PAKISTAN: The Mad Mullahs
For two days last week, a wild mob ruled the Pakistan city of Lahore (pop. 849,000). Surging through the streets, hungry Moslems stoned and stabbed police, burned buses and automobiles, ripped up railroad tracks, cut telegraph wires, smashed traffic lights and forcibly blackened the faces of anyone caught riding a bicycle or automobile. All shops closed and public officials fled. The city’s 300 police, disarmed by the mob, were withdrawn from the streets. All communication with the outside world was cut off.
It was a minor revolution which swept this capital of the fertile Punjab province—a revolution engineered by fanatical mullahs against the Pakistan government. Five and a half years ago, when millions of frightened refugees were pouring into newly created Pakistan, the mullahs were the people’s leaders. They had a strong voice in the government. But when the country began establishing industries, hospitals, schools and banks, the mullahs protested that these innovations clashed with Islamic law. When Pakistani women shed their veils and emerged from purdah (complete seclusion in the home), the more fanatic mullahs were outraged. When the time came for Pakistan to draw up a constitution, the mullahs demanded that it be based on the Koran. (Result: Pakistan, a nation of 76 million, is still without a constitution.) The government of Prime Minister Kwaja Nazimuddin avoided an open clash with religious leaders, but paid less attention to their counsel. Continue reading