-Photo by Jameel Ahmed for Dawn.com
-Photo by Jameel Ahmed for Dawn.com

The all party dismissal of Allama Qadri’s march, the consensus on constitutional democracy and the government’s assurance on an election date brought a win-win end to the drama in the capital. However, to my understanding, the situation on the line of control had already indicated the direction things may take. Allama Qadri’s new swing to the “democracy must continue” indicated that the shadows behind the stage had withdrawn. He hurriedly signed an agreement with those he had dismissed only a day ago as forces of Yazeediat.

One by one, the moves on the board have become clearer, making sense of earlier moves.  Years of disorder with suicide blasts and explosions, continual media campaigns rubbishing politicians as the only source of national suffering, clash of state institutions followed by what can be called manufactured paranoia, unending rumours of the ruling regime’s downfall and a number of actions and events in order to discredit the government, the ever expanding carnage of minorities, shifting blame on Baloch nationalists and civil governments to create chaos and prove incompetence of a democratic setup … can now be explained as part of the one great script.

While many of our generals had a reputation of “friendship” with the US since Ayub Khan’s time, General Musharraf’s ouster can be taken as a turning point. The Zia generation had risen to the highest positions in Services while its dominance in all other fields was already a fact of life. Now, we had Islam to show to the world as a system of our own. Democracy, therefore, at the expense of nation’s real defenders was not only an aberration but a threat to the Islamic Republic. All forces that matter, including the media, have always admired our warriors. It is in our blood to admire armed men. Great Iqbal and many like him deepened our age-old admiration for them. Ambition to replace all systems with Islam never leaves us. “The educated” and well-to-do Muslims insist that no new systems are needed. So it was exasperating when even killing BB failed to deter the supporters of democracy.

Therefore, the element that has risen to challenge the writ of the state is the dominant but so-called Face of Islam. But interpretation of the doctrine divides it into two identities: the one that stands for the imposition of Shariah by force and the other that advocates it through ‘da’wa’. Americans started wooing the softer side to dismiss the other. It was, therefore, a timely action by our side to employ a less known Qadri, to shoot a governor. That showed the Americans the truth of our softer face, because threats of disastrous agitation were made visible to demonstrate our collective commitment and to keep the timid regime from acting according to law. Many years ago, foreign rulers hanged Ilm Din, a far more heroic defender of our Holy Prophet’s honor; nothing happened because generals obeyed them. Our elected rulers obviously could not implement the law. That laid bare their irrelevance as rulers. This present Qadri came to show the world that the soft face of Islam is equally contemptuous of democracy.

Imran Khan turned out to be the only figure who has accepted the Qadri “agenda” as his own. Interestingly, the Khan has also been suspected as the Army’s horse. The question, who deployed the Qadri brigade, cannot be answered with a conspiracy theory, because to propound a conspiracy theory is the sole prerogative of those who do not see any conspiracy in this drama. It is clear, therefore, that he came on his own “for the love of his people”. The nation received him so kindly because it remembers with gratitude his services for Islam and Shariah laws under Zia ul Haq.

We are a people with no concrete reason for hopes. Some say the nation was wrongly conceived. Others believe the crushing burden of a security state has gradually sapped all the resources needed for our people. But our generals and their admirers contend that politicians are the architects of everything bad from corruption to poverty and chaos. That may be true in the sense that they are selfish and vision less. But these “virtues” are not limited to politicians; success in every field of Pakistan is determined by exactly these. Politicians are responsible for our suffering, perhaps, because they do not let the generals rule this country with perfect peace of mind; they keep clamoring for democracy and constitution and they seek help from international forces who twist our arm every now and then. Our generals as guardians of our faith and national honor have promoted strong religious forces to combat heretical foreign concepts like democracy. Our people with their deep admiration for Muslim warriors have no serious objection to their rule. But our eternal enemy on the East, now colluding with our eternal enemies in the West (enemies, enemies everywhere!) grudge our military might and our Islam.


The author is a renowned Pakistani intellectual. His urdu books Tehzeebi Nargisyat and Mubaalghe, Mughaalte are widely regarded as the revival of critical thinking and free inquiry in Urdu non-fiction.


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 are closed.

Comments (34)

January 20, 2013 6:00 am
I agree with what the Author has written and I enjoyed his style which is a fusion of Urdu and English literary undertones. To understand and enjoy his style requires a certain background. The style is difficult to follow for anyone not sufficiently conversant with both idiomatic languages. To summarize, beware the Mullah (either Sufi or Salafi flavour) and Military (Zia or Musharraf flavoured) who are out to usurp our freedom.
January 19, 2013 8:03 pm
@raika45 - you may not think so but there are many enemies in the 'East'. We've seen the hurtful comments in Dawn and other websites as well as on your 'Eastern' TV channels.
Shahid Shakur
January 20, 2013 12:03 pm
The learned writer's message can be summed up as follows: "The people inhabiting Pakistan though gained formal political independence yet could not participate in decision making process due to prevalent economic, social, political conditions internally and due to the world polarization into two main camps. Every camp strived to recruit followers and for that they tried every method. They bribed, aided and subverted the local leadership to toe their line. All liberation movements throughout the world were confronted with this difficulty".
January 20, 2013 4:09 pm
Wonderfully explained
January 20, 2013 4:07 pm
January 20, 2013 12:32 pm
@G.A. Exactly. But you wont get any satisfactory answer for this from Indians... because there isnt any..
Adil Jadoon
January 19, 2013 11:54 pm
"Imran Khan turned out to be the only figure who has accepted the Qadri “agenda” as his own" good thought but is the end of corruption not on everyone's agenda? As for Qadri's motives and backers that remains a question to be answered. This is not a simple scenario. There are several players with different and unclear motives and the march however distasteful did one thing good. It made Pakistanis come out and protest peacefully and that I think this was the biggest accomplishment of this march. Democracy only work when all have a stake in it and hold people accountable. The generation before ours stayed at home and let morons take over and ruin our country (civillian and Military). This is our country and we have a stakein in its prosperity and is all pakistanis felt like that than no one would be able to hold us captive to their ideologies or interests. PAKISTAN ZINDABAD
January 20, 2013 11:58 am
Soldiers who wish to be a hero Are practically zero, But those who wish to be civilians, They run into the millions.
January 19, 2013 9:49 pm
Yes but what TYPE of democracy??????
January 20, 2013 4:42 pm
one of the best comments i have seen
January 20, 2013 4:44 pm
i have miserably failed to understand what he is trying to say? if anyone could tell me what course of action writer tends to propose for this poor nation?
January 20, 2013 5:26 pm
You want to write like that in a country where intelligence goons coming calling if they understood what you wrote. Its sad when you have to hide your real message in a way that most military intelligence (sic!) cannot follow
January 20, 2013 5:48 pm
"We’ll be better off if the intellectuals focus on teaching the nation what really matters,.." Unfortunately the intellectuals are not the ones who rule the country.
January 19, 2013 6:12 pm
The writer must have gr8 thoughts but he failed to express them. Very disjointed article.
January 19, 2013 5:17 pm
Dear Haider, Be safe. You are saying truth in Pakistan.
January 20, 2013 6:26 pm
Dear Sir , please be a little wide hearted about the language you use. Its barely understandable. I feel like i dont understand English :/ The article lost its charm
January 19, 2013 3:42 pm
I am just confused by the masses as to why every single leader is imported. Either they win election and hang out in president house or lose and then run for greener pasture abroad. They mostly keep and invest their wealth abroad. They educate their kids in foreign land to finally rule Pakistan. Still we all rally behind such force(s). Why my dear country people? wake up and breed one form among you and put him to lead you to success. Success is right around you if you work hard and sincerely. Just promise yourself to not cheat anywhere including exams), to not pay bribes, to not steal, respect others and work hard and smart and you shall see success. Stop dreaming that an imported leader who left you and especially took oath not to return to you but then did not keep his oath will help you. People who can not keep their oath to their adopted country can not keep promises made anywhere. Even he went against his religion for breaking his oath he took at the citizenship ceremony in Canada.
January 20, 2013 8:03 pm
good rhyme ... far from reality ... b a soldier or a civilian to think both ends...
January 19, 2013 4:18 pm
In most leading countries and over most eras, the elite and the privileged have the passion to succeed and the vision to think big, thereby being able to lead a people to prosperity. It it this lack of visionary thinking that has stymied the growth of Pakistan. And the habit of constantly checking and second guessing to see if any action is "sufficiently Islamic " or not. They may even check if it is Islamic to breath deeply, or come up with an Islamic way of breathing. People think they need to be muslim in all ways - such obsessions - that they refuse to be even human. The writer has done a good job.
Rafiq Minhas
January 19, 2013 2:51 pm
The first real sign of hope for Pakistan will be when the vast majority of people stop yearning for a savior (whether from heaven, military, or pulpit) but instead buckle down for the infuriatingly slow and relentlessly grinding but the only certain way of representative democracy. All else has failed, all else will fail.
January 20, 2013 3:22 pm
The Author is very clear.To understand what he is saying, you have to become a part of the system.
January 19, 2013 10:01 am
Mindless rabble of an article. Your evidence to back up your assertions? Perhaps it seems odd to you that a Muslim would want Islam in his life. And you seem to be somehow oblivious of the fact that there is hardly a shred of Islam to be found in the 'well-to-do Muslims' which you mention. Furthermore, you seem to create a false dichotomy between Islam and democracy.
Ali Raza
January 20, 2013 3:16 pm
We admire warriors and wars. In order to prosperous as nation we need to promote education, trade and entrepreneurship in Pakistan no wars and warriors.
January 19, 2013 10:43 am
Good read all through.
Nasah (USA)
January 19, 2013 10:41 am
It was a rare pleasure to read such an intellectually stimulating article -- the dots seem to been connected -- the 'Plot' did not succeed because all the democratic forces -- from the government to the opposition including Maulana Fazl -- stood united like a solid wall against the intruder's onslaught on democracy -- and THAT unnerved the hidden hands -- they remained hidden. The FIRST civilian to civilian transition of Pakistan governance will occur in May 2013 through democratic elections -- that's for sure.
January 19, 2013 1:44 pm
I agree with you, through out the entire history as I know of Islam not a single Khalifa was elected democratically. They were all selected not elected.
January 19, 2013 12:02 pm
I take your last sentence as sarcasm [which I hope it is] and not a reality.Many readers may take it at face value.Your enemy lies not in the East but within.The East is just an excuse.
jamshed kharian-pak
January 21, 2013 3:03 am
Islamic Republic Of Pakistan is written in Our Consitution Created by our forfathers there is no any pb or misunderstanding i suppose Dr Qadri Sahib or some other leader one day we have to do why not now! English-elits has greatly failed to do any thing good for peoples of Pakistan East Pakistan has gone but english elits & Seculars are still here! surprise very surprise! if you are christian hindou sikh boudist parsi what ever your are we respect but if you say you are a Muslim then there are things to respect Shariat Laws in Banking system in govt in every day life this Govt of Islamic Pakistan has to do one day after there are peoples they do what they please no pb! Islamic Revolution of Iran, Democracy of Hindoustan, Communists of China & what we are in Islamic Pakistan? English-elits Secular jamat Nawaz league Socialist ppp all has failed & Destroyed Islamic Pakistan enough is enough now things are very clear you quit and submit friendly or kicked out by FORCE Peoples of Pakistan know NOW Pata chal gheya Rastey Ka!!! practicaly sure DOWN will not print my lettre!!!
January 19, 2013 12:32 pm
Thank you Mobarak Haider for explaining the mindset of many Pakistanis to me in such a clear and simple way. Reading your interest in Urdu writing, your viewpoint would have far reaching consequences if you wrote such articles in Urdu newspapers, which I think you very well may be doing. The problem is many of us who got educated in English medium schools are the product of those two evils, recognizing that you cannot perpetually wage wars with our infidel eastern neigbor as promoted in our school books of a great warrior nation (not to mention that we have lost each one of them) and then that freedom of an individual as enshrined in democracy is not suited to our great nation. This perpetual mind warp of many Pakistanis, who even after a good education in the West, cannot dissociate from such rubbish paranoia is just mind boggling. It is writers like you who in the mainstream Urdu media will have to fight it out just as the politicians and school teachers will have to play their role in a mature, responsibel, democratic, secular and progressive Pakistan. Thank you once again for such clarity of thought and then to pen in down so well.
MohammadAli Ghanghro
January 19, 2013 12:37 pm
I doubt if most readers will ever get your message.
January 20, 2013 12:03 pm
I wonder if the Chinese had gotten where they've gotten if they had continued to endlessly debate whether they want western democracy or communism or confucianism or mixture of all in certain proportions. Trouble with Pakistani intellectuals is that they are constantly debating what kind of system or philosophy they want.. and blaming what they don't want based on their biases... Islam, democracy, East, west etc etc. We'll be better off if the intellectuals focus on teaching the nation what really matters, i.e. a bit of discipline, honest hard work, law and order, a sense of humor etc. Neither hating our own heritage nor hating eastern/western neighbours would get us anywhere....
January 19, 2013 12:44 pm
Pakistani people need love and hope ,,they do not have normally basic needs now at all ,or difficult to handle costs like energy crises or daily fight with security,food,education,targeting in the name of races or life fears 100%,,,butt no hopes,,now the Pakistani people phased mentally or psycho in complex richer becomes richest and poor as well as poorest ,,they need hope and love,for breathing,in this humiliating situation of the world pointed out every time with al-qaida and terrorist standards/propaganda and our democratic government failed to give mentally physically and basically needs to provides and facillitate own people.
January 21, 2013 4:52 am
Intellectuals don't have to rule the country. Their job is to shape the society with their writing, poetry, art or whatever mode of communication they use to convey their thoughts.
Vineet Bahl
January 20, 2013 7:19 am
Please tell me am I the one who thinks author seem to be more interested in proving his superior command over English language then discussing his point of view on the subject. I can certainly guarantee vast majority of masses in subcontinent would not be able to make sense with what he is writing, beside that author is not cohesive in this thought process and jumps from one topic to the other with little regard to the flow of thoughts.
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