Dear Mr. Khan,
I would like to write an open letter to you so that I can express my socially liberal views in response to your recent speech at the United Nations General Assembly. I hope it reaches you as well as to the wider population that identifies itself with the faith of Islam and believes that they should fight for the rights of muslim brotherhood worldwide.
In the edited speech provided by Al Jazeera, a Qatar based Media, you started well and I admired your impassioned plea for Kashmiris. Your voice was a representation of the people of Kashmir on the continuing lockdown in their State (now downgraded to Union Territory Status). Half way through the speech, you started playing the Muslim trump-card which in essence is what Mr. Modi is doing in India with his Hindu trump-card. In the second half, you started sounding hyper emotional with your surmised theories of “bloodbaths”.
Can I ask you if you are such a progressive politician, can you repeal blasphemy laws in Pakistan? Can you ensure safety to all citizens regardless of their religious beliefs? Unfortunately, current day politics in India isn’t adhering to its secular founding values. It is very regrettable! How would you address the significant drop of minority population in your own Islamic Republic? Can you ask Saudi Arabia or any other conservative Islamic nation to accept displaced Rohingya refugees or at least criticise moral policing enforced by Clerics / Mutaweens?
The Kashmir problem is a complex issue and cannot be over simplified through religion. You overwhelmingly whitewashed it with a Muslim paint. I believe, other communities do live in the former State. In fact, the Leh based Buddhists and Hindus are quite happy with the splitting of the State as they have felt isolated for a long time by the J & K politics run from Jammu/Srinagar.
In the last 20 years, had the political establishment in Pakistan taken the China model and had been the back Office for the west, I think, you would not have been in the current economic crunch situation. Both India and Pakistan are united in their habit of electing corrupt politicians and turning a blind eye to corrupt bureaucrats. The enmity in the name of religion is wedged deep and is driven further by vested Political interests on both sides.
The current plight of Kashmiris is due to the Mujahideen infiltration of late 80s after the end of Afghan war and subsequent radicalisation of youth through training camps and Wahabi funded Madarsas. The trouble started when your country aligned with the United States during the proxy war in Afghanistan and allowing the Mujahideen to silently flourish in Pakistan who later fractured the society and alienated Kashmiri struggle from mainstream India. How about Mr. Zia’s preference for Shia law in the 80s? Do you think, it was something the founding father, Jinnah would have felt comfortable with?
The rise of terrorism in Kashmir with the help of ISI and Pakistani State since late 80s is a well documented one and regrettable as much as AFSPA in those regions. Both India and Pakistan can progress should they dismantle their religious trump-cards and focus on employment based policies and lack of dependence on world powers. The more we involve world powers, the more we become an avaricious importers of their weapons and the least they care about our actual well-being.
Any strong identity based on religion itself is a backward step no matter how much it plays to your electoral base.