Posts tagged ‘Jinnah’

February 22, 2012

SSP-LeJ-ASWJ militants insult Jinnah’s grave

by admin

Anti-Shrine, anti-Barelvi and anti-Shia SSP-LeJ-ASWJ terrorists at the mausoleum of the Founder of Pakistan (Mazar-e-Quaid) Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah (who was a Shia himself)!

Apparently the SSP-LeJ-ASWJ militants harassed the Pakistan Army guards at the

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October 20, 2011

What was the founder of Pakistan’s vision for minorities? – by Haider Karrar

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Sir Muhammad Zafrullah Khan with Qaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah

Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah the founder of Pakistan said while giving an interview to the ‘APA Representative in Bombay on November 8, 1945’:

“Minorities can rest assured that their rights will be protected. No civilized Government can be run successfully without giving minorities a complete sense of security and confidence. They must be made to feel that they have a hand in Government and to do this they must have adequate representation in it. Pakistan will give this”

Unfortunately, today’s Pakistan is quite opposite to the country visioned by Muhammad Ali Jinnah. Minorities especially Shia Muslims , Ahmadi Muslims , Hindus , Sikhs & Christians are treated with prejudice and violence.

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January 25, 2011

Finding another Jinnah? – by Abdul Samad

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When will we wake from this deep and intoxicating sleep? When will the people of the land of the pure draw the line? Surely, there has to be a limit and beyond all doubt, there always is. When Rosa Parks refused to give her seat to a white man, her personal decision changed the lives of the entire black community in the United States of America. Her one

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December 28, 2010

Dawn: A “cracker” of a job confusing the public with euphemisms – by Qudsia Siddiqui

by admin

Related article:

Attack on Shia students in Karachi: An ISI-Sipah-e-Sahaba production

After receiving the news of the blast at Karachi University, I quickly checked the news coverage including the “Breaking News” section of DAWN.

Here is how they reported it:

KARACHI: A blast reported at the University of Karachi on Tuesday was probably caused by a firecracker, police said.

“It was a low intensity blast and was caused most likely by a cracker,” Karachi police chief Fayyaz Leghari told Reuters.

Leghari said three people were wounded in the incident, though a senior university official estimated at least six.

“The blast took place outside the main cafeteria of the university and at least six people were wounded,” said Kaleem Raza Khan, registrar of the University of Karachi.

This is the first such incident at an educational institution in Karachi, though the campus often sees regular, violent clashes between rival student groups.

Leghari said Tuesday’s incident may be related to these rivalries but added police were investigating.

Last year, two suicide bomb blasts at the International Islamic University in Islamabad killed six people, including the bombers, and wounded at least 20.”(Source)


Reading this report, one would get the impression that this is simply a fire cracker accident that injured six university students. I wonder, was this some festival that they were celebrating; a belated Christmas, Jinnah day or some such sort.  Then there is a vague description of “violent clashes” between “rival student groups”

Who are these “student groups” ? Are they the dissident wings of the Bader Meinhoff or the Red Army Brigades?? “I love Miandad” vs “I worship Imran and His Holiness Chaudhary Iftikhar”.  How about MQM vs every other ethnicity of Pakistan!

The conclusion is even more interesting where a reference is made to two suicide bomb blasts at the “International Islamic University” thereby creating a causal link between that event and today’s.  Now I get it; it must be that damned “foreign hand”; that dark consortium of Jews, Hindus and Blackwater/Xe blonds, as we all know muslims can never do this and Islam had been targeted in the university blasts in Islamabad!!

Nope, as always, no details are provided. After all, that would be completely contrary to DAWN’s style of reporting; you know fudging and obfuscating facts, falsely linking two events and dishonestly presenting the sheer terror tactics of IJT and Sipah Sahaba as an equal force to its various victims.

There is NO reference to the facts that this was no fire cracker but an elaborate remote control bomb with bearings that was used to target Shias students. Ofcourse, the 20 that were injured was casually reduced to 3 and no mention was made of the fact that 2 are in serious condition.  Such insensitivity has become the norm for much of the media in reporting attacks on Shias and other minority groups and DAWN is hardly the exception.  On the contrary, its disgusting bias just shines through…

The more important context to this would have been the press conference by Shia cleric and activist outside the Press Club just days ago of the abduction of Shia youth by the ISI! Or the threatening SMSs that were sent to scores of Shias since the commencement of Muhurrum in early December.  No, such facts would hurt the reputation of DAWN as an establishment rag whose insensitivity for minorities is directly proportional to its fawning over the Judiciary and its dubious cause.

The irony of highlighting Jinnah, the SHIA founder of Pakistan, as the founder of DAWN escapes its ownership who themselves are allegedly Shia. Ingratiating themselves with the establishment is probably more lucrative for DAWN than honest journalism and caring for the plight of minorities.

Carry on DAWN, no one can do euphemisms better than you.  In doing so, you churn out the best de-contextualized reports that ensure that the establishment and its Islamofascist proxies will never be held to account for the crimes against the Pakistani people!

December 26, 2010

Was Jinnah a Shia or a Sunni? – by Khaled Ahmed

by admin


Jinnah’s funeral, Karachi (1948)

Jinnah, … was wont to describe himself in public as neither a Shia nor a Sunni. His stock answer to a query about his sect was: was Muhammad [pbuh] the Prophet a Shia or a Sunni?

After 1947, Pakistan adopted the position of denying that the population of the country was divided between Shias and Sunnis, among others. The census that followed took account of Muslims and non-Muslims but ignored the sects: it was also an indirect pledge of the state that it would not discriminate on the basis of sect. The founder of the state, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, although himself a Twelver Shia after conversion from the Ismaili sect, was wont to describe himself in public as neither a Shia nor a Sunni. His stock answer to a query about his sect was: was Muhammad the Prophet [pbuh] a Shia or a Sunni? Yet when he died in 1948, it was necessary for his sister Miss Fatima Jinnah to declare him a Shia in order to inherit his property as per Jinnah’s will. (Sunni law partially rejects the will while Shia law does not.) She filed an affidavit, jointly signed with the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Liaquat Ali Khan, at the Sindh High Court, describing Jinnah as ‘Shia Khoja Mohamedan’ and praying that his will may be disposed of under Shia inheritance law. The court accepted the petition. But on 6 February 1968, after Miss Jinnah’s demise the previous year, her sister Shirin Bai, moved an application at the High Court claiming Miss Jinnah’s property under the Shia inheritance law on the ground that the deceased was a Shia.

Given the prestige of Miss Jinnah, she was allowed to dispose of all the property of her brother (as a Sunni she would have title to only one-half) and continued to do so till her death. After her death her sister Shirin Bai arrived in Karachi from Bombay, converted from Ismailism to Twelver Shiism, and laid claim to Jinnah’s property. It is at this point that the rest of Jinnah’s clan, still following the Ismaili faith, decided to challenge the authenticity of Jinnah’s Shia faith. The High Court, which had earlier accepted Miss Jinnah’s petition, now balked at the prospect of declaring the Father of the Nation a Shia. Needless to say, the case is still pending in Karachi. But Miss Jinnah’s conduct showed that she was an observing Shia and took her brother’s conversion to Twelver Shiism seriously. Why had Jinnah converted? It develops that he did it on his secular principle of freedom of religion. According to court’s witness, Syed Sharifuddin Pirzada, Jinnah broke from the Ismaili faith in 1901 after his two sisters, Rehmat Bai and Maryam Bai, were married into Sunni Muslim families. It appears that this happened because the Ismaili community objected to these marriages. It also appears that the conversion to Isna-Ashari (Twelver) Shiism happened in Jinnah’s immediate family, and not in the families of his two paternal uncles, Walji and Nathoo.

The court proceedings bear evidence of the last rites observed by Miss Jinnah immediately after her brother’s death. Witness Syed Anisul Hasnain, a Shia scholar, deposed that he had arranged the ghusl (last bath) of Jinnah on the instructions of Miss Jinnah. He led his namaz-e janaza (funeral prayer) in a room of the GovernorGeneral’s House at which such Shia luminaries as Yusuf Haroon, Hashim Raza and Aftab Hatim Alavi were present, while Liaquat Ali Khan, a Sunni, waited outside the room. After the Shia ritual, the body was handed over to the state, and Maulana Shabbir Ahmad Usmani, a breakaway alim of the Deobandi school of thought who supported Jinnah’s Pakistan Movement but had recently apostatised the Shias, led his janaza (funeral) according to the Sunni ritual at the ground where a grand mausoleum was later constructed. Other witnesses confirmed that after the demise of Miss Fatima Jinnah, clam and panja (two Shia symbols) were discovered at Mohatta Palace, her residence.

Witnesses appearing at the Sindh High Court in 1968 to affirm Jinnah’s sect were Mr I.H. Ispahani, a family friend of Jinnah and his honorary secretary in 1936, and Mr Matloobul Hassan Syed, the Quaid’s private secretary from 1940 to 1944. Mr Ispahani revealed that Jinnah had himself told him in 1936 that he and his family had converted to Shiism after his return from England in 1894. He said that Jinnah had married Ruttie Bai, the daughter of a Parsi businessman according to the Shia ritual during which she was represented by a Shia scholar of Bombay, and Jinnah was represented by his Shia friend, Raja Sahib of Mahmudabad. (Raja Sahib was a close friend of Jinnah but differed completely from him in his belief. He was a devout follower of the Twelver Shia faith and ultimately chose to migrate from an independent India to Najaf in Iraq. His friendship with Jinnah has puzzled many. Apparently, the only bond they had was of the Shia faith.) He, however, conceded that Jinnah was opposed in the Bombay elections by a Shia Conference candidate. Ispahani was present when Miss Fatima Jinnah died in Karachi in 1967. He himself arranged the ghusl and janaza for her at Mohatta Palace according to the Shia ritual before handing over the body to the state. Her Sunni namaz-e janaza was held later at the Polo Ground, after which she was buried next to her brother at a spot chosen by Ispahani inside the mausoleum. Ritualistic Shia talgin (last advice to the deceased) was done after her body was lowered into the grave. (Jinnah had arranged for talgin for Ruttie Bai too when she died in 1929).

Fatima Jinnah’s own funeral became something of a theatre of the absurd after her friends had given her a Shia funeral before the state could give her a Sunni one. Field Marshal Ayub Khan writes in his Diaries:

11 July 1967: Major General Rafi, my military secretary, returned from Karachi. He had gone there to represent me at Miss Jinnah’s funeral. He said that sensible people were happy that the government had given her so much recognition, but generally the people behaved very badly. There was an initial namaz-e janaza at her residence in Mohatta Palace in accordance, presumably, with Shia rites. Then there was to be namaz-e janaza for the public in the Polo Ground. There an argument developed whether this should be led by a Shia or a Sunni. Eventually, Badayuni was put forward to lead the prayer. As soon as he uttered the first sentence the crowd broke in the rear. Thereupon he and the rest ran leaving the coffin high and dry. It was with some difficulty that the coffin was put on a vehicle and taken to the compound of the Quaid’s mazar, where she was to be buried. There a large crowd had gathered and demanded to converge on the place of burial. This obviously could not be allowed for lack of space. Thereupon, the students and the goonda elements started pelting stones on the police. They had to resort to lathi charge and tear gas attack. The compound of the mazar was apparently littered with stones, Look at the bestiality and irresponsibility of the people. Even a place like this could not be free of vandalism.

Source: The Friday Times

December 26, 2010

Pakistan, from Jinnah to Maududi – by Zalaan

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پاکستان، جناح سے مودودی تک

میں اتنہائی ادب کے ساتھ ایک عرض کرنا چاہتا ہوں مگر ڈر ہے کے مجھ پر ناموس قائد اعظم کا فتویٰ نہ لگ جائے

کہنا یہ ہے کہ آج کے پاکستان میں قائد اعظم محمد علی جناح کا کوئی لینا دینا نہیں ہے ،دنیا بہت تبدیل ہو چکی

قائد اعظم کی خدمات اور صلاحیتوں پر کوئی شک نہیں پر یہ کہنا کے آج کا پاکستان ان کا تصور تھا غلط ہوگا

ساٹھ سال پہلے لوگوں نے سوچا بھی نہ ہو گا کہ آج کا پاکستان کتنا مختلف ہوگا .مثال کے طور پر قائد اعظم نے کراچی کو دارلخلافہ منتخب کیا تھا پر اسے بغیر کسی عوامی رضا مندی کے اور بغیر کسی خاص وجہ کے خالص لسانی اور صوبائی تعصب کی بنیاد پر تبدیل کر دیا گیا .اسی طرح جو پاکستان قائد اعظم لینے میں کامیاب ہوئے تھے اس میں سے آدھا اکہتر میں چلا گیا اس کی وجہ بھی لسانی جھگڑا تھا اور آزادی حاصل کرنے والا ملک بھی مسلمانوں کا ہی تھا

قائد اعظم کے کیا افکار تھے اور وہ قوم کو کیا بنانا چاہتے تھے ابھی تک زیر بحث ہے ،نہ ہی آج تک کسی کو پتا چلا اور نہ ہی کوئی سیاسی جماعت اسے لے کر آگے بڑھی

حقیقت یہ ہے کہ اس وقت کے مسلمانوں کی پاکستان بناتے وقت صرف یہی سوچ تھی کے انگریزوں اور ہندوں سے آزادی حاصل کر نے کے بعد سارے مسائل حل ہو جائیں گے پر پاکستان بنے کے کچھ ہی عرصے بعد ہندوستان سے دشمنی کی بنیاد پر فوج کی طاقت میں اضافہ ہوا اور فوج کی کمان میں آگیا ،اسی کے ساتھ زمینی حقائق یہ تھے کہ ملک کے اندر صوبائی اور لسانی تفریق بہت واضح تھی جو بڑھتی گئی

دنیا بہت تیزی سے تبدیل ہو گئی ہے ،آج کے پاکستان کو قائد اعظم سے جوڑنا ایسے ہی ہے جیسے کل کے پارسیوں ،انگریزوں اور چھوٹے سے صاف ستھرے شہر کراچی کو آج کے کراچی سے ساتھ دیکھنا ،ایسا ہی ہے جیسے مغلوں کے شہر لاہور کو آج کے لاہور سے ملانا ،یا ہٹلر کے جرمنی کو آج آج کا جرمنی کہنا

قائد اعظم کا وہم و گمان میں بھی نہیں ہوگا کے پاکستان میں مذہبی شدت پسندی اتنا زور پکڑے گی کے مولوی بیگناہوں کو قتل کر رہے ہونگے اور اس کی توجیح پیش کر رہے ہونگے

آج کے پاکستان میں بہت برا نظریاتی خلا پیدا ہو چکا ہے اور اصل میں لسانی اور علاقائی طور پر بھی بٹ چکا ہے جس کا قائد اعظم نے کبھی سوچا بھی نہ ہوگا

یہ حقیقت ہے کہ پاکستان بنے کے بعد جو قومی سطح کا لیڈر آیا ہے اور جس کی عوام میں پزیرائی ہوئے وہ ذولفقار علی بھٹو تھا

اس کے علاوہ اس نئے پاکستان میں جو نظریاتی خلا تھا اسے پر کرنے کے لیے انیسویں صدی کے جو نئے سیاسی اسلامی فلسفے تھے وہ پوری طرح اس ملک پر آزماے گئے .سید قطب اور مولانا مودودی کو اس نئے پاکستان کا باباۓ قوم بنایا گیا اور ضیاء الحق کے آتے ہی اس پاکستان کو مودودی کے خوابوں کی تعبیر بنانے کی کوشش کی گئی جس کا نتیجہ ہم آج دہشتگردی اور مذہبی نفرت کی شکل میں دیکھ رہے ہیں -اب سوچنا یہ ہے کہ پاکستان کو ضیاء الحق ،بھٹو یا مودودی کا پاکستان بنانا ہے یا کوئی ایک نئی سوچ پیدا کرنی ہے جو اس خلا کو پر کرے

خلاصہ یہ ہے کہ جس طرح سو سال پہلے کا برطانیہ آج والا نہیں ہے اسی طرح ساٹھ سال پہلے والا پاکستان آج والا نہیں ہے

قائد اعظم کو الله پاک جنت نصیب کریں ہماری فوج اسی طرح ان کے مزار پر سلامی دیتی رہے پر اب ہمیں یہ سوچنا ہے کہ آج کا پاکستان ہم کیسے بنائیں جس میں ہماری مذہبی ،اخلاقی اقدار بھی ہوں اور انسانی اور سماجی حقوق بھی حاصل ہوں

یہ بلکل صحیح ہے کہ قائد اعظم نے ملک دیا پر قوم نہیں دی ، قوم ،وطن اور ملک کی تشریح کیا ہے اور پاکستان ایک ملک ہے پر کیا یہ ایک قوم ہے یا وطن ہے کوئی بھی بتانے سے قاصر ہے

اگر پاکستانی قوم کی بنیاد مذہب یعنی اسلام ہے تو پوری دنیا میں بسنے والے مسلمان پاکستانی ہونگے اور پاکستان کے دروازے خصوصی طور پر ہندوستان اور بنگلادیش کے مسلمانوں کے لیے کھلے ہونے چاہیے ہیں کیوں کہ پاکستان برصغیر کے مسلمانوں کے لیہ بنا تھا

اگر ملک زبان کی بنیاد پر ہونا چا ہیے تو ہمارا ملک کئی زبانوں میں بٹاہوا ہے بلکہ ایک زبان بولنے والے لوگ دو حصوں میں بٹے ہوئے ہیں مَثَلاً پنجابی اور سندھی انڈیا اور پاکستان میں بٹے ہوئے ہیں ،بلوچ ایران ،پاکستان اور اومان میں بٹے ہوئے ہیں ،پختون افغانستان اور پاکستان میں بٹے ہوئے ہیں .پاکستان کے لوگوں کو ایک زبان کی چھتری میں لنے کی اچھی کوشش کی گئی اور اردو کو قومی زبان کا درجہ دیا جو یقینن ایک رابطے کی اور پاکستانی قومی زبان بنی پر اس پوری اور مخلصانہ کوششوں کے باوجود آج بھی پاکستان میں لسانی بنیادوں پر تفریق میں زرہ برابر بھی کمی نہیں ہی ،ساٹھ ستر سال بعد بھی سندھی آج بھی سندھی ہے اور پنجابی بھی پنجابی ہی ہے اور اردو سپیکنگ وہی کہلاتا ہے جس کی زبان پاکستان بنے سے پہلے اردو ہی تھی

یہی خلا تھا جسے مذہبی سیاسی جماتوں نے پر کرنے کی ناکام کوشش کی اور کہا کہ یہ ملک “اسلامی نظام ” قائم کرنے کے لیے بنا ہے اور یہ نظریہ پوری قوت سے پھیلایا گیا

پچھلے ساٹھ سالوں میں سیاسی اسلام پر کچھ لوگوں نے اعتراض کیا اور یہ دائیںاور بائیں بازو کی جنگ بن گئی مگر شاید بہت تھوڑے لوگ ہونگے جنہوں نے اس نیے فلسفے کو مذہب کے حوالے سے چلینج کیا ہو کہ کیا واقعی جس “اسلامی نظام ” کی بات ہو رہی ہے وہ اسلامی ہے بھی یا نہیں

پیغمبر کا مقصد استلمی ریاست تھا یا نہیں ،امت کا تصور روحانی ہے یا ریاستی . اسی کے نتیجے میں ہم آج خودکش دھماکوں اور دہشتگردی کا شکار ہو گئے اور کنفوزن کی انتہا ہو گئی جب سوات کے جاہل اور خوں خار مولویوں فضل الله ،صوفی محمد اور مسلم خان کا لیا ہوا “اسلامی نظام اور شریعت ” پر سب مذہبی جماعتیں متفق ہو گئیں بلکے پارلیمنٹ سے منظور بھی کر لیا گیا

دیکھنا یہ ہے کہ میں آپ اور آج کا انسان ملک ،وطن ،قوم اور مذہب کو کس حوالے سے دیکھتا ہے .وطن اور زبان انسان منتخب نہیں کرتا بلکے وہ الله کی طرف سے منتخب کیا ہوتا ہے جسے انسان کبھی تبدیل بھی نہیں کر سکتا

ملک بڑا ہو یا چھوٹا یا وطن ایک ملک بنے یا ایک وطن کے کئی ملک انسان سے اس کا وطن نہیں کہنا جا سکتا .مذہب کی بنیاد پر وطن نہیں ہوتا کیونکہ ایک وطن میں کئی مذہب بھی ہوتے ہیں

آج کے انسان کو ایک ایسا ملک چاہیے جہاں اسے بنیادی انسانی حقوق حاصل ہوں ،مذہب پر عمل کرنے کی آزادی ہو ،جہاں وہ اپنی ثقافت اور زبان کے ساتھ بھی رہ سکے اور معاشی طور پر یکساں مواقع ہوں اور اس کی جان مال محفوظ ہوں اور انصاف ہو

یہی وجہ ہے کہ پاکستان یا دوسرے ممالک جہاں پر امن اور آزادی نہیں وہاں کا ہر دوسرا بندہ مغربی ممالک میں ہجرت کرنے کے لیہ تیار بیٹھا ہے اور ہزاروں لاکھوں لوگ پہلے ہی ہجرت کر چکے ،باوجود زبان ،مذہب اور رنگ کے مغربی ملکوں نے کسی حد تک ہر مذہب ،رنگ اور زبان سے تعلق رکھنے والے کو قبول کیا -ان ملکوں میں باوجود مسلمانوں کے شدت پسند گروپس کی جانب سے نفرت اور دشتگردی کے آج بھی یہ ممالک مذہبی لوگوں کے لیے آزاد ہیں

کنیڈا ،امریکا یا برطانیہ میں رہنے والا خالص مذہبی تبلیغی جماعت کا آدمی پوری طرح سے اپنے مذہبی عقیدے کی تبلیغ اور ساتھ ہی اپنی معاشی اور سماجی زندگی کو آزادی سے گزار رہا ہے اور یہ آزادی اور بے خوفی اسے نہ طالبان کے سوات اور باجوڑ میں مل سکتی ہے اور نہ ہی اسلام کے علمبردار ملک سعودی عرب میں ، مغربی ممالک میں ایک ہی محلے میں سکھ ،مسلم ،ہندو سب امن سے رہ رہے ہیں ،سب کے الگ وطن اور مذہب ہیں پر وہ اس ملک میں رہ رہے ہیں جہاں انہیں بنیادی حقوق حاصل ہیں

ملک بنانے کا مقصد ایک گھر کی طرح ہوتا ہے جہاں انسان امن سے رہے آج کا پاکستان ایک ایسا بکھرا ہوا گھروندا ہے جس میں امن عنقا ہے – یہ اقبال کا وہ خواب نہیں جس کو جناح نے تعبیر عطا کی – یہ وہ خواب ہے جو مودودی نے دیکھا تھا اور جس کو تعبیر جنرل ضیاالحق نے عطا کی

December 25, 2010

On Dr Safdar Mehmood's (mis)interpretation of Jinnah – by Naveed Ali

by admin

Related article:

Jinnah, Ayesha Jalal, Safdar Mehmood, Irshad Haqqani, Khurshid Nadeem – an interesting debate

سب اپنے اپنے مفروضوں کے حق میں
دلیلیں ان سے پاتے ہیں بیک وقت
جناب قائد اعظم کے اقوال
سبھی کے کام آتے ہیں بیک وقت
(انور شعور)

There is a long debate in Pakistan about what was Jinnah’s vision of Pakistan, and it is an interesting one for any student of history.

We Pakistanis seem to be very disillusioned about the very inception of our country, a very rare instance when it comes on nations and countries, and it is all because we want to relate what we want to achieve in the future with the past. Not bad at all, as this is natural course for any nation but problem comes when one starts to judge the intentions behind our interests in interpreting our past.

And that probably is the root cause why we have not reached a consensus, because we cannot accept what does not comply with our beliefs. And that is the reason why most in Pakistan drift away from reason and rationality and become aggressive and discontented. We can see this behaviour in debates we indulge into and most of slogans we raise; they are emotional, melancholic and poignant rather than wise and constructive.

For reference, today (in Jang newspaper) there is an interesting article, by Dr. Safdar Mehmood (1); baffling and muddling? Look at the title from Dr. Mehmood, he is using the word “بہتان” means “blame” or “something which is not true”; can one understand if he is giving his decision or his opinion?

Forget the historic facts and proofs for instance and just concentrate on the approach; very clearly he is trying to suggest that whoever does not agree with him is conspiring to put blames on the personality of Qaid.

Now is there any room left for difference of opinion? There are further anomalies in his column; he says that ‘there is no concept of theocracy in Islam” if this is the case, then there is no contradiction between secularism and Islam, congratulations (it means we could have a non Muslim as head of state).

He further says that “He (Qaid-e-Azam) wanted to make Pakistan a democratic state on the basis of Islamic principles, but it would not have been a theocratic state” can we see the confusion here? What is Islamic democracy? If every citizen is free and equal (democracy) and has right to follow any religion and state has nothing to do with religion (secularism), why is there a need to call it Islamic democracy? What is there which has not told to us in black and white? What is the difference between a democracy and an Islamic democracy when it comes to constitution and law? From Dr. Mehmood’s discourse it looks like it is one and same thing.

More unbelieving is the idea that someone as mindful and intelligent as Mr. Jinnah was not clear on this issue. Jinnah was a barrister, one of the prominent lawyers of his time; he had been a disciple to Gokhale (4), Feroz Shah Mehta and Dada Bhai Naoroji (5), an old veteran of Indian National Congress, someone whose political ideas were based on constitutional reforms. He struggled for the rights of Indians for most of his political career.

We must also not disregard the fact that Muslim League accepted Cabinet Mission Plan which proposes a united India with groupings on the basis of balance between Hindu and Muslim majorities in different provinces and that was in May 1946, barely a year before independence. It was Congress which did not accepted that plan as it (INC) was opposed to the idea of parity, and as a result it was decided by Government of British India to Divide India in June 1946(6).

Can we dare to ask Dr. Mehmood, what would have been the structure of constitution had India been left by British on the basis of Cabinet Mission Plan which had acceptance of Quaid-e-Azam? Surely a man of his statesmanship must have thought about it and clearly it would have been a secular state.

Constituent Assembly of India was formed in December 1946, with Muslim League’s representatives as part of Assembly from which Constituent Assembly of Pakistan was later created, still 28 members of Muslim league remained in the Indian Assembly after partition(7) and included names such as Maulana Hasrat Mohani and Chaudhry Khaleeq-uz-Zaman . This Assembly approved the Constitution of India in 1949 which took effect on 26 January 1950. Constituent Assembly of Pakistan was failed to achieve any result, its only outcome was Objective Resolution (8).

We do not have any evidence of how much of this resolution was drafted when Quaid-e-Azam was alive; what we have as evidence is the statement made by Quaid (9) on 11 August 1947:

“You are free to go to your temples; you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place of worship in the State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed. That has nothing to do with the business of the State.”

References:-
1. http://jang-group.com/jang/dec2010-daily/25-12-2010/col2.htm , last viewed 25/12/2010
2. http://blog.dawn.com/2010/12/25/what-about-jinnah%E2%80%99s-pakistan/, last viewed 25/12/2010
3. http://tribune.com.pk/story/39079/jinnahs-pakistan/, last viewed 25/12/2010
4. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gopal_Krishna_Gokhale, last viewed 25/12/2010
5. http://m-a-jinnah.blogspot.com/2010/04/life-in-bombay-1896-to-1910.html, last viewed 25/12/2010
6. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1946_Cabinet_Mission_to_India, last viewed 25/12/2010
7. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constituent_Assembly_of_India, last viewed 25/12/2010
8. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Objectives_Resolution, last viewed 25/12/2010
9. http://www.pakistani.org/pakistan/legislation/constituent_address_11aug1947.html, last viewed 25/12/2010

December 25, 2010

Jinnah and the Islamic State – Setting the Record Straight – by Pervez Hoodbhoy

by admin

What did Quaid-e-Azam Mohammed Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, want for the country he was destined to create in 1947?

This essay originated from my lecture in Karachi in 2007, delivered at the invitation of the Jinnah Society in cooperation with the Oxford University Press of Pakistan.

What did Quaid-e-Azam Mohammed Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, want for the country he was destined to create in 1947? Surely I cannot say anything new on this venerable and much-discussed historical subject; the experts know much more. But, as we approach Pakistan’s sixtieth anniversary, the matter of Jinnah and the Islamic State is still a hot one. It is confounded both by the wishful thinking of my well-meaning liberal friends, as well as conveniences invented at different times by Pakistan’s military, political, and religious establishments. Therefore, it seems to me that objectivity, honesty, and clarity are still desperately needed if we are to clean out old cobwebs and chart a new course for the future of our country.

What is Pakistan all about? For decades, Pakistani school children have grown up learning a linguistically flawed (but catchy) rhetorical question sung together with its answer: Pakistan ka matlab kya? La illaha illala! [What is the meaning of Pakistan? There is no god but Allah!]. They have been told that Pakistan’s raison d’etre was the creation of an Islamic state where the Sharia must reign supreme.

Surely this has had its effect. A recent survey by the World Public Opinion.Org (April 24, 2007) 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) .

But was sentiment for Sharia and the Islamic State strong in 1947 among those who fought for Pakistan?

Mr. Jinnah’s thoughts inevitably enter the argument. This, of course, does not necessarily mean that Pakistan was, or is, obligated to become the fulfilment of his vision. Pakistan is much more than Jinnah and it will eventually go in the direction that its people want it to go. But it certainly is of the greatest intellectual and historical interest to ask two key questions:

a) Did Jinnah want Pakistan to be a Muslim majority state where individuals, whether Muslim or otherwise, would be free to live their lives more or less as they do in countries in the rest of the world?

Or,

b) Did Jinnah want an Islamic state? And, if so, what was his understanding of such a state.

These have always been loaded questions with various sides making excellent arguments for their own purposes. But it is time to stop cherry-picking and, instead, scrutinize the totality of Jinnah’s words and actions. Else, at the end of the day we shall end up merely reaffirming our existing preferences and prejudices .

To be sure, a dispassionate examination of Mr. Jinnah’s positions has been unusual in Pakistan because of the ideological needs of the state. Truth was an immediate casualty when General Zia-ul-Haq brought his new Islamic vision of Pakistan in 1979. Immediately thereafter, Mr Jinnah had to be entirely resurrected and reconstructed as an Islamic – rather than Muslim – leader.

This task challenged even the best of spin-masters. As perhaps the most Westernized political leader in Indian Muslim history, Jinnah was culturally and socially far more at ease with the high society of cosmopolitan Bombay and metropolitan London than with those who he led and represented. His Urdu was barely understandable. Nor were his culinary tastes quite those of strict Muslims. But the authorities of Pakistan Television took this, as so much else, in their stride. So, in the 1980’s, a steady stream of profound pieties emanated from a stern, sherwani-clad man who filled television screens across the country. Gone were his elegant suits from Seville Row, as was any reference to his marriage to a Parsi woman. Mr. Jinnah had miraculously morphed into a deep-thinking Islamic scholar.

An interesting consequence of the deliberate state-organized obfuscation was that many Pakistani liberals concluded that the truth must have been the very opposite. They insisted that that, in fact, Jinnah had envisioned Pakistan as a secular, but Muslim majority, country. As proof, they point to two of his oft-quoted speeches that suggesting a secular outlook. Delivered just before, and after, Partition, these had been slyly concealed from the public media during the Zia years:

“You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place of worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed – that has nothing to do with the business of the State…. You will find that in course of time Hindus would cease to be Hindus and Muslims would cease to be Muslims, not in the religious sense, because that is the personal faith of each individual, but in the political sense as citizens of the State.

Courtesy: Chowk

December 24, 2010

Our Quaid-e-Azam – by Ahmed Iqbalabadi

by admin

Related articles: LUBP Archive on Quaid-e-Azam M.A. Jinnah

Millat ka pasban hay, Muhammad Ali Jinnah

When I visited India in the summer of 2004, just after the infamous and unsuccessful “Shining India” campaign of the Bharatia Janata Party, I couldn’t stop thanking Muhammad Ali Jinnah, affectionately our Quaid-e-Azam to have delivered Pakistan for us. I saw that though India was at that time beginning to stake its claim as an emerging global economic power, the situation on the ground was much different to what we have seen through TV and Films. Being on family visit, I got to visit various cities in UP, the capital New Delhi and Bhopal in Madhya Pardesh. Wherever I went, I realized how fortunate I was to have been born and brought up in Pakistan. The respect for Quaid-e-Azam and his followers grew stronger and stronger. If that was the Shining India, I dont know how the Dull India must have been,

If one scans various material on Quaid-e-Azam, one gets confusing vibes about him. Some call him an opportunist, others call him the most astute politician who carved a country without bloodshed. The bloodshed that took place was post independence and not pre-independence. He was a rich man, an accomplished professional and a known secular. Yet the nation he delivered was made up of poor people, deprived migrants, less educated class while the post independence shape of Pakistan was majority Muslims.

He was a skilled negotiator who got what he wanted – a country for the people he led. It was unfortunate that the country he got for his people could not become a nation that he would have liked to see. It was the future generations misfortune that he died within 390 days of independence. He was already 72 when Pakistan got its independence. What he lacked was a team of people who had experience of governance. Be it Liaqat Ali Khan, Sardar Nishtar, Khwaja Nazimuddin or even his sister, Fatima Jinnah. All of the above and many more were always opposition politicians who had never ruled an area pre-partition. It was all but natural for the bureaucracy, especially those belonging to the ICS cadre that ruled the roost. Already Muslims were less educated and only the very accomplished background people reached the bureaucracy in those days. So whoever was in the ICS, got everyone of their liking into key positions. Nepotism started then and that is what we see till today. Similarly, immediately after independence, the key issues that faced the nation was being resource strapped, a biased partition done by a Britisher, the Kashmir conflict and the migration of millions. What he was unable to do was to develop a plan as to what he saw of Pakistan. He couldn’t provide the necessary targets and even if there were, the same were not conveyed to his people. If only he had lived for 3-4 years, at least a constitutional framework could have been set up. After all, he was a lawyer of great repute. All the nonsense that we see till today and all that we hear in his name about what sort of a Pakistan Quaid-e-Azam wanted to see, would have for sure been different.

The way Pakistan has moved on 63 years post independence can be called by critics as a failure. I am an optimist and I see that Pakistan has moved forward, but not as much as it had potential. Having witnessed the situation in India in my visit 6 years ago, there is no one day that I don’t pray for the Quaid and his and my beloved Pakistan. The onus is now on us to make a pakistan that stands out in the world for all the right reasons and not the wrong ones and give Quaid-e-Azam the real reason to rest in peace.

Quaid-e-Azam Zindabad- Pakistan Paindabad!

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December 20, 2010

Can the Left become relevant to Islamic Pakistan? – by Dr Pervez Hoodbhoy

by admin


The left has always been a marginal actor on Pakistan’s national scene. While this bald truth must be told, in no way do I wish to belittle the enormous sacrifices made by numerous progressive individuals, as well as small groups. They unionized industrial and railway workers, helped peasants organize against powerful landlords, inspired Pakistan’s minority provinces to demand their rights, set standards of writing and journalism, etc. But the Left has never had a national presence and, even at its peak during the 1970s, could not muster even a fraction of the street power of the Islamic or mainstream parties.

A comparison with India is telling. While the Indian Left has also never attained state power — or even come close to exercising power and influence on the scale of the Congress Party — it looms large in states like Kerala, Tripura, and West Bengal where it successfully ended iniquitous feudal land relations. Across the country it helps maintain a secular polity, protects minorities, keeps alive a broad focus on progressive ideas in culture, art, and education, and uses science to fight superstition. Today, a Maoist movement militantly challenges the depredations of capitalism as it wreaks destruction on their native habitat. Left-inspired movements noticeably impeded passage of the U.S.-India nuclear deal. Indeed, for all its divisions and in-fighting, the Indian Left is a significant political force that is a thousand times stronger than its Pakistani counterpart.

Surely this difference begs an explanation. The answer is to be found in Pakistan’s genesis and the overwhelming role of religion in matters of the state. Understanding this point in detail is crucial to the question: how can one hope to make the Pakistani Left relevant in the future? Are there intelligent ways to deal with a major handicap?

Pakistan’s Early Years

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. On the whole, Indian Muslims had less education and were less willing than Hindus to accept alien ways of thinking, including communist and socialist ideas. They opposed the British for obvious nationalistic reasons, but they also saw science and modernity as alien impositions. In 1835, for example, more than 8,000 Muslim notables in the state of Bengal signed a petition against the teaching of English and modern ideas.

Realizing the conservatism of his constituency, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, later to become the founder of Pakistan, demanded a separate country for Muslims based upon his 1940 articulation of the Two-Nation Theory. This stated that Hindus and Muslims could never live together peacefully within one nation state. An impeccably dressed Westernized man with Victorian manners, secular outlook, and a taste for fine foods and wines, Jinnah nevertheless eloquently articulated the fears and aspirations of an influential section of his co-religionists. The Communist Party of India thought poorly of him, but, seeing that enormous communal forces had been unleashed, many of its Muslim members eventually chose to support the demand for a separate Pakistan. After Partition they went on to form the nucleus of Pakistan’s Left, which bravely struggles on despite the odds.

Interestingly, Jinnah was also opposed by a section of the conservative Muslim ulema, such as Maulana Maudoodi of the Jamaat-e-Islami. They argued that Islam was a universal religion not to be confined within national borders. But Jinnah and his Muslim League, by enlisting the influential Muslim feudal and bourgeois class, won the day by insisting that Muslims constituted a distinct nation which would be overwhelmed in post-British India by a larger, wealthier, and better-educated Hindu majority.

Pakistan’s basis in religious identity soon led to painful paradoxes. An overbearing West Pakistan ran roughshod over East Pakistan and was 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 decades after the separation — was a blow against the very basis of Pakistan. Nevertheless, contrary to dire predictions, the Pakistani state survived. Its powerful military crushed emerging separatist movements in the provinces of Baluchistan and Sind.

For a while after 1971 the question of national ideology fell into limbo. Aware of the popular demand for economic justice, the newly-elected prime minister, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, also knew that anything that smacked of Marx’s “religion is the opiate of the masses” could not work. The shrewdest politician that Pakistan has ever had, he invented “Islamic socialism” and inspired an agenda for progressive change. But land reform for him, as a big landlord, would have meant too much personal sacrifice. For all his electioneering rhetoric, he also did not wish to alienate the other pillars of the Pakistani state: the army and industrial class. Social reform took back-stage. Instead Bhutto chose to raise national fervor by promising revenge for the loss of the East Wing, declared a “war of a thousand years” against India, and started off Pakistan’s quest for the atomic bomb. Although anti-Indianism served temporarily as a rallying cry, the military coup of 1977 that sent Bhutto off to the gallows was to revive the national identity issue.

Zia Remakes Pakistan

Soon after he seized powerR, General Zia-ul-Haq announced his intention to remake Pakistan and end the confusion of Pakistan’s purpose and identity once and for all. 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-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, Hindi words were removed from Urdu to the extent possible, capital punishment was freely used, left and liberal opinion was silenced, and religion was introduced into every aspect of public and private life. Education became a key weapon.

Zia’s generation is everywhere today in Pakistan. A moderate Muslim majority country has become one where the majority of citizens want Islam to play a key role in politics. The effects of indoctrination are clearly visible. Even as the sharia-seeking Taliban were busy blowing up girls’ schools (457 to date), a survey by World Public Opinion.Org in 2008 found that 54 percent of Pakistanis wanted strict application of sharia while 25 percent wanted it in some more dilute form. Totaling 79 percent, this was the largest percentage in the four countries surveyed (Morocco, Egypt, Pakistan, Indonesia).

A more recent survey of 2,000 young Pakistanis between 18-27 years of age found that “three-quarters of all young people identify themselves primarily as Muslims. Just 14 percent 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.

For some, violent change is the answer to the country’s problems. This is precisely what Zaid Hamid, Pakistan’s self-styled Hitler-clone, advocates. A fiery demagogue who claims to have fought against the Soviets in Afghanistan, he builds on the insecurity of the young. Enthralled college students pack auditoriums to listen to this self-proclaimed jihadist rail against Jews, Hindus, and Christians. Millions watch him on various TV channels as he lashes out against Pakistan’s corrupt rulers and other “traitors,” praises the Afghan Taliban as heroes and a force of resistance, and 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 of amputations and stonings, speedy Taliban-style justice will replace the clumsy and corrupt courts established by the imperial British.

Just as Hitler dwelt on Germany’s “wounded honor” in his famous beer hall oratory in Munich — where he promised that Germany would conquer the world — Hamid calls for the Pakistan Army to rebel against its American masters and go to war against India, liberate Kashmir, Palestine, Chechnya and Afghanistan. Pakistan’s flag shall inshallah soon fly from Delhi’s Red Fort, he announces. The students applaud wildly.

Hating America

Pakistan is probably the most anti-American country in the world. Right, center, and left share the antipathy. Surveys show that the United States is disliked far less in Cuba, Iraq, and Afghanistan — all countries that have been attacked by Washington. A private survey carried out by a European embassy based in Islamabad found that only 4 percent of Pakistanis polled speak well of America, 96 percent against. The United States has displaced India as Pakistan’s number one enemy, at least for now.

Why these intense feelings? Drone strikes are often quoted, but these are relatively precise strikes on Al-Qaida and Taliban targets in Waziristan, which have devastated the Islamist leadership while killing some civilians as well. Although the death of innocents is terrible and deserves condemnation, it is utterly insignificant compared to the carnage in Vietnam’s cities which were carpet-bombed by B-52’s in the 1970s. Nevertheless, the anger in Pakistan leads to a ferocious anger far greater than ever existed in Vietnam.

The explanation may lie in wounded pride and Pakistan’s dependence syndrome. U.S.-Pakistan relations are frankly transactional — America today pays Pakistan to fight a war that is primarily for America’s benefit. It is a separate matter that Pakistan must now fight the war for its own survival. Some Pakistanis use the crude image of a condom to describe the U.S.-Pakistan relationship; Pakistan will be used for the business at hand and be cast off immediately when the business is concluded. This self-loathing is typical of what a client state develops for its paymaster. One sees this in Egypt as well.

Pakistan’s excessive dependence on external powers comes from its long-standing dispute with India over Kashmir. This called for much military hardware, soon acquired by turning towards the West. In the 1950s, Pakistan entered into the SEATO and CENTO military pacts aimed against communism. This made the Pakistani Army the most powerful and well organized institution in the country. In time it developed huge corporate interests and has, directly or indirectly, run Pakistan since the first military coup in 1958.

Pakistan has a litany of other grievances as well. An early one is that the United States. did not aid Pakistan in its 1965 and 1971 wars against India where, according to Pakistan’s understanding, it was required to do so. Other grievances are pan-Islamic while yet others derive from Pakistan’s bitter experience of being a U.S. ally in the 1980s. Then at the cutting edge of the U.S.-organized jihad against the Soviets, Pakistan was dumped once the war was over and left alone to deal with numerous toxic consequences. Among them was a large army of ideologically-charged fighters, willing to put their finely-honed skills to use. But disadvantage was soon turned to advantage when the Pakistani state hit upon using these fighters for bleeding India in Kashmir, as well as securing strategic depth in Afghanistan. The dragon seed, planted by the Pakistan Army, is only half regretted today.

The Conspiracy Industry

In a country that can boast of few achievements in improving the lot of its own people, legitimate criticisms tend to be conflated with illegitimate ones. After all, it is human nature to blame others for one’s own miseries. Today the United States is frequently held to blame for Pakistan’s ills, old and new. Absurdities abound. Surely America should not be held responsible for the sewage-contaminated water that Pakistanis must drink, the pitifully low level of taxes collected, the barbarity of the police, or the massive theft of electricity by rich and poor alike. Nor can it be blamed for the fact that Kashmir is unresolved and that Pakistan’s generals foolishly thought of winning it through covert war.

Of course, Pakistan is not the only country where America provides a rationalization for internal failures. U.S.-bashing is a structural phenomenon where, at least sometimes, it has nothing to do with what America actually does. For example, one recently saw the amazing spectacle of Hamid Karzai threatening to join the Taliban and lashing out against the Americans because they (probably correctly) suggested he had committed electoral fraud.

In the present anti-American climate, the manufacture of conspiracy theories has become Pakistanis’ single biggest industry. Various polls show that the events of 9/11 are assumed by most Pakistanis to have been a CIA-Mossad conspiracy designed to malign Muslims and a part of the West’s war on Islam. It is also believed that Osama bin Laden did not carry out these attacks and, even if he did, that he died long ago. Many think he is an American agent trained and armed by the CIA, while Blackwater is believed to be behind suicide attacks in Pakistani markets and mosques. On the other hand, the Afghan Taliban are often pictured as simply freedom-loving people trying to free their country from foreign occupation. Just when one feels that the limits of absurdity have finally been crossed, some popular television anchor throws out a conspiracy story that leaves one gasping.

Example: for months one heard the theory from various popular anchorpersons that leaders of the Pakistani Taliban, Baitullah Mehsud and Hakimullah Mehsud, were U.S. agents. But there was deafening silence when these leaders were killed by American drones. And, by the way, what happened to the khatna (circumcision) theory — that suicide bombers were uncircumcised and were either Blackwater employees or Indian agents? Now that one can check the carcasses of suicide bombers frozen in cold storage, that theory has conveniently disappeared from the market.

Pakistan’s collective psychosis is painful to behold. When a suicide bomber walked into the female cafeteria at the Islamic University in Islamabad, followed by a second bomber in the male cafeteria, one might have thought that great anger would have been expressed at the Taliban. Instead, the brainwashed students vented their anger at the university administration, government, and America instead of the perpetrators of this heinous deed. The Jamaat-e-Islami and other religious political parties flatly refused to condemn the suicide attack on students.

Ordinary Pakistanis — including the bearded and burqa’ed ones — have fully bought into America-bashing. So does the Westernized elite which yearns for a Green Card, sends its children to U.S. universities, listens to American pop music, and drives out in fancy cars to a McDonald’s. It also includes Pakistanis permanently settled in the United States, who writhe in guilt knowing they live off an anti-Muslim superpower — as they see it.

Tragically for Pakistan, anti-Americanism has played squarely into the hands of Islamic militants. They vigorously promote the notion that this is a bipolar conflict of Islam versus imperialism when, in fact, they are actually waging an armed struggle to remake society. They will keep fighting this war even if America were to miraculously evaporate into space. Created by poverty, a war-culture, and the macabre manipulations of Pakistan’s intelligence services, religious militants want a total transformation of society. This means eliminating music, art, entertainment, and all manifestations of modernity and Westernism. Side goals include chasing away the few surviving native Christians, Sikhs, and Hindus from the Frontier province.

There is certainly legitimate reason for countries across the world to feel negatively about America. In pursuit of its self-interest, wealth and security, it has waged illegal wars, bribed, bullied and overthrown governments, supported tyrants and military governments, and undermined movements for progressive change. But nutcase conspiracy-thinking of “foreign hands” being behind most ills is deadly for a nation’s mental health. If some “foreign hand” is imagined behind everything, then that kills self-confidence and one’s ability to control outcomes. Imagining these “extra-terrestrial” forces deadens the ability to think rationally and sharply reduces the capacity to deal with terrorism — which is here to stay in Pakistan for the foreseeable future.

Pakistanis, who desperately want someone to stand up to the Americans, have bought into the notion of the Taliban as being somehow anti-imperialist. Today, in a country that is divided on everything else, strong anti-U.S. feelings provide a rare point of consensus. Sadly, some in the Pakistani Left seek to cash in on this.

Is The Left’s Negativism Helpful?

Go to a left-wing rally and the standard chants are: down with religious extremism, down with the Army, down with American imperialism, down with the drones. This position of “downing” everyone and everything is laudably pure and pious. But it scarcely helps us answer the question: who shall protect Pakistan’s population from religious militants, stop the daily dynamiting of girls’ schools and colleges, prevent human bombers from exploding themselves in mosques and markets, and end the slaughter of Shiites?

The notion that protection can come from “mobilizing the working class” is laughable. The demonstrations in Pakistan against the U.S. invasion of Iraq were miniscule compared to those in Europe and America. It is irresponsible to think that somehow the fierce onslaught of an army of fascistic holy warriors can be stopped by two dozen earnest people holding colorful placards.

So what is to be done? Every option is a bad one: local militias (lashkars), the police and Frontier Constabulary, the Pakistan Army, and the American drones. The lashkars often have criminals within them and are certainly known to avenge old tribal scores; the police and FC are notorious for corruption and brutality; the Army originally fathered the Taliban and is still a dubious quantity; and the Americans cynically manipulated religious fanaticism when it suited them. But without some combination of these unsavory forces, there will be carnage of ordinary people.

Let us recall what happened in Swat. A weak-kneed state, earlier complicit with the Taliban, had allowed the fanatics to devastate this idyllic tourist-friendly valley before it was brought to its senses and finally persuaded into using military force against the fanatics. Women had been lashed in public, hundreds of girls’ schools were blown up, non-Muslims had to pay a special tax (jizya), and every form of art and music was forbidden. Policemen deserted en masse, and institutions of the state crumbled. Thrilled by their success, the Taliban violated the Nizam-e-Adl Swat deal just days after it was negotiated in April 2009. They quickly moved to capture more territory in the adjacent area of Buner. Then barely 80 miles from Islamabad (as the crow flies), their spokesman, Muslim Khan, crowed that the capital would be captured soon.

Had the Pakistan Army not moved against the Swat Taliban, the consequences for the rest of the country would have been grim. Today the situation there is far from good, but it is immensely better than it was a year ago when headless corpses were strewn in public squares in Mingora and Saidu Sharif. The Army is popular there once again, a supreme irony because it was responsible for having let the Taliban establish themselves in Swat. It will never be decisively established whether Maulana Fazlullah, leader of the Swat Taliban, was put up by the Army. But it certainly did nothing to stop his fiery broadcasts until he finally turned against the Army.

Terrorism is here to stay in Pakistan, and the battle has only begun. And although there are no good guys, nothing can be worse than the Taliban. Through terror tactics and suicide bombings they have made fear ubiquitous. Women are being forced into the burqa, while anxious private employers and government departments have advised their male employees in Peshawar and other cities to wear shalwar-kameez rather than trousers. Coeducational schools across Pakistan are increasingly fearful of attacks — some are converting to girls-only or boys-only schools. Video shops are going out of business, while native musicians and dancers have fled or are changing their profession. A sterile Saudi-style Wahhabism is beginning to impact upon Pakistan’s once-vibrant culture and society.

The cancerous offshoots of extremist ideology continue to spread. Another TTP is important — Tehrik-e-Taliban Punjab. Indeed, one expects that major conflict will eventually shift from Pakistan’s tribal peripheries to the heartland, southern Punjab. The Punjabi Taliban are busy ramping up their operations, with repeated successful suicide attacks on the police and intelligence headquarters.

The future: dazed by the brutality of these attacks, the army’s officer corps finally appears to be moving away from its earlier sympathy and support for extremism. At least for now, tribal insurgents cannot overrun Islamabad and Pakistan’s main cities, which are protected by thousands of heavily armed military and paramilitary troops. In reaction, rogue elements within the military and intelligence agencies are instigating and organizing suicide attacks against their own colleagues.

Pakistan must find the will to fight the Taliban, and the Left must consider its duty to help in this fight. The national and provincial governments must protect life and law rather than simply make deals that fall apart no sooner than they are made. As an Islamic state, Pakistan is falling into anarchy and chaos, being rapidly destroyed from within by those who claim to fight for Islam.

Can The Left Become Relevant?

What can the left do to turn the situation around? The answer is: not very much. It is too small. Although its efforts for creating a better society will not and should not cease, it has no realistic chance of becoming a major national force in the foreseeable future. Instead, given the bankruptcy of Pakistan’s Islamic and mainstream parties, perhaps the Left’s real importance lies in being a moral force that helps nudge Pakistani society in a positive direction.

To do this, leftists must use simple direct arguments instead of convoluted explanations that conflate all adversaries together at the same time. Examples:

Take the brave struggle of peasants in Okara, rightly helped by numerous small left-wing groups, for preserving their land from a predatory military that seeks to displace them. This is a conflict between the tillers of the soil and those who seek to grab the wealth of others. In this case it is right, proper, and essential to challenge the Pakistan Army because it has illegitimate claims to the land. But why the slogans against imperialism, which neither knows nor cares about the Okarans? All that this does is muddy the waters.
Why even imagine that the Taliban want liberation? While religious extremists indeed derive some support from marginalized social groups, they do not demand employment, land reform, better health care, or more social services. There is nothing progressive in their agenda, and no place for social justice and economic development. There is silence about worldly things like roads, hospitals and infrastructure. The Taliban are not the Maoists of Pakistan, nor do they subscribe to some form of South American liberation theology. Instead, they see their reward lying in heaven. It is also false that the Taliban constitute an ethnic “Pakhtun movement,” as some prominent left-wingers argue. This serves only as an excuse for tolerating their barbarities. Most Taliban victims have been other Pakhtuns. If the Taliban is a Pakhtun movement then what about the Punjabi Taliban, who are as ethnically different from Pakhtuns as chalk from cheese? The Pakhtun and Punjabi Taliban share an ideological commitment — and that is precisely what Talibanism is all about.
The Baluch, Sindhis, Siraikis, Baltis, and many other ethnic groups have legitimate complaints against the arrogant center in Islamabad. They certainly deserve support from progressive people. But ethnic groups sometimes look through a very narrow, parochial lens that should not be condoned. After all, the vision of the Left is for a society where economic justice for all is the goal. A person’s ethnic origins, religion and nationality are mere products of circumstance. There is no need to glorify any one of these — at least from a left perspective.
Let me state the bald truth: Pakistan needs reform not revolution. The Left needs to know that there is not a chance in a million of capturing state power in the foreseeable future. In fact, the only ones who can even conceivably bring about a revolution are the Islamists. And their revolution is to be dreaded because they will wipe out every little gain made in sixty years. Therefore the Left must pick its fights, and not try to fight everyone at the same time.

At a time when the country needs clarity of thought, one must not look at everything through the prism of fossilized ideologies. Nor should one pose moralistic questions like: “Is America good or bad?” Of course America is just as selfish as most other countries, has repeatedly committed aggression overseas, has worsened the Palestine problem, and maintains the world’s largest military machine. We also know that it will rush to make a deal with the Taliban if that is perceived to be in its self-interest, and will do so even if that means abandoning the people of Afghanistan to blood-thirsty fanatics. But for Pakistanis the important question is: what are the options for Pakistan’s people today?

Instead of chasing demons, Pakistan’s leftists need to reaffirm their allegiance to what truly matters: the ideals of economic justice, secularism, universalistic ideas of human rights, good governance, women’s rights, and rationality in human affairs. Washington must be firmly resisted, but only when it seeks to drag Pakistan away from these goals. It is futile to frame the debate in pro- or anti-America terms; the key point is to be pro-people. The Left has a hugely important role to play in setting the moral compass. Only then will it matter to Pakistan.

Source: New Politics

December 6, 2010

Blessed are the WikiLeaks revolutionaries —Babar Ayaz

by admin

Related Article: Progressive Pakistani bloggers in support of Julian Assange

It is ironic that the Saudis have labelled Zardari as a “rotten head”, while their whole body polity is rotten. This comment is like the pot calling the kettle black. Pakistan has much more respect for human rights and freedom to criticise the government, while Saudi Arabia is politically far behind.

Blessed are the people who live in post-Second World War times, when humankind has progressed more than it has ever done before. Blessed are the people who live in the times of information technology. Blessed are the people who live in the times of democratisation of information. Blessed are the people who are using this technological revolution to bring out in the open what our rulers do behind closed doors.

Throughout human history, information has been the key to progress. It was always jealously guarded by the privileged classes to further their personal and class interests. But now information is flying in cyberspace and is easy to access at very little cost. The WikiLeaks creator and his unknown soldiers are thus the revolutionaries of cyberspace, bringing current information to the people that in the past was found only in the researched history of politics.

I remember when I came across the first book based on diplomatic papers declassified by the US State Department in 1982. The book — The American Role in Pakistan, 1947-1958 — was written by Professor M Venkataramani. As the book was not available in Pakistan, it was with great difficulty that I managed to get a photocopied version (pardon me for copyright violation). The book is not just a collection of declassified papers, but Venkataramani has used the information to trace the history of the US’s role in Pakistan.

Those who are now crying wolf and loss of sovereignty to the US should read this book to get the right historical perspective. Unfortunately, ultra-nationalist friends forget that the Americans were invited to dinner by the founder of Pakistan: “On May 1, 1947, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, leader of the Muslim League, received two American visitors at his Bombay residence. They were Raymond A Hare, Head of the Division of South Asian Affairs, Department of State, and Thomas E Weil, Second Secretary of the US Embassy in India…he sought to impress on his visitors that the emergence of an independent, sovereign Pakistan would be in consonance with the American interests.

Pakistan would be a Muslim country. Muslim countries would stand together against Russian aggression. In that they would look towards the United States for assistance.” The meeting was reported by the US Charge de Affairs in Delhi, George E Merril, on May 2, 1947.

This is not the only incident that shows how Pakistan offered to play a strategic role to defend the region from ‘Russian aggression’, i.e. communism, and the spread of ‘Indian imperialism’ in the region. Right from day one, Pakistan has been asking for US arms to protect itself from the ‘Indian threat’. Liaquat Ali Khan followed this policy and, in his trip to the US in early May 1950, stressed: “Pakistan therefore politically, ideologically and strategically, holds the position of great responsibility…In addition to this, Pakistan is resolved to throw all its weights to help the maintenance of stability in Asia.”

In 1999, Oxford University Press published a book, The American Papers — Secret and Confidential, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh Documents, 1965-1973, compiled and selected by Roedad Khan, a former senior Pakistani bureaucrat. These papers give an insight into behind-the-doors American diplomacy during the liberation struggle of Bangladesh and the happenings before and after the Pakistan-India 1965 war. As it does not include all the papers and the selection was done by Roedad Khan, one wonders what the criterion for this selection was. But, unlike WikiLeaks, the compilation is from the archives that had been declassified officially.

Even in the case of WikiLeaks, one does not know whether some documents were held back by its editors as not much can be found on the assassination of Ms Benazir Bhutto. Although on the very next day of her killing, one finds that American Ambassador Anne Patterson wrote a rather long assessment of Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, who she thought could be the next prime minister. The assessment is quite favourable. In this memo, she has mentioned Benazir Bhutto as “late”. Interestingly, in the same memo she has dealt in detail with the personal enmity between Elahi and the Bhutto family because of Chaudhry Zahoor Elahi’s assassination by Al Zulfikar (a militant group of PPP headed by Murtaza Bhutto). One reason for the omission of the US embassy’s memos on Bhutto’s assassination could be that the top secret category communication channel is perhaps still beyond WikiLeaks’ hackers.

While the media is outraged about the US administration and Pakistani politicians’ axis, they have underplayed the interference in Pakistan by the Saudi government. The Saudis have accepted that they are not just mere observers in Pakistan’s politics but were “participants”. Their interference in Pakistan’s politics and unabated support to the Islamic extremist groups has damaged the country’s peace.

Whether it is an issue of our leaders, closeness with American and British diplomats or unabated drone attacks, outraged media and some politicians shout from the pulpit that our sovereignty is being violated by the big powers. But very seldom do these protagonists of sovereignty mull over the fact that our political and territorial boundaries are breached by other countries. When we speak against the interference of foreign powers in our politics — and rightly so — we should keep in mind the basic principle of international laws regarding sovereignty. These laws have evolved over the last many centuries.

According to Professor Dr Douglas Stuart, “State sovereignty still remains an ambiguous and convoluted theory. As one looks at the role of state sovereignty in today’s international system, it is important to set some basic guidelines.” He argues that “the empowerment of local movements by strong international non-state actors poses a serious challenge to the theory of state sovereignty”.

This is where Pakistan’s predicament begins with its paranoia about India. Dictated by the same sense of insecurity and myopic view, our establishment has also gotten itself stuck in the quagmire of Afghanistan. The desire to have a client state in Afghanistan has made us pushy to the extent that most governments in Kabul have remained unhappy with Islamabad. And in the process we have willingly become a client state of the US and Saudi Arabia.

Source: Daily Times