Editor’s remarks: Mr Akhtar Chaudhry’s views on NRK Radio (in Norwegian) on religious extremism in Pakistan are welcome. I will add only a few lines to the discussion. As I see it, the real problem with the Pakistani people is not only about their religious identity. It is rather that such an identity has been hijacked by religious parties and political organizations with the help of clerics. As a result, people in general are not in a position to make a distinction between their universal religion of Islam and a suffocating version of Islam, mostly in the Sunni tradition, that has been forced down the throats of the people for six decades. Thus a mutilated, perverted and fanatic brand of ‘Islam’ has replaced the egalitarian, universalistic and tolerant aspects of Islam. Many problems our Pakistani people face are closely tied to this unhealthy growth that has taken deep roots in Pakistan. Religious extremists and the Taliban are a clear manifestation of that problem. But the actual problem is far deeper and more widespread in Pakistan and among the Pakistanis living in European countries and North America.
Nasir Khan, Editor