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Polishing Shoes for Forgiveness

Published: 02/04/2012 04:19:35 PM GMT
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ISLAMABAD - Seeking forgiveness for the killing of a Sikh by Taliban militants, a Pakistani judicial official has gone on a mission to polish shoes of worshippers at Sikh temples in India to compensate for the murder, invokin (more)

ISLAMABAD - Seeking forgiveness for the killing of a Sikh by Taliban militants, a Pakistani judicial official has gone on a mission to polish shoes of worshippers at Sikh temples in India to compensate for the murder, invoking a mix of criticism and admiration in Pakistan.

“There could have been some other ways to express his feelings, but he should not have acted like that,” Yaseen Azad, President of Pakistan Supreme Court Bar Association, told OnIslam.net.

Deputy attorney-general Mohamed Khursheed Khan is polishing shoes at Sikh temples in India to seek forgiveness for the murder of a Sikh by Taliban militants in 2010.

He argues that his action aims to disassociate his faith from the killing and terrorism.

"I am a Muslim, not a terrorist; I am a Khan, not a terrorist; I am from Pakistan, but not a terrorist," he said.

But Azad criticizes the behavior of Khan, who was a member of a delegation visiting India when he started his mission.

“We had no idea about his activities in India,” he told OnIslam.net.

“Therefore, the entire delegation should not be held responsible for his acts, particularly issuing statements against his own nation, and shoe-polishing.

“I am going to write to the government of Pakistan to demand his removal from the post of deputy attorney general.

“There could have been some other ways to express his feelings, but he should not have acted like that.”

The SCBA president said the issue will be raised with Pakistan Bar Council (PBA), an authority that can issue or cancel the lawyers' licenses to practice in any court of law.

“No matter, he is a deputy attorney general or an ordinary lawyer. Action would be taken against him,” he said.

Disavow

Some Pakistanis disavow the ‘shoe-polising' practice as harming the image of their country.

“We do not have to polish shoes to prove our innocence of disliking towards extremism,” Imrana Parveen Baloch, a senior lawyer and vice president of SCBA, said.

“He (Khan) was representing Pakistan in India as deputy attorney General. Will Indian deputy attorney general do the same thing in Pakistan to condemn the killings of thousands of Muslims in Gujarat under the patronage of Chief Minister Narendar Modi,” she asked, referring to the hacking and burning to death of 2,000 Muslims by Hindu mobs in 2002.

“Minorities, particularly Muslims in India, have been living in worst condition as compared to Pakistan. But none of its government official has ever shown such gesture.”

Baloch accused former SCBA president Asma Jehangir of being the architect of the shoe-polishing drama.

“Many of the participants of the delegation had their own agenda aimed at portraying themselves so-called liberals and seculars,” she told a press conference in Lahore.

Asma has been active from the platform of Pakistan-India Peace Commission that comprises human rights activists from both sides to promote people-to--people contact, trade relations,  and relaxation in visa restrictions by the two nuclear states.

However, the peace commission's stand on putting the core issue of Kashmir aside, and restoring trade relations first, does not attract many Pakistanis.

Pakistan and India have fought two of their thrree war on the disputed Kashmir region.

However, some Pakistanis find no problem in Khan's behavior.

“There is no harm in it,” Noor Naz Agha, a senior lawyer and a human rights activist, told OnIslam.net.

“If he wants to express his feelings in this way, he has the right to do that. We should not object him.

“He (Khan) has the right to express himself. If he thinks he can portray a soft image of his country by polishing shoe or serving the worshipers, let him do that. What's the problem with that.”

She dispelled the impression that shoe polishing of Sikh worshipers is against the teachings of Islam.“In fact, this is the teachings of our religion respect others' beliefs.”

Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net




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