I lived in Pakistan from April 1985 to September 1990 under the name of Yahya Abdullah. However, I want to stress that I do not recommend that reverts to Islam should travel to Pakistan seeking religious knowledge unless they are willing to be guided by the teachings of respected scholars such as Mufti Shaykh Muhammad Taqi Usmani, who is one of the leaders of Darul Uloom Karachi.
Darul Uloom is a madrasa (college, school) in Karachi that was founded by Mufti Shaykh Muhammad Shafi, the father of Mufti Shaykh Muhammad Taqi Usmani, after the family migrated from Deoband in India to Karachi in 1948.
Mufti Shaykh Muhammad Shafi was one of the leading lights at the Darul Uloom in Deoband – the seat of learning for the Chisti Tariqa. The latter is one of the main schools of tasawwuff (sufism) in Sunni Islam.
If a revert strongly feels in need of travelling to Pakistan for religious guidance then I would urge them to make contact with the Darul Uloom in Karachi on their arrival and be guided by their advice about where to go and stay.
Rasoolullah (sall-Allahu alayhi wa-sallam - may the blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) warned believers to keep good company and it is essential for reverts to heed that advice if they are visiting Pakistan.
While living in Pakistan, I concluded that even though the vast majority of the people believed in Islam there were some who, though professing Islam, were secretly fighting the religion.
If you go there you do not under any circumstances want to fall into the hands of such people. They can do untold damage to your Imam (faith).
All I can say is that if you have reverted to Islam and you are hoping to find a Shaykh who will guide you rightly I would try to find one in Australia.
There are many pious Muslims in Sydney and Melbourne who can set you on the straight path in Islam – there is no need to go overseas to learn the religion.
I should explain that I had gone to Pakistan with the intention of migrating there. I believed it was a Muslim country and that I would be safe.
My application for Pakistani citizenship was rejected, probably because I didn’t have enough money. The Pakistan Government wanted a surety – or deposit if you wish – of 500,000 Rupees and I could not afford to pay it.
In my final year of living in Pakistan I worked in Karachi. Among other things, I interviewed a renowned filmmaker by the name of Mushtaq Gazdar for both Dawn – Pakistan’s most successful independent English newspaper - and MAG, a popular English-language weekly.
Gazdar was a well-known documentary filmmaker and had won various awards. The story I wrote for Dawn was about a documentary called The Killer. It highlighted the social effects of heroin addiction, focussing on the poor in Pakistan. It was published in Dawn’s Friday Magazine on December the 08th 1989. A copy of the story appears on my page headed Dawn interview Mushtaq Gazdar.
One of the stories I wrote for MAG was about another documentary Gazdar had made about the lack of educational opportunity for girls. It was published in MAG on the 14th of June 1990.
What is not included in either story are off-the-record remarks Gazdar made that he had been accused of being a Communist – a slur he said on his reputation which had arisen only because he was trying to highlight social injustices in Pakistan.
At the time I said I would not publish his remarks because he feared retaliation, but it does not matter now because he is dead. He died on the 15th of November 2000. A copy of the story I wrote for MAG about his documentary appears on my pages headed:
· MAG interview Mushtaq Gazdar – 1
· MAG interview Mushtaq Gazdar – 2
· MAG interview Mushtaq Gazdar – 3
· MAG interview Mushtaq Gazdar – 4
I also interviewed the Karachi Amir of the Jamaat-i-Islami, Syed Munawaar Hasan for MAG.
The interview was published in MAG on the 17th of May 1990. A copy of the story can be seen on my pages MAG interview Karachi Amir 1- 4. The links are:
· MAG interview Karachi Amir - 1
· MAG interview Karachi Amir - 2
· MAG interview Karachi Amir - 3
· MAG interview Karachi Amir - 4
Other stories I wrote for MAG include:
An interview with the Mayor of Karachi, Dr Farooq Sattar, headed ‘Water key issue facing Sattar’. It was published in MAG on the 12th of April 1990. Click the links 1-5 MAG Mayor of Karachi to read the story.
When I first arrived in Karachi I contacted Dawn and was offered work as a freelance journalist. I wrote several stories for them. The first was:
Antiquarian books at risk KMC needs funds urgently. It was published in DAWN’s Friday Magazine on the 17th of November 1989.
Since DAWN was a broadsheet and I don’t have an A3 scanner I have scanned the story in two files.
The links to the story are:
· DAWN Antiquarian books - 1
· DAWN Antiquarian books – 2
I also wrote a story for Dawn headed ‘So, you don’t like Pakistan, eh?’ It was in two parts:
· So you don’t like Pakistan - 1
· So you don't like Pakistan - 2
Other stories I wrote for Dawn were:
· ‘Command performance at auction rooms’: 24 November 1989. To read the story click DAWN command performance.
· ‘Drugs – a dirty word, a dirty war’. It was published in the paper’s Live Issues column on the 15th of December 1989. To read the story click DAWN Drugs – a dirty word, a dirty war.
· ‘If you want to get steamed up – travel PR’. It was published as the lead story for Dawn’s Friday Magazine on the 30th March 1990. To read the story click DAWN travel PR - 1 and DAWN travel PR - 2.
Even though I had held clerical positions and did casual work as a taxi driver to supplement my income, most of my working life in Melbourne had been spent as a journalist.
I had my first story published as a freelance in The Age in Melbourne on the 19th of October 1968. It was headed ‘An actor’s dream’. Click on the link ‘The Age An actor’s dream’ to read a copy.
Another story headed ‘A LONG WAY FROM 3 QUID A WEEK’ was published in The Age on the 18th of January 1969. To read a copy click ‘The Age A long way from 3 quid’.
Because of my age I was too old for a cadetship and started my career in the media as a freelance. I was a sub-editor for much of the time, but also worked as a reporter.
Ian C. Calderwood:
Formerly published on quran-e-hakim.com at Newcastle, NSW on 05 May 2022.
Restored at Lakemba, NSW, on quran-e-hakim.net on 02 March 23.
Rewritten and reposted at Lakemba, NSW, on quran-e-hakim.net on 30 March 23.
Amended and reposted at Lakemba, NSW, on quran-e-hakim.net on 01 April 23.
Published at Lakemba, NSW, on quran-e-hakim.com on 01 April 23 BUT DELETED PENDING A REWRITE.
RESTORED TO QURAN-E-HAKIM.COM ON 10 August 23 BUT IT NEEDED TO BE REWRITTEN. HOWEVER, I WAS TOO ILL TO DO SO AT THE TIME.
EDITED AT LAKEMBA 23 Aug 23