Salman Idris is a Facebook friend, I’ve know Salman for almost an year now. Quite an intelligent and interesting person to talk to, professional, well traveled and an open minded person. Like many of us, he keeps a good eye on Pakistani Politics and current affairs.
I caught Salman for a quick interview, we spoke about his life, Pakistan’s current situation, problems, possible solutions and Religion. Hope you’ll like it.
Interview with Salman Idrees:
Q.1: Salman Bhai, please introduce yourself to our readers. Can you share some basic details about yourself, your background and etc.
I am a Doctor by degree now working in pharmaceutical industry. I’m married and live in Lahore, my wife is also a doctor in Govt Service.
Q.2: I take it you are quite a well traveled person but now live in Pakistan, right ?
Yes i have studied in usa and travelled a lot as well
Q.3: how do you feel about coming back to Pakistan after spending some time abroad. Is it difficult or does it depend on individual’s situations ?
I came back to Pakistan as it was my choice. It was different back then but I think you are right, it depends on a person’s individual situation
Q.4: How would you define yourself Salman Bhai, are you a fundamentalist in terms of Religion or do you see yourself as a moderate follower of religion ?
Moderate and a Rebel
Q.5: Everyone seems to be making claims that he knows what was on Jinnah’s mind when he created Pakistan. Fundamentalists say he wanted to create a true Islamic State, moderates and liberals claim he wanted to create a secular country. Whats your take on Jinnah’s Pakistan ?
He wanted a state for Muslims and not a Muslim state- there’s a difference
Q.6: If he really needed to create a secular state, why did he not consider to remain part of India in your opinion ?
He thought that Muslims as a minority will never be able to compete with a more educated Hindu majority is my take plus it was a personal achievement for Jinnah Sahab. My relative was also a colleague of Jinnah. He later became the 1st foreign minister of Pakistan
Q.7: Do you think we could have been better off if we were part of India today ?
Raheel Bhai, I’m not sure, means I dont know how things would have shaped up but at that time probably I too would have thought same thing like Jinnah Sahab
Q.8: Fundamentalism in on the rise in Pakistan, how can we solve this problem in your opinion ?
We need a new constitution, I have no doubt about this, our current laws encourage extremism
Q.9: A lot of people like myself support and demand for Pakistan to become a Secular State, do you think this could be an option ?
its the only option bhai – but not gonna happen. Sadly religion is too ingrained in our lives, if at all we will become a bigger theocracy. look at Imran Khan’s popularity.
Q.10: Why not ? what is the hurdle ?
People are the hurdle, they dont want secularism – they think secularism is madar pider azad (someone who follow no rules)
Q.11: Some people say Religion itself is the problem, would you agree / disagree with this and why ?
u mean that Islam is a prob, Raheel?
I am not sure otherwise Turkey, Malaysia etc would have similar problems
but I agree that Muslims tend to be more militant – Kattar type
Q.12: In a specific society circle, there seems to be Godless or Atheism thinking on the rise in Pakistan. Do you think its a problem for our society’s future ?
No, I dont consider it a problem – I wish there were more Atheist Agnostics, they are usually very good / nice people
Q.13: Why would you say that ? can you explain it a bit further ?
They are really God fearing – ha ha its an oxymoron, i know that but I find them easy going, non meddling and I also agree they seem to be on the rise
Q.14: Being a professional Doctor yourself, what do you think about the theory of human evolution ? Do you think its in a conflict with Islam and Quran ?
I have not read deeply the Quran’s concept of evolution but i think Islamic scholars have an angle which justifies Charles Darwin’s version. I can at a later time tell you the Ahmedi interpertation of evolution theory
Q.15: Like Ahmedis in past, Shias are being targeted today in Pakistan mainly for their beliefs. Do you think its ever going to end or do we have a dark bleak future for the minorities in Pakistan ?
Till we remain a theocratic state, there is no chance of improvement
by the way persecution of Ahmedies and Shias is not similar
Q.16: Do you think there is a confirmed involvement of foreign elements in all this ?
No, there is no foreign involvement
Q.17: Why do you think that the persecution of Ahmedis and Shias is different ?
Majority genuinely hates Shias and Ahmedis – a fringe among that majority is also violent. Shia persecution is not state tolerated (not inherent in laws) unlike Ahmedies and … Shias fight back, Ahmedies only run. People cry when Shias die, they distribute Mithai (Sweets) when Ahmedies die
Q.18: What do you see the future of Pakistan in next 10, 15, or 25 years ?
I think it will Balkanize, beginning with Baluchistan
Q.19: On philosophical terms: Do you think that the God does exist as the religion tell us ?
ha ha not sure Raheel Bhai. my philosophy is “agar nikal aya tou? iss liya maan jao” (What if there is a God so lets keep your head down and agree to it)
“Naa nikla tou kya nuksaan?” (But if no God found after death then there will be no harm)
Q.20: We see a lot of Ibaadat (Praying) in Pakistani Society but still we see a lot of bad things and corruption going on. Why all this God Fearing has not helped us to become a better society ?
Burai (Evil) is in our cultural, we will be bad even if we become christian, Jews, Atheists etc
Q.21: Isn’t Religion supposed to make us a better human being ?
Yes it is supposed to but aint, even Muslims good citizens in USA? i can be wrong but think its cultural
Q.22: I take your point. Lets move to a different question. Ahmedis are often criticized of taking benefits from Western Countries such as getting Visas, residences etc in the name of being persecuted in Pakistan. Whats your take on this ?
Thats a very cruel allegation – their persecution is recognized by western countries – people who say this should try living a day in Pakistan as an Ahmedi. I agree many have escaped to Germany, UK, Australia etc.
After a second thought – there are many cases where Sunnis have gained asylum abroad, posing as Ahmedies – happened more earlier now they make sure its really an Ahmedi and not a new convert before accepting the asylum application.
Q.23: Ahmedis are generally well educated, open minded and opposed to the idea of being fundamentalist. What is the reason behind it ?
When persecution was not as intense they excelled in army, civil services, private sector in Pakistan. I think they have the advantage like all small communities of being well knit and also non voilence is inherent in their beliefs
Q.24: Good point. A bit different and sensitive question.
What do you think should happen to Bibi Aasya ?
I think it will linger on and she would spend her life in slammer, I dont think they will kill her. Oh and I wish she is free and lives a normal life