An Open Letter to the President of Pakistan


Mr. President:

The mercenaries of the Taliban have spilled blood again, this time of innocent students and faculty of Bacha Khan University in Charsadda, a city in north-west Pakistan. The memory of the 2014 heinous killing of 130 school students in Peshawar is fresh. Not long ago, the terrorists had preyed on the innocent crowd watching a game of volleyball in Lakki Marwat and struck the garrison city of Rawalpindi. And the list goes on.

Peshawar – literally meaning the Gateway – has been decimated and turned into a graveyard. Filthy, ignorant-to-their-bones and ill-kempt goons born out of the illicit marriage between Al-Qaeda and Taliban are indiscriminately killing and maiming innocents by scores, sparing not even the worshippers.

The world says shame on you and on all Pakistanis for watching listlessly one bloody massacre after another in their towns and cities. It was not long ago that your whole country stood passionately behind the efforts to reinstate Pakistan’s chief justice leading to the ultimate ouster of General Musharraf and your coming to the helm. What happened to that passion? Where the hell is that chief justice amidst all this mayhem?

Believe it or not, out of 6346 verses in Qur’an, there are only four verses with the word ‘jihad’ in them, all converging on the concept of self-control, self-discipline, self-restraint and self-defense. Above all, there is not a single use of the word ‘saif’ – an equivalent for sword – in the entirety of Qur’an.

mamnoon hussain pakistan
Mamnoon Hussain, President of Pakistan.

Isn’t it ironic then that the Taliban and remnants of Al-Qaeda savages hiding in the darkest caves have blithely blindsided the majority of 180 million of your countrymen by redefining the religion in the silhouettes of just these four verses?

The American soldiers were accused of desecrating Qur’an and flushing its pages down the toilet in Iraq and then at Gitmo. We can always find in our hearts the element of forgiveness for their ignorance and the hatred borne out of that ignorance, thereby showing that Muslims can always stand on a higher moral ground no matter what. But how could you justify Muslims laying in wait outside a mosque before the Friday prayers to kill fellow Muslims, when one of those 6346 verses in Qur’an says in no unequivocal terms: whoever killed a Muslim intentionally, his abode in hellfire is guaranteed? Contrary to the vision of a hashish-filled heaven, the journey of the suicide-bombers to hell begins no later than the moment he pushes the button to detonate the charge.

So, those who hid Bin Laden, Mullah Omar and other foxes in their chicken coops should have asked these revered ‘guests’ : which brand of savagery was their creed that sanctions spilling blood? It is anything but Islam because Islam abhors blood-letting – any blood for that matter – but more importantly, that of their fellow religionists.

In his farewell sermon delivered in the ‘Uranah valley of Mount Arafat, the Prophet of Islam said: “O people, just as you regard this Month (Dhul-Hijjah), this Day (the ninth day) and this City (Makkah) as sacred, so regard the life and property of every Muslim as a sacred trust. Hurt no one so that no one may hurt you. Remember that you will indeed meet your Lord, and that he will indeed reckon your deeds.”

So, no matter what the circumstances are and, no matter who proclaims to speak on behalf of Muslims, no one can or should ever be allowed to twist, alter or mock this ageless legacy of the Prophet.

It is high time that Pakistanis picked up the Book they claim to be the law of the land. It is high time they found out for themselves as to what are the true commandments of their Creator with regard to tribalism, ethnicity, women, education, sanctity of life, governance, and even the definition of an enemy.

That is the only lightning rod Pakistanis will ever need at this crucial time of crisis to decide their destiny. If not, then the fanaticism intertwined with myopic religiosity that has pervaded Pakistan in the post 9/11 era, will destroy the very fabric of its existence that is already fraying at the seams!

Things in Pakistan will not change until ordinary Pakistanis stop behaving like lifeless zombies. Billions of American dollars in aid will serve one and only one purpose: continue to fatten the pocket lines of corrupt politicians. Pakistan is ranked the 40th most corrupt country among the 180 monitored by global watchdog Transparency International. On top of that, the arms given to fight the terrorizing mercenaries are used in futile continuation of hostility towards India alone.

Mr. President, make no mistake, my country is not your deliverer; never was, never will be. Pakistan’s deliverance is in the hands of Pakistanis alone. They are your Moses. They ought to muster the courage to part the sea between the violence that has gripped the country, and the prosperity that has eluded them for what seems like an eternity.

Maybe it is high time that the pompous and hubristic paper tigers claiming to be the stewards of Pakistan’s destiny, and the inept Pakistanis should seriously consider leasing out their lawless territory to the Mother Queen for the next 68 years, because as the turbulent history of the past 68 years since annexation shows, none of you are capable of governing it.

This will perhaps give you all enough time for a thorough soul-searching and setting your priorities right.

Abdul-Majeed Azad is an academic who comments on the absurdities he sees in politics.