Pakistan at War: No Women Allowed

Posted on January 16, 2009
Filed Under >Adil Najam, Law & Justice, Photo of the Day, Society, Women
Total Views: 40319


Adil Najam

This photograph was published in Daily Times, January 12, 2009. The caption read:

“Women are not allowed in the market,” reads a banner displayed at the entrance of a market in Mingora. Taliban have banned the entry of women in markets and ordered the killing of women who violate the ban. Most shop owners have sold or shut down their businesses because of falling sales following the restriction.

What would have made this tragic depiction comical had the context been different is that from the picture this is clearly a textile and cloth market – the type of market where, in Pakistan, you would expect most customers to be women!

111 Comments on “Pakistan at War: No Women Allowed”

  1. Zia Ahmed says:
    January 16th, 2009 12:47 am

    Ladies should open their own markets where entrance of men should be prohibited.

  2. ASAD says:
    January 16th, 2009 12:53 am

    Zia, yaar your comment might have been funny in another context but what is happening in Swat by these criminals is no laughing matter at all. These barbarians are killing Pakistanis indiscriminately. Cutting off people’s ears and noses in so-called ‘punishment’, hanging people, murdering people and spreading fear. The headline is exactly right, this IS war against Pakistan.

  3. faisal says:
    January 16th, 2009 1:44 am

    This is really deplorable.

  4. Faraz says:
    January 16th, 2009 2:44 am

    What does it say in small fonts at the bottom of the banner?

  5. Monkey says:
    January 16th, 2009 2:57 am

    In Karachi, this is happening at a smaller scale. The other day I was at a cloth shopping market in DHA, and a “righteous-looking” man passed by me muttering something like “dopatta pehen ke toh niklo kamazkam” under his breath. I was shocked.

  6. Meena Bazaar says:
    January 16th, 2009 5:10 am

    When I was a kid I asked my mother what this place meant in North Nazimabad and was told that it meant men could not enter. I thought that was very strange because in any case men are never interested in shopping for clothes and jewelry (at least I am not).

    Now the Generation-next Taliban are dictating that the opposite should happen in Swat. I once heard a joke in 1993 when the Sharia movement started in Swat long before 9/11 and the war on terror.

    I was told that the extremists were asking people to drive on the right side of the road and wear their wrist watches on the right side. I then thought it was just a bizzare joke. I now begin to think as girls schools are being shut around the country that there was possibly some truth in the joke.

  7. Murtad King says:
    January 16th, 2009 5:32 am

    What is surprising? Isn’t this all mentioned in Quran. Our religion is basically anti women. These talibanis are only interpreting it correctly.

  8. January 16th, 2009 5:43 am

    footnote says that the banner was by order of traders of this market in mingora. the words i could read was bahakum market mingora

  9. faisal says:
    January 16th, 2009 6:55 am

    @ Murtad King

    You sir are as misinformed as mullahs. Please do some reading again with an open mind.

  10. DuFFeR says:
    January 16th, 2009 7:20 am

    this is pathetic

  11. Ghufran ali quresh says:
    January 16th, 2009 7:57 am

    @Murtad King

    Ur Name says it all .

  12. January 16th, 2009 8:15 am

    I am surprised that anyone is surprised by this banner or its affects. Surely ‘banning women’ is what the Taliban (or “enemy forces.” as the British Army now have to say) is all about?

    Whilst they were in power in Afghanistan, the Taliban had an appalling record of discriminating against women (especially Widows or Single Women), so now that they freely operate in many parts of Pakistan, why is anyone surprised that they still promulgate these policies?

    If they were sane then they wouldn’t believe in these insane ideas, but they are not, so they do.

  13. Aamir Al says:
    January 16th, 2009 8:21 am

    The shopkeepers have done this in order to avoid their shops being bombed by the Taliban.

    I hope Pakistanis now realize that this is indeed their war.

  14. Feisal Khan says:
    January 16th, 2009 9:04 am

    What have they done to my religion?

  15. Muslim says:
    January 16th, 2009 9:16 am

    Mr. Murtad, that may be what yo and your Taliban friends believe your religion to be, but that is not so in Islam and for us Muslims.

  16. Nasir says:
    January 16th, 2009 9:21 am

    Very regretfully I would like to add that People of swat wanted sharait and now they have it.

    Others hoping for a shariah nizam in Pakistan should take heed now while there is still chance. Be careful what you ask for.

  17. Nouman A. Siddiqui says:
    January 16th, 2009 9:41 am

    Don’t we always contradict among ourselves? I mean, what would the general concise be according to our Islamic values? If a women follows the righteous way to Hijab, then i am sure she can take a stroll in a market place or more popularly known as Shopping malls. That too with a purpose, that interests her to shop for her needs!

  18. Muslim says:
    January 16th, 2009 9:45 am

    Nasir, NO the people of Swat do NOT want this Sharitat.

    The Taliban are ruling by fear. The whole purpose of the murders and cutting of ears etc. is to make people very very afraid. So that they become so afraid for their lives that they have no option but to accept the crazy rituals of these kafir Taliban.

  19. Anwar says:
    January 16th, 2009 10:25 am

    Sorry state of affairs.
    And Nauman can you please explain with some examples “Our Islamic Values?”

  20. January 16th, 2009 10:37 am

    :P awesome pic :P

  21. abdulhai says:
    January 16th, 2009 10:39 am

    I am ashamed of my coreligionists in Swat. I pray that Allah guide them to the right path. The next step is to provide economic and educational opportunities to the deprived so they do not become Talibans when they grow up.

  22. BUNTY says:
    January 16th, 2009 10:58 am

    The more dangerous trend is that this hoarding is a direct challenge to the writ of Government of Pakistan which in this case does not seem to be taking the proverbial bull by the horns in NWFP!

  23. January 16th, 2009 11:52 am

    Definately shariah nizam should be imlimented in pakistan to govern the country under Islamic Laws given in Quran ,Ahadis and seerat.Life our prophet was interpreted the Quran practically.Although pakstan was demanded and came into being in 1947 for the same cause after unprecedental sacrifices,on the basis of Islamic Idiology.At the time of independence we were one,united.there was no thinking of provincialism,Languistic,sectrism ,and no ther divisions among us which now er witnessed.Our enemies within us taken advantage of our negligence and distance from our religion.Now most of the rulers who are holding powers and support of our traditional enemies ,non belivers,secular minded people within them which makes the mess so we are illusioned and our destination gone in dark.for implementing shariah all of us first unite on destination and the struglled like our pakistan movement with leader of our Quide’quolities .Almighty Allah blessed us all and our beloved pakistan changed into for which it was demanded.Aameen

  24. January 16th, 2009 11:55 am

    @Monkey: You gave me a good laugh. I mean if the guy was going to say,”Itna Zyda pehan kar mat niklo” then you were goign to award that guy ‘Hilal-e-Pakistan’. Isn’t it?

    Psuedo Intellectuals like you sure entertain me a lot.

  25. Hussain says:
    January 16th, 2009 12:02 pm

    Amin Paanwalla, this was not the Shariah that Pakistan was made for and these murderers of Pakistanis are not the people we want to follow. They are criminals, thugs and traitors. That is all these Taliban are.

  26. Ajmal Kibriya says:
    January 16th, 2009 12:06 pm

    This is a really sad state of affairs and shows that these Taliban are now in full control. Today it is Swat, tomorrow it will be Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad. These people with their killing and fear tactics really have to be stopped. All true Pakistanis should be united in the fight against these enemies of Pakistan.

  27. Pinny says:
    January 16th, 2009 12:14 pm

    This is just plain shameful and more than just a tad stupid. Although, there’s no real surprise there.

    While the world goes onwards, here we are regressings slowly to pre-jahilia times thanks to an illiterate group of people whose ideology is completely alien to any sensible human.

  28. Nouman A. Siddiqui says:
    January 16th, 2009 12:50 pm

    @ Anwar! The Islamic values that we Muslims live our daily lives upon! You and i know the ethics and morals of humanity, that how we should present ourselves in the public, what we wear, what we do? I am not talking about core Islamic values, because its Pakistan and no one can deny the fact that Pakistan has always been governed by corrupt landlords which fails to bring forward simple solutions for people to have normal lives. You can talk about extremism in North and economy to the shores of Pakistan and hence, everything happens, good and bad, but in the end people in Pakistan still live their lives in a closed box!

  29. jehangir says:
    January 16th, 2009 12:56 pm

    The sad part is that there are still Pakistanis who try to defend these acts of crime as if they had something to do with religion. Just because these bunch of frustrated hooligans say that they are doing this in teh name of Islam does not make it Islam.

    I agree, Pakistan’s biggest challenge is dealing with the rise of these criminal Talibans. Those who really care about Islam and Muslims shoudl be most concerned about putting an end of this Talibanization of Pakistan.

  30. Pakistani Questions says:
    January 16th, 2009 12:56 pm

    Jab tak ye madrassay band nahi hu gay naam nihaad jehadi aisay hee bantay rahaein gay.. …. The present day taliban are the product of these madrassas where the education is based on hatred… The system was created to produce FREE FOOT SOLDIERS for Afghan war and now they produce nothing but pain for Pakistan and Ummah.

    I wonder why these days…

    1. Our media completely ignore the coverage of atrocities done by these barbarians and call them ‘Shidat-Pasand / Askariyaat Pasand’ rather calling them criminals and Dahshaat Gard…. no one pointing fingers when Army choose to look the otherway while Taliban go on murder spree.. an example is killing of pro Pakistan Peer sahab and regular killings in main bazars.

    2. Today our nation is more worried about Palestenians being murdered in Gaza then Pakistani being murdered in Swat?? No julus against the Taliban but big rallies against Irael…??

    3. How come the Taliban killed the local leaders of ANP and PPP but never go against MMA, JUI, PML people in NWFP??

  31. atheist says:
    January 16th, 2009 1:02 pm

    this is really unfortunate since i believe that religion is a personal matter. OTOH I dont understand whats the big deal about it ?

    Islamic Republic of Pakistan was created by few muslim leaders with religion as the central point. Now if some other guys want it to be a pure Islamic state, why should any Pakistani be surprised ? If Pakistanis accepted the partition of 1947 to create an Islamic state, you have to no moral right to oppose those who want to implement full Islamic state. If you are proud of what you did 60 years back, be prepared for its outcomes.

    If Pakistanis can accept that a Women can’t be president of Pakistan why can’t they accept that women can’t enter one perticular maket ?

  32. January 16th, 2009 1:10 pm

    a Women can

  33. January 16th, 2009 1:16 pm

    Adil Bhai,

    Is Swat still in Pakistan?

    My post on the silent massacre of Swat is a must read for all Pakistanis and can be read via the link below:



  34. Aamir Ali says:
    January 16th, 2009 1:43 pm


    Sitting in India, you will not know that Islam is the religion that introdoced the concept of women’s rights. Indeed some Islamic clerics and groups oppose women’s rights, that is because they are ignorant of Islam’s values and confuse it with tribal culture or just plain ignorance.

    The sad state of affairs is due to the threat and violence of the Swati Taliban. It has nothing to do 1947.

  35. KAMRAN says:
    January 16th, 2009 2:04 pm

    I think this picture and some of the comments here prove the point that these Taliban are the true enemies of Islam. As one can see, their perverted actions not only kill Muslims but they also strengthen the hands of the “Murtids” and “Atheists” who for other reason what to present Islam as a bad religion. The final goal of the two groups is exactly the same – to hurt real Muslims and to present this distorted view of not just Islam but all religions. The thinking of these two groups is actually surprisingly the same!

  36. Arjun says:
    January 16th, 2009 2:09 pm

    Sitting in India, you will not know that Islam is the religion that introdoced the concept of women

  37. January 16th, 2009 2:24 pm

    I wonder why our media is silent,
    why our govt. is silent,
    why our religious scholars are silent.
    it is the true/real Islamic Sharia imposed by the Taliban.?

  38. Arjun says:
    January 16th, 2009 2:33 pm

    I would also add that women typically have fewer rights in Islam than in secular societies today. Their testimony is worth half that of a man. In rape cases, they need 4 witness to prove rape. In general, they are far from equal to men compared to societies that have undergone the Enlightenment like countries in Europe. Please please don’t take this as an attack but as a simple statement of fact.

  39. Jehangir says:
    January 16th, 2009 3:07 pm

    I would never think of trying to explain to a Hindu or a Christian or a Jew what “true” Hinduism, Christianity or Judism is. Yet, I find it amazing (and annoying) that people of other religions are so very eager and interested in explaining to me what my religion actually is, and then insisting that the version they know (which is usually a bunch of hate-filled extremes taken out of context) and which is based on the practice of the worst people is actually the ‘real’ Islam. Why should my Islam be based either on what Arjun thinks or what these Taliban think? I suspect they both detest the Islam I practice.

    I can find bad practices and out-of-context examples in all religions, and even in the lack of religion. But let me not stoop to that level. Let me just try to be the best human being I can, which is what Islam means to me. Others can choose todo the same with whatever belief set they have, since at the end of the day that is all that any religion asks of its adherents. Yet, some people seem so much more comfortable celebrating what is good about their own belief set than in bad mouthing and abusing other’s beliefs. I guess these talibans are teh same. talk to them and just like Arjun lectures us about what is wrong with Islam they will lecture you about what is good with Hindus, or Jews, or Christians. I choose not to listen to either the Taliban or to Arjun. Although I suspect they would really enjoy chatting with each other :-)

  40. Irfan says:
    January 16th, 2009 3:43 pm

    It is also a statement of fact that Hindus burned their widows at the pyre and female infanticide in India is the highest in the world after China. Does not make it representative of Hinduism any more than your examples make them representative of Islam.

  41. Aamir Ali says:
    January 16th, 2009 3:45 pm


    You may have read about Women in Islam at some website, that doesnt apply to every Muslim country/community in this world. In Pakistan, a woman’s testimony is equal to that of a man, and in Pakistan women have full rights with regards to work, education, inheritance and voting. That is why the Taliban is seen as a problem in Pakistan.

    But sitting in India, you will not know any of this.

  42. Arjun says:
    January 16th, 2009 3:52 pm

    I keep repeating: On this Pakistan-related board, can we please leave India or Hinduism etc out of it? Hinduism is not a perfect belief system and has many problems, no doubt about it. This is not the forum to discuss them.

    Let’s focus on the article at hand and claims being made about Islam vis-a-vis women’s rights.

  43. Arjun says:
    January 16th, 2009 3:54 pm

    For those interested in talking about Hindu society’s flaws – its treatment of women, its caste system problems, dowry issues etc – I strongly recommend you visit one of the many websites devoted to those subjects.

    I visit this board to discuss Pakistan and issues relating to it. CAn we please stick to those?

  44. Arjun says:
    January 16th, 2009 4:01 pm

    Jehangir, I think Islam has some beautiful ideas as well as some bad ones. The idea of brotherhood among men and the sense of community are ideas which I find very nice.

    For the record, never once would I think of lecturing you that Islam is bad and other religions are good. It’s not as black and white as that. Please point out where I have said this. All I’ve said is that the claim that women’s rights were introduced by Islam is not true.

  45. Gorki says:
    January 16th, 2009 6:28 pm

    I believe that this current article and the related stories coming out of Swat (defacing historic relics etc.) are of a more than a passing interest to a lot of people. It is especially so for us in India since the we share our country with 140 million fellow Indians who follow Islam.
    I do gather from the posts that most people think what is happening in Swat is not Islamic but am interested in knowing what is the current thinking of educated muslims regarding women rights as interpreted in the secular, western societies. Are they equal?
    What about other people who can be described as mostly good even by islamic standards but do not followIslam (such as me). Is there anything in the Koran that really says that people like me are less of humans? Are we ‘others’ less perfect than the Umma?
    What about the rich and historic cultural achievements of muslim societies before they adopted Islam? (eg Pakistan, Iran, Egypt) Should they be deleted or can the nations be Islamic and still take pride in the achievements of their ancestors?
    I am not asking rhetorical questions; I am interested in finding out how the majority of Pakistanis think since genetically they are closer to us Indian Punjabis than they are to say the Sudanese Muslims?
    Do they feel this kinship too?

  46. readinglord says:
    January 16th, 2009 7:50 pm

    I wonder what the so called army operation is doing in Sawat when schools, especially those of girls, are being blasted or closed and innocent people being butchered.

    As to what is Islam, it is not the issue presently, as any thing can be proved if we search the plethora of islamic literature produced during the last 14 centuries. The question which we face to day is whether can we allow imposing any type of religion by force or terror as is being done in Sawat today. The sad thing is army has apparently failed to check the Taliban onslaught and this Pakiland, God forbid, is going to be turned into Talibani Afghanistan sooner or later as there seems to be no commited force to check it within Pakistan. In fact no body is even aware of the danger we are facing today except Althaf Hussain of MQM who has been raiusing the alarm since long.

  47. Iqtedar says:
    January 16th, 2009 10:22 pm

    This depiction is a very sad state of affairs. Whereas the Taliban’s stand against the US is a praiseworthy act of courage, their ideology has real problems and is unworkable. Historically, Islam is known for liberating women but these people are harkening back to the jahilliyah where the society was male dominated and regressive.

  48. athiest says:
    January 16th, 2009 11:42 pm

    @Aamir Ali

    Exactly thats my point. I am not a muslim but i know that Prophet’s (PBUH) wife was a well respected lady of her times. And IIRC she even was the first one to put forward her marriage proposal.

    When women had so much freedom 1600 years back, why has the current situation so bad ? Why are females treated like they are there in Saudi and isn’t Pakistan becoming next Saudi ? My 1947 referece was due to the fact that 1947 was a significant point in Pakistani histroy and the clerics now are pushing this Islamic/Sharia rules refer Pakistan’s creation for Islam as their argument. Do not say that this is limited to SWAT only, God forbid, the next in number might be Peshawar, and then Islamabad.

    @Adnan Siddiqi
    As far as USofA is concerned you would also agree that women enjoy more freedom there than in Pakistan. Also one day they will have a Woman president and Pakistan, contitutionally can’t. I agree there has been injustice to females in all socieites but things are improving in India and elsewhere. In your country they are getting worse.

    On a personal level i am sad about the things happening in Pakistan because i have grown up seeing Ptv in India(Nilaam ghar, ABC, Raahain, Night Rider etc, last year only i again saw Raahain again on youtube, Pa Basu rocks!!!) and can identify with most of Pakistan. OTOH I am not surprised by whats happening there. If someone can justify 1 million killings just to be called Pakistani rather than Hindustani, i just think worse is yet to come !!!

  49. January 17th, 2009 12:20 am

    more freedom there than in Pakistan

    You are amazing,atheist! few comments back you were cursing Pakistan that Women do not enjoy freedom while unlike US, Pakistan was ruled by a Pakistan more than 5 years and when you were given a recent example than you brought up something else.

    what kind of Women freedom in US are you talking about? If you mean working in different departments then same happen here as well. Women are every where. If you are talking about Western vulgarity and how West uses a woman as TOY in name of modeling and other things then it’s … also happening in Pakistan too. Now you will find a woman in shaving cream Ad though I wonder what the heck woman has to do with a shaving cream.

    My friend,come out of wonderland and face the reality.

  50. Adnan Siddiqi says:
    January 17th, 2009 12:20 am

    “was ruled by a Pakistan”

    should be read as

    “was ruled by a Pakistani Woman”

  51. Sher Bano says:
    January 17th, 2009 12:40 am

    Isn’t it interesting the post is about women

  52. athiest says:
    January 17th, 2009 1:19 am

    @Sher Bano

    awesome!!! may there be more like you to raise _your_ openions as well, not just the Clerics.

    I would just like to add that we should also learn to keep religion a personal affair, not to keep mixing religion with everything else and have tolerance for people with openion different that us…

  53. bonobashi says:
    January 17th, 2009 1:50 am

    @ Arjun

    “I would also add that women typically have fewer rights in Islam than in secular societies today. Their testimony is worth half that of a man. In rape cases, they need 4 witness to prove rape. In general, they are far from equal to men compared to societies that have undergone the Enlightenment like countries in Europe. Please please don

  54. Aamir Ali says:
    January 17th, 2009 1:55 am


    You are comparing Saudi Arabia to Pakistan ? That shows your knowledge of Pakistan and Islam is close to nil yet you post on blogs passing judgements on Muslims. These restrictions on women’s rights are pushed by the Taliban, a group of criminals and looneys, with ideology imported from Afghanistan. They do not translate that “Islamic clerics demanding Sharia law from 1947″.

    You real hang-up seems to be the creation of Pakistan itself, because you think something was taken from you by the “Muslim invaders”. Well nobody in Pakistan cares about your gripes about 1947.

  55. Eidee Man says:
    January 17th, 2009 2:19 am

    I am shocked to see the totally irrelevant debate that has ensued at the behest of a new troll. What does this have to do with the topic of this post?

    If the authorities do not act, then simple economics itself will take care of this situation pretty quickly and decisively. I think the shopkeepers will suffer much more than their women clients who perhaps have to forgo shopping for a short while.

    Consider the following; the Pakistani army is engaged all along the tribal areas, the ‘Allies’ are patrolling on the other side, and yet on a daily basis, heroin finds its way to its destination.

  56. bonobashi says:
    January 17th, 2009 2:23 am


    I could reply to your second question quoting the exact significance of other religions in Islam, but that belongs to somebody else with the knowledge and the scholarship to do so.

    Instead, may I refer you to my favourite story in the context, the story of Rabiya al-Adawiyya walking through the streets of Basra with a torch in one hand and a bucket of water in the other. Look it up; it may answer some of your questioning.

    I was born Hindu but observe no religion; if I ever did, I would follow her, I would follow Bulleh Shah, who came from your part of the world, I would follow Lalan Fakir (they would have been in perfect harmony with each other, from all that is known). Till such a day, it is enough for me to strive to think good thoughts, try to do good deeds and have good intentions. It doesn’t seem important or relevant to be observant. Neither hellfire nor the allure of paradise seems particularly persuasive.

    Just my tuppence; if it doesn’t work for you, at least it’ll good for a laugh.

  57. Arjun says:
    January 17th, 2009 2:44 am

    bonobashi, yes, I was speaking theologically. Note the “in Islam” as opposed to “Muslim societies”.

    Sher Bano, excellent post and I agree wholeheartedly.

  58. EMM ECH says:
    January 17th, 2009 10:03 am

    I really think that some people are DELIBERATELY trying to spoil this post and distract from real subject. And I resent this highjacking.

    1. THIS POST IS NOT ABOUT ISLAM AND WOMEN. It is about TALIBAN AND WOMEN. If you are a Taliban yourself or a Taliban follower and believer then you might think this has anything to do with Islam. No one else does. Those who are trying to extrapolate from this what Islam does or does not say about women are either just ignorant or deliberately trying to use this for thier Islam-hating bigotry. Please don’t do that.
    2. THIS POST IS NOT ABOUT WHAT IS HAPPENING IN ALL OF PAKISTAN. It is about WHAT IS HAPPENING IN SWAT. There is still a big difference. The reason we Pakistanis are so worried about this is because this is NOT Pakistan and these criminals are taking over our country. So, those trying to depict this as if this is standard in Pakistan are again trying to just thrust their ignorant or blatantly anti-Pakistan views.

    I am all for open dialogue. But the trolling and propaganda that a few outside commenters are doing here is deplorable. Maybe show some respect for the nuance of the topic, please.

  59. Sridhar says:
    January 17th, 2009 10:45 am

    Some questions:

    1. How large is the area under the control of the Swati Taliban? From Wikipedia, I got a sense of how large the district is, but is all of the district under the control of the Taliban? A part of it? An area larger than it?

    2. How many soldiers have been sent there? My understanding is that there are 30000 regular army soldiers there, in addition to paramilitary forces and police. I can understand that the police has probably ceased to exist (particularly the unarmed or lightly armed personnel). But how many armed personnel are there in total?

    3. Where are these armed personnel stationed? News reports say that even the capital of Swat is not under the control (or at least full control) of the Government. So are they stationed in garrisons outside the town?

    4. Are the armed forces units stationed there mixed units, comprising Pashtuns and others? Or are the personnel in these units primarily non-Pashtuns?

    5. Is the operation against the Taliban based primarily on a ground offensive or using aerial bombardment (using helicopters for instance)? The latter may be attractive to the forces, but is unlikely to win the war. It is most likely to kill innocents (so called “collateral damage”). Counter-insurgency battles cannot be won from the air, to my mind. And in fact, the use of aerial assets can actually work against the success of such operations.

    6. Is the army fully committed to rooting out the Taliban from Swat? Have actions of the army brass demonstrated this committment?

  60. athiest says:
    January 17th, 2009 11:35 am

    @Aamir Ali

    I don’t think i wrote anything offending Islam or Muslims so you dont have right to be angry.

    BTW isn’t one of the big demands of these gunmans is the imposistion of Sharia in Pakistan (and atleast partly implemented in SWAT). Do you know the argument Taliban gives while putting restrictions on woman(eg. what argument they put while bombing girls school in SWAT ? ) ? And FYI SWAT is not a small area.

    You say that idealogy is imported from Afghanistan. From where did this idealogy came at the first place in Afghanistan ? India ? No its Saudi.

    As far as creation of Pakistan is concerned I dont give a damn about anything related to it, much less this senseless partioning of lands, hearts, cultures and everything in the name of religion, language and what not. My only concern is that about 1 million people were killed during the partioning for promises of a better tomorrow for Muslims and Pakistan. I dont see those promises fulfilled(in Pakistand and India as well). Pakistan ows owed a lot to those dead bodies. Nobody should care about _me_ but they should care about those to whom promises were made and those who died in 1947.

    And i dont see Muslims as invadors, many of my good friends are muslims. Infact I just had a dinner + irani chai + meetha pan with my friend who happens to be a muslim.

    And please don’t underestimate my knowledge of Pakistan or Islam. Please see my name (although a fake one) and the generally accepted fact that Athiests know more about religion than non-athiests(you should have noticed that i used PBUH and I am not a Muslim).

  61. Gorki says:
    January 17th, 2009 11:38 am

    @ Bonobashi
    Thanks for the post. Your answer is clear when one reads between the lines. I hope that your answer to my question (As to what the moderate Muslims think of other non Muslims) is shared by most educated Muslims in Pakistan. I agree with your premise that Islam of Bulleh Shah (and of Baba Farid, Mian Mir and countless Sufi other saints) is a South Asian treasure.
    My original intent for the questions posted though was to find out what interpretation of Islam is being espoused by middle of the road Pakistanis.
    It is quite clear reading most posts that most believe that Taliban’s extreme interpretation is unIslamic.
    However, it is felt by many observers (Non Indian, Western journalists) outside Pakistan that Pakistani middle class is quietly turning to a more Puritanical world view.
    I am aware that this forum is concerned mainly about the treatment of women by the Talibanised radicals but am asking the above question is a attempt to understand the larger political-social context of current Pakistani Society. Do most Pakistanis feel that equality of women in all aspects of society is compatible with their interpretation of religion?
    Do most Pakistanis feel treating other non Muslims as exact equals as human beings compatible with their beliefs?
    I live in Northern California and though not a Muslim myself, I occasionally get these questions asked by other Americans; (on the account of my brown skin maybe ;-)) by people who sometimes equate all Asian Muslims with the Wahabi interpretation).
    Personally I agree with Bonobashi regarding the Islamic values and have the highest regard for those values.
    It is the interpretation of these values by the young educated Muslims that I am hoping I can get an answer on.

  62. Farooqui says:
    January 17th, 2009 11:41 am

    These are criminals and thugs. We should not glorify them as being religious anything. We should treat them as what they are. Traitors, criminals and thugs. The government should enhance the police action against these criminals and give them the due punishment against the country of Pakistan. They should be tried on the charge of treason since that is really what they have done by taking control of and going against the authority of the state.

    All this other nonsense about religion, whether from them or from some outside commenters is exactly that and should best be ignored.

  63. athiest says:
    January 17th, 2009 11:56 am

    @EMM ECH

    IMHO the reason Taliban/Women/Islam is getting intermixed in this dicsussion is this:

    _Taliban_ is saying that according to their interpreration of _Islam_, _Woman_ should stay indoors, not go to school, cover herself from head to toe in viel etc. The reason this is a threat to Pakistan is because they have used the method of fear to force people follow their interpretation in SWAT and they have started using same statergy in other cities like Islamabad by bombing up the things.

    The only hope is the leaders at the captial whoe IMO are modearte enough. But , God forbid, one more General Zia ul Haq and even Islamabad will be vieled.

  64. athiest says:
    January 17th, 2009 12:28 pm

    @Adnan Siddiqi

    Hey I dont think i communicated what i tried to convey properly.

    My objection was very simple. Someone put a banner that women are not allowed to shop in some market. Every modearate (including me) raised their voice in protest. Awesome!!! Thats what should happen in any civilized society.

    Someone wrote in Pakistan’s constituion that women can’t be President. Why that was written at the first place and why there is no protest from the same. Talibanis bombed the schools of girls in SWAT and disallowed girls to study. No governemnt action was taken(i mean hell should break loose) ? Why nobody raised a voice then ? Someone wrote that since rape laws were being monitored by sharia law, women’s witness was not entertained( Why this was allowed at the first place ? Don’t you think that inequality of women in Pakistan is a much broader phenomena than conveyed by this banner ?

    And oh… As far as women in US are concerned, i think you only see vulgarity in US and not their achievements. Just see few other areas(Business,Science,politics, Medicine) to see women achievements there. The fact that you are using a computer, you owe something to a lady called Ada Lovelace.

    As far as shaving cream thing is concerned, let them show anything. Why should i have any objection as long as shaving cream is good ? When you open your shaving company, show only beared Mullas :D rather than pretty girls, nobody will be objecting.

  65. Arjun says:
    January 17th, 2009 1:16 pm

    Can someone here please clarify what Islam really says about women though? If the Taliban are to be refuted, moderates should have some proof on hand to counter their propaganda, since they claim to be implementing the real Islam.

    Does Saudi Arabia, as a native speaker of the language in which most Islamic precepts are written down, implement the correctly interpreted Islam? If not, who does and on what basis?

  66. Jamal says:
    January 17th, 2009 2:09 pm


    Women and men are treated equally in Islam, and in certain cases both genders may get a slighter advantage, but with sufficient justification for such rulings. For example the laws of Islamic inheritance and divorce. (If I’m not mistaken both favor women slightly).

    In Swat, and the “Religious Parties” like the MMA and the Taliban the problem has more to do with Male Chauvinism than religion. Empowering women, or even giving them equal opportunity equates to castration for the bearded folk.

  67. amina from the north says:
    January 17th, 2009 2:37 pm

    I just wanted to share some the quotes of the founder of Pakistan Muhammad Ali Jinnah .
    But we Pakistanis are totally against what he said.

    “We are victims of evil customs. It is a crime against humanity that our women are shut up within the four walls of the houses as prisoners. There is no sanction anywhere for the deplorable condition in which our women have to live”.
    Muhammad Ali Jinnah

  68. fsar says:
    January 17th, 2009 8:46 pm

    Islam, The best religion with the worst followers. What more can I say.
    Murtad King , unfortunately majority of people follow and believe “Jahil Mullahs” rather then a “Alim-e-Deen”.

  69. Aamir Ali says:
    January 17th, 2009 10:08 pm


    You are trolling this forum and asking irrelevant questions, then claiming to be innocent. Listen to what I, and other Pakistanis on this forum have told you repeatedly: This problem in Swat is due to a group of thugs/gunmen with ideology imported from Afghanistan. Don’t waste our time claiming this has links to Saudi Arabia, 1 million dead during Partition and what else.

    Now to get back to more internal discussion among Pakistanis, these Swati Taliban had fled for the mountains when the army first launched their operation in November of last year, then after the February elections, the ANP did a “peace deal” with these militants, which they used to re-organize and re-arm. Since then the militants have made a comeback. I read in Dawn that the army is going to try a new strategy now, however you have to remember that this Taliban cancer has spread a lot in last 3 years, we now have mischiefmakers in Bajaur, Waziristan, Darra Adamkhel, Hangu, Khyber AND Swat.

  70. Ayesha says:
    January 17th, 2009 10:47 pm

    Thanks for that very good post amina from the north. And good point, Sher Bano that why are most of the comments on this from men? It reminds me of Ch. Nisar recently when he said that the women’s ministry should be given to Hanif Abassi and not a woman! The level of misogynism in our societies in the East is astounding—that is including places like India and Thailand.

    Having said that however the problem in Muslim countries is that a very significant number of unread idiots have become the spokespeople for the religion and a lot of the progressives have historically either been afraid to challenge them or been too busy appeasing them. While it is true that when Islam came out, it gave women many rights that women did not previously have, such as the right to inheritance (which came much later in western countries). But the problem today is that while many western secular countries have progressed beyond that, the Muslims are stuck in the “letter over spirit” argument. The traditionalists for instance believe that women must only get half the share of the man in property for instance. While the progressives argue that since this rule was revolutionary when it came out, keeping in mind the spirit of Islam and how the world has progressed, we should have equal shares. But it is rare that progressives win over traditionalists in such matters and that is the tragedy of the entire Muslim world, some countries like Saudi and Iran are affected more than others. But having said that, even in Saudi, the justification for the driving ban is traditional and not religious because even with their narrow interpretation they cannot find anything in the religion to justify it.

    Apart from the good comments posted by Eidee Man, however, I am quite astounded by many remarks made by some of the other male members, in particular Adnan Siddiqui…I don’t know why he presumes that if someone argues for women’s rights, that person must be pro-western. Does he not know that many women’s rights activists in Pakistan were beaten up during Zia’s time (who incidentally actively supported the US in the “Afghan jihad” and helped the US become the sole superpower). Does he also not know that apart from benazir bhutto, many other Muslim countries like Bangladesh, Turkey and Indonesia have had women rulers. Finally, his comment to Monkey was absolutely insane. No man has the right to tell a woman on the street what to wear and what not to wear. It is clearly written in the Quran that if you feel a woman is not modestly dressed, then you must simply lower your gaze. You, Mr. Adnan Siddiqui, have no right to tell her anything and must learn to keep your lewd thoughts to yourself if you are really interested in following Islam!

  71. athiest says:
    January 17th, 2009 10:56 pm
  72. BK says:
    January 18th, 2009 2:30 am

    These Pakistani Taliban is a Mafia created to destabilize Pakistan and engage pakistan in war on terror for a very long time.
    Swat a beautiful area, was a very moderate and a peaceful region few years ago. Crime rate of swat was minimum in Pakistan. All these mullas are speacially created and migrated from Afghanistan and tribal areas of Pakistan.
    From where they are getting money and latest communication equipment which is not even with army?
    A worth reading article regarding this issue

  73. Rumi says:
    January 18th, 2009 2:27 pm

    the quran strongly recommends that we should try and make out a will. that is evidently sensible advice. it also gives a complete breakdown of shares in inheritance (nisaab) for the deceased’s relatives. now, mullahs, and everyone who blindly follows them, say that you cannot go against the quran’s nisaab. they have no choice, as a result, but to say that if a musim leaves a will contrary to the nisaab, then it is null and void and the nisaab prevails. so the quran’s strong recommendation that a muslim should make out a will is totally redundant since a will would be no more than a wasteful copying out of the nisaab as it is in the quran. if it is anything else, it would be an equally pointless waste of time. because mullahs know that they’ll not be challenged, they can get away with such absurdities. otherwise, the quran’s recommendation is absolutely sensible and the nisaab is there to help when a muslim dies having ignored the quran’s advice about a will or without getting a reasonable opportunity to do so.

    addressing the unfair division within the nisaab, i found the point not entirely unreasonable that it is to offset the fact that a woman is legally entitled to and owns half her husband’s income and wealth while married to him, while the husband has no legal claim over his wife’s income and wealth. the example quoted it, that the prophet gave – as her legal right – half his salary to his wife khadija, who also happened to be his employer, but she had no obligation of sharing any of her income with him.

    this is just one example of different interpretations and there isn’t space here to discuss others. as for room for misinterpretation, no spoken or written word is immune to perversion. the bible couldn’t stop the Spanish Inquisition or every other atrocity carried out in its name just like it inspired a lot of good. it’s about how honest we are to ourselves rather than to any words or interpretations. that is where it all begins and ultimately ends. we can use anything to justify anything. it’s very easy. but just like it would have been very difficult for the few good christians to defend the bible during the dark ages of the Inquisition, muslims today find themselves going through an equally dark period in their own history. many generations might come and go before there is the critically needed reform.

    a prophet starts you on a journey and gives you a vision of the destination. the journey itself is a process of evolution through the ages, taking guidance and when guidance is not possible than inspiration from that vision (e.g. the prophet would’ve been declared mad had he tried to give detailed guidance about IVF, transfusion, air or space travel etc.). the prophet in his message at the last haj, claimed that he had completed the vision for all creation as strated by Adam. with this accomplishment he started his followers off an a journey through all time to come towards a destination with the vision as a guide.

    evolution is a process of constant improvement and refinement – i.e. progress along the journey towards the envisioned destination. like on any journey, there are ups and downs. muslims have just managed a particularly gruesome fall to dark pits and who knows how long before they crawl back up. it will depend upon their share courage and determination.

    jinnah, on 11 august 1947, gave us a vision for a journey that was to formally start 3 days later. august 14 1947 was our origin, not destination. even though things our worse today than they were on 14 aug 1947, that remains the orignin of our journey and can never become the destination. 16 dec 1971 happened along the way. but the journey must carry on, in the hope of going forward, not back, with the the same vision of 11 aug 1947 as the guidance.

    also, knowing what the prophet said or did not say 1400 years ago is a matter of history. a scholarly pursuit, that one has to learn about (at least the basic do’s and don’ts) from professional historians. quran is a matter of belief. personal belief. it has to play the role of a first and ultimate reference for all students of hadith, even if they are poor or hopeless students of history. isn’t that what a belief in the quran ought to logically dictate?

  74. Umar Shah says:
    January 18th, 2009 6:58 pm

    These mafioso should be blasted out of their holes and sent to hell once and for all. Dunya kahan ja rahi hai aur in jungliyon ka dimaagh gutter say bahir nahi nikalta. To them Islam and enforcement of Shariah is all about hiding women in homes. Their hearts and minds are deep in the gutter and they use force over the armless and shareef awaam. They understand the language of brute force and thats the language Pakistan must use on them.

  75. Faraz says:
    January 19th, 2009 1:14 am

    @Umar Shah
    One thing that the last eight years has shown is that brute force doesn’t work. We can’t simply bomb our way out of this. In fact it only makes things worse in the long run. While military action could be part of the plan, it can’t be the entire plan. This is such a messed up and complicated issue that it will take the length of a book to discuss.

  76. Aamir Ali says:
    January 19th, 2009 2:12 am

    On the contrary Faraz, the last eight years have shown that only sustained and effective military operations, like the one being conducted in Bajaur will work. Pakistanis need to ditch the fantasy that these militants are still humans and can be “negotiated” or peacefully resolved with.

  77. Faraz says:
    January 19th, 2009 2:55 am

    I couldn’t disagree more Aamir. They may have been eliminated from Bajaur, but they popped back up in three more places. And yes they are still humans (despite evidence to the contrary), and there are root causes that need to be dealt with here. If those are not dealt with, another genaration will soon be ready to take their place after a short period of peace. There are some fundamental wrongs that need to be corrected. Until then organizations like the Taliban will keep regenerating themselves.

  78. Birdy says:
    January 19th, 2009 7:14 am

    Patah naheen kis ki nazar lag gaye hamaree janat ko.

  79. Naghmana Khan says:
    January 19th, 2009 1:49 pm

    I am shocked and speechless after looking at this picture. Never in my widest nightmares did I ever think that the mentality of some people in Pkaistan would come to this….

    After all, isn’t Islam a religion of equality and not “Suppression of Women”???

  80. Marina says:
    January 19th, 2009 3:19 pm

    How could ,sustained and effective military operations, like the one being conducted in Bajaur will work. Is it fair to bomb innocnet people, and diplace them in thier own contry. Who do you think they will side with, the Government , who is doing this millatary operation or the US who is bombing them , where as the millnatant are giving them 50 laks for one suicidal bomb, naturally they would go with the millitans, casue they see they are dying anyways , alteast they will have money for thier family. I think your harbouring more talibans, this is not the answer for God sake!!!!!!!

  81. January 19th, 2009 3:45 pm

    I haven’t seen any mention of the little girl living in SWAT province, who has been keeping an on-line diary about the threat to her schooling, using a pen name for safety reasons.

    If anyone is interested its here: Gul Makai

  82. January 19th, 2009 4:59 pm

    Ideally I’d say there’s a time for reasoning & there’s a time for action & we’re long past reasoning with these folks. But rationally speaking I think a military action will not elimiate the cause a certain fraction of people turn militants. I think the reason these people turn so is the marked difference in levels of Pakistani society. We have an upper class with power to do as they please, their own social setup, money etc. Now, for a low class average Joe, the easiest way to get power, money & authority above the law is to make their own heaven & within that boundary, rule by force. The solution is to make these people more accessible to upper levels of society… by educating them, providing employment & timely justice. But since all our governments fail in doing so & since we haven’t ever had a permanent people welfare policy in place that wudn’t be scrapped by the next government, this job falls more on NGOs & people themselves to start sustainable education & awareness campaigns.

  83. behzad says:
    January 19th, 2009 8:10 pm


    “Someone wrote in Pakistan

  84. Aamir Ali says:
    January 20th, 2009 12:20 am


    When we talk about Taliban, there are no genuine grievances or root causes to speak of, except for an evil ideology that is a mix of wrong Islamic interpretations, tribal law and ignorance, and which imposes itself by violence.

    The Bajaur operation may have displaced many people, but the responsibility for it lies entirely with the Taliban, who turned Bajaur into a battleground without the permission of the tribes. The Taliban are entrenched, ruthless and heavily armed, one has to conduct military operations with full firepower. Once the Taliban are eliminated from an area, then normal life can slowly resume. There is no such thing as “co-existence” with extremists.

  85. Gorki says:
    January 20th, 2009 1:11 am

    I do not live in Pakistan so do not pretend to completely know the nature of the problem of militancy in SWAT but understand enough from following the course of the Taliban over the years to comment that most posts here are only partly right.

    @ Amir:
    I agree with your statement that “for an evil ideology that is a mix of wrong Islamic interpretations, tribal law and ignorance, and which imposes itself by violence” describes the Taliban.

    The solution for this will certainly require military means in the short run so that the citizen are not terrorised by a group of marauders but the long term solution can not be a piece meal fight against one group or the other.

    In the long run,

    1. Evil ideology and wrong interpretation can only be countered by better ideology and right interpretation ie; long term people, state and NGO investment of time and money in a more humanistic education.

    2. Pakistan has to decide to become a strong state, in order to protect its citizens internally and carry out a foreign policy externally. A strong state has to have a 100% monopoly on all means of violence; which means the complete end of tolerating armed groups for strategic or any other purposes within its borders.

    3. Define its vision as a society clearly. If the citizens of the country truely feel women should have equal rights, then it has to say that clearly and unambiguosly. It can not and should not tolerate apologist for male chauvinism in the name of tradition or religion.

    4. Pakistani state has to create a public opinion by vigorous means in all strata of society.

    Remember, the Taliban can carry out a guerrilla warfare only if it can hide in a sympathetic population. Unless the society can peal off its support in the general population all over the state of Pakistan, the military alone will never be able to defeat it.

    Looking from the outside, I believe this is truely a battle for the soul of Pakistan and the battlefield is the hearts and minds of all the people within Pakistan both in and out of the tribal areas.

    The outcome of this battle will determine which Pakistan will finally emerge; that visioned by MA Jinnah or that by Mullah Omar.

    One thing is for sure. It is not the job of the army alone.
    If Jinnah’s vision the has to win then all parts of Pakistani society, its media, its students, its lawyers its politicians and all its decent folks have to come out in his favor and fight this battle.

    Remember; All it takes for evil to win is for the good people to do nothing

  86. tinwoman says:
    January 20th, 2009 12:36 pm

    First of all Pakistan needs to get off the fence and stop trying to be a half Islamic government and half secular society. The primary example of this is the weird uncomfortable side by side existence of Westernized law courts, which often have a rather normal approach to things on paper, and at the same time the government recognizes barbaric applications of Sharia, such as putting rape victims in prison for ‘adultery’.

    A country divided against itself cannot stand. Pakistan is divided between its urban secular class and its impoverished rural class, who turn to a savage interpretation of their religion to bring about change in their miserable condition.

    If Pakistan is willing to unequivically declare its government a religion-free zone committed to equal rights for all its citizens, men, women, Shia, Sunni, Christian, and others, then the message of tolerance will eventually sink in. As long as the politicians weave back and forth trying to appease the Islamists, they are legitimatizing the Islamist argument that Pakistan is an Islamic state that just isn’t ‘Islamic enough’.

    That must stop. I hope the people soon come to understand that only secular governments function in any recognizable way in the 21st century. The time of rule by religious zealots–popes, caliphs, divine monarchs–is over. It’s primitive. It doesn’t work. It discriminates against many people unfairly in favor of the ‘holy rollers’ in power. Pakistan doesn’t need elaborate excuses to STEP AWAY from having Saudi-sponsored Wahabi Islam and Sharia dictating Pakistani laws and lifestyles. Pakistan just needs to do it.

  87. tinwoman says:
    January 20th, 2009 1:12 pm

    BTW, having been in the Gulf for awhile now, I find the revisionist double-speak like that which is parroted on this thread quite funny: ‘Islam is the religion of peace and love and Muslims invented equal rights for women’, etc. etc.

    This has to be a joke, right? All religions one thousand years ago advocated war and slavery and held women in contempt, views which make strict religion very unpalatable to people’s minds today, and Islam is no different. Islam also has a long and bloody history of expansion at the point of the sword.

    I don’t understand why people’s brains don’t explode trying to reconcile the cheerful statements of the Ahmed Deedat inspired ‘Muslim evangelists’ with known gruesome facts and even the Q’uran itself. Not to worry, people who cheerlead for other religions are just as deluded. It’s just curious to me, that’s all.

    Anyway, be careful about screaming too loudly that the Taliban and Wahabis are not ‘real Muslims’ whereas the more liberal Muslims are. After all, the purists are following the religious texts more closely, are they not? The2y have more support for their views from the Q’uran, Sunnah, and Hadith than Westernized progressive Muslims have, do they not?

    It looks to me like they are ‘right’ and all the liberal Muslims are wrong. What do you all intend to do if this is in fact the case?

    You should think about that.

  88. lida says:
    January 20th, 2009 1:39 pm

    This calls for a protest. Where the hell are the freakin Women???
    Why are they not protesting this???

    We are easy to blame Israel and US and hold mass protests!!!!!

    Out Country is being lost to these stupid Mullahs are we are in a comatose state.

  89. gorki says:
    January 20th, 2009 2:19 pm

    @ Tinwoman

    That is all I can saw. After all the pussyfooting around the elephant in the room by all of us moderates, your post comes as afresh of breath air.
    Not being a muslim myself, I personally feel uncomfortable spelling out my own stance in so many words but agree with your point wholeheartedly.
    Religion; of any kind, belongs to a person’s personal domain (which in my case is limited to questions of philosophy) and yet we see all sorts of absurdities in the name of religion when applied to the public arena in the modern world.
    The sooner that modern natione recognise this (more so those with composite societies like India and Pakistan) the better it is.
    Teachers and educators (along with othe rsocial leaders) carry a special responsibility in this regard since the young and impressionable minds are the ones most vulnerable to seduction and subsequent exploitation in the name of religion.
    Only one religion belongs in the public arena and that is Insaaniat.

  90. gorki says:
    January 20th, 2009 2:32 pm

    Sorry Tinwoman.
    My apologies for the typos. (This happens when one reads a really stimulating post and can’t wait long enough to respond).

    The first para should read:

    That is all I can say. After all the pussyfooting around the elephant in the room (that religion is) by all of us moderates, your post comes as breath of fresh air.

  91. Intentionally Anonymous says:
    January 20th, 2009 2:41 pm

    I think you are absolutely right. But here’s the problem. I would be surprised if even 2% of Muslims are ready to hear what you have to say, even the ‘moderate’ ones. Actually I think you can get executed in some Muslim countries for saying something like that. The best we can hope for at this point is some sort of reform.

    And this is not just true for Muslims either. Christians, Jews, Hindus etc all have delusions about their religions being divine and true and perfect. That’s what sustains these primitive doctrines.

  92. Aamir Ali says:
    January 20th, 2009 3:30 pm


    Attacking religion as a whole is a mistake secular fundamentalists routinely make. Your history of Islam regarding women and its expansion is also wrong. Islamic empires indeed grew through the sword, but so did all empires in history. Islam on the other hand spread mostly through choice, which is why lands like India, Spain today are not Muslim-majority.

    Social issues and national problems cannot be solved by simply saying “F–K religion”.

  93. Aamir Ali says:
    January 21st, 2009 2:11 am


    Complex social and national problems cannot be solved by attacking religion as a whole. Religion is here to stay, you better reconcile yourself to it.

  94. asad khan says:
    January 21st, 2009 5:48 am

    salam to taliban…………
    oops sorry , i couldnt remember they are all illetarate, so how they will read my comments,
    so guys just think about the above two lines… and that what TALIBAN can be described as totaly JAHIL and unaware of both islamic mdern world society. shame…….

    best regards
    exactive manager of kaif industries

  95. Baykar Badshah says:
    January 21st, 2009 9:02 am

    when the world, the UN or universal morality speaks of freedom to practice religion, it means strictly in the personal domain. there is no human right which allows freedom to impose religion upon others (even your co-religionists. indeed it is a breach of other people’s human rights). an individual, group or nation that sees a public, especially political (and therefore, potentially, military) role for religion must be seen very suspiciously and stopped at the first sign of the slightest breach of another’s human rights. this has to be done with whatever legitimate means necessary in proportion to the gravity of the breach and therefore the threat. root causes like opression, ignorance, poverty can be addressed simultaeously but must never be confused with the need to nip a crime in the bud, with extreme alacrity and thoroughness.

    i can hardly be inspired by some kind of bias or prejudice against muslims, since i am one myself. a fairly religious one at that, not that it is any body’s business. i only stated it publicly as a defence, in advance, of an anticipated accusation. otherwise, my religion has no role, whatsoever, outside of my private and personal life. i’m a pakistani too, and a patriotic one at that, so.. No, I am not anti-Pakistan. What I am against, however, vehemently and to the core of my being, I think I have made plain in the first paragraph.

  96. Naeem says:
    January 21st, 2009 9:32 am


    the world is bound to notice the muslim shouting the loudest, even killing and maiming. as it should. timothy mcviegh’s name is slightly more likely to stick, than thos eof the millions of other lanky young men roaming the main streets of the american mid-west.

    zia used his absolute power to introduce laws that the taliban would have been proud of. (ironically, and painfully and humiliatingly so for pakistani moderates, he got the red carpet treatment in washington + lots of money, and european capitals). musharraf used his absolute power to do next to nothing about correcting zia’s wrongs. indeed, he milked the gangrinous wounds that the diseases introduced by zia had become. (equally ironically, he too received royal treatment + pleanty of dollars, in the west, to the despair and disillusionment of pakistani moderates and democrats.)

    it is an existential battle for pakistan and pakistani moderates. we’ll fight it and drag the appeasers and the cowards along with us, no matter how many and what excuses they make.

  97. Arastoo says:
    January 21st, 2009 11:11 am

    Have people noticed that the only people who think that the Taliban actions are “Islamic” are those who don’t like Islam and spread bigoted hate-filled messages against other’s religions.

    I just think that is an interesting little thing that tells us a lot about (a) who the Taliban are and (b) who there real ‘supporters’ are!

  98. Tehseen says:
    January 21st, 2009 11:29 am

    @tinwoman, a rant camouflaged in sophmoric (read flawad) logic, is still a rant. I have no idea how living in the “gulf” makes one an expert on anything, but bigotry (and purposely distorting arguments for teh purpose of inciting hate against a particular belief set) remains exactly that no matter where you live.

    By arguing that Taliban “are not ‘real Muslims’” one does not automatically argue that liberal Muslims are. Nor does the group that quotes most often from scripture automatically become the most authentic. Political scoundrels quote most often from constitutions and religious scoundrels most often from scriptures. Of course, the only people who quote even more often from religious text are those who do not believe in teh text and wish merely to discredit it.

    All religious texts can be (and are) quoted out of context. At this point its is the Quran that seems to be abused the most, specially those who wish to change its intent and meaning to sit their own ignorance – i.e., extremists on both sides (Taliban and religion bashers).

  99. January 22nd, 2009 8:14 am

    Assalam alaikum
    This just goes to show that the Taliban do not even have the most basic knowledge of Islam.
    There is nothing in the Islamic sources to restrain the freedom of movement of women as long as they feel safe. The only restriction is that when and where it is unsafe to do so, women should venture out only while being accompanied by a mahram or in safe company of other women. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) never restricted women’s movements. He only told them that they should not travel a journey of three days and three nights without a mahram. This was because of the safety issue, for molestation and kidnapping were all too common in the unsafe conditions of Arabia at the time, where the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) began his mission. Making Arabia safe for women was an issue of utmost concern for the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) even in the early days of his mission. This fact is clear from a statement he made in Makkah: “I will continue to struggle with this mission until a woman can travel freely all by herself without any fear of molestation!” We must remember while making the above statement, he and his followers were being persecuted by the Makkans.

    Furthermore, we also learn from the authentic Sunnah and the biography of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) that women Companions of the Prophet were not confined to their homes; rather, they used to go around doing their business in the city. It is well known that the second caliph, `Umar, appointed a woman called Ash-Shifaa’ as a supervisor of markets in Madinah. How could he do so if women were supposed to be confined to their homes? We also know that even the wives of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) were accustomed to travel for Hajj and `Umrah without mahram in the safe company of other women. No one can fault the most honorable Mothers of the Faithful (may Allah be pleased with them all) for ignorance of such vital rules of Islam, including rules of travel for women. Among the wives of the Prophet who traveled were `A’ishah and Umm Salamah, who were considered unsurpassed in their expert knowledge of Hadith and fiqh.

  100. Muslim says:
    January 23rd, 2009 12:18 am

    Why do you put these items and everyday something on Taliban at the top of the page?

    Just to give Pakistan and Muslims a bad name in the world?

  101. An Indian says:
    January 23rd, 2009 10:09 am

    I feel extremely satisfied to see that there are a lot of people across who think and believe in the same things. Extremism and mixing of religion and politics is a plague that has crippled the subcontinent for many decades now. We need to fight it. And a good debate like this is the best place to start. Best of luck to us all!

  102. January 23rd, 2009 4:21 pm

    I once had a chance to listen to a song by Jaques Brel, a famous Belgian francophone. This song reminds me of the butchers operating in our Pakhtoonkhwa (also known as NWFP) province. What Brel sings about in

  103. Abdul hai says:
    January 24th, 2009 1:53 am

    The stories coming out of Swat are really horrendous. These people are really brutal and inhuman and ruling with fear. You are doing a great service by highlighting what is happening there and reminding us all that we are indeed at war with these extremists.

  104. readinglord says:
    January 24th, 2009 7:34 pm

    I wonder what the so called army operation is doing in Sawat when schools, especially those of girls, are being blasted or closed and innocent people being butchered.

    As to what is Islam, it is not the issue presently, as any thing can be proved if we search the plethora of islamic literature produced during the last 14 centuries. The question which we face to day is whether we can allow imposing any type of religion by force or terror as is being done in Sawat today.
    @Sikandar Hayat

    The sad thing is army has apparently failed to check the Taliban onslaught and this Pakiland, God forbid, is going to be turned into Talibani Afghanistan sooner or later or become shaheed as there seems to be no committed force to check it within Pakistan. In fact no body is even aware of the danger we are facing today except Altaf Hussain of MQM who has been raising the alarm since long and now Sikandar Hayat has taken it up forcefully.

  105. D_a_n says:
    January 25th, 2009 6:20 am

    for a look at how the best amongst the Muslims have conducted themselves in battle…be it against any foe or for whatever cause it may be…

    take a look at this…

    and for all those with half a brain…compare it with the actions of those that can only cry themselves hoarse as to how much superior they are to us all as Muslims because they have a beard….and make up your mind…
    where is the honour ….of those barbarian Jahiliya in Swat…

  106. UKS says:
    January 25th, 2009 12:15 pm

    What a sad sad thing. We must rise against this jahalat and these jahils just like the Prophet (PBUH) rose up against the jahalat and jahils of his time.

  107. pakistani atheist says:
    January 25th, 2009 8:33 pm

    every time i read these reports from my beloved country it makes me sad, i been to swat in early 1990s and it was the most beautiful place i have been to. i wonder how long these Taliban will survive with their ridicules and idiotic laws.
    how do they think they can change peoples way of life with fear? for any country or any nation to survive you have to give your people human rights and when you take your people’s rights you get what happened in 1971. i always wonder people who consider themselves Muslim, do they even read history and values of Islam, even one of Muslim saint ALI also said you can rule with kufer (paganism) but you can not rule with injustice.

    Taliban will die their own death, cause with this type of extremism they are only hurting their own cause, eventually people will get sick of them and remove them either with force or by disobedience but for this, we will have to wait.

  108. Gardezi says:
    January 25th, 2009 11:28 pm

    It is the duty of all Muslims to rise against the jahalat of these barbarians who are waging a war against Pakistan and also against the word of Allah. May all Taliban rot in hell.

  109. QADRI says:
    January 26th, 2009 11:22 am

    This truly is barbaric and as others have said these guys are misusing Islam’s name in the process. I think t is duty of every Muslim to fight against Talibanism because they are really doing war against our religion.

  110. Raheem says:
    January 27th, 2009 2:16 am

    Sad that such a beautiful and open part of the country is now being victimised by these barbaric people.

  111. fareeha says:
    August 19th, 2010 11:28 am

    some time taliban comes and atack pakistan , some time membes of other contry come and start mudakhilan in our country, what is yhis realy make me sad …………………………….
    bus allah help us by self,and allah hom par raham karey.

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