Like army, like nation

Published Apr 21, 2011 06:37am

The basic socio-political mindset of the Pakistani society is the outcome of various faith-based experiments conducted by the state and the armed forces.

The party

In 1995, sometime in May, an uncle of mine (an ex-army man), was invited to a party of sorts.

The invitation came from a former top-ranking military officer who had also worked for the Pakistan intelligence agency, the ISI. He was in the army with my uncle (who now resides abroad) during the 1960s.

My uncle, who was visiting Pakistan, asked if I was interested in going with him. I agreed.

The event was at a military officer’s posh bungalow in Karachi’s Clifton area. Most of the guests (if not all) were former military men. All were articulate, spoke fluent English and wore modern, western clothes.

I was not surprised by this but what did surprise me was a rather schizophrenic aura about the surroundings. Though modern-looking and modern-sounding, the gathering turned out to be a segregated affair.

The men’s wives were placed in a separate room, while the men gathered in a wider sitting area.

By now it become clear to me that I wouldn’t be getting served anything stronger than Pepsi on the rocks!

I scratched my head, thinking that even though I was at a ‘party’ in a posh, stylish bungalow in the posh, stylish Clifton area with all these posh stylish military men and their wives and yet, somehow I felt there very little that was ‘modern’ about the situation.

By modern, I also mean the thinking that was reflected by the male guests on politics, society and religion. Most of the men were also clean-shaven and reeking of expensive cologne, but even while talking about cars, horses and their vacations in Europe, they kept using Arabic expressions such as mashallah, alhamdullila, inshallah, etc.

I tried to strike up some political conversations with a few gentlemen but they expected me to agree with them about how civilian politicians were corrupt, how democracy can be a threat to Pakistan, how civilian leaders do not understand India’s nefarious designs, et al.

Then, alas, as if right on cue, the moment I began telling them that I was actually a working journalist (they thought I was a college student in some foreign university), in came two senior journalists who seemed to be very close to some of the men there. These journalists were known for their somewhat right-wing views. They are still around.

I thought hard about what had just taken place. Especially when (quite accidentally) I glanced into the ladies’ section, I saw smart women (designer handbags, blow-dried hair and the works) chatting away, unperturbed by the fact that their gaudy modernism somehow did not include mixed gatherings.

What was even more surreal was the presence of some hijab-clad ladies among the army wives, and I overheard many of them (both the hijabis and the non-hijabis), enthusiastically mixing their tales of fashion-related escapades with sincere talk about what dua to say at what time and how Pakistanis are moving away from ‘true Islam’.

So what was going on?

The experiment

The Pakistan Army was once a staunchly secular beast. All across the 1950s and 1960s it was steeped in secular (albeit conservative) traditions and so were its sociological aspects.

In fact, until the late 1960s, Pakistani military men were asked to keep religion a private matter and religious exhibitionism was scorned at as well as reprimanded – mostly during Field Marshal Ayub Khan’s dictatorship (1959-69).

However, some Islamic symbolism was tactfully used by the military during the 1965 war against India, but this did not last long – especially in an era when a secular military dictatorship was being challenged by an equally secular and left-leaning civilian opposition (the National Awami Party, the Pakistan Peoples Party and the Awami League).

The situation in this context remained the same during the early 1970s, during the democratically-elected government of Z. A. Bhutto (1972-77).

Nevertheless, the fact was that the kind of Islamisation which began engulfing the Pakistani society from the 1980s onwards, actually began taking root within the barracks of the Pakistan Army.

Believing that populist Islamic symbolism to be compatible with his regime’s staunchly nationalistic and progressive posturing, Bhutto wanted to strike a balance between secular, left-leaning moves and rhetoric with controlled Islamic bluster.

He thought that this way he would be able to keep in check both the secular opposition coming from radical nationalist groups in Sindh, Balochistan and NWFP and that from the Islamist parties which, although electorally weak, had a large nuisance value.

Bhutto also thought that by bolstering Islamic symbolism and myths in school textbooks, the military and eventually the society in general, it would help him keep Pakistan intact after the failure of the Two-Nation Theory in 1971 when the country’s eastern wing broke away to become Bangladesh.

One must remember that all this remained to be a social experiment during the Bhutto regime and Pakistan’s society remained largely secular until about 1975.

This experiment was first performed in the military. Often, military symbols were fused with those of Islam, and many senior officers began introducing ‘Islamic practices’ in the barracks.

For example, alcohol in Pakistan was first banned in the barracks of the Pakistan Army (1973), a good four years before it was banned across the country (in April 1977).

Apart from also introducing enforced prayers and Islamiyat courses, many officers also began introducing writings of the conservative Islamic scholar, Abul Ala Maududi, to the soldiers.

In fact, his books almost became mandatory reading when men like General Ziaul Haq (before he toppled Bhutto in 1977), began handing out books authored by Maududi to soldiers along with medals.

Maududi was a puritan who believed in jihad and his writings had already influenced a number of extremist outfits like the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Syria.

Also, being the chief of the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) in Pakistan, his party had actually held demonstrations in the 1960s against popular Arab nationalist leaders like Gamal Nasser whose government had hanged a number of Muslim Brotherhood leaders in Egypt.

The Islamisation experiment seemed to have worked well in an army demoralised by the 1971 defeat against India, and this experiment soon began seeping into the society through revised school textbooks and the state-owned media.

State-owned TV (PTV) and the film industry (Lollywood) were hitting a peak in the 1970s and many of its creations at the time were largely progressive and liberal.

However, in 1975 PTV conducted its first experiment in constructing a popular serial based on the newly conceived Islamised narrative being developed in the military.

A big-budget historical melodrama (produced by young TV director Mohsin Ali) called Tabeer (Reality) was televised. It was based on the history of the Muslims of India from 1857 until the birth of Pakistan in 1947.

This was also the first time when Pakistanis in general were fully introduced to a completely revised history of the region in which Muslims were seen as being completely separate and different from rest of the people of the subcontinent.

For example, the TV series begins during the end of the Indian Mutiny against the British in 1857, an event in which disgruntled Muslims as well as Hindus played leading roles. However, in the serial we only see the Muslims leading the revolt and Hindus are nowhere to be seen.

As the series continued, with each episode more revisions came to light when Muslim characters hardly ever hark back to great proto-secular Mughals like Akbar and Jahangir, and in fact, the last Mughal, the weak and spineless Bahdar Shah Zafar, is shown using words like ‘jihad.’

Also, allusions are constantly made to the Muslim roots lying in Arab nations and lands and India being a land that was conquered by the Muslims but had become a ‘darul harb’ for them after the fall of the Muslim empire.

Such narratives and revised history would soon become mainstream thought by the time Ziaul Haq took over.

The Islamisation experiment in the military too became a mainstay. It especially began consolidating itself during the military’s involvement in the anti-Soviet Afghan jihad in Afghanistan.

As more and more soldiers and officers became radicalised, this radicalisation was then introduced (by the ISI) into the society through a number of militant Islamist groups, sectarian outfits and madrassas that were then used as recruiting grounds for the US-backed ‘jihad’ in Afghanistan. Much of the funding for these came from Saudi Arabia.

The mutation

By the late 1980s, while religion had begun to play a major role in the soldiers’ lives, and the revised historicity first introduced in the late 1970s became the new mainstream historical narrative in Pakistan, one now saw senior officers with even the most liberal and secular habits, spouting Islamist rhetoric.

But this too was about to give in to even more Puritanism. In the early 1990s, the influential Islamic evangelical movement, the Tableeghi Jamaat, began making its way into the military.

Though an apolitical movement that emphasised on ‘correct’ Islamic ritualism and attire, its entry into the barracks produced a surreal mix when it came into contact with the highly political philosophy of Maududi that had by then deeply entrenched itself in the army.

Interestingly, this episode was another example of how an Islamic experiment that was first conducted in the Pakistani army soon seeped out to become a phenomenon in the society in general as well.

The Tableeghi Jamaat which was formed in 1929 had, until the 1980s, been more associated with working/peasant-class Muslims from the Deobandi sect and (in the 1980s) became popular with the trader classes.

A move was seen by the Jamaat from the early 1990s onwards in which a conscious attempt was made to attract upper-middle and middle-class Muslims, and this was achieved when various senior Pakistan Army officers joined the Jamaat.

The army’s influence on the Pakistani society and politics meant that the Jamaat not only began to bag recruits from well-to-do urban classes, but for the first time it also managed to attract a number of celebrities such as TV actors, pop musicians and cricketers.

What I saw at that ‘party’ was actually the socio-political outcome of the above elaborated process.

A process that saw a secular army going through an experiment in political Islam that then was dissipated across the society and consolidated itself as a mainstream phenomenon.

This phenomenon was then fused (in the army) with ritual Puritanism of the Tableeghi Jamaat and this fusion too became a mainstream sociological mainstay amongst various urban classes.

Thus the schizophrenic happenings at the ‘party’ were a modern, upper-middle-class expression of the said process.

Interestingly it is the mindset emerging from this fusion and process that also dictates the choice of the kind of political leaders that the classes embroiled in this phenomenon would like to see.

The choices too have increasingly become equally schizophrenic.

For example, these classes whose politics are a fusion of classical political Islam, Tableeghi Jamaat ritualism and modern-day consumerist capitalism want their leaders to be professional white-collared men, urban in outlook, educated, good to look at, but at the same time, religious, anti-West, anti-India and highly tolerant of Islamic exhibitionism, even sometimes to the point of being apologetic about those who take this exhibitionism to a more violent levels.

Nadeem F. Paracha is a cultural critic and senior columnist for Dawn Newspaper and Dawn.com.

The views expressed by this blogger and in the following reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.


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Nadeem F. Paracha is a cultural critic and senior columnist for Dawn Newspaper and Dawn.com


The views expressed by this blogger and in the following reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.

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Comments (104) (Closed)


Gunjan
Apr 21, 2011 11:57am
NFP - you must teach our Indian journalists how to maintain the cold-eye neutrality you are capable of. Soldier on brother - your writing is well researched and in a sub-continent where no one has the courage left to speak the truth, you keep writing without any influence and based on facts. I have no shame in saying that there is not 1 journalist like you in India. Wish you could move to India though :-)
Ali Raza
Apr 21, 2011 12:23pm
every critic cum writer has his own thoughts and understandings so do you have. but unfortunate your medium and your publisher is for the niche. As a reader i would say, please diversify your medium and publisher to reach the masses as your writings shouldnt be stuck to a specific niche.
zango
Apr 21, 2011 12:24pm
Nadeem, I dont know what drives you!Week after week I read your blog and column. Your conviction for a better humanity,your analysis of what is going wrong is always detailed and researched.It seems you were present for almost 200years! I know it is too little,and your voice is lost in the deafening crowd,but keep it up,and God bless you!
Zulfikar
Apr 21, 2011 12:27pm
Bravo NFP for the analysis. Is this a reversible process? Where it is going to end?
BRR
Apr 21, 2011 12:47pm
Very interesting and educational write-up. With the Pakistani military dominating politics and access to resources, the "Islamic tone" it adopts has been "tuned" to by the populace (apparently). It appears that the Pak army's Islamization was a trend setter, and the rest of the society followed in its wake. A certain Islamic culture nurtured and pushed by the Army has acquired a life of its own, like a virus, and seems to have spread.
Saleem Khan
Apr 21, 2011 12:59pm
Well written and agrees with you. Is there any way to come out of these problems and making our society same like 1960's. Economically, at one stage of 1960, we were beating Korea but then bad time from 1970 and lasting till today. I think 2 things badly effected us, one is encouraging Islamic parties by changing name of country and secondly making education free with changed course and text books. These 2 factors put whole nation on wrong track and on other side you can see where Korea is standing today. Appreciating your efforts but do our young generation is keen enough to read and think on these grass root issues that is not allowing Pakistan to come back on right track. Politicians won't change whole system because it won't be a popular decision...our people are now immune to this so called Islamic system. They won't accept to even follow right path of ISLAM. I had same views about islam as majority have...but then I started digging and understood what actually Islam says...Thanks Allah, today I can differentiate between real Islam and this politicized Islam. Cheers and keep writing. People like you can really play vital role to let people think and decide...what is in their and country's benefit.
rz
Apr 21, 2011 01:00pm
At start I felt ah... there he goes again with another Zia bashing article...but it turn out to be an interesting read focusing afar Zia....I won’t agree with few assertions made...but well done
Ch Salim
Apr 21, 2011 01:03pm
Thank you very much for this overview Nadeem. It's always great to read your stuff. Not to forget the very same brainwashed guys are representing Pakistan in the Foreign Services all over the World - spreading an image of "their" modern Islam.
Nadeem Fan
Apr 21, 2011 01:06pm
Nadeem Sir. You were correct. Akabr will never get any respect in countries ISLAMIC countries like Pakistan, Saudi Arabia because he was secular. I have seen here in London many pakistanis using abusive vocabulary against Akbar. Sad but true. Hope secular forces in Pakistan will get stronger with blessing of Bhagawan.
tanweer
Apr 21, 2011 01:15pm
I feel that NFP decides what he wants to and then try to look for its proofs. Like looking a cloud, he sees just what he wants to
Fraz
Apr 21, 2011 01:35pm
NFP, ya it is right that millitary has effect on, but not so pervasive. Islamisation is the only way forward. You may disagree with the way in which islamistion should be implemented but you and i know that ..... Islam is only way out for us , for every one.
Nishant
Apr 21, 2011 01:43pm
Rightly said...
Raza
Apr 21, 2011 01:58pm
Ours is a classical example of stuck "between rock and the hard place". Loved the article in general and anecdote of Pepsi on the rocks! is hilarious...
Ajay
Apr 21, 2011 02:06pm
Nadeem F. Paracha hats off to you for this wonder full article....this is the first time that i have really liked your article. Not because I am an Indian but because you have said that i all wanted to express because i knew these things....god bless you for putting the facts so clearly. Now at least the no secular would understand what have they done to a "Would be beautiful Country Pakistan."
To Fraz
Apr 21, 2011 02:12pm
Fraz I respects your feeling...but Islam is a religion and keep it one.Dont make it a escape goat for all the wrong doing done under its name. May be Islam as a religion can give you some light but don’t depend on it to choose your right path....after all we all know what is right and what is wrong...we don’t require any religion to tell us that...that’s why we are HUMANS.
atit mishra
Apr 21, 2011 02:20pm
Am an avid reader of NFP articles. In his present article he has tried to search the root of Islamaization of Pakistan. Now we all should ponder over remedies through which we can attempt to rescue this great creation of Jinnah.
Ajay
Apr 21, 2011 02:28pm
well said Gunjan
Tamim
Apr 21, 2011 02:32pm
I totally agree
Asad
Apr 21, 2011 02:32pm
Sir Nadeem had never been cleared this much about the confused state of a typical pakistani mindset about islam and secularism. But i believe, tableeghi jamaat has less to do with this ambivalence of people and it is rather islamization of textbooks is schools in Zia's era which is more and actually responsible. Sir, i really want you to write on those islamized changes in textbooks in Zia's era.
Bmash
Apr 21, 2011 02:39pm
Keep up the good work. Loved your column
Karachiite
Apr 21, 2011 03:01pm
LOL at 'escape goat'!
Anurag
Apr 21, 2011 03:02pm
Spot on ...
Chak
Apr 21, 2011 03:32pm
my friend, just like you, the entire country thinks that they know what the "real" Islam is. and everybody's version is different. some kill to propagate their view, some don't.
Khalil
Apr 21, 2011 03:47pm
So it happened as it did, how could it have happened that would have resulted in a better present.
Salman Abbasy
Apr 21, 2011 04:03pm
It was a great pleasure to read a bold analysis of the GHQ-approved pseudo-Islamic mythology of Pakistan.
Shrikant
Apr 21, 2011 04:15pm
well said , NFP is very articulate and his articles are well researched , i hope some time he should write on INDIAN history and ills plauging the indian society , though I know in India also lot of religious fanatics and hardliners will make your life difficult, but still I salute your well researched article , Hard to find any such writer across the boarder
Muhammad Raza Ayub
Apr 21, 2011 04:17pm
Well elaborated Paracha! Keep it up!
Striver
Apr 21, 2011 04:24pm
Human nature is complex. Society is complex. Perhaps this is a basic lesson the likes Nadeem FP forget sometimes. Can a hijab clad woman not be described as modern? Is covering up not modern?
Akbar khan
Apr 21, 2011 04:25pm
Nadeem, The secular nature of Akbar despite his faults is much hated by todays pakistanis...infact any religious minded folks just like Gandhi is hated by many hindus. But the forces of secularism beat the religious mind set in India. In pakistan, systematic elimination if secular minded people took over a generation...the interesting issue is how much are you going to make the current generation undertstands what you mean....when many around you grew up watching islamic take over soul and identity of the nation.. may be its too late
Sana
Apr 21, 2011 04:27pm
Work of a genius, Kudos NFP!!
krishnan
Apr 21, 2011 05:13pm
Actually in an interesting coincidence ,Jawed Naqvi has written in the same issue ,about the Indian History distortion courtsey the British empire et all.NFP - as someone else has written, it is amazing how you go on and on..Keep it up
Hasn
Apr 21, 2011 05:19pm
That is such a great question Stiver. I tatally agree with you that a hijab-clad woman can be modern. But unfortunately there is that stigma attached to religion and its followers in this country. The fact that Pakistan is a country united on the basis of islamic nationalisnm is also a significant factor, and so this influences the psyche of its people incredibly.
Shaikh Mohommad
Apr 21, 2011 05:26pm
Pakistan Army is holding all the cards and decides who should rule the country. Did Jinnah ever envisage that Pakistan will be controlled by its army?
ashokkaulbhu
Apr 21, 2011 05:38pm
well written article.It seems that power and domination are the subjectivity of history.Even retension of power makes religion to be political.Denial of democracy for long has made military politically religious.
Waleed Khan
Apr 21, 2011 06:00pm
Nice. So using 'mashallah' in your daily conversation means you are not 'modern' according to his standards. NFP's writings have gone stale.
Mike
Apr 21, 2011 06:25pm
What's wrong with Islamization of society as long as it does not degenerate into the Jihadi extremist variety? It brings a nation together. Had it not been for this, Pakistan would have been a fractured state by now. What happened in 1965 and 1971 when Pakistan and its Army was considered secular? It went to war. But not anymore.
Rahul
Apr 21, 2011 06:29pm
There is nothing modern about exhibiting your religious beliefs, it is as simple as that.
Rahul
Apr 21, 2011 06:36pm
You are proof of what NFP just expressed in the article. Islam may well be the only path for you but when you insist that its the right path for me else I should just die or disappear or go away is when everything turns bad...no escape goat then:-)
Imad Qureshi
Apr 21, 2011 06:43pm
As much as I respect your views and almost always agree with your articles, I partially disagree today. Our children are taught distorted history, that part I agree with. But your demonization of the people at Party, I fail to understand. I am very liberal and believe in the philosophy of "live and let live". So if you are not being served anything other than Pepsi, what's wrong? There are lots of good modern, liberal people who don't drink. And if woman and men are not mixed at the Party, what is wrong with that? When I am with my friends, I feel a lot more comfortable when we are separate (that rarely happens) because we can talk about old school stuff and there are things not to be discussed in front of children and someone else's wife.
waqas
Apr 21, 2011 06:48pm
i dont understand secularism at all. if some one is a muslim then how can he or she be a secularist?? if i am not wrong being a secularist country pakistan should not have a religion when 97% of its inhabitants are muslims please dont give the example of india or western countries we all know how secular they are
Zeeshan Dogar
Apr 21, 2011 07:06pm
You sound disappointed that people in Pakistan are practising Islam. Stop drinking the kool aid.
samyak gowda
Apr 21, 2011 07:39pm
So, which is the rock and which is the hard place?
Zaheer
Apr 21, 2011 07:52pm
Very well done Keep it up...
ambrish
Apr 21, 2011 07:56pm
nfp u are welcome whole heartedly in india!!
Alisa
Apr 21, 2011 07:59pm
NFP you've out-done it again! Congrats! somehow you alwayyys seem to place the pin right on the most painful spot of this country. How do you do it??? Awesome!
Sam
Apr 21, 2011 09:01pm
Excellent well articulated article. Kudos! Truly describes the outcome we see now. Thanks NFP.
Vin
Apr 21, 2011 10:29pm
India needs you badly... with the current sycophantic,pseudo-secular and corrupt journalists in India, I see no hope for truth to be spoken as is in India... When a civiliztion looses its ability to speak the TRUTH in plain straight forward manner for fear of dictators, secular or non-secular forces, that day the civilization begins its journey into dooms day.... It is very important for both Liberals and Conservatives to openly voice their opinions without being violent...
Mehdi
Apr 21, 2011 10:49pm
What is the whole point?
Fazal
Apr 21, 2011 10:54pm
Do ask him to move please ... we don't have much left to be proud of ...
shafi
Apr 21, 2011 11:08pm
'Democratically elected Zab'? He lost to Najib-u- Rehmant and refused to accept the result losing East Pakistan.
malik
Apr 21, 2011 11:26pm
So we can pretty much establish the fact that Islamization project was started by our dear secular Mr. Bhutto. Others just added fuel to this fire and by now we have a fire storm.
Abhijit
Apr 21, 2011 11:27pm
What an artical man,what we indian want to tell and which is truth ,is told by you. If any indian jouranalist is reading this artical then please learn from this
Charles
Apr 21, 2011 11:51pm
Do people in Pakistan ever consider the role Saudi Arabia plays in their country? It seems they are the ones funding the madrassas and are doing everything they can to spread their interpretation of religion and erase the historical Pakistani identity.
Fakir
Apr 22, 2011 01:24am
Sir, Hijab clad woman can be modern theoretically but in practice definitely not, You can carry out an empirical study and you would agree that Hijab clad woman is never modern maybe with some exceptions. Every grain in Nadeem’s blog is true and you would do a great dis-service to your culture of 1000’s years (not just 1300 years) by living in denial.
sheraz dar
Apr 22, 2011 02:57am
Chronologically speaking this article makes sense but I have always found a hint of self loathing in your writing. Why are you so against every thing Pakistani? If the people want to be religious it’s their right, if they like segregated parties fine their choice. If we like to re-write history to make us look larger than life as a nation then it’s our right. If you don’t like it don’t be a part of it but why criticize everything and be such a cynic. Let the people be; and try to live your life the way you want because unlike you nobody is criticizing each and every thing you do.
Rashid
Apr 22, 2011 03:14am
I do not think you understand the time and complexity involved in making a U turn on foundational ideology of the nation. It is nearly impossible. Islamic values are best suited for Pakistan and sticking to it will deliver the results rather than flip flopping with our fundamental identity.
Junaid khan
Apr 22, 2011 03:53am
Another conspiracy theory and secular push from NFP ......
fahad
Apr 22, 2011 04:36am
wwwww wow genious same words throw again and here comes a new article.
shakeel
Apr 22, 2011 06:29am
Dear Nadeem, Thank you. Another Master Piece from you. However, not all problems today seen in Pakistani society is full responsibility of the Military. Our feudal which we inherited in 1947 and centuries old tribal system and lack of education in rural areas is also to blame for this mess we are in but please note despite all the efforts of our religious parties and military i think still large section of Pakistani society remains moderate. Free and liberal media like Dawn is shaping the opinion of youth of Pakistan. Lets also give some credit to Military for services for media by giving licenses to 50+ channels and today we have freest media compare to any other Arab or most of Muslim countries standards.
suren singh sahni
Apr 22, 2011 06:52am
Today pakistan is the most despised state in the world.The politicians in all the islamic countries have two lives;privately they enjoy a western life styles and in public they behave like a true islamic individual
Tahir
Apr 22, 2011 07:08am
I agree with everything NFP has to say, but I do have a very (small) quibble. Pakistan army didn't ban alcohol in 1973. My father was a serving officer and until 1977 I remember alcohol being freely available in army messes. Also alcohol was available at the Army club near the Metropole hotel in Karachi well into 1977.
jalaluddin S. Hussai
Apr 22, 2011 08:05am
I completely agree with Nadeem F. Piracha. The question is how to tread once again on the secular path. Religion should be a personal affair and kept separate from the affairs of the State. Was it not this what the Quaid envisioned, in the first place? We need to go through many of the speeches, delivered between the years 1941 to 1948, to know what the Quaid really had in his mind for the principles of governance in the State of Pakistan.
Tahir
Apr 22, 2011 09:14am
How can you start with such a silly premise? I don't know if Islam is the only way forward and neither do you.
Raza
Apr 22, 2011 09:23am
@ Stiver and Hasn : With due respect you both missed the point NFP was raising...
Raza
Apr 22, 2011 09:25am
well said Atit
joy
Apr 22, 2011 09:31am
pepsi on the rocks.....ha ha ha
Rastogi
Apr 22, 2011 09:50am
Religion is killing Pakistan and Corruption is doing same for India. However, Pakistan is lucky as it has a few journalist like Nadeem and Irfan who fight openly against the defect, while Indian columnist prefer raising their voices only against people fighting corruption. In my view Pakistan has much better chances of survival because of fearless journalism.
Amrish Bhat
Apr 22, 2011 10:00am
Good one !
az
Apr 22, 2011 10:08am
Could Jinnah ask why patriots after ruling the country get out & become citizens of foreign countries?
Faisal
Apr 22, 2011 10:24am
What a deeply penetrating analysis of Pak Army and its nefarious role in radicalizing our society! It's extremely well written and hugely informative. You are our hope NFP. Keep up the good work.
waheed
Apr 22, 2011 10:25am
very true, keep it up Paracha
Suresh
Apr 22, 2011 10:29am
Has anybody in Pakistan read "Discovery of India" by Jawaharlal Nehru?
Raj
Apr 22, 2011 10:57am
Clothes describe people. What you wear is a good reflection of how you think? Thus anyone wearing Hijab voluntarily probably is old fashioned.
GHQ
Apr 22, 2011 11:50am
What a truthful & courageous article by Mr Piracha!!The Mullahs and GHQ Walas who had zero contribution in creation or defense of Pakistan, played a major role in turning it into this quagmire of religious intolerance and economic destruction. GHQ Walas are now calling the drone attacks as "grave human rights violations". What happened to the oath on Quran & Constitution to Defend the integrity of the State??? If our Generals and Mullahs can hang an elected Prime Minister can't they shoot down a drone or atleast deny its operation from "inside' the Pakistani territory.!!
Eliya
Apr 22, 2011 12:09pm
This is brilliant. Hail NFP.
sidd
Apr 22, 2011 01:39pm
Waqas, the country shouldnt have a religion but its inhabitants can have one in a secular country. Secularism should not be confused with atheism. It merely means ensuring people have the right to follow any religion or none at all individually, with the public institutions refraining from showing preference to any one of them
Dalbir
Apr 22, 2011 02:02pm
Pakistan is very fortunate in having DAWN newspaper as a lighthouse in the path of nation building . It is indeed more commendable in promoting writers like Kamran Shafi , Irfan Husain , NFP who have no hesitation in calling a spade a spade . In India it is yellow journalism all around , print , electronic ( they are the worst ) who have blatantly sought favours , promoted cronyism to push the cases of political parties acting as mouthpieces of parties rather than fair & independent . A very good paper like Indian Express is also a shadow of its former self .
Dalbir
Apr 22, 2011 02:07pm
If I could name three things which are destroying India these are 1. Cricket 2. Bollywood 3. The phobia of terrorism which really does not exist much . Is it a mere co incidence that 99% of the news time on TV channels is occupied by these three topics only ?
AP
Apr 22, 2011 02:12pm
i won't like to comment on the conspiracy theory part cause you guys love these conspiracy theories. But whats wrong with a secular push if i may ask?
shahid
Apr 22, 2011 02:13pm
An insightful analysis. But in the end, do'nt people get what they deserve? When they are taken on the path of twisted reality, the outcome is going to be schizophtenic
AP
Apr 22, 2011 02:14pm
well sticking to it would eventually lead to collapse of your nation. Nadeem isn't talking about flip flopping on anything, I think what he is suggesting is getting back to your roots (real ones) rather than looking to middle east and hoping for acceptance as their own clan. Some minor tweaking at right places and right times should bring you out of this mess that you find yourselves in. Good luck.
Indus Darya
Apr 22, 2011 02:15pm
Why?? Is the truth unpalatable
Khalil
Apr 22, 2011 02:24pm
So separating women and men in gathering has now become a schizophrenic. What a shame.
Ramanujam
Apr 22, 2011 02:26pm
Congratulations You condemn India nd France for not following secularism..but in a country where u're in majority....U dnt even have d word in ur dictionary...... Secularism means that a govt never favors or discriminates anyone based on their religion...and will punish anyone who shows impartiality based on religion..... In fact,India too may not be secular bcos it gives reservation to minorties....which is against d basic definition of secularism....but atleast it helps to protect d minortities. First practice secularism in ur country before preaching other countries on how they treat minorities.
faisal
Apr 22, 2011 02:52pm
If we are practicing Islam then how come we are one of the most corrupt nation in the world? hmm...
Gama
Apr 22, 2011 02:59pm
Mr AP i am sorry you have utterly mistaken the words of Mr Junaid Khan. he is not supporting conspiracy theories. He is accusing NFP of narrating a conspiracy theory. Now coming to ur second part "Whats wrong with secular push..", well Secular is "Not Religious" in its literal meaning and in practice it is an act of keeping religion to ur personal limits and letting have other this choice as well. Where as I deem NFP getting utterly Nonsecular in this regard. As I mentioned earlier he is even allergic to those practices which many people follow as a personal choice, which are free of extremism but due to their love for religion of fear of Allah.
aqeelyousaf@msn.com
Apr 22, 2011 03:13pm
what a informative article. appriciate paracha sahib
Striver
Apr 22, 2011 03:14pm
Raza. I don't think we did. I understand his point but I don't agree with it.
Zia Manhouse
Apr 22, 2011 04:02pm
Paracha! You da Man!! You write about things that people actually experienced and can easily corroborate!
Jai
Apr 22, 2011 04:33pm
I have to agree with you. The Dawn is easily the best newspaper in the subcontinent. 'The Hindu' in India comes close but not nearly good enough. In fact, Dawn can take on many western publications and come out shining. I love reading the editorials and the jottings of the columnists who are all very accomplished.
Faisal
Apr 22, 2011 05:11pm
NFP - You never cease to amaze me with your Pen - Hats off to you again for yet another Brilliant Piece
Saeed Baloch
Apr 22, 2011 05:13pm
I found the article on sided. Don’t take me wrong, the article is informative and that is the part of the article that is so eye opening. I call it one sided because it gives a partial facts of the issues he wants to bring up. He is stereotypically blaming only JI, philosophy of Maududi and his literature, Tableeghi Jamaat , and Saudi’s money. Yes, they are still playing big, giving us false hope of the real Islamic country but they are failing to give us any condition of harmonious co-existence between adherents of different religions or a tolerant society.. The writer was shy to mention American McCarthyism which brought the cold war and it’s miseries to the world and the American money which played the bigger role that made our army so reach that they could afford the luxury which the writer witness.
Tanveer Khan
Apr 23, 2011 01:50am
I agree.. The Hindu is a fine publication as well.
Muhammad Ishaq Narej
Apr 23, 2011 01:55am
Great analysis.
zafarov
Apr 23, 2011 04:03am
@sheraz dar As a journalist/commentator/analyst Nadeem Piracha is simply holding a mirror to society as he sees it. That is what he is supposed to do. If you find the image in the mirror too ugly to contemplate and prefer to live in denial, that is your choice. Feel free to criticize. His narrative of the party was to highlight the transformation in the army as a result of indoctrination. NP displays amazing courage to expose the ills of our society. There is no self loathing. His loathing is for those who are bent on pushing our society back to the dark ages. His writings are directed at thinking people.
Zeeshan
Apr 23, 2011 09:15am
Excellent point......but my comments were in context to Nadeem's observation
Abdul
Apr 23, 2011 06:40pm
I ditto
Abdul
Apr 23, 2011 06:42pm
Dawn is possibly No.1
Khushbakht
Apr 23, 2011 11:36pm
A great piece! Mr. Paracha excellently pointed out that Bhutto was not completely secular. He made a huge mistake by declaring Ahmedis as "non-Muslims" (I am sure many would think I am one of them although I am not.) He is also right about our celebrities joining the band of "pious" men. Junaid Jamshed and Ali Haider are examples. After living glamorous lives for years, they shunned music which gave them popularity in the first place. Good way to stay in the limelight after retirement.
Kaly
Apr 24, 2011 10:30pm
I agree with you. We people from India/Pakistan/Bangladesh need to understand that religion is a very personal matter and if one marries in different community, the world will not be destroyed. We need to be a good humanf being and show respect to all religion. And people from Pakistan has to understand one thing that even though they follow Islam , their original roots are from India, and not from Saudi Arabia....
kamaljit Singh
Apr 25, 2011 09:06am
I strongly agree.
Nagaraj
Apr 25, 2011 10:55am
Nadeem F. Paracha is one of the very matures political analyst. His observation and analysis in this article is commendable. If we look around the world, it is very clear that only those people, countries which did not mix religion with adminstration have succeeded. Religion is a private choice and must be practiced privately. Hats off to Nadeem F. Paracha.
Goga Nalaik
Apr 26, 2011 12:56pm
Dear Nadeem, Thank you very much for this Great and detailed artcile. Yes, going secular will solve 70% of our problems. Keep Up your good work. Your fan
Waqart Akbar Cheema
Apr 27, 2011 05:08pm
Mr. Paracha, may you keep mourning and may the Army and Society actually become truly Islamic