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Preaching extremism on the rise in Chitral — 86 Comments

  1. Wow, nice debate was on and I unlucky could not come on time. Mr. Danish has made nice effort to put some bitter issue in front of us. Really, a good attempt from him to discourage such mindset which always puts our Chitral in the back line by the clerics. Related authorities should be careful of these environment exploiters who always fill haltered in the innocent minds of Chitralis. In the main town Chitral, loudspeakers should be used for the fruitful tasks instead of spreading hatred.

    Commenting on posts more than six months old are automatically closed.–Editor

  2. I appreciate the writer for putting such an important issue which threatens the peace and solidarity of Chitral into our knowledge. But I would like to add a few things. Someone has written above that the West(USA) is aiming to destroy the Muslims wherever they live. Well,yeah statistics show that USA has always been attacking the Muslim World. But one should know that the reason behind this has not been religious at all but WE are taking it as religious, and our response is religiously motivated one. The reasons have always been socio-political ones.They attacked Iraq because they wanted to take control of the oil reserves and there is the same socio-political motive behind attacking other countries. I am saying this because if our response to USA is a religious one, we might get up listening to the Mullas, thus end up being extremists ourselves.

  3. This whole discussion is reminding me the example of paradigm shift mentioned by Stephen Covey in his famous book “7 habits of highly effective people”.
    where in a classroom two groups were asked to see or rather observe, a picture each, for 15 to 20 seconds. One of the pictures was that of a charming lady and the other was that of an old woman. Then a third picture was shown to the class collectively, this was a combination of both the early pics.
    The students were asked to comment on this third picture.
    Both the groups were on opposite extremes with contrasting comments, trying to prove each other wrong and doubting each other’s observation skills. But when they were told the other side of the story, they realized that there was another point of view as well. From that point the other group was right.
    We human beings face this biggest problem; we see the world not as it is, but as we are, or as we are conditioned to see it. We never try to see from others position, and hence always consider others wrong or disloyal.
    I would love to appreciate all the learned people who commented on this serious issue. No doubt they are all sincere from their point of view, as they were looking at different pictures.
    Now I would like to explain both pictures briefly:
    YES, Ulema have tremendous services for Islam. They have been sincere servants of Islam for over the years through thick and thin. With their devotion they somehow managed to keep Islamic values alive through the high times of post-independence war 1857.
    They were infused with irresistible desire to acquire knowledge which equipped them with moral character, spiritual insight, and excellence.
    Even today people likes of Moulana Tariq Jameel, Moulana Zulfiqar Ahmad Naqshbandi, Moulana Masood Azhar, Moulana Taqqi Usmani, Moulana Muhammad Aslam Shekhopoori (recently martyred in Karachi, his columns are available on http://www.darsequran.com.) and many others are devoted souls, who are trying to remove differences among Muslims. Their sincerity is giving them huge acceptance among Muslims all over the world.
    But, as always, there is another side of the story. this is a bitter truth that, going for religious education is the last option for most of the students, rather it is imposed by their family; those students who can’t complete their schooling, can’t learn any technical skill, their rudeness and arrogance is a source of distress for their family are being gotten rid of , by being send to Karachi, Lahore or Peshawar. Seminaries provide them every facility plus freedom. when these irrational souls somehow manage to complete their course and return with out moral character, spiritual insight and excellence, they behave like a bull in a china shop.
    We must confess that they are not a few, even if they are a few they a risk for our peace. we must call a spade a spade. we don’t have to defend them, because if they deserve our defense they will never require it, and if they don’t deserve it will not help them.

    Samiullah Saadi, Jughoor

    • Dear Samiullah, the way you expressed it, plus the concept of ‘paradigm shift’ was really interesting. Let me share another concept that is ‘model-dependent realism’. This approach is explained in a bestseller book “The Grand Design” by Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow.
      “The idea of model-dependent realism is that we build mental pictures, or models, of how the world works, and we interpret the world through those models. We don’t have direct access to the world as it actually is, only to the world as it is filtered through our model.”

  4. “The language we use to communicate with one another is like a knife. In the hands of a careful and skilled surgeon, a knife can work to do great good. But in the hands of a careless or ignorant person, a knife can cause great harm. Exactly as it is with our words.”

  5. My humble request to the respected editor, please close this topic and start any new topic with positive approach.
    Best regards,
    Saira Syed
    Lahore

  6. Saeed ul Abrar has written rational, argumentative and logical comments. He has reproduced whatever the authoritative exegeses of Holy Quran as evidence for his thesis. If you believe it that is ok otherwise you should produce such proof from the Holy Quran. The Holy Quran itself says that Allah has made it easy to understand for anyone who seeks guidance. Instead of being angry you should put forward your own point of view according to the Holy Quran and Sunnah. It’s the duty of everyone to seek direct guidance from the Holy Quran. If he can study English literature why can’t he study the Holy Quran and seek guidance from it.

    Wajih Uddin
    Muldeh,Chitral

  7. Many of the commentators on this sensitive topic have emerged as self-proclaimed scholars. The way they argue, based on mere gossips, is not a healthy debate at all. This trend must be stopped because a person who has no command over a subject, particularly religion, can even mislead the people.
    If someone who has a master’s degree in English literature or any other subject starts portraying himself as an all-rounder, he will certainly spoil the matter.
    We people do not hesitate to blame a mullah but the way some so-called scholars have started interpreting the religion, it is also not different from a “semi-literate Waiz or a Nimcha-mullah”.
    I do not know what these pseudo-scholars want to prove. On the one hand they blame the mullah for everything, declaring him illiterate, ignorant etc., and on the other they themselves play the role of the mullah.
    The interpretation of the holy Quran and Hadith by all and sundry is dangerous as it may create more controversies. Everyone is free to express their opinions but they should avoid cut-pasting the verses from the holy Quran and Hadith. This may come under plagiarism which is a crime now.

  8. No one is disrespecting the scholars – neither the writer nor the people who commented on the topic. We are just talking about the evil elements who are trying to hijack the true teachings of Islam. Even our Prophet (peace be upon him) has warned us about such evil people. There are hundreds of Hadiths where our Prophet (PBUH) has warned us against such evil people but let me share with you a few of them. It is reported in Mishkat from Hazrat Abu Said Khudri (RA) that, ‘Once we were in the presence and company of Prophet (SAWS). He was distributing booties (spoils of war) when a person named Zul-Khawaisara, who was from the tribe of Banu Tamim, addressed the Prophet (SAWS): ‘Oh Muhammad Be Just!’. The Prophet (SAWS) replied: ‘A Great pity that you have doubts; if I am unjust then who will be just; you are a loser and a failure’. Zul-Khawaisara’s attitude infuriated Hazrat Umar (RA) and he pleaded with the Prophet (PBUH) to permit him to slay Zul-Khawaisara. The Prophet remarked: “Leave him, as his slaying will serve no good purpose, as he is not the only individual but there are a host of others like him and if you compare their prayers and fasting to that of yours, you yourself will feel ashamed. These are the people who will recite the Quran but it will not go beyond their throats, with all these apparent virtues they will leave the fold of Deen just like the arrow leaves the bow.” (Miskhat, P. 535)
    Shareekh Ibn Shihab (RA) has stated that Prophet (PBUH) said “Nearing Qiyamah there will be a group of people who will recite the Holy Quran but it will not go below their throats. They will leave the true religion of Islam as fast as an arrow leaves the bow. They will be recognized by the shavings of their entire head and they will move in groups and their last group will emerge with Dajjal. When you meet them you will discover their nature and character, the worst of its kind.” (Mishkat p. 309).    
    Hazrat Abu Saeed Khudri (RU) and Hazrat Anas (RU) report that the Prophet (SAWS) stated: “My Ummah is destined to differ and be divided. So a group will rise whose talks will sound very good but their character will be misleading. They will read the Quran but it will not descend below their throats (meaning they will not understand its meanings). They will leave Deen just as an arrow pierces and goes right through the prey. They will not return to Islam. They are the worst of creation because of their nature and constitution. They will call the people towards the Quran and Deen whilst in reality they will have nothing to do with Islam. Whoever will confront them, he will be the most beloved servant of Allah. The Sahaba inquired: “Ya Rasoolullah, (SAWS) what is their sign?” He replied: “Sitting in  Halqa (circle). (Mishkat, p. 308).
    Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith 6.578 narrated by Abu Said Al Khudri:
    “I heard Allah’s messenger (PBUH) saying: ‘There will appear some people among you whose prayer will make you look down upon yours, and whose fasting will make you look down upon yours, but they will recite the Quran which will not exceed their throats (they will not act on it) and they will go out of Islam as an arrow goes out through the game whereupon the archer would examine the arrowhead but see nothing, and look at the un-feathered arrow but see nothing, and look at the arrow feathers but see nothing, and finally he suspects to find something in the lower part of the arrow!”

  9. In the Name of ALLAH the Almighty. Islam is the religion of peace and love. From the days of ADAM, (the first man and the father of humanity) to this day, Prophets, Saints and Seers, Philosophers and social reformers have tried hard to inculcate the concept of universal brotherhood among mankind as they feel that this is the only way to bring about world peace. How far they have been successful in their own time, history will prove!
    The discussion initiated by Mr. Zahoor ul Haq Danish has really granted us a good opportunity to think and speak about the unbelievable religious intolerance in our country.
    Pakistan is a country where quality education is rare; people are used to blind following and there is a great dearth of awareness among people about misuse of religion. It is the need of the hour that as an individual and as well as a society we shall raise awareness among people against such propagandas and for the welfare of our country by using all possible means. We need to claim back the Jinnah’s Pakistan which endorses tolerance, peace, love and equality rather than a country plagued by intolerance, hatred, sectarianism and fanatic mentality indoctrinated by those who have already hijacked the ideal state of Pakistan and camouflaged themselves as religious shepherd.
    Today there are many known and unknown forces from inside and outsides who are very active in carrying out their own agendas. These forces are taking advantage of our most weak point (religious intolerance) and spreading hatred; violence on the base of sect, race, language and others. Their main aim is to destabilize Pakistan and damage the real image of Islam. These forces sometimes are getting success in their missions due to our ignorance and disunity. As a result, life is becoming miserable in many parts of our country.
    Chitral has luckily remained one of the most peaceful areas of Pakistan. People from the valley are being respected in other parts of the countr for their polite and peace loving nature. There are best examples about our hospitality, dignity, honesty, and harmony and crime free region.
    For those who dislike criticism on extremist elements, I only can request them please just once think about how a single stick of match can be the cause of fire that destroys the whole building in minutes. In this way, how a physically weak guy can hijack a whole airplane. The same way any single extremist or terrorist sometimes can destroy the whole society. So we cannot ignore such burning issues anyway. We already have good experienceof the situation in our neighboring areas. We must come forward for timely stopping them, at least in the best interest of our new generation; there is good idiom in Urdu “Elaaj se perheiz behtar hota hy”.
    Being a Chitrali, this is our collective duty to maintain and guard our dignity and God forbid if we failed to maintain our image then we will have nothing to be proud of in future.
    There are so many lovely Verses from the Qur’an referring to Islam as the religion of peace, love and brotherhood: “You who believe! Enter peace (Islam) totally. Do not follow in the footsteps of satan. He is an outright enemy to you.” (Surat al-Baqara, 208)
    Allah calls to the Abode of Peace and He guides whom He wills to a straight path…. (Surah Yunus, 25)
    … If someone kills another person—unless it is in retaliation for someone else or for causing corruption in the earth—it is as if he had murdered all mankind. … (Surat al-Maida, 32)
    The believers are brothers, so make peace between your brothers and fear Allah so that hopefully you will gain mercy. (Surat al-Hujurat, 10)
    If one is a leader or religious scholar, one learns true qualities of leadership from the Prophet’s (P.B.U.H) Seerah, in terms of how the Prophet (S) was just; how he united the Muslims; how he (S) dealt with subversive elements of society, namely the hypocrites, who were headed by ‘Abdullah ibn Ubai ibn Salool; and how he (S) constantly strove for the betterment of the Muslim nation.
    There is a famous Hadith narrated by Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim:”A true Muslim is the one from whose tongue and hand other Muslims stay safe.”
    Though I am not a religious scholar but being a student, a Chitrari; the follower of Islam, I have especial message to those who always dream to be champion of Islam: convert the whole world into their choice of sect by gun power. The Allah Almighty never allowed to anyone for this mission. Proof from the Qur’an.
    There is not a single verse in the Qur’an which says to harm another person because of their not being a Muslim. On the contrary, there are several verses which talk about respecting non-Muslims.
    To further clarify the matter about forced conversion to Islam, let’s look at this verse:
    “There is no compulsion in religion…” (Qur’an, 2:256)
    I hope all of your support to promote the true Islamic harmony and religious tolerance, strongly oppose all those satanic forces in their missions and avoid hatred, disunity and propaganda in our peaceful region. Please spread this message among all our friends, brothers and sisters to keep Chitrari spirit up.
    Let us pray and try our best for this end so that we can live like brothers and sisters in this Universe and as human beings and let not our deeds degenerate us lower than the state of animals. We might not have seen a lion killing a lion, a dog killing a dog, a cat killing a cat for its ends, but alas man takes pleasure in sucking the blood of his own brothers for no fault of theirs. Is it not shameful??? May Almighty guide us in the right path; the path that pleases HIM, the path that elevated mankind and gets the Blessings and Mercies of his Lord. (Aameen)!!!

    Saira Syed
    Gulberg,Lahore

  10. My 85-year old illiterate grandmother – a wonderful rotten Ismaili – regularly recites the holy Quran. Once I asked her is it of any use to recite the holy Quran without understanding it.
    She quickly responded: “So what if I do not understand what it says…just look at the mullah, same is the case with him.” Believe me, I kissed her beautiful hands and walked away speechless?
    The crux of the story is that Saeedul Abrar – a ruthless henchman of the mullah – should stop interpreting the Holy Quran in his own typical style. It is not English literature, which you can interpret the way you like.

    • Dear Ahmad, Abrar has not given his interpretation and opinion he has made factual statements. He has command over Arbic and Persian literatures in addition to English that you have mentioned. I just want to make it clear that he is not a henchman of the mullah but a torchbearer of truth. And finally, if you want to continue reciting the Quran without understating it, this is a good justification that the mulla do so.

      • @Alamgir: The thing which needs to be clarified here is that we do not believe in reciting the holy Quran without understanding its spirit. If you are reciting it just for the sake of “Sawab”, you must not start its interpretation based on mere gossips or after listening to the sermons of a mullah. This is what Mr Ahmad has tried to explain to your respected sir, who, in my opinion, should try to understand the real meaning of the Quran instead of just reciting or learning it by heart. I am sure you are clear and my advise to you is that do put question to your teacher and I am dead sure he will not be able to give you a satisfactory answer.

        • Dear Afzal. I fully agree with you that Quran is the source of guidnce and not just for “sawab” or learning by heart. I also agree that we should understand its messege rationaly and logicaly and not by blindly following mulla or ANY other selfprclaimed religous leader. Neither Mirbaiz Khan nor Mr. Ahmad had given any arguments and used some harsh words which is not sensible when we are discusing extreemisum. And finnaly the questions raised by Mirbiaz Khan have been clearly answered. If you put any other question to him I am dead sure you will also get satsfactory answer.

  11. My comments o Mr. Zuhoor letter was not supposed to arouse a religious controversy. As numerous comments had brought the whole religious scholars under fire on account of the few misguided individuals. I had endeavored to pen down my observations about the positive role of our religious scholars. Having borrowed the word “priesthood” used by one of the commentators, I had pointed out that priesthood is institutionalized in Christianity along with the doctrinal principles of man’s original sin, crucifixion of Jesus Christ for the recompense of his followers, their confessions to the clergy resulting in the absolving of the souls. Such priesthood has no room in Islam as every individual will have to carry his burden of deeds. No prophet, no saint, no religious leader will stand before Allah and man as a mediator or intercessor to recompense for the sins of his followers in the hereafter. The former sentence is the translation of the verse of the Holy Quran Sura Banni Israel verse 15. In the preceding verse 14 it is written that the books of deeds of every individual will be hung round his neck and asked to read his own account of actions. The latter was the translation of a verse 48 from Surah-e-Baqara.
    “That there will be no compensation, neither trading nor any help from others”.
    One of the commentators, Mr. Mir Baiz Khan, took this as a moot point with interrogative argument “who were all the Prophets and messenger whom God chosen to convey His message if they were not intermediary between Him and the rest of humanity and why had Allah chosen Muhammad (S.A.W) as Mustafa? Why Allah has introduced the concept of intercession if it was irrelevant? Who are those whom He has granted permission and whose word is acceptable to Him.” Similarly, he has used the word “waseelah” the means of approach on to Allah as an argument in this connection.
    I will cite the verse 34 Surrah-e- Abasa which says that man will run away from nearest of relatives like brothers, mother, father, husband, wife and friend on that day of Judgment. Similarly, the verse 68, in Surrah-e- Ahzab, clarifies that when hosts of men damned for eternal punishment will come up with their leader saying that their leaders had misguided them therefore there should be double punishment for them. In another verse Allah will decree, both of you will have the double punishment. These are the literal translation of the few verses of the Holy Quran. In the commentaries of Tafseer-e- Haqani, Tafseer-e-Usmani, Tadabbur ul Quran, Anwar ul Quran , Maaref-e-Quran , Tafseer-e-Majidi , Fee-zelalul Quran, Tafheem ul Quran and the noble Quran by Abdullah Yousuf Ali, all have elaborated on the concept of intercession. According to the learned interpreters, the Jews believed in their original virtue of being chosen people. On this basis they said that they would not be tormented to eternal fire. Similarly, the Christians having the conviction of the original sin of man, believed that Jesus Christ would recompense for the sins of the believers as he had accepted crucifixion for the redemption of his followers. The cited verse of Holy Quraan by Mir Baiz Khan has the contextual background in which Jews, Christians and followers of Muhammad (S.A.W) have been admonished that as Muhammad (S.A.W) has been sent with divine guidance as true model to humanity to show them the practical course of salvation in this world and the hereafter. Therefore everyone is responsible and accountable before Allah, for his belief and actions. On the day of judgment no Prophet, no saint, no religious leaders will intercede for the sins of human beings as the sovereign power of decision will rest with Allah and whom so ever He would want to save from the eternal torment according to His will and Justice system, He would honor his chosen Prophets and pious bondmen to come forward as intercessors. If prophets saints and religious leader could recompense for the sins of followers what would be the purpose of man’s trial and probation on this earth? What would be the end result of the actions of the virtuous and the evil-doers? The verse, means of approach, “Waseela” according to the learned commentators is the Holy Quran which has been termed with different names like Ziker, huda Furqaan Habl-ullah etc. This means of approach will guide humanity towards the true path till life exists if any one seeks it as a means to approach Allah. I had written authoritatively on the basis of the readings of the above mentioned commentaries of the Holy Quran.
    Moreover, I must state that Allama Muhammad Iqbal was deadly against the lethargic, inert and parasitic sufi who fattened on the labours of his followers and did not incite them to strive towards lofty goal of emancipating his followers. His poem with the name of BAGHI MUREED is self-explanatory. The Persian verse,further endorse my understanding,
    “In the blissful spell of purifying ones soul, a sufi must strengthen himself by having constant contact with Allah, when spiritual purification is accomplished, he must strike against the power of tyranny.”
    As we should agree to disagree, our point of view about the given concepts may differ but argumentative and logical explanation must be respected. Such kind of dialogs instead of widening the gap will bridge the distances. Therefore we should see into these important doctrinal issues with clear conscience and intellectual honesty.

    Saeed ul Abrar
    Moughlandeh, Chitral

  12. Religion is the binding instrument and being Muslims we should not fall in ethnic, linguistic and cultural issues. We should cooperate with each other leaving everything behind whether we are Sunnis or Shias. Chitral and Gilgit-Baltistan are the paradise on earth. Peace in these areas should be maintained at every cost. We should create harmony and integrity among ourselves. No one should indulge in targeting each other and we should work together to attain our goals. I love Chitral and Gilgit and love every peace-loving person whether Sunni or Ismaili.

  13. Your religion is for you and my religion for me (109:6). Saira selected the appropriate verse from the Holly Quran and very apropriate to the context. The mullahs have always acted like contractors of Islam but why they don’t act upon on such lucid message as the our Holly Quran conveys. These mullahs not only targeted the particular sect in Chitral, I had read in a magazine, which published from karachi namely Takbeer, that propagates ridiculous lies and imposes Fatwas about most of the sects. A few months back I also read a writer in one of the Gilgit web page who was defending the allegations raised by this so-called magazine that Ismaili community is involved in the violence in Gilgit-Baltistan between Shias and Sunis.

  14. Very emotional article and I do not agree with the writer. Molvi sahiban are doing very great job for peace and harmony in Chitral. You should not interpolate the mistake of only one person on all others.
    Being a Muslim you should not use such bad words for the religious scholars. It is not good.

  15. I fully agree with the point of brother Saeed ul Abrar that we must pay respect to those religious scholars who are preaching the true spirit of Islam and promoting harmony and brotherhood between communities.
    I also agree with brother Danish’s concern about extremist elements who are trying to spread hate in our paradise valley. We cannot close our eyes from these realities and what is going on in various parts of our country where the situation is getting worst day by day due to these dangerous elements.
    We must understand the difference between real Islamic scholars and Mulas. If still we are confused about, then there are clear directions and examples in Islam:
    Allah epitomizes religious tolerance in Quran in a nutshell: “Lakum deenukum wa liya deen: Your religion is for you and my religion for me (109:6).” This need to be adopted worldwide as a slogan. There need be no restraints on preaching of the faith by appealing to reason. Holy Quran says: “Call unto the way of thy Lord with wisdom and fair exhortation, and reason with them in the better way.” (16:125).
    Allah ordained religious freedom and tolerance and His Prophet (PBUH) implemented and preached it. Allah tells the believers: Do not insult what they call gods that are other than Allah. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) promised the Christians of Najran not to harm their crosses or idols. He even allowed Christian delegates from Najran to pray in his mosque at Al Medina.
    Now we can easily understand who is the real religious scholar or “neem mula khatra-e-imaan”.

  16. Dr.Kasturi is currently Defence Editor with the Deccan Herald newspaper. He has been a visiting fellow at the Stimson Center and is a former editor of the Indian Defence Review. The following excepts are taken from an article by Dr Kasturi published in http://www.bharat-rakshak.com/MONITOR/ISSUE2-3/kasturi.html.

    “The earliest sectarian clashes occurred in Chitral in 1981 when a mob led by Maulana Ubaidullah stormed a hostel run by the Aga Khan Foundation. A year later, Sunni-Shia clashes occurred in the area. The Shias organized themselves under the Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Fiqah-e-Jaffariya (TNFJ). The Ismailis and Noor Bakshis, though followers of the Fiqah-e-Jaffariya, were not accepted into the fold of the former party. The two groups did however play a balancing role in the area. The Aga Khan Foundation has been a premier institution working for socio-economic development in the region. The Aga Khan is reported to have commissioned a in-depth study of the region. The study says poverty and economic deprivation have made the area a breeding ground for sectarian militancy.The study also pointed to dangers that Ismailis faced in the Chitral region. According to one Pakistani writer in Chitral alone, about 10% Ismailis converted to sunnism, either out of financial motives or to save their lives or escape the pressure of the social boycott imposed on them by Maulana Ubaidullah’s fatwa.”

  17. The discussion initiated by Mr. Zahoor ul Haq Danish has really granted us a license to characterize the Mulla according to our perceptions which is a fanciful topic especially for the westernized liberals. Mulla appears to them to be a maverick creature, that nature has suffered to breathe on the world of civilized men. Western literature starting from Chaucer is replete with the denunciation of the clergy because of the negative role of priesthood institutionalized in Christianity. To quote Chaucer “If gold rusts what shall iron do”. Similarly, Morlove makes fun of pope and priests in his epoch making drama Dr. Faustus. The clergy class of the Jews and Christians have been rebuked in the Holy Quran with the name of Ahbaar and Ruhbaan for associating themselves in authority with Allah. In Islam, there is no room for priesthood as every individual will have to carry his burden of deeds. No prophet, no saint, no religious leader can stand before Allah and man as a mediator or intercessor to recompense for the sins of their followers. According to the Holy Quran Allah is nearer to man than his jugular vein and man can have a direct spiritual contact with his creator every time. Therefore, everyone as a vicegerent of Allah is responsible according to his ability and knowledge and has to play his duty for the moral, spiritual, economical, and educational well-being of the society.
    Like all sensitive individuals, I also detest the obscurantist Mullah but at the same time every human being who forsakes his soul and abandons his reason falls from high moral ground of humanity to the lowest pit of beastly life. But exceptions do not make the rule. All cannot be termed obnoxious. Few should bear the brunt of general hatred. Mullahs representing the religious scholars are not the chip of the same block. Few of them do carry the blame but their majority play constructive role in the moral education of the society.
    I have learned the holy Quraan with translation from the Mulanas of my village. My children and nephews are doing the same. A long-lasting family feud which could have broken my family was resolved by the instrumental role of Maulanas like Maulana Habibullah, Maulana Khaliquz Zaman, Maulana Hafizullah. People listening to sermons of Mualana Ismail are seen to abstain themselves from sins. We see that bereaved families are consoled by the sermons of the religious scholars. Delinquent souls adopt piety by their admonitions. Black-marketers give up their illegal business. Young addicts of my own village abandoned using drugs on the instigation of Maulana Jamsheed’s sermons. In Chitral town, before noon prayers every day people throng to listen to the Quranic sermons of Maulana Sher Aziz, Maulana Hussain Ahmad, Maulana Mumtaz etc.
    Even historically no one can deny the positive role played by late religious scholars like Maulana Mustajab of Ayun, Qazi of Mastuj, Qazi of Moroi, Qazi of Kari, Maulana Noor Shah Din, Maulana Shahabuddin, Qazi Nizam, Mufti Azam Abdu Dayyan, Maulana Abdur Raheem etc., only to mention a few. No one has heard such scholars spewing hatred against any sect. They have helped in extinguishing the sectarian fire of 1982 and 1998. Few exceptions in the present time if play negative role in the society, the fault lies in our class based, parallel education system. It is the responsibility of the state to provide uniform, productive education freely to all its citizen in line with the ideological and national objectives but the irony is that the elites have their own educational system with their own curriculum. The middle class send their children to the public schools according to their own means and affordability. The rest either go to the government schools or to the religious seminaries. More than ten lac students are given free of cost religious education in the privately sponsored Madrassas. To quote the ex-president Gen(R). Musharraf “They make the largest NGO of the country to be sponsored by private individuals. Our whole educational needs overhauling but those at helms care a fig about it. The fruit we reap in the form of societal chaos in our country. Our products are of diverse nature. The so-called westernized liberal hailing from the elite and taking the rein of the government have wrought havoc with the administrative machinery of homeland for the last sixty five years. The confused middle class is a mixture of contrasts, as compliant citizen can only lament the sorry state of affairs. The major bulk of our population fight the battle of daily bread and daily butter driven by the insensitive elite. The media and other sources of education are again in the hands of commercial oriented and politically driven tycoons. The masses of the villages have to give an audience to the religious scholars for the salvation of their restless souls. In the context of Chitral excluding a few Mullas, the religious scholars communicate the message of Islam, according to the level of their understanding. They certainly admonish the people to be God fearing, to execute justice, to be charitable, to be tolerant, kind, affectionate and to abstain from all kinds of social evils like corruption, embezzlement, cruelty, prejudice etc. It is wrong to say that they do not talk about social evils because last Ramzan in most of the Musajeed of Chitral bazar they even told the shopkeepers that their prayers would avail them nothing and eternal punishment of Allah could not be thwarted unless they gave up hoarding and transitional deceit. But if it fell on deaf ears it is not their fault . Thus in our society the religious scholars have a vital role to play in the moral education of the masses. Most of them do it to the best of their level. Few belonging to blacklist organization and graduating from extremist seminaries may try to plague the environment with their schismatic views but in our peaceful district such Mullas are spotted and spurned by the public therefore the majority cannot be blamed for the sins of few black sheep.
    In spite of accusing the religious scholars we should see into our own selves as how much we are striving to understand the message of Holy Quraan, to act upon its injunction, to convey its universal message to other and to implement its principles of truth and justice. if the educated class come forward with the true message of the Holy Quran and sunnah, the menace of societal disintegration can be halted and social evils can be nipped for good. On the other hand if we pick holes the gap will get widened by the obscurantist few. Let us focus our center of influence rather than focusing our center of concerns.

    Gr tu me Khawhi muslman zeestan
    Neest mumkin Juz ba Quraan zeestun (Iqbal)

    Saeed ul Abrar

    Mogholandeh, Chitral

    • I really appreciate sir Abrar for showing the complete picture with rational arguments. Nobody can deny the fact that Chitral has enjoyed peaceful living for centuries. We must give credit to our religious scholars for preaching peace and harmony. Since 9/11 extremism has rapidly increased in our province and if there were extremist elements in Chitral it was a great opertunity for them. But as we know that our religious scholars never allow the spread of extremism in Chitral.

  18. Afzal, puluso tay e kahak diko ta khilafa de FIR derg koi wa. Hes kya mushkil korum no, Pakistana kya qanoon kya niki. Haya intzamio krum royan control korick k eval evalio aqeedo tay kya morani.

  19. In response to brother Zulfikar’s comment, Hameedullah has come up with a very very good suggestion that all these hate-mongers should be brought to book instead of being cursed. The cleric, whether he is from the mountains of Chitral or far away in the Gulf,is the name of a mindset, some of them are bearded and some without beard. The time is rife to reign them in or their next target will be the increasin trend of female education in Chitral like their brother Taliban. I would like to ask Hameedullah to muster some courage and lodge an FIR against the cleric as a peace-loving Khow since you have floated a very good idea. Come on man, we are here to stand by your side like every peace-loving Chitrali stood by Danish??

  20. I think it is becoming so interesting. It would be indigestible for many people had the piece showing such a picture of the mullah been written by someone from the Ismaili community.

  21. @ Asif; Zulfiqar….. I am not supporting anyone, neither the speaker nor the writer. I only want to mention that as citizens it is our responsibility to report to law enforcement agencies if we see/hear anything wrong instead of attacking other people using inflammatory and abusive language.

  22. Brother Hameedullah, Asif; Zulfiqar, the threat of extremism and militancy is hovering over the peaceful district of Chitral. The example of Swat is in front of us to open our eyes. Militancy and extremism in Chitral could not succeed in Chitral because an overwhelming majority of its people denounces such mindset and discouraged such elements. Every individual loves his creed and people related to it – Ulema and religious scholars in the case of Sunnis and Aga Khan, khalifas, missionaries in the case of Ismailis. The relations between the two communities will remain ideal only if they refrain from targeting each other’s religious leaders and propagate promote and common interests.
    In the case of article by Mr. Zahoor and subsequent comments from many friends, it is crystal clear that all of us realize the importance of sectarian harmony and realize looming threat to the peace of Chitral. Instead of using abusive words for the preachers such as “mullas’ ‘hanging’ them and incidents of 1982, 2002 etc. will not serve the interests of Chitral. These things will dig up only buried sad realities. One can argue against what Mr. Zulfiqar said about different incidents in Chitral. Arguments and counterarguments will only widen the differences in the delicate issue of religion, sect and beliefs.
    The solution to the problem is that we must keep peace and tranquility in priority No.1. Without that nothing can be achieved and we will lose what we have. Instead of using abusive words we must approach the elders of the community and bring in their notice the provocative acts of the accused man (I shall not use Mullah or Aalim for him, because I do not consider such a person preacher at all). If the matter not resolved there that should be taken to the authorities and if still the issue is not addressed then masses should be made aware of the conspiracies being staged to sabotage the peaceful environment of Chitral. We must not forget that tolerance is the corner stone of Islam and Chitrali culture.
    .

  23. @Hameedullah: I am sorry to say we still have people like you who have been propagating a specific narrow version of Islam that suits only their vested interests and you are not ready to even give others their right to expression. I throw back the first few lines of your comments at your face straight to make sure all my readers understand that people with such mentality must be treated the way they deserve.
    The way you have given a clean chit to the clerics, who have a track record of spoiling the peace of Chitral since decades, is strange and shows your way of parochial thinking. The way you are trying to silence the peace-loving people at gunpoint, who are raising their voice against a handful of militant minded clerics, is destined to fail.
    Those who have expressed their views on the article are well educated, peace-loving people and the cream of society. People with militant mindset must stop dictating others about what they should do and what should not.
    The person who is running this particular website – chitarltoday.net – is a professional journalist working with a top media outlet of the country and those who are contributing to the website are not here to promote any hidden agenda like the clerics who tacitly working on the agenda of hatred.
    I myself have been doing journalism for the last over six years from the federal capital and know very well who is doing what in the name of religion.
    If you still claim that all mullahs in Chitral are above prejudice and cannot deliver any hate speech, I can give you some examples showing how these hate mongers have lost no opportunity to wage a ‘jihad’ against the other community.
    The killing of Ismailis and burning down of their centre and a hostel including a big library in Chitral in 1982 was perhaps, according to people like you, a goodwill service to Islam.
    The burning of the property of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), including its vehicles, in 2002 was another social service initiated by the mulla-minded people.
    What game these mullahs tried to play with the suicide of a girl in Brep last year is very fresh in the minds of all peace-loving people. The girl was the daughter of a poor man belonging to the Ismaili community. Her maternal uncle from the Sunni community took the girl to Abbottabad deceitfully, telling her parents that he was going to admit her in a college. There, she was put into a madressah from where she returned after a couple of years. Soon, she committed suicide due to some domestic issues as by then her parents had died. Now, my dear, you may not remember because you have been living out in Lahore, as you have mentioned. Scores of women have committed suicide in Chitral but the mullahs considered the suicide of this particular poor girl as once in a lifetime opportunity to wage a ‘jehad’ against the whole Ismaili community accusing them of killing the girl and throwing the body into the Yarkhun river. The mullahs instigated the people of Chitral who started making rounds in many big towns like Booni asking people on loudspeakers that they should come out for jehad. The Ismaili community said that let’s law take its own course. As a result, for the first time in the history of the area, the body was exhumed and a postmortem showed that nobody had killed the girl rather she had committed suicide by jumping into the river. If it was not for the modern science which proved the truth, how many innocent blood would have been shed because of the Mullah frenzy.
    My dear, we have grown up in Chitral and know many other dark sides of the sectarian hatred but as a educated people at least we should differentiate between the right and the wrong and raise a voice against such hate mongers who are doing a very disservice to the cause of Islam.
    As long as your desire to hold a thorough probe into what you call as a planted letter by some vested interest, we welcome it but rest assured it will meet the same fate as in the case of the Brep incident.

  24. < h3>“Rumors are carried by haters, spread by fools & accepted by idiots.”—(un-known)
    Ref. a comment published in chitraltoday.net on “Preaching extremism rises in chitral.” I would like to dedicate the above line to the creator of this article, publisher; all those persons who commented on it because if it was a real incident then why Mr. Zahoor ul Haq did not go to the police station to lodge an FIR against that particular Maulana Sahib??? Why he did not file a case with the court against that individual?? He did not do so because nothing had happened. It seems this was part of a game prepared by some individuals only to provide a platform where they can easily criticize/abuse the Ulema, and spread hatred between the two communities (Sunnis and Ismailis).
    I would like to request the district administration to hold an inquiry into the incident, also include Zahoor ul Haq and the editors of the websites for writing and publishing this inflammable article, spreading rumors, exaggeration; and poor editing/doubtful role because these are also threat to the peaceful environment of Chitral.
     
    Hameed Ullah
    Lahore, Pakistan
     

    • With due respect to Mr Hameedullah…
      First, let me tell you that anyone who recites the Kalima is a Muslim and nobody has the right to declare anyone a Kafir. I don’t know how a man sitting in Lahore can challenge the veracity of a claim made by a person who was present in the mosque where the mullah delivered the hate speech on Eid day. Why no one from Chitral but you sitting in Lahore claim that the mullah never passed such remarks.
      And secondly, before asking for a police case against the writer and the editor on the charge of creating hatred, you should remember the 1982 incident and tell the nation who was behind that incident.
      We at that time too did not go to police because as Muslims, we respect all sects (because we all believe in Almighty ALLAH). We accept that in Allah’s incomparable world many creatures and various religions exist and we honour all of them because all are created by the same God.

  25. I salute Zahoorul Haq Danish for calling a spade a spade. The very fact that our young generation is coming out of the spell of extremism, is giving us hope that our future is bright. I share his concern that elements in our establishment have been hands in glove with sectarianism for their agendas and in the process commercialized religion. It is therefore no irony that they are now getting the backlash from the extremists which is tantamount to saying that revolution eats its own children but unfortunately huge collateral damage is being inflicted on the innocent people of Pakistan for no fault of their own. It is a proof of the level of extremism in Chitral that not a single mosque could be found offering prayers for the early recovery of Malala Yousufzai on the appeal of the government.
    Priesthood in Islam has now become a big business and there is cut-throat competition for clients. Proponents of different sects compete with each other for business and to attract audience that sell hatred and play on raw and uninformed emotions of ignorant masses instead of guiding them about the true message of Islam. Any effort to bury the legacy of intolerance and extremism that has played havoc with the unity of the Ummah is being frustrated by the priests who make a living by selling sectarian products. It is not easy for them to rise above this mindset because they have no other means of livelihood or perhaps they are not prepared to work to earn Rizq-e-Halal because they are addicted to living on crumbs made available to them by power hungry politicians or malfunctioning establishment promoting foreign agendas or their own vested interests. It is no wonder that a harmless piece of writing criticizing the powerful priest class on these pages in the recent past was immediately taken note of by the establishment but a diatribe coming from a priest against a minority community has gone unnoticed. This encourages and provides moral boost to the hate mongers to speak louder and make the entire nation hostage.
    The only way to stop sectarianism is to stop free money and funding to these priests and their outfits and ask them to make a living through hard work as there is no room for priesthood in Islam. Preaching or leading prayer in mosque should be a voluntary work and not a paid job. Sources of illicit funding to these people should be stopped specially those coming from abroad. There are reasons to believe that charities working under Islamic names may be getting funds from hostile sources. I fail to understand why prayer leaders in mosques run by Auqaf department also indulge in hate speeches. The government cannot stop sectarianism through strong words alone as actions speak louder than words.

    Islamuddin, Garam Chashma

  26. This is apropos my brother Siraj ul Mulk’s comment, in which he has sarcastically remarked that we owe much to Mr Danish. He has missed out what he owes to Mr Danish and many other youngsters like him. Shahzada Siraj ul Mulk has a vigilant eye on the activities of these radical elements but he never bothered to bring it into the notice of the authorities concerned.
    Who else can bring these things to the limelight better than Mr Siraj ul Mulk as he is the only person from Chitral who has far better understanding of the “intelligence” compared to an ordinary man like me. Mr Danish is a young man all the way from the mountains of Terich, has done what others failed to do for decades. Rather all others were in no mood to wake from the slumber. This is something which should have been highlighted much earlier. But the question is there anybody who could stand up and ask the cleric for what he has been doing?
    Nobody touched the topic including Siraj ul Mulk. I intentionally mention his name because he is the most well-connected persons from Chitral. He enjoys very good relations with both the “khakis and civilian elite”, at the helm of affairs. Some might have stopped offering prayers led by the mullah. Some could have cursed him in frustration. Some have gone to him appreciating for his ermon’ while people like Mr Danish decided to expose him come what may.
    And what young Danish did is called service to the nation, service to the community, never ending love for Chitral and the spirit which all the teachers should have. A teacher can play more important role than a cleric by creating awareness among students and the step taken by young Danish should be taken forward.
    We should also accept the fact that it is mullaism all over which has filled the hearts of men with the dreaded fear of Allah and hate for mankind, where once man loved that which is in its entire splendour. It is mullaism which has ordered men to bow down before Allah only in fear instead of happiness considering Him all the merciful. It is mullaism which has burdened the an with worries about Allah’s wrath instead of hoping that the Almight is the one Who always lightens man’s burden. It is mullaism which told man to be ashamed of his body and its most natural functions where once man celebrated those functions as the greatest gifts of life from his Creator. I think it’s about time we must stand up against this mentality of the mullah. Take care of yourself and all those around you and the day is not far when we will emerge as the best people in the comity of nations.

  27. Wow, what a fabulous article this man has written and I have got through this now. I don’t have words to praise Mr. Danish for his couragage. Junaid Saleh in one of the comments you raise questions about ismailism but in the next one you come with the answer to it. It seems you were some time also connected with the AKDN. And through the Facebook page, some of its members are promoting extremism by posting hateful comments. I hope you will take my comment positively.

  28. It has almost become fashionable in Chitral to target the Katurs for no reason which is not appropriate. They must be criticized but what their forefathers did with the Ismailis has nothing to do with what is going on right now. The current threat, according to some Ismailis, is the growing fundamentalism and sectarianism. In response to the above letter, the Katurs came up openly in condemning the clerics but unfortunately the Ismailis kept on expressing their anger against the clerics by changing their names. The letter written by my dear Miki Prince Siraj ul Mulk is evident of the fact that they are moderate and enlightened people. Their efforts to maintain peace and raising their voice boldly with real names and without any fear against growing militancy and the clerics must not go unnoticed.

    • @Afzal, whether they agree or not, courage and fearlessness is the other name for the Katurs!

  29. Mr. Danish, you have portrayed the actual root-cause of extremism in Chitral which is toxic for the peace of the valley.Great.

  30. I agree with the comments of Chitral’s most able son, Shahzada Siraj ul Mulk, that politicians are equally responsible for the situation. Yes sir, current and past political leaders and rulers are equally responsible rather they are the only culprits. Sir, it would be nice and a good service for the whole Chitral if you yourself take us a little back into our history. Today what the Ismaili community is being treated has links to the past. Should we forget the Mehtar’s carrot and stick policy against the Ismailis in 1924. The poor Ismailis were then forced to convert to Sunnism to get privileges or face the consequences. I am told by my father that my grandfather was one of the Ismailis from Upper Chitral who left their country and migrated to Gilgit due to this ‘Mehtari Tokhmat’. The Mehtar continued his highhandedness against the Ismailis till a ‘Kafir (infidel)’ viceroy sitting thousands of kms away in India warned him to remain within limits. Now his progeny owns the Ismailis an apology but still despite being in powers and getting votes from the Ismailis, our MNA has failed to create an environment of co-existence, harmony and peace and misused the sectarian polarization to achieve his political objectives.

  31. Its the brilliant work done by Mr. Danish. He broke the silence that no one dared to do in the decades. I read all the comments and I think these are the only extensions of Mr. Danish’s work. No one has come up with any conclusion. Apart from ISI and politicians, the above commentators are also the peak stakeholders of Chitral and can compel the govt. to stop such blasphemy against any sect. My request here is that take practical action to solve this issue, because if we only continue writing comments and articles, it will happen again and again in future.

  32. We in Chitral owe much to Zahur ul Haq Danish for giving us a wake up call from the slumber that we have so far been lucky to enjoy in our otherwise restive province.
    Commenting on Zahoor’s letter, Mr Akhtar Ali from QA University Islamabad said “when we look at mullahs history, they were at the same time priests and kings men…”
    This takes me back to the days when the Swat imbroglio was at its initial stage. I used to ask opinions from my Swati friends and many of them would take me aback with their views saying “the law enforcement agencies can easily put a stop to this if they want. It almost looks like they are mixed up with the miscreants”. To add weight to their arguments they would continue “how come they can’t silence an ordinary FM radio station.”
    The situation in Chitral is shaping up in a similar manner. Khateeb Ghulam Yousaf who lead the Eid prayers at the Shahi Masjid Chitral devoted more time in his sermon to defending the Taliban than educating the congregation about the spirit of sacrifice behind the Eid that was being celebrated that day. Ghulam Yousaf is a government teacher drawing government salary. Confusing? Read further.
    Only a month ago the Chief Secretary of our province had announced a grant of four million rupees towards the face lift of this very mosque. Surely the prayer leader could easily have been told to refrain from saying anything that would disturb communal harmony in his district???
    No wonder that young Zahur (who incidentally went to the Lot Dur mosque in Singoor for his Eid prayers) asks the question which haunts all of us “does ISI and other law enforcement agencies have tacit approval of all that mullahs preach?”
    But why should our fingers just keep pointing at “ISI and other law enforcement agencies”? Where are our political leaders hiding? Why are they so impotently silent about such vital issues? Are they not aware of the mushrooming of madressas in crowded places of Chitral town, some of them two-storey high-built with expensive re-enforced concrete? Should they not be finding out the sources of funding of such madressas? Surely our local politicians should take some time off from their money-making and devote more time to saving their district and their people from a disaster about to happen through this “madsassa culture” that is creeping into our society.
    Luckily the “Chitrari” spirit in the population is still alive. We all feel strongly about our area, our culture and our language. How long this will last against the invasion visibly coming from outside Chitral only time will tell. We need to further strengthen our “Chitrari culture” because in the end it is inevitable that the weaker culture will give in to the stronger one.

    Siraj Ulmulk
    Hindukush Heights Chitral http://www.hindukush.com.pk 03449700800, 0344970002

  33. @ Zakir Hussain, I know some parts of my last comment were out of the topic and I myself had mentioned it that some brothers were forcing me to go out of the topic. My comment was just a reply to a few questions raised by some friends. Like.. not allowing others into Jamatkhanas? Some say a hidden agenda going on? Some were questioning the donors? I just replied to these questions on the basis of facts and if those facts have hurt anyone I am really sorry for that. I din’t say that Imam’s faramins are meant for Sunnis as well. It is brother Junaid who wants us to share it with him and I know many people in Karachi also want us to share the faramins with them, and their is nothing wrong to share them if someone wants to enlighten his/herself.
    Zakir Brar, I don’t know what agenda you are talking about. Let’s be honest to ourselves and stop these hatred and rumors we have been spreading for long. Someone truly said: “Rumors are carried by haters, spread by fools and accepted by idiots”. My request to you is to read Nisar Ahmad’s comment. Can’t you see the amount of work done by these NGOs in the fields of education, development, health care and many other sectors. “Hush ki no tortai ghech abas” La. 
    @Wasim, I already told you that my name is Afzal Aman and I live in Clifton, Karachi. What else you wanna know? Anyway, I am not here to open a bank account where I have to give you all my details.

     

  34. Dear Nisar Saheb!!
    Impressed with how folded up the story around the characters of Kaka Sahib, Charter of Medina and Qari Faizullah! It is the stereotyping that leaves us morally crippled as a society! AKRSP has truly revolutionized the socio-economic scene in Chitral and nowhere else do we find such an exemplary community development. My late father himself was part of the organization for over a decade and was a great advocate of the organization’s work for the society, despite belonging to a sect different than what AKDN is associated with. Let us face it people. From hydroelectric power stations to agriculture, from dummy goats to community-based schooling, honeybee farming to development of shu industry, these NGOs have impacted our lives in a positive manner, much more than what our own government has one for us. It is very easy to play this never-ending blame game and argue just for the sake of an argument. Pause and acknowledge the efforts and benefits!

  35. Dear Zahoor Ul Haq Danish, thank you for highlighting an important issue. Let me relate two real stories over here;
    1. Monday, November 24, 1996- A pleasing day of my childhood when I was a student of class 5th. That day I remained absent from school to attend a joyous inaugural ceremony of a small hydroelectric power station located at Nuroon, a small vicinity of seven villages of “Yourjogh Cluster”. This was first time when we experienced lightening in our houses and village. It was a great day when the masses of LSOs (local support organization) realized their hidden potential and actual strength after successfully launching a purely local based and locals owned development project.
    Nuroon-Power Unit proved to be a milestone in a series of small power units (35-100 KV) installation in Garam Chashma with technical support of the AKRSP. A couple of years later, a similar power station located at Izh-Garam Chashma got nomination for ‘Ashden Award’ in London, on June 26, 2004. I still remember an impressive column by Dr. Inayatullah Faizi, “Asheden Award or dehi tanzeemon ka aizaz”, in Daily Aaj, which beautifully elucidated both the project and the award. Today more than twenty hydroelectric power units are successfully running and illuminating the entire valley from Shoghor to Shah-Salim and Begusht to Arkari, and even the far-off valley of Yarkhun.
    Let’s come to the main story. Kaka Sahib, a Sunni cousin of mine, was out of home laboring in a big city. My father being elder among the LSO members, and realizing it his moral duty even faced criticism, but managed to install poles and wire for Kaka Sahib. Needless to say, all the labor works other than technical were being carried out by the LSO members for free of cost.
    A couple of days later, a sheer disappointment to the members in general and to my father in particular when Kaka sahib bluntly refused to take the electricity saying that “Since the funding is from AKRSP, so it is Haram”!!
    2.- Thursday, December 4, 2003: Another memorable day, when I closely saw my Imam, Shah Karim Al-Husaini ever in my life. To secure a suitable place in the ‘Pindal’, we left for “Deedar Gah” early in the morning. After return late afternoon, almost all the Ismaili households were stunned and confused, to see that cattle (sheep and goats) were missing from due places.
    I don’t know what exactly the people would have thought for the time being, but at the day end all negative thoughts faded away when we found Kaka Sahib herding our cattle in a near mountain.
    Feel the difference!
    Kaka Sahib is the same character, but with different approach and maturity level. This single act of his was enough to teach me a lifelong lesson about brotherhood, mutual respect, tolerance, and coexistence with mutual harmony even having the differences in between. He taught me that even a deeper level of hatred could be changed to love and respect. The day I understood; nothing is permanent but the existence of Allah Almighty.
    Thank you Kaka Sahib!
    Here some questions arise; How Kaka managed to change his extreme ideas? Why he is a changed man? There might be many reasons but my cautious answer would be a single word “Time”. Hector Berlioz, a French composer, has well said that “Time is a great teacher”.
    Basically, Kaka was an innocent soul, but misguided about the so-called “hidden agenda” of the West or the Aga Khan. Then, he must have been keenly observing the ultimate consequences of the ‘hidden’ agenda under the ‘carpet’ of road constructions, community-based schools (CBS), higher secondary school, Aga Khan Board, educational development institutes, vocational training centers, hydroelectric power units, clean drinking water; sanitation schemes etc. During the long seven years (1996-2003), nobody was forced to do or not to do for any specific agenda, rather for his immense surprise, he would have seen the ultimate results in the form of easy accessible roads, innocent kids going to the nearest CBS, meritocracy in schooling, well trained teachers and technicians, cheaper electricity, and clean drinking water. For any sane person, all these projects are purely humanitarian; and social development of the poor masses is the sole hidden or visible agenda. These are more than enough to clarify any misperception, confusion or misunderstanding. So is the case with Kaka Sahib, hence he is changed man.
    You can see him at the forefront of any social activity, be it water supply scheme or even lightening the same LSO’s electricity in his very own house. Now electricity, for him is simply ‘Light’ and getting rid of ‘Darkness’ but not a matter Halal and Haram. Kaka, I wish Godspeed to you, and love to see you serving the society with the same spirit and enthusiasm.
    Difference or differences of opinion is one of the utmost and undeniable truths. Not necessarily it is always about sectarian beliefs; it could be ethnic, demographic, social, cultural, political, so on and so forth. The million dollar question of the day is how to prove these differences as a real strength and blessings for us, but not a misfortune!
    Historically, the Charter of Medina (Meesaq-e-Medina) granted by our beloved prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is a great example, which highlights the importance of coexistence with mutual harmony and peace. I would love to reproduce some excerpt from a historical book.
    “At this time Medina and its suburb were inhibited by three distinct parties, the Emigrants, the Helpers, and the Jews. In order to weld them together into an orderly federation, the Prophet granted a charter to the people, clearly defining their rights and obligations. This charter represented the framework of the first commonwealth organized by the Prophet. It started thus: ‘In the name of the Most Merciful and Compassionate Lord, this charter is given by Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah to all believers, whether of Quraish or Medina, and all individuals of whatever origin who have made common cause with them, who shall all constitute one nation.” The following are some extracts from the charter: The state of peace and war shall be common to all Muslims; no one among them shall have the right of concluding peace with, or declaring war against, the enemies of his co-religionists. The Jews who attach themselves to our commonwealth shall be protected from all insults and vexations; they shall have an equal right with our people to our assistance and good offices. The Jews of the various branches and all others domiciled in Medina shall form with the Muslims one composite nation; they shall practice their religion as freely as the Muslims. The allies of the Jews shall enjoy the same security and freedom. The guilty shall be pursued and punished. The Jews shall join the Muslims in defending Medina against all enemies. The interior of Medina shall be a sacred place for all who accept this charter. All true Muslims shall hold in abhorrence every man guilty of crime, injustice or disorder; no one shall uphold the culpable, though he be his nearest kin.” Thus this charter put an end to the state of anarchy that prevailed among the Arabs”.
    (Stories of the Prophets- Imam Imaduddin Abdul-Fida Ismail Ibn Khatir Ad-Damishqi. p.208, published by DARUSSALAM, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia).
    In modern world, Canada is a good example of diversified and pluralistic society. I haven’t been to Canada, but those who are there will endorse the benefits of a multicultural society. I do accept such societies may have some issues too, but with lesser miseries and greater blessings for sure.
    For maintaining peace and harmony, we should understand the importance of tolerance, respect for others opinion, education and agree to disagree. Ulema, intellectuals, and educated youth should come forward to sustain the very unique identity of ours – “Peace loving Chitralis and Peaceful Chitral”.
    For me, any person irrespective of (caste, creed, gender or sect) who is serving the humanity, deserve our utmost respect and cooperation. If we cannot help him/her in preforming the noble deed, we should even not create hurdles in his/her way too. This implies that any person who is sincere and wants to play a positive role in the development of society will find us very warm and cooperative. I am dead sure, all the sincere Chitralis who are looking for a moderate, progressive, educated, developed and peaceful Chitral would share the same feelings with me.
    Qari Faizullah is also a religious scholar or let say a ‘Maulvi’. We never met nor do I know where he is hailing from. We do not share similar alliances; yet, I feel deep respect for him. WHY?. The answer is very simple. Qari Sahib is doing a commendable job while promoting education in Chitral, through a prize distribution to the brilliant students without any stereotypical prejudice, discrimination. Kudos and respect!
    Last but not least, please convey my warm regards and Salam to the Khateeb Sahib/‘Mullah’ of the main article, and ask him;
    Khuda k banday tou hain hazaroon bano mai pherty hain maray maray,
    Mai uska banda banon ga jisko Khuda k bandon sai piyar hoga.
    It is all about “Love, Peace and Unity”.

    Best Regards,
    Nisar Ahmad Shah
    Garam Chashma,
    Chitral

  36. I am not surprised by the news but am really touched by the fact that the people are now discussing the issue of extremism. In a country where a state-paid guard kills a governor only because he had raised a voice against a non-Muslim woman after she was implicated in a blasphemy case and becomes a hero, where syllabus is full of hate materials against other religions, where being a non-Muslim is a crime and so on and so forth, existence of such mullahs as mentioned by the writer in areas like Chitral is not surprising. The real issue is how the educated class can play their role in turning the tide. We should understand the fact that we are first human beings, then Chitralis etc., and should live together in a peaceful manner. Our religion also teaches us tolerance and harmony so that a peaceful society can be created. This is also the essence of the concept of Tauheed.

  37. @Rashiuddin: This is what Danish says and dedicating it to him makes no sense. He is the only man who stood up and raised a voice against the Mullah. You should have dedicated it to Afzal Aman who is still suffering from a molvi-phobia and refuses to open his identity.

  38. Our leaders, especially the missionaries, have always preferred to remain silent spectators to the hate speeches. As a result, mosques have been taken over by clerics who deliver ‘sermons’ promoting radicalism in society.
    I really appreciate the comments made by our Sunni brothers. The way they have come up with some ideas to bridge the gap between Sunnis and Ismailis is highly commendable.

  39. Mumtaz Mufti: “Islam 2 hen; ek Mulvi ka jahil Islam, dosra Allah ka eelum aur aamal me gondha islam. Badqismati se raij Islam Mulvi ka Islam hai. Isi liye Musalman tezi se tanha ho raha hai. Modern life use qabul nahi kar rahi wo, “Bunyad Parast” aur “Fundamentalist” ban kar reh gya hai. Pakistan me agar 10,000 masajid hen tu har masjid me ek jahil aur anparh shakh islam ke bare me “Disinformation” phela raha hai, aur ise rukne wala koi nahi aur tu aur Islamabad ki “Lal Masjid” me jahan har namazi 20 grade ka officer hota hai, imam khutba deta hai tu kehta hai juraban pahan kar namaz parhne se namaz fasaq ho jati hai aur senkron ke majmey se koi ek shakhs bi kara ho kar us Mulvi ko us ki jahalat par nahi tokta aur koi tokne ki jurat karey bi kaise ju kara hoga wo “Rushdi” ban kar qabil e gardan zani ho jaye ga. Uska murda tak jalaya jaye ga. Khuda jis qadar wasi qalb hai, Mulvi use isi qadar tang nazar bana kar pesh kar raha hai. Assal Islam aaman hai, aashti hai, rawadari hai, wasiul qalbi hai. Wo sare wasf ju Nabi (A.S) ke the, Islam ki bunyad hen. Ju Islam akhtilaf e rai ki ijazat nahi deta “ Kufar e Makka” ke itirazat ko khanda pishani se bardasht nahi karta, Islam nahi ho sakta, balke wo tu mazhab bi nahi ho sakta. Kiya Mulvi ka Islam is kasoti par pura utarta hai? Jawab den, agar apne aaj jawab na diya tu kal ko tu apko jawab dena hi paraga, lekin mujey afsos hai,me apka jawab sunne ke liye maujud nahi hunga”. An extract from interview of Mumtaz Mufti
    selected from the book, “Gaye Dinon ke Suraj” written by “Javed Chaudry”.
    Dedicated to dear Zahoor Ul Haq Danish.

  40. @Zakir Hussain sahib: Actually there’s no concept of Imamat in other sects. Unfortunately, I don’t even know the meaning of Imamat. Therefore, I can’t comment on that. What Mr. Ahmad was trying to say was Prince Aga Khan is the leader of everyone. I really appreciate that, because yes, Prince Aga Khan is one of the greatest Muslim scholars. And I would really like to learn about his preachings. I remember I had read an article (I don’t know whether that was a ”farman” or whatever)) by him, and I was really impressed by that, and I wanted to study more. However, I could not find any other piece of writing to read more! There’s no doubt that he is a great scholar!
    @Everyone: In my previous comments, I was stressing on Ismailis to open the doors of Jamatkhanas to people of other faiths, because I myself have witnessed them praying inside their place and there was absolutely nothing un-Islamic as the Sunnis usually say. Everything was so nice, the preachings 100% Islamic! Therefore, I say that you, Ismailis, should preach your teachings openly, because if people of other sects would know you through personal experience, then they would not be misled by any hateful speeches of any the Mullah! The unnecessary secretive behavior by you is actually giving your opponents the chance to misguide people against you! I hope all of you understood the gist of all my comments on this piece of news.

  41. Afzal Aman, I would like to respond to some of your comments which are not only out of context but also hateful. Such attitude will only serve those elements who are bent upon turning Chitral into a second Gilgit-Baltistan or even Parachniar. Your comment about Imamat and Farmans is totally incorrect. Sunni Muslims never accept Aga Khan as Imam and his Farman have no standing for them. Regarding Masajid and treatment with women, your observations are inappropriate. We never commented on how you have been treating your women and your Jamatkhanas, you need to respect the customs and traditions of others also.
    One friend has stated that there is no difference between the two communities. No sir, there are huge differences in our beliefs and our approach towards social and religious life. Realities should not be ignored. With all those differences, however, we have been living together for centuries like brothers and sisters. Since 1984, some elements have been following a tacit agenda to create unbridgeable gaps between the two communities. These elements are using all resources to let down and undermine the social system of Chitral. Insha Allah we will protect and preserve the heritage of our forefathers that is TOLERANCE and RESPECT for each other.

  42. We, the people of Chitral, have lived together in peace and harmony for centuries. But it does not mean that there are no differences between the two communities. But those differences never disturbed our relations as long as we respect the beliefs of each other. Now as some friends have said regarding Imamat of the Aga Khan, with all due respect, he is not the Imam of the Sunni community. We respect him because he is the spiritual leader of the Ismaili community and we live together. His Farmans have no standing for us. Instead of teaching us how to deal with our women, Masajid, the other community must understand the need to respect the beliefs and traditions of the Sunni majority who has always showed tolerance towards them.
    The example of Giligit-Baltistan should be taken as an eye opener, where the lives of the people have been made miserable. To protect and preserve the peaceful environment of Chitral, everybody must remain within his limits and refrain from undermining the interests of others openly or tacitly. We must stand up against those who are bent upon turning Chitral into a second Gilgit-Baltistan.
    The present attitude of some of the members of the Ismaili community reveals the tacit agenda behind all those controversies which have compelled our ulema to warn the Sunnis to be alert. NGOs such as AKDN are using huge amounts of money to promote the tacit agenda in the name of social uplift and women empowerment. We want development, education, health and social services for the sake of development of Chitral and its people but never at the expense of believes, customs and traditions and peace of Chitral.

  43. I don’t know why some of our brothers are diverting the issue to different directions. The writer has raised a very important issue. Do hate speech and extremism exist in Chitral? I wish we had stayed on the topic and put forward our arguments in favor or against the article. Well, after witnessing a few cases like Arandu accident, the captured suicide bomber’s statement, Rehman Malik’s statement and the doctor from Chitral’s update on his Facebook status with hate quotation, I am convinced that their are hate speeches and extremism in Chitral. 
    I really don’t want to go out of the topic but a few of you force me to do it. Yes, Junaid!! Mr Ahmad rightly said Prince Aga Khan is the Imam of all. But  “All who seek, will find”. We don’t question the Imam we obey him. And as far as not allowing others into Jamatkhanas is concerned, I would say for that you have to accept many things like the right of women to pray along with men. Unfortunately, in Chitral people are so conservative that they don’t allow their ladies to go out even for prayers in the house of Allah.
    Aga Khan is the only Muslim leader who is doing something practical for humanity as a whole. Like our Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) who said that a good deed is the one which benefits others, such as planting a tree that serves generations of wayfarers providing them its fruits and the shade. Same is the case with our Imami institutions like Aga Khan Agency for Microfinance, Aga Khan Education Services, Aga  Khan Foundation, Aga  Khan Fund for Economic Development, Aga  Khan Health Services, Aga Khan Planning and Building Services, Aga  Khan Trust for Culture, Aga  Khan University, Focus Humanitarian Assistance, Aga Kahn university  of Central Asia. All these institutions working in 14 different sectors for uplifting the life of poor people. Let me remind you these institutions are working around 30 different countries mostly in poor areas of South Asia and Central Asia, Eastern and Western Africa and the Middle East. Most of the beneficiary are non-Ismailis. 
    As far as the donors are concerned, most of them are from the Ismaili community, and the Imam himself. Then we arrange fundraising functions. Let me share with you one such fundraising event which we did in Memphis, TN, called  “Partnership walk” where we collected around 300,000 US dollars. And trust me it takes lots of dedication and time and I thank all those Ismaili volunteers who give their time and dedication for such fundraising programs. All this money goes to these institutes so they can help humanity around the world. It’s not like some of those NGOs who are funding extremist organizations or some who open seminaries to spread their own ideology.So my friends it’s easy to set in front of your PC and raise questions on others’ good work but trust me it’s very difficult to go out there and do something good.
    At the end I would say let’s learn a lesson from this beautiful verse from the holy Quran. Al-Hujurat, Surah 49:13: “O mankind! We have created you male and female, and have made you nations and tribes that ye may know one another. The noblest of you, in sight of Allah, is the best in conduct. Allah Knows and is Aware.”

    • Afzal Aman, your comment is far away from the topic. You didn’t understand what I was trying to say.

  44. I agree with Mr Junaid Saleh Hayat’s observations. Though I am an Ismaili myself I also feel that due to ostrich-like policies adopted by our Jamati leaders, all types of propaganda has been heaped on the community. In this, I equally hold responsible the Khojas of Karachi for remaining a silent spectator to all the issues facing the community, especially in conservative areas like Chitral. Secondly, there has been lots of talks about NGOs and they have been accused of spreading obscenity in our area. They have also been blamed for getting foreign donations for fulfilling western agenda. But what about the religious seminaries who are getting even more funds from Saudi Arabia in order to spread Wahabism. This has already wrecked havoc with our country, especially after the Shia revolution in Iran in 1979.
    These factors should also be taken into consideration while discussing the polarization of society in the name of religon.

  45. @Junaid…as you have raised the question that “why the Imam sends his farmaans only to the Ismaili community? Why are those farmaans not shared with other people??” The answer is that the Sunni preachers (mullahs) have always been trying to get the Ismailis declared as non-Muslims. For this purpose, they even go to the extent of wrongly interpreting the Hadith. In such a situation, just imagine, will they listen or accept a Farmaan?? As far as secrecy is concerned, there is no such secrecy in the community. A few years back, Prince Karim Aga Khan was in Chitral and there were a lot of people from the Sunni community around the venue of the Didar and and they were listening to the Farman of the Imam. As far as jamatkhanas are concerned, if someone wants to come to a Jamatkhana there is no restriction but he must ensure to follow the prescribed rules.

    • @Issa Khan: Don’t worry, no mullah can declare you non-Muslim. They are nobody to label someone as Muslim or non-Muslim. It is only Allah who knows who is Muslim and who is not.

  46. Mr. Zahoorul Haq is an intellectual and well-educated son of Chitral. I am deeply touched by his writing. I am happy that the new generation is more mature and has attained both secular and religious education. We should develop brotherhood according t o Quran and Sunnah. This time is very crucial and our enemies are always attacking us in any nook and corner of the country. You don’t know about it because the enemy is living in our sleeves and wants to create differences between the two brothers – Sunnis and Ismailis. Both of them are followers of Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him). They have one Kalima-e-Tawheed, one Holy Quran. And they both believe in Kalma-e-Tawheed, Salat, Fast, Zakat, Haj, and Imamat. What kind of Islam this Mullah wants to preach.
    Ulema are those people who know the meanings of Quran and Hadith. Therefore, they never preach sectarianism. They always have been educating the people and promoting brotherhood and unity. Due to this education, Chitral’s atmosphere is mostly peaceful. But some Mullahs are not properly educated and don’t know what is secular education and what is religious education. Mr. Danish has done a great job in educating the new generation so that they can live peacefully and see prosperity. Weldon Mr. Danish.

  47. Let’s now find a solution to this issue and stop this from growing further! As Mr.Ahmad pointed out very nicely that the real problem is not the Mullah. The real problem lies with the wrong policies of the Ismailis, themselves, that is giving grounds to the Mullah to attack them by taking advantage of the situation! The policy that is held by the Ismaili community could have been applicable 10 or 20 years back but in today’s context when all people are interdependent economically, socially and politically, it is highly inappropriate for the Ismailis to live like a self-centred, isolated community. The best solution to the extremist thoughts/mentality that is growing (or being grown) in our society is through increased social interaction of both the communities (Ismailis and Sunnis). Both communities should be open to each other. Sunnis must be allowed to go to Jamatkhanas (and there’s no such ban on Ismailis to enter mosques). Both communities should discuss their differences in a friendly and progressive way, without getting emotional. And both must try to find a common solution to their problems! In the above comments, Mr.Ahmad said “the Imam (Prince Aga Khan) is everybody’s Imam.” I really appreciate his thought and I expect other educated people to think like him, however, my question is, if he is everybody’s Imam, then why does he send his “farmaans” only to the Ismaili community?? Why are those “farmaans” not shared with other people?? Why are they being taught in such secrecy?? It is that abnormal approach and atypical behavior by your Imam, that’s creating the real problem and is giving your opponents the chance to misguide people against you!! If your teachings are enlightened, then share it with others openly. If you teach pluralism, then open the doors of Jamatkhanas to people of other beliefs! Give others the chance to learn you, to understand you. You are not giving the first chance to others to understand you, and yet you blame others for misunderstanding you?! That’s absolutely irrational and you must change your policy if you want the well-being of your community in today’s world!!
    According to psychologists, prejudice can be reduced by social interactions, because interactions with each other gives you the chance to know each other better through discussions and personal experiences. And if prejudice in our society is reduced, then nobody, no Mullah or Missionary, will give any hate speech against the other community!
    At the end, I request all Chitralis to maintain peace, love and harmony in Chitral, because we are a minority in this country, fighting for our identity. If we get involved in these unnecessary fights, then that will make us pay a very huge cost!!

    • @ Junaid; I support your thought of knowing each other. I don’t know if there is any monopoly on knowledge whether that is about culture, history, religion or any particular sect etc. And you have rightly mentioned that in today’s world all people are interdependent; strongly agreed but when you say “the policy that is held by the Ismaili community could have been applicable 10 or 20 years back but in today’s context when all people are interdependent economically, socially and politically, it is highly inappropriate for the Ismailis to live like a self-centred, isolated community”, I strongly disagree with that. For your correction, the active engagement and work of AKDN in the communities development in Chitral from early 80s best reflects the interdependency what you have mentioned. The efforts of AKRSP was a driving force in rebuilding the trust between two communities and bringing them together.
      I think, your knowledge about the history of Ismailies is very limited particularly regarding centuries long history of both communities (Sunni and Ismaili) living together in Chitral. Cross-community relationship, marriages, social interaction, living together and working together etc. are well acknowledged in the past and at present which is rooted very strongly. I don’t think there should be any confusion or illusion in anyone’s mind.
      You have referred to Ahmad and have appreciated his idea about the idea that “the Imam is everybody’s Imam.” and you are expecting other educated people to think like that. I think the same way but my question is, what do you think personally? You are talking about His Farman, I don’t think there is any thing secret to day, everything is open. Speeches of His Highness, Farameen, Islamili Constitution, books related to history, culture, ceremonies, prayers etc everything is available in today’s era on internet, but the problem is, we educated don’t search for relevant information.
      There is much available in the market, book shops, public libraries and on internet about, you live in Islamabad go to Syed Book Bank or in the library in Islamic University or any other library you can find books on Ismailies. If you know one thing in particular Ismailies are not allowed to come to you and preach. Imam’s Farmans are not only for Ismaili communities but you will agree with me that every single text has a context and you should read it first in that context which gives you the right understanding. the underlying message is our (Sunni/Ismaili) co-existence and progress depends upon peace and harmony that is rooted in respect for each other regardless of our origin and ideology.
      Going back to the original writer’s (Mr. Zahoorul Haq Danish) concern. I agree that he has raised the right issue and I support him and condemn this particular Mullah and anyone who has a soft corner for him in any terms. Writing and raising awareness is one approach but not the approach. I don’t know what was the reaction of the writer at first place. My approach would have been condemning the person who delivers any hatred in our peaceful land, and oppose the motion publicly at first place then would have done it for wider audience through different means. We usually sit in jam-packed gathering and listen to such perpetrators who deliver such kind of speeches and brainwash innocent minds, we listen to them and even if we don’t say “Wah, Wah and praise but our silence give them strength. If people in that mosque could have condemn him at first place that would have a greater impact. I don’t think that such a mullah have access to read this debate here. However, Zahoor’s way of expression could be hard and fast but the issue is genuine and we have to oppose such perpetrators of bigotry regardless of their origin and faith. Otherwise we will suffer as well as our future generations. Please support peace in Chitral.

  48. Wasim Brar! Well, from your comment I can surly say that me and the guy you are talking about have two things in common. Our names and Chitrali idioms which we both use often. Other than that, the info. You mentioned do not match with me. For example I never delivered Khowar lectures on Islamic jurisprudence and trust me I am not even capable to do it.  I am not from Bokhtuli and I never had any Jamati title nether I am a president of Ismaili Council. Trust me I am too young to be a president of the Ismaili Council.  
    My name is Afzal Aman and I live in Clifton Karachi from childhood. As far as your concern about Nasirudin Hunzai, I would say in Karachi he does not have much supporters and we already spread awareness about his philosophy or I would say his sickness. I can’t comment about his supporters in Chitral because I don’t have much info about them neither I am able to comment on Chitral Council. But I wanna mention one thing here Faith is something personal all we can do is spread awareness among people and the ones with strong faith will never be misguided.

  49. I am sure the mullah must be an extremist person and no doubt he used brassy and inharmonious words against the Ismaili community. But I think you are one step ahead in promoting this extremism by using words like “They (mullahs) should be hanged in every street and square of the world if capital punishment is necessarily the fate of a blasphemer”.
    I had never seen such words before in any newspaper. I am sorry to say that this is not the language to be used by a writer, nor to be published by Editor of a newspaper. Both, you and the mullah, are condemnable.

    • @ Umair Haider!! Brother you should read the sentence, that you object to, once again. It’s is a conditional sentence. “IF” is there. What I mean to say is that if talking wrong of Allah, the Holy Quran and the Holy Prophet (PBUH) is blasphemy then my question is: Is misquoting Quranic verses or Hadith trying to justify the opposite of what Islam preaches not a blasphemous act??? Obviously the answer is yes! If yes, then such mullahs do commit blasphemy. So yes they should be put on trial for blasphemy. And if capital punishment is necessarily the fate of a blasphemer, YES they should be hanged!! As goes: “neem hakeem khatra-e jaan, neem mullah khatra-e Imaan”

  50. @Afzal Aman: You have nothing to say except targeting a poor molvi. Let’s suppose I could not recognize you but would be grateful if you could identify yourself if you are not the man I am talking about. All these Khowar idioms which you have used in your comment were quite often used by the Afzal Aman I am talking about. Anyway, the clerics only give hate speeches, which is quite common in Chitral but he will never try to convert a Ismaili. As long as his sermon is concerned, educated people like Mr Danish understand what is the agenda behind it. But the so-called Allama Hunzai damages the religion. He is trying to convert the Ismailis into his newly-introduced sect, of which he claims to be the Imam. He also wants to rename the Jamatkhanas as Khana-e-Hikmat. If you have the guts speak against him and restrict his movement in Chitral as this is the need of the hour.

  51. Wasim Brar, intentionally or unintentionally you are completely misguided about my identity,  none of the information you mentioned above are related to me.  I clearly mentioned my name but somehow you took it wrong and started cursing some other guy who’s name may be similar to mine. Anyhow your comment clearly shows that you are very disappointed from someone you know very well and I feel sorry for it.
    In above article, the writer has raised a very important question. Do hate speech and extremism exists in Chitral? I do agree with the writer’s point of view and put forward my argument. I think it will be better if we comment on the topic instead of personnel clash with any individual.     Ahmed Brar, I am also against Nasirudin Hunzai but I really fail to realize what Hunzai have to do with the topic we are discussing here. Even if Hunzai is found  guilty of misleading the people it doesn’t mean someone  got a license for spreading hatred by delivering hate speeches in a large gathering against Ismailis and NGOs. 

  52. For the Ismailis, the so-called Allama, Nasiruddin Hunzai, not the Mullah, is the real issue. I will repeat this martric-fail Allama is a potential threat to the Ismaili community. The Ismaili leadership, except to some extent Dr Mir Afzal Tajik, damaged the community to the point of no return. These are the people who have nothing else to do except enjoying perks and privileges along with their spouses like armed forces officers. I was shocked when a Khawaja friend told me that Dr Tajik was the first community leader from Chitral who broke the silence. The Chitralis used to attend meetings in Karachi but they started shivering when they were asked to speak about the issues faced by the community in their respective areas. But when they are back home, they could been seen acting as they are prime minister of Chitral or the caretaker governor of Pasum, Booni, Lotkoh, Morder etc. Some years back, the father of one of my friends passed away. He was a very religious man and had great services for the community. At that time, Adnan Zainul Abideen was president of Tariqa Board Booni but he did not bother to come for condolence. Instead, two Waezeen came holding a piece of paper on behalf of the president Tariqa Board. Look at these people and their arrogance, which simply kills me. I was gonna send back the two missionaries without even listening to them but my friend stopped me. If this remained the attitude of these so-called jamati leaders, the day is not far when they would be taught such a lesson they will remember for the rest of their lives.

  53. I really appreciate all your thoughts and comments on Zahoor’s observation. Let’s think and reflect open-hearteldy without being too harsh and biased.
    It is a fact that this menace prevails in our Heaven (Chitral). But the young educated generation should be very careful that if their thoughts and sentiments are exploited then it is going to be undebatable and unfinsihed sermon. Before that it is the due role of every young Chitrali to maintain our unique culture which gives us a deep sense of brotherhood, love and affection and care for each other. We share joyful moments in leisure time together without feeling whether we are Sunnis or Ismailis but Chitralid first. I think it is a blessing which we have. So why should we think and act at extreme level.
    We all know that the only a meagre dirty water when mixed up with pure one can change the shape and colour and even the taste. So such elements should be identified, sit with, motivated and guided by the ones who know better.

  54. First of all, I would like to make it clear that I am a rotten Ismaili and a proud follower of His Highness the Aga Khan. But people who are praising Zahoorul Haq Danish for what they say writing the best ever article are wrong. The write-up, in my opinion, lacks substance.
    The people supporting the writer with different names are lambasting the ‘mullah’ as though he was their enemy number-one. These are the people who seem to be the champions of peace in Chitral. Their approach and the hate for a poor cleric also speak volume about their mentality.
    The actual problems which is giving ground to the Mullah to attack the Ismaili are related more to Nasiruddin Hunzai. I hold the Ismaili Council Chitral as directly responsible for the activities of Hunzai and his cohorts. But unfortunately the council has tried to push the matter under the carpet. The accusation levelled by the Mullah against Ismailis is 100 per cent correct because the incompetent community leadership has spoiled the image of the Ismailis.
    As a result of this incompetence of the leadership, a large number of Ismailis in Chitral have been carried away by Hunzai. The number of his followers in Reshun, Zait and in some areas of Lotkoh is increasing.
    The Mullah is also absolutely right in his criticism or venomous attack because there are some elements within the Ismailis who presents a totally different picture of the community, which provides an opportunity to the opponents to make a mountain out of a molehill.
    They claim that the Imam only belongs to them. No sir…he does not belong to you only. He is direct descendant from the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) and is everybody’s Imam whether you accept it or not. Learned people in other communities also know well about the significance of the Imam.
    The issue of Hunzai is a sensitive one for both Ismailis and Sunnis, particularly the Ismaili Coucil and if the latter fails to tackle the matter it may give birth to more controversies. The semi-literate missionaries (Waizeen), majority of whom have no knowledge of religion, are acting like silent spectators which has already cost the community heavily.
    They should not shy away from the clerics and come in the forefront to speak about the truth and also against this Hunzai who is reportedly pursuing an agenda at the behest of his western masters to blackmail the Ismaili community.
    Unfortunately, some people without knowing anything put all the blame on the mullahs. A large number of clerics and reliable Sunnis who know about the true essence of Ismaili community also fear that the activities of Hunzai will certainly harm the Ismailis.

  55. My dear Afzal Aman, I just went through your comment with full of emotions, which reminded me of your Khowar lectures on Islamic jurisprudence, which I never comprehended. Your comment is quite interesting but could you please raise your voice against Allama Nasiruddin Hunzai, whose followers are wandering scot-free in your own village of Bokhtuli and some other parts of Lotkoh. They equally harm the Ismailis and your silence on this very dangerous issue compels me to believe that you are also a follower of Hunzai. No need to be so emotional as Ismailis are not sparrows to be killed. Stop point-scoring in your bid to get another Jamati title after damaging the community for the last three decades as president of the Ismaili Council. Thanks you very much.

  56. I completely agree with the writer’s point of view. He is absolutely right as hate speeches and extremism are on the rise in Chitral. It’s not in majority but still it’s there! If you look back to the past, you come to know that this sickness led to the sectarian violence in Chitral in 1982. The writer has himself listened to the speech and like any peace-loving soul, he did not stay quiet and used his pen against the menace. I salute him for his brave step for letting the peace-loving people of Chitral know about the evil intentions of some of the Mullas.  
    Let me give you a few examples about the existence of hate speeches and extremism in Chitral. 
    1-The Arandu accident could not have been possible without local help (according to intelligence agencies),  
    2- A captured suicide bomber admits in national TV about their existence in Punjab and Chitral.
    3- Interior Misister Rehman Malik’s statement about Chitral. He didn’t say it just like that! His statement was also based on intelligence reports. 
    4-I myself and many other regular members of VOC witnessed hatred right here. In VOC, a doctor from Chitral updated his Facebook status saying “killing Ismailis is a duty of every Muslim”. My question! where they get this ‘sickness’? Of course, from such hate mongers. Just imagine if a doctor can be brain-washed by these Mullas then God knows…. 
    Extremism is like a CANCER which has certain stages and the sooner it is diagnosed there is the better chance for treatment before it goes to the stage 4, that is incurable.
    I believe in Chitral this malice is still at the initial stage and I hope we realize it before it reaches stage 4 like FATA and Waziristan. After all “Gaan koi chhan lengoor”
    And as far the NGOs are concerned, the mullahs are against NGOs because these NGOs educate the children of Chitral. And trust me educated minds are the only threat to their evil ideology. We should be thankful to these NGOs because they play a very important role in education and development of Chitral. And they influenced government institutions as well…..After all “Droch drocho poshe lai doe”. 

  57. ‘Mullah’ is the name of a mind-set which, when used in such articles, does not necessarily refer to the religious leaders of one particular religion or sect. It is the name of dogmatic and conservative mentality whatever sect it belongs to. As pointed out by the writer, the ‘mullah’ is a potential threat to any society; especially ours where people are ready to believe anything in the name of religion without having a second thought on it. So we should not let the ‘mullah’ prevail over the general mindset and destroy our centuries old peace and harmony which we are proud of. Rather than criticizing each other on petty things, we all need to join hands in order to curb this evil from our society.

    • @ Zain Ahmad! Thanks Brother” for explaining the word mullah. Actually, the word is as problematic as mullahs themselves. You did a great job elucidating it further, to the help of some readers who were very touchy in their comments!

      • @ Zahoor ul Haq! Actually here lies our real tragedy that instead of uniting together to fight against the common enemy, we start fighting with each other based on half knowledge. Before commenting, one should try to understand the essence of the article for what purpose it has been written.

        • @Zain Ahmad! Exactly! U know the crux of all such problems is that our affiliations (of whatever type) are much stronger than our sense of Right and Wrong, so much so that if some wrong happens in our ‘circle’ we try our best to justify it, or at least polish it. If we can’t do either of them we try to blame others, and magnify their ‘weaknesses’ or ‘conspiracies’ etc so that their ‘wrongs’ may look greater than ours..
          One more generation is needed for us to be educated, put off negative habits/thinking and develop unbiased approach!!!

  58. It is a strange definition of mullah an aalim. Actually there is no concept of mullah in Islamic society. This word was invented in Indian subcontinent to abuse and humiliate Muslim religious leaders. Yes there is a classification of Ulema e haq and Ulema e soo. But who can differentiate who is Haq and who is Soo. The crux of the misunderstanding is that most of the Ulema do not understand the realities of the day and on the other hand the so called enlightened moderates consider injunctions of Quran and Sunna hurdle in modern day life. It is a reality though we are reluctant to admit.
    The point highlighted by Junaid sahab regarding Jamat Khanas and missionaries is very valid because hatred is being preached there as well but in covert manner.

    • @ Zakir Hussain! I don’t know why people comment before fully understanding what I’ve said. I’ve never generalized the word mullah for all religious scholars. What I mean by mullah is ‘the dogmatic, extremist and conservative (mis)leader of Islam, whatever the sect he belongs to’. I hope you know most scholars like Allama Iqbal, Dr. Zakir Naik and many others have used the word ‘mullah’ in this sense. Let me repeat that I respect Aalims (true religious scholars/leaders). I don’t mean Aalim when I say mullah. Just think of the following verses of Iqbal, you will be clear of what I mean by mullah:
      (“Alfaaz-u ma’aani may tafaawut nahi lekin,, Mullah ki azaan aor hey Mujahid ki azaan aor..
      Parwaaz hey donon ki isi ek fazaa may,
      Kargis ka jahaan aor hay Shaheen ka Jahaan aor.”

      Again:
      Sufi ki tareeqat main faqat masti-e-ahwaal
      Mullah ki shariat main faqat masti-e-guftaar
      Wo mard-e-mujahid nazar aata nahin mujh ko
      Ho jis kay rag-o-pey main faqat masti-e-kirdaar
      Whatever the etymology of the word, it has been and is being used in this sense. As for your comments about ‘secret preaching in Jamatkhanas’, I don’t know about them, whether or not they preach extremism or sectarianism. If I blindly blame or criticize them, that is against the Holy Quran, because Quran says: “Izaa jaa akum faasiqun binaba’in fatabayyanoo”. As for the mullah, I’ve written what i myself have listened in all my senses. I CAN testify that. It’s not a blame-game as you think my dear. Being a Muslim it’s my duty to raise voice against misquoting Quranic verses and Hadith, and using them to try to justify un-Islamic and inhuman actions. Wrong is wrong brother, however we may try to polish it. We should rise above all kinds of affiliations while condemning it.. thanks for your worthy comments!

  59. @Zakir Hussain sahib: Thanks for the appreciation, sir! I just felt the need to balance the discussion, because I sensed prejudice in the tone of the author of this article!

  60. Junaid sahab, very comprehensive reply to the article. I fully agree with your reommendations.

  61. The writer has done a great job by highlighting the problem. Now it’s the duty of concerned authorities to take corrective measures in time otherwise little by little sectarian problems will take its roots in our peaceful society as well! I am sure, there must be only a handful of Mullahs and Missionaries who might be involved in spreading hate in our society, but generally, we, or at least I, have never seen or heard any hate speech or misuse of loudspeaker at any mosque. Mostly the sermon in all the mosques is about general issues, religious teachings etc, but I have never heard any words against any particular community or sect in any mosque.
    The sermons in mosques are no secret, as mosques are open to all. And, therefore, it is very easy for the government to keep an eye on the activities in the mosques. However, it is necessary to mention here that it is equally important for the law enforcement agencies to keep an eye on the lectures being given inside closed doors in JamatKhanas as well, because it’s illogical to be extra-cautious about “open activities” in the mosques and on the other hand forget the “secret gatherings” inside JamatKhanas. What I mean to say is, the government should observe the activities of both the communities and their religious clerics, in particular!
    And to the writer of this report, I would like to say that there’s a mullah in you also (if mullah means extremist). Criticism on this matter is completely justified, and I not only criticize the mullah who gave that hateful speech against our Ismaili brothers, but also, I request the police to put him behind bars on the charges of hate speech, misleading the public and inciting sectarian tensions. The person who did this is a criminal and must immediately be punished according to the law, but dear writer, your way of criticism is not the right way. The way you generalized all the mullahs as some “evil creatures” is not fair. In one of your sentences, you even said: “They should be hanged in every street and square of the world.” Hold on, dear! Don’t you think that what you have just said is also a “hate speech”??? Are you not provoking the people to riot??
    At the end, I would like to clarify that I am neither a supporter of the Mullah, nor the anti-Mullah! I really appreciate the writer for shedding light on a serious problem! And I request the concerned authorities to take this issue into consideration before it gets too late!

    • @ Junaid! Bhai you should have been clear, before passing comment, about the difference between a mullah (cleric) and an aalim (scholar). I don’t mean Aalim when I say mullah. I respect Aalims. Mullah is the name for dogmatic, rash and conservative outlook of religion, and it has unfortunately developed as a school of thought for the past few decades in Pakistan. They don’t bother to understand and accept that ‘reconstructionism’ and ‘pluralism’ are there in the spirit of Islam. As for ‘generalization’ I don’t mean to generalize mullahs as Aalims. If you study the history of world religions the cleric mentality has more harmed religions than served. If you mistake my views, that means that a mullah is hidden in you not in me. What is typical of mullahs?? They don’t research at all and believe in hear-says, and also in “what we think or do is right”. The need of the day is to know and preach reconstructionism and pluralism, not extremism, fanaticism and sectarianism.

  62. The learned writer has raised an important issue, and deserves the appreciation and encouragement of all the peace lovers of scenic valley of Chitral. Sectarianism is one of the greatest causes of instability and backwardness in the Muslim world. This dangerous trend is growing in Chitral too. We need to learn that in the 1400 years of Islam we have lived with these sectarian differences.
    In the current time, we are in need of sectarian and ethnic harmony in Chitral more than ever, because there is the militant danger from Afghanistan border, there is an influx of non-local people – the kidnapping attempt on two kids at Ayoun the other day is a grim reminder of the increase thread to the fabric of Chitrali society as a result of increasing migration into Chitral from outside.
    The good thing is that youth in Chitral are mature and aware of the importance of sectarian harmony, therefore, it is hoped that efforts of incitement of sectarian sentiments in Chitral will not bear fruits.

  63. Chitral is being targeted by both extremists and anti-Pakistan elements to create hatred between the two communities living together peacefully for centuries. Instead of cursing preachers of one sect we must try to unearth the underlying conspiracies. A book was published in Cambridge University Press named Living Islam. I would like to post some extracts from the same book to let the readers know how the so-called NGOs and researchers have been presenting the face of Chitral and trying to create misunderstanding among its people.
    The writer says: “I was told in telephone conversations with Ismaili friends in Chitral during the month of Ramadan in 2001, ‘are not even daring to come to the bazaar to buy food with which to break their fast.” Is it true? He further writes: “I was even told by one Ismaili woman who worked at such an NGO that she now purposefully ‘tied’ an even smaller veil around her head than she had previously done. I was also told that two Sunni women had arrived at work wearing Western style trousers (pantaloon) in an act of defiance against the region’s ‘hardened’ ulama.” Can we believe it?
    Again he says “Blasphemy laws, laws prohibiting extramarital sexual contact (zina) and the potential for non-Sunni Muslim communities to be labelled ‘non- Muslim’ and made subject to prosecution and capital penalties on this basis, are all concerns that form a key part of village debate.” There has never been such debate in Chitral.
    He further reveals his intentions: “I describe two ‘critical events’ that have occurred in Chitral over the past twenty-three years. These events took place in the context of a serious incident of sectarian violence that occurred in the summer of 1982. The violence is said by Rowshan people to have started in Rowshan and then spread to Markaz. Other violent incidents between Sunnis and Ismailis in Chitral in August 1999 and April 2001 have their immediate roots in the 1982 conflict, and are widely recognized by Chitral people as a continuation of it. Many people also fear the possibility that the conflict will continue, and say that the enmity (dushmani) that has developed between Ismailis and Sunnis in the region will not easily break (shau no chhiyoor).”
    The fact is that there is no problem between the two communities but some people and organizations are constantly working on the agenda to destroy the peace of Chitral and turn it into Waziristan. We must be vigilant.

  64. Kudos to the writer, Mr Zahoor, for daring to point out such a burning issue though it is not a new phenomenon. Everyone who is trying to spoil the peace of Chitral and wants to pitch the people against each other under the garb of whatever excuse, religion, education, social welfare included, is the enemy of the people and must be discouraged before it is too late. Regarding the NGOs, I would like to say that if anyone of them is guilty of promoting a particular agenda, it should be dealt with according to the law. But what about the common people. If an NGO is doing anything wrong, should the people at large be declared Kafir or held responsible for the wrongdoing of the NGO. Secondlt, who has given these Mullahs the right to issue Fatwas against anyone. Thirdly, I am sure the people of Chitral irrespective of their political, ethnic and sectarian affiliations know how to live in peace and harmony.

    Garden East
    Karachi.

  65. Mr. Zahoor has pointed out a potential threat to peace and sectarian harmony in Chitral. There is no doubt that law enforcing agencies are neglecting such trends and ultimately things go out of control as in Swat.
    On the other hand, we should not ignore the that fact that some NGOs are involved in log-term agenda to alienate the people from their peaceful and modest culture and believes. The tacit agenda to destabilize Pakistan and create havoc in society by some NGOs has become an open secret. West has waged a war against Islamic culture and civilization all over the world and they take economically weak areas like Chitral as soft targets. Where the government has failed to curb the extremist elements in the society at the time it has failed to regulate the activities of NGOs. These NGOs are trying to promote their interest in the garb of poverty alleviation, social uplift, women empowerment etc.
    The main source of the above problems is the absence of the rule of law in the country. Everyone whatever his nationality is undertaking any program here, there is no permission requirement, no regulation, no ‘Dos’ and ‘ Donts’. That is why some people take advantage and misguide the people to stand up against their own brothers. We must preserve our traditions, culture and respect the feelings of each other. The government should keep an eye on NGOs posing threat to peace and harmony indirectly.

  66. Whatever the learned writer has mentioned is pertinent to the context of emerging scenario and bodes ill for the peace and serene condition prevalent in Chitral. Better to take steps before the conditions allow ground for operating elements and let even the alien sources to have access for igniting such sectarian sentiments and conspiracy theories about Chitral and its people. The community should put their inputs for generating an opinion against such creed.

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