Sunday, 8 April 2012

Confusion about ideology of Pakistan, Dr Shabir Choudhry

Confusion about ideology of Pakistan
Dr Shabir Choudhry 09 April 2012

Mohammed Ali Jinnah’s Pakistan could not survive the experiments the Pakistani politicians, establishment and the army were doing with this country, which was established in holy name of Islam. However, many historians and analysts strongly believe that the real purpose of establishing this country was not to advance cause of Islam but to divide the Muslims of the Indian Sub Continent; and serve the interest of the West, which rulers of Pakistan have sincerely done since 1947.

If we impartially study and analyse the tragic history of Pakistan since 1947, and the services the ruling class have rendered to the West, (of course they have done that for material and political gains) there is a lot of sense in the above contention. Soon after the establishment of Pakistan, its founder Mohammed Ali Jinnah gave a different message to what he and his Muslim League had been espousing. Mohammed Ali Jinnah, while addressing the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan on August 11, 1947 said:

"You are free, free to go to your temples; you are free to go to your mosques or to any other places of worship in this state of Pakistan…. Now I think we should keep that in front of us as our ideal and you will find that in the course of time Hindus would cease to be Hindus and Muslims would cease to be Muslims, not in the religious sense, because that is the personal faith of each individual, but in the political sense as citizens of the State". 1

This statement of Mohammed Ali Jinnah clearly demonstrates that he did not want a theocratic or Islamic State; and that name of Islam was only used to motivate Muslim masses for establishment of Pakistan. To support that view point, I produce another reference. After the Punjab disturbances in 1953, Justice Munir was appointed the head of court enquiry to find out the reasons for this. In his report:

'Justice Munir reached the conclusion that Jinnah believed in the equality of all citizens without regard to religious differences. He believed that religion should not interfere in political matters because religion is a matter of personal faith. Jinnah wanted Pakistan to be a modern Muslim national state'. 2

It is sad that 63 years after the establishment of Pakistan, people of Pakistan; and especially thinkers and writers are still debating as to why Pakistan was created. This debate unfortunately has been taken over or dominated by those who opposed the creation of Pakistan. One view is that those forces which could not win political wisdom of Mohammed Ali Jinnah; and they are now taking revenge from the State he established by creating chaos and by promoting hatred and intolerance.

Despite lofty claims that Pakistan was created in name of Islam and came in to being in holy month of Ramadan, and was to prove a fort of Islam, wrong policies, injustice and selfish attitude of politicians and rulers resulted in break up of Mohammed Ali Jinnah’s Pakistan. Religion alone did not prove to be strong enough to hold Pakistan together, because those who were at the helm of affairs lacked vision and leadership qualities; and oppressed and suffering people wanted to have their own way. Nayyer Khan, in his article Coup against secularism wrote:
‘Mujeeb was disliked by the establishment not only on account of his being an Ultra-Nationalist; but also a Secularist and a Socialist. It was unambiguously stated in Awami League’s manifesto that the Fundamentals of Pakistan’s constitution would be Secular, besides con-federal……The fall of East Pakistan not only saw the loss of the Eastern half of Pakistan; but also the lost opportunity of making Pakistan a secular country – a potential development that would have not only saved it from the disaster that it is presently going through; but also the much bigger one foreseeable ahead, when the Taliban may finally take over Pakistan. 3
Although wrong policies of the ruling elide of Pakistan resulted in humiliating defeat for Pakistan; however, rulers of Pakistan and the Pakistani elite did not learn any lessons from this great tragedy. Policies enacted in late 1970s and 1980s are here to haunt Pakistan; and have seriously endangered stability, prosperity and future of the remaining Pakistan.

It is not that people of Pakistan are not intelligent and loyal to their country; but tragedy is that those responsible for formulating Pakistan’s policy and endowed with the responsibility of defending frontiers of the country are still living in the past. Their thinking and mindset has not changed. Perhaps some of them mentally still live in the Cold war era; and still their thinking and actions are influenced by politics of that period.

It is true that history is never true reflection of the past events; and even an article or a book on current affairs do not accurately reflect true situation, as we all have different views and tend to espouse those views. However, tragedy is that in Pakistan deliberate efforts are officially made to hide facts and systematically spread lies, extremism and hatred; and that has deeply divided the society on religious, regional and sectarian lines.

Most of the problems of Pakistan are created by selfish rulers and religious parties known as Ghairat Brigade, who lack support at the ballot box, but want to impose their agenda by using name of religion. They erroneously believe that they are the only people who are loyal and sincere with Pakistan; and only they know what needs to be done to make Pakistan stable, prosperous and strong. However, fact is that their policies have divided the Pakistani society, created economic chaos and given a bad name to Pakistan at the international level.

It is widely believed that this so-called Ghairat Brigade or religious groups were financed by CIA to create a situation to suit American addenda or their future plans. This relationship was cemented after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, and CIA under the code name of Operation Cyclone devised a programme to arm, train, and finance the ‘Afghan jihad’.

After the Russian withdrawal from Afghanistan, these Jihadi groups and infrastructure created to support the Afghan jihad became very powerful and started to influence and dominate politics of Pakistan. They felt so strong and confident that they believed it was their divine right to export jihadi groups and their brand of Islam to other countries, which brought havoc to Pakistan and alienation of Pakistan at the international level.

These religious groups oppose democracy. They oppose fundamental rights for all citizens of Pakistan. They defy logic. Above all, they think they have right to issue edicts who is a Muslim and who is loyal to Pakistan; and who is a traitor. They even think they can command to kill anyone by declaring him/her as anti Islam or anti Pakistan. In other words, according to their teachings and practise anyone could be declared anti Islam or anti Pakistan and killed; and no evidence is required and no arguments against that are tolerated.

Policies of these groups are not only against teaching of Islam; but surely they are also against peace, democracy and security of Pakistan and the region. Quran teaches tolerance, peace and respect for others; yet these extremists preach intolerance, violence and hatred. Holy Quran says: “Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from error;” (2:256).

Mohammed Ali Jinnah, founder of Pakistan also rejected religious intolerance; and after creation of Pakistan preached peace and coexistence of all communities. In his speech in February 1948 he clearly rejected theocracy: “Pakistan is not going to be a theocratic State to be ruled by priests with a divine mission. We have many non-Muslims — Hindus, Christians, and Parsis — but they are all Pakistanis. They will enjoy the same rights and privileges as any other citizens and will play their rightful part in the affairs of Pakistan.”

This mindset that Pakistan was created to advance the cause of Islam and activities of religious groups have not only harmed stability of Pakistan; but they have also very seriously damaged the Kashmiri struggle. If we want to resolve the Kashmir dispute and also provide stability to Pakistan then powers that be have to control these extremists.

1. Source: Constituent Assembly of Pakistan Debates, vol 1 no 2, 11 August 1947, page 20
2. Source: 'Report of the Court of Inquiry', pages 203-232, Justice Munir Ahmed.
3. 11 December 2011
4. Religious extremism in Pakistan, by Wasimul Haque, The Friday Times,
Writer is a political analyst and author of many books and booklets. Also he is Director Institute of Kashmir Affairs. View:

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