Wednesday, June 9, 2010


Shiv had this argument
Pakistani and Western media have made it a point to say that only 12.5646789% of the electorate (or some similar cooked up figure) voted for Islamic parties. This is repeated in report after report after report almost as though people are reassuring themselves that Islamic parties have little support in Pakistan. And this statistic that has been converted into fact by repetition is subtly used to convey the impression that Pakistanis are not “fundamentalists”.
The most hilarious thing (to me) about this little semantic trick is that “Islamic parties” in Pakistan are being equated with “fundamentalism” suggesting that if one is Islamic one is a fundamentalist. Mind you it’s not just the kafirs who say this – it is Pakistanis who insist that “Fundamentalists cannot come to power in Pakistan because “only” xyz% people voted for the Islamist parties”. What could be the reason for Pakistanis, citizens of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, to make a connection between being Islamic and being fundamentalist?

Please tell me. Does being Islamic mean being a “fundamentalist”? Clearly 97% of Pakistanis are Islamic. Are they fundamentalist? So what is it about the Islamic parties that makes them more fundamentalist than other Pakistanis? It is because they want sharia? Is it because they hate Ahmedis? It cannot be. The same “moderate, non fundamentalist Pakistan” where the majority “do not vote for Islamist parties” has already tried to implement half-baked sharia and is unable to prevent sectarian killings. And the same “moderate, non fundamentalist Pakistan” has sold itself out to America as a hedge against the kafirs of India.

Meanwhile How Reluctance to Debate Religion Has Resulted in a Total Quagmire by Raza Habib Raja has been posted, which argues that the Pakistani awaam is moderate and the reason for the phenomena that Shiv has noted is different:

...This is a country which despite being conservative has never voted clergy into power...

In my opinion the issue is not that population is radicalized but rather actually too timid due to the extreme veneration of religion and its fanatic patronage by the clergy...

THE CENTRAL ISSUE IS THAT ONCE A THING IS WIDELY PROJECTED AS UN ISLAMIC BY THE MAINSTREAM RELIGIOUS ‘SCHOLARS”, NO ONE RAISES ANY EFFECTIVE VOICE TO CHALLENGE IT AND THE PRIME REASONS ARE EXTRAORDINARY UNQUESTIONABLE REVERENCE AND INABILITY TO CHALLENGE CLERGY IN INTERPRETATION. In our personal lives we will even violate several unquestionable Islamic GOOD rituals but in public too afraid and indifferent to raise a voice against something which clearly is against the basic spirit of our religion itself.


  1. An organization called Terror Free Tomorrow had conducted a survey in Pakistan in 2008. You can easily find it on the web.

    Q8g. I am going to read you a list of possible long-term goals for the government of Pakistan. Please tell me whether you think these goals are important - unimportant:

    Implementing strict Sharia law throughout Pakistan

    Very important 36.8% (480 respondents)
    Somewhat important 37.9% (495)
    Somewhat unimportant 11.8% (154)
    Not At All Important 7.2% (94)
    Refused 1.1% (14)
    Don't know 5.2% (68)
    Total 100.0% (1306)
    Terror Free Tomorrow: Pakistan National Survey, May-June 2008.

    While this is not definitive, such field research will be needed to know whether this opinion is actually fact:

    "In my opinion the issue is not that population is radicalized but rather actually too timid due to the extreme veneration of religion and its fanatic patronage by the clergy. "


    The poll results can be found here.

  2. The Pak Institute for Peace Studies did a survey (PDF file)

    It is not a representative sample of population - there are too many urban dwellers and only 8% or so illiterates. The first two paragraphs of the conclusions:


    The question is: what do these findings signify?

    The survey clearly captures growing religiosity among the masses. It is not surprising that 65 per cent of the respondents said that a person who did not pray five times a day could not become a better Muslim. Nearly 59 per cent of them contended that the struggle for the implementation of Shariah was also jihad. But despite their conservatism, about 81 per cent of the survey population also considered female education as “extremely necessary”. Only a small percentage (12.5) thought it was “not very important”. Similarly, 58.7 per cent of the people felt that women should be allowed to work outside their home. However, nearly 40 per cent of them disagreed with the proposition.

    All these findings indicate that the average Pakistani takes his religion seriously and wishes to see it in the public domain. But, unlike the Taliban, he does not want to make it claustrophobic for other people. The average Pakistani thus wants to look progressive in a conservative framework. He is caught between two competing narratives: the first one, which is primarily grounded in religion and is now championed by militant groups, makes him want to see his religion triumph; the other, usually trotted out by the government and the media, is mostly based on information and rational analysis, making him realize the significance of progressing in the world.