's Pakistan

What passes for history these days- Tufail Ahmad of Indian Express.

  By Yasser Latif Hamdani Tufail Ahmad – a columnist for the Indian Express- has rehashed  two of the most dishonest men in Pakistan’s history –  Agha Shorish Kashmiri and Dr. A Q Khan to prove that Maulana Azad had a crystal ball with which he could see in the future.  When challenged Tufail Ahmad arrogantly referred to me as a kid born in 1980.  Apparently that passes for a counter-argument these days. He says I don’t have source. My source is the fact that this document does not exist anywhere except Agha Shorish Kashmiri’s 1972 book on Azad.  My source is the fact that Azad does not mention these specific predictions (the ones mentioned) in his “India Wins Freedom”. Anyway here are the excerpts from an blog post I wrote 5 years … Read entire article »

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Servants, not masters

by Saad Hafiz In the aftermath to the country’s independence, Mr Jinnah clearly articulated the role of the military: “Do not forget that the armed forces are the servants of the people. You do not make national policy; it is we, the civilians, who decide these issues and it is your duty to carry out these tasks with which you are entrusted.” Other than large-size pictures of the founding father that adorn military institutions, Mr Jinnah’s unambiguous view on civil-military relations was soon buried like the rest of his legacy, to the country’s detriment. With Mr Jinnah’s passing, the military swiftly suborned the political apparatus, becoming the driving force behind the country’s politics, ideology and destiny. It saw fit to manipulate civilian politicians, manage civilian institutions, and invest in a military economy … Read entire article »

Filed under: Democracy, Egalitarian Pakistan, human rights, Jinnah, Liberal Democratic Pakistan, Politics, public policy, Society

Who moved my “liberal” cheese ?

By Yasser Latif Hamdani The beauty of freedom of speech is that  every opinion, even the most idiotic and nonsensical opinion, is allowed to be aired. It is therefore left to the marketplace of ideas to determine what is or isn’t a viable idea.  My blog here should be read in this spirit, as should the shrill responses it will elicit. I have spent the better part of the last 17 months fighting the landmark Youtube case in the Lahore High Court. In the process I have encountered threats from religious right, abuses attacks and physical threats. Yesterday I won a small victory when the High Court acknowledged that the YouTube Ban was unsustainable and that the government was hiding behind a Supreme Court order. Why did I fight this so vehemently? I was not … Read entire article »

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Ahrar-ul-Hind IV: Indian National Congress’ unholy matrimony with Islamists of Ahrar and Jamiat-e-Ulema-Hind

By Yasser Latif Hamdani Continuing from Part I,  Part II and Part III,  I will address a few other claims that apologists for the Congress and its trenchant alliance with the Islamists of Ahrar and Jamiat-e-Ulema-Hind have put up.  Most notable was this article by one B R Singh writing in Greater Kashmir. He writes: The Majlis e Ahrar ul Islam was born in Lahore in 1929. It comprised Deobandi Muslims dissatisfied with the way the Khilafat movement had turned out. Taking Maulana Azad’s advice, they set up their own organization. The Ahrars supported Congress and the Motilal Nehru Report that had rejected the Muslim demand for separate electorates. The Ahrars felt that joint electorates had worked well in Punjab and they need not hold up Muslim negotiations with Congress for political rights. … Read entire article »

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Ahrar-ul-Hind III: Congress’ encouragement of sectarian Islamists against Jinnah, League, Shias and Ahmadis

By Yasser Latif Hamdani A number of other claims have been made by apologists of the Congress Party on Part I and Part II of the present series. Even though this series was not about the Congress Party but about the link between Ahrar-ul-Hind and Majlis-e-Ahrar but I suppose one can answer this question. Congress encouraged and supported the Majlis-e-Ahrar in its use of the vilest religious propaganda against Jinnah, Muslim League, Shias and Ahmadis so long as their objective of weakening the League was met.  Ayesha Jalal writes on pages 457 in her classic Self and Sovereignty: “There was something peculiar about a ‘secular’ nationalist party counting on the vocal support of anti-imperial cultural relativists of Ahrar and Madani to claim a Muslim following. A spate of pamphlets published by Jamiat-e-Ulema Hind … Read entire article »

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Ahrar-e-Hind (TTP Mohmand Group) : the 21st Century reincarnation of Majlis-e-Ahrar-e-Islam Hind

By Yasser Latif Hamdani Bilawal Bhutto in his closing speech to Sindh Festival reminded the intellectuals of Pakistan that those who stand with the Taliban today are the same people who stood against Jinnah and called him Kafir-e-Azam.  This point is not always underscored. The recent emergence of the terrorist group Ahrar-e-Hind has surprised many.  Unfortunately our intellectuals do not read history nor are they particularly adept at any kind of deep analysis.  Had they read some history, they would know that the whole intellectual movement that has spawned Taliban has always been consistent in its hatred of Pakistan, its founding principles and what it represented for the Muslims of South Asia. The role of Majlis-e-Ahrar is the most significant when it comes to Militant Islam in the subcontinent. This was a pre-partition body of … Read entire article »

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The Islamization of Pakistan

The Islamization of Pakistan

by Syed Foaad Hassan Quaid-e-Azam in his March 1940 presidential address said “It is extremely difficult to appreciate why our Hindu friends fail to understand the real nature of Islam and Hinduism. They are not religious in the strict sense of the word, but are, in fact, different and distinct social orders; and it is only a dream that the Hindus and Muslims can ever evolve a common nationality. This misconception of one Indian Nation has … Read entire article »

Filed under: Islamism, Jinnah