Of Valentine’s Day and that advert

This morning, I spotted this ultimate advert at the back page of a leading daily, to my horror!

Why don’t I share this amazing sense of morality with the person who decided to place this advertisement? I wish I had such wits, but unfortunately, whatever angle I look at it, I just can’t seem to find the exact element which makes this worthy of a quarter-page advertisement in a top newspaper!

Though, I am not an advocate or an opponent of Valentine’s Day as such, even then, I can’t help but spot this deliberate twisting of facts about St. Valentine and the day, in an obviously not so witty manner.

The story of origin of Valentine’s Day centres Emperor Claudius II deciding that unmarried men made better soldiers so he outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine, a Roman Saint (and not a Jew), defied this ridiculous decree by performing marriages for young lovers in secret. When this was found out, Valentine was put to death and thus, in his memory, lovers started to profess their love for each other on this day.

Please when will you get your facts right?

Besides, this argument that Valentine’s Day is spoiling the youth and culture of Pakistan, and is against religion, doesn't seem to sit well with me. The only things that spoil the youth, culture and name of Pakistan are our obnoxious practices of child marriages, honour killing, treating women as commodities, giving them in swaras, victimisations of raped women, one of the highest numbers of rape cases of minor girls, acid throwing, crippling sectarianism and extremism, intolerance and terrorism that’s eating this country to its cores.

Sorry to spoil it, but the narrators of this advert clearly didn’t do their jobs well. I hope I’m not the only one who finds this advert utterly misleading, and depressing at the same time!

Or did I simply miss my cue to find it otherwise?

2302 hours
Friday 12 February 2016

When people like Maulana Sheerani govern our laws

Maulana Sheerani, Chairman Council of Islamic Ideology (CII), never falls short of stirring controversies every other month or so through his rounds of statements. In his latest statement to the press he announced that he intended to discuss three important issues in the meetings. (i) Deciding whether Ahmadis are non-Muslims or apostates; (2) Imposing jizya on non-Muslims (iii) determining which sects fall under Islam.

Earlier, the CII recommended to the government to round up those who were not born Ahmadi but had embraced the sect as “normal” Muslims and put them to death.

Pakistan is a democratic state and a democratic state treats all its citizens equally, irrespective of their cast, creed, religion or ethnicity. The Ahmadis are already under disabilities that a modern democratic state should be ashamed of. They can’t say the word ‘masjid’, pointing to their mosque, among many other words associated with Islam, otherwise they go in jail for six months. Routinely attacked, desecration of their old graves, corpses thrown on the roads and ‘true Muslims’ going round trying to trap an unaware Ahmadi into pronouncing an Islamic phrase before putting him in police custody are common practices in Pakistan, according to human rights watchers.

On top of this, comes the role of CII to incite hate and violence, in a society already wrecked with religious intolerance, jihadism and religious terrorism. Following are some of the recommendations CII has made over past couple of months:

  • Among issues taken to the council by the religion ministry was the issue of girls marrying of their own choice. The CII announced that the nikah of a girl without the permission of the wali (a male member of family or guardian) was un-Islamic and those girls getting married of their own choice should be punished under law.
  • It also declared that sending anyone to prison was against Shariat and recommended that prison sentences be abolished. Early Islam had no jails, no police, and no banks. Thieves used to have their hands cut.
  • They also want to recommend, to ban kite-flying, organ transplant and smoking.
  • The other enlightened opinion of the CII was that co-education be banned and that all lotteries like prize bonds be banned.
  • The CII ruled that insurance of all kinds was against Islam and should be abolished forthwith.
  • It had earlier endorsed the destruction of Afghanistan’s archaeological heritage by the Taliban.
  • It also said women should be disallowed from appearing in ads and that only men should be used to promote products.
  • Women were allowed to work as air hostesses but they should be wearing the burqa or hijab (veil) on board.
  • This is not it for their obsession with women, they recommend no tailor should be allowed to sew women’s clothes and only women tailors should be used by women. 

At a time when Pakistan is said to be fighting a final war against terror, extremism and radicalization, when our forces and civilians are sacrificing their lives, the Chairman CII has decided to lead petty discussions to impose some medieval laws that have little to do with Islam or modern statecraft.

1334 hours
Sunday 7 Febuary 2016