Islamic extremism is a problem. If you can’t speak the truth, sit at home: Tarek Fatah tells Pak authors

“Why Osama bin Laden and Mullah Omar stayed in Pakistan? Why Dawood Ibrahim stays in Pakistan? Why doesn’t he stay in Tunisia?” Fatah questioned.

Published: November 22, 2015 10:20 am

Enraged by Pakistani-origin Canadian writer Tarek Fatah’s critical remarks about their country, two Pakistani writers on Friday walked out of the inaugural session of the Indore Literary Festival.

“Islamic extremism is a problem. If you (writers) have to deal with it, then learn to speak the truth. If you don’t have the courage to speak it, then better sit at your home and sell onions and tomatoes,” Fatah said addressing the session on ‘Religious Extremism and Contemporary Times’.

“Why Osama Bin Laden and Mullah Omar stayed in Pakistan? Why Dawood Ibrahim stays in Pakistan? Why doesn’t he stay in Tunisia?” Fatah questioned.

The 65-year-old writer also said that after the partition, Gujarati, Kacchi, Sindhi and Balochi languages were “killed” in Karachi.

“Today in this city (Karachi) neither a single Gujarati writer is present nor is there any (Gujarati) newspaper… Parsis and Bohras have left the city permanently,” he said.

“In India, states were created on the basis of language. But in our country, Pakistan, ban was imposed on Sindhi, Gujarati, Balochi and Pashto. Even a majority community language, Bengali, was banned,” he said.

Urdu, which was born in India and had nothing to do with Pakistan, was imposed on Pakistanis, Fatah said, adding that Punjabi writers in Pakistan are forced to write in English.

However, Fatah’s remarks did not go down well with Pakistani critic Mubin Mirza and poet Ambreen Haseeb, both of whom staged a walk-out from the venue.

“He (Fatah) came here to spread hatred against Pakistan. Just because of one Mullah Omar or Osama Bin Laden he cannot describe all the Pakistanis as terrorists. This is not fair. If he speaks against Pakistan, we will protest,” Mirza said.

Dismissing the charge of killing local languages, Mirza said, “Three Gujarati newspapers are published from Karachi. Sindhi and Punjabi newspapers too are published. The writers in Karachi are running a campaign to promote different mother tongues,” he said.

Mirza also said that one shouldn’t promote atmosphere of despair among the people, created by the situation and the politics, but “must keep the hope alive that India and Pakistan will ultimately be able to spread love” one day.

Ambreen also expressed strong displeasure over Fatah’s speech. “Things will not be resolved by abusing each other. We have not arrived here to listen to abuse,” she said.

Both of them later agreed not to boycott the festival after being requested by the organisers and took part in other sessions.

The festival will continue till November 22.

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  1. A
    Apr 2, 2016 at 2:13 pm
    ISL may be a creation of America but they use muslims knowing fully well that this is the only religion who are fanatics to the core and can easily be misguided. What is happening in stan? Arent they muslims? Are taliban not muslims?
    1. M
      Mar 6, 2016 at 1:19 am
      LOL.....ROFL.....Good one....
      1. M
        Dec 28, 2015 at 6:00 am
        Mate The burden of proof is on Muslims. Can you prove that all these terrorist acts are due to Americans, Jews and Indians?
        1. A
          Abdul Aziz
          Nov 22, 2015 at 9:53 am
          Tarek Fatah mostly raking up dirty past to destroy the future ....he is quite selective in his opinion with generalize with every Muslim
          1. Rashid Qadri
            Nov 22, 2015 at 6:08 am
            I honestly don't believe "Osama Bin Laden" was in stan. American said he was, did anyone seen it ? In fact the death of Osama bin Laden gave rise to various conspiracy theories, hoaxes and rumors. Think for a second that the most wanted man in the world and his death by US military disposal of body at sea, the decision to not release any photographic or DNA evidence of bin Laden's death to the public if its not a joke then what. I thought both Indian's and stani folk's are one of the intelligent breed in the world and for them to understand this conspiracy is not so difficult. Looks like you guys dont want to put a little pressure on your head and just want to swear and start an insult war between each other.... About Dawood Ibrahim. Who has seen him in stan?? Those fake phone audio recordings from RAW ? really ?? open your vision and don't believe any of those. Same with Mullah Umer, some believe he's in Afghanistan and some says he's in stan. There's no evidence if he is dead or alive and about his whereabouts. Guys, please understand Mr. Tarek Fateh has always been a staunch critic of stan and this is his primarily source of income because of the pority he has gained for all the controversies. I have sympathies for him and his family as he's on death bed fighting critical stage of cancer. Despite what he says and thinks about stan I still wish him and his family the best at this difficult time.
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