Land of hypocrites

Shandana Minhas in Pakistan's The News:

ScreenHunter_10 Aug. 30 21.42 I would like to begin by asking when Ramzan or Ramazan officially became Ramadan? It is the month the natural born Pakistani's intrinsic need to feel holier than thou — a necessary if trying counterpoint to the self loathing we traditionally embody– manifests itself to an alarming degree.

Celebrities begin their yearly plummet off the cliffs of prudishness at the onset of the month, like lemmings but without the charisma. Chiffon clad women wrap themselves in an extra layer of piety as they harangue their Hindu maids. Those who imbibe swear off the stuff for the duration, as if it isn't haram all year around.

Mosque loudspeakers' volumes are raised an extra notch, a crude but effective way to ensure all in their immediate vicinity bridge the class divide by being equally susceptible to inner ear damage. And salespeople ringing up midday food purchases do so with such a contemptuous superiority it is a wonder they are able to stay seated and not inadvertently levitate straight to heaven, bottoms up. And should the topic of inappropriate sanctimonious be brought up in conversation with, say, a person who has broken a red light in their rush to get home for Iftar and nearly totaled your car in the process, do you know what you are likely to get in response? I cannot possibly eat humble pie: I am fasting.

I'm generally not so negative but this year things got off to a bad start for me thanks to the pick up truck that parked outside the apartment complex I live in during the wee hours of the first night and proceeded to harangue all inmates with demands for charity over a megaphone, which is never a nice thing to do to anyone in bed.

Then, reeling from both sleep deprivation and the knowledge of my own helplessness in the face of wanton, unprovoked wailing, I read about the directive issued by the Ministry of Religious Affairs to all provincial governments directing them to ensure full implementation of the Ehteram-e-Ramadan Ordinance. The ordinance, promulgated in 1981 under Zia-ul-Haq, makes it illegal for anyone – young, old, infirm, pregnant, lapsed – to eat, drink or smoke in public and applies across the board to Muslims and non-Muslims. In other words, resistance is futile, you will be assimilated.

More here.