Editor’s Note: This letter was published on Newsline Magazine on 16 August 2012.
Let me remind you that you were created to be a prosperous homeland for the ‘minorities’ of the subcontinent who were subjected to prejudice and persecution. You were supposed to be a welfare state to serve and protect all your citizens equally.
Please recall that awe-inspiring moment when your founding father, Quaid-e-Azam M.A. Jinnah, made the following promises:
“You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place of worship in this State of Pakistan…You may belong to any religion or caste or creed – that has nothing to do with the business of the State…. and you will find that in due course Hindus would cease to be Hindus and Muslims would cease to be Muslims, not in the religious sense, because that is the personal faith of each individual, but in the political sense as citizens of the State. We are starting with this fundamental principle that we are all citizens and equal citizens of one State”
Let me state plainly, with my heart filled with pain, that you have failed to be the promised-land even after 65 years. Here the mosques are bombed, temples are demolished and the ‘places of worship’ Jinnah spoke of are in ruins.
You have banned a non-Muslim from becoming head of state (Article 41-2) and from being eligible to be elected Prime Minister (Article 91-3). Religion, sect, caste and creed play a decisive role in your territory, and its citizens are certainly not treated as ‘equal citizens of one state’. A citizen, for instance, cannot get an identity card or passport unless he/she apostatises another citizen. Your courts are bound to sentence a ‘minority’ to imprisonment and even death for propagating or practicing certain beliefs that may ‘hurt’ the ‘majority.’
Dear Pakistan, you have unfortunately become a home, a safe haven for people who proudly march towards a colony to “make mincemeat of the Christians” without being stopped by anyone, including your law enforcement agencies. And the self-proclaimed custodians of your ideology slaughter Shia Muslims with impunity on a daily basis.
It seems as if you are comfortable with the beheadings, massacre and forced conversion of minorities. If not, why is your media silent towards such atrocities? Why are your otherwise omnipotent and omnipresent security forces failing to protect your citizens? How long will your elected government excuse itself saying “our hands are tied” and peruse its ‘policy of appeasement’ when it comes to safeguarding the lives of ethnic, sectarian and religious minorities?
The Baloch are being killed, and hundreds of others have gone missing just because they demanded their due rights. Meanwhile, the law enforcement agencies respond only by blaming a ‘foreign hand’ for all the human rights violations taking place in your poorest but largest province, even while the Supreme Court recently stated that there is plenty of evidence indicating involvement of the security forces in forced disappearances.
The Pakhtuns are subjected to mass murder at the hands of your strategic assets – the ‘good,’ ‘naïve’ and ‘angry’ children you have fostered for assorted agendas – i.e. religious zealots.
You know that your founding father was a Shia but the Shias are being brutally massacred across Pakistan from Karachi to Gilgit-Baltistan and Parachinar.
Last but not the least, the Hazaras are being put under ‘house arrest’ after a decade of being subjected to an ongoing murderous campaign against them. Your self-proclaimed lovers and defenders are killing these Pakistanis, almost every day, just because they are a minority in the Land of the Pure.
We are not free. Not to worship and increasingly clearly, not even to live.
This letter was published on Newsline Magazine on 16 August 2012.