Shameful, Criminal, Disgraceful: Swat Militants Attack Buddha Carvings and Relics

Posted on November 24, 2007
Filed Under >Adil Najam, Culture & Heritage, History, Religion, Society
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Adil Najam

There are times when it is not enough to feel outraged. One has to speak out. To express the outrage. To speak out, and to be heard, against that which is wrong. Indeed, there are times in life when it is difficult to determine exactly what is right. Reality, after all, is complex and nuanced. However, there are also times – more often than we think – when there is no ambiguity about what is wrong. Just plain wrong. Silence, at such moments – especially in the face of violence – cannot be justified. The least one can do is to call the wrong, wrong.


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In the short life of this blog there have been many such moments. The disgraceful behavior of the police in pulling down the shalwar of a young man protesting his father’s disappearance. The killing of a woman minister in Gujranwalla just because she was a woman. Pictures of violence against women, including by so-called ‘celebrities’ like cricketer Moin Khan and squash player Jansher Khan. The criminal humiliation and murders of tailors and barbers just because they do not conform to some jahil maulvi’s misconstrued sense of religosity. The violence of self-righteous vigilantism. The brutality against lawyers and judges in the aftermath of the Chief Justice’s removal and subsequently since then. The Karachi carnage. The trampling of all political decency in the cause of personal ambition and thirst for power. And more.

If we, as Pakistanis, do not wish to be defined by the acts of the vile people who do such acts, define who we are as Pakistanis, then all of us must speak out in outrage against such acts. To speak with conviction and to speak as a prelude to action.
Now is time, again, to do. One hears now of renewed violence against Buddhist relics in the Swat region by followers of the maverick extremist Fazlullah who has been enticing violence in multiple forms.

The most blatant mutilation of the giant Buddha of Jehanabad was back in October, but since then there have been renewed calls and attacks by militants on Buddhist relics and there is a serious concern that while attention remains diverted towards Gen. Musharraf’s struggle for his personal power, these historical treasures may be lost for ever. As we have written here before, the area is rich in historical heritage of the Gandhara and Buddhist periods, and there is a history of previous attacks on Buddhist symbols in Pakistan, in fact in the Federal Capital Islamabad.

Reporting on the October 8 desecration of the Giant Buddha, Archaeology reported:

The turmoil in Pakistan, especially the situation in Swat, has scholars concerned about the safety of the country’s artistic and archaeological heritage. Relatively peaceful until recently, Swat was a tourist resort with spectacular mountain scenery. It also has a rich cultural heritage, especially Ghandaran art and Buddhist monuments. Adriana Proser, John H. Foster Curator of Traditional Asian Art, at the Asia Society in New York explains, “This area of what is today northern Pakistan was along a major route of the Silk Road. Gandhara was one of the major sites of the Kushan period (first through third centuries). The art of the Gandhara area is extremely important because it shows the impact of Hellenistic and Roman influence ushered in through the conquests of Alexander the Great. The stylistic impact of Gandharan Buddhist art traveled vast space and time, reaching places as far away China, Korea, and Japan. The Gandhara region became part of the Sasanian Empire (224-642), which preceded Islamic rule in Persia, and consequently the arts of the region also influenced artistic developments in the Middle East.”

The consequences of prolonged political infighting in Pakistan, leaving Taliban-like militants unchecked may have dire consequences for this heritage. On Monday, October 8, dynamite was used to obliterate the face of a of 23-foot-high seventh-century seated Buddha carved into a rock face near the village of Jehanabad in the Swat Valley. This was the second attack on the Buddha. In early September, militants detonated explosives placed above and below the Buddha, but only damaged the stone rather than the sculpture. It appeared, according to police chief Mohammad Iqbal in an AFP story, “to be the work of the local militants who condemn these relics as being un-Islamic. It looks more like a symbolic attack to embarrass the government internationally.” A witness in Jehanabad says that the armed group entered the village Monday evening and announced their intention to destroy the Buddha. According to Aqleem Khan, a provincial archaeology department official who spoke to Reuters, the militants drilled holes into the rock, filled them with dynamite, then set off the explosion the morning of Tuesday, September 11. Abdul Nasir, a curator at the Swat museum, known for its collection of Ghandaran sculptures, told AP that “Islam teaches us to respect other religions and faiths, but unfortunately some elements are disturbing the peace in the Swat valley.”

“Any destruction of archeological and artistic sites such as this Gandharan Buddhist relief are an enormous loss for all who treasure historical records and significant and rare works of art,” says the Asia Society’s Proser. The attack recalls the March 2001 destruction of two giant Buddha statues in central Afghanistan by Taliban militants. “The destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas was a political act in religious guise, greatly increasing the reputation of the Taliban among its target audience,” says Archaeological Institute of America vice president John Russell. “The AIA calls on all governments, and particularly in this case the government of Pakistan, to protect our shared world heritage from groups that exploit heritage for political gain by destroying parts of our common past.” Adds AIA president C. Brian Rose, “Destroying icons in the name of religion has unfortunately been a component of human behavior since antiquity. In areas of conflict, archaeological institutes throughout the world need to work in unison to document and protect cultural property that is at risk.”

The destruction of the Jehanabad Buddha is on the direct call from extremist mullah Fazlullah who has been spreading his message of hate and violence across the region. We have written before about the jahalat (ignorance) and violence that he has been preaching in relation to his opposition to children being vaccinated against polio and his violent measures against anyone – including tailors who stitch trousers and barbers who shave faces – who dares to go against his xenophobic version of religosity. Fazlullah’s movement enjoys local support from the so-called ‘Local Taliban’ but does not enjoy any support outside of the immediate area.

Fazlullah’s organization is banned by the government and there is military action being taken against him and his followers. However, this campaign is not very successful and the military is suffering significant losses. This is partly because of his local support, but even more because the action is itself half-hearted and strategically misconceived.

Importantly, while Gen. Musharraf is exactly right in diagnosing movement’s such as Fazlullah’s as one of the greatest challenges facing Pakistan today, the General’s obsession with wanting to remain in power has distracted him from taking meaningful action against such criminal actions. While those who believe that simply removing Gen. Musharraf will solve the problem are clearly wrong, it is increasingly evident that his departure is a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for meaningfully tackling this menace. It is now increasingly clear that even if Gen. Musharraf has the will to resist religious extremism, he no longer has the ability to do so.

There are, of course, many aspects to what is happening in Swat – not just related to Pakistan’s domestic politics but also to geo-strategic and global realities. My former colleague at Tufts University, Prof. Gary Leupp has written a thoughtful piece on the subject in CounterPunch, pointing out some of these aspects, drawing interesting chronological linkages, and pointing out that a disrespect for cultural heritage in times of war is by no means restricted to the Taliban. But none of this is or can be a justification for what is happening in Swat today.


The treatment of these religious symbols and artifacts in Swat is but a small indicator of the rot of extremism that is setting in, but it is an important indicator. It is important not only because the world has its own sensibilities and is paying great attention. It is far more important because it seems that Pakistanis themselves are not paying enough attention. We need to do so. We need to speak out. We need to stand up. We need to do so not simply because of what might happen to our past heritage if we do not, but more because of what might happen to our own future if we don’t.

At stake here is not just an image on a rock-cliff or our image abroad, at stake here is our own image of who we are and who we might become if we remain silent in the face of injustice.

92 Comments on “Shameful, Criminal, Disgraceful: Swat Militants Attack Buddha Carvings and Relics”

  1. Rafay Kashmiri says:
    November 24th, 2007 3:17 pm

    @Pakistanis should preserve their heritage,
    they are one of oldest civilizations , only one or two
    deranged idyllic should be reasoned by all means,
    what would be the difference between the distructors of
    Ayudhia’s Mosque or all the Turkish vestiges in Bulgaria,
    and a mad hateful gestures by sick majzoobs

    Pakistanis are not at all like this,

  2. RE says:
    November 24th, 2007 3:38 pm

    Now this is same thing what was happening in Afghanistan. These extremists should be wiped out of Pakistan. Please ask all civilians to get out of Swat then Gas these evils. They are using name of Allah to kill innocents and beheading Army. Scholars of Islam must speak out and tell the world how Islam does not permit what they are doing. Media of Pakistan should speak up about extremism more than ever before. This is been my concern and been asking people of Pakistan to give the priority to issues,. This issue is much more important then bashing Mushraf. Pakistan is under attack. Stop talking about criminals like Zardari and Bhutto on media talk shows but talk about these terrorists. humiliate them as Islam has no place for these evils.

  3. RE says:
    November 24th, 2007 3:39 pm

    I ask Mushraf to use full force in Swat to end to these extremism. screw elections and everything this is most important thing. And if he fails to put an end to extremism then I would say Mushraf failed.

  4. whole LOTA love says:
    November 24th, 2007 3:46 pm

    ever heard every action has equal and opposite raction.

    for some human lives are worthless and for others stones and scluptures.

    some disposed off HUMANS made of flesh and bones, other ruin STATUES carved in rocks.

    will you ever write about those (in the same SCREAMING tone) who think lives are as worthless as stones??

  5. RE says:
    November 24th, 2007 3:48 pm

    imagine jews destroying Msjid Aqsa? How would you feel? Sad but time has come we have to use the examples of Jews for extremist Muslims.

  6. temporal says:
    November 24th, 2007 3:50 pm

    adil:

    this is a real travesty

    while the focus is (misplaced) on the shenanigans of the alphabet soup (SC, PPP, APDM, PML – A thru Z, ANP, MMA, MQM etc.) the law and order has collapsed in Swat – and since power does not recognize vacuum – it has been replaced by those who give us and islam a bad name

  7. Daktar says:
    November 24th, 2007 3:54 pm

    Re RE
    Janab-i-waala, re your first comment… Musharraf HAS used full force (gunships and all) and Musharraf HAS FAILED to bring law and order… what else do you call the situation we have in Swat now!

    The post is exactly right, Musharraf is now incapable of dealing with this because he has no legitimacy. Temporal is right, it is the power vacuum left by him which this guy Fazalullah is using. I do not know if anyone else will be able to clean up this mess that Musharraf has made but he is certainly no longer capable of dealing with this.

  8. RE says:
    November 24th, 2007 3:55 pm

    temporal
    Check all my posts , I have been begging all Pakistani media and people to focus on this issue , Read them each of them, I asked people of Pakistan to worry about extremism in Pakistan rather than burning tires on roads. I wrote emails to media in Pakistan over and over asking them to humiliate these extremists by showing talk shows of Muslim scholars on TV rather than Bashing Mushraf and making happy BB.

  9. RE says:
    November 24th, 2007 3:58 pm

    Respectful Dakter
    Do not fool people of Pakistan. I am sorry but many of you took the law and order in your hands Mushraf’s focus away from real issue. Read all my posts on this board . All my posts on this board. I alone on this board talked about extremism.Wrote to media and all.

  10. November 24th, 2007 4:01 pm

    Thank you for this post. If these misguided men think that blowing up Buddha statues makes them good Muslims, then a Buddhist can only pity them for being so blind. Besides fundamentalists, even if properly devout Pakistani Muslims disown these relics, then they forfeit their claim to them and have no right to destroy them. They belong firstly to the country of Pakistan itself and secondly to Buddhists who still hold these sites sacred. Do not meddle with what does not belong to you.

  11. Daktar says:
    November 24th, 2007 4:07 pm

    Bhai RE, I do not doubt your sincerity in the least. I am sure you have been consistent in your call to deal with extremism as have many others in the many posts on this subject here on Pakistaniat. My response was to your claim that if Musharraf ‘failed’ to deal with this you will give up your support for him. My contention only is that he has ALREADY failed. What else is this situation in Swat if not a proof of his failure to deal with extremism. And if extremism has only grown under his watch and he has not been able to deal with it for 8 years and in uniform why would he be able to do something now?

  12. sidhas says:
    November 24th, 2007 4:21 pm

    “afsoos sad afsoos, haif sad haif”. kahanay ko to ye humaray hum-mazhab aur Muhammad rasool allah ke naam lewa hain lekin haqeeqat mein ye log fitna parwar hain.

    Afsoos ye hai ke zalim logoon per hurf geer koon ho, kis ki majal hai roknay ki jab ke yehi zalim log masajid o minbar yani humaray mazhab per burajaman hain.

    Ye aik tawaja talb baat hai. Aur mairay khayyal mein sirf jabri taqat se to ye fitna khatam nahi hoga. Eskay leay to enko enhi ki bisaat per maat daini hogi.

    Filhal Islam, fitna parwar ki jamaat ke girrift mein hai.

  13. RE says:
    November 24th, 2007 4:27 pm

    I was not aware of any extremism in Swat before last few months. I always talked high about GEO in my officer here in California. Last few months drove me crazy watching GEO. As soon I became aware of extremists in Swat , I would wait and wait on GEO and ARY , wrote emails to them.(I have all the emails If you give me your email I will forward you.). Begging them to bring Muslims Scholars on tv to humiliate these extremists.But no all they did placed smiles on the face of criminal Bhutto and bashed Mushraf. Now tell me if GEO and ARY should be charged for treason or not? Here Pakistan is under attack and they are not talking about it.
    Mushraf alone can not do the job.This is one of the reason I became supporter of Mushraf as Media ignored the issue of attack on Pakistan but they were busy distracting Mushraf to focus on Swat,
    I believe Mushraf started war on extremists in swat when he ended up with Emergency, now lets see what happens. Its unfair to say he has failed. I also wrote in many posts that I am hoping Mushraf will use this emergency to eliminate extremism from Swat.I hope he does, Yes if Media is 24 hours demanding Mushraf to act on extremist , I will support Media. But all they did was talked about BB. This is my Point. Oh i am so frustrated.

  14. Bilal Ijaz says:
    November 24th, 2007 4:34 pm

    It would be nice if you could express your outrage over the brutal torture that was inflicted on the great man that is Munir Malik as well. He has suffered renal failure and is on dialysis. Surely, torturing a good man to the point of death is a far bigger crime and worthy of more outrage than destroying some historic/religious relics?

    Extremism of all forms is absolutely abhorrent whether it is from religious extremists/terrorists or moderately enlightened, fascist military dictators. But a man’s life – especially a man whose only crime is speaking the truth and asking for rule of law – is a far bigger issue than the destruction of some statues even though the latter is also the act of a closed, warped mind.

  15. RE says:
    November 24th, 2007 4:43 pm

    Bilal Ijaz
    I will put every issue behind at the time when Pakistan is under attack. I wish he was speaking out against extremists at the time when Pakistan is under attack. Then if he was tortured would be very wrong. Once again let the truth come out if he is tortured unfairly all the responsible should be brought to justice.For now come out to the streets against extremists because this is real threat to Pakistan and show the world Muslims do not support these evils.

  16. RE says:
    November 24th, 2007 5:03 pm

    To GEO and ARY
    Give the fair time to all issues.
    If at anytime Pakistan is under attack do not ignore this next time. This is the only issue deserved the most time on Media. Learn your lesson. I truly am very mad at Media, I hope GEO and ARY never comes back up, This will give opportunity to new comers and these two channels will example for new comers.
    Time has become Pakistan unite against Extremism in Pakistan. At this time 90% protest in Pakistan should be against extremists.Rest 10% for other things.
    Do not let the enemy of Pakistan play with our brains. Stand behind Pakistan and unite against enemy.

  17. Daktar says:
    November 24th, 2007 5:08 pm

    To Bilal Ijaz.
    I am a great fan of the lawyers struggle and this site has been consistent its its outrage over the treatment of lawyers, but I am deeply hurt by the pettiness of your comment. Your comment does not do you proud, nor does it do justice to the valor of the lawyers movement or those struggling for justice at various levels. In fact, it seems like you are purposely leaving this comment to paint Munir Malik and the lawyers in a bad light by this petty comment.

  18. Ishaq Qadri says:
    November 24th, 2007 5:15 pm

    Thank you for this timely and forceful post. The majority of Pakistanis feel like you do. I think we should send this eloquent article to other Pakistanis to spread the word. As you say our first responsibility is to speak out against this everywhere and as loudly as possible. We need to stand up against this as Pakistanis, as Muslims and as humans.

  19. Bilal Ijaz says:
    November 24th, 2007 5:49 pm

    Daktar sahib: I have no idea what you are talking about. I have nothing but the highest of respect for the great Munir Malik and the lawyers’ movement. I think they are giants among us ordinary people. Why would I “paint them in a bad light”?

    To me, it’s a very simple issue – the life of a man, a good, honest, brave man, is far more important than some statues in Sawat – no matter how old or whatever. If we are going to condemn the intolerance of religious extremists, surely the brutality and fascism of our supposedly “moderate” dictator must also be condemned.To me, the latter is a far more important issue than the former. The latter is a living, breathing human being who is present now and is not some relic of the past.

    Let us start by protecting the rights of those alive among us – the rest will take care of itself!

    RE sahib: Keep up the good work. One has to appreciate your tenacity if nothing else. I guess it just goes to show the quality and popularity of this blog that folks on the agencies’ payroll feel it necessary to spam and flood the blogosphere with their nonsense propaganda.

  20. meengla says:
    November 24th, 2007 5:58 pm

    @BilalIjaz
    This guy “RE” is actually calling for ‘torture’ of GEO staff members!! He belongs to the PakistaniDefenceForum.com, where there are plenty of arm-chair generals going gung-ho against anything anti-Musharraf, and not this Blogspace.

    Back to this topic: Some of us remember the pain we felt when the Bamiyan statues were destroyed by the Talibans. I feel even greater pain now because it portrays us Pakistanis in even worse light to the rest of the world. The destruction is ‘not in my name’. I appeal to all Pakistanis to condemn it and to highlight our protest in this Blogspace and elsewhere.

    By the way, how can someone lump the discussion of the lawyers’ struggle with the destruction of these statues? And which ‘secular fascism’ we are talking about? Stick with the topic in this article, please.

  21. Ghalib says:
    November 24th, 2007 6:25 pm

    this will happen when in swat valley people are being smoked they will retialiate!
    The same army smae generals created these goons for JIHAD against the REDS called them mujahids! and after americans walked away after their mission accomplished have left us with these mujahids!i feel sorry for these people they were all brain washed by the very same army to fight against the reds who were hypothetically coming for warm waters to legitimise their hold on power the General Goon was favored by the Angels and the Satan Bhutto was put to gallows,did any body cried then? then y for bhuddas statues?the same army that infliterated Kargil for nothing!
    People are dying in cities,no one bothered for any thing what happened in Karachi on 13 May a country ruled by disabled army which isnt successful in curning benezir zardari nawaz and altaf u expect justice? National reconciliation bills lol for what? to be in power! Mush has tormented the country not the radicals! hes is turning the sleeping gaints into angry dinosaurs! just to legitimise ur stay on power! he has made people more radical than they were before he made a bloodless coup!
    Where people have no security u expect stones to be preserved? thats a wishful thinking! but u shud be thankful to these people atleast they saved u from the REDs LOL!

  22. zia m says:
    November 24th, 2007 6:59 pm

    We cannot win the war against extremism by use of force.We need a WEAPON OF MASS INSTRUCTION.Saudis are spending huge amount of money on madrassas we should use it for real education.
    I have recently seen an ad on t.v for a laptop for kids in poor countries it could make a big difference.If anybody has information would like to know more about this project.

  23. November 24th, 2007 7:01 pm

    Adil Bhai,

    A superb post highlighting the most crucial of issues, the struggle for Pakistan. Fazlullah and his filth must be destroyed but as usual Mush has messed it up by sitting idly by while all of this happened waiting on the army to be ‘requistioned’ as he says, what lies. Mush never needed such cover in Balochistan or in the Tribal Areas.

    I do believe the reason for Mush’s intransigence in Swat has been due to his need to keep the other Mullah F onside, thats Mullah Diesel of course. The pursuit of profit over principle by Mush has once again led us to this debacle. I hope the issue can be solved asap, Pakistan’s future depends on it.

    Feimanallah Pakistan

    Wasim

  24. November 24th, 2007 7:07 pm

    Zia M go to this link for the information you asked for. I asume it’s the same project you are talking about.

    http://laptopgiving.org/en/index.php

    The $100 windup laptop … a western charity organisation. It is now operating and many countries have signed up for it.

  25. khairulbashar Siddiqui says:
    November 24th, 2007 7:20 pm

    I believe it is not musharraf who failed, It is the concept of pakistan that failed. If altaf says that we say he is a trator. In reality It is a shame for Muslim to hurt any other religious symbols. If we are letting our citizens to do that, it is only because Musharraf let the state government of MMA to tackle the state problem. If GEO and ARy don’t listen to Musharraf, they are as bad as these culprits who have done this in Swat.
    All socalled Pakistanis should be really ashamed. We have the tendency to blame west for all of our mishaps and problems. I hope that we make Musharraf strong, otherwise we will become another history.

  26. syed ali raza says:
    November 24th, 2007 7:28 pm

    hello can we plz discuss what MARD-E-MOMIN General Zia did, well this is what he did imported something alien & now the chicken are coming back to roost!!

  27. Meengla says:
    November 24th, 2007 7:31 pm

    @Khair ul Bashar,
    Looking at one of your previous posts, is is fair to conclude that you cannot rise above your ethnic origin (I, too, am an Urdu speaking Karachiite, in case you wonder) and hence support for Musharraf and Altaf Hussain.

    Whether Pakistan ‘failed’ as State or not, Musharraf has certainly failed as an absolute ruler of Pakistan for 8 years. He had a choice in 2002 to allow the people to choose freely but he sidelined PPP, PML-N and ANP to the extent that MMA emerged as a power in NWFP. So, yes, dear self-serving, short-sighted General Musharraf has at least some role in the ‘failed’ Pakistan.

  28. RE says:
    November 24th, 2007 9:26 pm

    meengla
    Respectful Meengla
    Try to understand me. Pakistan is first then politicians and others. When Swat was attacked Pakistan was under attack.Media failed to go after extremists. Did you see how they were crying up and down on their chairs about everything but extremists.What is scary that media has failed to find the answer for the source of funding to these extremists.It is so disturbing if enemy of Pakistan is behind the fundings.
    I still believe GEO and ARY is guilty of treason . And should be punished according . I find this hard to believe that many of you do not understand the difference between Paksitan under attack VS politicians coverage?

    Allah Bless Pakistan

  29. Meengla says:
    November 24th, 2007 10:28 pm

    @RE,
    You want the media to find the source of the funding to these fundso?! Media? What about the unalloyed power Musrarraf and his intelligence agencies over last 8 years?

    The media in Pakistan, except for giving voice to the Lal Masjid Maulana and for showing scenes of violence on the Pakistani street, is simply brilliant. And even these two transgressions can be understood considering that it is fairly new medium for Pakistanis to communicate and that, eventually, a code of conduct will evolve (hopefully, the Pakistani media will not sink to American corporate media where wars are sold cheap–but that is subject of another topic).

  30. RE says:
    November 24th, 2007 11:10 pm

    Meengla
    So media is only good to destabilize Pakistan? They did everything to bring people on the streets of Pakistan.Seems like you support that?????
    They need to voice about these issues. In very simple words , All of the Pakistani media need to go after the issue of “Extremism”. Bring the people in the streets of Pakistan against extremism.Humilate these evils beheading our Jawans.
    Any person civilian or army who is killed by these evils should get full coverage as they should be treated like hero and Shaheeds.
    Media has been making enemy of Pakistan happy don’t you get it? There is some thing called Brain?
    Aaj TV was stupid to air Ghazi’s live phone call as Ghazi was dumb enemy of Pakistan asked people to jihad against Pakistan in the streets of Pakistan.here is the link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UAq7Z42N74g
    This is the last thing you want to air for the ignorant extremists who are looking for easy way to enter heaven.
    After one warning to these extremists that what they are doing , Islam has no place for it , if they do not back out send them all to heaven.

    Live and let other live.
    Allah Bless Pakistan

  31. Lubna says:
    November 24th, 2007 11:29 pm

    This is disturbing and you are right that we all need to speak out against such actions. This is not what Pakistan is about and not what Islam is about.

  32. Mohammed Tufail says:
    November 25th, 2007 12:20 am

    If we want respect from others for our beliefs then the first step has to be to respect the beliefs of others.
    These artifacts are our heritage and we owe it to futue generations to keep them intact in trust

  33. Israr says:
    November 25th, 2007 12:20 am

    Travesty indeed it is ,it is enlightening to read the comment section. Poeple have different priorities. To me what all of this indicates a state of Lawlessenss ( read driver kindnapped an SHO , was it right or wrong, with the way the police is , to serve the rulers irrespective of the law , it is right , well you can argue it is wrong ) Utter lawlessness, where lives are so easily expendable, expecting respect for history culture and tolerance are far fetched Ideas. These are characters that develop after a basic development of a sociaty occurs .We have been gradually denigrating and progressing . It seems there is one step forward and than many backwards. I agree with the outrage and dont expect all but most of us to be aoutraged at all the things that are WRONG and clearly wrong. Todays top of the list though is our Govt treatment OF MUneer Malik. Iam outraged and
    RE hopefully you will share this outrage too.

  34. beynaam says:
    November 25th, 2007 12:26 am

    It is painful to hear of this in a country that was created in the name of religion… so those afraid of being persecuted for their religion would have a secure homeland. The general’s travails aside, it is important to not let these irreversible damages take place while the focus of most is on politics. Good job Adil.

  35. bhitai says:
    November 25th, 2007 12:50 am

    Dear Dr. Najam
    I want to bring your attention to a more troubling trend exhibited by the Taliban lately: the harassment of shia communities in the areas controlled by them. This harassment can border on ethnic cleansing if carried out through violence. You might be surprised to learn that the beheadings carried out by the Taliban have involved Pakistani soldiers who happened to be shia. The BBC recently confirmed the fact that Pakistani forces operating in those areas include members from Gilgit and
    Parachinar etc. This has made shias a favorite target of the Taliban. The Daily Times editorialized about this disturbing trend in their November 19th edition:

    http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2007\11\19\story_19-11-2007_pg3_1

    And it is a foregone conclusion that in the territories

  36. Qudsia says:
    November 25th, 2007 12:50 am

    Thank you for your strong voice of support for justice for all. As you rightly say:
    “At stake here is not just an image on a rock-cliff or our image abroad, at stake here is our own image of who we are and who we might become if we remain silent in the face of injustice.”

  37. Stuart Tims says:
    November 25th, 2007 12:53 am

    I am very impressed and moved by this essay. It is heartfelt and written with conviction. Your sentiments and the content of most of comments here give me hope that we will not fall into the traps of the clash of civilization and that our common humanity will beat out the hatred of those who wish to create differences and violence.

  38. RE says:
    November 25th, 2007 12:59 am

    I am sorry but I will first worry about the issue of Pakistan Under Attack, All other issues are 2nd to me. What all of you need to understand tortures , Unfair rulers , crimes by politicians , corruption by politicians none of these are new to Pakistan, But there are 2 things new in Pakistan. 1st terrorism by extremists 2nd people and media is worried about all the things which we are used to but not worried about new threats Pakistan is facing, isn’t this Amazing?
    I am not sure if you people live in Pakistan or not if you live in Pakistan get new banners made against extremism and come out to streets and speak against extremism. I promise you this will give confidence to people of Pakistan and Pakistan itself will have positive image around the world.
    Everyone in civilians and in government and politicians must unite against extremism and terrorism.If we do not do this now we will become a country like Afghanistan , Iraq, Please act now before its too late. Explain these extremists we are not with them if they do not understand humiliate them by rejecting them in society. Islam is better spread with examples not violence.
    Save your country now.
    Allah Bless Pakistan

  39. Adnan says:
    November 25th, 2007 1:00 am

    wah bhye wah

    When a 100 year old mosque(Masjid Hamza) which is LEGAL , in Islamabad destroyed because it disturbed the movement of VVIP movement then humanists get hibernated somewhere and don

  40. Tariq says:
    November 25th, 2007 1:09 am

    So, Mr. Adnan, are you saying you support the destruction of the Buddhas?

  41. Usman says:
    November 25th, 2007 1:19 am

    People like Fazalllah in Swat are the greatest threat to Islam today. People who did this destruction of Buddha in Swat and those who support such actions are real enemies of Islam and their action only strengthen other enemies of Islam.

  42. Viqar Minai says:
    November 25th, 2007 1:28 am

    There is no way to justify such deplorable acts; they deserve to be condemned by all reasonable people. The treasured artifacts of the Buddhist period in Pakistan’s northwest and in Afghanistan are the heritage of the entire humanity.

    Sadly, there is no easy way to resolve this problem. The key is to somehow get through to these people. There is dire need to make use of any human resources who understand the tragic cruelty of such acts, are sympathetic, and can in some way mediate with the zealots and get them to stop .

    There are calls to simply crush and vanquish the culprits in this forum. It is as unachievable as the idea of comitting genocide to save statues is morally repugnant. The Afghan experience clearly shows that use of excessive force simply radicalizes even more Pashtuns, thus compounding the problem. And yet a way has to be found to stop the extremism in this region.

    There is a brief, but thought provoking, report filed by Khalid Hasan in the Daily Times today. It reports on the experiences and ideas of Joshua White who has spent time in this region. For those who may be interested, here is a link:

    http://tinyurl.com/2h5436

  43. RE says:
    November 25th, 2007 1:31 am

    ARY One World airing news as I speak sitting in San Francisco.Once again swat news is just another news. Life of innocents in Pakistan is just another news. But arrival of Bhutto and Nawaz is first news.
    Usman well said.

  44. Adnan says:
    November 25th, 2007 1:46 am

    No Mr.Tariq, I am just talking against so called secularism and liberalism which prefers to promote actions against a religion just because they despise it. Following appeared in 22th Nov,2006 papers:

    By Muhammad Anis
    11/22/2006
    ISLAMABAD: The management of Faisal Mosque, International Islamic University Islamabad (IIUI), has expressed its apology for the inconvenience faced by people who wanted to enter into the mosque Sunday, November 19, for Asr prayers.

    On that day, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Tony Blair was scheduled to visit the mosque at 3:15p.m before a meeting with Pakistani scholars at the university. Due to a 15 minutes delay in his arrival and extra-ordinary security arrangements general public was barred from entering the mosque, however, Azan for Asr prayers was recited without using loud speaker and prayers were led by Prof. Abdul Jabbar Shakir, Khateeb of the Mosque and Head, Dawah Academy, that was attended by a number of the University teachers, officers, students and security officials present on the occasion. A group of visitors also offered prayers outside the mosque to compensate the inconvenience faced by the visitors. Azan for Maghrib prayers was recited through loud speakers and prayers were offered accordingly while the British prime minister was attending the meeting in the university.

    and no humanity preacher and Liberal on this site thought to talk about it or destruction of a century old Ameer Hamza. There was nothing between lines.

    @RE: where on earth you got idea that Jews are Not Destructing Masjid Aqsa? in which world do you live buddy?

  45. Rafay Kashmiri says:
    November 25th, 2007 6:21 am

    Lets not become paranoides !

    @ Someone else is doing all this, and we all know them,
    all the services know them and their groups, I shall
    formally name them as they were behind Shia/sunni
    troubles, they were behind Muslims/Chritians, they
    recently tried Muslims/Hindus . Its all Anti-islam tactics
    and propagandas !!! I wish they should be exposed and
    punished

  46. Sohail Agha says:
    November 25th, 2007 7:44 am

    http://www.counterpunch.org/leupp11232007.html

    Killing the Buddha in Pakistan’s Swat Valley
    By GARY LEUPP

    The link was in the second last paragraph of the article above. I wonder how many have read it in full before commenting.

  47. Ayjay says:
    November 25th, 2007 9:07 am

    Look at us.. I am sure there’s more cruelty and injustice in the world than we are currently raving and ranting about. People are losing lives over stupid foreign policies and business interests. A single human life is more precious than all the rock carvings in the world.
    I am having thoughts that with todays mindsets, we would have cried foul (God forbid) over the razing of 100+ statues in the Kaaba 1400 years ago.

  48. faraz says:
    November 25th, 2007 9:11 am

    “History repeats itself”. Taliban destryed Bhudda 6 months before 9/11 and then it all happens.

    Is another 9/11 is going to happen, this time FATA as base? This can be worst case scenerio, and Pakistan can no surrvive aftermath.

    I read the article provided in link. This extremism may be result of US imperial policies, but this monster can only destroy muslim countries. Pakistan seems to be going on suicide route.

    I will disagree with Adil Najam that removing Musharaf will be a step in solution of problem. Why, because in a fair and free election, we will get parties like muslim league in power which are too soft on extremism. There is simply no easy solution to extremism. The problem is in religion itself. There need to be some spritual reformation in religion.

  49. November 25th, 2007 9:36 am

    I would like to add that destroying monuments aka idols in the name of Islam is going against Allah. How? Well one must keep in mind in the Quran Allah has countless times mentioned how we have been left traces or remains of those civilizations that GOD and not man destroyed… the remains include man-made idols, buildings, pottery that was used by those who God punished. When Allah left behind traces to learn from… are we playing God? Who gives us the right to destroy what God has preserved as a lesson?
    I intentionally use the word “we/us” because at the end of the day we need to stand together and take responsibility. If we see injustice and do not speak up are we any better than those inflicting the injustice? Or any less of a victim than those who are being suppressed?
    And on that note… I give you a few words scrambled together to share with you, my thoughts.

    Another place
    A place of peace
    Of flowers and fragrance
    Of love and compassion
    Where a kiss is as free as a breath
    Sigh

  50. MQ says:
    November 25th, 2007 9:53 am

    Faraz,
    I don’t agree with the opinion that any mainstream political party will be soft on extremism. And that includes PPP, PML(N), ANP, MQM, Imran Khan, Achakzai — even Maulana Diesel. It is only the so-called religious parties on the fringes and certain individuals (both in the so-called agencies and Q-league) who are soft on extremisms.
    I am convinced that any civilian government with a strong support by the army will be able to control the extremism in the country much more effectively than Musharraf. Actually, as the Post wrote in a recent editorial, Musharraf is the problem.

  51. Samantha S. says:
    November 25th, 2007 10:11 am

    I am really sorry to read about this but I am glad that there are people like this writer and most commentators here who are speaking out. At a time when all our governments (certainly mine in USA) are following the paths of conflict, it is important that we ordinary citizens all over world hold on to our shared human values of decency and respect for each other. Thank you for giving me hope that decent people are struggling for what is right everywhere.

  52. Manzoor says:
    November 25th, 2007 10:24 am

    Those sitting in Karachi and Lahore have no knowledge of the intensity and reach of the Talibanistain in Frontier. But it has due to the state overlooking has crossed all the limits and now the whole of the Frontier is partially Talibanised.
    The rest of the country should be on its gaurd as now their reach is up to Islamabad.
    We the Frontier people already learned to live with these shameful episodes and constant atomsphere of fear.

  53. Meengla says:
    November 25th, 2007 10:31 am

    As Ayjay points out above, idols were destroyed 1400 years ago. And then, more recently, in Pakistani history books, we glorify invaders from our western/northwestern regions into the Subcontinent as our ancestors and heroes. These ancestors also plundered and murdered with impunity and destoyed idols and temples.
    Of course we cannot undo what was done centuries ago. But we may want to understand what happened then not for just history’s sake but also to better understand what motivates people to come to the heinous acts of destroying our heritage. In this connection, I vaguely remember there was some justifications for destroying the Bamiyan Bhudda statues in the light of what our ‘bUT Shikan’ (destroyers of idols) heroes did before.

  54. Joshua says:
    November 25th, 2007 11:29 am

    This is inspiring writing. The world needs tolerance from all of us from all religions. I just want to say that we need global human solidarity across al countries and all religions for tolerance.

  55. Abid says:
    November 25th, 2007 11:30 am

    It is sickening

  56. RE says:
    November 25th, 2007 12:39 pm

    faraz:
    Fraz yes also before 9-11 Newsweek called Osama the most dangerous man on earth. Now Newsweek called Pakistan the most dangerous place on earth. This is scary and people of Pakistan along with media are not aware of that there is something is cooking and this gives me stomach ache. You people who live in Pakistan come in streets against extremism.And all of us living abroad we must talk about extremism. This is called something planning ahead.
    This is stupid to say we can fight USA no we can not. We can only fight USA with ending to extremism and by acting as civilized nation.
    Allah Bless Pakistan

  57. Muneer says:
    November 25th, 2007 4:39 pm

    Thank you for highlighting this criminal act and maing clear that most of us Pakistanis do niether agree nor support such acts which are done by jahil mullahs who as someone said are the real enemies of Islam.

  58. Alf Liu says:
    November 25th, 2007 11:13 pm

    Thank you for highlighting this. I believe that more Muslim voices like yours need to be heard, especially by those of my friends in the USA who only want to see the negative in Islamic societies. You blog shows that ordinary Pakistanis care about tolerance as much as any one else.

  59. Owais Mughal says:
    November 26th, 2007 12:24 am

    Adil
    It is indeed shameful, criminal and disgraceful. It is just like you said in the title. Pakistan has been robbed of its heritage and history by this act as well as it created a very bad impression of intolerance to other religions.

  60. Dilawer says:
    November 26th, 2007 12:49 am

    Pakistanis are against such destruction. We do not like our religion being ridiculed and therefore cannot let anyone ridicule other religions. Lets all speak up against this act by these crazy mullahs who do not represent the majority of Pakistanis or majority of Muslims.

  61. Ibrahim says:
    November 26th, 2007 1:54 am

    Salamalikum,

    Couldn’t agree more with Ayjay, well said.

    If we go by emotions or by what is generally looked at as unacceptable toady, then the destruction of Buddah statues is of course wrong.

    But, the question that should be asked is if the Buddhists today know about this statue and take it as a place of worship. If so, is there any Buddhist that comes to worship at this site? If that’s the case, then it’s clearly wrong to destroy this statues because this is not from Islam to destroy others’ places of worship. However, if nobody comes to worship this statue but Buddhists around the world generally know about this and take it as a place of worship, then I think it should be left alone as well.

    But, this is the only requirement. As far as heritage, then the people who live there are more deserving of knowing what they want as a hertiage for themselves and what they don’t want. Moreover, idols and idol worshipping is unsightly thing for Muslims to look at. So, if Muslims of these areas find the Buddah to be an eyesore (assuming the requirement above is not met), they have the right to ask for its removal. However, I think a governmental-type body should carry out any destruction that should take place.

    Lastly, at a time when people are looking for every single significant or insignificant excuse to fault Muslims, Fazlullah finds it somehow helpful for Islam and Muslims to destroy a statue that has no significance and whose destruction doesn’t better the situation of Muslims of his own region at all.

  62. Deewana Aik says:
    November 26th, 2007 2:44 am

    No one should destroy any place of religious significance without the agreement of the community that owned the site in question in the past. Doing so would be arbitrary on the destroying side and could cause offence even if no one is coming to visit or pray on the site. This sort of gung-ho attitude should specially be avoided by Muslims as this only gives Islam and Muslims more bad name. God knows their reputation on tolerance isn

  63. Tina says:
    November 26th, 2007 8:43 am

    In answer to Ibrahim’s question, yes, Buddhists still make pilgrimages to places in Pakistan that are significant to them (remember the area was the heart of the Ghandara region). I’ve seen them myself, and met Buddhist pilgrims from Korea. I don’t know how many are coming given the poor security situation, however. Might it be that Buddhists are not worshipping at the sites because Muslims have made it dangerous for them to do so? If this is the case, your argument is then that it is okay to destroy the site because Muslims have driven off the followers (Okay, no Buddhists around here….let’s blow it up). See how your logic fails?

    However, even if they didn’t, I find it repugnant that you should suggest that the government should destroy historical treasures just because some village jackanapes want that. I’m also not suprised at your stance that Muslims should forbear to destroy these things as part of a cynical public relations move.

    How about we educate the local people instead of handing them the dynamite? Yeeesh.

    Pakistan used to be the heart of Buddhism and could still reap many benefits from tourism, etc. if they protected and developed these sites instead of destroying them.

    Buddhists were still going to Bamiyan in Afghanistan at risk of their lives to see that site. Your argument that a religious site has to be “active” to deserve protection would have covered even Bamiyan!

  64. Qadir says:
    November 26th, 2007 8:57 am

    Mr. Ibrahim, of all the comments here yours is the most scary to me. How calmly you are advocating violence and destruction. By your logic it would be fine if the Spaniards decided to destroy the mosques like Qurtiba… as long as some “government agency does it”… what a disgusting idea you are preaching…. and since in your theology ‘local people’ know best you must then also agree with these same local people in this same place that barbers who shave peoples faces should have their ears cut off and tailors who stitch trousers should be blown up. This may be your Islam, Sir, but this I have nothing to do with this Islam of people like Fazlullah who is nothing but a terrorist, killing and terrorizing ordinary Pakistanis and having these artifacts blown up!

  65. AZ says:
    November 26th, 2007 9:47 am

    Adil,
    No one has time in this world like you…to write about stupid things. You have mentioned about all buddha stuff…have you tried to draw public attention towards the human rights voliation done by mushraf government in same areas and wht those ppl have stood up againist him. if you dont know the facts then better try to find them rather than spreading stupid enlightened moderation.

  66. MQ says:
    November 26th, 2007 11:05 am

    An ancient Bodhi tree was burnt and chopped down in my neighborhood in Islamabad for the same reasons that Sawat Bhuda has been defaced now and Bamiyan Buddhas were destroyed earlier. We have already talked about it in detail elsewhere on this blog.

    To those of you who wear religion on their sleeves let me ask this : Caliph Omar conquered Egypt in the 7th century but did not destroy the massive statue of Abul-Hol (Sphinx) and other statues or symbols of any relgion. But Mullah Omar of the Taliban destroyed the Bamyan statues in the name of whatever brand of religion he believed in. Whose traditions would you prefer to follow? Caliph Omar’s or Mullah Omar’s?

  67. baber says:
    November 26th, 2007 11:18 am

    If this is justifiable then so is destruction of babri Masjid, as it wasn’t a place of worship anymore then. And comparision of this place of heritiage with kababa is very stupid, no offence to anyone. With the same logic then other christian countries should start destroying the muslim heritages in their countries and muslims should stop crying foul play. Is there any difference in their actions and yours?

  68. Abid says:
    November 26th, 2007 12:12 pm

    Excerpt from Prof Gary Leupp article

  69. libertarian says:
    November 26th, 2007 12:21 pm

    Abid: The westerners, Omar reasons, were more concerned …

    Omar has a metal piece in his head (from the Afghan war) and retreats for days on end with ringing noises that he cannot bear. The idiot then talks of “visions” he has seen, and some bigger idiots put that “vision” in action. Those visions seem more the result of that mighty metal and some peerless poppy. Allowing the possibility that he “thinks” is a big stretch. With the guys in Bamiyan and Swat – they will only listen to the dulcet sounds that emerge from a big bad barrel.

  70. Ibrahim says:
    November 26th, 2007 12:33 pm

    Salamalikum,

    Next time, try to read more than the first few lines of my comments. Tina, Qadir, MQ, Baber: Where did I suggest that if no Buddhist comes to worship, then the statue should be destroyed. In fact, if you guys hadn’t jumped the gun, you would have noticed that based on the requirement I mentioned, it is nearly impossible to destroy the Buddah because I believe you can find one Buddhist in the whole world who recognizes this statue as a place of worship.

    Hence, all these counter arguments that Babri Masjid or Andulis masaajid were no more frequented by people to pray are moot because people recognized them as mosques around the world (plus thousands of lesser known masaajid in Spain were destroyed). Also, my argument is in line with what Umar ibn al-Khattab did, inshaAllah….know that when Umar conquered Egypt, Egyptians didn’t become Muslims the next day. So, of course their places of whorship were respected.

    My point is, in other words, if Buddah is not recognized as a place of worship, regardless of it being visited or not, then defining what heritage people want should be left to the locals, and some archeological sentiment shouldn’t play any role here.

  71. Tina says:
    November 26th, 2007 1:37 pm

    The protection of historical treasures falls under the management of the government in Islamabad. For you to suggest that Pakistan’s own leadership collude with illiterate and misled villagers to destroy Pakistan’s heritage is deplorable. Saying “it’s up to the locals” is a disengenous way of saying you agree with the extremists.

    First get the govt. to do the bidding of the extremists for fear of offending their version of Islam, and the next thing you know Pakistan will be a Wahabi state under the thumb of Saudi Arabia instead of a messed-up not-yet democracy under the U.S.

    Is it possible to suggest that Pakistanis recognize that the Deobandi movement is not really home-grown? The ultra-fundamentalist movement is led and financed by foreigners just as the hated Western NGOs are. Only the NGOs finance doctors to inoculate children, and the fundies kill doctors for trying to do the same. Who are better?

  72. Sridhar says:
    November 26th, 2007 1:42 pm

    Comparisons of this act with Babri Masjid are stupid to say the least. First, before anybody jumps on me, I think the destruction of the Babri Masjid was a despicable act. While the original Masjid cannot be brought back, the least we should do is to hand the site back to the Shia community of Ayodhya (who managed the mosque before the 1940s and who filed the case that is still in the courts) and force the parties that were responsible for its destruction (i.e. the BJP along with its sister organizations) to pay for its reconstruction (besides other punishment they should get for their criminal acts).

    However, Babri Masjid is a much more complex issue, and not one that is comparable to the Bamiyan or Swat Buddhas. There are claims, (whether legitimate or not is yet to be conclusively determined), that this was a site of a pre-existing temple and not just any temple, but a temple recording the birthplace of Lord Ram. This may seem like an arbitrary claim, but the fact remains that there is a history to the site. A dispute about the site first reached the courts in the 19th century, with a British judge referring to older records about a temple at the site. At least as far back as historical records go, the mosque has been referred to as Ram Jamnasthan Masjid or Jamnasthan Masjid. (Jamnasthan is Hindi for “birthplace”) along with the term Babri Masjid. Finally, there is a long and indisputable history in India of destruction of temples by various Muslim monarchs and their underlings and in some cases, their replacement with mosques – making the claims of a pre-existing temple at least plausible even if not likely. None of this justifies the destruction of the Babri Masjid, but the fact remains that this is not just a case of destruction of a mosque because certain people could not tolerate it or that they thought it was their religious duty. There was a long-standing dispute that culminated in the events of December 6, 1992, with politics rather than religion being the prime cause for the destruction of the mosque.

    In the case of the Bamiyan Buddhas and the ones in Swat, the only reason for their destruction is intolerance and a literalist interpretation of the scriptures.

  73. Abid says:
    November 26th, 2007 2:15 pm

    Libertarian: I don

  74. Ibrahim says:
    November 26th, 2007 5:25 pm

    Salamalikum

    Sister Tina, you’re all over the place here…going from statues to Wahabis to US to Deobandis. But, let me stay on topic and talk about the statues.

    So, it’s settled that Buddah must not be destroyed if they are place of worship (as they seem to be), even if the sensitivities of the local population is “hurt” in this context. Now, the only thing remaining is the hypothetical scenario where the Buddah is not recognized as a place of worship by Buddhists around the world. In this case, respecting the sensitivities of the local community, learned or otherwise, the government should help in the removal of such objects so that the law and order is not disturbed. Heritage or archaeologists’ objections should not outweigh the sensitivities of the local populations. This is the crux of my argument and the orginial post puts emphasize on heritage, which I disagree with.

    So, I’m not suggesting that government “collude” with illiterate to destroy something. In fact, I’m suggesting something opposite: Take this action out of the hands of disorganized, non-governmental (and probably illiterate) people and place it in the hand of a governmental-type body.

  75. bhitai says:
    November 26th, 2007 5:45 pm

    Sridhar
    thanks for the info. It’s ironical that we Pakistanis went berserk when Hindus destroyed Babri masjid (a purely political stunt by BJP, kinda like what Sharon did in 2000 to incite the 2nd Intifada). However, when our patrons in Saudi Arabia eradicate a historical mosque/site here and there, not a whimper is heard. You probably have noticed how Shias revere their shrines, yet the Saudi kings, out of pure religious prejudice, have kept not one but FOUR graves of Shia Imams literally fenced away from the public. They open the Baqi` cemetery for a few hours every day (I was there last year), and allow no-one to get close to the graves. All you can do is to stand 10s of meters away, gaze at those mounds of sand, and sigh (all the while an ugly-bearded mullah is hovering about regurgitating wahabi propaganda). Imagine if BJP govt had destroyed the Ajmer shrine for reasons grounded in their interpretation of the Hindu scripture. But of course, Hindus are easy to hate, and Saudis..they give us 80000 barrels of oil for free (deferred payments) a day, so long live the king..

    Btw. saudi destruction of historical sites is an ongoing process, yet I would never see UNESCO taking interest..

  76. Deewana Aik says:
    November 26th, 2007 8:36 pm

    Well I am happy that Mullahs who are this intolerance are being dealt with by the security forces as we speak. No tolerance for these intolerant Mullahs. This is poetic justice. Alhamdolillah.

  77. MQ says:
    November 26th, 2007 8:44 pm

    Sridhar:
    Thanks for providing a detailed background of the Babri mosque. I didn’t know, and I am sure many Pakistanis didn’t know either, that the mosque was managed by the Shia community of Ayodhya. I think this fact alone should be enough to dampen the enthusiasm of many “brothers” and “sisters” on this blog about the rebuilding of the mosque. ( “Sister” Tina will probably be an exception, though.) But I agree with you it was a despicable act — as despicable as the destruction of Bamiyan and Swat Buddhas and the burning of the Bodhi tree in my neighborhood.

  78. Sridhar says:
    November 26th, 2007 9:40 pm

    MQ,

    There was actually a dispute about whether the property was a Sunni one or a Shia one in the 1930s (with the former claiming the mosque because Babur was a Sunni and the latter claiming that the person who actually built the mosque, Mir Baqi, was a Shia, as were the Nawabs of Awadh who had contributed to the waqf funds for its maintenance). But in the 1940s (when it was last used for namaz), it was a Shia place of worship until both the mosque and the temple that had existed at that site were locked up pending disposal of the case.

    In any case, the complexity of the Babri Masjid case and its incomparability with the Bamiyan or Swat case are best brought out by these verbatim quotes from judgements of two British judges in 1885-86.

    1. From the judgement of F.E.Chamier, District Judge of Faizabad dt. 18.03.1885
    [quote]

  79. libertarian says:
    November 27th, 2007 2:15 am

    sridhar: interesting insight.
    bhitai: the Saudis have their heads where the sun doesn’t shine. What they did to the Shias pales compared to their actions against Pakistani and Indian Ahmediyyas last year. The venture capitalists in Silicon Valley are putting billions into green technology. 10 years from now oil will be much less important than it is today. These illiterate Saudis should party while they still have time. Then, they can return to mounting their camels any way they like.

  80. bhitai says:
    November 27th, 2007 2:49 am

    libertarian
    I’m not sure which incident you are hinting at, but the wahabi’s destruction orgies of Shia and Sufi religious places are not new developments. In the early 19th century, saudi hordes drunk on newly-gained power actually went to Karbala and ransacked the shrines of Imam Hussain(as). It’s just sad that the muslims went mental when the British decided to end the farcical Turkish ‘caliphate’ , yet they quickly forgot the art of protesting when the wahabis started their campaign of destruction. If it wasn’t for the Iranian muscle-flexing in the region post ’79, Baqi` would still be a no-go area for all muslims.

  81. libertarian says:
    November 27th, 2007 4:07 am

    bhitai: I’m referring to this. A Bohra friend was griping, too, about how high-handed the Saudis act regarding Shia-specific sites. Having Iran as a check and balance is not a bad thing at all.

  82. Sohail Agha says:
    November 27th, 2007 6:20 am

    Zeitgeist part 3 of 3 from Google Video
    (The story behind the story…)

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=497251819335380093

  83. Qandeel says:
    November 27th, 2007 7:29 am

    I liked the article by Gary Leupp; it goes beyond mere denouncement of the attacks and asks how it came to this in the first place:

    “Anyone advocating U.S. strikes against Pakistan (a number of neocons have done so over the last nine months) will mention all these things in order to emphasize the enemy’s caveman otherness. But we should ask such people: Why are the Mullah Fazlulahs on a roll right now? What is the cause, what is the effect?”

    The region may be teeming with jahiliat but this is not just about a retrograde interpretation of religion. The caveman’s catharsis, if you will, is part of something bigger. Gary Leupp’s article should be read more carefully.

  84. Abid says:
    November 27th, 2007 12:54 pm

    Qandeel:

  85. Rubab says:
    November 27th, 2007 7:25 pm

    What actually shameful is the negative image we are giving to the world as nation. Further we ourselves are bringing bad name to Pakistan and Islam just by serving the vested interests of a small segment of people who want to ruin Pakistan and its solidarity.
    Pakistan is being exploited in the name of religious extremism, this is whole designed conspiracy. Lets help in mitigating it.
    The female Mrs. Zil-e-Huma Usman who was killed by a religious extremist was a generous and hard wroker, she was victimized for no reasons.

  86. Ghalib says:
    November 27th, 2007 7:59 pm

    how many people now rememeber red mosque? how many remember bhutto’s hanging? the same nation followed Zia the hoax of reds coming to the arabian oceans? u all are upset abt bhudda get upset about people who are dying,if army as an organised institution cant then just say “God bless Pakistan” actually as a nation we never cared for building any thing! all what we did was “grab and make money” how many of us have tried to stay back? i know many bloggers on this room talk while sittin in USA UK or mideast!ask em to go back to paksitan and make some difference then? they will say they cant alone make any difference?they forget Jinnah and forget him even they cant even see Edhi!Its so easy to be living in great homes driving cars writing in blogs while lissenin to ur fav music than to face the crooks and by crooks i mean THE ARMY! as if politicians did bad what the hell army did? loose half of the country? and no accountability? y didnt they hang all the politicians but what they did was? shake hands u eat and let us eat as well! these people who are blowing bhudda statues are trained by ?the Opium nexus provides the funding for ISI ! keep on writing in blogs nothing is goin to happen nothing as we lost half of the country my father who was a POW in india said had it been no ayub pak wud have never divided!
    All the brains from pak is trying to get visas going out! become a captain in army ull get all the incentives (with a oretext that u fight on borders LOL) and become a doc u used to get Rs 3580/- and then they raised it to 6200/- LOL! when petrol is 50 Rs+ liter! and engineers dont have jobs! they give GRE get a scholarship and fly away! so in these circumstances the army staying there is doing”sarhadoon ki hifazat” “allah u akbar” 23 March parade all galore and truth??? nothing!build a 2500 Acres GHQ as we need it LOL go to pindi cantt and ull be amazed who the hell they gonna move outta there! and ask if how will they build it? the Army Major wud tell u “army is spending their own money” LOL! if such is the notion,no fight just take a flight u dun even need to cry!just watch it.now there will be 4 years of civil rule an assembly wud be broken another general will come new PCO same old s-it same old statements “mere aziz hum watno”
    We dont need to write it here we need to get our selves there and challenge em! if we want something many of us will loose much but may be the nation will get to track as 60 years everyone including us have just looted! and if not have supported the looters and equal crime!Bhudda statues blown doesnt ring a bell actually does is NO BODY GETS HANGED FOR THEIR CRIMES! they are pardoned by the same general,the others is flown out,then dictated to get him back by none other than the Saudi Kings!this is “Ghairat mand Kaum led by a Patriotic general” one had come for reds he has come for red mosque!

  87. Qudratullah says:
    November 28th, 2007 1:39 am

    Adil, this is a powerful article you have written. Please have it published in Pakistan newspapers also. We need to have students in schools read sentiments like this from true Pakistanis instead of the messages of hate that they listen to now. May Allah bless you for your honesty and courage in all your writings.

  88. December 27th, 2007 3:16 am

    STOPPING THE BLOODBATH OF PUKHTOONS
    By Dr Adalat Khan

  89. Omar says:
    September 30th, 2008 12:07 pm

    The best solution for Pakistan and Pakistanis is to read with understanding the Quran, Ahadiths and Siratunnabi in their own languages. They only need to read these and nothing else. Dont consult the mullahs or read subjective tafseers. Just these 3 pieces of literature. These scriptures were not accessible as easily before. Now both in english and urdu you can get these scriptures either online or through bookstores. I can say with great certainty that once people read the islamic scriptures, with understanding and in their chosen language, they would leave Islam and would join the rest of humanity. Only a minority would go the other way, ie become complete barbarians. But I think it will be better as they at least will not be hanging in the middle and living a hypocritical life. This, I think should be really encouraged and I speak from personal experience.

  90. mario_b says:
    July 17th, 2009 10:39 pm

    The loss of the cultural treasures is a loss for all of us~ these statues and sculptures heavily influenced and possibly executed by the decendents of helenistic greeks durring Gondhara’s goldenage are evidence of our one humanity touching the roots of western culture and reaching and influencing the branch of Buddhim that would spread through China south east asia, Korea and Japan where its influences are evident to this day. To destroy these is an act of war on humanity itself. The Taliban are a cancer on the numan body and should be excised before its too late.

  91. Watan Aziz says:
    November 23rd, 2010 10:40 pm

    There are times when it is not enough to feel outraged. One has to speak out. To express the outrage. To speak out, and to be heard, against that which is wrong. Indeed, there are times in life when it is difficult to determine exactly what is right. Reality, after all, is complex and nuanced. However, there are also times – more often than we think – when there is no ambiguity about what is wrong. Just plain wrong. Silence, at such moments – especially in the face of violence – cannot be justified. The least one can do is to call the wrong, wrong.

    For a moment I thought this was about statement of Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, Minister of Finance, Government of Pakistan: “Personally speaking, I am in favour of taxing the rich, but the Constitution does not allow the federal government to do so because it is a provincial subject”.

    Yes, I too am outraged for desecration of relics, of disrespecting other faiths and other peoples. This is not who Pakistanis are. This is not how we get defined.

    And yes, I am outraged just the same at the people who are doing disservice to the nation.

    When will ATP speak up against the later?

  92. Tasleem says:
    November 24th, 2010 12:42 am

    Mr. Watan Aziz, I am sure you have been told before just how irritating you are, even for those who might otherwise be inclined to agree with what you are saying!

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