Zaman states: "You mention you had strong ties with the Agha Khan foundation in Chitral."
I have never said that I have strong ties with the Aga Khan Foundation in Chitral. What I said is that I have a friend who is employed by the Aga Khan Foundation in Chitral. I know for a fact that my friend is not a Aga Khani (even though it is not always easy to be sure because the Aga Khanis often try to disguise themselves).
My friend holds his position because he has both a law degree and an engineering degree.
The Aga Khan (their spelling, not mine) is not merely a religious leader. He is also the Chairman of the UN High Commission on Refugees. There have been between 20,000 and 30,000 Afghan Refugees in Chitral. For that reason, the Aga Khan Foundation set up a headquarters there, to help provide for these refugees. Not only did these efforts save numerous lives by providing shelter in the form of tents as well as grain, but it enabled the mujahidin groups successfully to conduct the war (although there is difference of opinion as to whether they have really been successful).
The Aga Khan Foundation, of course, did everything possible to keep out of the war. It just provided humanitarian aid
Again, I am not a follower or a believer in the Aga Khan. I do not even know his name (except that I think that his name is Karim.)
I have never hid the fact that I feel that I have connections with the Afghan Mujahidin. To the contrary, I am proud of it. However, in reality, probably most of the Afghan Mujahidin who knew me back in the late 1970s and early 1980s are now dead. My connection with these people arose from the fact that I was in jail with some of them. I was in Demazang, Puli Charqi, Jalalabad Mahbas, Lashkargah Mahbas and three other jails in Afghanistan. Approximately 50% of my fellow prisoners were executed. I was one of the fortunate few who lived to tell about it. None of my fellow prisoners in Puli Charqi or Demazang were ever seen alive again, but several of my fellow prisoners in Jalalabad Mahbas I met later on in Pakistan, either in Chitral or in Peshawar.
I helped numerous Afghan refugees come to America. More than 100 are here now as a direct or indirect result of my efforts.
Next, Zaman goes on to wonder which Afghan language I speak. He wants to know whether I speak Pashto or Pakhto.
I recognize that there are about 45 languages in Afghanistan, but I can speak almost all of the major ones, badly, but just enough to get along. My method is that if I am speaking to someone who speaks Farsi, then I talk to him in Pashto. On the other hand, if I am speaking to someone who speaks Pashto, I talk to him in Farsi. Finally, if I am speaking to someone who knows both Farsi and Pashto well, I talk to him in Chitrali. This always works, because almost nobody but me can speak Chitrali, except for the people who are actually from there.
In this way, nobody who I am speaking to can figure out where I am actually from, which is America.
Next, Zaman seems to imply that because of this I must be either 1) A Christian Missionary 2) An American CIA agent or 3) A member of some small pseudo Islamic sect such as the Ismailis or Qadianis.
Contrary to what Zaman seems to think, I did not learn all this from being trained by the CIA. I learned this in jail. Get locked up with a bunch of people who can speak only Farsi and Pashto and cannot speak any English at all and you too will learn to speak those languages. Try it some time!
I am certainly not a Christian Missionary. Were I one of those, my daughter would not have been kidnapped by a Christian fundamentalist group. I have heard of the Qadianis but I have no idea what they believe in. The only thing I know about the Ismailis is that their leader is at least 75% Italian and is the 37th direct descendant of the Prophet Mohammed, may peace be upon him. I also know that the name Ismaili has something to do with a disagreement as to which son inherited the mantle when the 6th Imam of the Shia's, Imam Jaffer, died. The eldest son was named Ismail, but most did not follow him.
Getting to more substantive matters, Zaman says: Why is it that Honzagool's brothers angrily stormed in and replaced her veil?
Those two men were not the brothers of Honzagool. They were the brothers of each other. When I refer several times to the "two brothers", I meant the two men, whose names I neglected to record, who live in Village Sinlasht, which is about 35 miles from the home of Honzagool, which is a far distance in these mountain areas.
Those two brothers were blood relations of Honzagool, but very distant relations, not more than second or third cousins.
This meeting was not conducted by strangers, as Zaman suggests. The meeting was arraigned by Prince Mohay-ud-Din, who was both a relative and a neighbor of Honzagool, in addition to being the District Council Chairman of Chitral plus a member of Parliament and later the Minister of State of Pakistan. It was Prince Mohay-ud-Din who had my wife brought from her small village of Damik 30 miles to Chitral Proper for this meeting.
Here is the blood relationship between Prince Mohay-ud-Din and my wife, Honzagool:
Mehtar Aman-ul-Mulk had 13 surviving sons when he died in 1892, shortly after approving the Durand Treaty to which Zaman apparently also objects. One of the eldest sons was named Bahram-ul-Mulk. He probably would have become the ruler of Chitral, but he was the first one killed in the fratricide which took place to decide who would succeed Aman-ul-Mulk. The son of Bahram-ul-Mulk was Aram-e-Mulk. The daughter of Aram-e-Mulk was the grandmother of my wife, Honzagool.
The youngest surviving son of Mehtar Aman-ul-Mulk was Shah Shuja-ul-Mulk, who eventually became the ruler of Chitral, after almost all of the other brothers had killed each other off. Prince Mohay-ud-Din is the grandson of Shah Shuja-ul-Mulk.
Therefore, by counting, we can see that my wife, Honzagool, is the second cousin two generations removed of Prince Mohay-ud-Din. Clearly, he had the right to call this meeting. In addition, he had known my wife since she was a child and had often supplied grain to her family, as her father had died.
For this reason, there was no reason for my wife to wear the burqah that she was wearing when she spoke to Prince Mohay-ud-Din.
Finally, and most importantly, Honzagool was my wife. Those two distant second or third cousins, whoever they were, who broke into the meeting, had no authority to be there at all. The fact that one of them actually put his hands on my wife and dragged her out the door to stop her from reconciling with me was a vial breech of the rules of Islam.
Zaman also questions whether I am really a Muslim. The fact is that I have studied the Koran and know it in great detail. I have also studied the great works of Islamic religious law. I am a haji. When I went to Mecca, the guards of the Qabba asked me a lot of questions to see whether I really knew Islam, before allowing me to pass. My haj visa was personally ordered by Shaikh Abdul Aziz Bin Baz, the religious leader of Saudi Arabia. When I was in jail in Afghanistan, most of my fellow prisoners were mullahs who gave me religious instruction. The top mullahs of Afghanistan were my fellow prisoners. Most of them were killed. Before being allowed to marry my wife in Pakistan, I had to answer all kinds of questions to demonstrate that I knew the Koran backwards and forwards. Naturally, with the training I have received, I could easily pass every test.
But the main point is: Who is this Zaman to question me on this at all? He has no right. I also have no right to question him. Only God has the right to ask and answer these questions.
Zaman also states: "I am close friends with the in-laws of another prominent prince of Chitral." He apparently thinks that he has got one up on me. But, I know who he is talking about. A prince of Chitral does in fact have in-laws in Dallas. I am closely affiliated with this prince and his name is mentioned in my article. If Zaman thinks he is going to find some important person from Chitral who does not know me, he is simply wrong. They all know me.
Finally, Zaman states: "I actually felt sorry for you when I started reading." This brings us to the most important point. I am not asking for anybody to feel sorry for me. There is no reason to feel sorry for me. In the first place, I am still alive in the face of lots of people like Zaman who would like to see me dead. The person whom one should feel sorry for is my kidnapped daughter, Shamema, who has been kidnapped by Christian fundamentalists and taken far away from both her mother and her father.
And why has this been allowed to happen? It has happened precisely because of people like Zaman. These so-called Muslims keep fighting and killing each other, overlooking who is the real enemy. The Soviets would have been driven from Afghanistan in a matter of months had the mujahidin simply united and fought against the Russians. Instead, the mujahidin spent most of their time fighting each other, which is precisely the reason why I disconnected myself from them.
By contrast, the Jerry Falwell Group which kidnapped my daughter and are holding her prisoner in Lynchburg, Virginia are united. They know that they have a common enemy, which is us. That is why it is because of people like Zaman that they have been able to hold and keep my daughter.
Mohammad Ismail Sloan
More than 100 articles have appeared about this in the newspapers of Pakistan. The Pakistan press refused to publish my side of the story and continues to refuse to do so to this day. For a typical example of one of those articles, see: Daily Nawa-i-Waqt for 6 October 1983 .
For a photo of Honzagool being prepared for marriage to me, see: Preparations for Marriage .For two other photos of Honzagool, see: Honzagool . For a photo of the family of Honzagool, see: Family of Honzagool in Chitral, Pakistan . For a photo of me and of our daughter Shamema, see: Shamema .
For other photos see: