Althouse | category: Pakistan



a blog by Ann Althouse

For you edification and amusement, I've lined up 10 TikToks. Some people love them!

1. Very nice slow-motion photography.

2. This dinner makes itself.

3. AI shows "Simpsons" characters as real people.

4. You are ugly. He can help.

5. Mississippi John Hurt sings "That Lonesome Valley."

6. Buck Dancing, filmed in 1894.

7. An ocean is forming within Pakistan.

8. Teens are asked "How gay are you?"

9. An impression of a Gen Z person on their deathbed.

10. And let Ricky Gourmet help you with the overbearing heat of summer.

"In the past decade, millions of Pakistanis have been caught up in the religious fervor of an anti-blasphemy campaign..."

"... launched after a liberal politician named Salman Taseer was assassinated by his own bodyguard for his denunciation of the harsh legal punishment of a Christian peasant woman accused of blasphemy. The anti-blasphemy group built a cult around the bodyguard, Mumtaz Qadri. After he was hanged for murder in 2016, they declared him a martyr for Islam, built a shrine near the capital, Islamabad, and formed a new political party, Tehrik-e-Labbaik Pakistan... Labbaik’s leaders have repeatedly declared that they do not condone violence, yet they also preach that blasphemers deserve to die, and their crusade has inspired incidents of murder and arson. At a college campus in northwest Pakistan, a secular student was accused of blasphemy and beaten to death by classmates in 2017. A few days before the Sialkot attack, a mob burned down a police station in the northwest after officials refused to hand over a prisoner accused of blasphemy."

From "The mob killing of a factory manager in Pakistan comes amid surge in anti-blasphemy violence/This religious crusade is rapidly gaining popular support and could threaten the country’s stability" (WaPo). The factory manager, "preparing to repaint the walls for a visiting delegation, had taken down some religious posters that praised the prophet Muhammad and tossed them in the trash," and "several hundred workers chased him onto the factory roof and then dragged him into the yard, where they beat, stoned and kicked him to death, then set his crumpled corpse on fire."

"This is one of many messes that the U.S. has made on the way out, but this one they could fix. They need to ensure safe passage not just for the people at the airport, not just for interpreters who worked for the U.S. military, but for anyone who wants to leave."

Said Heather Barr, associate director of the women’s rights division of Human Rights Watch who has "long experience in Afghanistan," quoted in "Get Afghan Refugees Out. Then Let Them In" by Michelle Goldberg (NYT). 

Goldberg proceeds to concentrate on the need for Americans to accept refugees. She brings up our recent resistance to Syrian refugees. It's another occasion to criticize us for xenophobia. 

A sampling from the comments over there. First, this, from someone in Singapore:

Good idea, please take in all the refugees there are from this war. That will be about 5 [million] Afghans. It would be a first to see that the US really cares about the damage they do to a country they brought peace and democracy to. 

I think that's sarcastic. Then there's this from someone in Pakistan: 

America will be making a huge mistake by accommodating Afghan nationals and I will tell you why: Pakistan took in more than 4 million refugees post soviet war but look what they did to the hosting country. With Afghans came hard drugs, AK47s and above all terrorism. Pakistan has bled rivers and is still bleeding thanks to the Indian/Afghan nexus. Afghans have deeply rooted themselves and mingled amongst the Pakistani population which makes it easier for them to carry out terrorist activities with the help of India that cannot stand Pakistan as a sovereign state. History is a witness to Afghans' ungrateful nature and we might as well witness it again after the US takes in a couple of hundred thousand of them.

Goldberg and others are critical of the bureaucracy that impedes Afghans who want to leave the country. It's why more of the people who worked with us were not extricated before the Taliban took over. Now, the argument is just take everyone — it's too late to filter. The notion is that we have lost the moral ground to protect ourselves from terrorism. Are we going to stand back and watch the slaughter of everyone who worked with us? An easy, horrible way to answer that question is that we've already squandered the chance to extricate them. 

ADDED: The quote in the post title was chosen for its absurdity. It imagines the extrication of people — in vast numbers — when we just saw that even people who managed to get to the airport could not get into a plane. Some were packed onto the floor of a C-17. Others clung to the outside of a plane as it took off.

"When I step outside, I step into a country of men who stare. I could be making the short walk from my car to the bookstore..."

"... or walking through the aisles at the supermarket. I could be wrapped in a shawl or behind two layers of face mask. But I will be followed by searing eyes, X-raying me. Because here, it is culturally acceptable for men to gape at women unblinkingly, as if we are all in a staring contest that nobody told half the population about, a contest hinged on a subtle form of psychological violence."

"Imams Overrule Pakistan’s Coronavirus Lockdown as Ramadan Nears."

"The government gave in to clerics’ demands that mosques be allowed to stay open during the Islamic holy month. Now critics are asking who’s in charge."

NYT has a headline and subheadline that don't cohere. If the imams have the power to "overrule," then the government didn't "give in." If the government "gave in," then the imams were only petitioning the government for relief. From the article, it seems that the latter is correct, so it's the subheadline that is accurate:
As Ramadan drew closer, dozens of well-known clerics and leaders of religious parties — including some who had initially obeyed the lockdown orders — signed a letter demanding that the government exempt mosques from the shutdown during the holy month or invite the anger of God and the faithful. On Saturday, the government gave in, signing an agreement that let mosques stay open for Ramadan as long as they followed 20 rules, including forcing congregants to maintain a six-foot distance, bring their own prayer mats and do their ablutions at home.... 

"Three heart patients died after a mob of lawyers rampaged through a Lahore hospital in a dispute with doctors."

"Up to 200 lawyers wearing traditional black suits stormed the Punjab Institute of Cardiology (PIC), smashing windows, doors and equipment and setting a police van ablaze. Television reports showed some of the lawyers armed with handguns while riot police fired tear gas to try to quell the mob. Lawyers could be seen standing on the bonnet of a burning police vehicle and scuffling with officers. Doctors and nurses fled the hospital to escape the violence, leaving intensive care patients unattended.... Lahore government official Kamran Ali told Reuters the lawyers were enraged by an earlier incident where doctors allegedly beat a lawyer at the hospital over his refusal to get in a queue of patients. The lawyers were particularly angry that the doctors filmed and shared the beating on social media, he said."

The Telegraph reports.

"Nearly 900 children in the small Pakistani city of Ratodero were bedridden early this year with raging fevers that resisted treatment...."

"In April, the disease was pinned down, and the diagnosis was devastating: The city was the epicenter of an H.I.V. outbreak that overwhelmingly affected children....When officials descended on Ratodero to investigate, they discovered that many of the infected children had gone to the same pediatrician, Muzaffar Ghanghro, who served the city’s poorest families and appeared to be at the center of the outbreak.... The effect on Ratodero’s social fabric has been grim. In May, one man strangled his H.I.V.-positive wife to death. And in June, residents in another town discovered their neighbor tied to a tree by her family, after she had tested positive for the virus. The family said they had bound her to prevent her from spreading the virus to the rest of the town. After public outcry and police intervention, the family untied her. She now lives in an isolated room in the house, her every movement monitored by her family."

From "Panic in Pakistani City After 900 Children Test Positive for H.I.V./Health workers say the reuse of syringes drove the outbreak in the city of Ratodero" (NYT).

One woman is quoted saying, "It seems it is God’s affliction on us. How could so many of our children have such a terrible disease?"

"But there’s nothing now — we can’t do anything, we’re helpless. Business has completely ended. Whoever comes just looks at the flies."

Said Muhammad Ismail Siddiqui, a vendor of traditional sweets, quoted in "A Plague of Flies Descends on Karachi: 'They’re Hounding People'" (NYT).

"There are huge swarms of flies and mosquitoes. It’s not just affecting the life of the common man — they’re so scary, they’re hounding people. You can’t walk straight on the road, there are so many flies everywhere... As a community, we also need to blame ourselves. We have collected these heaps of garbage" said Dr. Seemin Jamali, the executive director for the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Center, noting the remains of sacrificial animals dumped in the streets.

"Pakistan’s highest court has spared the life of a Christian woman sentenced to death for blasphemy in a long-awaited ruling Wednesday..."

WaPo reports, in "A Pakistani Christian woman who faced the death penalty for blasphemy is acquitted by high court after 8 years on death row."
Asia Bibi, a mother and farmer, had spent eight years seeking mercy from appeals courts while imprisoned on death row. The supreme court acquitted Bibi of making “derogatory remarks” about the Muslim prophet Muhammad, ruling that the evidence against her appeared fabricated and insufficient.
That is, the court did not say there's a free speech right to blaspheme or that Christians are not bound by the limits of Islam. It's just the failure of evidence that she made the remarks.
The case against Bibi stems from a fight over a cup of water on a hot day. One afternoon in June 2009, Bibi was working in the field picking berries when she asked a group of women if they would like some water. She offered to fetch it and bring it to them. But the women, who were Muslim, told Bibi that “because she is a Christian they would never take water from her hand,” according to the ruling.

That’s when the women alleged that Bibi made “derogatory remarks” about Muhammad, allegations the court found did not hold up beyond a reasonable doubt....
Widespread protests broke out, "with hundreds from religious parties taking to roads and highways in Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Lahore, Karachi and elsewhere":
Haris Ahmed, a young TLP [Tehreek-i-Labaik Pakistan, a religious political party] protester, told The Post: “We don’t accept this decision, which is given only to please the U.S. and other Western powers. Our protest will continue until and unless the supreme court reverses its decision and the blasphemer is sentenced to death. When it comes to the honor of the holy prophet, we are ready to sacrifice everything, and if the government believes it can stop us with the use of force, they are living in fools’ paradise.”
The leader of TLP said:
“Stop working, leave everything else — this is not a time to stay at your homes and offices. It’s time to give sacrifice and protect your religion. All of you hearing my voice shut your doors and come join this protest. We don’t accept this verdict. A blasphemer can’t be forgiven and we are ready for every sacrifice, for us the honor of our prophet is everything. We are ready to face police. We are not afraid of anything. Its time to rise for your religion.”

Trump at Davos — not as hated and hateful as hoped.

When Trump first announced that he was going to Davos, the NYT ran commentary that seemed to predict and hope for failure:
It’s hard to imagine an audience less receptive to Mr. Trump’s "America First" agenda.... His threats to raise barriers to the movement of goods and people, his rejection of the Paris climate change accord and his belligerence toward North Korea have convinced the gathering’s wealthy and mostly liberal delegates that the United States is giving up on global leadership. Indeed, this year’s Davos theme — "Creating a shared future in a fractured world" — seems an attempt to mitigate Mr. Trump’s influence.
How did the NYT react when Obama went to Davos? Trick question: Obama never attended. But that's a reason to attack not Obama but his antagonists: "Imagine the vitriol that Barack Obama would have endured at home if he had put in an appearance."

Now that Trump is in Davos and things don't seem to be ugly, I search the front page — past reports that Trump "ordered" the firing of Robert Muller ("fake news," per Trump) — and find "Trump and Davos: Not Exactly Best Friends, but Not Enemies Either."
As the executives tucked into grilled beef tenderloin or fried Swiss pikeperch with purple carrot purée, Mr. Trump flattered them as “some of the greatest business leaders in the world” and invited them to talk about their businesses, much as he does at cabinet meetings back home. Like his cabinet secretaries, many of the guests volunteered praise of the president and gratitude for his efforts to cut taxes and regulation.....

“I found him to be a different person from his public persona,” Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi of Pakistan said at a breakfast on Thursday, recalling their encounter at the United Nations, while putting aside Mr. Trump’s threat this month to suspend most security aid because of what he called Pakistan’s “lies and deceit” in dealing with terrorism. “He is a very warm person and he engaged me.”...

Report "Althouse"

Are you sure you want to report this post for ?