Dawn News

Smokers’ Corner: Lost in transition

In the late 1960s, an intense public debate erupted between intellectuals belonging to the Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) and those belonging to various progressive literary movements.

At the time the political and cultural milieu of the country had found itself at a crossroad. With a fierce youth-led movement taking place against a military dictatorship (Ayub Khan), many Pakistanis had begun to ask what it meant to be a Pakistani. Maoists, Marxists, progressives, provincial autonomists and left-democrats gathered together on platforms erected by political outfits such as the PPP, the NAP, the Bengali nationalist Awami League, and various small Sindhi, Baloch and Pashtun nationalist groups. They began defining the Pakistani culture and polity as a fusion of various ethnic, religious and sectarian expressions which they insisted could be harnessed (to produce collective economic, political and cultural goodwill) only through the imposition of social democracy and the granting of wide-ranging democratic rights to the ethnicities that were not considered to be part of the ruling elite.

The intellectual champions of the progressives and the left wing in this respect were men like the poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Sindhi nationalist and scholar GM Syed, Pashtun nationalist Bacha Khan, and writer Safdar Mir.

As Faiz authored a detailed study and commentary on what is and should constitute 'Pakistaniat', Mir took it upon himself to scholarly rebuke the challenge posed against Faiz's thesis by Islamic scholar, Abul Ala Maududi.

In his commentary, Faiz declared Pakistani culture to be a pluralistic mixture of cultural rituals and beliefs of the many ethnicities, religions and Muslim sects that resided in the country. He also concluded that each one of these aspects were further influenced by the cultural traditions inherited by Pakistanis from Hindu, Muslim and British regimes in the region over hundreds of years.

But the point that got JI intellectuals fuming the most about Faiz's thesis was when he declared that Islam was just one aspect of the Pakistani culture and that Pakistanis do not have a monopoly over it.

Maududi and his supporters in the shape of conservative (but pro-West) lawyer and writer, A K. Brohi and Urdu novelist Naseem Hijazi, attacked Faiz’s study and conclusions as being anti-Islam and (thus) against the ‘ideology of Pakistan.’

The term Ideology of Pakistan was first used by Maududi in the late 1960s. This is ironic because he had vehemently opposed the creation of Pakistan in 1947 and thought that the country’s founder, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, was a deviant Muslim.

Maududi tried to transcend the progressives’ idea of the culture of Pakistan by describing his understanding of Pakistaniat as an ideology. He defined this ideology to be based on a system founded upon so-called Islamic principles, values and laws. Not only did Maududi reject Faiz’s emphasis on ethnic, religious and sectarian pluralism, he also accused the progressives and the leftists for using arts such as music, dance, painting and theatre ‘like a Trojan horse to infiltrate and change Pakistan’s Islamic complexion.’

The fiery debate finally came to a pass when JI and its conservative supporters lost both the intellectual as well as the political battle in the 1970 general elections that were overwhelmingly won by secular parties that had the backing of the progressive intelligentsia.

But just when it seemed that the Islamic narrative regarding the culture of Pakistan had been buried, East Pakistan happened. With the breaking of Pakistan and defeat of its armed forces at the hands of their Indian counterparts in 1971, power fell into the hands of PPP’s Z A. Bhutto.

As a strategy to lift the remaining part of the country from the despair and humiliation of defeat, Bhutto began formulating cultural and education policies by actually fusing Faiz’s pluralism-friendly and secularist thesis with those of Maududi’s.

For example, folk cultures and the arts of various ethnicities were patronised by the new regime along with constitutionalism as well as a populist emphasis on Islam.

Pakistan’s defeat in the 1971 war was explained away as a conspiracy by superpowers against Pakistan because it was the ‘bastion of Islam.’

The Bhutto regime continued to harness this narrative by balancing its secular and liberal cultural policies with its somewhat paranoid rhetoric against the many (largely perceived) 'enemies of Pakistan.’

So in 1977 when the reactionary General Ziaul Haq toppled Bhutto, he simply took the latter's post-1971 ideological narrative, cut out its secular and pluralistic aspects but retained the Islamic rhetoric.

Not only did Zia further build upon it by imposing draconian and controversial laws and policies, he handed over the right to define Pakistani culture to conservative historians, educationists, politicians, judges and media personnel.

Hence ever since Zia, the doctrinal, judicial and intellectual exercise of defining Pakistaniat has remained in their hands. Over the decades so much has been piled upon in this context that this humongous and largely concocted pile has become the resource for both Pakistanis as well as those on the outside trying to figure out what it means to be a Pakistani.

This pile gives ready-made answers, but the way Pakistan’s politics and society have suffered under the tyranny of this one-dimensional narrative, one can suggest that, more than ever, it is ripe to be politically and intellectually challenged by those who are willing to question its claim to be the sole blueprint of the ideology and culture of Pakistan.

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

He tweets @NadeemfParacha

The views expressed by this writer and commenters below do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.


Comments (76) Closed

sparky singh
Sep 16, 2012 05:02pm
Thank you for sharing.
anwar suhail
Sep 17, 2012 02:55pm
Spot on.
Sep 16, 2012 01:38pm
Mr. Pareira has made a fantastic suggestion and I second it.
Munir Varraich
Sep 16, 2012 10:52am
Nadeem Piracha's narative of Pakistan's history - how religion and secular thought process inter -acted to swing Pakistaniat from being "a part of the whole of mankind" to the narrow minded outlook of JI which tries to "confine Pakistaniat in Islamic colours and Pan Islamism" - needs to be studied in the backdrop of international movements of Humankind's thought process. During the period - 1947 to 1989 - is a phase of mankind's history which is said to be a Bi-Polar world, dominated by two super powers, USA championing the cause of "free world" drawing its moral strength from "religion" and USSR drawing its strength from "material philosophy". These two world outlooks effected the thought process in Pakistan as well. JI being the "religious" expression of USA's thought process and Faiz being the "secular" expression of USSR's materialist thought. As far as "islam" or the "Muslim thought process" it was and is still at a loss to express itself in this fast moving technological world. The world changed after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. That was a challenge to both the JI and the Faizis. The thought process of mankind was once again thrown into a chaos. Old bearings were no more. In a Uni-Polar world, wisdom demanded to come up with new bearings to find direction, be those for "nation states" or "regions" or mankind as a whole. Whenever mankind lost its bearing earlier in history, there had been great thinkers - call them philosophers or prophets- who steered the thought process out of chaos and brought order and direction to mankind, always starting by defining the "moral code" under the changed realities and conditions. "Pakistaniat" needs to be re-defined under the present conditions of Mankind's thought process, which is no more limited to one "religion" or one "nationality" but the new "moral code" which is taking shape perforce caters for Mankind as a whole. Which ever Mindset is closer to that "moral code" would be able to show "new directions" and hence would have the moral sanction to lead mankind into the next phase of evolution. And that mindset is not the monopoly of any one religion or philosophy, but is a merger or synthesis of the collective efforts of mankind as a whole. MAV Sweden
Sep 16, 2012 09:44am
NFP you are an innate gem. I wish u would write a book on ideological aspect of Pakistan for the enlighted youth, who love to go thru truth. A fantastic xplaintory note to show us our erased cultural pluralism. Pakistan is a state of its inhabitants irrespctive caste, creed and religion. Religiomenia has gifted society bloodshed and endless mess in the shape of religio-cultural, socio-political and economic monster. Nfp you make me bow to salute you and refresh my mind. Keep going on and on and on and make educated animals of our learn hard realities which are true in all spirits.
Sep 16, 2012 08:50pm
When I look at 2012 and remember the 40s, 50s and 60's -- If it were not for the influence of those progressive literary writers and poets of those beautiful bygone days -- I myself would have been an illiterate literalist blowing up girls schools -- in pursuit of 72 virgins.
Masood Nasir (@MasoodNasir)
Sep 16, 2012 04:06am
In this transition also happened the 1974 political stunt to declare Ahmadis as non-Muslims and state taking upon itself to define what they think would be the "Islam" for Pakistan. This paved way for the 1984 draconian ordinance XX by Zia-ul-Haq that made the very life of Ahmadis as "criminals".
sparky singh
Sep 16, 2012 08:18pm
I am a non-muslim and far from agreeing with any of Mr Pereira's views above, I am appalled and disgusted by the absolute lack of understanding of history they must be based on. Mr Pereira .. Muslims are part of India, have been for centuries and cannot be removed to satisfy the dangerous fantasies of people like you. Muslims did not 'arrive' in India, most south asian Muslims are also one of us. Their ancestors 'chose' their beliefs and were afforded the right to do so thanks to the tradition of religious freedom that has been practiced in this land. Perhaps without such freedom even Hinduism would not have evolved to be such an amorphous religion and other religions such as Buddhism and Sikhism would not have originated here at all. What you are actually professing here is that India should divorce itself from what it is and repeat the mistakes of the past, this time with eyes wide open.
Rabia Akram Shah
Sep 16, 2012 04:33am
I've heard many of your readers suggest that it's time for a book by you, NFP. I totally agree. You should be the one writing that book on the new ideological narrative of Pakistan. You have a huge readership, especially among the youth. And by the way, I saw you speak at SOAS early this year. You were both informative and witty. I wish we had history lecturers like you.
RB Karam
Sep 16, 2012 04:35am
Ah, this time Bhutto bashing along with Zia bashing. Nice.
Sep 16, 2012 04:46am
It s Pakistan,not Muslimistan.When it came to being,no one ever thought for this blood shedding at the name of Islam.Religion never deals with the country,if it does so then it becomes Israel or Pakistan.So simple.......................And he(Nadeem Paracha) s an honest writer,though he s a great lover of PPP(the old one) but he condemns where he has to.Bravo to Him.
Sep 16, 2012 02:09pm
Excellent comment,I fully agree.
Ali abbas
Sep 16, 2012 01:54pm
Technically if you are only allowed to comment on present then you are a contemporary writer not a historian. Historians tend to comment on events that occurred hundreds or even thousands of years earllier. Whats wrong with commenting on events from 1947.
Sep 16, 2012 01:54pm
You are absolutely right Sir.
Sep 16, 2012 05:26pm
You are not understanding what Mr Abdul Rashid is driving at.Nehru was not a sharp tool,neither was Gandhi,but do not lump Patel with them,Sardar Knew he can not take on Gandhi,no one could,he needed an ally for whom gandhi had soft corner,even in politics affection,sentiment and emotion count with some human and Gandhi was no exception.Only Jinnah's portrait hangs in Lincoln Inn,it is like Hall of Fame for great legal mind,so no one is saying Jinnah was dumb or Nehru was smart,pl,try to read Ahisa Jalal,I can not persuade you with anything else,but one must be open minded,there are enough light weight in there without you.I'm from political family,my father knew Gandhi,Patel,Rajaji and one Pattambi Seetaramiya,he was once Congress President,he stayed in my home in Ujjain,and patted me on my head as a child,& my father was a War time Correspondent in Rangoon,Burma.He became later very dischanted with Nehru & his policies and Socialistic pattern of society,it was his urging I left him aging,and he passed away when I was in USA,I have immense respect for Mr Jinnah,I wished he had not made Gandhi his enemy,and he had not been isolated by Patel and Nehru,and lived longer. I wish India united & Jinnah its first Premier and lived long,it like all wishes,Ceasser,lived or Lincoln not go to theatre,I do not regret tyrannical my way or high way Gandhi's death wee bit In fact we would all be better off if he died in 1928 or earlier,he was bad news,but we have been fed false history & narrative,In India this penning would never see the light of press,that is why I write in Pak ,DAWN.We are good people but way too emotional,immature and riot prone and disorderly people.But this is what we are,live with good and bad.
Sep 16, 2012 02:27pm
Pipe dream,even not a bad idea,but it is not practical and doable,as the magnitude of moving at least 160 million people even in 10 years is a monumental undertaking,I'm sorry you do not understand,the difficulty involved,Nehru/L Ali badly fumbled the ball,when it was doable,now there is no way out.Now the problems have snow balled,one can believe passionately in right course to set right problems,but they have life of its own,when not handled in time they have this unique quality of becoming terminal cancer,then the cancer dies not before the patient dies first,that is where we are,when the family is told,the patient is terminal,it hurts,but they accept it however unpleasant and tragic.That is where Pakistan is.Good try.Nice day
Sep 16, 2012 05:43am
Pakistan along with her ideology has been thoroughly hijacked by Mullah with full support of Generals and powerful state actors.Is there any solution? Very difficult to find at first sight, because the people have been emotionally blackmailed in the name of religion. They are forced to think that if they denounce the malpractices, ignorance and even the violence perpetrated in the name of religion; their faith and Islam will be under threat.
Sep 16, 2012 05:24am
I have no soft corner for Zia, but that ordinance declared that Ahmedis are non muslims and any of their religious associations should not be depicted as Islamic in Pakistan. It does not make them "Criminals". However, if we see the treatment they are facing in Pakistan the term "criminals" appears tiny ! However, this does not have to do with Islam, it is the failure of government to protect its citizens as we see incase of Shia genocide in northern areas of Pakistan, Non Baloch genocide in Balochistan, Military operation in waziristan, attacks of Sunni establishment across the country.
Sep 16, 2012 05:27am
"selective honesty" is truly the correct word to define this article.
Sep 16, 2012 10:30am
In reply to Mr. Abdul Rashid?s comments; I would like to add that Mr. Jinnah was ambitious to become the prime minister of undivided India. He never spoke or fought for rights of Muslims of India except at the moment he saw his chances of becoming PM shattered that he took up the cause. Naturally the British helped him immensely. He was never arrested or put in Jail when Congress leaders were put in. The British told him to do whatever he liked. The Direct Action day (1946)was a British idea. After the WW II the Americans joined in to support the creation for separate country. This was to keep the Russians out of the reach or access to India. It is to be remembered that Afghanistan in those days was under Russian influence zone. That?s Mr. Jinnah becoming the Governer General of Pakistan said" America needs us more than we need America" I do hope and pray that liberal-minded Pakistanis will someday take over and create a better homeland for those who are now that part called Pakistan and fulfill the dream of the founder.
mohammad hamza
Sep 16, 2012 11:57am
To say that Pakistan was created by an accident and that Jinnah was 'outwitted' flies in the face of hard facts and recorded history. Maulana Azad's 'India Wins Freedom" catalogues the truth about Pakistan not what you want us to believe by distorting the genesis of Pakistan and claiming that Jinnah could be outwitted by the likes of Nehru or Patel is insulting to say the least
Sep 16, 2012 01:43pm
self concocted analysis by NFP............just keep on blaming and hoping
Sep 16, 2012 01:09pm
did Muhammad Ali Jinnah give only one speech in his whole political career and that on 11 august 1947?? please dont try to become a historian while u live in 2012!
Sep 16, 2012 04:51am
Pakistanis still trying to understand Pakistaniyat! Good going.
Sep 16, 2012 01:34pm
No, but this speech is given just as a reference. You brought this point, so can u point to any other speech where Muhammad Ali Jinnah envisioned Pakistan as a state of fanatics.
Satyameva Jayate
Sep 16, 2012 12:52pm
Whenever I think about Partition and the Present of Pakistan, I cannot help thinking of the interview Maula Abul Kalam Azad gave in 1946: http://www.newageislam.com/books-and-documents/maulana-abul-kalam-azad--the-man-who-knew-the-future-of-pakistan-before-its-creation/d/2139
Sep 16, 2012 02:26pm
You have some imagination. And I mean that.
Sep 16, 2012 02:25pm
Its only being hotly debated in these news columns. Trust me the average Pakistani doesn't wake up and ask himself why his country came into being, there's a lot more on his mind. You are just showing typical Indian fantasising.
Sep 16, 2012 10:43am
There is a difference between opinion and history. Most of the people now are giving their opinion due to pakistan's situation now or events which happened right after partition. Best to understand most of thing being written down nowadays is an opinion not history. If one is very interested in history go for the writing of all the people of that era. What were the talks and letters exchanged at that time. Reading allama iqbal's personal letters to different leaders gave me greater insight into his personality. Its easier to put blame on someone in the past and run away from ones own responsibility of what is happening today and what we are doing nowadays.
Sep 16, 2012 02:44pm
@Maaz "demands of 96% of our population?" The Religious Right who's agenda is to turn Pakistan into a theocracy cannot even muster 5% of the vote in a general election..And this is despite the brain washing and indoctrination conducted over decades.
Abdul Rashid
Sep 16, 2012 04:49am
Some friends are still stuck up with the belatedly engineered ideology of Pakistan. They are not at fault. The fault lies with the fake historians who distort history. To start with Pakistan came in to being accidently. It was never desired by the founder to work outside of the Indian union. M A Jinnah had always fought for the rights of Muslims of the sub-continent. When the indicators of British departure started trickling, Jinnah intensified his efforts with the Congress leaders to secure maximum rights for the Muslim minority community of the sub-continent in the Indian union?s legislature. When his demands were not fully realized, he threatened to ask for a separate homeland for the Muslims, only as a pressure tactic. He had, unfortunately, read the Congress leadership?s minds wrong. He was, somehow, convinced that the Indian leadership would never accept separation of Pakistan from the Indian union. It is a point of history which has abundantly been cleared by now and not my appreciation that Indian leadership, headed by Nehru and Patel, had decided to get rid of the militant part of the sub-continent, in the North West, as Pakistan. They were waiting for this opportunity which was presented to them by our Quaid, due to a fatal misunderstanding. Congress leadership who were in league with the British administration in India as well as in Dawning Street, signaled to the British to award a truncated Pakistan to Mr Jinnah. Of course, Mr Jinnah was outwitted. The fake historians distorted the history, years after the creation of this state. They orchestrated the so called ideology of Pakistan by calling it the Islamic republic of Pakistan, alienating it in the global community. They further amplified their project and claimed that Pakistan came in to being in the name of Islam. They did not realize that religious practices are not forbidden in any country of the world; leave alone a predominantly Muslim state. Did East Pakistan secede on the basis of religion? No. Had religion been the focal point, East Pakistan would never have seceded from West Pakistan. East Pakistan parted its ways with us on the basis of negation of democracy and human rights, nothing to do with religion, not on any so called ideology or the allied stuff. And when Pakistan came as it did, what Jinnah said, thank God, is preserved in history: Mr. Jinnah's presidential address to the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan August 11, 1947 Excerpts ?You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place or 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. As you know, history shows that in England, conditions, some time ago, were much worse than those prevailing in India today. The Roman Catholics and the Protestants persecuted each other. ?Now I think we should keep that in front of us as our ideal and you will find that in course of time Hindus would cease to be Hindus and Muslims would cease to be Muslims, not in the religious sense, because that is the personal faith of each individual, but in the political sense as citizens of the State.? Now I am too small a mind to comment on what the founder of Pakistan said, not during drawing room gossip, but during his well considered, first address to the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan. Whither the ideology of Pakistan?
Sep 16, 2012 01:54pm
I understand Paracha's dislike of Zia's policies. One thing I don't understand about his depiction of ZAB as mostly secular: ZAB was one of the strongest voices for having the army go over to Bangladesh to perform Operation Searchlight. Yahya Khan may have been Martial Law Administrator but Bhutto was saying the same things that he was.This was despite the fact that he had lost the election fair and square to his Bengali counterpart. Not something that you would expect from a secular, pro democracy leader. Previously he had egged Ayub Khan to attempt the Kashmir takeover in 1965 in Operation Gibraltar - something that ended with the Indian army at the gates of Lahore. In both cases, he profited from the failure of the army and came out smelling like roses.
Nazia Salam
Sep 16, 2012 04:10am
Top shot again NFP. You are right. It's about time the moderates and the liberals reclaim their space and right to define Pakistan's culture and ideology. This act has become the monopoly of the obscurantists and the radical Islmists.
Sep 16, 2012 12:37pm
No we are trying to convince ourselves first that there is a need to understand the "real" Pakistaniyat. We have have given ourselves a PsuedoIslamic sleeping pill a long time ago.
Sep 16, 2012 03:45pm
That is quite interesting. I have read a bit about it on BBC and some war related historical documents but this aspect of ZAB's workings doesn't come out unless you have lived through it.
Yemeen Zuberi
Sep 16, 2012 05:27pm
Wah Chacha khwamkhuah wah.
Sep 16, 2012 12:34pm
Organized religion is Opium for the masses
Sep 16, 2012 04:34pm
Zia was truly someone that Pakistan could have done without but this is what happens when you make a mockery of one's religion by making it an excuse for everything we do. Pakistani liberals and progressives need to rise up to the occasion and defeat the so-called conservatives who think they are authority on the religion.
Sep 16, 2012 07:02am
But selective truth is much more fun and helps the ignorant to become more prejudiced, particularly when it comes to Islam. Woe betide those who stand up for Islam or for our beloved Prophet (PBUH). We are ridiculed and stereotyped. So carry on with the selective amnesia, and keep peddling this version of history to those shallow enough to buy it. Salaam.
Sanjay Deswal
Sep 16, 2012 07:00am
Thank God some Pakistanis know the truth.
Sep 16, 2012 08:14am
You are frightened of the truth. Print my comment
Nabeel A. Khan
Sep 16, 2012 09:14pm
Before making assumptions on your own, at least read the history of JI first.
P N Eswaran
Sep 16, 2012 03:41pm
I followed your link to an interesting reading. Notwithstanding the precision of Abdul Kalam Azad predictions It is appalling to note that he was also preoccupied with the idea of spread of Islam. Abdul Kalam was clever like Jinnah in his own way. He too was concerned with the Muslim welfare rather than India in his opposition to partition. He was very unlike the other Abdul Kalam who followed him 55 years later - APJ Abdul Kalam. If Muslims had thrown leader like APJ Abdul Kalam the Muslims in the subcontinent would have been a beacon to the Islamic world and would have saved them from savagery. Secularism and Islam cannot go hand in hand. That explains why Pakistan will meet the fate of their Arab brethren,
Monayem Chowdhury
Sep 16, 2012 11:48am
MONAYEM CHOWDHURY USA ABDUL RASHID's commentary does not go well with the experiences of some of those who witnessed the creation of Pakistan. The demand for Pakistan was a popular movement at least in Bengal of those days. It did represent happy fulfillment of an aspiration rather than just the by-product of a political manuvering. The interest in Islam within the general public that preceded as well as followed the birth of Pakistan was overwhelming as well as far ranging. For the first time Islamic History was a required course in the School and books on the religion on Islam and Prophet Muhammad's life abounded and read with avid interest. Ironically, the best English periodical on Islam that we used to read those days was ISLAMIC REVIEW published by the Ahmadi's.It was very glossy. So far we knew dysfunctional Interim Government comprising Muslim League and Congress convinced Neheru and Patel that they cannot work with Jinnah controlled League. Patel could not appoint even a lower level functionary in his Interior Ministry as Liaquat Ali Khan as Finance Minister played his shots.
Sep 16, 2012 11:51am
This is an honest debate, but unfortunately focused on finding a fall guy. To my mind two things are certain. JI was lead by some one who opposed the creation of Pakistan and came to Pakistan well after the worst period of settling refugees, after selling his own interests in India. The Ideology of Pakistan was nowhere in evidence during the termoil of 1947/1948. I , like thousands of youngesters, who worked in the refugee camps , know it well. Mr. Paracha is correct in his article. Mr. Maududi had many different faces. His indeference to the plight of Muslims in other countries was clear when the Judges questioned him in the Ant-Qadani riots commission. Mr. Paracha may be a PPP supporter, but he never absolved ZAB's crime of an undemocratic act of refusing to accept the right of a democratically elected leader to be the prime minister of Pakistan. Along with Mullahs and Military, ZAB was the main cause of losing half of Pakistan. Religion did not feature in this.
vijay dixit
Sep 16, 2012 08:12am
It is a real surprise that even after 65 years of gaining separation & freedom from India ,the matter is still being debated hotly in Pakistan, as to why it came into being & what was its intention. It appears that the Pakistanis are a confused lot & still grappling to understand the motives of Jinnaha to ask for a separate state.Was the new state to be only an Islamic state or a state which will accomadate people of all faiths.The confusion still persists & gives rise to discontent & strife.
Sohaib YAHIA
Sep 16, 2012 08:09am
Nothing called Pakistan ideology exists. It was simply the case of minorities that was splendidly fought and won by a genius lawyer in 1947 whose dossier, by the way, did not contain any of the so-called religious narratives that we never get tired of speaking and using in our conduct (or misconduct to be precise). How a Muslim should lead his life was never the reason of creation of this country. This issue was already settled centuries ago when the Prophet (Peace be upon him) brought the message of our Creator in the form of Holy Book that remains the guiding principle for all times to come. It, indeed, is not dependent on so-called 'thekedars' of religion we are hounded by today and most certainly they have nothing to do with defining how the country should be run.
Sep 16, 2012 02:09pm
Very thoughtful,well argued and very clear and articulated but sorry won't pay the rent in the present conditions where Pakistan finds herself,in an irony many society in Islamic world and also India finds itself with no room to maneuver,it is their own making,but does not alter the facts on ground.sad,but unavoidable.
Ahmed Sultan (India)
Sep 17, 2012 05:45am
An average pakistani is tought to hate india and hindus in schools so your obsession with India is justified.
Sep 16, 2012 02:18pm
Who say's our present day system is faultless? Excuse me did I miss something?
Sep 16, 2012 09:43pm
The rascal Maududi, ZAB & Zia are in large part responsible for whatever is wrong with Pakistan today.
shaukat ali chughtai
Sep 17, 2012 06:36am
NFP....Undoubtedly your effort to bring to light important historical facts into light. But may I dare to request you to emphasize that we muslims need now to revisit our history, politics, culture and religion. We have to be prepared to write a fresh narrative for the coming generations.
Sep 16, 2012 05:26am
I agree with you. But no need to call indians or so called liberals - trolls, its their opinion.
Sep 16, 2012 05:26pm
Blaming Z.A. Bhutto for split of Pakistan is nothing but malice against PPP. Pakistani media is full of this malice these days. Most of what is held against PPP is propaganda including Bhutto's role in division of Pakistan (and now BB's role in nuclear proliferation). It was Ayub Khan's prolonged heavy handed rule that served as the last nail in the coffin of united Pakistan. Seeds of mistrust were sowed early on with lingustic bill and non-induction of people of the then East Pakistan in militray and other services. Then the attitude shown by the then West Pakistan was full of arrogance for years and years. On the top of everything, there was India to catalyze the split. Yes, Bhutto was on the center stage when the split happened. But even if he was not there, the split was going to happen any way (a couple of years here and there, may be).
Sep 16, 2012 10:13am
Not an expert on this subject but didn't Faiz, in his paper on Pakistan's culture, actually paid more homage to Pakistan's Islamic heritage than the average liberal? From what i read, he said that every culture has a classic element and a folk element and both need to be nurtured for a balanced culture... e.g. for most of the west, the classic element is seen in how they still respect the Latin/Greek influence on their culture while folk element is the fine arts, food and festivals of their local countries. Similarly, for Pakistan, the classic element is the Islamic heritage while the folk element is Sindhi/punjabi/baloch/pashtoon/UP ethnic traditions found in our festivals food, music, arts etc.
Sep 16, 2012 04:05am
Ah, good to see tyat nfp does not disappoint with his JI bashing. Tell me, what united the people of pakistan to push for our country other than the fact that they were all muslims? Pakistan was created for muslims. Minorities Are a part of our society, no doubt about it. But to say that we should ignore tye demands of 96% of our population so that the rest can be provided the same level of tolerance is idiocy. The rights of minorities are mentiobed in the sharia( now you libs and indian trolls will say it is man made).
Sep 17, 2012 01:05am
Zia was the curse of the persecuted Ahmedis.
Sep 16, 2012 12:25pm
180 million of you cannot come to an understanding as to what your nation or it's vision stands for.You blame your past leaders for their so called "folly" regarding the nation's future.Apparently your present day system is faultless.What irony.Thank your Allah that the millions of muslims now in India did not come across to your country during the partition.Imagine your plight.Considering the point that you people with what you have cannot come to a common consensus.
Muhammad Ahmed
Sep 17, 2012 05:13am
This is actually a very good point. It might be nice if NFP will answer the questions raised by Umer.
Sep 16, 2012 03:32am
Paracha Sahaib's articles are good, but always miss somethings. Please mention that PPP-under Mr. Bhutto- along with other players in W. Pakistani elite refused to accept Sheikh Mujeeb ur Rehman as the prime minister. This led to ultimately the disintegeration of Pakistan, and progressive Mr. Bhutto emerged Quaid-e-Awam with about 37% of total votes castes in election. As a nation, we have to seek truth-irrespective we like it or not- to improve. Selective honesty is very dangerous.
sanjay saksena
Sep 16, 2012 03:47pm
I think the author exaggerates the role and importance of the secular / leftist parties. They had some limited appeal in the urban educated classes but hardly reflected mainstream thinking of the average Pakistani. This should not be surprising, given the fact that Islam was the sole reason for creation of Pakistan. Had there been no Islam ( or limited Islam ) in the provinces of Punjab, Sindh, Bengal, etc, there would have been no demand for creation of a separate homeland for muslims of the subcontinent. It is intellectually dishonest of secular - leftist persons like Faiz , Sajjad Zaheer and others of their ilk to pretend that a secular society is possible in a nation created under the banner of Islam. Older readers would remember the popular refrain from the sixties - Pakistan ka matlab kya, La Illaha I'll Allah. The ease with which Islam has permeated all aspects of Pakistani national life is indicative of the fact that for the vast majority of Pakistanis, there was never any doubt that Islam is the defining part of the Pakistani identity and that secularism is close to blasphemy, Faiz's brilliant poetry notwithstanding.
Sep 16, 2012 07:26am
That is a no zone for NFP to admit the mother of all realities. Childhood friendship prevails over all reasons, he is friend with the PPP and very close, so that is a NO ZONE for him, that is why there is so much SMOKE from his corner about everything else but the PPP that is where he is totally LOST IN TRANSIT.
Muhammad Ahmed
Sep 16, 2012 05:40am
When we start labeling other side's perception about history as fake, we are unfortunately committing the same blunder them. Concept of factual history seems extremely appealing but bias of any historian cannot be completely removed. Computers have not been recording and reporting history; its a human effort and it usually becomes clouded by aspirations and perceptions of the authors. NFP is a great columnist and he is actually slowly progressing towards becoming a contemporary historian in his own right but his bias makes him analyze each situation with a uniquely creative perspective. This article started off with a very progressive approach explaining the confusion regarding "Pakistaniat" but it ended up becoming another piece of Zia bashing which is significantly muted compared to his earlier pieces. Nonetheless, he writes well and probably is being as honest as some of the other people mentioned in the article.
Sep 16, 2012 05:13am
This is the first time NFPs facts are twisted. Earlier he used to state the facts right and twist its interpretation but this time some of the facts are distorted. Like Modudi opposing creation of Pakistan, true but incomplete, well before creation of Pakistan Modudi and his allies understood Mr. Jinnahs Ideology and endorsed to it. When Ms. Fatima Jinnah was up for preimership Mr. Modudi supported her unconditionally ! Now NFP is linking Leftists, intellectuals etc with Jinnah ideology and framing Mr. Modudi as the evil, then why would Mr. Modudi endorse Ms. Fatima Jinnah being the inheritor of Jinnahs Ideology. Besides the Dictator or the "conservatives" Ms Fatima Jinnah was fighting against, Bhutto(the leftest or almost a leftest as per NFP) was part of the Dictator setup at that time.
Sep 17, 2012 12:25pm
Thanks Ammar for your kind words. Regards.
Sep 16, 2012 04:55pm
Bangladesh foundation stone ceremony Speech at the Dhaka University Convocation 24th March 1948 " They started demanding that Bengali should be the State language of the Pakistan Center and since they could not overlook the obvious claims of Urdu as the official language of a Muslim State, they proceeded to demand that both Bengali and Urdu should be State languages of Pakistan. Make no mistake about it. There can be only one State language, if the component parts of this State are to march forward in unison, and that language in my opinion can only be Urdu." How come Urdu becomes language of Islamic state? What about peoples languages? It is most versatile language Urdu does need patronage of government or protection of religion it was widely spoken and it will be forever but DO NOT IMPOSE. Bengalis opted to be part of Pakistan for Islam but not for Urdu. So how can great Quaid was misled by his own people. So many states in the world have more than one language as national languages? Why Pakistan exception . Bengali is one of the richest languages how can we ask people to as it less important to learn and right Bengali than Urdu. Please be fair. Only after protest by people things were changed but damage was already done. NFP has point of view and like him I also misses old multi cultural Pakistan
Roland Pereira
Sep 16, 2012 08:42am
Hindsight is 20/20. Hindsight has convinced the non-Muslims of the subcontinent that Partition was a good concept. They now know that Muslims will never live in peace with non-Muslims even if Muslims are in power. Witness the riots taking place in Muslim countries against the US which had nothing to with the movie ridiculing Muhammad made by an Egyptian. They will not rest until all or most non-Muslims have been converted to the Arabic faith and I stress, the overwhelming majority of non-Muslims have been converted. Once that is done Muslims will fight among themselves. However, what we have today is Partition that has not been completed and incomplete Partition is bad. Pakistan did a good job of getting rid of most of its Hindus and Sikhs after independence. They did not touch the Christians out of fear of the Christian West. In 1970 about 10 million Hindus fled east Pakistan but not before another 3 million had been killed by the Pakistan army. Muslims in what is now India were the most fervent supporters of Pakistan. Muslims in what is now Pakistan were not too keen on Pakistan. In fact NWFP had initially voted to stay with India. Sindh passed the Pakistan idea by only one vote in the legislative assembly. What the Balochis have to say about Pakistan we all know and nothing more need to be said. Matters were made insane when Nehru and Liaqat signed a pact whereby Muslims in India cannot automatically migrate to Pakistan. Muslims left back in India still have great love for Pakistan. They are biding their time. As soon as, if ever, Pakistan becomes a more stable and prosperous Muslim country they will either agitate to be allowed to migrate to Pakistan or they will start another violent movement to break up India again and make parts of it be Part of Pakistan. Deja vu!!! More millions will be slaughtered. Before it is too late India, Pakistan and Bangladesh must agree to revoke the Nehru-Liaqat Pact. Muslims in India must be resettled in either Pakistan or Bangladesh. Non-Muslims in Pakistan and Bangladesh must be moved to India. This process should orchestrated over 10 years so that bloodshed is avoided. Once the exchange of populations has been completed India, which is essentially the fourth largest economy in the world and will soon be the second largest after China, should open its economy to Bangladesh and Pakistan. Muslims in these two countries will then be able to be economically well off without having to bow to either the West or to the Arabs because true free trade between a secular and non-Muslim India and the two Muslim countries of Pakistan and Bangladesh will allow the Muslims to hold their head high.
Sep 16, 2012 11:05am
Yes! I remember writing pages and pages of ideology of Pakistan to answer exam questions and always hating that
Sep 16, 2012 02:22pm
Thanks for your kind wishes. I'm sure that day will come. All nations pass through peaks and troughs before stabilizing. We are at the bottom of a trough right now but inshallah won't remain there forever, however grim it looks.
Sep 16, 2012 05:59pm
Thanks for providing the link. What prophetic words?
Jibran Khan
Sep 16, 2012 06:02pm
beta ji Karl Marx ki theory sab ne parhi apna manjan kahein aur becho
Sep 17, 2012 08:15am
That was some thoughtful review of the article.
Agha Ata
Sep 16, 2012 02:01pm
I like your name. :)
Sep 16, 2012 04:13pm
Abdul Rashid saheb you are talking to deaf people.You are pretty much accurate in your write up,I will make only 2 points which you touched on but did not fully expand it.Mr Jinnah was out witted.Yes he was,he was victim of his own smarts.He was correct that Indian would not agree to division and his tactics was based on the understanding of Gandhi and his commitment to united India and his dedication to Hindu/Muslim unity,it was real and sincere.But by 1946,Nehru and Patel were actively behind the scene working against Gandhi and his tyrranical ways, they knew his time was up in Indian politics,Freedom was in their grip,all they wanted was militant and meddlesome Liqauat Ali more than Jinnah out,with the price of Pakistan truncated Pakistan and all.It was a victory for Congress in hind sight,as Maudhi feared the loss and failure of Muslims of spoils,there he was right in the opposition for Pakistan,as events have proved,can you imagine the parity of Muslim vis a vis Hindu in united India,it was partly the machivilian game of Muslim league with active support of Muslims of Bombay and UP,BIhar who supported the cause but had no intension to migrat e to Pakistan,thus every one miscalculated only India(present day) came out ahead,even East Pakistan,present day Bengladesh ,ahla unchecked migration to Assam & West Bengal.Every one today have not learned the lesson,still playing cynical game.I'm not sure if Pakistan and Bengladesh by some miracle want to undertake union,there will not be many takers on India side,this I'm saying with no negative tones towards Pakistan or Muslims,it is just political realty,Genie of Partition can not be put back in the bottle.In a way we are all unglued and Stuck with the folly of our so called Founders,they unfound a good land.That's all.Hope The Dawn in its wisdom will let it pass the mustard,I have really done my research.
Sep 16, 2012 04:31pm
I don't share this idea of India with you. As an Indian born in a Muslim family, its brings forth even more revulsion. Pakistan was build on same premise - Muslims can't live with Hindus. I find my life, testimony to the contrary. I know one comment on the internet wouldn't shatter your colored perspective but most Indian Muslim have no love lost for Pakistan. Like any other community we are more concerned with trying to guarantee better future for our children in an ever competitive Indian society/economy. I'm not suggesting that everything is fine, there are grudges based on some real causes and many fantasies. But a vast majority has taken that into stride and are trying to earn an honest living. My grandfather was a staunch congress man and went jail during the freedom struggle. He choose not to take freedom fighter's pension and stayed in India caused he believed in Nehru's India. Personally, I find these claims disrespectful to both our forefathers/mothers and a romantic idea of India , which I believe we should constantly strive to achieve. Sir, you may dream on in hyper-opinionated internet milieu, but I would suggest to talk to the "others", engage them - you will see good in people and we get along just fine over a cup of milky syrup we call tea.
Sep 16, 2012 06:46pm
why don't you say something instead of only levelling allegations?