An extensive survey by the British Council Pakistan  released on the 3rd of April this year points at an emerging middle-class with a growing number of young people in it.

Though the survey attempted to examine and assess the politics and sociology of youth from across the classes in urban and rural Pakistan, its main focus seems to be on how the country’s middle-class youth is shaping up for the coming election.

Dr Durr-e-Nayab, Chief of Research at the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, uses a multi-dimensional index to define class, based on data that is drawn from the Pakistan Social and Living Standards Measurement Survey that was conducted in 2010-11.

According to her definition[1] middle class Pakistanis are likely to live in a house where at least one person has a college education and where the head of the household is in non-manual work; have incomes at least double the poverty line; and own reasonably spacious houses and a range of consumer goods.

Dr Nayab’s research shows that the strict middle class now makes up 24per cent of Pakistan’s population, from 19 per cent in 2007-2008, with nearly 40 per cent of urban dwellers falling into the middle class bracket.

The most important thing is that this makes the middle class a powerful economic, social and political force, especially in towns and cities.

The British Council survey investigates the economic, social, cultural and, of course, the political reasons why a young middle-class Pakistani would (or not) vote in the forthcoming general election scheduled for May 11.

However, even a few days after the findings of the survey were released; two of these findings have already begun to stand out, promising to generate the most debate.

5,271 Pakistanis between the ages of 18 and 29 were interviewed by the surveyors across Pakistan[2]  (including FATA, Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan).

64 per cent of the interviewed males and 75 per cent of the women described themselves to be as being conservative/religious.

When asked what they thought was the best political system for Pakistan, 38 per cent said ‘Islamic Shariah,’ 32 per cent preferred a military dictatorship and 22per cent thought democracy was the best system for the country.

Even though the two findings (Shariah rule and military dictatorship) are being treated separately by some alarmed analysts, in all probability these findings are quite related, if not being one and the same.

On the strong assumption that the majority of the youth interviewed for the survey belonged to what the report defined as the middle-class, one should not be so surprised by the mentioned findings.

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From middle to right

From the early 20th century onwards, political-economists have described the middle-classes to be a largely conservative entity.

But according to political philosophers like Marx and Engels, the bourgeoisie (middle and lower middle-classes) had played (in Europe) ‘a most revolutionary role’ (until about the early 19th century)[3] when it started to successfully wrest away political and economic power from the old centres of power dominated by monarchs, the Catholic clergy and the landed elites.

By the late 19th and early 20th centuries the European and American middle-classes had not only grown in size, they had driven and then rode on the crest of age defining historical epochs like the Renaissance, the ‘Age of Reason’, French and American Revolutions, trade linked to European colonialism and the Industrial Revolution, to become the new ruling classes in the West.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778), the political philosopher whose writings on democracy greatly influenced the anti-monarchical drift of the French Revolution (1789) that was politically and intellectually constructed by the French middle-classes.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778), the political philosopher whose writings on democracy greatly influenced the anti-monarchical drift of the French Revolution (1789) that was politically and intellectually constructed by the French middle-classes.

From then on, a concentrated effort was afoot to consolidate their new-found economic and political gains. This mostly translated into the middle-classes now gradually reversing their old revolutionary character by grounding themselves in any political system that (they believed) best secured their economic and other class interests.

Democracy remains to be this preferred system because not only is it based on the thoughts and efforts of intellectuals and political activists that largely belonged to the middle-classes of Europe and America, it successfully absorbs both the right and left sides of the conventional ideological divides without disturbing the economic and social dynamics from which the middle-classes mostly derive their influence and power.

But what happens when, due to a grave economic or political crises, democracy begins to lose its footing, or uncannily allows in forces that do begin to threaten the middle-classes’ economic and political interests?

The 20th century is packed with incidents reflecting how the middle-classes changed their democratic trajectory and became willing political and economic allies of anti-democratic and reactionary forces that were generated by widespread economic and political crises.

When the First World War (1914-1918) ravaged the economies of various European countries and these countries spun further down the spiral after the global economic crises set off by the 1929 Wall Street Crash in the United States, a number of European countries saw the sudden rise of fascist outfits.

Though the fascists appeared in almost all European countries, they gained the most ground in Spain, Italy, Germany and France.

On one important level at least, 20th century European fascism eventually became to be recognised as a reactive expression of the middle-class fear of losing its economic and political ground to another extreme that rose due to the economic and political crises of the period: Communism.

When large sections of the Italian, Spanish, French and German middle-classes sided with the main fascist parties[4] in their respective countries, they were doing so in the belief that their economic interests and influence will be protected by the iron gloved fascists against the rising spectre of communism and from the anarchic ravages of collapsing democracies.

The rise of fascism and Hitler in Germany was celebrated and supported by large sections of the German middle and upper classes.
The rise of fascism and Hitler in Germany was celebrated and supported by large sections of the German middle and upper classes.

When the fascist regimes in Italy, Germany and France fell after the Second World War, Critical Theorists (Critical Theory) – a strain of intellectual discipline and movement associated with ‘Neo-Marxism’ – were one of the first to point out the treacherous nature of the middle-classes’ towards democracy. [5]

It is from this point onwards that the idea of the middle-classes inherently being a conservative grouping of people gained an even stronger foothold, in spite of the fact that in the West democracies have frequently allowed the democratic entry of leftists who were once believed to be antagonistic towards middle-class interests.

Nevertheless, over the decades democracy softened much of the left’s original radical orientation, encouraging it to look for a democratic middle-ground between unhinged capitalism and an all-encompassing form of socialism and communism.

It is, however, also correct to suggest that even in established democracies, most of the movements based on reactionary views on democracy, liberalism and socialism still emerge from within the middle-classes.

But these views and movements have not always come from the rightist sides of the middle-class. Because between the late 1950s and mid-1970s (in the West), the bulk of anti-democracy activity in Europe and the United States was the prerogative of urban middle-class youth labelling themselves as Marxists, Maoists, radical socialists and anarchists.

According to a number of sociologists and political scientists, this happened mainly due to a burden of guilt that the 1960s generation of young Europeans carried.[6] Guilt associated with the fact that most of the parents of these urban, middle-class young Europeans had either openly supported the violent rise of fascism (in the 1930s and ‘40s), or had remained silent during fascism’s bloodletting against ideological opponents and minority groups.

Andreas Badder and Ulrike Meinhof of Germany’s militant Marxist outfit, the Red Army Faction (RAF). Badder (a university student) and Meinhof (a journalist) in 1970, the group was mostly made-up of radical middle-class college students. RAF was involved in a number of bombings (of property owned by German multinationals and government), political assassinations and for having links with left-wing Palestinian organizations. Badder and Meinhof were arrested and jailed in 1976 where they (allegedly) committed suicide.
Andreas Badder and Ulrike Meinhof of Germany’s militant Marxist outfit, the Red Army Faction (RAF). Badder (a university student) and Meinhof (a journalist) in 1970, the group was mostly made-up of radical middle-class college students. RAF was involved in a number of bombings (of property owned by German multinationals and government), political assassinations and for having links with left-wing Palestinian organizations. Badder and Meinhof were arrested and jailed in 1976 where they (allegedly) committed suicide.

But whereas leftist extremism among sections of middle-class youth burned too fast to last any longer than a decade or so, the inherent conservatism in this class wielded a much greater influence - especially in the wake of the erosion of the economics and politics of the Welfare State that was enacted in Europe and the United States from the 1940s onwards but had begun to exhaust itself by the mid 1970s.[7]

It was eventually in the 1980s that the historic middle-class conservatism began to once again assert itself politically and socially and on the economic front.

This tendency was kept in check and in balance by the Keynesian ‘mixed-economics’ of the democratic Welfare states and governments. But when mixed-economics struggled to face the challenges triggered by the 1970s global oil crisis and unavailability of jobs for the ever growing number of college and university graduates that Europe and the United States began to produce, the failing policies were voted out, making room for the electoral entry of radical middle-class conservatism.

UK’s Margaret Thatcher and US’ Ronald Regan were the main political architects of the reassertion of Western middle-class conservatism in the 1980s in which a staunch capitalist structure was built on the ashes of the Welfare State. Social moralism too was used as an electoral appeal and tool to achieve this in what were/are largely secular states.
UK’s Margaret Thatcher and US’ Ronald Regan were the main political architects of the reassertion of Western middle-class conservatism in the 1980s in which a staunch capitalist structure was built on the ashes of the Welfare State. Social moralism too was used as an electoral appeal and tool to achieve this in what were/are largely secular states.

Western middle-classes’ conservatism had come to the front once again, but this time, as disillusionment with the Welfare State and the weakening of economy again threatened middle-class economic and political interests, this class did not retard its consequential trajectory by backing anti-democratic tendencies in the society.

Instead, it cleverly used democracy in such a manner that the democratic system itself became a reflection of bourgeois conservatism, making it tough for any worthwhile alternative from the liberal-left to come in with the power of the vote.

Of and on it has come in, but it has always faced a barrage of conservative middle-class movements that accuse it of reversing the gains made by the political and economic expressions of bourgeois conservatism from the 1980s onwards.

For example, the UK’s Labour Party had to drastically alter its socialist orientation to defeat the Conservative Party (in 1997), whereas even moderate liberals like the US Democratic Party’s Bill Clinton and (recently) President Obama, faced demonising tactics from the increasingly conservative media.

A man at an anti-Obama rally in California. A series of rallies took place during Obama’s first term against some of his Welfare policies that were termed ‘socialist’ by his detractors.
A man at an anti-Obama rally in California. A series of rallies took place during Obama’s first term against some of his Welfare policies that were termed ‘socialist’ by his detractors.

Even in India, the moderate left-liberal Congress Party government has continued to face movement after movement driven mainly by the middle-classes.

In all cases charges are of corruption and failed economic policies. Though these may stand true, but the unspoken reality is more about growing middle-class segments now ready to react through the media and street protest against even the slightest hint of fear in them of a party or political entity trying to reverse the economic and political gains the middle-classes the world over have achieved ever since the 1980s.

A man scribbles his comments on a writing board placed at an Anna Hazare rally in India. Hazare, a veteran Indian politician, became the darling of urban middle-class India and was also courted by right-wing parties throughout his campaign against the ‘corrupt Congress government.’
A man scribbles his comments on a writing board placed at an Anna Hazare rally in India. Hazare, a veteran Indian politician, became the darling of urban middle-class India and was also courted by right-wing parties throughout his campaign against the ‘corrupt Congress government.’

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 In the box

In its concluding notes, the British Council survey suggests that Pakistan today has a ‘conservative generation.’

True, but one can also add that compared to the ideological orientation of the generations of young middle-class Pakistanis of decades between the 1950s and 1980s, this may as well be the most conservative generation that has graced Pakistan (thus far).

The report touches upon a number of recent economic reasons that have triggered this conservative mindset; nevertheless, one can understand it a lot better if it is studied in its historical context.

Though agreeing that before the 19th and 20th centuries the middle-classes in Europe were a revolutionary class (before they turned conservative), many Pakistani sociologists and historians believe that, since Pakistan appeared on the map in the mid-1950s, its middle-classes never went through a revolutionary period.[8]

The roots of what today constitutes middle-class activism in Pakistan lie in the involvement of Muslim middle-class intelligentsia and students during the so-called ‘Pakistan Movement’ that led the call for the formation of a separate Muslim homeland in South Asia.

However, though the Pakistan Movement did have elements that were using overt religious expressions and slogans, [9]  they were too few in numbers compared to those who (quite honestly), had very little idea about exactly what it was that they were actually agitating for.

For example, there is no secret any more about the fact that the founder of the country, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, was hoping for some sort of a reconciliation between the Muslims and the Hindus of India to emerge only a year (or maybe less) before the final creation of Pakistan in 1947.

In his party, the All India Muslim League’s historic resolution in 1940, there is no mention of creating a separate Muslim state.[10]

But even when Jinnah’s League did give the final call for a separate Muslim country, the party had to campaign hard in a number of areas where there was a Muslim majority.

The League’s leadership was mainly made up of educated Muslim elite groups and its main support came from urban middle class Muslims of North India.

All of these had a direct as well as indirect link with 19th century Muslim scholar and Islamic rationalist, Sir Syed Ahmed Khan’s ‘Aligarh Movement’.

It had been set into motion to build an ‘enlightened’ and modern Muslim middle-class in South Asia that would lead an intellectual and political movement to guarantee the Muslim minority of India a distinct and separate political and cultural identity.

The separate identity aspect became an important plank of the League’s narrative but it did not necessarily appeal to all the Muslims of India.

For example, in what is today Pakistan’s Punjab province, the initial reception to the League was at best lukewarm, whereas in the Khyber Paktunkhwa (former NWFP), Pushtun nationalism was a strong component and rejected the idea of a separate Muslim country.

The narrative was also rejected by the Islamic fundamentalists who, apart from finding the League leadership to be too secular, did not agree that the Muslims were a nation.

They criticised the idea of Muslim nationalism to be a concoction of the European concept of nationalism that was alien to Islam.

This is why some sections of the League resorted to using ‘Islamic slogans’ (such as ‘Pakistan ka matlab kya, laillaha illalah’, ‘Islam khatrey mein’ [Islam in danger’) to get the attention of the Muslims of those areas that were not responding to the League very well.

It is important to mention that the League’s activists came from varied ideological backgrounds. The majority were Urdu-speaking middle-class folks from North India whose political ideas had been shaped by modernistic and nationalistic ‘Aligarh School of Thought.’

A group of Muslim student activists gather around Jinnah.
A group of Muslim student activists gather around Jinnah.

But also in the League were communists and socialists[11] who understood the Pakistan Movement as a platform to initiate an ‘anti-imperialist class struggle’ in the region.

The fringe that was using Islamic slogans during the movement was not ‘Islamic’. This was a desperate act to counter both the Pushtun nationalists as well as the fundamentalists.

In just two years after the creation of Pakistan, (and one year after the unfortunate death of its founder), the ruling League suddenly found itself struggling to define Pakistani nationalism.

Pakistan had come about on the pretext of the Muslims of South Asia having a separate political and cultural identity (as compared to those of the region’s Hindus).

But the founders were at once faced with the reality that the new country was not only made up of distinct ethnic groups (Sindhi, Punjabi, Pushtun, Baloch, Bengali and Mohajir [Urdu-speakers]), but also various Muslim sects and sub-sects.

Each one of these sects and sub-sects had their own interpretation of the faith, the holy book and Islamic laws. They also had a history of battling against one another (through highly polemical commentaries).

In his first major speech after the creation of Pakistan[12], Jinnah tried to give some shape to what Pakistan as a Muslim country was supposed to mean.

Maybe his intention was that the speech would be taken as a reference for future rulers of Pakistan to build its constitution and identity on, but that didn’t happen.

The speech alludes about of a democratic and progressive Muslim country where the Muslims of India would be able to practice their faith without any hegemonic interference from the region’s Hindu majority and British Colonialists.

But Jinnah clarified that the practising bit would be the individual’s personal and private prerogative and that the state would have nothing to do with religion[13].

Jinnah leaves a meeting with leaders of Pakistan’s Hindu and Christian minorities on a happy note, January, 1948.
Jinnah leaves a meeting with leaders of Pakistan’s Hindu and Christian minorities on a happy note, January, 1948.

Pressed by daunting economic problems, rising ethnic tensions (especially in the Bengali-dominated East Pakistan), and the increasing cases of in-fighting in the League, in 1949 (one year after the death of Jinnah), its leadership bypassed the outline sketched by the speech and retorted to the desperate act of evoking Islamic sloganeering that was first used by a fringe group in the League during the Pakistan Movement.

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 The landslide

So why is it important to understand the phenomenon of the current trend of conservatism found in Pakistan’s young middle-class youth in a historical context?

First of all, the phenomenon is not a sudden occurrence. It has been an ongoing process that actually precedes the disparaging ‘Islamization’ project set into motion by the Ziaul Haq dictatorship in the 1980s.

Secondly, the thoughts and opinions put into print (in the British Council report) of the 38 per cent young Pakistanis who want Shariah, remarkably sound like echoes of the language used by a variety of constitutionalists, ideologues, politicians, ulema and military dictators who over the last 65 years unleashed laws, policies and ideological projects that have contributed the most in eventually turning Pakistan into a country riddled with religious and sectarian strife, terrorism and bigotry.

Let’s briefly look at some of them:

  • The 1949 Objectives Resolution is passed by the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan. It was one of the first attempts to define Pakistani nationalism[14] that had never been identified by the architects of Pakistan beyond the narrative that it was supposed to be a Muslim country separate from ‘Hindu India.’
According to the Resolution, Pakistan was to be a federal, democratic and an ‘Islamic entity.’ However, the ruling League government did not put the Resolution up for democratic scrutiny and it was largely rejected by Sindhi, Pushtun and Bengali nationalists as well as by the country’s Christian and Hindu minorities who alleged that it went against the idea of Pakistan envisioned by Jinnah.

Though the Resolution remained nothing more than a piece of inanimate rhetoric, it did allow some opening for the fundamentalists to seep into the scene. They had dismissed the creation of Pakistan as a non-Islamic abomination, but now saw in the Resolution the hope to use politics and constitutionalism to steer the country towards their own idea of Pakistan.

Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan reading out the Objectives Resolution, May 12, 1949.
Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan reading out the Objectives Resolution, May 12, 1949.
  • In 1953 anti-Ahamadi Riots erupted in Lahore. Though orthodox Sunni scholars and clergy had for long been involved in a polemical battle with the Ahmadiyya sect[15] (ever since its inception in the 19th century), and accused it of rejecting the finality of the Prophet’s mission, the 1953 riots were one of the first incidents in which violence was used against the Ahmadiyya community.
Ironically, it wasn’t the fundamentalist ulemas’ rhetoric and literature that instigated the violence. At least not initially. The onus lay with the veteran and secular Chief Minister of Punjab, Mumtaz Daultana[16], who quietly encouraged fundamentalist parties like Jamat-e-Islami (JI) and Majlis-e-Ahrar to take to the streets[17].

Daultana is said to have done this to humiliate and dislodge Prime Minister Khwaja Nizamuddin who had earlier rejected the JI and Ahrar’s demand to declare the Ahamadiyaa as ‘kafir’ (infidel).

An aspirant to the PM’s post, Dultana used the anger of the fundamentalists towards Nizamuddin to turn Lahore into a battlefield in which Nizamuddin’s credibility was to become the main causality.

The riots were crushed by the military and Martial Law was imposed in Lahore.

The nation was shocked. Only six years before the riots, Muslims of the region had been in bloody street battles with the Hindus and the Sikhs, but now here they were rioting against a community of Pakistanis that had played an active role in the Pakistan Movement.

Daultana’s gamble did not pay off and he was dismissed. JI’s chief and Islamic scholar, Abul Ala Mauddudi, was arrested and sentenced to death for instigating bloodshed and religious hatred. His sentence was then withdrawn.

Justice Muhammad Munir who led the commission that investigated the riots, interviewed dozens of ulema from different sects and sub-sects, but only to conclude that each and every ulema had his own interpretation of a ‘true Muslim’.[18]

Justice Muhammad Minir.
Justice Muhammad Minir.

The fundamentalists were taken to task, but they had understood how effectively they could become the foot soldiers of political forces and possibly manipulate the situation to finally enter the corridors of state power.

  • In 1956, even nine years after the creation of Pakistan, its politicians had failed to draft a proper constitution and thus define exactly what Pakistani nationhood actually meant.
The anti-Ahamadiyya riots and the growing disenchantment with the Pakistani state among its non-Punjabi and non-Mohajir ethnicities made it necessary for the politicians to finally get down to drafting a constitution.

Another reason for this was that the politicians were fast losing ground to the military and the powerful bureaucracy of the country.

A new assembly was formed (through indirect elections) in 1955 with the specific purpose of drafting Pakistan’s first proper constitution.

Jinnah had described Pakistan to be a Muslim majority country where the state and faith would be separate. The 1949 Objectives Resolution claimed it was to be an Islamic country, albeit democratic and progressive.

The 1956 Constitution was mainly authored by veteran Muslim League leader, Chaudhry Muhammad Ali. It described Pakistan to be a democratic ‘Islamic Republic’ where all laws would be constructed in the light of the Qu’ran and Sunnah.

To the religious minorities this was yet another attempt to adulterate Jinnah’s vision of the country, while the Sindhi, Pushtun, Baloch and Bangali nationalists accused it of enshrining the political, economic and cultural hegemony of the Punjabi and Mohajir ruling elite.

Actually, there were two drafts of the constitution. One was being worked in by Choudhry Muhammad Ali and another by the Law Minister, I I. Chundhrigarh.

Though it is true that Choudhry’s draft was only slightly ‘Islamic’, Chundhrigarh’s draft was almost entirely secular.[19]

When the Islamic parties, led by Maududi, rejected Choudhry’s draft and the debate in the Assembly reached a deadlock, Chundrigarh’s draft was given the go-ahead by the military and the bureaucracy.

Seeing this, the religious parties changed tact and suddenly gave their blessing to Choudhry’s constitution by endorsing it as being ‘Islamic.’

Parliamentarians take a smoke break after passing the 1956 Constitution.
Parliamentarians take a smoke break after passing the 1956 Constitution.
  • When Filed Martial Ayub Khan imposed the country’s first Martial Law in 1959, his regime reverted Pakistan’s name back to Republic of Pakistan and struck out Islamic Republic of Pakistan that was enshrined in the 1956 Constitution.
In 1960 he got himself elected as President and in 1962 sanctioned the authoring of a brand new constitution.

Apart from striking out the word Islamic from the name of the country, Ayub’s constitution was squarely based on his philosophy that ‘when religion and politics mix, both become detrimental to one another and neither remains pure.’[20]

Ayub Khan: His dictatorship presided over perhaps the most secular periods in Pakistan history.
Ayub Khan: His dictatorship presided over perhaps the most secular periods in Pakistan history.

Where on the one end, Khan’s aggressive pro-US and state-backed capitalist policies were drawing sharp reactions from the leftists, his overtly secular manoeuvres left the religionists gunning for his head.

It was during one such reaction in 1962 that the Jamat-i-Islami (JI) for the first time used the word, ‘Pakistan Ideology’. [21]

This term that today has become an integral mainstay in the country’s political, constitutional, judicial and nationalistic narrative and discourses, did not exist during the Pakistan Movement and nor was it present at the time of the country’s creation.

It was used by JI in a sentence aimed at Ayub’s policies that were attacked by JI as ‘being against the Pakistan Ideology.’

Though the contents of the expression and term were not defined, one assumed they had something to do with Islam.

What was ironic is the fact that the term was coined by a party that was originally against the creation of Pakistan!

Islamic scholar, Abul Ala Maududi: First to use the term ‘Pakistan Ideology’ in 1962.
Islamic scholar, Abul Ala Maududi: First to use the term ‘Pakistan Ideology’ in 1962.

The term was adopted by middle-class Mohajirs whose power within the ruling elite had begun to diminish. To them the Pakistan Ideology was about ‘the sacrifices (the Mohajirs) had given to create Pakistan’ and then migrated from their former homes in North India to an uncertain future in Pakistan. A Pakistan that was made to meet their dreams and aspirations.

Of course, nobody (not least the state of Pakistan) could figure out exactly what these aspirations of dreams were, other than of creating a country where the Muslims would be in a majority.

The term Pakistan Ideology reared its head again in the late 1960s when the Ayub dictatorship was rapidly eroding in the face of a concentrated protest movement led by leftist student and political groups such as the National Students Federation (NSF), Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and National Awami Party (NAP).

During the commotion, a widespread and passionate debate erupted on the pages of newspapers, magazines and pamphlets between the JI and the PPP.

JI attacked the leftists of being atheists and anti-Islam and thus working against the Pakistan Ideology.

The leftists, in this respect led by progressive poet, Faiz Ahmed Faiz, and journalist, Safdar Mir, responded by first mocking the JI for calling Jinnah an infidel (in the 1940s), and then asked the party scholars to define what they meant by Pakistan Ideology.

JI suggested that Pakistan Ideology was about turning Pakistan’s society and laws according to the dictates of the Shariah so that the country’s ‘Islamic culture’ could be safeguarded from intrigues of anti-Islam forces (mainly leftists and secularists).

Faiz responded by authoring a long essay (in 1969)[22] explaining how Pakistan’s culture was a combination of various ethnic and religious cultures of which Islam was one. ‘We do not have a monopoly on Islam,’ he concluded.

The whole concept of Pakistan Ideology seemed to have evaporated into thin air (that’s where it came from in the first place) when the religious parties were resoundingly defeated in the first ever direct elections in the country (1970).

The secular and left parties won the most seats in all four provinces in West Pakistan (PPP, NAP) and in East Pakistan (Awami League).

  • One wonders had Pakistan not gone to war with India in 1971 (and lost), and consequently the country would not have broken (Bangladesh), how different would have been its political and ideological trajectory?
The separation of East Pakistan after the 1971 war sent the ‘two nation theory’ upon which Jinnah had driven the Pakistan Movement hurling into oblivion.

The Bengali Muslims had united with other Muslims of South Asia to campaign for and then achieve a separate Muslim country. But 24 years later the same Bengalis separated from the rest of Pakistan on the bases of Bengali nationalism.

When the PPP’s Zulfikar Ali Bhutto took over as President from the disgraced military dictator, Yahya Khan in January 1972, there were secular progressive parties at the helm at the centre and in the provinces.

Bhutto’s PPP had won the 1970 election in West Pakistan on a radical socialist manifesto, but his regime could not completely ignore the religious parties, in spite of the fact that they had been heavily defeated in the elections.

One of the main reasons for this was that the religious right in Pakistan had reacted to the 1971 defeat by weaving a narrative that quickly appealed to the bourgeoisie and the petty bourgeoisie segments of the country.

According to JI the war was lost because the Pakistan armed forces were too ‘westernised’ and morally corrupt and that Pakistan broke because its rulers did not turn it into a ‘true Islamic Republic.’

Bhutto who in the beginning seemed to be struggling to heal a country suffering from the humiliation and the economic and political impact of an expensive war, took JI’s narrative and turned it to his own advantage.

In 1973 he called a conference of both secular and religious scholars and intellectuals in Islamabad and asked them to thrash out an ideology on which Pakistan could be rebuilt.

A blueprint emerged that was a fusion of Faiz’s ideas of what Pakistani culture was and that of the religionists.

It weaved together a new ideological narrative that (in a nutshell) went something like this: ‘Pakistan was really West Pakistan because it was situated in an area along the river Indus that since the 9th century always had a Muslim majority.  This area had regimes that largely remained independent from the monarchical thrones in Delhi. Though the area has diverse ethnic groups and cultures, their views about Islam were quite similar[23].

The government then decided to infuse this narrative into school text books, but this practice was bound to take a life of its own.

Pakistani historian and ideologue, I H. Qureshi, spearheaded the campaign, but the more rewriting of history books he attempted, the more convoluted the narrative became.

I H. Qureshi.
I H. Qureshi.

On the other end the JI successfully tapped into the disgruntled disposition of young middle-class Pakistanis, especially in the Punjab and Karachi, who were not happy with the way the regime had responded to the humiliation of the 1971 war.

From the early 1970s onwards membership to the JI’s student-wing, the Islami Jamiat Taleba (IJT) grew rapidly and it was through the IJT that the JI successfully fought its battle of narratives against the ruling secular parties at the centre and in the provinces.

JI’s narrative was straightforward, but found willing ears among middle-class youth in the Punjab and Karachi. It suggested that Pakistan broke because the rulers failed to make it what it was supposed to be: An Islamic State.

Furthermore, Pakistan was being punished by God because after gifting the Muslims of South Asia a country with the promise to become a bastion of Islam, Pakistani Muslims were dabbling in atheistic concepts like secularism and socialism and Western cultural influences.

It is interesting to note that though the religious parties hardly had any worthwhile number of members in the National Assembly, they, with the help of their youth wings and Urdu media, were able get Bhutto to reinstate the word Islamic in the official name of the country in the 1973 Constitution.

Rhetoric about forming laws that would not contradict the spirit of the Qu’ran and Sunnah too made its way back in.

  • After the 1973 global oil crises, Bhutto decided to closely court oil-rich Arab countries. He also opened the way for middle and working class Pakistanis to travel to these countries for work.
In the Arab countries, the largely Barelvi Pakistani Muslims came into contact with the strain of faith practiced by the Arabs and encouraged by their monarchs.

Some call it ‘Wahabism,’ some explain it as being ‘Salafi’ and some describe it as ‘Ahle Hadith.’

All these definitions have separate historical trajectories, but all three do come and settle on a common ground that does not allow any Islamic sect, sub-sect or strain that has anything whatsoever to do with Sufism, shrines or rituals smacking (to them) of heresy and shirk.

When most Pakistanis came into contact with their Arab employers, they were initially disoriented by what they saw as a somewhat dry and non-spiritual strain of Islam and became even more perturbed when their beliefs were ridiculed and they were asked to mend them.

But money trumped faith. Never before had the Pakistani working and middle-class folks (who managed to travel to countries like Saudi Arabia and the UAE), made the kind of money they began to make in those strange, spiritually dry but rich lands of the limousine-driving Bedouins.

However, more than these Pakistanis being persuaded to give up their old version of the faith and take up what their Arab paymasters insisted was ‘true Islam,’ it was the money that they made and the sudden rise in their social status back home, is what convinced them to shed their old beliefs.

After all, the old beliefs now reminded them of days that may have been more fun and open-ended, but these were also days when they struggled to own their own TV set, freezer, air-conditioning unit and refrigerator.

  • The 1974 anti-Ahmadiyya riots were mainly about the religious parties reasserting their demands that were rejected in 1954.
This time around they knew that they had far more support among    middle-class Pakistanis who simply understood these riots as an expression of protest against Bhutto’s ‘socialist policies’.

So this time JI’s agitation against the Ahmadiyya included active    support from religious parties and groups representing the more religious sections of Barelvi, Deobandi and even Shia populations.

Even though the ‘Khatam-e-Nabuwat’ (the Finality of Prophethood movement), by these groups managed to force the Bhutto regime to declare the Ahamdiyya as a non-Muslim minority, it is the result of this movement that would eventually go on to spring open a Pandora’s Box from which a series of demons would begin to emerge that today are playing havoc with the lives and existence of even those sects and sub-sects (Shia and Barelvis) that had originally supported the movement and applauded the Ahmadiyya’s excommunication.

Anti-Ahmadiyya graffiti on a wall in Lahore in 1974.
Anti-Ahmadiyya graffiti on a wall in Lahore in 1974.

What’s more, after the 1974 constitutional amendment that declared the Ahmadiyya as non-Muslim, instead of hoping to appease the rightists, Bhutto uncannily gave them exactly the kind of stature and space they had been searching for ever since 1947.

In Jully 1977 the Bhutto regime was toppled in a reactionary military coup, a move applauded by most religious parties.

Shortly before the coup their was a violent movement against Bhutto mainly undertaken by the urban middle-classes who responded enthusiastically to the opposition’s call for enforcing the Shariah.

A 1978 edition of the PPP’s party paper, Musawat, carrying old quotes of Maududi against Jinnah and democracy.
A 1978 edition of the PPP’s party paper, Musawat, carrying old quotes of Maududi against Jinnah and democracy.

So a narrative that was constructed in 1973 to rationalize the separation of East Pakistan, and then evolved into becoming a hotchpotch of reactive ideologies of both the left and the right had now been carried into the mainstream on the backs of Punjab’s and Karachi’s middle-classes as a suggestion that the imposition of the Shariah was always the main purpose of the founders of Pakistan, and that Shariah alone could keep Pakistan from further disintegration.

Jinnah rolled in his grave.

  _______________

 

Zia had shrewdly noted how even some of the most secular Pakistanis had largely remained silent when Bhutto declared the Ahmadiyya community as non-Muslim and began to use Islamic symbolism in his post-1974 populist narrative.

Islam was the perfect kind of excuse for a tyrant to flex his muscles, especially in a country where the middle-classes and related upstarts who had travelled to oil-rich Arab countries had confused the power of the Petro-Dollar with the power of a strict strain of Islam that they came into contact with there.

Ziaul Haq announces the dissolution of Assemblies and imposition of ‘Islamic laws’ on PTV.
Ziaul Haq announces the dissolution of Assemblies and imposition of ‘Islamic laws’ on PTV.

Maududi’s Pakistan Ideology that had been battered by the voters in 1970 but mutated into meaning something closer to Bhutto’s equally convoluted ‘Islamic Socialism,’ fell into the hands of Zia who gave it his own big twist.

But he did not only make it as part of school text books and the constitution, he also began to actually express it through draconian laws that he described as being ‘Islamic.’

Law after law based on a particular and orthodox understanding of Islam was rolled out, so much so that by the time of his death in 1988, the 1973 Constitution, that had originally been a product of progressive and democratic intent, became the enshrinement of laws, rules and clauses that until today give both a religious as well constitutional cover to what are indeed acts of religious violence and bigotry.

No civilian government has dared touch these laws in fear of being declared ‘anti-Islam’ and ‘anti-Pakistan Ideology’.

In the last two decades, whole generations of educated, middle-class, young Pakistanis have grown up believing that Shariah was Jinnah’s main aim, and that the so-called Pakistan Ideology emerged from the sacrifices rendered by their elders during the Pakistan Movement.

A famous cartoon (by Zahoor) satirizing the Islamization of Jinnah’s image.
A famous cartoon (by Zahoor) satirizing the Islamization of Jinnah’s image.

Of course, Sindhi, Baloch and some sections of Pushtun nationalists have continued to oppose these views and moves as being tools of the Punjabi-elite and military dominated establishment and their religious and bourgeois allies with which they keep certain ethnicities (and now sects) on a tight leash, but the truth is, with the help of the private Urdu media and the economics of the growing economic, judicial and political influence of the urban middle-classes, the Pakistan Ideology is what that defines most young Pakistanis today.

Even if, ironically, it is more likely to make them say they are Muslims first and Pakistanis later.

      _________________________

 Who made who?

When we look at the salient features of what has been propagated (through various state initiatives, history text books and the media) as ‘Pakistan ideology’ over the decades, the following assertions stand out:

• The idea of a separate Muslim state (Pakistan) emerged to counter a possible post-colonial domination of the Hindu culture and politics in the region. • Pakistan also came into existence to blunt historical conspiracies by the Hindus to absorb Islam and Muslims into their own belief system. • The Muslims of Pakistan are a nation in the modern sense of the word. The basis of their nationhood is neither racial, linguistic nor ethnic; rather they are a nation because they belong to the same faith, Islam. •  Pakistanis may share a common history with the peoples of other faiths of the region (especially Hindu), but their faith is more importantly rooted in the history of Islam beyond the sub-continent. •  Since Pakistan came into being to assert the fact that Muslims and Hindus are two different nations, Pakistan should be a state where the Muslims should have an opportunity to live according to their faith and creed based on principles and laws of Islam. • As a Muslim ideological state it is also the duty of the Pakistani state to defend the interests of other Muslim states and countries. • Pakistan’s ideological and geographic borders are such that various anti-Islam forces are constantly conspiring against the Pakistani state from within and outside Pakistan. •  Pakistan needs a thorough security apparatus to fend off such forces. •   Such forces constitute countries driven by Hindus, Christians, Jewish/Zionist, secular and Communist doctrines (from the outside), as well as groups and individuals propagating distinct ethnic nationalisms (from within). • Though Pakistan does not recognise sectarian divisions between Islamic sects, it remains to be a Sunni majority country where Islamic laws based on historical legislative narratives of Sunni Islam have every right to take precedence. • It is the duty of the Pakistani state to promote Islamic laws and practices in the society so the society can be prepared to collectively embrace without hesitation the emergence of an Islamic state run on the principals of the Shariah. • Pakistan does not discriminate against non-Sunni Islamic sects and minority religions, but Sunni Islam (constructed on the modernist Islamic thoughts of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan and Muhammad Iqbal as well as on the Islamic scholarship emerging from friendly Arab countries, especially Saudi Arabia), will rightfully dominate in the social, cultural, religious and political policies of the state.

The critique of the ideology is based on a more rational and deconstructive study of it; a study initiated by leftists and Sindhi, Baloch and Pushtun nationalists (in the late 1960s) and (in the last 30 years or so), by the liberals.

• Pakistan even as a separate Muslim majority state is not a homogenous phenomenon. It is teeming with a varied number of ethnicities, religions and Islamic sects and sub-sects. •  A unified version of Islam and nationalism constructed by the state and then imposed upon the varied ethnicities, religions and Islamic sects was an insensitive, undemocratic attack on their respective cultural heritages. •  In the absence of a viable democratic system and process, Pakistan will continue plummeting as a nation state, and consequently its ideology will become more and more myopic, suspicious and tyrannical – especially when it entirely becomes the domain of the establishment. • The establishment will then incorporate the conservative Islamic forces as allies to justify its undemocratic political domination and to legitimise its Islamic credentials. • The only thing that can help Pakistan avoid such a scenario (and a possible state failure), is the granting of democratic rights, participation and autonomy to its various ethnicities. • Pakistan should be a secular Muslim majority state where all Muslim sects and non-Muslim minorities are free to practice their faiths according to their own cultural norms, within their homes and places of worship, whereas the state should be discouraged to propagate any single or preferred form of Islam or ethnic culture. The public sphere too should be free from any religious interference or presence of any one particular denomination of the faith.

References:

1 Next Generation Goes To The Polls, British Council Pakistan, pp.6,7 2 The interviews were conducted by AC Neilson 3 Dror Wahrman, Imagining The Middle Class (Cambridge University Press) p.152 4 Ronald M. Glassman, The Middle Class & Democracy in Socio-Historical Perspective, (BRILL, 1995) p.210 5 Dale L. Johnson, Class & Social Development: A New Theory of the Middle-Class (Sage Publications, 1982). p.113 6 Michael Burliegh, Blood and Rage (Harper Collins, 2009) pp.189, 190 7 Evelyne Huber, John D. Stephens, Development & The Crises of the Welfare State (University of Chicago Press, 2010) p.206 8 Zaid Haider, The Ideological Struggle for Pakistan (Hoover Institute Press, 2010), p.41 9 Alyssa Ayres, Speaking Like A State: Language & Nationalism in Pakistan (Cambrige University Press, 2004) p.194 10 Aysha Jalal, The Sole Spokesman: Jinnah, the Muslim League and the Demand for Pakistan (Cambridge University Press, 1994) 11 Sunanda Sanyal, Soumya Basu. The Sickle & The Crescent: Communists, Muslim League & India’s Partition (Frontpage Publishers, 2011) 12 Text of Jinnah’s August 11, 1947 speech http://www.pakistani.org/pakistan/legislation/constituent_address_11aug1947.html 13 Ibid 14 Stephen P. Cohen, The Idea of Pakistan, (Brookings Institute Press, 204) p.57 15 The Ahmadiyya were considered to be a Muslim sect in Pakistan till 1974 16 Mathew J. Nelson, In the Shadow of the Sharia (Columbia University Press, 2011) p.112 17 Hassan Abbas, Pakistan’s Drift into Extremism, (M.E Sharpe, 2004) p.21 18 Report on the 1953 Disturbances in the Punjab (PDF) http://www.thepersecution.org/dl/report_1953.pdf 19 Hassan Abbas, Pakistan’s Drift into Extremism, (M.E Sharpe, 2004) p.31 20 Ayub Khan, Altaf Gohar, Friends, Not Masters, (Oxford University Press, 1967) 21 Ayesha Jalal, Conjuring Pakistan: History as Official Imagining (Middle Eastern Studies, 1995) 22 Faiz Ahmad Faiz, Culture & Identity (Oxford University Press, 2005) 23 Aitzaz Ahsan, The Indus Saga (Oxford University Press, 1995)


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.

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 are closed.

Comments (149)

taimur
April 4, 2013 6:05 pm
NFP is pro MQM and hates JI. Thats why he takes stuff out of context and manipulate to achieve his desires.
talha
April 4, 2013 6:10 pm
la ilahailllalah
Capt C M Khan
April 4, 2013 6:16 pm
It is unfair to compare today´s middle class with that of PRE-INTERNET eras. These days world is a GLOBAL VILLAGE and news spreads faster than fire. Middle class of Pakistan being RESOURCEFUL follows events and decides. Pakistani Middle class is diappointed in Political leaders so what they do? they pick up one of the other options. And yes the Saudi Misshioaries and Jammaties have EXPLOITED the situation well. If the British do another Survey and ask how many of these midlle class families would like to move to the non-shariah, non-millitary west, I gaurantee you 90% will apply to move.
Waqas
April 4, 2013 6:32 pm
M Also, thank you for the history - I look forward to reading it. But so what if people want religion in their lives? If the reply is along the lines of, 'look, it has caused so much violence', I have two things to say - one, it's not as if no-religion is faring any better; and two, conservative is not inherently bad.
Tahir
April 4, 2013 6:54 pm
As usual, any old disguise, message is the same: "Islam as a way of life is not acceptable"
observer
April 4, 2013 6:57 pm
How much down will Pakistan go before bouncing again?
Salman Cheema
April 4, 2013 6:59 pm
Jinnah gave us a country called Pakistan, Can we save it?
Parvez
April 4, 2013 7:15 pm
If one thinks about it, with all the terrible governance, corruption and you name it happening the middle class has grown...............now that's a good sign. The fact that they are more conservative is in itself not a bad thing, because they need something to cling on to, especially when the State refuses to provide them with a decent existance.
Nauman
April 4, 2013 7:19 pm
"When religion and politics mix, both become detrimental to one another and neither remains pure." I wish we had adhered to this since way back our creation. We would have been much wiser, tolerant, creative, open minded, nation-building-conscious, a happy society and Pakistan would have been a heavens of a place right now.
hyderphd74
April 4, 2013 7:43 pm
Can you give some credible references to support your claim, Mr. Taimur? Without proofs people did not even believe the claims of the prophets of their times.
Maths
April 4, 2013 7:58 pm
No one said about the non existensialism of religion. The point is indeed to let other religions exist. If we Pakistanis let Hindus and Christians coexist with us, it would be a better place. The second point is to not give Sharia a place in politics. Sure, Islam has place within homes and mosques but no further. Politics and religion don't belong together.
Baz
April 4, 2013 8:04 pm
NFP, I have literally observed this trend and preference of a growing islamic-conservative class. The alarming thing is with a majority of the electorate coming from the youth between 18-25 years, this electorate will need to be guided to lean away from policies that will further hurt the ethnic/ religious minorities of the country.
ChilLiberals
April 4, 2013 8:06 pm
koi aur kaam b hai janaab ko... k paiSaay milTay he aiSay kaaMon k hain.... Enjoy Liberals...Chill, it is not only Pakistan, the whole world is becoming conservative... Polarization is characteristic of time when things are heading to settle decisively....
Sinn sal
April 4, 2013 8:10 pm
Its sad in this age of human development ,social, economical and moral. Pakistan has to revisit questions about their identity.Wasn't all this decided when you formed a country? people need to acknowledge their true roots. Same Indus valley civilization, although Islam did spread in Indian sub continent its a sweeter form of Islam. Leave the Sharia to the Arabs.Be proud of the Shia, Sufi's , poetry,Sunnis, this assimilation is true Islam of the sub continent.Army creates this ghost of Hindu India monster cause they profit from war.This whole war in Sub continent is based on self fish interpretation of a sweet religion, Neither Islam could spread through out the sub continent (otherwise there wouldn't be Hindu India) nor could Hinduism spread till middle east. Point is both faiths can co exist. This is Sub continent magic, keep it that way and all shall be fine.Arabs can keep their interpretation of Islam to themselves.The people who are dying are not Arab any ways.
Kausik
April 4, 2013 8:22 pm
Thank you NFP and Dawn for a very open and educational review of facts of struggles in Pakistan since 1947 for a constitutional struggle to include minorities in a national integration.I am shocked by the results of British survey of young Pakistani origin British citizens living under most liberal laws and constitution but favor shariyat law for Pakistan as even Muslims in Pakistan oppose this and prefer civil law.This attitude of western educated idealistic youth conveying a message "do what i say but do not ask what i do" clear double standards.
hc
April 4, 2013 8:30 pm
First he is pro Bhutto...so is clearly not impartial and cant be taken seriously...after he has proven his impartiality as far as PPP goes... now a similar refrain... The piece above is detailed and and well referenced..please be specific when you make claims like this and are basically calling someone a liar...
Ceaser
April 4, 2013 9:18 pm
A Muslim is a person who freely and consciously accepts the Islaamic way of life and sincerely practices it is called a Muslim. A Muslim (the one who does Islaam) remembers: *TO SURRENDER (to give up himself/herself to ALLAH the Almighty) *TO BE IN SUBMISSION (happily submit his/her own will to Allaah's Will) *TO OBEY ALLAAH (understand Qur'ân and Sunnah and he implements it in action) *TO DO ALL OF ABOVE, ONLY FOR SAKE OF ALLAAH (not to impress/show off) *THE RESULT IS PEACE in worldly life & Eternal PARADISE, by Mercy of Allaah. Therefore a Muslim cannot be truly a Muslim "by birth" in a Muslim family or nation or tribe; rather after seeking knowledge and understanding of the Qur'ân & Sunnah and obeying Allaah
Seema
April 4, 2013 9:27 pm
Nice Marxist Khutba. Sindhi, Baloch, and Pashtun ethno-linguistic fascists are finding it hard that their absurd theories and pulpiting are finding no takers amongst those very same Sindhi, Baloch, and Pashtun communities in a larger Muslim context. Their denial is the reason for their failure. They can't seem to take that they don't hold a monopoly on the respective communities they claim to speak for. P.S. If Bangladesh is the failure of the "Two-Nation Theory". Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Kashmir, Maldives, and even Bangladesh represent the failure of the "india" theory. Doesn't necessarily have to be the case, but if one thinks along certain lines...
A Pakistani
April 4, 2013 9:44 pm
New generation of Maulvies. Couldn't we make Pakistan a Muslim model country like Turkey ?
Saeed
April 4, 2013 10:08 pm
Middle class and educated Pakistani always conservative inclined to religion and some what in race. That is why we see religious and regional parties have strong influence in unversities and colleges. And also if we look at middle class immigrant in Europe and US , they are way more conservative . I say less education in Pakistan is blessing in disguise . Because rural people less educated but more smart.
Kausik
April 4, 2013 10:24 pm
I want to congratulate NFP for his research and factual information gathered around global events and applaud Dawn for publishing a very courageous scholarly article.Having lived in USA for 3 decades and participated in voting in a christian dominated religion in the country but has a secular constitution interestingly framed by puritan dominated christian politicians separating the church and state even though right wing religious politicians make noises constitution stood test of time.even founding Father of Pakistan bemoaned the fact of moth eaten Pakistan of 2 regions separated by Indian territory.East Bengal(Bangla Desh) separated one can blame Indira&India but fact remains they want live separately never tried to reunite at any time after 1971 at least I am not aware and India can not stop as Bangla Desh as Decca and Delhi do not see eye to eye on all issues.Bengali Muslims do not trust the ruling Punjabi or Sindhi Pakistani elite.points to be learn from all this mess 1)Religion alone will not unify a country as sub sects and linguistic regionalism drive wedges.2) constitution of a country never be based on Religion alone as it would drive even productive minorities away to more safer regions as they get scared of persecution.3) A sectarian Government will never be able to solve economic,moral,ethical issues facing a country as they to support one sub sect against another as sub sects loose confidence4)Unfortunately even monolithic Islam and ill defined Hinduism with myriad interpretations and interestingly accommodates Islamic thought of formless God as ultimate vedic principle are utterly divided in to sects,sub sects,casts even in Islam to my surprise watch India untouched by Stalin shows constitution of a country is important document binding people.PLEASE WATCH INDIA UNTOUCHED DOCUMENTARY BY STALIN APPLICABLE TO PAKISTAN AND BANGLA DESH ALSO.
Kausik
April 4, 2013 10:45 pm
BUt the founders were at once faced with the reality that the new country was not only made up of distinct ethnic groups (Sindhi, Punjabi, Pushtun, Baloch, Bengali and Mohajir [Urdu-speakers]), but also various Muslim sects and sub-sects.THIS IS THE DILEMMA FACED BY ENTIRE SUB CONTINENT,India,PAKISTAN,BANGLA DESH and I know because being a Hyderabadi of India the state wants to separate as a sub unit from linguistically similar region even language can not unite people in India.
Khan
April 4, 2013 10:54 pm
Out of context? That's a rather roundabout way of stating that you don't have any answers to his arguments. And his dislike of the religious right is natural given they did all they could to oppose Jinnah and Pakistan, and later had the daring to even hijack the ideology of the nation whose creation they opposed. On a sidenote, I'm no big fan of MQM either. Secular or not, violence as a political tool can never be condoned.
Amjad Wyne
April 4, 2013 11:32 pm
Thank you writing a three foot long column but the problem lies with the so called non-conservatives - from writings to actions, they have failed to show or prove any value of their views. Rather than focussing on the welfare of the nation, they have consistently worked to loot it. Instead of providing leadership in thought and action, they have worked to deprive the entire nation of it. Nations and people move in directions that provide hope and purpose - they need leadership not thieves.
Observer
April 4, 2013 11:36 pm
But clinging to metal in water makes you drown faster!
abbastoronto
April 4, 2013 11:47 pm
.
abbastoronto
April 4, 2013 11:55 pm
Typical NFP essay – well researched, comprehensive, detailed, but short on analysis. Here is a try. Remarkable that 24% of Pak are "Middle Class". On the same measure India’s would be much smaller (12%?). More shocking that Pak MC actually grew even during last 4 years? Ever wondered how would the 10 Million Pak diaspora effect the stats? NFP should know better not to compare European experience with Pakistan’s. The religion of Europe, Christianity, is agrarian, but Islam is trading. For our era, being “conservative” does not mean the same – regressive in Europe, progressive in Pakistan. So European revolutionary Burghers were against church, Pakistanis are for it, since Christianity is not for reason, Islam is. Fascism was Christianity's last hurrah, just as Socialism was Judahism's, family vs tribe(that a Corporation is today). It was Cain vs Abel all over again. Mohammedan Islam was conceived for the soil-poor, water-poor, resource-poor advanced trading society of Arabia, but unwise expansion by sword to backward agrarian lands of Syria, Egypt, Persia, India, Europe forced Islam to adapt backward. By 16th century industrializing/trading Europe had was agrarian no more, and seeking a new model for new economy it had Athens and Mecca to inspire. Since Islam was polluted so West chose its native Hellenism – Democracy in Europe, Republic in America, the first is the rule of the moneyed, the second of the learned. Iqbal/Ataturk/Jinnah all were against Democracy, but for Republic. While Socrates lost to Democracy, our Prophet A.S. remains the only person in history to have trounced his moneyed Demos, the combined force of Big Business Umayyads, Bankers Banu Abbas, trade monopolistic infidels, and yehud, and found the secular Medinan Republic with constitution as the Covenant of Medina, a negotiated document between the Aws, the Khazraj, the infidels, and the yehud, with rights for everyone. Turkey and Pakistan started on the same foot. Socrates suggests the State be responsible for raising children, and Medina too freed wife from housework and child-rearing. Khomeini’s Vilayet-Faqih is uncannily Socratic. Was Jinnah not the First modern Vali-Faqih? That only 22% Pakistanis are for Democracy and 78 – Shariah/Dictatorship is natural. Pakistan was founded as secular Medinan Republic but was turned into a feudal theocratic Democracy by Bhutto that Zia only reinforced later in his own image. Mohammedan Islam means universality, individual rights based jurisprudence, meritocracy, emancipation of women from housework and childrearing, knowledge as public good, free enterprise, free trade, and peace. Justice Munir 60 years ago was unable to identify this Islam among the many candidates. Since Pakistan is a laboratory for the Muslim ummah, today we have boldly undertaken to identify which of the many Islams (Shia, Sunni, Jafri, Hanafi, Maliki, Shafai, Hanbali, Wahabbi, Barelvi, Sufi, Deobandi, Qadiani, etc.) is the right one for the emerging era of Globalization and Free Trade. This quest will neither be short-lived, nor bloodless. Best of luck Paks. You are on to something. Have faith as Allah's help is never far.
El Cid
April 5, 2013 12:21 am
NFP takes things out of context and manipulates the truth. Here are two examples from his articles: Photo:“Jinnah leaves a meeting with leaders of Pakistan’s Hindu and Christian minorities on a happy note, January, 1948”. The Quaid, a Muslim, is following the example of Muhammad. And instructions a Muslim given in the Qur'an: Noble Qur’an[Sura73.10] ...Bear with patience what they utter, and part from them with a fair leave- taking. (Part company with a pleasant good-by...to the uncouth, vulgar, and those who lie, hide the truth). Cartoon: “A famous cartoon (by Zahoor) satirizing the Islamization of Jinnah’s image.” Please note: There is NO such word as “Islamization” in the English language. The author tends to meme ZioNazi Fascists Think Tanks.
Fahad
April 5, 2013 12:51 am
No disguise. Islam is not a way of life. Any attempts to make it one goes against the diversity inherent in the Muslim community.
Fahad
April 5, 2013 12:58 am
You misunderstand. If people want religion in their lives, all the best to them. If you find lots of people who agree with you, form groups, take part in group activities, hold great public events, live your life as you see fit. Just like others with other interests do. BUT, let others live their lives too if they disagree with you. SO, don't mix it with politics, don't attempt to dominate the narrative taught to children, don't rewrite history. In short, keep it a healthy activity, refrain from turning it into an ideology that all must accept.
Fahad
April 5, 2013 1:02 am
Interesting you bring the diaspora up. What's interesting is also how conservative Pakistanis are in foreign countries. I personally know people who were rather traditional (but otherwise moderate) in Pakistan, but turned very conservative of the religious type when they went abroad. Some to the UK, others to the US or Canada. So maybe the two are related, that it's gotten imported into Pakistan when these people visit back home or send "charity" to dubious groups.
Fahad
April 5, 2013 1:03 am
I see that you've left the second half out. I like that. Ahl e Quran, not Ahl e Hadith.
Fahad
April 5, 2013 1:06 am
No, NFP was heavily pro PPP, and saw with his own eyes how IJT brought violence to Pakistani universities. So yes, he's not JI's biggest friend. That said, he hasn't taken anything out of context. He just paints the picture as he sees it.
AHA
April 5, 2013 1:24 am
Actually, the message is that the lack of tolerance and the absence of humanity is not acceptable.
umesh bhagwat
April 5, 2013 1:45 am
Pakistan like India is a state in search of its identity! India is also caught between fundamentalism,democracy, communal ism and casteism.
AHA
April 5, 2013 2:00 am
The Pakistan of Jinnah ceased to exit after 1949 when the Objective Resolution was passed.
Ram Krishan Sharma
April 5, 2013 2:03 am
Then , Why Taliban are considered bad now ? They are firm believers in Islamic way of life.
Faiza G R Bhatt
April 5, 2013 2:06 am
television channels, the so called Islamic scholars taking extreme position against anything associated with making life better (science, education, arts, literature, entertainment, etc.) and our democratically elected leaders who amass personal wealth at the cost of commoners are solely to blame. if the last mentioned had provided a role model and salvation for the common people, the latter would be more inclined to doing good in this world rather than thinking about "akhirah" (akhirat / hereafter) all the time.
Ram Krishan Sharma
April 5, 2013 2:09 am
Please translate it in simple urdu , Hindi or English . I have no knowledge of Arabic.
Ram Krishan Sharma
April 5, 2013 2:13 am
He has to write something for his living ,right or wrong.
Faizan Taqi
April 5, 2013 2:18 am
He sounds more pro Pakistan than pro MQM
Tariq
April 5, 2013 2:32 am
This country was created by feudal lords of Punjab to rule this land, go and read the history, how unionist of Punjab joined AML, and that had changed everything
mohni
April 5, 2013 2:43 am
Very good analysis!
RAW is WAR
April 5, 2013 3:10 am
excellant analysis
Riaz
April 5, 2013 3:31 am
For many centuries, Europe bled itself to death through the mixing of religion and state. This calamity that lasted for centuries propelled the thinkers to come out with a solution that gave birth to the idea of a secular state. East or west, north or south, basic human nature is the same the world over. Since the enlightened democratic city state of Athens in the days of Socrates, there has been a war between faith and reason. Faith won, only to wreck havoc on Europe all through the centuries, labeled by historians and dark ages. The ascendency of reason took root in Arab AL- Undallas or Andalusia in Muslim Spain, it laid the foundation for the European renaissance, later to emerge in Paris, after the collapse of Arab rule. Rebirth of reason started to prevail upon faith leading to the concept of nation state and liberalism. Science and mathematics, that was nurtured through centuries in the Muslim lands and inherited by Europe after the collapse of Arab Spain, began to expand, unleashed its awesome power giving birth to the industrial age. In the mighty empire of the ottoman Turks, the mullah remained busy and stead fast, preserving the piety of the Muslims in Ottoman Empire, admonishing the believers of the dangers of hell, awaiting the transgressors who aspired to the learning of science and philosophy of the west. Worried by the dark clouds of explosive knowledge rising from the west, the mullah became excessively fearful of the spiritual health of the believers. Convinced by his absolute self righteousness and being the self appointed custodian of the divine knowledge, the mullah forced the Turkish sultan to ban the publication of all books. One fine day in winter, in the Black sea, an armada of Russian navy, based on modern iron ships with heavy cannon propelled by steam technology appeared over the horizon. The Turkish navy was wintered in their Turkish port. With out warning or notice, the Russian cannon blew the wooden Turkish ships in to smithereens. The legendary Turkish Janissaries, renowned for their invincibility could do nothing but watch with mouths agape, while Russian ships anchored out of range made match sticks of Turkish navy. The awesome power of western technology was there for all the Turkish ummah to witness. The mullah cried out aloud to the sultan, the Muslims are no longer faithful to Islam, hence the reason for the defeat. While the mullah preached his sermons aloud in the mosques, pleading the faithful to become more religious, the entire ottoman empire fell by the wayside, no match for the advance military technology engineered by the west. Listen to your mullahs, but don't be surprised, this relic of the twelfth century mindset will send Pakistan to its doom just like the ottoman empire. This is just my humble fallible opinion; unlike your mullah, I do not profess to be self righteous nor do I possess any divine knowledge; but I am taking the liberty of reminding you, the twenty first century is the age of technology; the age of theology was centuries ago.
Farooq Ali
April 5, 2013 3:42 am
As regards conservatism it is so every where in the world Europe , Americas and Far and Middle Eastern countries have an almost same percent of their population whom you can call conservatives these surveys are carried taken Pakistan in isolation .mostly trying to put us in a backward class dubbed as Terrorist our writers and politicians must refute that. and Image building is the need of time for us to progress.
Shruti
April 5, 2013 4:00 am
I didn't read the whole article. But please make a correction. Hazare the veteran Indian politician. Anna Hazare is an activist fighting corruption, not a politician.
Shahzad
April 5, 2013 4:20 am
Quite a good effort, that portrays true ideology of Pakistan, but i am afraid, no one is here to believe this !!! Really Unfortunate
Capt C M Khan
April 5, 2013 4:33 am
"Pakistan is a laboratory for the Muslim ummah"....what are we Guinea Pigs. This identifying sects and killing each other in the name of Islam is a TOOL my freind to weaken a resourceful country like Pakistan. Why does Cuba has the highest literacy rate? Because it spends four times more on education than on wars. Now compare the education and military budget of Pakistan? 180 million vast majority uneducated is lead into this SENSELESS direction of sectarian supermacy. Who is going to decide which sect is the correct one???? You or TT or LEJ or Saudia or Iran?????
Salim Khakwani
April 5, 2013 4:37 am
To the extreme chagrin of NFP and his cohorts, The Objective Resolution cannot be undone by any act of Parliament. It is the guiding light for this and the future generations of Pakistan.
a.k.lal
April 5, 2013 4:38 am
sir why would any one listen to you now.your country is destined to sink. sad thing is your neighbors ill suffer for no fault of theirs.
a.k.lal
April 5, 2013 4:43 am
sir-- how right you are, and how wrong you are, in trying to sell mirrors to blind.it did not happen in turkey, and it will not happen in your country
Atikh Rashid
April 5, 2013 5:04 am
Please correct the photo caption : "Hazare, a veteran Indian politician". Anna Hazare is a veteran social activists allergic to politics and politicians.
khan
April 5, 2013 5:18 am
To find the root-cause of the rise of fundamentalism, you don't need to go too far, just look at the past five years performance of the Government. PPP-MQM-ANP are the only secular parties in Pakistan. They failed to inspire Pakistan, in fact, their corruption disillusioned the nation. The youth have nothing to fall back upon other than the glories of the past ages.
Rashid Markan
April 5, 2013 5:23 am
The path we have chosen is truly to become fully Arabic. There is nothing wrong with it because countries like Egypt, Syria, Iraq have also done it. They shed their pre-Islamic past and their language and adopted Arabic. Now they are far ahead of us. We should fully shed our Hindu past, adopt Arabic as the only language and become Arabic is all facets of our life. Hinduism in any form has no place in our politics or culture. And we cannot shed all vestiges of Hinduism unless we speak Arabic only and listen to Arabic music only and watch Arabic movies only. It will take a few years but that is the only way to save Pakistan. Without being Arabic we cannot be truly Islamic.
Human
April 5, 2013 5:58 am
"Pakistan needs a thorough security apparatus to fend off such forces. • Such forces constitute countries driven by Hindus, Christians, Jewish/Zionist, secular and Communist doctrines (from the outside), as well as groups and individuals propagating distinct ethnic nationalisms (from within)." Amazing...that literally means from everyone. What a tool for the Army to remain as only powerhouse. BTW : Does the middle class Palkistani know that China is a communist nation & one firmly in the list ?
Pramod
April 5, 2013 6:00 am
Best part is they will tell watching TV as unislamic on some TV channel only. They will bash science but will come in a luxury car.
ahmet29101ahmet abdulaziz
April 5, 2013 6:02 am
my very simple observation is that history repeatedly proves one thing..........EXCESS OF EVERYTHING IS BAD
observer
April 5, 2013 6:14 am
If Pakistan's economy is more intermeshed with international economy through more trade and selling of services, many people will be careful before they answer the theoretical question of whether Shariah should be the law of the land in yes.
Pramod
April 5, 2013 6:15 am
Same Arabs would have in very poor shape if European scientist would not have invented petrol and other things which consumes petrol.
Gunjan
April 5, 2013 6:17 am
There is no god but God (Allah).
observer
April 5, 2013 6:19 am
Do us a favor. Always type your lecture into the comment space most diligently, proofread it, love it, feel proud of your intellect and knowledge, but please don't click the POST COMMENT button. That way, your ego will be satisfied and we will be saved from the trash you give. I feel bad by giving you a 'thumbs down' only after I read your name. I stopped reading your sagacious comments a few months ago.
ruffeek
April 5, 2013 6:26 am
I hope Mr Farooq Ali has credible research data to back his claim that the countries he names above have an "almost same percent of their population whom" we can call conservative. In the absence of any such credible data, Mr Farooq Ali's words are irrelevant noise.
ruffeek
April 5, 2013 6:29 am
That is exactly the point: the pervasive view is designed specifically to produce a narrow (almost blinded) world view; a world view that would allow only a very narrow mental development, thus helping small groups to retain power over, and control the actions of, a much wider working class. And so, only selective facts need be disclosed to the "awaam".
ruffeek
April 5, 2013 6:35 am
And we all struggle to understand HOW Talha's comment is relevant in this context!
ruffeek
April 5, 2013 6:40 am
I assure you, Pakistani, that it is difficult to accept Turkey as a country worth emulating once you have lived there for a while.
Gauhar
April 5, 2013 6:42 am
Your last name 'Markan'has a Hindu past. Shed that name also , u dumb fool
Pramod
April 5, 2013 6:48 am
Go to any arab country and you will understand that they do not consider you human also let alone Muslim brothers.
Inzimam Ahmed
April 5, 2013 6:53 am
The analysis is detailed on facts and figures and traces the trajectory towards Islamic nature of society. The hero comes out to be Maulana Maududi and Jamat e Islami. Moreover the author does not seem to understand what Islam really stand for and how Allah wants humans to regulate their lives. For the search of convenience we should not compromise with inauthenticity and confusion either in religion or politics. Confusion in religion and politics feeds the secularism that uses manipulation of history and political reality to justify their mythical idea of "happy life". Pakistan was weakened by none other than absence of Islam as a combining force, injustice and corrupt secular system left by British masters. Sub-nationalism thrived due to absence of Islamic bonding forces and commitment to Islamic system. Its like two pronged attack. Weaken national bonding by diluting Islamic agenda, confusing it and then replacing it with subnationalist secularism feeding on grievences of liberal nationalism thus creating space for breakups, seperations, tyranny. Its like avoidance of Islam creates space for more diseases. Today its Pashtun nationalism, tomorrow its sub-Pashtun nationalisms going further down as the downward spiral that liberal secularism triggers stop no where. Same is with Sindhi, Baloch and Mujahir nationalisms. Jamat e Islami is the shining example of how well integrated can multi-nationalities and ethnicities can be while Karachi presents itself as a blackhole of liberal strife making way for US interference thus bringing down the nuclear state from within. Rather than going after real agendas, today liberals are busy in pushing Islam away from national narrative and using tools like vulgarity in the media to generate space for themselves. This shows their disorientation and disillusionment after their ideological paymasters like USSR and USA are receding. These liberal forces are enemies of authenticity and ideal morality enshrined in divine scriptures due to their disbelief in existence of Allah, relevance of Prophet SAW and belief in Day of judgement. This is the basis of their disease. The experience of Ottoman Caliphal Empire is a recent example as how it rose and survived through commitment to Shariah-based model of governance and economics and society for 600 years integrating multi-ethnic, linguistic and religious gorups into one whole and despite its nail to nail matching of Tanzimat technological modernization, it broke up due to reversing of in values that it was based and flourished. Ottoman Empire collapsed despite being technologically at par with her western counterparts and secularism only barely reduced it to Turkish mini-state that only persecuted Armenians, Kurds and other sub-nationalism for the liberal extremist Turkishness. Therefore Islam and only Islam is the solution and Allah said in the Quran " We sent Messnger with clear guidance and Authentic System (Deen), so that it is dominated over all systems (deens), no matter how hard rejectionists (secularists, liberals) desist".
LOL
April 5, 2013 7:00 am
Pakistan’s military budget is a bare minimum. Any less and Pakistan would cease to exist. That does not mean education should not be increased. But all fat, luxury, waste should be eliminated
Ahmad R. Shahid
April 5, 2013 7:05 am
Well written!
Farooq Ali
April 5, 2013 7:49 am
Ample data available on net Pakistan is much behind please see
dab
April 5, 2013 7:52 am
When it comes to Bhutto regime declaring Ahmedis non Muslim, for PPP sympathizer Farooq Parcha, ZAB's hand was forced, giving us the impression as if the 'great leader' is innocent of the great wrong he has done.
Capri
April 5, 2013 8:31 am
I hope people with such twisted minds and low intellectual thinking are a small minority in your country, otherwise Pakistan is doomed!
muhammad
April 5, 2013 8:38 am
What a silly notion rather assumptions URDU is not a native language it evolved during the Muslim reign in sub-continent as regards, Arabic the Jews, Christians and other minor religions of the Arab peninsula also speak Arabic this does not mean that they are Muslim just speaking Arabic does not make one a Muslim or speaking other languages does not make one a non-Muslim, otherwise millions of Muslims around the globe who do not speak Arabic will be declared (according to your theory) non-Muslims
Nauman
April 5, 2013 8:44 am
"and using tools like vulgarity in the media to generate space for themselves".....But you too are using the media and creating space for yourself. That must be vulgarity too.
SleepingPaki
April 5, 2013 8:55 am
Great counter analysis...Again thanks to Zia we are close to our religion...look at the dressing and videos from 1970 and you will be astonished that what kind of society was prevailing at that time... liberalism to many only means vulgarity and western failed life style and the best supporter for this is the writer himself. For JI I don't agree with them on many issues and would always avoid their political or religious gatherings but there is no doubt they have greater positive influence on society and I can/have always blindly trusted them for distributing my zakat funds to the right needy people. Long live jammat and InshAllah Shariah will come to Pakistan soon.
Rashid Markan
April 5, 2013 10:04 am
Urdu is a Hindu language with many Arabic and Persian words. Urdu must be eliminated. Urdu speakers understand most of Hindi spoken in India and Hind speakers understand much of Urdu spoken in India and Pakistan Hindi movies are very popular. Urdu was developed in the military camps of the Mughals, using Hindustani as the base with Arabic words and Persian words incorporated so that Mughals could communicate with the Indians. No Arab or Persian person will understand what a Urdu speaking person is saying. One that understands and /or speaks Urdu will watch Hindi movies and be influenced away from Islam and from Arabization. 100% Arabization is a must if we are to be a successful Islamic country. We should even adopt the full Arab dress, thawbs for men and full bukhas for women. All men should grow beards.
anil gupta
April 5, 2013 10:11 am
Ditto my point..
muhammad
April 5, 2013 10:16 am
You will be amazed to read the history of Pakistan those who opposed the creation of Pakistan with tooth and nail are now defining the ideology of Pakistan and the founders of Pakistan are being declared infidels. Those who tried their best to discredit the whole movement for separate homeland for Muslims became the guardian of this nation soon after its creation
AHA
April 5, 2013 10:25 am
A truly great comment. You make perfect sense.
Jester
April 5, 2013 10:39 am
pls do become like Egypt, Iraq and Syria. Best of Luck.
AHA
April 5, 2013 10:41 am
The reason is simple: The present version of Islam will not be able to survive enlightenment. So it has be stand against science, education, arts, literature, entertainment.
AHA
April 5, 2013 10:45 am
These are not the 'emperor's clothes', I hope???
Humanoid
April 5, 2013 11:07 am
You say Egypt, Syria and Iraq are far ahead of Pakistan. Well, Egypt has been in decline since the Islamic invasion of that country. Its biggest revenue generator today is tourism which essentially comprises of marvelous structures/ monuments built by infidels. Iraq has 10% of world's oil reserves and a tiny population. Syria I don't think has done well so far, lately it is doing far worse. Perhaps, you think that if you start speaking Arabic, lots of oil will start flowing below the ground under your feet.
Humanoid
April 5, 2013 11:22 am
Excellent comment. It seems history of ottoman empire is repeating in Pakistan.
abbastoronto
April 5, 2013 12:03 pm
Paks will find living in any other "Muslim" country burdensome as all are at least 200 years behind in freedom of thought.
Hindu
April 5, 2013 12:55 pm
Mr Parcha : substitute Chinese for Pakistan , Confucianism for Islam , Mao for Jinnah+Zia+Bhutto , Tibetans and Muslim Xinjinanese for Hindus + Christian + Ahmediya and your analysis applies to China too. Fanatical dictatorships ruling over ignorant masses fed on supposed historical and genetic superiority will produce mainly North Korea , Zimbabwe , Pakistan but also a Nazi Germany and China . WW III is not far away .
hyderphd74
April 5, 2013 1:27 pm
Since the comment was too long and rather confusing, Dawn's editors did not read it and just sent for publication. What a waste of Dawn's space !! When state creeps into religion, religion dies. When religion creeps into state, that is the demise of the state. The only way the two can survive is to stay separate.
pak_pop
April 5, 2013 1:37 pm
I fell off my chair reading this, :). Do you really mean this "100% Arabization is a must if we are to be a successful Islamic country" or are you just kidding? So we should forget thousands of years of history and become Arabs...hahaha.
amir
April 5, 2013 1:59 pm
"64 per cent of the interviewed males and 75 per cent of the women described themselves to be as being conservative/religious." I have only three words for you....SUCK IT UP
pak_pop
April 5, 2013 2:03 pm
"Ottoman Empire technologically at par with Western counterparts", really? So what about "sick man of Europe"? Of course, that decline only started after they abandoned their Islamic foundations, right? If Pakistan was weakened by absence of Islam, then we should be seeing a much more strengthened Pakistan now that Islam is the dominant thought. But of course, "real Islam" (whatever that is) has not yet been implemented in Pakistan. "Karachi presents itself as a blackhole of liberal strife", anything that is not overtly Islamic does not automatically qualify as liberal. I don't think the criminals elements in Karachi are liberal :). "today liberals are busy in pushing Islam away from national narrative" yes, may be because it feels as if Islam is being pushed down people's throats.
Karachi Wala
April 5, 2013 2:08 pm
NFP this time your blog was a bit late and I was wondering what were you up to and now I know. Via your columns and blogs, you always play a whirlwind inning and send the ball to the boundary or over the boundary. This time you have hit it out of the park, and into the orbit. Well done....
Karachi Wala
April 5, 2013 2:23 pm
@ Rashid Markan, please do not pay mind to your criticss. I am sure, you are being "sarcastic".
haris
April 5, 2013 2:46 pm
FYI! Objective Resolution is not a part of our Constitution. It is phrased as an Appendix which itself has no importance at all. Read the constitution
haris
April 5, 2013 2:47 pm
continued... This eventually means, Pakistan isn't an Islamic State at all.
haris
April 5, 2013 2:54 pm
@ruffeek: Following is a list of Conservative Coalitions/Parties in Western World. This is just a list and if you want to learn further details then read their manifesto; --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Conservatism_in_Europe IMO, It is not inhuman to be a conservative and there is a significant difference between Conservatism and Extremism.
SleepingPaki
April 5, 2013 2:55 pm
And the Europeans would not have come out of dark ages if it was not for Muslim Arab scientists whose innovations kept the world enlightened.
haris
April 5, 2013 3:01 pm
It may seems history of Ottoman Turks is repeating itself in Pakistan. In my opinion, to resolve the matter we should again look on the Turkish model of how to become progressive again.
Tahir Alam
April 5, 2013 3:06 pm
@Inzimam Great analysis
muhammad
April 5, 2013 3:13 pm
Mr. Rashid, I think you are making mockery of Arabic and Islam rather I am sure that you are just joking otherwise no sane person talk like you or either your understanding of Islam is very limited, which revolves around beard and burqa only. Please enhance your understanding of Islam before commenting on such issues
SleepingPaki
April 5, 2013 3:16 pm
who said they are bad??? I think Americans are in advance discussions with these bad people.
SleepingPaki
April 5, 2013 3:19 pm
Oh yes. true I got more conservative since moving to UK. West opened my eyes and I could see your hollow slogans of liberalasim...so I have decided to move back to Pakistan and educate the people like yourself of not get to carried away with liberal slogans.
AHA
April 5, 2013 3:41 pm
It is more like 500 years, but I agree with the substance of what you are saying. And you probably know this first hand because you live in Toronto.
Zed
April 5, 2013 4:28 pm
I really don't understand whats the problem here, The basic problem in Pakistan is leadership be it corrupt or whatever. i think the hadith of the prophet (Peace be upon him) is "your leaders will be a reflection of you" Unless as people there is a change in attitude and thought coupled with education nothing is going to change whether you follow the Islamic system, capitalism or socialism. This cycle will continue of choosing the Rot and the decomposition will continue and this stink of decomposition will continue to spread its perfume all over. Oh and to the people who aren't in Pakistan and comment about the things here, you are not here you have no right to comment. Deal with things here then come and talk about it.
Ganesh (Indian
April 5, 2013 4:40 pm
If one closely analyzes Pakisthan's economy is already intermeshed with international economy. Only worrying thing is the kind of 'services' and 'trade' that are being sold and traded with rest of world by Pakisthan
aamir
April 5, 2013 4:42 pm
pakistan geographic boundries are just limiting a state ,but as a whole it is the part of greater slamic world which will reunite in coming years
ExPakistani
April 5, 2013 4:52 pm
How do you know if your Zakat money was not used for political purpose?
Zafar Abbas (@Zafar_A)
April 5, 2013 5:18 pm
Great, Moudoodi was against creation of pakistan but created the term Pakistan Ideology. Bhutto did what every politician of this country does to save his chair. Wish people learn to make the rule of law supreme. I wish you had admitted that in spite of your sympathies with PPP. Muslim in sub continent has not yet completed the decaying process that started with Moghuls so still its a hopeless situation.
babu
April 5, 2013 5:52 pm
and the arabs learned from indians ,mathematics and science
KCJones
April 5, 2013 5:57 pm
Ladies and Gentlemen - now this is how you troll! Bravo Rashid!
El Cid
April 5, 2013 6:50 pm
Excellent response.
Zobia
April 5, 2013 7:04 pm
Same thing I said on the other article, but the British Council's poll failed hard. Non-muslims and Muslims alike don't understand what Sharia is. Shariah is a system of LAW (common law), not a political system. Also, Shariah promotes Shura, consultation, which is basically Democracy anyway. The American legal system is a lot more similar to Shariah than the bastardised “Shariah” in Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia. I’m happy young people view Shariah positively but perhaps they need to learn what Shariah actually is: http://partytilfajr.tumblr.com/index As for secularism, you cannot separate Islam and politics. Why? Because politics is about appealing to the population, and the population likes Islam. If you want to separate Islam and governmental institutions, that's something different entirely. Historically, Islam only featured in the judicial side of things. The people we think of as "Scholars" were actually lawyers (that's how they made money) and they functioned in the legal system of Sharia. The government did not control anything to do with religion (i.e no Hijab bans or mandatory Hijab; no regulation of when mosques should open/close etc.) and Islam did not control the government. Secular doesn't mean Western. Sharia is a powerful and flexible system of law. If we apply it correctly, Pakistan would become much better than it is today. If abused, we could end up with the mess that is Saudi Arabia’s legal system. I wish more people would LEARN about Sharia instead of blindly following their parents.
A Pakistani
April 5, 2013 7:22 pm
I think we are in big trouble. We couldn't shrug off the 'Maulvies" of the previous generation and now the new generation !. We are turning Pakistan into Afghanistan !.
Sikander
April 5, 2013 7:23 pm
Fahad, excellent reply!!!
A Pakistani
April 5, 2013 7:23 pm
Pakistan bana Islam kay naam par .......... kon sa Islam .........Wahabi, barelvi , Shiaa,.............?
abbastoronto
April 5, 2013 7:33 pm
Europeans did benefit from the Muslim discoveries, in medicine, optics, mechanics just as we are by their discoveries. However, Europe took a wrong turn towards Corporate Capitalism and Democracy rather than Islam.
Rashid markan
April 5, 2013 7:48 pm
No I am not joking. I am serious. The example is there before us in Egypt for example which is far ahead of us. They only speak Arabic and are fully Arabs. This does not mean they have forgotten their pre-islamic past because it fetches them tourist dollars.
Riaz
April 5, 2013 7:54 pm
It did not happen in Turkey, it happened in ottoman empire, please read carefully. The great Mustapha Kimal, a liberal secularist and a military genius, defeated the combined imperial nations of the west with his iron will, rescued Turkey from the ruins of the Ottoman empire and snatched it right from the jaws of the colonizers. He modernized Turkey by making it a secular republic where mullahs have little or no say. It is the only modern Muslim country, with modern industrial economy reaching one trillion dollars. Turkey has mosques in every street corner and every shopping mall where men and women offer their prayers even during shopping. The mullah does his job, but he cannot poke his nose in political affairs. He is approved by the state and paid a salary.
Iqbal
April 5, 2013 8:22 pm
yeah... then why it's name is "Islamic Republic of Pakistan"?
Almanaar
April 5, 2013 8:55 pm
NFP claims that 1940 resolution didn't ask for separate Muslim states.. however it calls for the creation of 'independent states' for Muslims in British India.
hyderphd74
April 5, 2013 9:22 pm
Excellent comment Mr. Riaz. Excellent and very true. The problem is FAITH beats out every one. There is nothing basically wrong with any religion as long as it is confined to oneself. Problem arises when one starts to propagate his/her ideas and understanding of religion to others by force and coerce them to follow his/her path or die. THERE IS NO COMPULSION IN RELIGION. When will our Mullahs understand that? Probably never. It will take away from them the power to fool and incite people so as to please the Mullah's deviant philosophy. Most of the proponents of religion have either no or very little knowledge beyond their small sphere of "expertise". Any failures of the nation is promptly blamed upon the people not following the religion. If religion is left alone to be practiced by the individual as he/she believes and not poke nose in others affairs, religious bigotry will cease to exist. What ever one does one will be answerable for it. I will not be held responsible for the deed of any one else, nor will any one else be punished for my misdeeds. It is as simple as that. Why can't we understand that?
Capt C M Khan
April 5, 2013 10:20 pm
@SleepingPaki...kindly keep sleeping Pakistan has enough Suaid /Irani Sponsored Tableegies...Harre pagree...Sufaid Pagree...Laal Pagree...Kalli Pagree...we donot want your education. "Teach Respecting other unprivelliged Humans unlike you" which is the foundation of Islam and may Allah may grant you Jannat.
Gunjan
April 5, 2013 10:27 pm
I agree. I didn't know a literal translation can get thumbs down here either. Oh well!
khatun
April 5, 2013 10:43 pm
History of pakistan began in 1947 and ended in 1971.
Nizar Somani
April 5, 2013 11:04 pm
Great historical analysis! but its very hard to predict the future in this age of uncertainty, economic crisis, technology and threat of WW.
Abul Khan
April 5, 2013 11:36 pm
While you are quite right about the support Jinnah and his League had from the Muslim middle and upper classes, you forgot to mention that the entire UPPER leadership from Jinnah down consisted of rich and influential muslim elites who had virtually no contact with the Muslim "jhugiwala" masses living in villages and shanty towns. Congressional leaders on the other hand came from all strata of Hindu society and widely mingled with very poor starving Hindu masses and had their support. So perhaps, the "ideaology" of Pakistan was not so much to protect ALL classes of Muslims from "imagined" Hhindu domination but to prtotect the perks of the Muslim Nabobs and Feudal lords that expected to lose their birthright to rule and plunder....so what you sow is what you harvest; today Pakistan is led by the same money grabbing landed elites with virtually no sane middle class Muslim leader around let alone a lower class one....
Saif
April 6, 2013 2:04 am
@SleepingPaki.....and so will drones and ICBMs ("will come to Pakistan").
Sucha Pehlwan
April 6, 2013 2:06 am
And we should import holy sand and kill everything (so as to make it holy desert) and then even kill ourselves as our DNA is not Arab (remember Allah Talah is all powerfull you fool and HE knows all and knows you even before you were born and HE cannot be fooled by someone who merely acts, speaks and dresses as an Arab. Real Arabs will then have to be imported along with their desert and they will then use the Pakistani soil to clean their asses after they have shitted on Pakistani soil and live happily ever-after or until they blow themselves and their camels up fighting each other.
Pat
April 6, 2013 2:31 am
Paracha is a biased. He said there was no mention of separate Muslim state in 1940. What non sence.
Sumit
April 6, 2013 2:33 am
Of course Markan is being sarcastic! And he must be laughing his head off looking at the responses to his comment. Markan's an Indian.
Sumit
April 6, 2013 2:39 am
Mr Riaz makes sense - but where is AbbasToronto to contradict him?
Black Widow
April 6, 2013 3:17 am
NFP is a liar liar, whose pants are always on fire ! Cuz sadly he cannot undo anything now ! Instead of whining and crying every then and now ! Sorry NFP ! Insha Allah this percentage will further increase !
Janzeb
April 6, 2013 3:58 am
Stay asleep!
Janzeb
April 6, 2013 4:03 am
This is not Arabistan. We stole this from Hindus and especially Sikhs. Imagine kicking out damn Arabs from Mecca and Medina? Just because our ancestors embrace Islam, it does not mean we need to follow Arabs.
abbastoronto
April 6, 2013 4:45 am
Agreed. Which other Muslim land has produced Iqbal, Jinnah, Faiz, Egbal Ahmed, Tariq Ali, Bhuttos, Malala et al? Even those from 5 times larger India seem rather lost when you talk to them here mano a mano.
beg
April 6, 2013 4:56 am
nauman have a CT scan of your head and measure the size of your brain
Mohan Menon
April 6, 2013 5:41 am
Mullah Abbas Toronto, Your enlightment need to be imparted to fellow pakis.btw what are you doing in toronto instead of being in the land of pure????
ranganath
April 6, 2013 6:00 am
@Markan. Seriously, to be 100% Arab, you need to strike oil. Start digging! Dig?
Gary
April 6, 2013 6:11 am
I bet sarcasm is unislamic!
ranganath
April 6, 2013 6:14 am
Hmmm, Zaid Z Hamid with a pesudo name.
abhi
April 6, 2013 7:02 am
it is better for you to remain a proud Pakistani than becoming fake Arab. The country you mentioned are almost failed states.
Nauman
April 6, 2013 9:25 am
Oh! it hurt, did it?
Ram Krishan Sharma
April 6, 2013 10:06 am
Abdul Khan , you are quite right . Land reformation in India started way back in 1950 when all rajas , maharajas and Nawabs lost their palaces and their land holdings were distributed to have not farmers . Pakistan is far behind in this respect but do not forget that corruption is rampant in both countries.
Nauman
April 6, 2013 10:18 am
And as an example setter, would you return to this Laboratory with your family and face the ground realities instead of sitting high up in the Ivory Tower and looking at things with a birds eye view only? Sorry to ask you, if for arguments sake.a beloved of your family fell victim of this system elimination process, would you take it so easily in your stride?
hassan
April 6, 2013 11:47 am
After fourteen centuries of craving for sharia,we muslims are yet to come across a country or a state in our ISLAMIC history that can qualify as a precedence of correct implementational apparatus of sharia. History being a witness to the fact that many of the sharia injunctions have been floated at the behest of despotic muslim rulers ( belonging to ummayad, abbasid and many more dynasties) simply to subdue their subjects into complete submission(dare someone defy a GOD-CHOSEN ruler), sharia system has its lacunae.. its time we start some serious researching into our islamic history and its jurisprudence and do away with the cliche of DEEN ME SOCHNA NAHE CHAHEYAY.. The voilence & bloodletting in the name of sharia wieghs heavily against the positive aspects of it. Either the sharia has failed us or we have failed it for quite long now, in either case its logical end is be to come up with a more acceptable,rational & tolerant system for our state..
AHA
April 6, 2013 12:13 pm
SleepingPaki, You are absolutely correct. The early day Islam encouraged freedom of thought. The Arabs learnt from the ancient Greek and Indian texts. No knowledge was taboo. After all, weren't we supposed to 'seek knowledge even if we had to go to China'. But all that came before Imam Ghazali. After that, all we have seem is downfall of intellect. And it is now our aggressive and violent discouragement of freedom of thought and seeking of knowledge that has let us down. Are we 1.3 billion Muslims even following Islam?
Sayed Qazi M.D.
April 6, 2013 4:29 pm
"The Western Transmutation,once it got well underway,could neither be paralleled independently nor be borrowed wholesale.Yet it could not,in most cases,be escaped.The millennial parity broke down,with results that were disastrous almost everywhere."(Marshall G.S. Hodgson:Rethinking World History,essays on Europe,Islam and world history). Europe paid the price of modernity with spiritual atheism.It accepted this price and lives comfortably with it.Many Muslims everywhere,not only in Pakistan, have de facto accepted this price as well.Whereas such people can live comfortably in the West however they don't have enough moral courage to declare this openly in majority muslim countries.The problem stems from the dilemma they face when in privacy defacto or dejure atheism exists and is accepted but in public the opposite is to be upheld and professed.By the way this malady is not limited to "non religious" circles,the maulvi or 'religious circle' is equally affected by this;functional atheism - the change in Worldview from traditional to materialist being present in almost every sphere. Benedict Anderson's masterpiece"Imagined Communities" would be of immense value to understand ideologies/nationalism.
AHA
April 6, 2013 5:13 pm
We are becoming brutal, we are losing human values and we certainly have lost our ability to think. Taking the next step, i.e., declaring that we are full Arabs, should not be a big thing now.
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