On September 14th 2009, 19 women were killed in a stampede in
. New York Times reported that the stampede occurred when a local trader was distributing food – flour, lentils and other goods – in the southern part of the city. Hundreds of women and children had gathered in the narrow lanes, and according to the witnesses; the women tumbled over one another trying to enter a building in an attempt to collect the food first. 25 people were reportedly injured in the incident. Karachi
The event was sad and a lot has been said and written about the incident. A couple of the people who have discussed this tragic incident on tv are Aamir Liaquat Hussian and good ol’ Junaid Jamshed in a program which was aired on the eve of the aforementioned horrific incident.
While Aamir Liaquat was busy reading out from what can only be called excerpts from Urdu thesaurus and acting all humble and modest in response to the words of praises from his female fan brigade, Junaid Jamshed came up with a very interesting theory about class differences, hunger, stampede, self respect and religion.
According to Maulana Junaid Jamshed, it is ok if rich Muslims do not follow the religion, but if poor Muslims let go of the sacred religious teachings, the whole society would collapse. He repeatedly made references to “Ghareeb ka Imaan” (poor people’s faith) and “Ameer ka Imaan” (rich people’s faith) as if your class is responsible for your levels of faith and piety. He further went on and said that when poor people embrace the true values of Islam, they are endowed with the gift of self respect, restrain and integrity. His theory was that even if people are poor and hungry, their self respect – endowed only through strict adherence to Islam – will not allow them to go beg for food and consequently, they will be saved from such incidents and death by stampede. Around minute 16.20 in the video, Junaid Jamshed further said that if poor people just practice restraint and stay hungry for three days, Allah will provide food for them for one whole year. This is from a man who probably never had to stay hungry in his life and charges Rs. 2000 for a shalwar (loose Pakistani trousers) that actually costs Rs 200 in his clothing store? He even had the cheek to ask if staying hungry for three days and then waiting for manna from heavens for one whole year (I have absolutely no idea how he arrived at the exact time range of 3 days of hunger and one year warranty of food supply from heavens) is an easier option or getting in line for free food and risking death by stampede?
Mr Jamshed has four children, if they are hungry and crying for food, would he rather stay cooped up in his house telling his children to stay hungry so that Allah will send manna from heaven or will he run all over the place to feed his children? A man who was paid a cool 2 million rupees for half an hour’s work (he shot a tv commercial for Lays Chips also known as Lays chips fatwa) will probably never know what hunger is and how devastating it can be? Self respect, privacy and integrity are things that only rich and well off people can afford, the rest are busy making out a living for themselves and their children.
I am astounded at the cheek of the man. Not only did he blame the victims for begging for flour, he was annoyed at the beggars who knock on his car windows for alms and blamed them for making the likes of him more indifferent to their plight by constantly banging on their air conditioned car windows. I would never condone beggary but one must also take into consideration the recession, loss of jobs for so many people and government’s apathy towards employment generation schemes for its populace. According to the World Food Program, 24 per cent of the population of Pakistan is under noursihed and 38 per cent of Pakistani children under the age of five are under weight. It calls the state of hunger in Pakistan, “alarming.” Imagine, if everyone takes the advice of Junaid Jamshed to heart and and sit on their ass and do nothing and wait for the manna, how will the situation of hunger exacerbate in the country.
What is a bigger tragedy that none of the live callers to the program were intelligent enough to point out what a fraud people like JJ and Ammir Liaquat are. Everyone sang their praises to death and one of the callers even called Junaid jamshed an angel (I am not sure angels would be as big a sartorial disaster as Junaid Jamshed was in his burgady red kurta).
PS: Its a very long video, if you are short of time, just catch the bit from 11th minute to18th minute in the video.