© Akhtar Injeeli 08/03/2021
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c. akhtar Injeeli 14/02/2020
© Aktar Injeeli 14/02/2020
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© Akhtar Injeeli 12/02/2020
On 19th November 2018, Prime Minster Imran Khan, while inaugurating the two-day International Rahmatul-lil-Alameen Conference at Jinnah Convention Centre in Islamabad, Pakistan, delivered a ‘historic’ speech. The conference was convened to coincide with and thus enhance the celebrations of Eid Miladual Nabi, the birthday festivities of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). YouTube and other electronic records have captured every action and word of the whole event for posterity. Despite the fact that Mr Imran Khan’s speech had a glaring blunder (subject matter at hand) it still received several resounding applauses. This may be accepted as a special perk for being Pakistan’s Prime Minster, elected or selected. During the speech, Khan Sahib came across as a committed, but somewhat an ignorant, Muslim, a devout follower of the Prophet of Islam, but one who had not read the Qura’an, and a sincere political leader albeit one with no appreciation or knowledge of history. However, in matters of the content of his speech, which obviously was not written, he did seem to have been carried away. This, in itself, is not an unusual phenomenon during such extemporaneous oratorical ventures, especially for our Khan Sahib, who still has to learn that speaking from a podium is not like swinging a bat at a ball hurled at you by any one of the world’s best fast bowlers. Public speaking is not like playing cricket!
So we begin with a very brief summary of the Prime Minsters speech which lasted for a total of 21 minutes and 38 seconds. (Full speech can be assessed on internet https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w6XUAMWHYRw). Mr Imran Khan began with thanking various organizers and dignitaries, and then gave his personal testimony of becoming a real Muslim through the guidance of one Mian Bashir Sahib during the final phase of cricketing career. It was a powerful personal testimony of Allah’s graciousness to our then cricketing champion. Khan Sahib then expounded upon his own spiritual journey, and some deep spiritual insights. He went on to stated that ‘Welfare state is not made with resources, instead it is made with mercy, when you are worried about people’. He pointed out that Madina was the first welfare state, and that it was not made with excessive resources but with the fact that the Prophet had a heart full of mercy for people. He said that this first welfare state was established, which is part of the history. The Prime Minster, then went on say “other prophets of Allah came but, that, in the human history they have no mention. Or they have very little mention, Hazrat Musa is mentioned in history but there is no mention of Hazrat Isa in history”. The contents of this last quotation, lasting for 14.6 seconds were made into a video clip and shared on social media. Within hours the clip went viral. Reactions and started appearing on Facebook, YouTube, instagram, WhatsApp and other social messaging sites. (To watch just the 14 seconds segement that went viral click: https://www.facebook.com/sarwar.bhatti.146/videos/2390546081172682/UzpfS... ).
The Urdu speaking Christians around the world who watched and heard the clip were hurt, deeply, many became very angry, and some were infuriated. Why would a ‘knowledgeable’ man like the Prime Minister of Pakistan say something to suggest that Hazarat Isa (Jesus Christ in Christian terminology) is not mentioned in history. Immediately questions were raised, what history books, if any, did Mr Imran Khan have in mind, when he uttered these words? The facts are that Jesus Christ is one of those very few names in history that has been mentioned umpteenth number of times. Everybody seems to know this, with one notable exception that is of course Mr. Imran Khan, the Prime Minster of Pakistan. Yes, my Prime Minster!
The speech started attracting (negative) comments immediately and globally. One tweet that caught my attention read: “Was he high again or an ignorant fool?” This line really captures the issue: Khan Sahib either made his claim in ‘the heat of the moment’, or call it slip of the tongue or, just being ‘high’, or being elated at the prospect of addressing a conference full of the world’s best Islamic scholars or… Yes, or could it be that what he said was what he actually believes. Now if Khan Sahib really and sincerely believes that Jesus Christ is not mentioned in history, then he is wrong. Plain and simple! And if he sincerely believes it, then he is sincerely wrong.
A newspaper column is not an appropriate place to help educate a Prime Minster of any country, but neither is a religious conference an appropriate place to hurt religious feelings of the followers of any other religion. Mr Khan’s remarks have been heard by millions around the world. Thanks to the lightning speed at which information travels around the world these days. This nonsense of a comment has not diminished the honour of Jesus Christ one iota, but it has hurt the religious sentiments of millions of his followers. Jesus Christ, or Isa in Islam, is accepted to be the penultimate prophet of God Almighty by all Muslims I know, and is mentioned or referred to in the Qur’an more than any other person. Jesus is one of the significant figures in Islamic theology and is mentioned in the Quran 25 times by the name Isa, he is also referred to as the “Son of Mary”, and referred to many times by various other titles, attributes and references. A total count of all such mentions and references is 187 or over. So Mr Imran Khan Sahib, what history were you thinking of, when you said that, “ But that is no mention of Hazrat Isa in history? May be you were not thinking of the Quran but secular of history. Let’s have a look.
The study of the historical authenticity of an event or a person is called historicity. The historicity of Jesus Christ of Nazareth is established not only beyond any reasonable doubt, but beyond any doubt whatsoever. The matter has been settled many times over by the world’s leading researchers and scholars. The oldest mention of this historical figure Jesus Christ is found in the two of the most well respected first century historians’ works. Josephus Flavius and Publius Cornelius Tacitus mention Jesus by name. Unfortunately one of Josephus’ mentions has been allegedly tampered with, the other two haven’t. Josephus was a Jewish-Roman who lived in first century AD (c 37 – 100) was a scholar and a historian whose books Jewish Antiquities and The War of the Jews and Siege of Masada found in all respectable libraries and book stores. Jesus Christ is mentioned in Josephus’s books, if someone cares to read. Tacitus another important historian, who also lived in first contrary AD (c 56 -120, was a Roman senator, consul and a governor. His two surviving and extremely important works are, the Annals and the Histories. Mention of Jesus can be found in his works, for those who read. His books are part of the great and most respected corpus of historical knowledge.
In short, Jesus Christ is mentioned in history, if you do not find him in the history books you have, then maybe you need to get some real History Books. The problem is not that Jesus is missing in history; the issue is that for those who do not read nothing exists in the books. There is a lot of trash out there which masquerades as history. But real history is gold, it is more precious than pearls and rubies and diamonds. Real History is real, because it is about real events and real people. Khan Sahib, let’s get real. A reality check is being called for. It is bad enough when the world thinks that an average Pakistani is ill informed, but how can we as Pakistanis take the jibe: Pakistan’s Prime Minster is ill informed, (at least in the most basic matters of history!).
Other than the written history, archeology keeps spewing up the evidence of a historical Jesus. Just to mention one source, on 23 Oct 2002, Marcus Warren (New York) published an article which said, the words "James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus" inscribed on an empty 1st century ossuary have provoked a flurry of excitement in the world of biblical archeology. The inscription on a limestone box dated AD 63, only three decades after the crucifixion. This was hailed as the first mention of the historical Jesus Christ, earlier even than the Gospels. Jesus appears is in history. (By the way, BC means Before Christ, and AD means Anno Domini, Latin for Year of our Lord, reference to Jesus Christ).
I am sure the Prime Minster is aware of the long time it took him to become a good cricketer, it has also taken him 22 years to become the Prime Minster, it will take him a long time to become a good speaker, if he did not really mean what he said, i.e. what he said was a slip of tongue, then he should come clean and say so. Just accept it, it was a mistake. On the other hand if what is said is what he really believes then I think we are in a crisis, because Pakistan has at her helm a man who is totally, and very dangerously ignorant of both history and his own religion. Jesus Christ is of course mentioned by name in both the most authoritative texts of history and religion, the Prime Minster needs to read both. I would now like to end here with one humble request to Mr Imran Khan: Honorable Prime Minster Imran Khan, please take a few moments to reflect upon the consequences if the same, or similar, words had been uttered about another prophet, by the followers of another religion, any religion, what would have been the reaction? What it the shoe was on the other foot?
(For correspondence, comments, disagreements: Injeeli@hotmail.co.uk)
© Akhtar Injeeli 03/12/2018
To read this article in Ausaf Daily London Edition, click:http://epaper.dailyausaf.com/page?station_id=5&page_id=67247&date=2018-1...
Or just continue reading it right here.
When the highest court of a country gives a verdict the nation listens, accepts and gets on with the business of leading their lives as usual. This however, has not happened so, in the land most beloved to me, Pakistan. Therefore, reactions to Pakistan’s Supreme Court’s verdict of 31st October (Wednesday) 2018 merit reviews and reflections. Pakistan, it seems, is different, perhaps special is a better word.
We all have heard soundbites like ‘Justice rushed is justice crushed’, and ‘justice hurried is justice buried’, however in the case at hand, namely Asia Bibi versus Qari Mohammad Salaam, justice was neither rushed nor hurried, instead the proverbial wheels of justice turned ever so slowly, and the case dragged on for over nine years (from 19 June 2009 to 31 October 2018). If anything, it became a prime example of ‘justice delayed is justice denied’. And so when the verdict was finally announced on the stated date, most of the world applauded the courageous, fair and above all legally sound verdict, and heaved a sigh of relief.
On the following day, the said verdict was printed in its entirety in both English and in Urdu newspapers, and is still available on the internet in both languages. It is a gem of a document, and is representative of the profound wisdom, highest level of legal learning, a full command of Islamic jurisprudence and clarity of expression. However, it is a long document, 56 pages in English. As I believe that most of my readers would not have had the time or the inclination to read the full document, so I summarize the salient points which became the basis of Asia Bibi’s acquittal. (The language used below is not legal, and for that the reader is encouraged to read the original document available on the internet: https://www.docdroid.net/8jNdoE9/judgement.pdf).
Asia Bibi was arrested on 19th June 2009, when Qari Mohammad Salam filed a Blasphemy case against her based on an ‘incident’ which allegedly took place on 14th June while Asia Bibi and other 25-30 ladies were picking falsa berries in the fields of Mohammad Idrees, in a village near Ittanwali. As a result, Asia Bibi was arrested, trailed and sentenced by the Addl. Sessions Judge, Nankana Sahib with the offense under Section 295-C of Pakistan Penal Code (PCP) to be hanged to death and a fine of Rs. 100 000. The same judgment was later upheld by the High court, but Asia Bibi through her lawyer Mr Saif-ul-Malook appealed against it to the Supreme Court of Pakistan. The case was heard by the Supreme Court on 08 October 2018, and the verdict of Asia Bibi’s acquittal was declared on the 31st October 2108. (To read a summary of Asia Bibi’s complete saga please visit: https://www.cuwap.org/node/108)
Following is a summary of the points on which the non-guilty verdict of was reached.
1. Inordinate delay of about 5 days in registering the case. The alleged incident took place on 14th June 2009, but the first information report (FIR) no. 326 was filed in the Police station Saddar Nankana Sahib on 19th June 2018.
2. The complainant admitted that the application submitted for registration of FIR was drafted by an advocate. (The complainant himself was not present at the place of the alleged incident ethier).
3. There were about 25-30 ladies present when the alleged incident took place but the case revolved around the testimony of only two of them, Mafia Bibi and Asma Bibi.
4. No prior permission form the central/provincial government was obtained to register this FIR.
5. The nature of the case required that the investigating officer be the rank of the Superintendent of the Police, instead, it was investigated by sub-inspector Mohammed Arshad, this was later rectified and the case was investigated by Mohammad Amin Bukhari SP.
5. Asia Bibi’s requests to take an oath on the Bible to prove her innocence at the early stages of this saga were denied.
6. It was alleged that Asia Bibi had confessed the commission of the crime, but when the details of this extra judicial confession were investigated, following inconsistencies became apparent. A. The place where the extra judicial confession took place and B. the number of people present.
I must point out in this short article that in any criminal proceedings where the quantum of the proposed punishment is high the benefit of the doubt always goes to the defendant. And in this case there was a lot of doubt in the narrative of events. Furthermore Asia Bibi had always maintained her innocence in the case.
The verdict was prepared by Mr Justice Saqib Nisar, HCJ, Mr Justice Asif Saeed Khan khosa and Mr Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankkhel. It is gem of a verdict, a great read for those who love to get to the bottom of what really happened in this poor woman’s case.
It starts with the Shahada. The honourable justices had painstakingly detailed their thought processes leading to the non-guilty verdict. They have given references of the Holy Quran, the Ahadith, and even a very famous and beloved shair (verse) of Dr Allama Iqbal. Reading through the pages of the verdict, I felt, the honourable justices have left no stone unturned to consider everything, to overlook nothing and to reach a fair and just verdict. Their sincerity and efforts have paid off.
When the long awaited verdict was announced the world reacted with joy, admiration and a sense of relief: that is most of the world. The verdict soon became a must read for journalists, human rights activists and other intellectuals who like to keep a finger on the pulse of world events. A world-class legal document had hit the net, Pakistan could rightly be proud.
But while most of the world, including millions of Pakistanis, Muslims and non-Muslims alike applauded the verdict, there was, (and still is) a group of Muslims in Pakistan, who identify themselves as Tehreek-e Laibak Pakistan (a registered political party) and are led by a firebrand leader, Allama Maulana Khadim Rizvi. Mr Rizvi has a phenomenal memory and a vocabulary to match, and both combined make each of his speeches a call to action, some sort of immediate and drastic action. The fact that he is a wheel-chair user does not seem to affect his high-powered vitriol. After, the declaration of Asia Bibi’s verdict on 31 October, he and all his colleagues and followers turned the guns of their vitriolic oratory, initially towards the three justices of the supreme court, Prime Minister Irman Khan, the Chief of the Army Staff, General Qamar Javaid Bajawa and then towards everyone who did not seem to share their unique theology and sentiments.
Among other things, Maulana Rizvi has earned himself a place of prominence among Pakistani masses for his ‘colourful and descriptive’ (let the reader understand) choice of words. While most decent Pakistanis, Muslims and non-Muslims alike, find his vitriolic speeches abhorrent, his followers relish them, and listening often break into a frenzy of repetitive chant: Labaik, Labaik, Labaik, Ya Rasool Allah Labaik. His complete mastery over the emotions and behaviour of his Tehreek’s followers is complete and very obvious. It was his and his fellow leaders vitriol that lead to the violence that almost paralyzed certain parts of Pakistan on the first three days of November. No one knows who gained in that turmoil, but there is little doubt that in those chaotic days, many lost their peace of mind, others their property and livelihoods and some their life. As a whole, Pakistan lost billions of dollars’ worth of wealth and trading opportunities. In Pakistan, even a verdict that no-crime has been committed came with a price tag of billions of dollars.
Pakistani people are extremely religious and deeply devout. Millions of them are sincere followers of the religion of their choice. It is this sincerity that also serves as their weak point, as many strong spirited leaders, like Maulana Rizvi, can use this asset of a quality, to whip up unbridled anger that can lead, initially to peaceful protests and then as the mob dynamics change to vandalism, unbridled and very costly vandalism. The whole spectrum from peaceful demonstrations to the most heinous form of thuggery and destruction was seen in the few days following the Asia Bibi’s not-guilty verdict. The riots that resulted led to thousands of Pakistani police officers in their full riot gear to fire tear gas and rubber bullets. On Friday and Saturday the scenes in Islamabad
and Rawalpindi were messy. Rizvi’s vitriol was paying off, and the result was street power of vandalism. Mr Rizvi’s volunteers, I am sure had not read the 56-page verdict either, but had listened to and fully understood what their leader wanted from them: A show of power. And Show of power it was! Yes of power and not of peace. In this case at least for two to three days his volunteers delivered what the firebrand leader had wanted them to.
According to the Worldwatch list of fifty countries where it is hardest to be a Christian, Pakistan is listed as number five. While it was hoped that the acquittal of Asia Bibi would help Pakistan find a more favourable view in the eyes of the international organizations, both political and human rights, the vitriol and vandalism caused by The Tehreek’s people has not helped Pakistan’s situation. Asia Bibi’s case became almost a litmus test for the situation of human rights in Pakistan as she belongs to every single category of vulnerability. She is a non-Muslim, a woman, mother of two, illiterate, abjectly poor with no social or political status.
As a Christian and as a patriotic Pakistani as I write this article, I am also thinking of Christmas in the month ahead of us. And as we wish the tradition of justice and fairness to prevail in Pakistan, I also would like all our readers to continue to pray for Pakistan. Pakistan is a land of hope, faith and promise, and despite the vitriol of the likes of Allama Khadim Rizvi, or the vandalism of the like of all the disgruntled protesters of November one, two and three, we cannot afford to lose the sight of our real heroes, the likes of Mr Justice Saqib Nisar, HCJ, Mr Justice Asif Saeed Khan khosa and Mr Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankkhel. For in the end, neither vitriol nor vandalism, but only fair and just verdicts must win. Justice and fairness must prevail. There is no other option. (To read a Summary of Asia Bibi’s story please visit: www.cuwap.org, and click Book Reviews, for views, comments and correspondence: email@example.com)
© Akhtar Injeeli 23/11/2018
Humsookhan and The Minorities View, the twin magazines, are back after eight months of absence. To read these magazine free please click the link: http://www.theminoritiesview.org
These magazines have been published for the last fourteen years continuously from England. The founder and the editor in-chief of these magazines Mr Emmanuel Zafar has told cuwap.org that now these magazines will continue without any foreseeable problem. The purpose of these magazines is to serve the minorities in Pakistan.
© Akhtar Injeeli 12/11/2018
To read the full story in the newspaper click the link:
To read the same story Urdu, in Jang, London, click the following link:
© Aktar Injeeli 08/11/2018
Sarfaz Tabassum is a well know author, poet and a literary critic. Cuwap.org is pleased to share this article by him, which has now been reproduced by several reputable Urdu publications, including Daily Jang, London, and Ausaf. Tabassum's observations of Father Mukhtar Alam's work are deep, honest and fair. However, I believe that due to space restrictions he has been judiciously economical with the literary aspects he has chosen to comment about. It is my sincere hope that Mr Tabassum will expand on this article and comment on Father Alam's panoramic grasp of literary and social coverage. Having read many of Father Alam's book I am very impressed with both the acuteness of his observation and with his command and mastery over Urdu and Punjabi vocabulary to convey his thoughts in a very precise and exact manner.
© Akhtar Injeeli 20/10/2018