Thursday, 29 May 2008

Ideology of Pakistan

Ideology of Pakistan
Shabir Choudhry

Pakistan emerged as a new State on the map in August 1947, and more than 53 years on still there is a debate as to what is the ideology of Pakistan. Should Pakistan have been an Islamic state or a Muslim state? Did Pakistan's founder, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, envisage a liberal democratic state or a theocratic one? We all know his demand for Pakistan was on Two Nations Theory, but does that mean he wanted to have an Islamic state, or he used this as a slogan to win support for his demand for Pakistan?

Mohammed Ali Jinnah never had any doubts as to what kind of society or government he wanted to have in his new state. Even in 1946, before the emergence of Pakistan, Mr Jinnah in an interview to Mr Doon Cambell, correspondent for Reutre in New Delhi, said:

"The new state would be a modern democratic state with sovereignty resting in the people and the members of the new nation having equal rights of citizenship regardless of their religion, caste or creed". 1

If there was any doubt left in anyone's mind as to what kind of society he wanted to have in Pakistan, he made it quite clear to everyone in the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan on 11 August 1947. In his first address to the Assembly he said:

" Now if you want to make this great state of Pakistan happy and prosperous we should wholly and solely concentrate on the well-being of the people, and especially of the masses and the poor. If you will work in cooperation forgetting the past, burying the hatchet, you are bound to succeed. If you change your past and work together in a spirit that everyone of you, no matter to what community he belongs, no matter what relations he had with you in the past, no matter what is his colour, caste or creed, is first, second and last a citizen of this state with equal rights, privileges and obligations, there will be no end to the progress you will make."

He continued: " You are free, you are free to go to your temples. You are free to go to your mosques or any other place of worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed - that has nothing to do with the business of the State (applaud). We are starting in days when here is no discrimination, no discrimination between one community and another, no discrimination between one caste or creed or another. We are starting with this fundamental principle that we are all citizens and equal citizens of one State" (Louder applause).

….." Now I think you should keep that in front of us as our ideal, and you will find that in course of time, Hindus would cease to be Hindus and Muslims would cease to be Muslims, not in religious sense, because that is the personal faith of each individual but in the political sense as citizens of the State".

I don't think anyone could have been clearer or candid than what Mohammed Ali Jinnah had been, but it is unfortunate that there are some religious groups, some of them even opposed Pakistan at that time, are bent upon on distorting historical facts and making Jinnah's dream into a nightmare. Pakistan which Mr Jinnah created is no longer there, and no one section of the Pakistani community could be blamed for this, but we have to be aware of those who want to make remaining Pakistan into intolerable, violent and disliked place. Of course Mohammed Ali Jinnah did not dream of this kind of Pakistan.

When we say that religion is a personal matter of individuals and in the eyes of state all should be equal, we are accused of being 'socialists, secularists and anti Islam'. But that is exactly what Mohammed Ali Jinnah said. Could anyone challenge what is being quoted above? People will come with statements he made before the emergence of Pakistan and try to show that he wanted to have an Islamic state; and if that was what he wanted who could have stopped him to say it at that time.

Apart from what Mohammed Ali Jinnah said in the Constituent Assembly, on 21 March 1948 in a public meeting in Dahka he said: ' It (Pakistan) does not belong to a Punjabi or a Sindhi or a Bengali, it is yours. Make no mistake: Pakistan is not a theocracy or anything like it. Islam demands from us the tolerance of other creeds and we welcome in closest association with us all those of whatever creed are themselves willing and ready to play their parts as true and loyal citizen of Pakistan'. 2

It is clear from the above that Mohammed Ali Jinnah:

1. Did not want a theocratic government;
2. Wanted a liberal and democratic government;
3. Believed in one Pakistani nation irrespective of creed, religion, sect or cast even though at that time it was expected that about of population would be non - Muslim;
4. Wanted a form of government based on Islamic principles of social justice, brotherhood, tolerance and equality.

And in order to prove what he said and believed, he appointed a Hindu (Mandal) as a member of his Cabinet. What the above discussion proves is that he wanted a state where Muslims are not under political and economic domination of non -Muslims. He wanted a Muslim state - Pakistan - where they could practice above ideals and create a society based on principles of Islamic justice and traditions. What Pakistan has turned out to be is a totally different to what the founder of Pakistan envisaged.

After death of this great man in September 1948, on 25 March 1949 Liaquat Ali Khan, under influence of others, introduced in the Constituent Assembly what was known as the 'Objectives Resolution'. If Liaquat Ali Khan had introduced this during the lifetime of Mohammed Ali Jinnah, he would surely have not allowed it. Justice Muhammad Munir commented on this situation:
'Liaquat Ali Khan knew that the Quaid - I Azam would not agree to any such Resolution as it was directly opposed to the views he had publicly expressed more than once, and it was a complete contradiction of his idea of a modern democratic secular state'. 3

Mohammed Ali Jinnah publicly said that in the new state sovereignty would rest with the people; whereas the Resolution starts with the statement that sovereignty rests with Allah. The Muslim members of the assembly passed this Resolution, but non-Muslim members boycotted the session.

It is interesting to note that all those who later claimed, and still do, to be champions of Islam and Pakistan not only opposed Pakistan but also abused Mohammed Ali Jinnah. One such group even called Quaid -I- Azam as 'Kafir - I Azam', and Jammat - i- Isalmi called Pakistan as "Napakistan". 4 A leader of one such group called Pakistan as 'Palidsatan'. 5 Their dislike of Mohammed Ali Jinnah could be noticed from this that even on his death groups like Jammat - i- Islami, Jamiatul - Ul Ulama -E- Islam and Khaksar did not participate in his funeral. 6

Despite their opposition Pakistan came into being and they came to Pakistan with all their resentment and hatred. And what they have done to the Pakistani society I do not need to say anything on it. Khawaja Nizamuddin described these groups as 'enemies of Pakistan' and said how could they change 'overnight and pose as the monopolists of Islam in a State which it had done its best to prevent from coming into existence'. 7

It is beyond the scope of this article to look into role of these groups, but it was their influence that resulted in the introduction of 'Objectives Resolution'. But after Punjab Disturbances and imposition of Martial Law in some areas resulted in decline of their activities and influence. The Constitution of 1956 called the state Islamic Republic of Pakistan, and then no one heard of Ideology of Pakistan until 1962 when a solitary Jamat - i - Islami member used to word during discussion on Political Parties Bill.

The debate will continue as to what kind of Pakistan Mohammed Ali Jinnah wanted to have; but the fact remains that 'Objectives Resolution' changed fundamental character of the Pakistani society. With passage of time influence of religious parties grew stronger and Mohammed Ali Jinnah's ideals were put in a cold storage; and different people started experiments with his Pakistan. His Pakistan could not survive these experiments, but people are bent upon to continue with their experiments what remains of his 'Pakistan'.

People who love Pakistan and admire Mohammed Ali Jinnah's ideals are worried because rise of religious fanaticism is contrary to interest of Pakistan and his dream of Pakistan. Their fear is that this growing threat could create more problems for Pakistan and its people.

It is also worrying to people of Kashmir. It is by using name of Islam that these powers and groups demand Kashmir to be a part of Pakistan. Kashmir has different history and culture to Pakistan. Kashmir has mutli - religious and multi - ethnic society, and People believe in liberal and democratic values. They oppose extremism of all kinds and want to have tolerant and harmonious society.

Kashmiri people are worried because social fabrics of the Kashmiri society have been destroyed. Rise of fundamentalism and extremism has not only changed character of their struggle for independence, but danger is that it might turn Kashmir into another Afghanistan. It is with that in mind I wrote this article to remind the people of Pakistan that Mohammed Ali Jinnah believed in liberal and democratic society. And if forces of extremism are not checked then it would not only be disastrous for Kashmir but it would pose a great threat to civil society of Pakistan.


1. 'From Jinnah to Zia', by Chief Justice (Retired) Muhammad Munir, page 29
2. 'Ideology of Pakistan' Javed Iqbal page 4
3. 'From Jinnah to Zia', by Chief Justice (Retired) Muhammad Munir, page 36
4. ibid, page 55
5. ibid, page 38
6. ibid, page 35
7. Punjab Disturbances Report page 257

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Allama Mashriqi despite political differences with Jinnah, attended Quaid-e-Azams's funeral.

For more information about Allama Mashriqi: