Living under wraps


By Farman Nawaz (Daily Outlook Afghanistan)

Last day I was reading a newspaper when I saw an advertisement of State Bank of Pakistan. It was a kind of notification for general public to inform them about ban on the usage of old currency notes of five hundred rupees after October 10, 2011. I keenly observed the images of the old and new currency notes and tried to find the apparent differences between them. Apparently there are changes in the fonts, design and size of the notes. It’s good that new notes are occupying less space in our pockets.

After disappointment to find any notable difference I started to gaze at the picture of Quid-e-Azam and tried to find difference of expressions on his face. Quaid-e-Azam seemed a bit smiling and real in the image on the old notes but image on the new notes is having rigidness in expressions. But finally I found the feature which I was searching for. Quaid-e-Azam is wearing tie in the picture on old notes while in the picture on new currency notes he is wearing Sherwani along with Karakul cap. This change of picture on currency notes basically shows the overall mental level of Pakistani society where fundamentalism has laid siege to our society from all around.

I have seen only few pictures of Quaid-e-Azam in Sherwani and Karakul cap. The rest of his pictures are in western style suiting. But the fundamentalist governments of Pakistan have always opted to publicize his Eastern style pictures. His liberal approach towards the state and his pictures in western style suiting are always kept under wraps. It is the sign of conservative approach of our institutions. It is not the case with Quaid-e-Azam that we have forgotten his secular and enlighten approach. Instead of finding logical solution of problems rather our society now judges every event on strict religious grounds. Sittings with general masses reveal that people are fantasized to believe that religion (Fundamentalism) is the only solution to all problems. Even scientific discoveries are believed to be extracted from the religious books. There is no doubt that religion plays a vital role in organizing the society and stops the people from committing sins but it does not mean that religious books are filled with scientific formulas, innovations and solution for all the problems of present day.

Here I will give an example of rape case that was discussed last day in a program on private news channel. The anchor of the program put forward a question in front of Munawar Hassan Sahib and Mufti Qavi. The question was “if a woman is not having enough evidences of her rape so what does she do?” The answer in the light of Islamic Fiqa provided by Munawar Hassan Sahab of  Jamat-e-Islami was strange for the general masses. He said that if a woman is not having sufficient evidences then the woman must be quiet. My question is that isn’t it providing a certificate to wicked people to rape innocent women. Mufti Qavi also explained that according to the conditions of medieval societies the woman will have to be quiet (it must be kept in mind that according to our claim those societies guaranteed rights to women) but according to the changed conditions of 21st centaury the woman must fight for her rights. However Mufti Sahab did not answer that which one Fiqa allows her to speak against the cruelty even if she is not having sufficient evidences – the basic requirement according to Islamic law. And secondly if the woman is non-Muslim and the male is Muslim so what are the requirements again? The question is that why we are not telling our people that there is no proper legislation about rape cases in Islamic jurisprudence. Basically religious pundits fear that it may motivate the people to rebel against the religion.

In Arab societies there were cases of sexual relations which were either disclosed by others or the offenders admitted themselves. Forcing someone for having sexual relations was not a tradition among Arabs that’s why there was no proper legislation for rape. This simple fact can solve the issue but basically showing the way of “Ijtehad” can open the way of debate about religion that our religious pundits do not want to open for general masses.

Finding solution of every problem in religion will not help us to make a homogeneous society. And this was the reason that Quaid-e-Azam always supported the idea of a separate Muslim state instead of Islamic state for the society like united India. But alas we could not understand this judgment of Quaid-e-Azam and today we are living under the yoke of conservatism, fundamentalism and fanaticism. And this is the reason that whenever any clue about involvement of any religious organization is found then our society as a whole tries to protect that organization. For example when last week Rehman Malik claimed that most of the terrorists arrested have some connections with Tablighi Movement of Raiwand then most of the politicians criticized this claim. At this occasion we only concentrated on the sacredness of Tablighi Movement but we have forgotten that terrorists can use any organization for their heinous activities and Raiwand where system of check and balance is very week, is an safe shelter for terrorists. Previously some people have used the same movement for smuggling because the vehicles carrying Tablighi people are hardly ever checked. In the same scenario Rehman Malik may have issued the statement.

But not only from religious point of view but from every angle our society is a heap of secrecy. Openness and enlightenment, which is a base for development, is still banned in our Pakistani society. Here we are allowed to think only in a limited sphere which is built around ignorance, hatred, sanctity, illogical interests, accusation, and egotism.

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