Re-inventing Pakistan

WASHINGTON DIARY: Re-inventing Pakistan — Dr Manzur Ejaz
Daily Times, April 8, 2009

The state of Pakistan cannot survive unless the intelligentsia and the masses reconcile to the concept of keeping their belief system to themselves and letting the state be neutral to religion. Unless the masses rally around the new concept of the state, security agencies will never have the moral courage and strength to eradicate extremism

A few weeks ago, at a literary meeting in Virginia, a retired judge narrated the case of a 60-year-old woman who was left penniless when her husband divorced her despite the fact that her hard labour was the main reason for his success. The judge, after doing diligent research of Islamic law, mandated the husband to give his divorced wife a house and provide a monthly allowance.

A conservative Muslim in the audience stood up and told the judge that he had negated Islamic law. Almost everyone in the audience was outraged by this comment, and a couple of them tried to rebut it as well. However, most kept the anger to themselves and avoided confrontation with this self-claimed puritan.

This is typical of common Muslims: they don’t confront the mullahs when such a situation arises. Consequently, the mullahs think they have the moral authority over a belief system that is shared by all Muslims. If one goes by the mullahs’ strict interpretation of sharia law, women are not entitled to many things that common Muslims, especially females, would take as a genuine right. Therefore, there is a fundamental gap between what common Muslims consider basic human rights and religious hard-liners.

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