A Profile in Courage

I am not adding anything extra with this short news item, I think the news speaks eloquently and voluminously by itself. I just want to add that I feel utterly humble when I consider how much courage and determination people like  Jibran Nasir possess to do what he is doing day after day in a place like Pakistan.

Rare secular candidate in Pakistan hounded by angry mob

Labaik spokesman Ejaz Ashrafi said his party “did not send anyone to do this”, adding that people running in elections should declare their faith.

Nasir gained nationwide prominence in 2014 after staging protests against the Red Mosque, the Islamabad center of a militant network with links to Pakistani Taliban strongholds in the northwest and in neighboring Afghanistan.

The mosque was the site of a military standoff in 2007, but within two years its chief cleric was freed from detention and was once again calling for strict Islamic rule across Pakistan.

The mosque campaign earned Nasir a phone call and death threats from a high-ranking Taliban commander.

“We are doing it for the millions of Pakistanis … who right now are forced to choose amongst the lesser of evils, who are willing to embrace different political leaders with all their biases and religious bigotry,” he said.

“Every day I am carrying on with my mission, they are making a fool of themselves.”


23 thoughts on “A Profile in Courage”

  1. There is no doubt that Jibran Nasir is extremely brave. His stance that he will not declare his religion and that it has nothing to do with the issues he is campaigning on is very admirable. Pakistan’s Human Rights Commission has taken notice of the attacks on him.

    The establishment’s attempt to “mainstream” extremist elements is very counterproductive and worrying. In Punjab, Tehreek-e-Labaik etc are supposedly being used to fragment the PML-N’s vote. The only saving grace however is that religious parties don’t normally win a lot of votes in Pakistan. The mainstream parties are PPP, PML-N and now PTI.

      1. The establishment is going all out to make sure that PTI wins tomorrow. Even then they make not be able to win enough seats to form a government on their own. It all depends on how the people vote tomorrow. The most likely outcome is a hung parliament and jockeying to try to build a coalition.

  2. Labbaik ya Allah, ya Rasul

    Jibran bhai ko yay poochh liya kay wo konsay firkay say ta’aluq rakhtay hain to ismay konsi qayamat aa gyi?

    Pakistan Islam-parast aur Islam-doost logon kay liye qaayam hua tha. Aur kuffar o mushrikeen say iska difa Pakistan ki wafadar awam ta-zindagi karti rahaygi.

    Aapka khadim Jaggu is baaack to defend honneur of ze Pakistanis!
    FYI I have adopted a new slogan de guerre for the election season for my beloved Imran bhai.

    “Rokh-e Imran shahvar ast
    Mukhalifat-e Imran bikaar ast”

    (The glow of Imran is kingly, resistance of Imran is futile)

    Hope to spread the message of peace Islam more frequently here…

      1. Ham kisi afvaj kay gernail nahin, Allah o Rasul-e Pak kay khidmatgar jangjoo hain. Lekin haan, Pakistan ki azmat ki khatir ham gernail sahaban kay shana-ba-shana Jihad zarur karengay.

        Filhal yeh Jihad election mein lada ja raha hai. Har Pakistani bhai behen say darkhwast hai kay wo Imran bhai ko vote dayn aur wazarat-e azam say nawazayn.

        Kind regards,
        Jaggu Jangjoo

        Rokh-e Imran shahvar ast
        Mukhalifat-e Imran bikar ast

  3. Profiles in Religious fundamentalism and Obscurantism are million times more than Profiles in courage in this particular election




    Parties and individuals who are calling for death for blasphemers, shia haters , tenured terrorists like Daniel Pearl killers, Mumbai attackers, international terrorists are all running amok as candidates with suitable guidance from Pakistani military.

      1. What does Quaid-e-Azam have to do with it? He’s been dead since 1948. This particular election is very much the military’s political engineering project. Hopefully, the people will vote in such a way that the favored candidate cannot form a government on his own. That is if there isn’t actual rigging on polling day.

        Also, there is nothing wrong with appreciating someone like Jibran Nasir. Though I agree with you that the “mainstreaming” of extremists is very troubling.

        1. Everything right in appreciating JN. Given the strength of forces arrayed against him , he sticks out as a sore thumb. He is a lone exception, that is why attracts attention from liberals who like to praise ‘human spirit’

          1. I agree with you on JN. He’s not the sole exception though. There is a party called the Awami Workers Party which has some candidates contesting in Islamabad. But yes, JN deserves a lot of credit for openly taking on the religious right and putting his life at risk. Most of us have a self-protective instinct and certain topics are no-go areas.

  4. Serious question.

    What is the common Pakistani’s view on the streets of Labaik , Mili muslim league? Because i have heard conflicting opinions about them. Before the rise of Labaik some of my Pakistani friends felt that it was good to “mainstream” Hafiz saeed and groups like him since they do a lot of charity and have social support within masses. But suddenly the very same friends now have taken 180 degree turn and said its a mistake to mainstream Labaik (but they still feel its ok to mainstream Saeed). Pretty sure Labaik also does charity as well as has social support among masses. Shouldn’t what’s good for the goose also good for the gander?

    1. Labaik and Mili Muslim League are being used by the Army to split PML-N’s vote bank. Some people are angry with the PML-N government for supposedly making an amendment to the Finality of Prophethood law (this is what the sit-in at Faizabad last fall was about). Some “pirs” have been put up as candidates by Labaik and all the “pir’s” supporters will vote for them. But historically, Pakistanis don’t really vote religious parties into power. They can spoil things for PML-N though.

  5. I am aware that I appear to criticize Pakistan more than other countries here in BP but I will also admit that at this period, Pakistan is more democratic than my own country Bangladesh, which has become a almost full-fledged one-party autocratic regime. Pakistan will be having an election of somewhat fairness tomorrow. Bangladesh has not have a free and contested election in the last ten years. Pakistan’s judiciary is far more independent and powerful than Bangladesh’s. Depending on the results of Pakistan’s election (whether I am cheered or not), I hope to write something later about political situation in Bangladesh.

      1. The roots of Bangladesh’s progress on HDI at grass root level goes back long ago and are diverse. A vigorous and pioneering NGO movement from the late 1970s, lack of strength of religious patriarchy compared to other Muslim countries, fortuitous development of the Clothing export sector employing millions of women etc factors all helped Bangladesh pull out from bottom of under-developed misery. This trajectory remained steady more or less throughout different types of democratic, non-democratic regimes. So, giving way political rights for HDI index is not a compensation at all.

        1. True, and the lack of contested elections in Bangladesh will give rise to Erdogan type of figure,if you keep on not allowing the other side a fair shot.

        2. However, I am impressed by the BD’s hanging of some Islamists who played hounds for Pak Army in 1971. Even though it is late, better than than never. This happened in the teeth of some international protests from Pakistan (expected) and Turkey . It shows the state is strengthening. The state must not flinch from hanging if need be.

    1. Tomorrow’s election can hardly be called free or fair. There has been a lot of pre-poll rigging and smoothing the path for Imran. Arguably, announcing the verdict against Mian Sahab and Maryam Bibi just a few weeks before the election and then jailing them has tainted the election irrevocably. Bilawal Bhutto has also stated that the PPP was not allowed to freely campaign. Regardless of what government is formed in Islamabad, it is the generals in Rawalpindi who continue to make the most important policies.

      I would be very interested in your thoughts on Awami League and Sheikh Hasina.

  6. How flawed is the Economist democracy index by post modernist corruption? I think less so than the rest of the global human rights establishment:

    Today freedom of art, thought, intuition and feeling = hate/alt right/Nazi/Fascist/Hegemony/ Oppression/Imperialism/Exploitation/no human rights/no democracy

    Massive post modernist mind control preventing freedom of art, thought, intuition and feeling = topping human rights/democracy indexes.

    Suspect the Economist is far less corrupted than the rest of the global establishment by post modernist corruption. What are everyone’s thoughts?

    Shafiq R, can I contact you offline? I would be very interested in your perspectives on Bangladesh. Please share as much as you can on Bangladesh (love that you have agreed to contribute articles to BP.) I have thought of writing an article titled “Has Bangladesh fallen?” but need more data.

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