September Issue 2013
For many years now, and especially after the recent circus in Islamabad when a lone gunman brought the entire capital to a halt and made the city’s police look like clowns, people have been wondering what exactly is wrong with Pakistan. Babar Ayaz’s new book, titled What’s Wrong with Pakistan? is perfectly timed and could not have had a more appropriate title. The veteran journalist launched his book in Karachi at Lalazar’s Beach Luxury Hotel in a ceremony organised by Liberty Books and co-hosted by Byram Avari.
The event was well-attended and the audience comprised journalists, Babar Ayaz’s colleagues, friends and family and others who are interested in the fate of this country.
Babar Ayaz began the event by reading a passage from his book describing the dire straits that Pakistan finds itself in and how dismally the rest of the world views the country. Following the reading, a two-man panel comprising freelance journalist and author Asif Noorani and The News editor Amir Zia held a question-answer session with him.
Zia described the author’s views as “bold” and “courageous,” especially his assertion that Pakistan was “born with a genetic defect,” rooted in the communal, two-nation theory. This subsequently led to the use of Islam as a tool to achieve political ends by assorted leaders, resulting in the unbridled growth of mosques, madrassahs and jihadi groups. According to one estimate, there are 12,448 madrassahs and 1.6 million male students in them, which means there is one mullah for 225 Pakistanis as compared to one doctor for 3,400 persons.
Asked for a solution to the current malaise of Pakistan, the author said it can be cured by engineering this defect out of the country’s body, mainly through the secularisation of the state and society and through friendly relations with India.
After the panel concluded the Q&A session, light snacks and tea were served while Ayaz signed copies of the book, the first edition of which has reportedly sold out.