The Curious Case Of Tarek Fatah

Unless you’re fairly active on Twitter, and/or have a genuine interest in expat Pakistanis who are active within sociopolitical circles, you might not be aware of who Tarek Fatah is. Originally from Karachi but now based in Canada, he writes a regular column for one of the country’s largest newspapers and has a frequent broadcast presence. In addition to this, he is a staunch critic of virtually everything Pakistan.

His criticism of Pakistan has its merits. However there are times where the gap between the truth and what Tarek Fatah perceives to be the truth is larger than the Grand Canyon.  But this isn’t about his one track mind towards Pakistan; this is about a recent development in neighbouring India. Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor welcomed their first child into this world, and they named him Taimur. It all appeared to be normal, with the odd lunatic disgusted at the choice of a ‘Muslim’ name for their kid. But then Tarek Fatah went on a rampage and even penned down an article for the First Post on the mentioned issue.

This is an almost 70-year-old man throwing a tantrum over what two Bollywood celebrities decide to name their child. That, ladies and gentlemen, was the most critical issue facing the world that day. Or so Tarek Fatah would have you believe. But this isn’t the first time he shot from the hip.

In the past, he has accused Muhammad Ali Jinnah of pedophilia and statutory rape because he married the teenage Ruttie Jinnah.

The union was not usual of course, since Jinnah was in his 40s and Ruttie was only 18 when the two got married. But it does require an immense penchant of ridiculousness to be the first, and to date, the only man to accuse Jinnah of such severe sexual crimes.

This was not enough of course. He has also held Jinnah responsible for the spread of Islamic nationalism across the globe

But this should not come as a surprise once one does only a slight bit of research and dwells into the epic contradictions of Tarek Fatah’s career.

Tarek is a self-proclaimed Marxist, which means that if being buried at Highgate Cemetery didn’t make Karl Marx turn in his grave, then the thought of Tarek Fatah supposedly adhering to his worldview definitely will. He openly lent his support behind Stephen Harper’s right wing policies during Canada’s 2015 general elections, claiming that he did so because no else foresaw the threat of Islamism. Harper’s electoral campaign was built on division, and had a very visible negative vibe to it from his proposed policies to arguments against political opponents. While no one downplays the threat of radical Islam and the need to counter it, Stephen Harper was severely admonished in progressive circles across the globe. The fact that Tarek Fatah used his stance on Islam as the sole reason behind letting his pseudo-social democratic principles go not only speak volumes of his own credibility, it also sheds light on his naïve answers to the problem Islam faces today.

If lending support for Harper wasn’t enough, Tarek Fatah urged Americans to vote for Trump in the 2016 US elections. Karl Marx must rue the day Tarek got his hands on Das Kapital.

Criticism of Islam and Pakistan is fair. There are individuals who do that on a much more regular basis than Tarek Fatah, but their reasoning has solid foundations that are not restricted to the one brush Tarek Fatah paints all his arguments with. His arguments reek of childish grudges that he has held on to ever since he left the country after being imprisoned by military regimes, insisting that there is not a single ray of hope when it comes to Islam, or more importantly, Pakistan.

Of course modern day Islam and Pakistan have substantial problems that need to be fixed. But the way to do that is by having an objective analysis, not by the narrow-one-track-minded approach Tarek Fatah has taken throughout his career

This  post was originally published on the Express Tribune Blogs on December 24, 2016.

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