Terrorism is Murder. Murder is Haram (in Islam).

Terrorism is Murder. Murder is Haram: These are the opening lines in the video of a new song (see website) that has been put together by some of the top pop musicians in Pakistan. The song is directed by Waseem Mahmoud and the performers include Ali Haider, Ali Zafar, Hadiqa Kiani, Haroon, Shafqat Amanat Ali Khan, Shuja Haider and Strings.

This song (in Urdu) is a response to a general perception among Pakistanis that despite us having become a target of terrorism, we are often labeled as terrorists or harbinger of terrorism ourselves. Pakistan is a country of nearly 140 million-170 million people and I think it is quite absurd for anyone to rationally think all Pakistanis are terrorists. Certainly nobody does that. But it is true that the geopolitics of the past decade, especially since the 9/11 attacks has put Pakistan straight in the path of the West’s global war on terrorism.

It is our misfortune that not only are we a poor country that has seen its share of despotic, ideological regimes, but that we are also surrounded by countries that have often offloaded their instability onto us. In addition to that, it is no hidden fact that over the past few decades we have been encouraged to promote radicalization and Islamization in our midst by other so-called strategic friends because it was the easiest way for them to gain access to ideologically brainwashed soldiers for the wars in Afghanistan (against a communist Soviet force) and India (against a communism leaning Hindu force). Pakistanis played into the hands of those orchestrating a global strategic warfare and provided the human fodder that fed the wars for decades. Only recently did we realize that the wars across the borders have come too close to us (in fact in our homes) and now we are at the danger of becoming the enemy of what we bred over the past few decades.

But Pakistanis at large do not support terrorism, nor do they support cross-border attacks, or radicalization. We are, however, an ideological country that does find its root cause for creation in the religious identity of being a Muslim in South Asia. But that is not all that we are nor what our honest history tells of us. Pakistan was a country created to suppress the fear of a religious civil war that was could have erupted in a united India after the British left. At its birth was a vision of a state where people would be free to practice their religion, muslims or non-muslims, and there was hope that Pakistan would be the re-birth of the idea that a nation-state could at the same time be modern and yet muslim in essence. Pakistan was a country that was shaped by the philosophical thought of Iqbal, the greatest muslim philosopher of the past century, and his vision was executed into reality by a rather secular Mohammad Ali Jinnah. The combination could not have been better and its a pity that we could not do better after they departed.

Pakistanis, in my humble opinion, continue to struggle to find their identity when it is constantly being defined by others, or in opposition of others. In the 80s I remember Pakistanis trying to rally around religion, largely because the three wars their country had fought earlier were against an India they were told was Hindu. Then Pakistanis tried to support the Afghan Mujahideen in the West’s war against communism, and finally the curse of Bin Ladin descended upon them and their neighbors when he got kicked out of Sudan. Our quest for identity continues…

None of the above leaves Pakistanis absolved of their role in letting extremism, radicalism, and terrorism out of control. We should have seen the writing on the wall when bombs tarted exploding in our midst (e.g. Karachi bombings of the 80s), or when our youth started disappearing to go fight in Kashmir and Afghanistan, and when the religious charity organizations gathered so much momentum that it became difficult to even stop them from visiting your house and demanding you contribute to their cause.

So this song, in my opinion, is the moderate and modern Pakistan’s effort to stand up against extremism and terrorism. We reject the proxy jihadi fights that others hope to fight on our territories, and we reject the label of terrorists because we are not. Ordinary Pakistanis want to have fruitful lives like anybody else. We want Roti, Kapra, Makaan (food, clothes, home), and we want to be a nation that stands tall among its peers.

Have a listen. The key words are Yeh Hum Naheen. i.e. This is not us (lyrics are given below):

Lyrics By Ali Moeen

Hamarey Naam Say Phali Howi Jhoti Kahani Ha
This story that is being spread in our names is a lie
Yeah Mohrein Mouat Ki….. Mathay Pay Gharoun Ki Nishani Hey
These stamps of death on our forehead are the signs of others
Hamein Jis Naam Say Tum Jantay Ho….Woh Hum Nahien
The name by which you know us – we are not that
Humein Jis Ankh Say Tum Dehktay Ho….Woh Hum Nahien
The eyes with which you look at us – we are not that
Yeah Hum Nahi, Yeah Hum Nahi, Yeah Hum Nahi, Yeah Hum Nahi,
This is not us – this is not us…
Jaisay Sham Atay hi Koi Rasta Bola Bathay
As with the coming of night one loses one’s way
Andhairo Say Daaray Itna Kay Hum Ghar Hi Jala Bathay
We are scared of the dark so much that we are burning our own home
Yeah Kya Charo Taraf Urti Howi Ryigani Hey
What is this rising all around us…
Hamarey Naam Say Phali Howi Jhoti Kahani Hey
The stories that are being spread in our names are lies
Yeah Hum Nahi. Yeah Hum Nahi, Yeah Hum Nahi. Yeah Hum Nahi,
This is not us…
Gira Bathay Ha Rastay Mein Sabak Hum Sath Rahnay Ka
We have lost on the way the lesson of living together
Humay Ek Dosray Say Isliya Bhi Lag Raha Ha Daar
we are now even scared of each other.
Who Koi Aur Hain Jin Kay Taray Hataoo May Chehray Hain
They are others whose faces are on your hands
Tumhara Duokh Sumandar Hey….Hamaray Zakham Ghairay Hey
Your hurts are a deep sea – our wounds are deep.
Hamarey Naam Say Phali Howi Jhoti Kahani Hey
The stories that are being spread in our names are lies
Yeah Hum Nahi. Yeah Hum Nahi, Yeah Hum Nahi. Yeah Hum Nahi,
This is not us…


2 Responses to Terrorism is Murder. Murder is Haram (in Islam).

  1. mani.pillai says:

    A wonderful refreshing experience. Just goes to show that at grass roots level, India and Pakistan share a common culture. What a tragedy that for decades we have been at each others throats. There is another way, and you are showing it in a such meaningful way. Some of the greatest musicians in the sub-continents are muslims, without their massive contribution we will all be poorer today. I am truly impressed. Wish you all success and you have my good wishes.

  2. Sriganesh says:

    I came to this post purely by chance.. Facebook -> ur profile -> to “Kashif Memon” -> to your blog ! 🙂

    Now having read it I have a few comments:
    Admitted that my knowledge on Pakistan may be limited despite having grown up there, but I would argue with you that Pakistan’s biggest problem is Pakistan itself, not some third party using Pakistan as a puppet/proxy for their own selfish/idealogical/fanatical causes or the ubiquitous “third-hand”. I have always felt the “Zia-ul-Haq” was the downward turning point for Pakistan. Yes Pakistan is still struggling to discover itself, but the disease of corrupt ruling elite (who have never moved away from the zamindar/feudal culture) will never let Pakistan discover itself. You may argue and I agree that that most people are moderates. But its a sad sign when it seem like the “fundu” population seems to be growing!. (maybe its a false perception but thats the one I get these days)

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