The below is a letter to the editor that was not published today by the Observer:
When Benazir Bhutto’s father was executed by General Zia-ul-Haq, no western commentator could have pointed to the Islamist generalissimo as a herald of Social justice and expect to get away with it.
Yet this is precisely how William Dalrymple now explains and apologises for the “rise” of the Islamic right in Pakistan (“Pakistan’s flawed and feudal princess”, 30 December). The Jamaat-e-Islami were Zia’s most fervent and violent supporters; more recently they threatened to resign their assembly seats if Zia’s notorious Hudood ordinances on rape (whereby a rape victim could be stoned if she could not produce four male witnesses) were changed; and today
their totalitarian manifesto includes the death penalty for anyone who leaves Islam.
In any sane political discourse, uncoloured by cultural relativism, this politics is fascistic. The political Islamic movement offers the Pakistani people and the Middle East nothing that they haven’t already suffered under Zia, Musharraf or any pro-western dictatorship.
Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain