Sec­u­lar­ism, re­ally?

Southasia - - EDITOR’S MAIL -

A AThe re­view of Dr. Ishtiaq Ahmed’s book ti­tled ‘Pak­istan: The Gar­ri­son State’ forced me to buy the copy and read it. You car­ried a com­pre­hen­sive and well­writ­ten anal­y­sis of an equally well-writ­ten book. How­ever, I do not agree with the re­viewer on one point. He writes, “Dr Ishtiaq re­al­is­ti­cally con­veyed that noth­ing will change un­less the gar­ri­son state paves the way for a sec­u­lar and demo­cratic state.”I take ex­cep­tion to the word ‘re­al­is­ti­cally’. This can be termed wish­ful think­ing at best. Par­don me for be­ing a pes­simistic, but do we re­ally see Pak­istan go­ing into that di­rec­tion? Democ­racy we may achieve to some ex­tent but sec­u­lar­ism is a very dis­tant dream. Just ut­ter this word among a group of people and see their re­ac­tion.

We are a na­tion that is bay­ing for the blood of an army gen­eral who pro­moted mod­er­a­tion while pro­tect­ing a con­victed mur­derer who con­fessed be­fore a court of law of mur­der­ing the very man he was sup­posed to pro­tect. We may suc­ceed in pun­ish­ing Gen. Mushar­raf but can we pun­ish Sal­maan Taseer’s mur­derer? In the pres­ence of such men we would be fool­ing our­selves by nur­tur­ing no­tions such as sec­u­lar­ism.

Sub­han Khalique

Karachi, Pak­istan

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