Why Pakistan is not a nation

Discussion in 'Pakistan' started by ajtr, Jun 6, 2010.

  1. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    Why Pakistan is not a nation


    June 2010

    By: Pervez Hoodbhoy

    And how it could become one.



    Illustrations by Saira Wasim
    Pakistan has been a state since 1947, but is still not a nation. More precisely, Pakistan is the name of a land and a people inside a certain geographical boundary that is still lacking the crucial components needed for nationhood: a strong common identity, mental make-up, a shared sense of history and common goals. The failure so far to create a cohesive national entity flows from inequalities of wealth and opportunity, absence of effective democracy and a dysfunctional legal system.

    While it is true that most Punjabis think of themselves as Pakistani first and Punjabi second, this is not the case with the Baloch or Sindhis. Schools in Balochistan refuse to hoist Pakistan’s flag or sing its national anthem. Sindhis, meanwhile, accuse Punjabis of stealing their water, the Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) runs Karachi on strictly ethnic grounds, and in April the Pashtun of NWFP successfully had the province officially renamed Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (against the wishes of other residents). In getting a job, caste and sect matters more than ability, and ethnic student groups wage pitched battles against each other on campuses throughout the country.

    The lack of nationhood can be traced to the genesis of Pakistan and the single factor that drove it – religious identity. Carved out of Hindu-majority India, Pakistan was the culmination of the competition and conflict between natives who had converted to Islam and those who had not. Converts often identified with Arab invaders of the last millennium. Shah Waliullah (1703-62), a ‘purifier’ of Islam on the Subcontinent who despised local traditions, famously declared ‘We [Hindustanis] are an Arab people whose fathers have fallen in exile in the country of Hindustan, and Arabic genealogy and the Arabic language are our pride.’

    The founder of Pakistan, Mohamed Ali Jinnah, also echoed the separateness of Muslims and Hindus, basing the struggle for Pakistan on the premise that the two peoples could never live together peacefully within one nation state. But Jinnah was unrecognisably different from Waliullah, a bearded religious scholar. An impeccably dressed Westernised man with Victorian manners, a secular outlook and an appreciation of fine foods and wines, Jinnah nevertheless eloquently articulated the fears and aspirations of an influential section of his co-religionists. Interestingly, he was opposed by a large section of the conservative ulema, such as Maulana Maudoodi of the Jamaat-e-Islami, who said that Islam must not be confined to national borders. But Jinnah and his Muslim League won the day by insisting that Muslims constituted a distinct nation that would be overwhelmed in post-British
    India by a larger and better-educated Hindu majority.

    Thus Pakistan, in essence, was created as the negative of India: it was not India. But what was it, then, beyond being a homeland for Muslims? Decades after the horrific bloodbath of Partition, the idea of Pakistan remains hotly debated. It did not help that Jinnah died in 1948, just a year after Pakistan was born, with his plans still ambiguously stated. He authored no books and wrote no policy paper. He did make many speeches, of which several were driven by political expediency and are frankly contradictory. These are freely cherry-picked today, with some finding in them a liberal and secular voice; others, an embodiment of Islamic values. The confusion is irresolvable.

    After Jinnah, the Objectives Resolution of 12 March 1949 was the first major step towards the transformation of Pakistan from a Muslim state into an Islamic state. The Resolution starts with the statement that sovereignty rests with Allah. This obviously limits the legislative power of a representative assembly, since the fundamentals are already defined. Another consequence was the grudging concession that ‘Adequate provision shall be made for the minorities to freely profess and practice their religions and develop their cultures. ‘ This created the concept of minorities in the Pakistani polity, and hence negated the right of equality – a basic requirement of modern democracy.

    The basis in religious identity soon led to painful paradoxes. An overbearing West Pakistan was to ride roughshod over East Pakistan, and become despised as an external imperial power. Jinnah’s ‘Two Nation’ theory was left in tatters after the separation of East Pakistan in 1971, and the defeat of the Pakistani military. The enthusiasm of Muslim Bengalis for Bangladesh – and their failure to ‘repent’ even decades after 1971 – was a deadly blow against the very basis of Pakistan. Nevertheless, contrary to dire predictions, the Pakistani state survived. Its powerful military easily crushed emerging separatist movements in Balochistan
    and Sindh.

    For a while after 1971, the question of national ideology fell into limbo. Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto attempted to create a Pakistani identity around the notion of revenge for the loss of the East Wing. He promised ‘war of a thousand years’ against India, and started Pakistan’s quest for the atomic bomb in 1972. While this served temporarily as a rallying cry, the military coup of 1977 that sent him to the gallows was to revive the identity issue.

    Zia’s project
    Soon after he seized power, General Zia ul-Haq announced his intention to remake Pakistan, and end the confusion of the country’s purpose and identity once and for all. In a sense, he wanted to emulate Napoleon Bonaparte’s achievement of creating a nation from a nation state. Eric Hobsbawm, the influential Marxist historian, persuasively argues that the state of France made the French nation, not vice-versa. Similarly, Zia sought to create a nation – albeit one based on religion rather than on secular principles – using the power of the state. The word soon went out that Pakistan was henceforth not to be described as a Muslim state. Instead, it was now an Islamic state, where Islamic law would soon reign supreme. To achieve this re-conceptualisation, Zia knew that future generations of Pakistanis would have to be purged of liberal and secular values.

    Thus began a massive, decade-long state-sponsored project. Democracy was demonised and declared un-Islamic, culture was purified of Hindu ‘contamination’, Urdu was cleansed of Hindi words to the extent possible, capital punishment was freely used, dress codes were introduced, university teachers had their faith examined under a microscope, and religion was introduced into every aspect of public and private life. Education was the key weapon for Zia’s strategy. In 1981, he ordered the education authorities to rewrite the history of Pakistan. All new school textbooks would now ‘induce pride for the nation’s past, enthusiasm for the present, and unshakeable faith in the stability and longevity of Pakistan’. Jinnah and other icons of the Pakistan Movement had to be portrayed as pious fundamentalists, whether or not they carried beards; their lifestyles had to be hidden from public view. To eliminate possible ambiguities of approach, a presidential order was issued to the University Grants Commission that, henceforth, all Pakistan Studies textbooks must:

    Demonstrate that the basis of Pakistan is not to be founded in racial, linguistic, or geographical factors, but, rather, in the shared experience of a common religion. To get students to know and appreciate the Ideology of Pakistan, and to popularise it with slogans. To guide students towards the ultimate goal of Pakistan – the creation of a completely Islamised State.

    In a matter of years, Pakistani schoolchildren grew up learning a catchy but linguistically nonsensical jingle about the ‘ideology’ of Pakistan: ‘Pakistan ka matlab kya? La illaha illala!’ (What is the meaning of Pakistan? There is no god but Allah!) Although the purported answer has nothing to do with the question, Zia’s strategy soon began to show results.

    Barely a decade was needed for Pakistan’s transformation from a moderate Muslim-majority country into one where the majority of citizens wanted Islam to play a key role in politics. The effects of indoctrination are now clearly visible. Even as members of the Sharia-seeking Taliban were busy blowing up schools in Swat and elsewhere, a survey in 2008 by the online World Public Opinion found that 54 percent of Pakistanis wanted strict application of Sharia, while 25 percent wanted it in some more dilute form. Totalling 79 percent, this was the largest percentage in the four countries surveyed – Morocco, Egypt, Indonesia and Pakistan. A more recent survey, of 1226 young Pakistanis between 18 and 29, was carried out across Pakistan by the British Council in 2009. It found that ‘three-quarters of all young people identify themselves primarily as Muslims. Just 14% chose to define themselves primarily as a citizen of Pakistan.’

    Clearly, the country’s youth is deeply worried by lack of employment, economic inflation, corruption and violence. In this turbulent sea, it is not surprising that most see religion as their anchor. For some, violent change is the answer to the country’s problems. This is precisely what Zaid Hamid, one of Pakistan’s fiery new demagogues, advocates. Hamid, a self-proclaimed jihadist who claims to have fought against the Soviets in Afghanistan, builds specifically on the insecurity of the youth, enthralling college students who pack auditoriums to listen to him. Millions more watch him on television, as he lashes out against Pakistan’s corrupt rulers and other ‘traitors’. Hamid promises that those who betrayed the nation’s honour by joining the US-led ‘war on terror’ will hang from lampposts in Islamabad. In his promised Islamic utopia, speedy Taliban-style justice will replace the clumsy and corrupt courts established by the British. Just as Adolf Hitler dwelt on Germany’s ‘wounded honour’ in his famous beer-hall oratory in Munich (where he promised that Germany would conquer the world), Hamid calls for the Pakistan Army to go to war against India and liberate Kashmir, Palestine, Chechnya and Afghanistan. One day, he says, inshallah, Pakistan’s flag shall fly from Delhi’s Red Fort. The students applaud wildly.

    Still no Islamic state?
    Notwithstanding the enormous impetus given by Zia, final success still eludes Pakistan’s Islamists. The explosion of religiosity did not produce a new Pakistani identity, and a Sharia state is nowhere to be seen. Why? Ethno-nationalism is part of the answer. This natural resistance against melding into some larger entity is the reflexive response of historically constituted groups that seek to preserve their distinctiveness, expressed in terms of dress, food, folklore and shared history. Assimilation of Pakistan’s diverse peoples into a homogenised national culture is opposed by this force that, like gravity, always acts in one direction.

    Ethno-nationalism is, of course, vulnerable. It can be overcome by integrative forces, which arise from the natural advantage of being part of a larger economy with correspondingly greater opportunities. But for these forces to be effective, it is essential that the state machinery provides effective governance, demonstrates fairness and is indifferent to ethnic origins. Pakistan’s ruling elite, unfortunately, is both incompetent and ethnically partisan, drawing its roots from the powerful landed and feudal class. The army leadership and the economic elite had joined forces after Partition to claim authority, but they were transparently self-serving and therefore lacked legitimacy.

    Dangling the utopia of an Islamic state raised expectations but did little else. To the chagrin of the political and army establishment, it ultimately backfired and became the cause of infinite division. The post-Zia generation – which believes that every issue would be solved if the country were to go back to the fundamentals of Islam – muddles on in a state of deep confusion and deadly divisiveness. It believes that adherence to ‘true Islam’ will solve all problems and lead to a conflict-free society. But, in reality, the Quran and Hadith can be interpreted in multiple ways, and ‘Islamic fundamentals’ can be defined in many contradictory ways. These differences fuel violent political forces, each convinced that they alone understand god’s will. Murderous wars between Sunni and Shia militias started during the late 1980s. Today, even those favouring the utopian vision of an ideal Islamic state are frightened by the Pakistani Taliban, which seeks to impose its version of Sharia through the Kalashnikov and suicide bombings.

    All this was easily predictable, as sectarian divides are almost as old as religion itself. Basic questions are fundamentally unanswerable: Which interpretation of Islam, for instance, is the ‘right’ Islam? Of the four schools of Sunni jurisprudence (Hanafi, Shafii, Maaliki, Hanbali), which version of the Sharia should be adopted? Will all, or most, Pakistanis accept any non-elected amir-ul-momineen (leader of the pious), or a caliph? And what about the Shia? Democracy is excluded in any theocratic state, which, by definition, is a state governed according to divinely revealed principles wherein the head of state, elected or otherwise, interprets such principles and translates them into practical matters of the state. So, for example, although Abul Ala Maudoodi, in his Islamic Law and Constitution, states that ‘Islam vests all the Muslim citizens of an Islamic state with popular vice-regency,’ he is quick to point out that all vice-regents need not be of equal consequence. He demands that constitution makers should:

    Evolve such a system of elections as would ensure the appointment of only those who are trustworthy and pious. They should also devise effective measures to defeat the designs and machinations of those who scramble for posts of trust and are consequently hated and cursed by the people in spite of their so-called ‘victories’ in the elections.

    In this ‘state without borders’, any Muslim anywhere can be a citizen. It will be the best governed not only because its leaders are pious, but also because the only ones who will vote will be the pious themselves.

    In fact, religion cannot be the basis of Pakistan, or move it towards integration. This can be said categorically, although religion was undoubtedly the reason for Pakistan’s formation. Coming over a half-century after Partition, Pervez Musharraf’s call for ‘enlightened moderation’ was indeed a tacit admission of this fact. He realised that a theocratic Pakistan could not work, even though this conflicted with his other responsibility, that of being chief of the Pakistan Army. Since the days of Zia, the army had arrogated to itself the task of ‘defending Pakistan’s ideological borders’ and, since the end of the 1980s, had consciously nurtured radicalism as an instrument of covert warfare in Kashmir and Afghanistan. Although Musharraf’s successor, General Pervez Kayani, also seeks to distance the army from its past, it is unclear as to what extent he or other senior officers actually have control. The Islamists, for their part, hope for, and seek to incite, action by zealous officers to bring back the glory days of the military-mullah alliance led by Zia.

    While it is true that religious political parties have yet to receive any sizeable fraction of the popular vote, the secular system of power was never regarded by Pakistan’s citizens as just, appropriate or authoritative. So, by default, Islam became accepted as the basis of Pakistan, and any suggestion to the contrary continues to evoke a fierce public reaction. On the other hand, any serious move in the direction of making Pakistan a Sharia state would almost certainly lead to civil war. Why so? This is because while the Sharia is considered a panacea for Pakistan’s multiple problems of corruption, inequity and poor governance, its true nature is revealed only once there is an actual move towards its implementation.

    In the past, terrible and uncontrollable forces have been released against the people. As in Swat, the Pakistani Taliban’s Wahabi-Deobandi-Salafi understanding of Sharia calls for forbidding females from leaving their houses, being educated or holding jobs. Men must have beards, wear shalwars rather than trousers, and never miss prayers. Killing apostates, decapitations, floggings and amputation of limbs are an essential part of the Taliban’s penal code. Fortunately, those who defend this notion of Sharia constitute no more than perhaps ten percent of Pakistan’s population. Of course, that still means millions.

    Pakistan must remain
    In common parlance, the ‘state’ refers to the government, and an entity in international law. Recognition by other states of the state’s claim to sovereignty enables it to enter into international agreements. Moreover, it needs a government to control its internal affairs. A more standard political-science definition of a nation state goes something like this: A state is an organised political community, occupying a territory and possessing internal and external sovereignty, which enforces a monopoly on the use of force. Max Weber, the political economist, defined the state as ‘a human community that (successfully) claims the monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force within a given territory.’

    Pakistan is a nation state by the above definition and must continue to remain one. In effect, it must be because it is! The cost of the disappearance or destruction of this nuclear-weapon state is too awful to contemplate. Pakistan can indeed become a nation; moreover, it will almost certainly become one in time. Although religion will certainly remain an important part of Pakistan’s social reality for the foreseeable future, it must seek new roots lying within the country’s social reality rather than religion.

    Look at it this way: rain inevitably grinds down stony mountains over centuries, and ultimately creates fertile soil. Similarly, nations are inevitably formed when people experience a common environment and live together for long enough. How long is long enough? In Pakistan’s case, the timescale could be fairly short. Its people are diverse, but almost all understand Urdu. They watch the same television programmes, hear the same radio stations, deal with the same irritating and inefficient bureaucracy, use the same badly written textbooks, buy similar products and despise the same set of rulers. Slowly but surely a composite, but genuine, Pakistani culture is emerging. Of course, stable nationhood is still not guaranteed. Both the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia broke apart after seven decades. If Pakistan is to stay together and chart a path to viable nationhood, it must identify its most pressing problems and seek their amelioration. What might be a suitable manifesto of change?

    First, Pakistan needs peace. This means that it must turn inwards and devote its fullest attention to ending its raging internal wars. The sixty-year conflict with India has achieved nothing beyond creating a militarised Pakistani security state that uses force as its first resort even when dealing with its own people. Attempts to solve the Kashmir issue militarily have bled the country dry, leaving it completely dependent on foreign aid. The army’s role must be limited to defending the people of Pakistan, and to ensuring that their constitutional and civil rights are protected. Indeed, given that the country could otherwise be rapidly overwhelmed by extremists who openly declare their disdain for democracy, the army is obligated to fight its progeny – the Taliban. There should be no illusion that extremism can be defeated by purely peaceful means. Indeed, the way ahead must be subtle and complicated. How can one develop the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and ameliorate the anguish of their people when the insurgents are out to stop development, bomb schools and kill doctors? In such a situation, Pakistan must say yes to negotiations, but no to surrender. It currently appears that the future will be one of ‘talk, fight, talk, fight’.

    Second, Pakistan needs economic justice. This is not the same as flinging coins at beggars. Rather, it requires organisational infrastructure that, at the very least, provides employment but also rewards according to ability and hard work. Incomes should be neither exorbitantly high nor miserably low. To be sure, ‘high’ and ‘low’ are not easily quantifiable, but an inner moral sense tells us that something is desperately wrong when rich Pakistanis fly off to vacation in Dubai while a mother commits suicide because she cannot feed her children.

    A welfare state in Pakistan is a distant ideal. India abolished feudalism upon attaining independence. But the enormous pre-Partition landholdings of Pakistan’s feudal lords remained safe and sound, protected by the authority of the state. The land reforms announced by Ayub Khan and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto were eyewash. In later years, with the consolidation of military rule in national politics, the army turned itself into a landlord-and-capitalist class. Military officers own assets that have no relation to national defence. This includes vast amounts of farm lands and valuable urban real estate, banking, insurance, advertising companies, cement and sugar industries, airlines and ground transportation, cornflakes and commercial bottled water. Most countries have armies but, as some have dryly remarked, only in Pakistan does an army have a country.

    Third, Pakistan must shed its colonial structure of governance. Different historically constituted peoples must want to live together voluntarily, and see the benefits of doing so. A giant centralised government machine sitting in Islamabad cannot effectively manage such a diverse country. The demand for creating more provinces should be carefully examined and not peremptorily rejected, as is currently taking place. Having smaller administrative units does make sense, especially due to the rapidly rising population. On the other hand, to fan the flames of nationalism can hardly be a good thing.

    As in India, Pakistan should be reorganised as a federation in which provinces and local governments hold the critical economic and social powers, while defence and foreign affairs are held in common by the Centre. In particular, Islamabad’s conflict with Balochistan urgently needs resolution, but using political sagacity rather than military force. Blaming India will not achieve anything – the Baloch are angry for good reason. At a recent lecture to senior Pakistan civil-service officers in Peshawar, this writer was taken aback at the intensity with which senior officers from Balochistan spoke. They said that Baloch wounds are too deep, and that the time for healing and reconciliation with Pakistan had passed. A decade ago, one would only have expected this language from student radicals – now, it is the mainstream Baloch who articulate such sentiments (see accompanying story, ‘The question of Balochistan’).

    Fourth, Pakistan needs a social contract and economic justice. This is a commitment that citizens will be treated fairly and equally by the state and shall, in turn, willingly fulfil basic civic responsibilities. But today, Pakistanis are denied even basic protections specified in the Constitution. The poor suffer outright denial of rights – such as personal security and access to water in cities – while the rich are compelled to buy these. Rich and poor alike therefore feel no obligation to fulfil their civic duties. Most do not pay their fair share of income tax, leading to one of the lowest tax-to-GDP ratios in the world. Seeing that the rulers flagrantly flout the very laws they claim to espouse, it is no surprise that the common citizen does the same.

    Fifth, the country’s education needs drastic revision in the means of delivery and content. Money goes some way towards the first – better school infrastructure, books, teacher salaries, etc. But this is not enough. Schools teach children to mindlessly obey authority, to look to the past for solutions to today’s problems, and to be intolerant of the religion, culture and language of others. Instead, students need to be taught to be enquiring, open-minded, creative, logical, socially responsible, and to appreciate diversity. Pakistan paid a very heavy price because its leaders could not understand that a heterogeneous population can live together only if differences are respected. The imposition of Urdu upon Bengal in 1948 was a tragic mistake, and the first of a sequence of missteps that led up to the awful slaughter of Bengalis by the West Pakistani military in 1971. A myopic education system is squarely responsible for the fact that ethnic and religious minorities are viewed with suspicion and disdain by the majority. This must change.

    In the end, for Pakistan to succeed, it must want to become a nation held together by mutual interests rather than by some abstract Islamic ideology. This is the only way to deal with the multiple civil wars that have started in the country. The path to creating a Pakistani nation is doubtless difficult. As the population explodes, oceans of poverty and misery deepen, limbless beggars in the streets multiply, water and clean air become scarce, education is stalemated, true democracy remains elusive, and the distance from a rapidly developing world increases. One is strongly tempted to step aside, give up and admit helplessness.
    But surely that is wrong, for what we fear will then actually come to pass. The political philosopher Antonio Gramsci spoke of ‘pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will’. Indeed, with the pessimism of the intellect, one must calmly contemplate the yawning abyss up ahead. But then, after a period of reflection, one should move to prevent falling into it.
     
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  3. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    Can Pakistan become a nation?​


    The idea of a single nation-State based exclusively on religion doesn’t work. It is not enough to define Pakistan as the opposite of India. Institutions and wealth belong to the military. The slavery of women. Five proposals to save ourselves.
    More than six decades after Partition, Pakistanis still struggle with the elemental question: who are we? Arabs or South Asians? Muslims first or Pakistanis first? Is there such a thing as Pakistani culture? Can Hindus, Christians, Parsis, Ahmadis, and other non-Muslims be equal Pakistanis? Or is Pakistan only for Muslims?

    These questions beg the most fundamental one: is Pakistan the land and people inside a certain geographical boundary or, instead, is it a nation? By nation I mean a form of cultural or social community whose members share an identity, mental makeup, sense of history or common ancestry, parentage or descent.

    By this definition, Pakistan is not a nation – at least as yet. Its peoples are too disparate and divided, have too little trust in those whom they perceive as outsiders, and identities of tribe and ethnicity are strong. This is painfully apparent in Karachi – Pakistan’s megacity of nearly 17 million – which is frequented by violent ethnic and religious clashes. And, while the flag is saluted with great fervor in Punjab, it does not fly at all on schools in Baluchistan where the national anthem is also not sung.

    The lack of nationhood can be traced to the genesis of Pakistan and the single factor that drove it – religious identity. Carved out of Hindu-majority India, Pakistan resulted from the competition and conflict between natives who had converted to Islam and those who had not. Converts often identified with Arab invaders of the last millennium. Shah Waliullah (1703-1762), a “purifier” of Islam on the subcontinent who despised local traditions, famously declared “We [Hindustanis] are an Arab people whose fathers have fallen in exile in the country of Hindustan, and Arabic genealogy and the Arabic language are our pride”.

    The founder of Pakistan, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, also echoed the separateness of Muslims and Hindus, basing the struggle for Pakistan on the premise that the two peoples could never live together peacefully within one nation state. But Jinnah was unrecognizably different from Waliullah, a bearded religious scholar. An impeccably dressed Westernized man with Victorian manners, secular outlook, and a connoisseur of fine foods and wines, Jinnah nevertheless eloquently articulated the fears and aspirations of an influential section of his co-religionists. Interestingly, he was opposed by a large section of the conservative ulema, such as Maulana Maudoodi of the Jamaat-e-Islami, who said that Islam cannot be confined to national borders. But Jinnah and his Muslim League won the day by insisting that Muslims constituted a distinct nation which would be overwhelmed in post-British India by a larger and better educated Hindu majority.

    Thus Pakistan, in essence, was created as the Boolean negative of India – it was NOT India. But what was it beyond being a homeland for Muslims? Decades after the horrific bloodbath of partition, the idea of Pakistan remains hotly debated. It did not help that Mr. Jinnah died in 1948 – just a year after Pakistan was born – with his plans ambiguously stated. He left behind no substantive writings. Thus his speeches, which were often driven by political expediency, are freely cherry-picked. Some find in them a liberal and secular voice, others an embodiment of Islamic values. The confusion is irresolvable.

    The basis in religious identity led to painful paradoxes. Jinnah’s Two-Nation theory was left in tatters after the separation of East Pakistan in 1971, and the defeat of the Pakistani military. An overbearing West Pakistan had run roughshod on East Pakistan and was despised as an external imperial power. The enthusiasm of Muslim Bengalis for Bangladesh – and their failure to repent even long after the separation – was a deadly blow against the very basis of Pakistan. Nevertheless, contrary to dire predictions, the Pakistani state survived. Its powerful military easily crushed emerging separatist movements in the provinces of Baluchistan and Sind.

    For a while after 1971 the question of national ideology fell in limbo. Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto attempted to create a Pakistani identity around the notion of revenge for the loss of the East Wing. He promised “war of a thousand years” against India and started Pakistan’s quest for the atomic bomb in 1974. While this served temporarily as a rallying cry, the military coup of 1977 that removed him was to revive the identity issue.

    How Zia Remade Pakistan

    Soon after he seized power, General Zia-ul-Haq sent Bhutto off to the gallows. Seeking a final resolution of Pakistan’s purpose and identity, he wanted to emulate Napoleon’s achievement of creating a nation from a nation-state. Indeed, Eric Hobsbawm, the influential Marxist British historian, has persuasively argued that the French state preceded the formation of the French people. In other words, the state of France made the French nation, not some pre-existing nationalism. Zia wanted the same for Pakistan.

    To be sure, Zia’s goal was religious nationalism and not Napoleon’s secular nationalism. The word soon went out that henceforth Pakistan was not to be described as a Muslim state but, instead, as an Islamic state where Islamic law would reign supreme. To achieve this re-conceptualization, Zia knew that future generations of Pakistanis would have to be purged of liberal and secular values.

    Thus began a massive decade-long state-sponsored project: democracy was demonized and declared un-Islamic, culture was purified of Hindu contamination, the Urdu language was cleansed of Hindi words to the extent possible, and religion was introduced into every aspect of public and private life.

    Education was the key weapon for Zia’s strategy. In 1981, he ordered the education authorities to rewrite the history of Pakistan. All new school textbooks must now “induce pride for the nation's past, enthusiasm for the present, and unshakeable faith in the stability and longevity of Pakistan”. Jinnah and other icons of the Pakistan Movement had to be portrayed as pious fundamentalists whether or not they had beards. Their lifestyles had to be hidden from public view. To eliminate possible ambiguities of approach, a presidential order was issued to the University Grants Commission that henceforth all Pakistan Studies textbooks must:

    Demonstrate that the basis of Pakistan is not to be founded in racial, linguistic, or geographical factors, but, rather, in the shared experience of a common religion. To get students to know and appreciate the Ideology of Pakistan, and to popularize it with slogans. To guide students towards the ultimate goal of Pakistan - the creation of a completely Islamised State.

    In a matter of years, Pakistani school children grew up learning a catchy but linguistically nonsensical jingle about the “ideology of Pakistan”: Pakistan ka matlab kya? La illaha illala! [What is the meaning of Pakistan? There is no god but Allah!]. Although the purported answer has nothing to do with the question, Zia’s strategy was showing signs of working well.

    What is Pakistan’s next generation thinking?

    Barely a generation was needed for Pakistan’s transformation from a moderate Muslim majority country into one where the majority of citizens wanted Islam to play a key role in politics. The effect is clearly visible today. Even as the sharia-seeking Taliban were busy blowing up schools in Swat and elsewhere, a survey by the World Public Opinion.Org in 2008 found that 54% of Pakistanis wanted strict application of sharia while 25% wanted it in some more dilute form. Totaling 79%, this was the largest percentage in the four countries surveyed (Morocco, Egypt, Pakistan, Indonesia).

    A more recent survey of 2000 young Pakistanis between 18-27 years of age was carried out across Pakistan by the British Council in 2009. It found that “three-quarters of all young people identify themselves primarily as Muslims. Just 14% chose to define themselves primarily as a citizen of Pakistan”. The youth are deeply worried by lack of employment, economic inflation, corruption, and violence. In this turbulent sea, it is not surprising that most see religion as their anchor. The common refrain of the post-Zia generation is that “every issue will be solved if we go back to the fundamentals of Islam.” But, while the “fundamentals of Islam” slogan has enormous rallying power, it is ambiguous and of ten carries diametrically opposite meaning. The interpretation depends hugely upon social class, education, ethnicity, and personal disposition.

    For some, violent change is the answer to the country’s problems. This is precisely what Zaid Hamid, Pakistan’s emerging Hitler-clone, advocates. A fiery demagogue who claims to have fought against the Soviets in Afghanistan, he builds on the insecurity of the youth. Enthralled college students throng to packed auditoriums to listen to this self-proclaimed jihadist. Millions watch him on various TV channels, as he lashes out against Pakistan’s corrupt rulers and other “traitors”. Hamid promises that those who betrayed the nation’s honor by joining America’s war on terror will hang from lampposts in Islamabad. In his promised Islamic utopia, speedy Taliban-style justice will replace the clumsy and corrupt courts established by the British.

    Just as Hitler dwelt on Germany’s “wounded honour” in his famous beer hall oratory in Munich – where he promised that Germany would conquer the world – Hamid calls for the Pakistan Army to go to war against India and liberate Kashmir, Palestine, Chechnya and Afghanistan. One day, he says, Pakistan’s flag shall fly from Delhi’s Red Fort. Inshallah, of course! The students applaud.

    Why Is Pakistan Still Not An Islamic State?

    Notwithstanding the enormous impetus given by Zia-ul-Haq, final success still eludes Pakistan’s Islamists. In spite of an explosion of religiosity, the goal of producing a new Pakistani identity and a sharia state has not been reached. Why?

    Ethno-nationalism is part of the answer. This natural resistance against melding into some larger entity is the reflexive response of historically constituted groups that seek to preserve their distinctiveness, expressed in terms of dress, food, folklore, and shared history. Assimilation of Pakistan’s diverse people into a homogenized national culture is opposed by this force which, like gravity, always acts in one direction.

    Ethno-nationalism is, of course, vulnerable. It can be overcome by integrative forces, which arise from the natural advantage of being part of a larger economy with correspondingly greater opportunities. But for these forces to be effective it is essential that the state machinery provide effective governance, demonstrate fairness, and be indifferent to ethnic origins.

    Here lies the problem: Pakistan’s ruling elite is widely perceived as ethnically biased as well as incompetent. Historically, the Pakistani state had quickly aligned with the powerful landed class. The army leadership and the economic elite joined forces to claim authority, but they were transparently self-serving and therefore lacked legitimacy.

    Weak integration resulted. Today only a Punjabi – from Pakistan’s politically and economically dominant region – is likely to think of himself as Pakistani first and Punjabi second. Not so for Baluchis and Sindhis, whose principal identities are first Baluchis or Sindhis and then Pakistanis; the group identity dominates. So, for example, the physical fights between students in my university, as in other places, mostly occur between ethnic groups.

    At a recent lecture that I gave to senior Pakistan civil service officers in Peshawar, I was taken back at the intensity of those from Baluchistan who said that wounds were too deep and the time for reconciliation had passed. A decade ago one would have expected this language from student radicals only; now it is the mainstream Baluch who articulates this.

    Dangling the utopia of an Islamic state raised expectations but did little else. To the chagrin of the establishment, it backfired and became the cause of infinite division. This should have been easily predictable: religious groups are bitterly divided by sect.

    There is no way of avoiding the fundamentally unanswerable questions: which interpretation of Islam is the right Islam? Of the four schools of Sunni jurisprudence (Hanafi, Shafii, Maaliki, Hanbali), whose version of the sharia should be adopted? Will all, or most, Pakistanis accept any non-elected amir-ul-momineen (leader of the pious) or a caliph? And what about the Shia?

    Religion cannot be the basis of Pakistan or move it towards integration. I say this categorically, although it was the reason for Pakistan’s formation. Indeed, any serious move in the direction of a sharia state could lead to civil war. Today, even those who loudly call for sharia are frightened by the emergence of the Pakistani Taliban, whose primary demand is the imposition of sharia. Their Wahabi-Deobandi-Salafi understanding of sharia calls for forbidding females to leave their houses, be educated, or to hold jobs. Men must have beards, wear shalwars rather than trousers, and never miss prayers. Taliban-inflicted decapitations, amputation of limbs, and floggings are defended only by fanatics. These constitute no more than perhaps ten percent of Pakistan’s population.

    How Can Pakistan Become A Nation?

    There is excellent reason for Pakistan to be: it must be because it is! The cost of disappearance or destruction of this nuclear weapon state, is too awful to contemplate. I contend that Pakistan can become a nation, and that it will almost certainly become one in the decades ahead. But this will require that it seeks new roots lying within its social reality rather than religion. One must also assume that some foolish adventurism of its leaders does not lead to a further breakup.

    Look at it this way: rain inevitably grinds down stony mountains over centuries and ultimately creates fertile soil. Similarly, nations are inevitably formed when people experience a common environment and live together for long enough. How long is long? In Pakistan’s case the time scale could be fairly short. Its people are diverse but almost all understand Urdu. They watch the same television programs, hear the same radio stations, deal with the same irritating and inefficient bureaucracy, use the same badly written textbooks, buy similar products, and despise the same set of rulers.

    The metamorphosis of Pakistan into a nation can be catalyzed by a suitable manifesto of change. What should that be?

    First, Pakistan needs peace. This means that it must turn inwards and fix its own problems rather than attempt solving those around it such as Kashmir, Afghanistan, or Palestine. In particular, the Kashmir dispute must be shelved. Kashmiris must learn how to deal with India, an occupying power that has mistreated them. Attempts by Pakistan to liberate Kashmir have achieved nothing beyond creating a militarized Pakistani security state that is incapable of serving the interests of its people.

    Second, Pakistan needs economic justice and the working machinery of a welfare state. Economic justice is not the same as flinging coins at a beggar. Rather, it requires an organizational infrastructure that, at the very least, provides employment but also rewards appropriately according to ability and hard work. Incomes should be neither exorbitantly high nor miserably low.

    To be sure, “high” and “low” are not easily quantifiable, but an inner moral sense tells us that something is desperately wrong when rich Pakistanis fly off to vacation in Dubai while a mother commits suicide because she cannot feed her children.

    Pakistan must learn from the fact that India abolished feudalism upon attaining independence. But the enormous pre-partition land holdings of Pakistan’s feudal lords remained safe and sound, protected by the authority of the state. The land reforms announced by Ayub Khan and Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto were eyewash. In later years, with the consolidation of military rule in national politics, the army turned itself into a landlord and capitalist class.

    The military owns assets that have no relation to national defense. Today, the private property of military officers includes vast amounts of farm lands and valuable urban real estate, commercial assets in manufacturing, transportation, banking, insurance, advertising companies, cement and sugar industries, banking and insurance, airlines and ground transportation, factories for making corn flakes and even bottled water. Most countries have armies but, as some have noted, only in Pakistan does an army have a country.

    Third, Pakistan needs a federation agreement that gives its different peoples equal participation and the feeling that they are part of the same nation. Different historically constituted peoples must want to live together, not be forced. So this means Pakistan’s rulers must respect diversity and hand important powers over to the provinces, re- conceiving itself as a federation of autonomous states with defense and foreign affairs held in common. India serves as model. Above all, Islamabad’s conflict with Baluchistan urgently needs resolution using political sagacity and persuasion rather than military force.

    Fourth, Pakistan needs freedom for its women. In much of rural Pakistan a woman is likely to be spat upon, beaten, or killed for being friendly to a man or even showing to him her face. Newspaper readers expect – and get – a steady daily diet of stories about women raped, mutilated, or strangled to death by their fathers, husbands, and brothers. Energetic proselytizers, like Farhat Hashmi, have made deep inroads even into the urban middle and upper classes, and the culture of female suppression spread without bound. Pakistan’s cities are becoming culturally backward villages. As the pious multiply their numbers, the horrific daily crimes against women become still less worthy of comment or discussion.

    Fifth, and finally, Pakistan needs the rule of law and renewal of the social contract. Nearly three centuries earlier, philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau observed that each citizen of a state voluntarily places his person under the supreme direction of the “general will”. An unwritten compact between the individual and society requires that a citizen accept the rule of law and acknowledge certain basic responsibilities. In return the citizen receives certain rights from the larger entity. Without this voluntary submission by individuals, said Rousseau, humans would be no better than beasts.

    The social contract is being ruthlessly violated. Citizens do not exhibit responsible social behavior. Most do not pay their fair share of income tax, respect basic environmental rules, heed traffic laws, and dispose off garbage as they should.

    Law-breaking occurs because ordinary people see the nation’s leaders openly flouting the very rules they were empowered to protect, and because they can see that enforcement of the law is no more than a perfunctory gesture. The problem is compounded by Pakistan’s fundamental confusion: is the citizen obligated to obey secular (or common) law or one of the many interpretations of Islamic law, or even the tribal law of jirgas? Surely a modern state has to set uniform rules for its citizens or else risk losing its legitimacy.

    The path to creating a Pakistani nation is doubtlessly difficult. As the population explodes, oceans of poverty and misery deepen, limbless beggars in the streets multiply, water and clean air become scarce, education is stalemated, true democracy remains elusive, and the distance from a rapidly developing world increases. There is a strong temptation for one to step aside, give up, and admit helplessness. But no, surely that is wrong, for what we fear will then actually come to pass. I go along with Antonio Gramsci, the great Italian philosopher, who spoke of “pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will”. With the pessimism of the intellect we must calmly contemplate the yawning abyss up ahead. But then, after a period of reflection, one should move to prevent falling into it.

    Pervez Hoodbhoy, professor at at Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad..
     
  4. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    Problems of Democracy and Nation-Building in Pakistan

    The term Nation-Building had been widely used during the late 1950s and 60s by Western academic, developmental and political/military actors. It had - and still has - several meanings. It provides an analytical tool, focussing on the conditions and developments that lead to the establishment of Nation-States; and it provides a policy to actually create Nation-States. As a policy tool we can distinguish two variants: Nation-Building as a strategy for development policy; and as instrument for competing in the Cold War (“development” and Nation-Building” as alternatives to “Socialism” and “Revolution”). After the Vietnam War the term somewhat got out of fashion, while since the end of the Cold War it has been revitalized. Since then its meaning has been somewhat altered; it has become more shallow and often is used quite loosely. In the context of our topic I will use Nation-Building only as an analytical instrument. It will consist of three major elements:

    One: an integrative ideology, that might be nationalist, but could also be religious, racist, developmentalist, or shaped along other lines, as long as it provides for integrating the subgroups of the inhabitants of a country into one society;

    Two: an integrated society, with its several elements communicating more often with each other than with outsiders. This implies a “nation-wide” integration of geographic regions, economic sectors, and politics. It also presupposes a functioning infrastructure and intellectual discourse of “national” scale;

    Three: an existing State apparatus, which actually fulfills its functions on all of the national territory.

    Nation-Building, that is, the establishing or development of a Nation-State, is more advanced, the more these three criteria are fulfilled. This definition does not judge the legitimacy or usefulness of Nation-Building, nor the tools used for its purpose. Ethnic cleansing, massacres, and ethnic or cultural repression have been (used) utilized quite often. And sometimes ethnic, religious or geographical entities have been integrated that never wanted to be. The Nation-State may have been (and still may be) the solution to a set of human and political problems, but it also has been the source of problems and suffering. Therefore, the way I use the term Nation-Building I am not implying any judgement about its usefulness in any specific case.


    Why Nation-Building in Pakistan?

    Pakistan was established in 1947 as the state for the Muslims of India. The driving force behind the setting up of this new state was the better educated Muslims (often from administrative, trading, intellectual professions) of the Muslim minority provinces of central India, like Uttar Pradesh and Bombay. The inhabitants of the Muslim-majority areas, which later became Pakistan (Punjab, NWFP, Sindh, Balochistan, and Bengal), had been less enthusiastic or even skeptical. They joined the cause of the “Pakistan Movement” only during the last one or two years before the foundation of Pakistan. Paradoxically, the country was not established with a religious purpose, but with a “national” one in mind. Though there was hardly any “ethnic” or “national” difference between the Muslims of Bengal, Punjab, or Uttar Pradesh and their respective Hindu neighbors, the theory of Muhammad Ali Jinnah and his Muslim League perceived the Muslims of India to be a distinct “Muslim Nation”, opposed to a “Hindu Nation” (“Two-Nation-Theory”). As a result, when Pakistan came into existence, it consisted of a wide variety of “ethnic” and linguistic groups and subgroups, which had very little in common besides being Muslim. Two official languages (Urdu and English), six or seven important regional ones (Punjabi, Pashto, Sindhi, Balochi, Saraiki, Bengali), and perhaps two dozen small or local ones (mainly in the North) are an indication of linguistic wealth, if not of homogeneity. The founding fathers, being profoundly secular (sometimes bordering to be non-religious), had to deal with the task to bring about what they had insisted upon prematurely: to make Pakistan into a “Nation”, to integrate the several ethnic groups into an national community - without over-using the only bond they had in common: religion. The task was made more complicated because most of the founding fathers were migrants or even refugees to what was to become Pakistan. Jinnah did not speak any of the local languages; he did not even speak Urdu well. He delivered his speech declaring the Independence of Pakistan in English, to be translated into Urdu. The creation of the Pakistani “Nation” did not develop from “below”, from the societal roots or nationalist movements, but from top-down: first the State was created, hoping to develop its own social base. Nation-Building was to generate the Nation that the Nation-State desired.



    What Kind of Approaches to Nation-Building?

    All governments since 1947 have heavily relied on pointing across the border to promote “National Unity”. In all cases national integration was tried by emphasizing India as an external threat, one that was always willing to attack the new country. Hostility towards India, the struggle for Kashmir (the Muslim majority state that joined India at partition because it was governed by a Hindu ruler), and anti-Hindu sentiments have been and largely remained important tools to stress Pakistan’s legitimacy, its unity, and its character as a “Nation-State”. Using an external enemy for strengthening internal unity had gained credibility by the pains of partition with its ethnic cleansing, its millions of refugees and killed. Three Indian-Pakistani wars (1948, 1965, and 1971) also provided a base to the argument that internal unity was a necessity for survival. Therefore, immense internal heterogeneity was linked to an overwhelming desire for unity, at least as articulated from the political center. The fragility of the Pakistani state and the emphasis of unity were twins. Besides India, the other most important tool to establish unity instead of fragmentation has been “Islam”. Again, all governments have (used) utilized religion as a unifying force, if in very different forms. For Jinnah Islam was the reason for Pakistan’s existence, but more on a cultural than religious level. Others, including Zulfikar Ali and Benazir Bhutto, used Islamic symbols and rhetoric to justify their secular policies. And Zia ul-Haq even tried to make Pakistan into his own version of an “Islamic State”, therefore closely cooperating with Islamist forces. Using religion for national integration seemed irresistible, since it was practically the only common bond between the several ethnicities and nationalities.

    The imported, urdu speaking, first generation of leaders consisted of often Westernized, secular modernizers of their new society. This included an implicit and often explicit use of Western “Modernization” theories. It began under the leadership of Jinnah and Liaqat Ali, but found its fulfillment under Ayub Khan’s Presidency. Later several different approaches to integrating society into a “Nation” have been tried. They could be summarized like this:


    1.Charisma, mixed with Modernization (Jinnah/Liaqat Ali)

    2.Modernization (Bureaucracy and Ayub Khan)

    3.Mobilization and Socialist Rhetoric (Zulfikar Ali Bhutto)

    4.Islamist Modernization (Zia ul-Haq)

    5.Muddling Through, with some Modernization (Benazir Bhutto’s and Nawaz Sharif’s first terms, Benazir’s second term)


    But, at the same time, the stress of unity as a “national” goal was utilized as a tool for governance, allowing the political elites to control or repress both dissent at the center, and in the provinces. The informal ruling alliance of the Bureaucracy (in the 1940s and 1950s with mostly Muhajir background) and the big Punjabi landowners during the first decade of Pakistan’s existence perceived National Unity as a system securing their own hegemony. Muhajirs provided administrative and economic experience, while the Punjabi elites political power. Anybody, who was not part of this combination or not willing to be co-opted as a junior partner, was perceived as a potential threat to the Nation. Therefore, ethnic minorities or most provincial governments became marginalized. Also, this model of national integration ignored or even consistently weakened any social movements that might develop both in Punjab and the other Provinces. The masses of people - that is the country’s own citizens - were perceived as potentially destabilizing, as a nuisance. National integration and unity were perceived in bureaucratic rather than political terms. It meant placing the provinces under the control of the central government and repressing demands for a federal system or provincial self-rule.



    Problems of Nation-Building in Pakistan

    In 1971 the official “Two-Nation-Theory” was disclosed as wishful thinking. The former East-Pakistan became independent as the new state of Bangladesh, after a civil war cum external war, in which the Muslim Bengalis of East Pakistan joint forces with the “Hindu enemy”, India, against Muslim West Pakistan. Secular Bengali nationalism triumphed over the secular “Muslim nationalist” ideology. Among the reasons for the split of Pakistan were, a) the exclusion of Bengalis from the power structure, b) economic exploitation of East Pakistan by the Western wing/the Central Government; c) the numerical strength and geographic remoteness of East Pakistan (separated from the Western wing by some 1600 kilometers of Indian territory). With the independence of Bangladesh, Pakistan lost more than half its population. Bangladesh became a relatively homogenous country, with some 98 percent of the citizens being Bengali. What remained of Pakistan (the former Western wing) was hardly less heterogeneous than it had been before: it lost just one of its ethnic groups and nationalities.

    The case of East Pakistan/Bangladesh is illustrative of how the problem of ethnicity and provincial autonomy was dealt with in Pakistan. While officially the political center strongly de-emphasized ethnic identity as a political factor, in reality its policies strengthened it. While political power geographically lay in the Punjab (and, to some degree, in Karachi) and politically in the bureaucracy and the army, the majority of citizens happened to live far off in Bengal. And Bengalis where hardly represented in the army and the bureaucracy. Therefore, when the powerful elites tried to protect their interests by monopolizing power and excluding others, they automatically frustrated the Bengali desire for equality and self-rule. A key experience was the “One-Unit” rule in West Pakistan. “One-Unit” dissolved all provinces in Western Pakistan, integrating them into one political unit. The key reason for this was to balance the demographic strength of East Pakistan by confronting it with a Western wing, which was united and nearly equally populated. Expressed in ethnic terms, this policy had two results: it tried to form a coalition of all non-Bengalis against Bengal. Two, it also abolished all notions of provincial autonomy or of federalism in the West. It placed the smaller provinces and ethnic minorities of West Pakistan even more firmly under the dominance of Punjabi politicians, bureaucrats and military officers. While formally Pakistan became more integrated and united, the Bengalis, Belutschis, Pushtos and Sindhis felt marginalized and excluded, and the fabric of Pakistan weakened. In this phase of Pakistani history the goals of democracy and provincial autonomy were closely connected: democratic and regional/ethnic movements went hand in hand. After the split of Pakistan in 1971 the political environment changed drastically. The democratic and ethnic movements in the former Western wing were deprived one of their main sources of political strength: the cooperation with the Bengalis of Eastern Bengal. With the independence of Bangladesh what was now left of Pakistan was able to shake off the dominance of the old (still colonial) bureaucracy, and even forced the army back to the barracks - at least for a few years. But at the same time the preconditions for Punjabi dominance were strengthened, by loosing the main potential counterweight, Bengal.

    This was the time of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s rule. It was full of contradictions. Bhutto originated from Sindh and aired a distinct anti-establishment rhetoric. Mobilization of the poor masses of Pakistan, for the first time in its history, became his trademark, along with socialist sounding speeches. But he also was a feudal landlord, and had been a Minister in General Ayub Khan’s government. When Balochi frustrations with the central governments increased, Bhutto ordered a brutal military campaign to crush the insurgency. Also his political style very soon moved from democratic to repressive and authoritarian, weakening his social base considerately at the end of his rule. When the army finally overthrew him in 1977, there was little resistance.

    After Zulfikar Ali Bhutto had tried a mixture of repression, social mobilization and populist rhetoric to integrate what was left of Pakistan after 1971, Zia ul-Haq mixed more repression with Islamist rhetoric and a skilful foreign policy vis-à-vis Afghanistan which produced considerable amounts of US foreign aid. Both Presidents heavily relied on ideology to sustain their respective rules, but in both cases their hold on power weakened after a few years. Lack of the Government’s performance proved more important than political rhetoric, no matter whether socialist or Islamist. But while Bhutto (for being a Sindhi himself) had managed to integrate Sindh closer into Pakistan (while completely alienating Balochistan), Zia ul-Haq saw Sindh turn into a hotbed of opposition to martial rule. The “Movement for Restoration of Democracy” was by far strongest in Sindh, and again, the desire for democracy and for provincial/ethnic autonomy went hand in hand. Zia’s rule saw one additional and quite dangerous development: the rise of the MQM in Karachi and urban Sindh in general. Until the middle of the 1980s, most Muhajirs in Karachi had strongly supported the Jamaat-e-Islami(JI), the main Islamist party, founded by Maududi. It was less religious radicalism, but the fact that JI was perceived as “anti-ethnic” and pro-islamic. The Muhajirs coming as refugees from India did not fit any of the local ethnic groups, and of all social groups most strongly believed in the “Islamic Nation” theory that justified Pakistan’s existence. From 1986 a newly established Party gained momentum, the MQM, Mohajir Qaumi Movement (renamed into Muttarhida Qaumi Movement in 1997). It was an exclusively Muhajir party of secular, middle class orientation. Rumor has it that Zia ul-Haq’s Islamist government had a hand in setting it up, to subvert the power of the main opposition party, Benazir Bhutto’s PPP in Sindh. This cannot be confirmed, but the result was exactly that, as its existence led to a civil war in Karachi. The struggle for power between the Muhajirs and Sindhis in the province of Sindh became one of the major destabilizing factors in Pakistan, arresting economic development in the country’s main commercial and industrial center.

    The governments of Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif (each with two terms in office between 1988 and 1998) lacked any ideology. They both tried to appear in modernist garb, but performance was generally worse than that of their predecessor governments. Both Nawaz Sharif's and Benazir’s terms have been characterized by excessive corruption, involving Benazir’s husband and Nawaz personally, and his family. Free market policies, political opportunism plus financial greed were the uniting features of both Prime Ministers, while they waged political war against each other for personal domination of the political system. Corruption, the still prevalent power of feudal landowners, and the permanent power games of the political elite all contributed to paralysis in the political system, and to under-performance in economic development. This was not exactly the best way to make the non-elite sectors of the population (especially in the smaller provinces) interested in the future of a united Pakistan. By 1996/97 for probably the first time in Pakistani history a section of intellectuals more or less openly questioned the wisdom of having split India and to create Pakistan. During Nawaz Sharif's second term a new development occurred: the weakening of state structures resulting from the Prime Minister's attempts, to bring them under his personal control. Nawaz successfully forced the President to resign, drove the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court into resigning, and did the same with the top ranking military brass. While the last move might be perceived as enforcing civilian authority over the armed forced, all three were politically motivated to weaken or abolish any potential counterweight inside the state structures to the Prime Minister. As a result, the independence of the judiciary and the presidency, as well as the freedom of press were gravely weakened and institutional rules broken to strengthen personal rule. Simultaneously, during Nawaz's second term the economic situation of Pakistan deteriorated dramatically, with the country coming dangerously close to bankruptcy. The resulting domestic crises, complete loss of confidence in Nawaz by nearly all sector of society led the Prime Minister to push through Parliament a bill introducing the Sharia, Islamic law. This again was more targeted to strengthen the Prime Minister himself, less of religious relevance.

    Factors Weakening the National Integration of Pakistan National integration in the case of Pakistan cannot mean creating ethnic or national homogeneity throughout the country. It can only mean establishing a common citizenry, common political and social structures, a common State, and an additional sense of identity, of belonging together. It means building commonality on top of the existing (linguistic, ethnic, religious, geographical) diversity, and not substituting an artificial new identity for the old ones. Not that such a process of substitution of identity would be impossible in principle. But it would either take several generations, or unacceptable means to achieve, like genocide or ethnocide. Nation-Building in Pakistan at the end of the 1990s-- that is, after 50 years of the countries existence -- is at the verge of failure. It has already failed once with the split of Pakistan in 1971, and today the danger of the rest of Pakistan disintegrating cannot be ruled out. The following factors contribute to this:

    Generally in Pakistan’s history, Nation-Building and national integration have excluded the population, making it very difficult to transform it into a citizenry. The people have been mere onlookers to politics. Sometimes they identify with specific politics or politicians, but this often was hardly more than an audience applauding a cricket team: it was to identify with someone else, not being an actor oneself. “National Identity” therefore remained shallow and could hardly develop. The main reason behind this was that the character of the Pakistani state did not significantly change after independence. It still remained of “colonial” character, remaining a tool for controlling the population, instead of becoming an instrument for self-government. The state was captured and instrumentalized by a small political elite, which consistently tried to exclude any competing counter-elites. Since the ruling elite mostly consisted of Punjabi rural, “feudal” landlords, the top echelon of the civilian and military bureaucracy, and (with decreasing importance over time) a small elite of Muhajirs, other groups felt excluded. Factions of the Punjabi and Karachi industrialists were among them, but also most of the local elites from Balochistan and Sindh. In contrast to excluded capitalists from Punjab, the tribal leaders from Balochistan and the rural landowners from Sindh perceived their respective exclusion in ethnic rather than political terms. (An important exception applied to the Pashtoons of the Northwest Frontier province. This ethnic/national group has little economic power and is under-represented in the political and bureaucratic elite. But since it is over-represented in the powerful Armed Forces, it today feels much more integrated and “Pakistani”, than it did in the 1940s and 1950s.) A combination of excessive corruption and pathetic under-performance of state structures today characterize Pakistan. Both the development of the economy and of stable political conditions are being undercut by these factors. The police and the legal system, the bureaucracy and the political class are shamefully corrupt, more interested in enriching themselves individually, than serving or developing the country. Since these state structures represent the state to the citizenry, people tend to become cynical and alienated from politics and the state - which implies alienation form “Pakistan”. Also, state structures and national infrastructure remain weak, and actually have weakened over time. These problems to some degree result from what is called in Pakistan the “feudal mentality”. Modern capitalists - who are depending on functioning infrastructure, a fair legal system, secure rules for economic activity - still do not control the country. The “feudal class” still dominates and paralyses politics, having decisive influence in any parliament or government. This class is depending less on achievement and economic efficiency than on extracting resources from other classes by using political power or traditional, tribal or rural power structures. This class is mostly rent seeking, and perceives the state as providing security and perks. The Army has traditionally dominated politics. During about half of Pakistan’s history the country has been governed by military regimes. While some of the arguments the Army put forward to justify its taking power (like incompetence and corruption of many civilian politicians) are not without merit, military rule has not strengthened, but weakened the social fabric of the country. Martial law mostly was an extra tool for the political elites, not threatening their power. It excluded even more the political participation of citizens, thereby making politics even more into something only done by small elite groups. Exclusion of citizens from politics has not been a strategy of only the civilian and military bureaucracy. Even in times of elections and “democracy” people were kept out of politics as much as possible. A very important point has been that all political parties (PPP, PML, many smaller ones) are organized as internal dictatorships. Office holders are not elected, but appointed by the chairperson, or the governing bodies. Parties are hardly the instruments of people to express their will, but oligarchies and political machines. Internal democracy is completely absent, and political programs do not matter. What counts are networks of family and friends, clientelist favors, buying and selling of votes and support, control of local and regional vote banks, control of perks, and a culture of greed. It is obvious, that these structures of politics will not strengthen identification with the political system, and its legitimacy. It also tends to fragment the system into informal and extra-constitutional cliques of people, making not the “Nation” into the key focus of interest, but clientelist networks. Personalization of politics has been one of the factors weakening institution-building. It has considerably contributed to further fragmentation, thereby reinforcing tribal, ethnic, national and other factors. Personalization is psychologically and structurally linked to the “feudal mentality”, and to the weak and non-democratic character of political parties. The weakness and lack of infrastructure also has made national integration more difficult to achieve. Especially in rural areas, in the mountainous North, and in Balochistan not even streets are always available. Electric power, the telephone system, railroads and other means of public transport have been and are in constant crises. The banking system has been inefficient and has been looted by politicians, who are used to receiving “loans” which they never pay back. Police is incompetent, corrupt, and in rural areas acting on behalf of local landlords and “feudals”, who keep their own groups of strongmen. The tax system is a bad joke, and public utilities are hardly accessible without paying bribes. In short: “national infrastructure” is not just weak, but has deteriorated in many respects. Outside pressure on the country does not make things easier. Some five million refugees, a spillover of arms and a resulting “Kalashnikow Culture”, and cheap opium and heroin have entered Pakistan as a result of the Afghan war. Constant tension and fighting in Kashmir at the Indian border have helped justify military expenditures that take up to 50 percent of the national budget. At the same time the IMF and international lenders have turned the squeeze and force Pakistan into one of their “structural adjustment programs”. The economic pressure is being felt all over society, increasing internal competition for meager resources results and reinforces fragmentation.

    The future of Pakistan after 50 (fifty) years of existence hangs in the balance. Political paralysis is hurting economic development, and the economic problems restrict financial possibilities to develop infrastructure and social support systems. Limited resources coupled with outside pressure to adopt neo-liberal and austerity policies lead to increase the struggle over the shrinking pie. At this moment an outright ethnic or minority insurgency in Pakistan is unlikely. But at the same time the last elections have shown a strong ethnicization of politics. Today, hardly any party has truly “national” importance: the Muslim League (PML) of Nawaz Sharif has overwhelming support in Punjab (where some 55 percent of Pakistanis live). But in all other provinces it is weak or very weak. The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) of the Bhutto family and the MQM control the rural respectively urban Sindh, and paralyze each other. And in Balochistan and - to a lesser degree - in the Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP) local, ethnically or religiously based parties predominate. Therefore, fragmentation of the political system has increased considerably during the last 25 years, and has grown more provincial in character than “national”. At the same time, the national government has the constitutional right (under some conditions), to fire the provincial governments.

    Currently the social fabric of the country is weakening. While successful separatist movements are not likely in the near future, a grave political and economic crisis is. It could take two forms: one option is the further disintegration and fragmentation of Pakistan, while for a longer time not producing an opting-out of some of the provinces. (Under conditions of a) A continuing weakening of state structures, increasing cynicism with politics and the state, mistrust of the whole political system and its parties, a chronic crisis of the economy could easily lead to de-legitimation of the democratic system, and to its undermining by both the government and the opposition. This would also imply a weakening of national integration, and the stronger emphasis of ethnic, tribal and religious forms of political identities. In this context, Pakistan might not face disaster in a big bang, but slowly erode, until it finally fractures. The country definitely has great potential. Both its middle and lower classes could be a strong base for democracy, if they would no longer be excluded. The economic prospects are dim at the moment, but again, the potential for development does exist, if only the political sector would function properly. Therefore it is tragic that the most likely scenario for Pakistan is a very pessimistic one. In case the current government will not successfully deal with the most pressing problems of the country (or is sabotaged by the bureaucratic, military and feudal elites) Pakistan may not have a future. It still might exist in name; it still might have a government. But the danger is the government and the “national” structures becoming more and more irrelevant. Paralysis, fragmentation and the weakening of the social fabric can easily lead to a highly unstable situation in which the forms of a democratic nation-state still exist, but beneath the surface politics become more and more localized, without a functioning integrative mechanism. Somalia, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Liberia, Bosnia may be drastic examples for this kind of scenario. It is quite likely that Pakistan will be spared this fate, and will only suffer a lesser (less severe) version of the same dissolution of society and state. The problem is that the combination of paralysis, fragmentation and the weakening of the social fabric will bring about a highly unstable equilibrium, that can suddenly and seemingly without advance warning flip into several possible developments. It can lead to an all- out civil war (which still is not very likely at this point); it may lead to a break-up of the country by its loosing a province or part of it; it also may produce a handful or more local civil wars, along the lines of the Karachi situation of 1995. It also cannot be excluded in the long run that the democratic system will be overturned. Less likely and more of a long range possibility is the strengthening of the Islamist movement, perhaps of the Jamaat-e-Islami. It is at the moment campaigning to change from a “leninist” party structure into a huge membership organization. And the Islamists currently are the only party of real opposition to the system. Finally, there still remains the possibility of the unstable equilibrium going on for a long time, without producing a new system or a dramatic crisis in the foreseeable future. This scenario would imply the current ‘muddling-through’ policy not falling apart, but being successful enough to keep going. It is the least likely of all possibilities, but still it cannot be completely ruled out. Whatever the outcome of the brewing crisis may be, one thing I consider certain. The next few years will decide on the fate of the Pakistani experiment. The first 50 (fifty) years of Pakistan’s existence have not produced a Nation-State. Nation-Building and Democracy both have not been successful up to now. But the question still has to be answered: Will the country use the last chance it has, or concede defeat?


    http://www.jochen-hippler.de/Aufsatze/Nation-Building_in_Pakistan/nation-building_in_pakistan.html
     
  5. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    Pakistan: Why A Nation is in Jeopardy Today

    Professor Rattan Lal Hangloo Chair of Indian studies, University of West Indies


    As a nation Pakistan is confronted with the logical and orthodox contradictions. This maligns the idealism that is supposed to be Islamic State‟s special attribute. But while politicizing Islam for the nation building activity Pakistani leaders are neither able to uphold the secular nor sacred. On one side Pakistan has been trying to regulate (though with occasional restraint) the growth of orthodox enthusiasm of Ulema and Jihad’s for true vision of Islamic state and on the other hand the State is unable to run the affairs with out Western standards of governance. Today it is in this inappropriate balancing of religion and politics that Pakistan is caught up with.1 Now this contradiction seems to have become very mature and the grip of orthodox elements over the state has come more than half way through. At this juncture Pakistan can neither proceed forward to strengthen her democracy nor does it want to give in fully to orthodox elements whose linkages are very strong even at international level. The variety of terrorisms that grew in Pakistan were also facilitated and patronized by the countries dictators and the so called democrats in connivance with the West and America. Be it her troubled relationship with India on the pretext of Kashmir question or the assistance rendered to United States during the Cold War -the countries institutions have followed a serious neglect. Her politicians have deliberately allowed the appropriation of their polity by Western Powers. It is the consequences of this appropriation that has brought the people of Pakistan face to face with the truth of unrestrained radical religious enthusiasm. The zeal for this may not be uniform among the majority classes of Pakistani society but it does uniformly impact majority of people in Pakistan.
    Despite the bitterness and strain that dominated Congress and Muslim league relationship on the eve of partition Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, said on 11th August1947 that our object should be peace within and peace without, we want to live peacefully and have cordial and friendly relations with our immediate neighbours and with the world at large. It is of vital importance to Pakistan and India as independent sovereign states to collaborate in a friendly way, jointly to defend their frontiers both on land and sea against aggression. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed-that has nothing to do with business of state. We are starting with this fundamental principal that we are all citizens and equal citizens of state now I think we 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 personal faith of each individual but in political sense as citizens of state.2 Obviously Jinnah was not aware of the turns and twists that the politics of Pakistan was going to take after his death. As a nation Pakistan was carved out on religious basis but religion as the basis of political ideology did not gel well with the practical functioning of politics within and out side the country. From the very beginning the Pakistani politicians always starved for a viable political ideology. They always depend on politicization of Islam and promotion of orthodoxy for evolving the integral personality as a nation and for legitimizing their position in international politics. As a result the politicians of Pakistan continuously struggled between the options of dictatorship and democracy and in the process they could neither strengthen their nationhood nor serve Islam.
    Basically when Pakistan came into existence Islam was the most forceful factor for Politico-cultural revival at play in the world and it provided a completely different political and global vision from that offered by the globally dominant West and unfortunately Pakistani politicians were swayed by the tendency to patronize the politicization of Islam for their legitimacy. Humayun Khan very rightly observes that Pakistan‟s ruling elite in those days saw themselves as masters, or to put it more kindly, guardians of the masses in succession to the British……..In comparison, Pakistan‟s political leaders, unlike those in India, were not a product of a sustained freedom struggle, they lacked ability and in strictest sense, their credentials as representatives of people were, if not suspect at least out dated. Many of them had jumped on the Pakistani bandwagon rather late in the day and few of them understood the intricacies of statecraft in an independent country.3
    Ignoring the fate of her citizens at that critical hour when communal carnage and partition had left millions in distress, Pakistan not only articulated the liberation of Kashmirees because of co-religionism in the neighborhood but the Muslim lands in Africa and the independence of Indonesia. Pakistan lent a great support for nationalization of oil resources by Iran and to the Egyptian struggle for withdrawal of British troops by sending twenty thousand volunteers to Egypt.4Pakistan convened a world Muslim conference in feberuary1949 with the idea of reinforcing the spirit of Islamic brotherhood umma among the Muslim countries of the world and there was nothing wrong in doing it. But when Pakistan gave the idea of Islamistan based on economic and security alliance embracing all the Muslim countries and hosted conference devoted to international Islamic economic issues in 1949.5 As if it was not enough, Pakistan presented the idea of formation of Islamic bloc in the second Motemar-i-Almi-Islamic conference in 1951.6 This strategy of Pakistan was not digested by Arab leaders who saw British and American hand behind this scheme. They felt that the West was working out alternative to Arab league.7
    When such a forceful and extensive Islamic revival was being carried out by Pakistan abroad, the Muslim countries like Egypt began to doubt the very credentials of Pakistan as facilitator of Islamisation. Liaquat Ali Khan the then prime minister of Pakistan and the chief architect of this Islamisation demagoguery in the Muslim world was assassinated in1951. There after the whole political scenario changed speedy. Not only was her foreign policy viewed with suspicion by the West and America but even the Islamic countries showed disaffection for the kind of political attitude that Pakistan had adopted. Herbert Feldman very rightly remarks that Pakistan as a Muslim country had reasons enough for pursuing pro-Arab policy. The difficulty does not lie in reasons, but in the execution, which is marked by overemphasis on Islam that has proved injurious to Pakistan and irritated others.8
    At home her programme for national integration and reconstruction also suffered immensely because of her dependence on Islam as the ideology of nationalism. The domestic situation of Pakistan during this period has been summed up very appropriately by none other than her first President Major General Iskander Mirza in his 1400 word proclamation issued on 7th October 1957 where in he stated, “For the last two years I have been watching a ruthless struggle for power, corruption and shameful exploitation of simple, honest, patriotic and industrious masses, the lack of decorum and the prostitution of Islam for political ends.……Adventurers and exploiters have flourished to the detriment of the masses and are getting richer by their nefarious practices….My appraisal of internal situation has led me to believe that a vast majority of people no longer have any confidence in the present system of government and are getting more and more disillusioned and disappointed and are becoming dangerously resentful of the manner in which they have been exploited.”9
    By this time the cold war had already set in. The Soviets were cautiously trying to gage the mood of Pakistan. On June 8th 1949 the Soviet Ambassador to Iran formally extended the invitation to Liaquat Ali Khan through Pakistani Ambassador. A Soviet Trade mission also visited Pakistan. But before these negotiations and visits could crystallize any basis for future relationship, the West and America perceived the Islamic assertiveness as a serious threat.10 Soon they (British and Americans) discovered that the growing radicalization Islamic orthodoxy could be used for promotion and perpetuation of their hegemony and for countering the ideology and ambitions of communist bloc among oil rich nations. In such circumstances Pakistan appeared to be the most appropriate and strategic out post for assisting Americans in their cold war against Soviet Union in South Asia.11 Being a superpower, America always twisted societies, economies polities and ideologies in order to ensure her strength in the world and Pakistan became the perpetual victim of their policy.
    Pakistan‟s last hopes for Muslim support petered out about 1952, the same year that saw the election of a Republican administration in Washington (USA) that was anxious to complete the containment ring around China and Soviet Union. With the unwillingness of India to cooperate, an alliance with Pakistan seemed to be an ideal match. It was as a result of this that Pakistan‟s dependence on the West became inevitable particularly United States and United Kingdom. This alignment found expression in CENTO SEATO treaty groups.12 It all started from 1953 when Ghulam Mohammad visited United States of America and rumours of Treaty of Mutual Defense taking place became public until then Pakistan pursued no affiliations even if there was a pro-West and anti- communist world view. Before 1953 Pakistan accepted point four aid which US President Truman had instituted within the frame work of Atlantic charter and aid through Colombo plan. It was during the Governor Generalship of Ghulam Mohammad that the domination of the Western diplomacy (USA and United Kingdom) in Pakistan‟s affairs came more than half way through. From then onwards Pakistan‟s foreign policy was always predominantly tutored by United States for her own interests and Pakistan is now paying the price for the aid and the military equipment that it got from United States from time to time in return for assistance in the cold war.
    For controlling Pakistan‟s foreign policy the worst thing that Americans did was to bolster the prominence of a foreign threat particularly from India 13Initially even though President Ayub Khan had stressed friendly relations with her neighbours but neither did he exclude Islamic phraseology nor his appetite for siding with Anglo –American block from the elements of his foreign policy. On 25th December 1958 at Karachi in a brief of 150 words, Ayub Khan committed to United Nations charter abhorrence of colonialism and friendship to all Muslim countries. He said that the structure of our foreign policy is based on fundamental needs of our country. Pakistan started her foreign policy with certain initial disadvantages. If it is accepted that the principles which guide all relations between states are founded upon the necessity for preserving sovereignty, upon the defense of people and the soil, upon the protection of commerce currently accepted values, and way of life ,then the shape of any country‟s foreign policy sooner or later becomes plain So with Pakistan whose territories are divided and bounded, over great distances, partly by unfriendly Afghanistan and partly by India with which relations have waxed and waned in warmth and at all times, have been greatly complicated by the problems of Kashmir and river water. There was strongly felt intention and desire to pursue the faith and values of Islam, in concert with those other nations where the same belief prevailed.14
    In April1959 when Indian bomber was shot down in Pakistan, the Pakistani president counseled moderation. In 1960 this was reciprocated by the then Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru by visiting Karachi and pledged to forget old rivalry/past conflict and signed Indus water treaty. Both the governments initiated negotiation about refugee property, payment of pensions, outstanding debts, trade, passport, visa and many other issues. But these developments were not appreciated by Pakistan‟s Anglo-American allies. Despite all these measures the Americans did not allow undermine the threat perception from India to be undermined because Pakistan‟s foreign policy was totally subordinated to diplomatic interests of United States. In October 1958 when coup took place in Pakistan, the new establishment did nothing to discourage American interference. On 5th march 1959 at Ankara a treaty called bilateral agreement was signed between Pakistan and United States, Turkey and Iran.In1959December President Eisenhower visited Pakistan and Ayub khan Visited Tehran and Ankara. Upon the conclusion of his Asian tour of 1961Vice-President B.Johnson reported to his own President, through the letter John Fitzgerald Kennedy, as follows, “President Ayub, in Pakistan, is singularly impressive. He is seasoned as a leader, where others are not, confident and straight forward and, I would judge, dependable”15 United States gained confidence and the trust of Ayub Khan but Pakistani polity and diplomacy lost its integrity completely. Karl Von Vorys very rightly says that “otherwise Pakistan‟s Foreign policy lacked initiative. It was the tale of American kite.16 Because of United States dictation Pakistan made it implicit to oppose the communism from the day it allied with US. In his address to Darul Uloom Islamia, on 3rd May 1959 Ayub Khan said that while challenging communism that Islam should be retrieved from the recesses of the past and presented to world in the light and language of today. In his address at Dacca University‟s (now in Bangladesh) convocation 21 January 1960 Ayub Khan again stressed, “to modern slavery of communism there was only one answer and that answer was to be found in Islam.” (Herbert Feldman. 1967.p.172)But in July 1961 when Pakistani economy was in shambles and Ayub visited United States and felt that America was reluctant to help Pakistan he suggested to United States that unless they gave fair amount of aid Pakistani economy will break down and inevitably lead to communism. Even though aid was a genuine need but bringing in the question of communism was a potent weapon for Pakistan to yield Americans
    When Ayub Khan took certain independent steps to structure Pakistan‟s foreign policy the Americans and British expressed their disliking strongly. For example when Pakistan acquired 750 square miles of mountain peaks in her border treaty with China, the United States, State Department, expressed its displeasure and serious concern about the Pakistan‟s friendship with China. The agency for International Development suspended aid for enlarging the Dacca air field (presently in Bangladesh) which was to be the main air link between Pakistan and China at that time.17 While India‟s foreign policy was

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  6. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    establishing its own identity as a neutralist, self reliant and nationalist, Pakistan found only few opportunities to establish its own identity and independent thinking in the international arena. At times Anglo-American block deliberately gave the feeling to Pakistan that its Western allies were prepared to build up India militarily even though it would mean upsetting the already precarious balance in the region. Pakistan‟s Foreign minister Mohammad Ali called the Western military aid to India unfriendly act to Pakistan. West had a purpose and to spot light the friction between the two countries and keep the issue of Indian threat before Pakistani as a stick and occasional military aid as carrot. This justified United States deliberate effort to perpetuate the Military dictatorship in Pakistan and nurse it with religious orthodoxy which was actually meant for containing the advancement of communist ideology in the region and not for strengthening Pakistan against India. As a result the free speech and democracy were perceived dangerous to the dictatorship in Pakistan because people would demand priority on social and developmental spending in order to improve conditions for country‟s poor. The United States instead persuaded leaders to know that they need a strong, contended military if they were to remain in power. Pakistan spent even more money, buying latest and most expensive weapons systems than required, to raise the regimes prestige. During cold war, under the United States pressure Pakistani government was made to lay the over emphasis on intelligence gathering for the defense of US activities which was portrayed as national defense. Pakistani dictatorship put a premium on information gathering that pleased them and discredited them which in course of time led to wasting of country‟s resources because there was a poor coordination. Under Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Zia-ul-Haq, Benazir Bhutto, Nawaz Sheriff and General Musharaf, the government authorities carried out no legislation to this effect nor did Pakistani media or any organization criticize the government to curtail such behavior. Each experiment of dictatorship or occasional democratic government in seeking legitimacy by assisting American establishment and by appealing religious sentiments of subjects went on strengthening the voices of fundamentalists and blurred the vision of Pakistan‟s institutions for modernity. It only suited to the interests of Anglo-American block so they remained silent about it. In sixties Pakistan was getting tired of United States dictation but they had no option and when Pakistan tended towards USSR it was too late because Soviets had lost trust in Pakistan and USSR raised the question of Pakhtunistan to remind Pakistanis that they were unwelcome to the Soviet camp. But the tendency to lean towards Soviet Union reflected the popular mood which found expression in transcending to democracy under Bhutto -though only for the brief interval and to the great disliking of United States.
    When finally Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and his Pakistan Peoples Party replaced Ayub Khans Martial Law regime with a populist political ideology that he characterized as “Islamic socialism” but so far as the domestic and international politics was concerned he discovered that all the institutions were very deeply attracted to Muslim ideals of power
    7
    and authority as evolved and grown by Martial Law in connivance with Anglo American block, so much so that he could not initiate any effort towards their reorganization. Despite his efforts to portray the viability of new phraseology of Islamic socialism, people suspected his rhetoric and his 1977 electoral victory over the conservative Pakistan National Alliance. It landed Pakistan in such a crisis that Pakistan easily reverted back to Martial Law (military regime) under General Zia –ul –Haq.18
    When Zia ul Haq took over as dictator his publicized Nizam-e- Mustafa plan was different from Islamisation Programmes of previous governments.19Zia appeared to be more rooted in the native culture. Eventually he issued directives to government departments for Nimaz during office hours to be led by department heads. All business centers were obliged to close for Friday prayers. A committee was set up to revive the Islamic institutions of zakat and ushur. Islamisation of banking system in Pakistan was carried out. Hadud punishments were introduced for drinking theft, dacoity and adultery. Zia discouraged co-education but encouraged chard closed garments for women. A sharia faculty was established at the Quaid-i-Azam university in Islamabad, the council of Islamic ideology was empowered to make recommendations as to measures for bringing existing laws into conformity with the Quran and the sunnah (the sacred tradition in rule or custom)and the Islamic research institute was entrusted with the task of conducting research in Islam. Steps were taken to revise text books and curricula. The poor flocked to madrasas which gave them food and shelter the television and radio were ordered to redesign their Programmes according to the Islamic teachings. United States was happily watching these things because it suited them. With the eco of Iranian out cry of musalman-e-pakbaz the unwanted Muslims were eliminated and persons known for their commitment to an Islamic order were appointed to key government posts. According to Turkkaya he exhausted all of his political cards, including Islam, to legitimize his rule.20
    Infact all the measures Zia adopted were not motivated by his moral clarity or genuine interest in strengthening the institutional foundations of state by religious idealism but he wanted to wash his blood stained hands after Bhutto‟s execution and to help United States to organize much needed Afghan Mujahedin movement in Pakistan and Afghanistan against Soviets. The process of building Afghan Mujahedin movement in Pakistan and Afghanistan against Soviets by CIA and ISI led to the integration of Terrorism into Pakistan‟s foreign and security policy so much that it is very complex for any military or democratic establishment to deconstruct that integration particularly when the situation is not as war demanding as it was before collapse of Soviet Union.21 When Pakistani government felt that her citizens were finding the Islamist message attractive it gave the impression that it was on the same side.
    Although Zia-ul-Haq‟s own version of Islamic polity Bhutto‟s legitimized execution but it did not resolve the main dilemma concerning the essence of Pakistan‟s Islamic nationalism. Instead Zia-ul-Haq was left with no option but to make more and more concessions to fundamentalists. As a result his effort to make Pakistan a truly Islamic State and define her nationalism in terms of Muslim identity resulted in a making situation so much complex that all those, (among orthodox or modernists) who were genuinely interested in development of Pakistan got totally disillusioned. Mazhar Ali Khan very rightly says, “The process of Pakistan‟s political degradation began long decades ago; however, in its last phase General Zia ul Haq worked with special devotion to destroy national institutions, emasculate political parties foster political corruption, and pervert accepted political values. The legacy he left behind him included a half baked political system and gangs of caretakers who remained determined to serve their benefactor‟s mission of not allowing democracy to prosper in Pakistan……..repeatedly the cover of Islamisation has been used to make the plan for regression palatable. This is certainly no service to Islam, which is viewed by the people and many eminent scholars as the foundation for democratic egalitarian society.”22
    But behind the scene was the Carter administration. To the national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan provided much welcome proof aggressive intensions of Soviet Union in the third world. In his report to Carter on the day of the invasion Brzezinski noted that, “both Iran and Afghanistan are in turmoil.” and the age long dream of Moscow to have direct access to Indian Ocean was in the process of being full filled.23 “it was Brzezinski‟s portrayal of Brezhnev‟s Afghan policy as a naked act of aggression and as a first step in challenging US positions in the gulf area that won Carter over to seeing the Soviets as implacable enemies and the invasion of Afghanistan as the gravest threat to world peace since 1945”.24
    In spite of the Presidents sense of shock and outrage, the invasion in no way came as a surprise to Washington. US intelligence-both air surveillance and intercepts-had shown Soviet forces being readied for action in Afghanistan since late November 197925. United States had also begun a programme of direct financial and material support for the Afghan anti-communist opposition in July 1979, which was stepped up as the year progressed. By early September Admiral Stanffield Turner, Carters director of central intelligence had asked for several “enhancement options.” to be worked out, including one that would provide funds for Pakistanis to purchase lethal military equipment for the insurgents and a like amount of lethal equipment ourselves for Pakistanis to distribute to insurgents.26We must remember that each of these experiments with Islamic dictatorship or democracy in Pakistan only strengthened the voices of fundamentalists and blurred the vision of countries institutions for modernity. But it suited to the interests of Anglo-American block and since they were its silent sponsors.
    But the US planning was soon overtaken by events in Afghanistan itself. In February 1980 barely six weeks after the Soviet invasion, Zbigniew Brzezinski‟s went to Pakistan, where he discussed about the expansion of a covert action programme with General Zia and visited Afghanistan frontier where he was photographed waving a Kalashnikov rifle roughly in the direction of border line.27 “On his way home Brzezinski stopped in Saudi Arabia, where he agreed a Saudi matching contribution for the Mujahedin to any thing the Americans would provide. Well before Carter had been defeated by Ronald Regan in the US Presidential election in Afghanistan could and should be made into a Soviet Vietnam.”28 By this time a number of new US programs to counter radical communist regimes in third world were well under way including Yemen, Angola and tiny Caribbean island Grenada…………The beginning US offensive in Islamic world became much easier because of the Muslim reaction to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan Moscow‟s decision not only made many nationalist regimes turn against it-the Islamabad meeting of 35islamic nations in January 1980 condemned “Soviet military aggression against Afghan people” but it also de-legitimized the left and made it easier for Islamist agitation to find an audience in middle east North Africa, even in Muslim South east Asia. For many Islamists, especially new recruits to the cause29 “The Soviet Union and Communism became the main enemy and the united states a tactical ally in deed, if not in word. For the Saudis, the US support for the Afghan Mujahedin was essential. The head of Saudi general intelligence department Prince Turki-al-Faisal told CIA allies we do not do operations we do not know how all we know is write checks.”30
    For Pakistan‟s military leader General Zia ul –Haq, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan implied both opportunity and threat, though the former out weighed the latter. Zia believed from very early on that the intervention meant a chance to let the Islamist movements that he sponsored become the internationally supported Afghan opposition.31 It also meant that Pakistan, in the eyes of the United States and Britain could shed the stigma it obtained with Zia‟s coup the execution of his civilian Predecessor Z.A.Bhutto and the burning of US embassy in Islamabad by local Islamistsin1979.In other words, Zia could have it both ways he could full fill his dream of directing a jihad and receive Western support.
    While doing so Zia‟s plans were greatly helped by third world condemnation of Soviet invasion as did non-aligned movement during its meeting of foreign ministers in new Delhi in February 1981. at which a Pakistani-sponsored resolution was passed over a much milder Indian version.32 Within the Muslim world Iran and even Libya-not generally considered friendly to Zia‟s regime-were willing to cooperate with him in support for the Afghan Mujahedin.33( Within Pakistan Zia left the organization of the support for the Afghan Islamists, and for more than 1.5million refugees who lived in the camps on the Pakistani side of the border, to the head of military inter-services intelligence ISI General Akhtar Abdur Rahman. General Akhtar an old classmate of Zia‟s graduating with him in the last class of the British Indian military academy before independence and known for his haterid of India and for his dedication to the concept of Jihad. The system of supplies and political control that Akhtar built put his own organization at the center, with Saudi Arabia and United States as the main funds, and Egypt and China as the main deliverers of Soviet type weapons. Akhtar also organized training camps for the Mujahedin, giving pride of place to recruits from Hikmatyar‟s Hezb-i-Islami. The instructors in these camps were Pakistani‟s though American and British Personnel were in place to train Pakistani officers in the use of the newly acquired weapons. From 1984 onwards the CIA helped run training centers for Afghan and Foreign Mujahedin in Egypt and probably also in at least one of the Gulf States. Reportedly, General Akhtar visited the latter, but did not generally approve of these camps, since they took recruitment and training in these camps away from his supervision.34Untill1983 United States kept within the framework of aid to the Mujahedin established by Carter administration. This meant that washing ton paid for small amounts of weapons and other supplies that came to the Afghan resistance through third countries.
    The American aid distributed through Pakistani agencies –was considerably less in total during the first two years of the conflict than that paid for by Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries. Both the State Department and CIA still held relations with Pakistan to be too cool to envisage a major American effort through that country. There was also a considerable resistance in the bureaucracy, especially at State, against confronting Soviets too directly especially since no body seemed able to come up with a concrete plan of how any ore extensive American involvement would figure out. But most important of all was the firm belief in the CIA and intelligence organizations across the western world that Mujahedin could not over time inflict serious casualties on Soviets. Investing in Afghan resistance would be a losing proposition. It would be far better to spend money and effort in re-establishing a relationship with Pakistan and thereby shore up the struggle against further soviet encroachments in the region.35
    Arne Westad remarks, “Getting to know the general and his administration took lot of money aian1981 the United States provided Islamabad with six year 3.2billion economic and military assistance program, including the delivery of forty F-16 jet Fighters.36A US National Security Intelligence estimate passed in November 1982 found with a certain understatement that the US Pakistani deal on economic aid and weapons sales undoubtedly has strengthened the Pakistani International position and restored some of its self confidence.” During his visit to Washington the General. Zia pushed for more, including a tacit US acceptance of Pakistan‟s Nuclear weapons program. Even though both Reagan and Shultz warned against any development of nuclear weapons the secretary noted to the president that they must also recognize how we handle nuclear issue can have a profound effect on our ability to continue to cooperate with Pakistan in supporting the Afghan freedom fighters. In pursuit of further American aid General. Zia not only subtly stressed his strong attachment o china and hinted that the Chinese remain faithful to their policies and agreements.”37
    For Pakistan and ISI the increase in aid to Mujahedin was a God sent opportunity. Since the major proportion of aid was distributed by Islamabad so Zia claimed credit for it and there by formed the political shade of Afghan opposition almost at will. As General Yusuf the head of ISI Afghan Bureau put it, “the CIA would arrange and pay for shipment to Karachi notifying us of Arrival dates once the vessel docked the ISI took over storage and distribution. The ISI made sure that it was the Islamist movements and especially Hikmatyar‟s Hezb-i-Islami that received most of the aid especially of new weapons. By 1986 the battle Zia had already begun to believing that Soviets would have to withdraw sooner rather than later and that the battle for post communist.38
    When the news of air crash killing of Ziaul Haq, was disclosed to the president Ghulam Isaq Khan he consulted his senior colleagues to get their consensus to support and strengthen his presidency in accordance with constitutional provisions. But whatever recommendations were made to President, the part of the process included over emphasis of defense of Islamic values39. Although Benazir genuinely wanted to move Pakistan towards democratization but her political campaign was mostly dominated by Kashmir issue. The posters dotted entire Pakistan with the slogan „Kashmir Banega Pakistan.‟ Such designs consistently preserved the false consciousness of masses who wanted to move towards a more secular political terrain. It encouraged those in the army establishment who firmly believed that Pakistan did not deserve democratic polity because of their ISI was too much intertwined with CIA Under all dictatorial regimes Pakistan created elite units in army through ethnic interests. That is why at present or in near future if any organization in Pakistan enlists the support of jihadis can also take over Pakistan because the Pakistani military has althrough been taught to be sympathetic to radical Islam which was outer cover of the states political ideology. Since Pakistani army worked in connivance with CIA. The laters primary motive was to enlist success against Soviets in cold war and use assistance of Pakistani army in realizing their ambition. As a result Pakistan followed a serious neglect both in her domestic and foreign policy. Pakistan was made to patronize radicalization of Islam for building the scaffolding to restrict the spread of communism. It was in this process that Pakistan failed to explore the other tools of legitimacy as a nation state other than politicization of Islam which suited to Western and American interests at that time. Before 9/11 US did not deter Taliban from waging conflict or pressuring India when hijacking of Indian plane took place to Qandhar.

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  7. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    715
    continued from previous post...

    During Musharaf‟s regime also Pakistan replicated the Arab influences in order to extend their influence by relying on more indirect methods including propaganda, terrorism and use of surrogate clients such as Al, jihad, Alfaran etc. A renowned Kashmir analyst, Murtaza Shibli very rightly remarks, “The proverbial trio of Pakistani politics-Allah, Army and America seem to have been reconfigured in reverse order with Americans enjoying on the top. The US influence is so powerful that they virtually seem to be running every aspect of Pakistani Life as allowed by General Musharaf in his last years of rule. They are said to have un acknowledged military basis, secret prisons and torture centers with powers to detain Pakistani citizens and thousands of secret agents running around in the country without any legal or bureaucratic fetters. This is the main reason that Americans are against the reinstatement of Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhary who was adamant in upholding the law and wanted to know the fate of thousands that have gone missing in Musharaf‟s regime with many of them ending up in secret American prisons and torture cells. The majority of the Pakistanis see the US war on terror the main reason for problems in tribal areas and resultant suicide bombings. Speaking at Kashmir rally on 5th February 2008 in Lahore, Jamat-i-Islami leader Liaquat Baloch castigated president Musharaf for acting as tool in the hands of Washington to make Pakistan a failed State as per US agenda.” 40 From all these details it becomes amply clear that during the cold war there has been consistent radical Islamist orientation in south Asia. In this Pakistan was tutored and patronized by America and suddenly from 9/11 Pakistan is forced to give up what it has grown as part and parcel of her political personality at the hands of her politicians and the US even though such a policy has denied Pakistani nationalism the much needed firm foundation. Now even if the Pakistani State is trying to transcend to democratic norms that may not suddenly change things at the fundamental level so quickly because Pakistani army has to get equipped with qualities that are part of modern fighting forces and such an openness, trust and respect at all levels. Even now Pakistan continues to face a major domestic crisis because of the possibility of collapsing of military force and the presence of NATO forces in her immediate neighborhood. The factionalism of domestic politics has crept into the ranks of Pakistani army. Pakistan is discovering now that US military supplies to Pakistan were not with out influencing her policies and politics from the very beginning of cold war. The country is thrust into a situation with its neighbours which can be characterized an era of no war and no peace in between. Neither her use of arms nor her negotiations with India or America have provided solution to Kashmir problem. Her real sympathy for Kashmirees on religious grounds diminished once for all when the Kashmirees were subjected to worst suffering in the recent past. Pakistan is not understanding that by and larger the efficacy of terrorism in fulfilling the political goals of any regime has failed. Either those countries using terrorism have faced international isolation or sanctions and other punishments.
    For some regions terrorism must have worked as a logical political strategy to achieve their goals aiming at social revolution or nationalist movement but for Pakistan particularly in Kashmir‟s case it has grown hatred and the dehumanization that was carried out in Kashmir in the process. This strategy is no more seen in Kashmir heroic, successful, inspiring for masses to support it. Today a sizeable section among Kashmirees are reluctant to be dragged into conflict worried more about internal threats than about Pakistan‟s proposals for their political future .During the struggle thousands of people died, lots of resources were wasted, economic development was almost arrested and living standards were held back. Kashmiri intellectual life was crippled. Militancy brought no freedom but more quarrels, splits and inter -group conflicts. India was not expelled from Kashmir; nothing good came out of it except decades of suffering and turmoil. The much prophesied revolution and freedom did not take place at all. Recently President Zardari characterized them as terrorists. Infact Pakistan government has no incentive to end Kashmir conflict even if Kashmirees do not want that. But it helps the Pakistani government to hike military budget to ensure domestic stability by coercion. Even the state sponsored terrorist pressure or violence that is used against India as a conscious integral strategy of her foreign and security policy has not helped Pakistan at all. Instead it has virtually shattered Pakistan‟s economy. The end of cold war has penalized Pakistan that is why the region has become riskier place in the world.
    The inability of the religion to play a major role as a political ideology into nation‟s politics can largely be attributed to the ethnic/tribal diversity found within in Pakistan. Jinnah and Ayub Khan may not have been able to eliminate religion as a factor in politics, but the leadership of religious parties has also not been able to make Pakistan a sectarian state. Interestingly India patronized and promoted the linguistic and cultural diversity to strengthen the foundations of her nationhood. I think the basic mistake that Pakistan did was to continue radicalization of Islam as the basis of nationhood. Particularly in an area where more than 57% of countries territory is inhabited by people belonging to different ethnic and tribal cultures and these groups always subordinated their religious loyalty to their respective ethnic and tribal loyalties.41Dubbing NWFP with too much of terrorism is also viewed with suspicion that Pakistan is containing opposition in these areas under the pretext of eliminating terrorists while the real camps are elsewhere in her territory. The main dilemma that has confronted all the rulers of Pakistan since Ayub Khan, is that, since 1958 the justification of Pakistani nationalism has been the ideal of an Islamic state, an essential basis of legitimacy in order to overcome all the ethnic divisions that compartmentalize the population yet the very idea of Islamic society is more divisive than it is unifying because there can be no agreement as to what the Muslim is they way they treated Kashmirees, Baloches, Shias, Ahmadyas and Afghans.
    All neighbours of Pakistan would love to see the country fully transcend to real democracy, whatever it is worth, but even this time the transition to democracy may also end up as a brief interval that her history has occasionally seen in the past. With the end of cold war the Anglo-American block has not lost its appetite for political intervention in the country‟s politics though after cold war the impression of some of the strategic analysts in South Asia was that the country has been used by America as a toilet paper during the cold war era and in return small bounces that trickled in the shape of military and other aid packages, have not helped the country to base her institutions and economy on firm footing. The country is in serious trouble and the politicians are either feigning innocence or deliberately shutting their eyes to reality. Pakistani people do not want conflict but the institution of their army can not survive with out that hence the struggle between her armed forces for perpetuation of dictatorial regime and people‟s aspiration for democracy has the immense potential to tear Pakistan apart. Pakistan‟s diplomacy is virtually in shambles. On one hand it is can not continue the alliance with United States that is viewed by radical Muslims not only in Pakistan but all over the world as unholy but on the other hand after9/11 Pakistan is also suspect in eyes of world. Pakistan has nothing to transact in foreign policy today therefore if Pakistan continues her involvement in terrorist activities in India or elsewhere that clearly illustrates Pakistan‟s frustration because of her domestic instability and external isolation and if it continues with same attitude such outcomes may not be welcomed for long and will have awesome consequences for the stability of Pakistan itself. The issue that should deeply concern Pakistan is the sharp divide between public opinion and public policy which has been increasingly growing as a result of states unwillingness and inability to protect her citizens from violence. Unfortunately that is the mature sign of failed state. This will spell the end of even whatever symbolism of democracy Pakistan has embraced. The stable Afghanistan is needed by Anglo-American block to thwart Russians designs. Afghanistan‟s emergence is viewed by Pakistan as a strong threat but with United State it is a historical necessity and inevitability. Pakistan is made to cooperate much against her wishes in stabilization of Afghanistan‟s victory for Anglo-American block is a far fetched thing because of many reasons rooted in strategic complexities of the region. Pakistan can not act sincerely in her structural transformation if it continues to support US designs in the region when US is suspect in the eyes of Muslims at popular level. With out committing herself to true democratic values Pakistan is speedily submerging internationally under the weight of her own mistakes and when Pakistan should realize that Peace, stability and economic development are more desirable ends than an end less struggle to facilitate the realization of US ambitions will amount to posing great risks to the Pakistan‟s survival as a nation.
    Pakistani leadership needs to understand that in 21st century if their nation state has to embrace modern democratic and administrative principles in totality they may not be consistent with the ideals of Islamic state because so long as populism rests with fundamentalists, the power to people would mean subjection of state power to fundamentalist forces or ethnic fragmentation of communities that constitute Pakistan. The state needs to deconstruct the politicization of Islam that results in false glorification ideal of Islamic state, props up the expectations of orthodox thinkers about the government‟s policies to change socio-economic scenario. If we separate political culture from theology we are sure to find consensus among people whatever the nature of their ethnicity or level of orthodoxy because true Islam stands for translating individual virtue into community power. The different groups may differ as to the characterization of good but they will surely agree that personal qualities are always effective in influencing the public .The true Muslim is one whose glance is enough to change the fate of world for good not for worse. All the leaders and followers need to keep in mind that they are bound together because of Allah‟s will for an orderly social world of believers and treachery with people in and out side the country is supreme evil that too for petty political reasons.

    concluded...
     
  8. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    Stop blaming the West Shahid Ilyas


    The only legitimate and viable way of existence for a state is that it is based on the idea of public welfare, democracy, pluralism and the rule of law

    “Whereas sovereignty over
    the entire universe belongs to Allah Almighty alone and the authority which He has delegated to the State of Pakistan, through its people for being exercised within the limits prescribed by Him is a sacred trust...” This is a citation taken from the Objectives Resolution — the guiding principles for lawmaking in Pakistan — that was presented by Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan, the right-hand man of Jinnah, before the constituent assembly in 1949.

    In our anti-American and anti-West zeal, we have forgotten to appreciate that, though the West did play a part in pressing Pakistan deeper into the pit of religious bigotry, thanks to the anti-Soviet jihad in the 1980s, the causes of religious extremism and terrorism need to be explored further and much beyond the Afghan jihad. No matter how Jinnah lived his personal life, we have to acknowledge that he organised different sections of the Muslims of India for the achievement of a state solely based on their faith, Islam. No wonder, then, the country soon came to be known as the ‘Fortress of Islam’ and its objective became “Pakistan ka matlab kia? La Ilaha IlAllah” (What is the meaning of Pakistan? There is no god but Allah).

    General Mohammad Ayub Khan, tacitly recognising that Pakistan indeed represented a religious ideology, gave in to the demand of Islamic fundamentalists that the name Republic of Pakistan in the 1962 Constitution be prefixed with the word ‘Islamic’. The Objectives Resolution was accepted as the guiding principles of the constitution. Religious bigots in Pakistan have always been successful in pressuring governments into passing retrogressive laws because of their conviction that Pakistan was made in order to make sure that the word of Allah prevailed. It was this inherent conviction and belief that Zulfikar Ali Bhutto had to bow down before to declare Ahmedis as non-Muslims.

    Ziaul Haq explicitly — not implicitly like his predecessors — advocated the fact that Pakistan had been created in the name of Islam and needed to be ruled accordingly. Therefore, he shared governance with pan-Islamic religious parties, made the Objectives Resolution a substantive part of the constitution, brought school syllabi in line with what his religious partners told him was Islam, introduced Islamic laws, established tens of thousands of religious seminaries, incorporated in the constitution the definition of a Muslim and a non-Muslim, made prayer compulsory during office hours and last, but not the least, joined jihad in Afghanistan.

    It is in this context that we need to try to understand the prevailing religious bigotry in Pakistan. Holding ‘the west’ responsible for our daily miseries and putting all blame into the west’s basket is neither constructive, fair nor just. Nor are our claims on western aid justifiable on the basis of the logic that the latter was responsible for our descent into chaos.

    It has become fashionable in Pakistan for ‘liberal’ columnists to condemn acts of extremism and terrorism, but they are very quick to add that the Western-supported Afghan jihad led to the scourge of extremism in the country. They fail to realise that this kind of qualified condemnation of extremism strengthens the hand of extremists by way of conferring a sort of legitimacy upon their ongoing anti-western struggle in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Secondly, this kind of qualified condemnation points to their lack of understanding and non-recognition of the presence of extremism in the decades-long official narrative that predates the Afghan jihad. That narrative necessitated the addition of the prefix ‘Islamic’ to everything Pakistani.

    There is, therefore, an urgent need to understand and recognise that the faith-based narrative, that ultimately brought Pakistan to where it is today, dates back to the struggle for the creation of this country. There is abundant literature available in libraries that can help us understand that the makers of Pakistan relied heavily on Islamic rhetoric. After the creation of Pakistan and through its political development, there are hundreds of instances that show that Pakistan has always followed the path that was shown to it by religious parties, including the present-day Taliban sympathisers — the Jamaat-e-Islami and Jamiat-e-Ulema-i-Islam.

    We also need to understand that the modern-day world is not conducive for ideology-based states. States that were based on communism could not sustain themselves and collapsed under their own weight. Nazism — that believed in the superiority of the German race and that pursued cross-border ambitions — faced devastation. Iran — which is struggling to exist with a cross-border agenda — is neither an ideal case to be followed, nor can Pakistan be compared to that country in terms of wealth, geography, strategy and population.

    The only legitimate and viable way of existence for a state is that it is based on the idea of public welfare, democracy, pluralism and the rule of law. All developed and developing states that are based on these principles are prospering.
     
  9. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    HOW DIFFICULT IT IS TO HELP PEOPLE CHANGE THEIR THINKING
    Interview with Dr. Pervez Hoodbhoy


    Sohail: When I read your book “Islam and Science’, I was quite impressed by your depth of knowledge and your critical mind; and when I heard you were coming to Canada I was looking forward to seeing you and interviewing you.You seem to have an optimistic attitude towards life and a humanistic philosophy. I am curious how you developed such an attitude and philosophy. Can you share with me what kind of family and social environment you grew up in?
    Pervez: I was born in an Ismaili family. My maternal grandfather was from a place near Hyderabad, which is now called Sultanabad. He was very dedicated to Agha Khan. He had a lot of land in the village. He gave that land as a donation to Agha Khan and became a waris. My paternal grandfather was also a very religious man; in fact he built the first Jamaat Khana in Karachi with his own money, as a consequence of which Sultan Mohammad Shah named him mukhi. The name Hoodbhoy comes from Hood (brother of Hood). Hood was one of the minor prophets of Koran. So I grew up in this family, which had very deep connection to Ismaili-ism.

    My father, however, was not very comfortable with this. He considered the Agha Khani System as exploitative. His rebellious nature influenced all the children so we did not grow up as traditional as our cousins did. At the age of twelve I began to feel the first elements of rebellion within me. My elder sister was quite uncomfortable with the tradition of praying and fasting. Her discomfort was passed on to me and I rebelled against Ismaili-ism. I remember declaring in my home that Agha Khan was a fraud. That outraged my parents. One day while they were away, I took down all the photographs of Agha Khan from the whole house and smashed them and after smashing them I ran away from home for one day. I was forgiven later on as they were upset about my being away. This was my conversion into proper Islam and I started going to masjid. I got quite involved in Islamic teachings until the age of 14 when, fortunately or unfortunately, I started reading the plays of Bernard Shaw and later on, the works of Bertrand Russell. That had such an impact on me that it bowled me over and by the time I was 15, I was lost, lost to “all good things”.

    I went to Karachi Grammar School, a school where nobody talked about the problems of society. Children from very rich families came to that school and talked only about dance parties and having a good time. I went along part of the way with them but I was never very comfortable with that lifestyle. My father was not very rich and he suffered a major financial I collapse in 1964 when I was 14 years old. At that point it was quite possible that I might have dropped out of school and gone to a less expensive school. Somehow my father struggled hard to keep me in that school with the help of my brother who had gone to the USA and was sending some money to help the family. Anyhow I was a product of that school and insensitive to society and the world around me. It was really my going to the USA and coming to MIT that transformed me and made me a person very different from what I had been before.


    Sohail: I am curious about your emotional relationship with your parents and your siblings. Were you close to them? Did you have an open communication with them? Could you discuss your problems frankly?

    Pervez: My father was very rebellious at one level and very conformist at the other. At times he was erratic. Some people described him as eccentric too. He was aware of the exploitative relationship Agha Khan had with the community. He felt it to be wrong that people paid these rather large sums of money to Agha Khan and he used it on investments for his racehorses. He lived a good life in Geneva. I do not think he has gone to Jamaat Khana in the last fifty years of his life. My mother did not have a theological faith but as a conformist she still goes to Jamaat Khana. All that affected me but when I rebelled as a teenager I might have influenced my sisters who are younger than me.

    Sohail: What were the circumstances when you went to United States?

    Pervez: When I finished school in Pakistan, I applied to different universities in the United States. There was absolutely no chance of my going abroad unless I got a full scholarship from them. I was lucky that MIT offered me a scholarship and admission but it was 50% of my fee, which was $3200 a semester at that time. I knew I had to earn the rest of the money myself. So from the very first day that I landed in Boston I started looking for a job. The first job I found was in the cafeteria. I used to sweep toilets. I also became a subject for medical experiments. I used to work thirty hours a week. I was still happy because I felt as if I was liberated from the intellectual prison. I loved the courses at MIT. Those were delicious offerings for a freshman and I overloaded myself with courses.

    Sohail: How old were you when you came to MIT?

    Pervez: I was 17. It was like walking into a beautiful garden and seeing treasures all around. Out of greed I started gathering them, so I ended up carrying twice of the load of courses in the first semester and working nearly 30 hours a week. So that meant that I did not sleep very much. By the end of the first year I was a nervous wreck. My family was in deep financial trouble so I sent some money to support them. But then I felt so wrecked that I did not want to live in the USA. I did not want to be there. I hated it immensely. I was completely happy with my courses but I had developed an antipathy for the society. I did not have a single friend. I hated the mechanized society. I felt like a cog in a big wheel. It seemed totally alienating, impersonal, and mechanical.

    I yearned for my life in Pakistan so badly that I broke down and dropped out for a semester and went back home. In Pakistan I recuperated for a semester by teaching in my own school with which I had a very strong emotional link.

    Looking back now, it was a happy experience for me. So after a semester I was ready to go back. When I returned to MIT, I got back in the same mode, taking lots of courses and working 30 hours a week. But this time I did not fall into a depression. I was enticed by all those gems so I stuffed them in my pockets again. So at the end of four years, I had two Bachelor degrees, one in Electrical Engineering and the other in Mathematics and a Masters in Physics. I did all that in basically three and a half years. Although I overloaded myself doing that, yet I discovered the value of hard work. During that time I underwent a political transformation. That transformation came about because of the circumstances of those times. That was the time when the anti Vietnam war movement had reached its height. It was also the time in 1971 when West Pakistan Army was carrying out the savage butchery of Bengalis. That was the time when Bangladesh came into existence. I remember the television programs showing the brutality of the army. I have a vivid image of a Pakistani soldier with his head cut off, and his head dangling by the hair, a picture that was printed in New York Times. Those images tormented me a great deal.

    Those were the times when I met some people who affected my thinking profoundly and changed the direction of my life. One of them was Iqbal Ahmed. The first time I met him was in 1971 when he was giving a talk about the Viet Nam war. When I heard him speak for the first time, I was spellbound. He brought out so powerfully the agony of the Vietnamese and the complete immorality of the American carpet bombings in Vietnam. The other personality that impressed me was Noam Chomsky. I used to worship him from a distance. Those were some of the people and circumstances that influenced me, and I felt completely alienated from American society, alienated even from the left wing radical Marxists, with whom I agreed ideologically but with whom I could not relate socially. There was a time I joined them in MIT occupations where we smashed into buildings and took them over. Once, the police surrounded us and the provost of MIT stepped in. He threatened me personally, telling me that he would get me deported. I was scared but there was nothing I could do. There was a whole crowd behind me. Suddenly people behind me pushed me and then we heard a police officer firing a shot. There was a panic, everybody ran and I was saved. Alongside my political transformation, I was falling in love with physics. In Pakistan I had a passion for engineering, and I had made radio transmitters and optical communication devices, and I was just crazy about this. I actually saw electronics in my dreams. But when I went to MIT, I suddenly lost that fascination. It was completely replaced by far more abstract themes like nature of time, nature of space and meeting people like Phillip Morrison really inspired me. At that time I thought there was nothing more beautiful than physics. So I studied hard and worked hard and sent money home to support my family.

    Sohail: While you were studying and working hard, did you get any chance to relax, socialize and date?

    Pervez: No, I had no life outside school and work. I studied or worked 18 hours a day, seven days a week. I did not want it otherwise. I wanted to finish my school, get my degrees and go back to Pakistan to be a part of the revolution. I had left traditional, religious and even social institutions behind. I did not want to do anything with them. Although I was the president of the Pakistan Students’ Association, I had strong differences with them on political issues, especially the issue of Bangladesh. It was bitter. We were angry every time we met. I felt we were committing genocide in Bangladesh. So I wanted to go back to Pakistan and be involved in politics.

    Sohail: It seems you went through an angry phase.

    Pervez: I hated America with a passion. Now that I look back I have difficulty understanding that depth of anger. I felt the entire American society was engaged in trying to obliterate Viet Nam. I remember when Nixon was bombing Hanoi, I was sitting in a car at that time with my sister and listening to the news. When I heard the news of bombing I broke down and started crying. It was very emotionally charged for me. So I felt I could not stay in the USA. I wanted to get out of there.

    Sohail: Did you have a clear idea what changes you wanted to bring about in Pakistan’s social, and political system?

    Pervez: I was a Marxist in my philosophy. I believed that socialism and then communism was the only way for our society to go forward. In 1973 when I had received two BSC and an MSC, I saw an advertisement in the Pakistani embassy bulletin. There was a position available in Islamabad University (it was not called Qaid-e-Azam University at that time). I applied for the position, I was invited, and I went to Washington by train, spent the night in a park and went to the embassy for the interview in the morning. They asked me only one question: “How much salary do you want”? I said, ‘What ever is reasonable”. They said ‘You are appointed’. I went back to Boston and two months later I received a letter stating that I was appointed as Assistant Professor in the department of Physics in Islamabad and I would be paid Rs. 700 a month. At that time I did not care about the money. I put that letter carelessly in one of my books. So when I sold my books, I lost that letter too. When I went back to Pakistan, I went to Islamabad for the first time in my life. I went to the physics department and appeared in the chairman’s office. The Chairman asked me ‘Who are you?’ “I have been appointed as an assistant professor in the physics department”, I replied. “But who appointed you? Where is your appointment letter?” “I lost it,” I answered. “I am sorry, I can’t help you.” So I went to see Kaneez Yousaf, the vice chancellor. She was very supportive. She said, “Welcome to the university. I have heard you are a leftist. We are having problems with Jamaat. Maybe you can help us.” Then she paused for a while and said, “I want you to make this university like MIT”. “What a challenge,” I thought. She sent me back to the chairman stating that she had appointed me. The chairman still would not accept me. He said, “You are an agent of the vice chancellor”. I was in a strange quandary. I only had Rs150 in my pocket. I did not know what to do next. While I was waiting, somebody approached me and said, “You seem to be an interesting person. “ When I shared my dilemma he told me he was also a leftist. He introduced me to his other leftist friends who tried to support me.

    Sohail: You seemed to be caught between the vice chancellor and the principal.

    Pervez: Yes, I was. Later on I found out that the chairman was legally correct. I did not have the qualifications to be an assistant professor. I did not have a PhD .The chairman finally said he would appoint me as a lecturer. I agreed. I wanted to end the confusion. I did not even know the difference between a lecturer and an assistant professor at that time. I was asked to appear in front of a committee, who asked me a few technical questions and approved my lecturer status. The committee sent a letter to the vice chancellor starting my appointment as a lecturer and offering me Rs800. The vice chancellor sent the letter back stating: Assistant professor pay Rs700. During all this confusion the vice chancellor became convinced that I was a strange man. She wrote a secret letter to the treasurer of the university in which she said, “Hoodbhoy is a leftist, he is on the pay of CIA. He appears dangerous. Do not give him any house allowance so that he will be forced to leave.” Well, after a lot of initial complications, eventually I did become a lecturer and that was the beginning of my 27 years at the university. Now of course I am a professor. In that system everybody rises with time. But for the next two years after I started I got involved with trade unions and went to villages to spread Chairman Mao’s message. Those were two difficult years of my life but I think I learnt a lot.

    Sohail: Let us focus on your family life for a while. How and when did you decide to get married?

    Pervez: I met her during my travels to the villages. We used to go to a remote village. We had to walk six miles but it was up a mountain, down a mountain, up a mountain, down a mountain. There were no roads. Even for physically fit people it was hard to climb. And then there was an epidemic. We had a doctor in our team who suggested we should inoculate these villagers, otherwise they might fall prey to the epidemic. We could inoculate men but we needed a woman to inoculate women. We discussed all the women we knew socially and I suggested the sister of a friend. When we approached her she agreed. We had several trips together to villages and later on we got married. Those were two tough years. During that time I taught in a school and found out how brutal village teachers were. They were sadistic bastards. They would exercise their muscles on innocent children. And I also learned about how difficult it is to help people to change their thinking. During those two years I was also feeling inadequate academically. I felt I had to get a Ph.D. so I applied to MIT for graduate school. I went back to the USA and did my Ph.D. in three years, after which I returned to Pakistan. By that time Pakistan’s political climate had changed. Within a few months Bhutto was hanged and Zia’ s regime started. It was the most terrible period of our history. Many people suffered, especially those who resisted Zia’ s regime. I was lucky but many of my friends were not. We used to produce a magazine named Amour-e-Pakistan, and fight against martial law. We used to write slogans on the walls. I had invented a special device, which enabled us to write slogans in two minutes that took others to write in fifteen minutes. We used a detergent bottle, filled it with mobile oil and black coloring and put a shaving brush up front. It did miracles. One day before the American Secretary of State’s visit to Pakistan we covered the walls with slogans against Zia-ul-Haq and America. The army, the police and the security forces were all astonished at the slogans. We did this again and again until they started having night patrols in Pindi and Islamabad. During that time I applied to Washington to do my post doctorate. I left one month before my friends got arrested. One of them was putting the magazines in a shop when the security officer saw him and he was taken to the police station. When Zia-ul-Haq received the news he ordered a massive crack up. He said, ‘we should get rid of this cancer of politics from Qaid-e-Azam university. My friends were put in jail and tortured brutally. One of them was hung upside down and beaten, his genitals were burnt. He was tortured physically and mentally. He is still a broken man after all these years. One of them revealed my name to the police and they came to search my home, but luckily my brother-in-law took all the materials out before the police came. The police found nothing. They still have a case against me somewhere. After a year in USA and doing my post doc I came back to Pakistan in 1983. I was shocked to see that Islamization of knowledge had taken place in Pakistan. At that time I decided to do my work by writing and speaking rather than going to villages.

    Sohail: How has your political struggles affected your relationship with your wife?

    Pervez: You have to remember she is Iqbal Ahmed’s niece. We both loved her uncle and were shattered when he passed away. We both have the same political values. I think the same goes for our attitude in bringing up children. We want them to be thinking people who find their own way in life. I am quite happy with their attitude and optimistic they will find their right place in life.

    Sohail: How old are they?

    Pervez: The elder one is 20, the younger one 15. Interestingly enough, both were born on the same day.

    Sohail: What was the reaction of your extended family to your political activities?

    Pervez: Of course they have always been fearful and concerned. They consider it dangerous but one has to take certain risk in life to achieve something.

    Sohail: But now you seem very gentle and kind. You don’t sound angry as you were before. What made you change over the years?

    Pervez: I changed out of necessity. I think I am a pretty difficult person to live with. My wife will testify to that. In fact she will say, I am not only difficult, I am impossible. Experience tells you that you can be angry but you better not show it. You can be impatient but you have to appear patient. At times I feel frustrated thinking that we have not done much. If you look at what happened to Pakistan in the last thirty years, you might say, it has gone down, down, down. Some grin and say, ‘Yes, it could have been different’. Sometimes I believe myself when I say that and sometimes I don’t. But then what is the alternative? You cannot give up. You cannot say, ‘Things are so bad that nothing can be done”. The fact is that in personal terms I am fine and many other people are fine. If we see the country today as a whole there are more cars and more TV s and more food and more medicine. People live longer. All these things are of course important, but there is also far more frustration than ever before. Civilized behavior has become rare and there is animosity among diverse groups in our society. If we want to make a balance sheet most people would say that we are going down. Maybe one has to agree with it, but what do you do with that? Do you give up? Do you stop struggling? If you can’t do that, then you have to appear optimistic.

    Sohail: Your book, your articles and speeches make you appear as a Muslim scholar, Muslim scientist. Why do you not leave the religious podium and speak completely on secular terms?

    Pervez: Well, that is a very vexing question. I think if you want to have any degree of credibility with people whose destiny you want to change, then you cannot say, “I am not one of you”. The reality is I was born a Muslim. I was for a while a very strongly practicing Muslim. All of us were brought up in a Muslim tradition. We cannot completely cut ourselves off from our roots. Let me tell you a story about Iqbal Ahmed. When he was dying, Raza Qazim’ s wife, who adored him, stood outside the room and read Quran for hours. When I informed Iqbal Ahmed. He invited her in and asked her to sit down. She was reading Quran even when inside. At one point I scribbled a note asking Iqbal Ahmed if I could request her to stop. He shook his finger, asking me not to do that. Later on when she left, I asked him, ‘Why did you tolerate this? You are not a Muslim’. “Of course I am,” he said. “No, you are not,” I insisted. “You don’t believe in Allah, the Quran, angels or the Day of Judgment”. “Yes, I am,” he still insisted. “I was born a Muslim and I will always remain that”. Although he never made any supplications to God, never asked for forgiveness, yet to the very end, he felt he was rooted in the culture he had lived in. I think it is a dilemma we all have. Though we may not believe in it, yet we were born in something and that something stamps us forever. So we are Secular Muslims.

    Sohail: Now let us talk about Khaldunia University. At what stage did your focus changed from politics to education?

    Pervez: I think circumstances dictate a lot. If you are in a university and you encounter students who have come up through the lower levels of education and you see how warped their thinking is, then you realize how important it is to make sure that students develop the right attitude towards life and learning. Maybe if I were in a village and not in a university, I might have joined Sattar Eedi and got involved in social reforms. It is clear to me that I must try to change people through education. And this has to be done at every level. With my education and background, perhaps I will make a more meaningful contribution at the university level than, let us say, primary school. But you need people there as well. There are all sorts of things needing to be done in all sorts of places. I think higher education is particularly important because it is from there that leaders of society emerge; and if you can influence them, then you can influence many more people. That is why I think Iqbal Ahmed had the right idea with his vision of Khaldoonia University.

    Sohail: Do you feel you have found the right focus of your energies, ambitions and dreams?

    Pervez: To me it is the most important thing that I can probably do. And I must admit that it is because I feel I owe it Eqbal Ahmed.

    Sohail: While you were talking about Iqbal Ahmed, I saw more feelings than when you talked about your dad.

    Pervez: It is very hard for me to talk about him. He died in my arms. I have never been so devastated. He was a wonderful man. I can’t even talk about it now. (He had tears in his eyes, so we stopped the interview for a few seconds. When he recovered, I continued)

    Sohail: I was curious about why are you still residing in Pakistan? You have a choice to live in the USA.

    Pervez: No, I don’t have a choice anymore.

    Sohail: But you had a choice.

    Pervez: Yes, I did, but I don’t have it any more. I would not come back to the USA and do physics because it would engage all my energies. I can be totally immersed in it and there is so much to do in physics that I need not one but several lifetimes. There are so many exciting things happening in physics. I have just barely scratched the surface. I have a lot of hunger in me but I am too old. You have to be 25 years old to get into those very cutting edge fields.

    Sohail: I want to know your impressions about Professor Abdus Salaam. Whenever I heard his story there was a tragic element attached to it. I heard you had met him. What are your impressions about his struggles?

    Pervez: I did not just meet him—I got to know him rather well and you are right, he was a tragic figure. His first commitment was to the Ahmedi Movement, and his second was to Pakistan, alongside his commitment to physics. And all these commitments did not go well with each other. It was clear from the beginning that he was a man of exceptional ability. Initially, he was quite a liberal person. I am told he used to have wine and was rather fond of beautiful women. When he achieved a level of excellence, he was greatly respected throughout the Western world. Prime Ministers wanted to meet him even before he received his Nobel Prize in 1974. It was in 1974 that he was transformed from somebody who didn’t pay much attention to religion to somebody who became increasingly engaged with it, which at the end made him a fiercely orthodox defender of Ahmedi Movement. It was also in 1974 when Bhutto declared Ahmedis as non-Muslims. I got to know him ten years after that in 1984 and it was not through physics. I was visiting Triesta in 1984 when he wanted to meet me because he had read my article about Science and Islam. After that meeting we developed a relationship that lasted for ten years. We even wrote an article together that became a preface of a book. He was a tragic figure because he was so involved with Pakistan. He loved Pakistan very much but Pakistan repudiated him because he was Ahmedi. He was I would say a very complex figure. I should also tell you that complexity also comes in part from the fact that he was one of the original people in the Bomb Project. He was part of the famous meeting of 1972 in Multan in which Bhutto gathered all the scientists in the country together and he was the leading person there. These scientists were asked to look into different aspects of the nuclear explosion but then in 1974 he was cut out from that team and project. Although the project did not go very far, yet he was supportive of the idea. Honestly speaking, he was not an impartial person in the sense that he did favor people from Ahmedi families. He wanted them in the positions of power. He also felt that Pakistan had to stand up against India. He had within him a certain amount of prejudice for Hindus. But he was also broadminded in another sense. He, for example went to India several times and they honored him. And over time his feelings about India did change. He felt rejected by Pakistan. The last time I saw him, he was so unhappy he cried. There was a retirement get together in which when a student came to him and told him how proud he was of Salam. Salam, who was in a wheelchair, started weeping and wept uncontrollably after that,. It was tragic to watch him. And when he died, not one official from the Government of Pakistan came to his burial. There was only a small footnote in the newspaper. All this happened in spite of the fact that he was emotionally committed to Pakistan and he had founded the Atomic Energy Commission. Let me share with you another story about Salam that reflects how he was treated in Pakistan. Before he died, I approached Pakistan Television and met with Rana Sheikh, the director, to make a documentary about Salam’ s life. She agreed. She was quite a liberal person. So we made a team and went to Jhang, where Salam was born and collected a lot of information about his early life. We also collected clips from his TV appearances, interviews with BBC. There was also an interview that I had with him in 1988. After collecting all that when we were planning to edit, I had to leave Islamabad for a week. I gave all the footage to a producer assigned to me by PTV and requested him to wait till I came back. I could sense he was not comfortable with his assignment, so I told him explicitly not to do anything with the material we gathered. When I came back a week later, I was shocked to find that he had finished the documentary .It was horrible. It was a complete deviation from the original plan. It was obviously sabotage. I reported him to Rana Sheikh who hauled him out and blasted him. When I asked him to re-edit the documentary, he said he had erased it. I knew he had done it deliberately. That is the level of prejudice we have to deal with in our society.


    Sohail: Let me ask you one last question. People see you as an accomplished scientist, a successful person. Do you feel that in your own heart?

    Pervez: I have so many unfulfilled ambitions that I feel frustrated. What I would like to do is to understand a very different area of physics called Super strings. If I had another life, I would spend it on studying that because it is all so beautiful mathematically and so inviting intellectually. As far as other things in my life are concerned, I don’t think I have done very much. Small things here and there. There is only one thing that I feel I have accomplished in my life and that was saving the land for Quaid-e-Azam University from being given away to MNAs (Members of National Assembly) and University professors. I fought that battle for two years and in the end it left me immensely exhausted. There was a time people were so angry they were harassing me, throwing rocks, breaking windows and threatening me. Finally there was a strike and the university was closed for the whole semester. We had to go to court. Finally we won the case and the land was saved. That is the only accomplishment that I feel proud of.

    Sohail: Thank you very much for your time and sharing your thoughts.
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2010
  10. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    The demand for Pakistan and Islam —Ishtiaq Ahmed


    The Muslim League’s propaganda struck terror in the hearts of the Hindus and Sikhs who were told that they would be paying jazya and Islamic law will prevail in all sectors of individual and collective life. The minority Shia and Ahmediyya communities were also fearful that it would result in Sunni domination

    The recent attack on a congregation of Ahmedis during prayers, which claimed more than 90 innocent lives, has revived a discussion as to whether there is a connection between the creation of Pakistan and Islam. Within the Muslim League there was always a constituency in favour of Pakistan becoming an Islamic state. One of its proponents was a close confident of Jinnah: Raja Sahib Mahmudabad, a Shia. In 1939 he wrote to the historian Mohibul Hassan:

    “When we speak of democracy in Islam it is not democracy in the government but in the cultural and social aspects of life. Islam is totalitarian — there is no denying about it. It is the Quran that we should turn to. It is the dictatorship of the Quranic laws that we want — and that we will have — but not through non-violence and Gandhian truth” (Mushirul Hasan, 1997: 57-8).

    If the March 23, 1940, Lahore Resolution be taken as the start of the Pakistan campaign, then Jinnah had to make a breakthrough in the Muslim-majority provinces of northwestern India — Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab and Sindh — each of which had regional parties headed by Muslims. The Muslim League had to convince the Muslim voters in these provinces that their leaders were courting Hindus and Sikhs and thus were paving the way for Hindu Raj under the Indian National Congress. That opportunity arrived in July 1945 when the British government announced provincial elections for February 1946. Punjab Governor Sir Bertrand Glancy has recorded in several secret fortnightly reports (FR) the tactics that the Muslim League adopted during the long election campaign. In the FR of December 27, 1945, Glancy noted:

    “Among Muslims the Leaguers are increasing their efforts to appeal to the bigotry of the electors. Pirs and maulvis have been enlisted in large numbers to tour the province and denounce all who oppose the League as infidels. Copies of the Holy Quran are carried around as an emblem peculiar to the Muslim League. Feroz [Khan Noon] and others openly preach that every vote given to the League is a vote cast in favour of the Holy Prophet (PBUH). These deplorable tactics, as I have frequently said, were only to be expected; they provide a grim augury of the future peace of India and they are certainly not easy for the Unionists to counter” (Lionel Carter, 2006: 160).

    In the FR of February 2, 1946, Glancy wrote:

    “The ML [Muslim League] orators are becoming increasingly fanatical in their speeches. Maulvis and pirs and students travel all round the province and preach that those who fail to vote for the League candidates will cease to be Muslims; their marriages will no longer be valid and they will be entirely excommunicated...It is not easy to foresee what the results of the elections will be. But there seems little doubt the Muslim League, thanks to the ruthless methods by which they have pursued their campaign of ‘Islam in danger’, will considerably increase the number of their seats and Unionist representatives will correspondingly decline” (Carter, 2006: 171).

    Similar tactics were adopted in the campaigns in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh. In his doctoral dissertation, India, Pakistan or Pakhtunistan?, Erland Jansson writes:

    “The pir of Manki Sharif...founded an organisation of his own, the Anjuman-us-asfia. The organisation promised to support the Muslim League on the condition that Shariat would be enforced in Pakistan. To this Jinnah agreed. As a result the pir of Manki Sharif declared jihad to achieve Pakistan and ordered the members of his anjuman to support the League in the 1946 elections” (pg 166).

    Jinnah wrote in November 1945 a letter to Pir Manki Sharif in which he promised that the Shariat would apply to the affairs of the Muslim majority. He wrote:

    “It is needless to emphasise that the Constituent Assembly, which would be predominantly Muslim in its composition, would be able to enact laws for Muslims, not inconsistent with the Shariat laws and the Muslims will no longer be obliged to abide by the un-Islamic laws” (Constituent Assembly of Pakistan Debates, Volume 5, 1949, pg 46).


    The Muslim League’s propaganda struck terror in the hearts of the Hindus and Sikhs who were told that they would be paying jazya and Islamic law will prevail in all sectors of individual and collective life. The minority Shia and Ahmediyya communities were also fearful that it would result in Sunni domination. This is obvious from the correspondence between the Shia leader Syed Ali Zaheer and Jinnah in July 1944 (G Allana, 1977: 375-9). Although the Council of Action of the All-Parties Shia Conference passed a resolution on December 25, 1945, rejecting the idea of Pakistan (SR Bakshi, 1997: 848-9), most Shias shifted their loyalty to the Muslim League in the hope that Pakistan will be a non-sectarian state. Initially the Ahmediyya were also wary and reluctant to support the demand for a separate Muslim state (Munir Report, 1954: 196). It is only when Sir Zafarullah was won over by Jinnah that the Ahmedis started supporting the demand for Pakistan. To all such groups Jinnah gave assurances that Pakistan will not be a sectarian state.

    In my forthcoming book on the partition of Punjab, now running into more than 1,000 pages but which is at last completed and for which I am now looking for a publisher, I will shed light on how the fierce Islamist propaganda impacted on the partition of Punjab. The Sikhs had more fears than anyone else about what could happen to minorities in Pakistan. In a meeting in May 1947 sponsored by Lord Mountbatten to help the Muslims and Sikhs reach an agreement on keeping Punjab united, Jinnah offered the Sikhs all the safeguards they wanted if they agreed to support Pakistan. Only in March 1947 some 2,000-10,000 Sikhs — depending on who you cite — were butchered in the Rawalpindi rural areas so the Sikhs were very wary of Jinnah’s overtures. Chief Minister of Patiala Hardit Singh Malik writes he had an inspiration and asked Jinnah: “Sir you are making all the promises but God forbid if something happens to you, what will happen then?” The exact words Jinnah used in reply will be revealed in my forthcoming book, but the reasoning was that his followers will treat his words as sacred.
     

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