Among the two hundred million (most of them virtually illiterate) citizens of Pakistan, there is usually a simple explanation for natural disasters. The late Qazi Hussain Ahmed, who was unusually well-read for a mullah, once said that earthquakes are caused by our sinful ways. So I wrote in a newspaper asking him why quakes occur on the moon as well as under the oceans, even though there are no humans there (and therefore no one to commit sins). Of course he had no answer, but one of his followers did. He said fish can also indulge in sins (!), while there must be living things on the moon committing adultery. This is what Bhutto's nationalization of schools and Zia's hatred of science has done: our graduates are just like the illiterate peasants who are multiplying like flies.

Maulana Fazlur Rahman is another one who has a simple explanation for why earthquakes happen: girls wearing jeans. According to his primitive mindset, girls who wear jeans are more likely to think about sex most of the time. I wonder why he doesn't blame males for earthquakes, as most male teenagers talk about sex and nothing but sex when they're not stuffing themselves with fast food. Come to think of it, why don't earthquakes happen in the U.S. and Europe, where (according to another Jamat-e-Islami member I know) most men and women indulge in adultery? The usual answer is that they will rot in hell in the hereafter, while most good Muslims (those who are not responsible for causing earthquakes) will enjoy the fruits of heaven. 

Can the mullahs explain why innocent people are killed along with the sinful ones in earthquakes? In the 2004 earthquake which killed thousands in northern Pakistan, I don't think there were many who indulged in illicit sex. Of course, there may have been some who were homosexuals when they were young, and no doubt among the dead there were a few gay men, but why did the earthquake strike a place where probably ninety nine percent of men and women are pious, god-fearing Muslims? I doubt if Maulana Fazlur Rahman or Siraj-ul-Haq have a satisfactory explanation.