Monday, 26 December 2011

Peddling obscurantism

In  Shahzeb Khanzada’s program on Express News Imran Khan, in response to a question raised by a young woman, said that if his party forms the government, they will not dictate how women should dress up. When I saw that I was quite pleasantly surprised because back in 1990s when Imran Khan discovered religion, his first op-ed for The News/Jang was on the importance of “Chador and Chardeewari.” He was all about how important pardah and the four walls of the house are for a woman and praised women who chose to stay at home to raise their children, away from the eyes of others.  Now that Imran Khan refused to concern himself with women’s clothing options, I thought he is finally maturing into a politician who cannot be bothered with the non issues. 

But somebody was not happy with this development and that somebody was Ansar Abbasi. In his column today, he questioned Imran’s pronouncement asking how a follower of Allama Iqbal and God fearing believer of faith can say something as outrageous as that: giving women option to choose what they want to wear!  If God and his prophet have restricted women’s clothing to a certain standard then how a mard-e-momin like Imran Khan can question that restriction. If Ansar Abbasi is to be believed that the code of an Islamic welfare state is hidden in a woman's blouse.

Ansar Abbasi questions if the change Imran Khan talks about is Ata Turk and Musharraf inspired or a true Islamic change and wants Imran Khan to explain his stance on women’s clothing. In a country where half the population is malnourished and 70% do not have access to clean drinking water and sanitation where law and order is in a shambles, our very senior reporter/defender of faith is worried about the length and breadth of the dupatta of our ladies. 

Ansar Abbasi was so perturbed by this new aspect of Imran Khan’s personality that he went up to him on Sunday and said that enlightened people like Veena Malik would be very happy with this new Imran Khan. According to Ansar Abbasi, Imran Khan responded that people like Veena cannot do much in Pakistan and the country will never have any law against Quran and Sunnah. 

When I read this piece, I wanted to die – literally die. Forget the obscurantist rant, I cannot get over the fact that the chief investigative reporter of an English daily does not know what the word enlightened means and uses it in context with actresses known for their risqué wardrobe! People like Voltaire, Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Spinoza must be turning in their graves with such liberal use of the term “enlightened.” If I am not wrong, Pakistan perhaps is the only country in the world where being enlightened is considered a stigma and a matter of disgrace. Not that I expect much from Imran Khan, but if people like Ansar Abbasi keep peddling the pedantic agenda, we cannot even hope for gradual maturity that comes with being part of the mainstream politics. 

Here is to staying in the darkness. 

Those who can read Urdu should check out this gem 


Anonymous said...

Tazeen, waiting for your take on Apa Firdaus's crying episode.

Arun said...

This technique of creating a social/religious issue and thereby deemphasizing economic issues is a common tactic among the political so-called "right wing".

The only known cure is for the people at large to say that this is not an important issue for us, and for that to show up in the polls.

Fraaz said...

in light of the urdu columns above i managed to come up with the much needed l33t abbreviation:


*too mind numbingly stupid:didnt read"

because when one come across such journalistic jems, theres no other choice but to wish for deaths cold embrace knowing that THESE are the hard hitting questions everyone NEEDS to know about from the person bringing change.

I have my problems with IK and the worst of his followers. and as heartening as it is to see the amount of people willing to go the mile for bringing about change (even if its behind IK) i cant help but think that such columns really insult their (actually everyons's) intelligence.

Karachi Gal said...

>.< Oh Ansar Abbasi Sahab, why won't you be that mard-e-momin that you want to see in IK and become a cleric rather than someone who's supposed to talk sense! Extremely disappointing. For vast majority of muslims, Islam really is a fish bone stuck in the throats of such "namard-e-momins".

Naushad Shafkat said...

I have always felt that Mr. Ansar Abbasi has been taken far too seriously. He is NOT a journo only pretending to be one. And we all know the group to which he belongs - they have personal scores to settle with you-know-who, and people like Mr. Abbasi are a dime a dozen.

AlifBayPay said...

The word enlightened was made a dirty word during Musharraf era. Ansar Abbassi is not alone in thinking like this. In banter, at least in my experience, the word 'enlightened moderation' is used sarcastically to point out to 'fahashi', 'uryani' and 'maghrabiat'.

skrenata said...

Ansar abbasi sahab, I and many other pakistani people don't believe in your gawd. We don't care what your gawd says. We are not going to follow your gawd's order.
Sometimes i think, we need one more two-nation-theory, because according to mullahs' own belief, 'secular pakistanis' and 'mulla brigade' are two different nations who can't live together. So Pakistan must be divided, if you believe in two-nation-theory.

عنیقہ ناز said...

In his column he mentioned that MQM never had such a big rally. Its a white lie, he is anti MQM but he is a journalist too. There are some professional demands or ain't there?
I think he is inspired by Jamaat Islami and always has such veiws. So not surprised his statement.
Want to see if this is a changed Imran Khan or some opportunist because I rmember that article in Jang by Imran Khan it was not only chaadar or chaar deewaari for women it was also the jirga system of pushtoon culture Imran Khan was fond of at that time. He was proud of pushtoon values and culture.

Anonymous said...

jack says

tazeen Mr ansar is not the weird quantum in this equation. it is imran Khan who has radically changed his views and its worth pondering as to what brought about this transformation within him.
He may become the next PM of Pakistan mind you

Roshmi Sinha said...

While the mantra of "corruption" is being chanted in the land of your ahimsa-loving neighbour via an old knight in shining white dhoti-kurta-topi and his team – likening themselves to that 'saintly' man who also wore a white dhoti; the mantra of "kruption" is being chanted in the land of the pure – by an old-young man – a shining ex-sporting knight with supposedly magical powers and Midas-smith touch.

While the "corrupt" fellows in this ahimsa-loving land has reasonably successfully pricked that shining white dhoti-kurta-topi wearing hot-air balloon; let us wait and watch what the "krupt" folks in the land of the pure can do. Since the 'tsunami' is also wearing shining boots-beret-caps-black coats-flash bulbs-plus-lots-of-talk-time, apart from being aided by ample amounts of Hollywood-ian 'special effects', not to forget humongous quantities of botox shots, hair weaves and wrinkle removers.

Somebody somewhere is clearly not happy with the "corrupt" people here, lead by a certain blue-turbaned yogi, since they did not purchase substantial amounts of war toys from those ETs, and also did not (or were unable to?) push through a new policy to throw open retail trade to very eager foreign Santa Clauses.

Roshmi Sinha said...

The same folks (?) and their allies are not happy with Hatim Tai for wanting to go ahead with a certain pipeline with a country whose architecture those ETs would like to change, apart from wanting to be friendly with a certain ahimsa-loving neighbour. No pipelines, only pipe dreams. Remember Mushy never built even a toy pipeline in his decade long tenure, while his spiritual godfather too refrained from building any in his almost a dozen-year long brutal regime. The other spiritual sons – the ones that have a taste for Nihari and Paya - too did not build one; they built lots of motorways instead - for honeybees. The only one who did (or even attempted to) was the PM with the 'wrong' gender.

The latest 'gate' is clearly an Immy-Mushy game, scripted and choreographed by some internal, external and extra-terrestrial forces, and is a part of their global land (and resource) grab scheme that has decimated nations and uprooted civilizations.

I feel sorry for the unfortunate land of the pure; as for us, even Zeenie baby and double moon won’t be able to help us :)

mezba said...

I feel Imran Khan is the only hope Pakistan has left, and this is not saying much. The army and the "religious" wingnuts are too powerful.

Sarfman said...

Imran Khan and Ansar Abbasi should think about how Pakistan is going to get out of the hole it has gotten into due to previous government policies.

They should leave the dressing of the women on themselves. They know what is good and bad for them.