By Jirair Tutunjian, Toronto, January 2020
High up in the Hindu Kush Mountains of Pakistan live the Kalash, a nation of 3,000 souls. Pakistanis call them ‘Kafir’ and their region Kafiristan because the Kalash are pagan. It’s the same word (‘Gavoor’) Turks use as synonym for Armenians, Greeks, Assyrians or any nation which is not Muslim.
The Kalash live a simple life and are attached to their traditions. However, the imams living near Kafiristan want to convert them to Islam. They harass the Kalash; build mosques just outside Kalash villages and broadcast Muslim prayers with PA systems honing on the Kalash. The imams incite Muslims to harass the Kalash. Pakistani government spokesmen claim they are concerned in the well-being of the Kalash but do nothing to halt the persecution.
The daily grind of harassment has forced some Kalash to convert to Islam. In a country of 205 million Muslims, there is no room for the 3,000 indigenous Kalash. The Kalash aren’t the only non-Muslims who face discrimination. Christians (1.6 per cent of the population) are also mistreated. In 2017 nine Christians were killed and seventeen were injured in Quetta in a terrorist attack by militant Islamists. The year before, in Lahore, fourteen Christians were killed and seventy were injured in another terrorist outrage. Christians are discriminated by the government, the media, and the public. Christians are nicknamed “choorhas” (“washroom cleaners”) because Christians facing job discrimination resign to cleaning washrooms.
Draconian sharia laws impact every aspect of Pakistani life. In the United Nations Human Development Index Pakistan is placed at 147 among 170 countries. The index measures social and living standards.
Honor killing is one area where Pakistan is world champion. About 1,000 women are killed in this manner. The reasons can be alleged marital infidelity, refusal to submit to arranged marriage, demanding a divorce, perceived flirtatious behavior and…being raped. The women are killed by stoning, usually by their family and relatives. Police have been seen watching the killings without interfering.
Between 1951 and 2011 the U.S pumped $67 billion into Pakistan’s economy. A large chunk of the money went into the pockets of the military and tribal chiefs. In 2012 Transparency International calculated in the previous five years Pakistan had lost more than $94 billion due to corruption, tax evasion and bad governance.
Sheltering fundamentalist terrorist is another feather in the cap of Pakistan. For months—prior to the U.S. attack on his hideout–Osama ben-Laden and his extended family had been living a few miles from a Pakistani military base yet the Pakistani government—which prides in its intelligence agency– claimed they were not aware the terrorist chieftain was in Pakistan along with his large family.
Coups, the suspension of constitution, martial law, and military dictators are other “attributes” of Pakistan. It’s a country where the strongman is considered a savior no matter how vicious or undemocratic he is. Thus there has been a parade of generals– Ayub Khan, Iskandar Mirza, Zia ul-Haq, and Parvez Musharraf. Pakistan is also notorious for assassinating/executing political leaders. The most prominent victims of the tradition have been the democratically-elected Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto (hanged), his daughter Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto (assassinated), Zia ul-Haq (bomb in his plane). No one knows the number of politicians assassinated.
The average income in Pakistan is $420 per annum although Pakistan is blessed with a great variety of natural resources and has a commanding presence on the Indian Ocean. About 35% of Pakistanis live below poverty line while the literacy rate is 45.7%. Life expectancy is 67 years.
Procreating is another category Pakistan excels. In 1986 its population was 95 million. In 2017 it was 207 million. It’s now more than 215 million–the sixth most-populous country.
The latest outrageous news from Pakistan is Prime Minister Imran Khan, a cricket pro and a hard-partying playboy who is in his third marriage. His current wife is psychic-saint-clairvoyant Pinky Peerni who promised Khan that he would become prime minister if he married her. They married and he won the election. Pinky is the mother of five from her previous marriage.
Khan, who spent many years in swinging London and enjoyed the West’s permissive sexual ethos (there are reports of cocaine and Ecstasy use, of homosexual relationships, and threesomes), has discovered Islam and become a strident critic of Western “decadence.” According to him all good things flow from Islam and all wrongs from the West. While criticizing the West, he has no compunction asking the International Monetary Fund for a $6 billion bailout for his debt-ridden country.
While his country has, for decades, been at war with India, Khan flies to Mumbai and parties with the Bollywood set. He invited the Taliban to open a political office in Pakistan days after a church bombing in Peshawar killed 81 people.
The son of an upper-middle class parents, he boasts about his Oxford degree but doesn’t say it was a third-class degree which is like no degree.
In addition to extreme Islam, military dictators, assassinations, corruption, violence against women and Christians, a psychic First Lady, Pakistan has another distinction: It doesn’t recognize the Republic of Armenia. Why? Because Christian Armenia and Muslim Azerbaijan are at loggerheads. That’s all the reason Islamabad/Rawalpindi require to be anti-Armenia. The shameless and obscurantist country has promised to come to the aid of Azerbaijan in case of war with Armenia. It takes all kinds to make the United Nations.