Volcanic ash zadgaan; Persecution of Ahmedis; 18th Amendment TNS Special Report

Greetings from one of the thousands if not millions of ‘volcanic ash zadgaan’ (affectees) stranded in various places around the world. Returned to Pakistan this morning after volcanic ash over Europe foiled our attempts to travel to Berlin for a `Trialogue’ between Pakistani, Indian and Afghan delegates, organised by the Fredrich Ebert Stiftung (FES). Rahimullah Yusufzai and I were stuck in Doha, the Afghans made it to Berlin via Brussels, and the Indias were stuck elsewhere. The organisers eventually had no choice but to cancel the meeting. We then took the next flight back to our respective destinations. I am grateful to Qatar Airways for how well they looked after passengers, accommodating everyone in good hotels, various members of staff going personally to locate people’s baggage from various containers, etc.

My mother, who was supposed to return to Pakistan on Friday (the day we left), is still stuck in the UK following a TESOL conference she was there for. She’s now booked to return this coming Friday – let’s just hope flights resume by then. Thank goodness she has friends and family there – imagine the plight of those transit passengers stuck without support.

Do read this report by Nasir Jamal in Dawn (Apr 17) on the persecution of Ahmedis, the nexus of the criminal elements with religious zealots, and the Punjab government’s criminal inaction – much needed flagging of an important issue: `Govt silence sounds death knell for Faisalabad Ahmedis

Also, an excellent Special Report in The News on Sunday today on an important aspect of the 18th Amendment – its pandering to the ‘religious’ elements – including the various elements, blurbs below

EditorialPoliticians in the parliament have strongly objected to the criticism that the 18th amendment seeks to lay down a precondition for the prime minister to be a Muslim member of the state through article 91(3). The condition is already there in the constitution, they claim. Sadly, that is not the whole truth.

Business of the stateThe condition for the prime minister to be a Muslim is a reversal to the original 1973 Constitution
By Shahzada Irfan Ahmed. The draft of the 18th amendment in the Constitution of Pakistan has been approved by both the houses. The whole process was completed within days and without any major deadlocks over any of the 102 clauses discussed there. It seemed there would be dissenting voices during the discussions but what followed was otherwise.

The curious case of nation’s first anthemStrange that our history books should be silent on the important fact of a Hindu poet writing Pakistan’s national anthem
By Asad Jamal There is hardly anything exciting about national anthems.

Against the currentPakistan’s religious minorities have struggled since the inception of the country to swim against a current that has continuously gained momentum and fury
By Kamila Hyat The notion of a Christian, Hindu, Sikh or Parsi holding the office of Prime Minister of Pakistan has, for decades, remained in practical terms a virtual impossibility.

“Jinnah’s August 11 speech should be the preamble of the constitution”Interview of former PAF fighter pilot Cecil Chaudhry by Naila Inayat -
”If we go by the basic concept of democracy, which was given to the nation by Jinnah in his address to the constituent assembly on August 11, 1947, he promised equal rights for everybody. And the minorities of Pakistan are not even constitutionally enjoying equal rights.

We are now divided… – Excerpt from the inspiring and prescient speech of Chandra Chattopadhya, a Hindu Congress member of the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan from East Bengal, in opposition to Objectives Resolution, on March 12, 1949.

One Response

  1. […] This cup of tea was served by: Journeys to democracy […]


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