Atif Mian fiasco is over. Yet the self-identified liberals in Pakistan seem to be vindicated. To their credit, they have been successful in tossing out a new terminology which according to them is unfairly thriving in our motherland – Religious Meritocracy. Yet, they don’t realize that this country is far more liberal and tolerant compared to other human right champions of the world. For such self-identified liberals, only their sentiments are pledged as sentiments – the opinion of the other segment of society is identified as righteous and the people associated with the opposing outlook are conveniently labelled as fundamentals or mullahs. The dilemma is very simple and hypocritical – for instance, if you are caught drinking alcohol openly in a public space, our self-identified liberals will expediently argue that this is the breach of your privacy, and you are entitled to a little free time yourself. Take the example of Mr. Sharjeel Memon. On the contrary, if someone is attending an Islamic madrasah, the preconceived notion of our self-identified liberals is that the person is becoming an outlier to the society. The notion of liberalism has its own distinction. However, the rise of selected liberalism in our society is questioning us to review the landscape of liberalism viewpoint through its own merit. Truth of the matter is that we try to determine societal fault lines through our preconceived or imperfectly developed notions. This problem can be resolved fairly if we can bring together our polarized perspectives, and integrate them into a larger, more unified understanding of the reality. The case of Atif Mian is a recent object of self-identified liberalism in Pakistan. Our newly elected PTI led government initially decided to appoint Atif Mian to its Economic Advisory Council. Atif Mian is an accomplished economist and co-author of the book ‘House of Debt’. His appointment to the advisory post was symbolic to the supremacy of merit in our country. A person of his calibre and intellect deserves to be part of the nation’s highest economic platform. Nonetheless, it was decided later to take his name out of the Economic Advisory Council based on his religious beliefs. Justly so, any religious belief should not have a detrimental influence on the supremacy of the law. The religious belief that Atif keeps is entitled to him, and it should be respected in its own domain This subsequent act of the removal of Atif Mian from the National Economic Advisory Council has violated the liberalist worldview that societies deserve to have in the context of religious equality. Justly so, any religious belief should not have a detrimental influence on the supremacy of the law. The religious belief that Atif keeps is entitled to him, and it should be respected in its own domain. However, let’s not discount the other side of the story. Atif Mian has shared the story of his religious conversion from Sunni Islam to Ahamaddiah. In his narration, he refers that his parents opposed his conversion. However, Atif Mian’s self-conviction led him to convert from his original religious belief that was passed on to him through birth. The inclination towards his self-explored belief has led him to be vocal about his religious views in the public space. To the extent, he is spreading Ahamaddiah teaching in various public gatherings. In fairness to the matter, he has the right to practice and spread his religious findings. Apparently, when our beliefs are invested in something greater than ourselves, these beliefs create reduced awareness of error in one’s self. This is the notion which our self-identified liberals have failed to understand so far. A conflict of interest arises when religion and politics are inseparable. In this case, it is Atif Mian who is knowingly unknown to the controversy. He has brought the discussion of religion on the forefront of governance and politics. And this is where our self-identified liberals are unknowingly known to the gravity of the issue. This becoming a typical case of liberalism – in the name of religion. The writer is a PhD student at the University of Waterloo and is a graduate of the University of Waterloo School of Environment, Enterprise, and Development. He is interested in issues of social justice, political economy and environmental management Published in Daily Times, October 3rd 2018.