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KARACHI: The power that religious zealots have in Pakistan is indeed amazing. To build mosques and madrassas, they have occupied not only state land (as in Block 5 of Clifton, Karachi), but also private plots in Block 6 of PECHS. Four years ago, I moved into a new building managed by the Defence Housing Authority, and even though there is a magnificent mosque just five minutes’ walk away, some residents decided to build a mosque in the children’s garden and play area in the compound.
The reason given was that the imam of the mosque outside the building is one of those whose beliefs are a bit different from those of the drivers who work in our building and because of this, the drivers had to go to a mosque which is three kilometres away, which wasted a lot of petrol. Even though only about 20 or 30 people use the mosque regularly, they occupied more space this Ramazan, ostensibly to accommodate more worshippers but actually to house a madrassa. The children in our apartment complex have been deprived of most of their playing area.
Shakir Lakhani
Published in The Express Tribune, August 24th, 2013.

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