Pakistan: the game of religious bigotry — Adil Shahzeb

Daily Times: By Adil Shahzeb: We cannot be teaching our children stories of the so-called jihad and martyrdom and then expect them to remain peaceful, law-abiding citizens of a tolerant society

I remember going for the Friday prayers with my father at the age of 12, listening to the imam’s fiery speech. The imam sahib was angry at the government of Pakistan for importing potatoes from India, calling them “Hindu aloos” (potatoes) and urging the Muslims to boycott the potatoes as Indians may have poisoned them. Coming out of the mosque my younger brother, 10 years old at the time, questioned my father why vegetables could not be Muslim. A couple of years later, I visited Sadda, Kurram Agency, where the prices at a local stall were slashed because the seller had discovered that the fruit grew in a Shia-dominated area, Parachinar. Years later, Pakistan was bombarded with notices to ban drinking Jewish cold drinks, followed by the news of pig’s skin sandals.

Living in a hostile environment where it was even mandatory for the fruits and vegetables to have a religion, a country where we were taught at school that our worst enemy is a ‘Hindu banya’ closely followed by a ‘Yahoodi’[Jew] and ‘firangi’ [foreigner], it is no surprise that we believe the entire world is after our ‘Islamic Bomb.’ And that Jews do not sleep until they conspire against the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and its people. A tolerant and peace loving Pakistan really deserves mercy.


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