The dehumanising treatment of minorities in Pakistan is not hidden from anyone. What’s worse is that this discrimination doesn’t just hold true for the uneducated living in far-flung villages, but also the genteel in cities, where many a posh begum will never pollute her polished pucker with a Christian maid’s utensils, quarantined off from the rest of the household cutlery. What to talk of Christians, even mainstream ‘Muslim’ sects practice such derogatory customs against each other. The view most people subscribe to is one of utter rigidity – ‘because you don’t agree with me, that automatically makes you wrong.’
Where does this extreme religious arrogance come from? From schools, through an exclusivist religious education, a.k.a Islamiyat. By focussing wholly on Islam, (the ‘acceptable’ Sunni version) at the cost of all other world religions, we essentially lead our children on a journey of self-righteousness that makes them highly partial to their religion and discriminated against every other, while breeding within them the vanity to assume that solely what they know is correct while the rest of the world is erroneous at best and evil at worst. Of course, children should believe in their own faith with complete conviction, but does it have to be done in a manner that makes them spurn those who hold to a different belief?
As a society where every religion is not just openly preached but unreservedly practiced, Britain is second to none. There are an estimated 2.8 million Muslims (4.6% of the population) living in the UK, who are full, equal members of society in every way. There are roughly the same numbers of Christians living in Pakistan, that is, 2.8 Million (1.6% of the population). But how are these minorities treated? Christians are shunned, Hindus detested, Sikhs ridiculed, Ahmadis loathed, and Shias mocked. Read the rest of this entry
Young Pakistani female students have recently joined the throng of their male counterparts who come to the UK in search of better lives. Away from home and family, they brave isolation, financial stress, joblessness, even racism, in search of their dream. Most of them are from rural backgrounds who don’t have as much freedom as the elite enjoy back home. That freedom pulls them in, and keeps them stringed, till the very thought of returning to their country becomes akin to a nightmare. I’ve had the opportunity to interact with several such young women. A long-lost friend would call up from Pakistan, and inform me that such and such’s daughter had landed in the UK, and was having trouble finding a job, so could I help?
These women leave friends and family and step into a world so different from their own that they can’t help but be overwhelmed by the contrast. What most shocks me is that they refuse, outright, to go back once they’ve finished their courses! The trend is to stay on, by hook or by crook, and to gain the ever-alluring British Passport, as one young lady patiently explained to me over the telephone.
‘But what about your family?’ a shocked me enquired. ‘They keep asking me to return, but I’m not going without a passport!’
‘Are you comfortable here?’ ‘Yes, although there are rats in the room I’m renting, but I’ve managed to kill a few.’
Pakistani girls are that reluctant to return to their homeland? Why? Read the rest of this entry