In Pakistan, an assassination and the death of words

March 4, 2011

bhattiWhen I first heard about Shahbaz Bhatti’s assassination, there seemed to be nothing sensible to be said about it.  Not yet another prediction about Pakistan’s growing instability, nor even an outpouring of anger of the kind that followed the killing of Punjab governor Salman Taseer in the English-language media.  The assassination of the Minorities Minister did not appear to portend anything beyond the actual tragedy of his death.  And nor could anyone say it came as a  surprise. A loss of words, then. A painful punctuation mark.

Cafe Pyala has now articulated far better than I could what went through my mind when I first heard about the assassination.

“There was a time when some of us would have leapt at the chance to throw words into this maelstrom, to comment on a senseless tragedy like the one today. As journalists, as commentators, as columnists, it would have been like going to the Promised Land. High profile murder? Check. Law and order issue? Check. Spectre of extremism? Check. Possibility of point scoring against toothless government? Check. Energizing, empowering, emboldening feeling of being part of a struggle that is bigger than one’s self? Check, Check, Check and Check!

“That time is long past.”

It is that loss of words that is perhaps the most troubling. Everyone already knows that publicly challenging the blasphemy laws in Pakistan can be a death sentence.  Everyone already knows the government appeased the religious right by pledging not to amend the laws after Taseer’s death (that appeasement, incidentally, is not unique to the current civilian government — the Musharraf government was also quite clear the laws could not be touched.) Everyone already knows that Pakistan’s minorities are particularly vulnerable (according to The Express Tribune, they comprise almost 10 million people, equal to everyone in Tunisia, or one-and-half times all of Libya. )

Shahbaz Bhatti was a Christian, and wanted a reform of the blasphemy laws. What more was there to say?

And the many bewildering causes of the current state of Pakistan have already been listed and debated so many times. The war in Afghanistan. Pakistan’s difficult relationship with the United States and a history of confrontation with India. Pakistan’s own troubled history and the challenge of finding an identity for itself as a mainly Muslim country that is not Islamist.  Its economic problems, exacerbated by a global financial downturn. The corruption of its elite.  The political shenanigans of an infant democracy in a country dominated by the military. The desensitisation created by near-daily killings along with a tendency for false moral equivalence – each condemnation of a death too often accompanied by a “but”.  What more is there to say?

“Faced with this insidious, creeping bleakness, even the strongest of us might be tempted, fleetingly, to embrace the self-anesthetization, the comfortable numbness, of those who survive by not speaking at all, by not writing at all, by not thinking at all,” wrote Cafe Pyala.  “But we must. We must because there is soft ground beneath us and if we stop, even for a second, to rest or lick our wounds we might sink and be lost.”

The alternative, wrote Nadeem Paracha at Dawn, was to accept a society “that has started to respond enthusiastically to the major symptoms of fascist thought”.

Echoing that theme,  Cyril Almeida, also at Dawn,  wrote that Pakistan was ripe for a demagogue who would offer a facile mix of Islam, nationalism and quick-fix economic promises to ride a populist wave to power.

“Our silence is criminal because one day, there will be no one left to speak out for you or I if we continue to remain silent,” wrote Mehmal Sarfraz at Tehelka.  “We cannot let anyone mute us, come life or death.”

Comments

“I wish we could share it with others with no nation, no country of their own”

I know that you are no stranger to plagiarism but imitating comments from Rex minor? C’mon, have some literary standards!

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive
 

@”Punjab, what a wonderful province, fertile land, hearty people, modern highways, great universities, beautiful people, big meals and big hearts, history etc.”

You forgot to mention, some of your Punjab’s other notable attractions, namely, Lashkar-e Tayiba, Lashkar-i Jhangvi, Jaish-e-Mohammed, Sipah-e-Sahaba etc.

Thanks but no thanks, we’re good where we are!

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive
 

I’ve heard the food is amazing, though. Would like to visit sometime, when things get better. My friend Umair has promised to show me around.

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive
 

Speaking of Umair, haven’t seem him around in a while. I hope he’s doing OK. (NO shahidkhan, regardless of what you might assume, this is not an act)

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive
 

Shahidkhan123 said:

> the ideal people would be someone with a warrior history now neutered by a large pluralist, liberal, democratic union.

Neutered? I like your choice of words. I presume in Pakistan these warrior instincts have free reign, which explains the daily carnage there.

I realise you’re having a lot of fun tweaking people, but the deadly serious backdrop to your jokes is the steady disintegration of your own country. For people who try to see this in humanistic terms rather than in jingoistic or religious terms, this is a tragedy. Pity you don’t seem to be interested in collaborative solutions.

Try and be balanced for a change. It’s nobody’s case that India is the perfect nation, but you seem to be trying really hard to disprove a strawman of your own creation. You surely know that things in Pakistan are looking far less rosy now. Are you afraid Indians will crow? If you can lift the discourse to how South Asia can do better, I’m sure there will be a different tone to this discussion. Yes, there will be a few nasty posts from here and there, but you need to be able to ignore them and lift yourself higher. South Asia deserves better. Your country deserves better.

Regards,
Ganesh Prasad

Posted by prasadgc | Report as abusive
 

“kp says islam was spread in south asia by the sword. i diasgree with kp but I am pakistani. what do you think?”
***Shahid, are you drawing me into this? I do not much care about it actually.

Having said that, you said I am a Muslim “like a Jew living in Prussian hinterland in the 1930s.”? so how does it matter what I say? I liked your prescription to KP earlier to live in 2011, not past. Let us do that.

My views in this context are in record already somewhere on this blog. Like anything else, neither extreme position is an answer. Aurangzeb and Sufi saints are opposite poles on this. A simplistic answer is “I agree with you”.

My related question to you, and perhaps to the article also:
Do you think some minorities in Pakistan have converted to Islam due to some fear?

Posted by rehmat | Report as abusive
 

PAK is an acronym for punjab afghaina and kashmir
Posted by shahidkhan123
==

Where is Baluchistan (occupied Kalat) in PAK?

We know where Bengal is :-)

Posted by netizen | Report as abusive
 

Shahidkhan123 said:

> PAK is an acronym for punjab afghaina and kashmir

What I read was it’s an acronym for Punjab, Afghania, Kashmir and Indus-Sind, with a -stan at the end.

I guess nation creation is too serious a business to be left to English-educated Muslim League gentlemen playing word games :-) .

Regards,
Ganesh Prasad

Posted by prasadgc | Report as abusive
 

Ganesh: “What I read was it’s an acronym for Punjab, Afghania, Kashmir and Indus-Sind, with a -stan at the end.”

Let us look in 2011 onwards as our friend suggested.

After Balochistan, Azad Kashmir and Sindh (Indus) separate in the future, whatever is left will be BAKIstan – land of Mumtaz Qadri, birthplace of Ajmal Kasab and will be ultra pure, orthodox and a fortress of radical religion, in which women would be sold like cattle. Long live Bakistan! :-)

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

(Sorry, I lost your li’l gems in the crowd)

@”No other people have everbeen able to control the sikhs other than the Pashtoons” Posted by pakistan

No, you got it mixed up again. It’s the other way around. You need to go back to the history books (real ones, not pakistani ones).

@”they themselves are victims. Victims of the Hindu caste system which has classified them as warriors, not suitable for any decent profession other than to live and die in violence”

That would explain why more than 90% of sikhs living in India are civilians.

@”In the USA and Canada they get knocked off without any notice!”

Roflol! Can you please explain what do you mean by this statement? Should I be worried? Am I going to be the next to “get knocked off without any notice”? lol

PS: You know, I’ve tried to see things from your point of view but it’s hard for me to get my head inside my ass!

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive
 

Here is something I saw in NY Times. Hard times are ahead. Now non-Muslim or anti-Muslim radicals have started in Western countries.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/08/us/08g abriel.html?_r=1&src=ISMR_HP_LO_MST_FB

This is a sad development where gullible people can be manipulated and turned against moderate population. In California, Sikhs have been attacked for mistaken identity. World economy is getting strained and it can create conditions where warped minds can make gains.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

Pakistan’s ISI is a terrorist organization funding and fomenting the zealots of their predominant faith…Radical Islam. They are the cheif supporters and defenders of the Taliban.

In turn they are supported by some of the deepest pockets in the world, most of whom reside on the Arabian peninsula.

They don’t want the faithful to be peaceful or side with the tolerant.

They want anger, fear, and hatred to fuel the followers and keep their sanity at bay.

This man’s death is just another in a line of many they believe will lead to the goal of global religious dominance.

Snuffing out voices that breath words of tolerance or realistic justice or opposition to their brutality is the only method their faithful desire.

It will never stop until they are stopped.

Posted by NobleKin | Report as abusive
 

Shahidkhan123 said:

> I will have you know sir that I am enjoy recreational gardening.

Ah, that explains the glass house. All the more reason why you shouldn’t throw stones about revisionist history.

Regards,
Ganesh Prasad

Posted by prasadgc | Report as abusive
 

Shahidkhan: “I am just trying to open your eyes to the sentiments of your fellow Indians. If a pakistani makes a grammar mistake, you correct them. Kp gets a free pass even on Indian Revisionism of Islam in south asia.”

We represent a pluralistic society with vast divergence of opinions, some may not be agreeable to all members. Sometimes our views converge, like in the case of your country and sometimes they differ based on issues. There is no concrete proof to whether religions have been spread through peace or by the sword. In India, Buddhism and Jainism which had spread across most of the sub-continent, did encounter violent “inquisitions” in some parts as the kings changed their religions to Vaishnavism and Shaivism. Many Buddhist monasteries became Hindu temples. But one can never find a concrete proof for any of it. Read about the conquest by Malik Kafr, a Hindu convert to Islam, who raided all the way into Southern India. He was sent by Alauddin Khalji. Spaniards forcibly converted many Central Americans to Christianity as well. So Islam is not alone when pointed at for forced conversion. In some cases it has happened and in most cases due to various reasons. The slow disappearance of minorities in Pakistan is an example. Most probably people simply converted due to the fear of being surrounded by a belligerent majority. That too is a kind of forced conversion.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

“my cousin’s best friend is a hindu from her med school.”

This is supposed to be an example for non-tokenism :-)

http://tinyurl.com/4quvvec

Hindus attacked, evicted from their homes in Pak’s Sindh
Islamabad, July 12, 2010
Several members of the minority Hindu community were attacked and forced out of their homes in Pakistan’s southern Sindh province after a boy drank water from a facility outside a mosque.

About 60 Hindu men, women and children were recently forced to abandon their homes at Memon Goth in Karachi, the capital of Sindh, after influential tribesmen of the area objected to the boy drinking water from a cooler.

“All hell broke loose when my son, Dinesh, who looks after chickens in a farm, drank water from a cooler outside a mosque. Upon seeing him do that, the people of the area started beating him up,” a Hindu man named Meerumal told The News daily.

“Later, around 150 tribesmen attacked us, injuring seven of our people — Samo, Mohan, Hero, Chanu, Sadu, Heera, and Guddi — who were taken to the Jinnah Hospital,” he said.

The Hindus who were forced out of their homes have taken refuge in a cattle pen.

One of the injured, Heera, said about 400 Hindu families are being threatened to vacate the area.

“Our people are even scared of going out of their houses. We are also putting up with living in the filthy (cattle) pen because we cannot go home for fear of being killed,” said Heera, who too is living in a cattle shed.

Posted by netizen | Report as abusive
 

Shahidkhan:

“•India rampaged through the sacred sikh golden temple, killed sikh leaders and humiliated its followers.”

It was not done from a religious persecution standpoint.
Golden Temple became like a hijacked plane. There was no choice but to go in and fight the terrorists there. But it could have been avoided. Golden temple attacks is a culmination of many other events that all could have been avoided.

“•India used artillery against its own Sikh people in the religious residential area of Amristar”

It is unfortunate. When trying to remove weeds, good grass around it gets removed. But again, it was not from a religious persecution standpoint that you seem to be more familiar with in your country.

“•Indian police and para-military stood by idly as 3000+ Sikhs were murdered during the Sikh Riots.”

Justice will be served. Again, it was not done from a religious persecution standpoint. It was a revenge act unleashed by the “secular” Congress party goons when Sikh bodyguards assassinated Indira Gandhi.

“•India government stood by idly as the destruction of Babri Masjid took place”

It is more political than religious, much like the formation of Pakistan for “religious” purposes.

“•Indian state government of Gujrat headed by Modi committed a state-sponsored pogrom in gujrat killing 2000+ Muslims and displacing 100,000.”

Justice shall be served. No one will defend these acts. If you are looking for us to defend them, you are mistaken.

“•India has slaughtered 70,000-130,000 civilians in Kashmir”

This number is grossly exaggerated by propaganda machinery run by the ISI. Most killings have been carried out by Pakistan sponsored militants to deflect the public frustration towards the Indian military.

“•Indian forces have raped 9900 women in Kashmir”

More lies. How did you come up with exactly 9900?

“•India maintains an army 0f 700,000 soldiers in Kashmir (50% of its total army and greater than the entire Army of neighboring Pakistan) against the civilian population of that small state which numbers less than 4 million people.”

India has about 500000 soldiers in Kashmir, not because of the people there, but because of the proxy war run by Pakistan. It is very expensive to change logistics and one never knows when Pakistan will resume the proxy war. It is a very sensitive and geo-strategic region and our troops are there to protect our territorial integrity. These soldiers are not to clamp down on civilians.

“•India massacred peaceful Kashmiri protests in Gowkadal, Maisuma and Bijbehara”

Only Pakistani sources claim all this. Many non-Muslims have been massacred in Kashmir and the rest driven out of their ancestral homes.

“•human rights organization like Amnesty International and Asia Watch constantly report of indescribably inhumane treatment meted out to Kashmiris in government run torture cells and elsewhere”

Torture cells are commonplace all across the world. Even Americans have one. So learn to live with it. Amnesty International is a Western mouthpiece that is used for political gains. And they do not care about torture by militants. See Ganesh’s response to that. You keep coming back with the same repetitive false claims.

“•“The Armed Forces (J&K) Special Powers Bill (1990), which have been passed by the parliament of world’s largest “democracy”. This Bill grants authorization to members of Indian Security Forces to “fire upon or otherwise use force, even to the causing of death against any person” without fire orders.”

This law is under review. It is difficult to remove due to the high potential for insurgency in these border regions.

“100,000+ people have been brutally murdered by the Indian Security Forces in the past 20 years and thousands more have been intimidated and terrorized”

Propaganda in full swing again? How many million refugees from Kashmir have flooded Pakistan? They did in Afghanistan and East Pakistan? If your number is true, by now you must be facing a humanitarian crisis. Where are they?

“•According to a recent report by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) up to 50 million girls and women are missing from India’ s population as a result of systematic gender discrimination in India. Most victims of female infanticide.”

Quote reference. Let us look at that. We know infanticide is prevalent in backward areas, much like the honor killings or female genital mutilations in many Islamic countries. These things are not denied. Nations are constantly progressing and only progress will put an end to these social evils.

Do not over-psyche yourself with anti-India facts. It will only make things worse for you. Look at positive side of things for a change. There is a lot of positive stuff in India as well. That is why it has progressed this far. None of us deny some of the negative issues mentioned by you or others. But we know they won’t disappear overnight. And India’s negative issues will not help Pakistan survive. So go work on your issues first. We have put things in place to take care of ours.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

Shahidkhan: “How did Islam spread in all of Hindu Malaysia over a century of non-violence? where were the swords? or Animist Guinea?”

Malaysia was Buddhist before the king there converted to Islam. He converted because he was bankrupt and he was bailed out by Muslim traders with the agreement to convert to Islam. In those days, royal patronage was good enough for the people to follow suit. This is because if people needed jobs and high level positions, they needed to align with the religious preferences of the kings.

Have you heard of “Bhumi Putra” violence in Malaysia? May be you should look at how peaceful things there are.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

BTW Shahidkhan,

Read VS Naipaul’s book “Among the believers.” It deals a lot with South East Asian Muslim countries. In Indonesia, Islamic society is built on top of an earlier Buddhist framework (pesantran). Their airlines (Garuda) and many other names (Meghavathi Sukarno Putri) are still old Hindu names. They are not as puritanical as you people are. Without knowing the overall background, do not jump to conclusions.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

India has slaughtered 70,000-130,000 civilians in Kashmir
==

Most of that was from PUNJABISTANI terrorists killing Indian citizens like these:

http://www.kashmir-information.com/atroc ities/massacres.html

A partial listing of killings and massacres
Nadimarg Massacre, 24 March, 2003
Chattisinghpora Killings, March 2000
Prankot Killings, April 1998
Wandhama Killings, January 1998
Udhampore Killings, June 1997
Sangrampora Killings, 22 March 1997

August 14, 1993
A passenger bus in Kishtwar (Doda district) was stopped and fifteen Hindu passengers were massacred.

March 21, 1997
Sangrampura Massacre
In Sangrampura, a village 20 miles south of Srinagar in Jammu & Kashmir state, gunmen burst into homes of Hindus, took away seven men and killed them.

June 15, 1997
Passengers on a bus from Gool to Ramban was stopped by two men in comouflage uniforms. The Hindu passengers were asked to unboard and three were taken to a nearby nallah and shot. All three were Kashmiri Hindus.

January 25, 1998
Wandhama Massacre
The most shocking of the massacre of Kashmiri Hindus took place in Wandhama, a village near Srinagar, on January 25, 1998. The two dozen-odd terrorists dropped in for tea, around 2030 hours. The tea was served and they left a little after midnight.

When they arrived, the foothill village of Wandhama, 30 km outside Srinagar, boasted four families of Kashmiri Hindu Pandits, numbering around 23. When they left, there was none.

Not alive, that is. Barring a terrified, grief-stricken Vinod Kumar Dhar, all of fourteen, seeing through brimming eyes the bodies of his mother, sisters and relatives, their bodies marred with bullet holes, their last resting place a pool of their own blood.
This was followed by two more massacres, one at Khurhama, Ganderbal on August 9, 1998 in which four members of a family were killed. The third massacre took place September 17, 1998. Five male members of a minority community family and close relatives of a counter-insurgent were killed after being dragged out of their houses at Dagapora in Ganderbal late last night and shot them in cold blood.

April 17, 1998
Prankot Massacre
Twelve-year-old Sudesh isn’t sure whether she is lucky or not. She is yet to decide which is worse: Escaping death at the hands of militants, or being forced to live with memories of her entire family being massacred right in front of her eyes.

For this little girl from Prankot village in Udhampur district, currently under treatment at the Jammu medical college, the night of April 17 cannot be forgotten — that’s when militants gunned down 18 members of her family. Sudesh was brutally attacked with a sharp-edged weapon. The terrorists left after she fell unconscious, thinking her dead.

Soba Ram is another survivor of that bloody night. The militants killed eight members of his family. Only his second wife Rajkumari, their newborn child and two daughters, aged eight and five, who were in another village, escaped them.

About 1,000 people from these villages are in Pauni and Riyasi, fled in fear and stayed in temporary camps for a long timer before returning to their homes.

June 19, 1998
Champnagri Wedding Massacre
In an attack on a wedding party in the mountainous Doda district, 175km north-east of Jammu city, two bridegrooms and more than 20 wedding guests in a mountainous village were killed. The men were singled out and shot before the gunmen fled. Seven others were injured

July 27, 1998
Thakrai and Sarwan Massacre
At least 16 Hindus were killed in two night-time attacks in Doda district in two hill villages just a few kilometres apart. In Thakrai, terrorists burst into home of a Hindu family and opened fire with automatic weapons. Five people were killed on the spot and others later died from their injuries.

A little later there was a similar attack on a Hindu home in the village of Sarwan. Again, automatic weapons were used, at least eight people were killed.

Posted by netizen | Report as abusive
 

India has slaughtered 70,000-130,000 civilians in Kashmir
==

Most of that was from PUNJABISTANI terrorists killing Indian citizens like these:

http://www.kashmir-information.com/atroc ities/massacres.html

PART 2

July 19, 1999
Fifteen people including eight women died in a terrorist attack in Doda district. Among the dead were five members of the village defence committee, set up to protect remote villages from such attacks. Another six people were wounded, four of them seriously.

In another incident on Tuesday, four construction workers were killed in an attack on their camp in the Poonch district. Over forty people have lost their lives in similar terrorist attacks.

March 20, 2000
Chattisinghpora Massacre
The attack late evening in this village was carried out by 40 to 50 terrorists. They forced the residents from their homes, segregating the men from the women. They then opened fire on the men with automatic weapons. Thirty-four died instantly.

August 1, 2000
Amarnath Pilgrimage Massacre
At least 48 persons were killed in Pahalgam base camp of Amarnath Yatra that attracts 120-150,000 pilgrims every year in August.

Another two massacres took place in Anantnag where 19 Hindu migrant laborers from Bilaspur in Bihar were killed; and in Doda district where Hindu villagers were lined up and shot dead.

At least 90 people were killed in terrorist attacks across the state.

February 8, 2001
Kot Charwal Massacre
Families of Bakkarwal shepherds who had dared to take on terrorist groups active on the mountains above Rajouri became the victims of terrorism today as fifteen of their members lost lives to the terrorist bullets. They were all members of village defence committee set up to protect vulnerable Hindu minorities, a development of some significance.

It was not until the afternoon of February 9, as the embers of the burnt down shacks of the villagers had cooled, that the soldiers arriving at Kot Charwal discovered the charred bodies of victims. Soon they found the burned body of a woman, wrapped around that of the infant she had been trying to protect. By late evening, 15 bodies had been found. Seven were of children, the youngest of them just four years old.
May 9, 2001
Six villagers were beheaded in a terrorist attack in Doda district after 11 Hindu villagers were confronted by a group of armed men while grazing cattle in the remote Doda district. Several hours later, six bodies – all decapitated were discovered by the police. Three other villagers survived the attack with deep wounds to the throat.

July 20, 2001
Amarnath Pilgrimage Massacre
13 people were killed and another 15 wounded in an attack by terrorists on a Hindu pilgrimage high in the Himalayas. The terrorists exploded land mines then engaged Indian security forces in a gun battle at Sheshnag, halfway along the route to the cave-shrine of Amarnath. Six pilgrims, and five porters were among the dead.

July 22, 2001
Doda Massacre
Fifteen Hindu villagers were dragged out of their homes in Doda district and shot dead at point blank range.

August 3, 2001
Massacre of Shepherds
Seventeen abducted Hindu shepherds were massacred in an attack in Doda district, some 240 km north of Jammu. The terrorists kidnapped 21 shepherds who had taken their animals to graze on higher ground.

August 6, 2001
Railway Station Massacre
Three terrorists, armed with automatic weapons and wearing Indian army uniforms, launched an attack at Jammu railway station late afternoon and killed 11 people and injured more than twenty.

March 30, 2002
Raghunath Temple Massacre
The two terrorists who carried out the assault had arrived at the Raghunath temple complex in the heart of Jammu city just after 10-15 a.m. in a white jeep. They immediately opened fire at the guards outside the gate, killing three of them on the spot. One terrorist was unable to enter the temple, and was shot while trying to escape through the crowded market. The second terrorist entered the temple complex and killed four pilgrims and temple staff. Eight others were injured. Temple priest Jeevanand Giri escaped death only because the terrorist’s assault rifle had run out of ammunition by the time he reached the Dattatreya temple, where prayers were being conducted.

May 13, 2002
Kaluchak Massacre
In a gruesome attack, three members of a suicide squad of terrorists killed 30 persons, including seven bus passengers and 23 others in the family quarters of the Army, near Jammu today. Thirty-four persons were injured in the attack, and some of them are in a critical condition.

The attack on the bus took place around 5.35 a.m. at Kaluchak on the Jammu-Panthankot National Highway, a few kilometres from the Indo-Pakistan International Border. The three terrorists, who were dressed in Army fatigues, had boarded the bus, bound for Jammu from Kulu in Himachal Pradesh, at Samba, 30 km. from Jammu.

July 13, 2002
Qasim Nagar Massacre
A general strike paralysed parts of Kashmir on Monday in protest at the killing of 27 Hindu civilians by suspected pro-Pakistan Muslim militants near Jammu. The strike was most effective in Jammu, the winter capital of Indian-administered Kashmir, but it had ended without incident by mid-afternoon.

Jammu July 13. Twentyfive persons were killed and 21 injured, a number of them critically, when militants attacked a slum locality, near here this evening. The dead included 10 women, nine men, and a three-year-old boy. The militants lobbed grenades and opened fire at random on civilians, in an area inhabited by slum-dwellers, police sources said. Some of the victims were killed on the spot, they said, adding that there was a temple in the vicinity of the militant strike. A few killed were near the temple.The toll is likely to go up.

July 30, 2002
In their first strike on Amarnath pilgrims this year, terrorists have killed two persons and left five others wounded, when a cab was blown up with a grenade blast in Anantnag township of south Kashmir. The broad daylight strike was carried out amid heavy security arrangements this evening when the Jammu-bound pilgrims were returning after darshan from the holy cave.

August 6, 2002
In the second strike on Amarnath pilgrims within a week, unspecified number of militants in a daring act, attacked the “heavily guarded” base camp, gunning down nine devotees and injuring 30 others in their sleep in the wee hours at Nunwan near Pahalgam today. The Hindu pilgrims were attacked in the early hours of Tuesday morning, while they were sleeping at a camp on their way to a shrine in the foothills of the Himalayas. Gunmen threw a grenade and then opened fire on the travellers.

November 24, 2002
Rughnath Temple Massacre
Ten people were killed and 53 injured when a terrorist attacked the historic Raghunath temple in Jammu on Sunday evening, hurling grenades and firing indiscriminately on the heavily guarded temple complex in Raghunath chowk. Over 50 people were injured.

December 19, 2002
Terrorists killed three young girls in Thanamandi area of Rajouri district in Jammu division for not wearing burqas (veils). The following day terrorists barged into the house of Jan Begum in Darhal area (Rajouri district) and beheaded her for failure to observe burqa diktat of terrorists.

According to villagers, posters by the Lashkar-e-Jabbar, an off-shoot of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba, had been appearing in educational institutions in Rajouri district for the past one week asking Muslim women and girls to wear burqas and strictly follow the purdah system.

Elsewhere, at Rebbon near Sopore four members of a family, including a six-year-old, were gunned down by terrorists.

March 24, 2003
Nandimarg Massacre
At 2:30am on March 24, 2003, minority Hindus in the village of Nandimarg in Kulgam-Shopian belt in southern part of Kashmir Valley, 70 km away from Srinagar, were pulled out of their homes, assembled under a Chinar tree and mowed down by bullets sprayed by Islamic terrorists. The 10 to 15 terrorists who posed as Security Forces, disarmed the 9-member Police Guard and killed all but two Hindus, the latter escaping with injuries. Among the 24 persons killed were two children aged 4 and 5 years, 12 women and half a dozen elderly people.

Posted by netizen | Report as abusive
 

Shahidkhan,

Conversions happened due to various reasons – social prejudice, gaining favors, love affairs and marriage relations, Jazya tax burden and violence. In India, Islam spread in many fronts. The Arabs dealt with South Western India for a long time and there conversion to Islam happened by the most peaceful means. Violence came with the Turks who came in from Central Asia. Most of North India faced their onslaught. That is why there is so much of anger against Muslims in that part of the country. By the time of the Mughals, Islam had been accepted by the locals as another facet of the fabric. Religion did not become a major factor until Aurangzeb emerged. He used religion to consolidate his position and he needed money to run his military campaigns. Persecution was more prevalent during his time. He did demolish many Hindu temples and built mosques over them. But Mughals before and after him had been extremely tolerant and benevolent to the public.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

Shahidkhan,
watch the length of your cut and paste, I can also spam.

Posted by netizen | Report as abusive
 

@”Read VS Naipaul’s book “Among the believers
>> this man is a world renowned racist. you keep reading his books.” Posted by shahidkhan123

You mean “Pakistan renowned”. The guy has won more international literary awards (including the nobel prize) than all Pakistani authors put together. Just becuase you guys don’t agree with his views, doesn’t make him a racist. BTW, his wife is Pakistani.

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive
 

“>> did i say you could talk to me pak-attention lover? you love to eat our – don’t you?”

This is NOT yor mother’s backyard, where only pigs are allowed to enter. It’s a blog on the world wide web, owned by a canadian company. I have no interest in talking to a numbskull but if you put your nonsense up here, expect a response. If you don’t like it, go to Pakistani chat room or something & grunt your tiny balls off.

“we take your babes and you take our dogs!”

I mentioned about his Pakistani wife to disprove your notion about him being a racist but a degenerate that you are, you can’t think beyond shallow superficiality. What babes are you talking about anyways? Reality check -today, Indian women don’t even like to crap on pakistani guys. Quit flattering yourself!

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive
 

Shahidkhan,

I do have some reference about violent conversions during the spread of Islam. However, I am not taking your bait here. Your goal has been to trigger me to provide the details and bring in Rehmat into clashing with me. In addition, your hope would be to bring in more offended Muslims and turn this whole discussion into a Muslim vs non Muslim sword fight. I am not taking that bait. If you believe Islam spread from thin air everywhere, that’s fine with me. I know folks like you and have dealt with such warped people. Your ilk will try to derail the conversation with ideological issues and derive extensive fun out of it. Try your trick somewhere else. Your massive spam list about India itself shows how much you hate us and you are telling me that I hate you guys! Since that did not work, you are trying to bring in the religious discussion. Good luck.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

Shahidkhan: “this man is a world renowned racist. you keep reading his books.”

Have ever read any of his works? I see comments like these from people who have never had any exposure to others’ works and start making statements based on what they hear on the streets. Provide a valid reference to back up your statement that he is a racist. If you have read at least one of his books, quote the very lines that show that attitude in his writing. FYI, I have read all his works.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

tsk tsk, It’s a sad spectacle when a Pakistani with low self esteem, has to reffer to a self adulating article penned by another frustrated Pakistani, in order to massage his battered ego & shrinking weiner. I know, you guys are deperate but c’mon! No wonder, as per google, your country ranks #1 in porn searches. This one really cracked me up “This is the land of tall and good-looking men. No Asif Zardari, Nawaz Sharif and Pervez Musharraf are not the only ones.” :)

“>> Yes but Indian men like to get crapped on..”

Anyone, who can read english & has half a brain, can call out the chump who’s been taking loads of crap, squarely on his face & keeps asking for more (aren’t you the lucky one). Don’t worry, there’s plenty more where that came from. As long as you want it, I’ll keep dumping it. Your face seems quite worthy of it!

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive
 

mortal1, you are good, man!

Posted by black_hawk | Report as abusive
 

no anger, buddy. I’m having fun (it’s good to take the gloves off, sometimes). Keep up the good work!

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive
 

Shahidkhan123 said:

> With that said, I am not happy about the conditions of our minorities. I defend them EVERY chance I get (which sadly means nothing).

For what it’s worth, I believe you. I believe you and Umair have taken a decent and moral stand on this issue. Thank you for this. It’s important to acknowledge decency and human values when we see them and refrain from demonising each other.

> Is it an ideal situation? no.
Is it as bad as you think? no.

I readily acknowledge this. I’d also like you to extend exactly the same courtesy, no more and no less, to India. I have repeatedly told you that no Indian claims India to be Utopia, but that India is also not the hell-hole that you make it out to be. Let’s aim for balanced discourse, shall we? This has all been too juvenile.

Regards,
Ganesh Prasad

Posted by prasadgc | Report as abusive
 

The battle for Pakistan’s soul seem to have entered into its final stage. This is it, there is no time left. The time to defeat the bigots is now, otherwise they will burn Pakistan. The enemy within should be identified and eliminated. The government has to slowly and gradually apply the squeeze, seperate the Mosque and the state. It can be done, its doable. Pakistan is not a country that easily gives up on challenges. And make no mistake, without a strong and cohesive Pakistan Army such a challenge would become impossible. Reforms will be needed, education will have to be made compulsory, people should be lifted out of poverty. Only when progress will be made in tandem on all these factors, signs of improvement will start to appear. So guys, do not write Pakistan off just yet. Take care.

Posted by Umairpk | Report as abusive
 

Shahid

“Brother Rehmat,

“I am just trying to open your eyes to the sentiments of your fellow Indians.”
***Thanks for your concern. Keeping aside the cut paste and tit for tat, I like your views on several issues.

“If a pakistani makes a grammar mistake, you correct them.”
***Not me. Must be someone else. Check it. I do not even stop posters attacking Sikh turban or Muslim beard or Hindu what not, much less doing this editing work.

“Kp gets a free pass even on Indian Revisionism of Islam in south asia.”
***Read back I agreed with you. you want totally your way or highway, won’t work with me. I think you are good at prescribing to others to live in present while you are living in the past. How does this read if I say “Muslim conversion in India/South Asia has been absolutely peaceful. There have not been incidents where political might did not result in conversions?” Don;t you think this is pure crap, as pure as saying there was no peaceful conversion, it was all violent.

“My related question to you, and perhaps to the article also:
Do you think some minorities in Pakistan have converted to Islam due to some fear?

“Rehmat, i don’t want to give you the red pill in one dose. the full prescription can create a severe allergic reactions and a rejection by the brain.

Your question is an example of your NCERT training. Indians tell you that Pakistan was 15% minorities, now it is 3%. This decline is not due to more Pakistani evil but the fact that most minorities were in East Pakistan. West Pakistan has been the same.”
***red pill/brain, huh? lol is there blood/brain barrier here?

Khan Sahib, your brain for sure primed for misreading everything in 15 to 3% Hindu population theory and 1971 as explanation by Pakistanis. I was not talking about that. So keep your red pill safely in your front pocket. I thought you could connect my question to the conversion question and see gray areas. I was talking about 3% minorities in pakistan. With the anti-minority feelings in Pakistan and Hindus historically converting to Islam, and Christians also not minding that, it is possible that these minorities convert to Islam. This is not conversion by sword per se, but if it happens it will be called “by sword”. Do not be so defensive. It was just a question since you know the real deal there and I sitting in India might be having illusions.

Now Pakistan vs historical India. With Islam in contact with India since 7th century by traders and later attacked ruled by Turks/Mughal empire for several hundred years, the Muslim population is just 13%. I think it would have been much higher if sword had been used to convert. Most of the time, daily life was just fine and much better than what Pakistan is facing. Sufi saints, Sikhism/Gurus and Hinduism have been getting along well in the past and they were finding ways to live peaceful life, and commonalities, and they did. Same cannot be said about Pakistan. Minorities in Pakistan are not any better than Aurangzeb’s rule or are worse than his times. At least Muslims were safe during his time. Now everyone is getting killed in Pakistan.

@NCERT training! lol…Khan sahib, I am product of desi school system, which I heard in Pakistan is worse than Madrassa for the hatred they spread thru their curriculum. Check Pakistani report on this.

Peace, no pill!

Posted by rehmat | Report as abusive
 

An interesting thought:

If voluntary jihad by Pakistanis manages to win Kashmir at the cost of radicalisation of Pakistani society, would it count as a victory?

Because the capture of Kashmir through religious motivation has been the objective of Zia-ul-Haq’s Islamisation drive after the failure of the “secular” 1965 war, and the side-effects of that are now clear for all to see.

Regards,
Ganesh Prasad

Posted by prasadgc | Report as abusive
 

“If voluntary jihad by Pakistanis manages to win Kashmir at the cost of radicalisation of Pakistani society, would it count as a victory?”

GP-Pakistan will celebrate even that type of “victory”, Actually they only want only India to lose.

But funny thing is Pakistani society became radicalized and did not “get” Kashmir also. Another funny thing in Pakistan is Innocent people are dying in Bomb blasts and Morons survive to comment on Reuters. God must be very unfair if exists.

By saying this I don’t celebrate or support or plan (I know some Pakistanis believe that also) the killings of innocents. All I am saying is if somebody has to be get punished for spreading hate and violence it must be root not the branches.

Posted by punjabiyaar | Report as abusive
 

Any religion claiming to act in the name of God while issuing edicts to have its followers kill others not of their faith is absolute evil.

If God has seen fit to create a world of varying interpretations of his existence (or non-existence) so that his creations would use their interpretations to destroy each other, then he is no God worthy of worship. But since this is probably not the case and the Creator would not so engage in such a contradiction to his creations, it is far more likely the Imams that preach the need for such deeds are evil men who understand little of the nature of God.

And if your faith is so weak that you are incapable of living in a world of freedom such that you must create laws that will force conformity to your faith, then you don’t have faith, you have slavery.

Who is the righteous man? The man who lives where unjust laws force conformity to the religion, or the man who conforms to his faith in a world absent unjust religious laws and punishment?

If you need laws to keep your faith, you don’t need your faith.

Posted by NobleKin | Report as abusive
 

Wow … people like KP, Parasad and Punjabiyaaar are posing that they are very brainy and that they have a strong grip over the history and current affairs. But that is not the case, you guys are even unable to comment what the topic of the article is.
Coming back to the point, I disgree with Ms. Myra … as according to my point of view, the assassinations of Salman Taseer and Shahbaz Bhatti, are the sacrifices infact, and to accomplish something really great sacrifices are the must. More than Salman Tasseer, I consider Shahbaz Bhatti a Shaheeed, as he gave his blood for a bigger cause.
Pakistan is a great nation and we never gave up. We will erase all the evils from our society and we are continounsly working on it and giving our lives for the cause.

Posted by FarhanQureshi | Report as abusive
 

@Noblekin

Well said! I would suggest that your opening sentence should exclude the word ‘religion’ and replace it with ‘someone’. The religion is not active but the one who believes in some philosophy should be the addresse. No religion per say issues edicts to kill.

Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive
 

@Mortal1
If you do not understand something, why do you tell us that and ask for explanation.
The answer to your question of sikhs get knocked down in the USA and Canada, is contained in KP statement of March 8, that the sikhs have been attacked for mistaken identity!

Rex Minor

PS all along I regard sikhs as victims, victim of the Hindu violence, victim of being regarded as a minority and treated as second and third class citizens of India. Vicms of heir own irrational decision to align themselves with Hindu majority instead of staying in Punjab wth muslims who have more commonality of cultures, despite many differences. Sikhs have also been in the forefrontto take on the worst from Pakistan, because of the Pakistan Indian relations. Why for Pete sake, why?

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive
 

“all along I regard sikhs as victims, victim of the Hindu violence, victim of being regarded as a minority and treated as second and third class citizens of India.”

The problem here is, that your assessment about the past, present & future of sikhs in India, is just based on ONE unfortunate incident (1984 anti-sikh riots). As horrendous as that incident was, it was an aberration of sorts as there is no evidence of hindu violence against sikhs before or since that incident. Today, sikhs are settled all over India (not just Punjab) & they are one of the most affluent communities in India, if not the most. Have you ever been to India & if so, when was the last time?

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive
 

No, I have not been to India and I thank God for this. I have always shied away from countries where Evil is at home and the children of Gandhi and Nehru have been inflicting more unjust and cruel atrocities on its own people than those sustained during colonial days. You try to relatavise everything and justify slavery in India since it occurs in other parts of he world. I have also bserved that you answer questions of others with a set of questions, this is something an Indian specialty not mine. Humility is what humans need and not arrogance and cynicism. I am not a judge nor do I pretend to be a saint, but let no one on this blog point fingers at Pakistan which is going through a difficult period for different reasons. There is no comparable slavery in Pakistan or China. Pakistani Govt is dumb enough to appoint a minority man as a Minister who could not even look after his own security rest alone for the security of the minorities. They appoined a Governor of Punjab who was always absent from his residence in Lahore and was raising questions about the law which he swore to uphold. The nincompup chartered accountant, turned businesman and head of a Provence. Mr Sardari was not able to protect his wife and to expect that Pakistan security is in the hands of the Gillani rif raf troops, this is a joke of the century and should be so recorded in the Guiness book.
Finaly if you believe that Sikhs are resilent and have the ability to forgive and forget, then it is noble of them. I could neither forget nor forgive such a crime if committed against my community. I am a straight forward very weak human.

Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive
 

“No, I have not been to India and I thank God for this”

India should also thank god! The reason I brought this up, is to prove that most of your perceptions about India, are based on the anti-India voices, which have your ear. You hear & believe, what you want to, while ignoring the rest. No Indian would dispute or deny that there’s a lot of poverty in India & there are many social issues (including slave labor) which need to be fixed but no one can also dispute or deny the fact that India is making tremendous strides & most of it’s socio-economic indicators are pointing in the right direction. For a large country like India, it will take a few more decades, before the trickle down effect reaches all the stratas of society.

“You try to relatavise everything and justify slavery in India since it occurs in other parts of he world.”

I did not try to justify it. I was merely pointing at your selectiveness. You are quick to point a finger at India while ignoring others including muslim countries like Pakistan, Malaysia & Bangladesh and yor favorite country China.

“There is no comparable slavery in Pakistan or China”

That’s inacurate. Maybe not Pakistan, since it’s a much smaller country but China, most certainly.

“Finaly if you believe that Sikhs are resilent and have the ability to forgive and forget, then it is noble of them. I could neither forget nor forgive such a crime if committed against my community.”

People of most races, religions, nationalities or ethnicities have faced persecution and/or atrocities at some point in history. As a sikh, yes I’m angry at the perpetrators of the crimes aganist my people but I’m not going to hold all the people of a religion, accountable for the acts of a few evil individuals, just as I don’t hold all muslims accountable for atrocities commited by a few mughals, against our people. Nazis were also responisble for many horrendous crimes against humanity, should we hold all germans accountable for their acts? If all humans would have been incapable of forgiveness, the world would have ended a long time ago.

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive
 

You certainly have a nobler attitude towards others than I have. I admit my weakness and short comings. Let us leave it at that. German third reich lost the war and this does not mean that the crimes committed by anglo saxons and the Soviets were less sinister than those of the third reich. Admitedly, Americans were the only party which got sucked into war by japanese attack. Winston churchil an stalin were nevertheless no heroes but simple criminals who were responsible for the deaths of millions innocent civilians, women and children whose cities were erased from the ground. Your one sided slogans against Nazi party is valid but biased and not fare, when you ignore the reality on ground an what prompted Hitler to come into power and went bezirk in attackng its neighbous. Nepolian was no different and the first ww was no different either nor the war of thirty years in Europe was any different. Today the Europeans want peace and we have peace, Indians and Pakistani citizens could learn from the european history and follow suit!! Alternatively they would face in the next a war for a century!!

Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive
 

“Your one sided slogans against Nazi party is valid but biased and not fare, when you ignore the reality on ground an what prompted Hitler to come into power and went bezirk in attackng its neighbous.”

I would like to hear, what on earth can possibly justify the systematic democide of 11 million innocent civilians (6 million jews, Poles, Romanies, Soviets, Slovaks, disabled, gays etc). Can you justify 3 million children being gassed to death?

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive
 

I would like to know the “ground reality” which led to such cruelty & lack of empathy from man towards his fellow man. I’ve been trying to make sense of it all for 17 yrs now (since I first read about the holocaust as a teenager) but have not fugured it out yet. I’d like to know the other side of the story.

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive
 

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