Alert Sign Dear reader, online ads enable us to deliver the journalism you value. Please support us by taking a moment to turn off Adblock on

Alert Sign Dear reader, please upgrade to the latest version of IE to have a better reading experience


Whose ideology is it anyway?


Your Name:

Recipient Email:

Photo courtesy: Creative Commons

The following is what Sindhi nationalist leader and scholar, G.M. Syed, said about Pakistan’s future – and mind you, he said this way back in the summer of 1953: “In the years to come, Pakistan will not only become a problem for itself, but it will pose a danger to the world at large.”

Now how prophetic is that? Very. However, he was not the only one in those days casting a pessimistic shadow across the possible future of the newly-founded country. Those who agreed with Syed were were various Bengali and Baloch nationalists along with Pakhtun nationalist icon, Bacha Khan.

So what exactly were they reacting to? The answer to this question is quite simple and it is the answer to this that between 1947 and at least up until the late 1980s, it made an assortment of military dictators, politicians, ideologues and even some intellectuals denounce men like G M. Syed and Bacha Khan as traitors.

Very early on such Sindhi, Pakhtun, Baloch and Bengali nationalists and thinkers had started to raise an alarm about the cosmetic nature of what was beginning to be devised by the state as ‘Pakistan’s ideology.’

Starting with the 1949 Objectives Resolution, which for the first time introduced religion as a binding force for the young nation, men like Syed and other ethnic-nationalist icons correctly saw through the beginnings of a process which they feared the ruling elite would try to bulldoze an awkward reality with an invented illusion.

The awkward reality that was to be suppressed had to do with the fact that Pakistan was not exactly a single nation with a single language. It was a diverse country with multiple ethnicities, religions and sects. Each one of these had their own literature, language, culture and interpretation of faith, society and history.

The invented illusion in this respect was a monolithic, state-sponsored strain of faith that was to be imposed over ethnic and sectarian diversities described as dangerous cleavages by the state.

Logically speaking, constructing state-level unity out of this diversity should have been attained by providing a generous degree of democratic autonomy to the provinces. But instead of taking the logical democratic route in this context, the ruling elite began seeing this diversity as an existentialist and political threat to the country.


It is interesting to note that there is little or no evidence to suggest that there was ever a concrete plan to immediately turn Pakistan into an Islamic state.

However, when agitation by Bengali nationalists in former East Pakistan over the issue of making Urdu the national language broke out, this suddenly triggered the government to officially introduce certain theocratic concepts in the 1949 Objectives Resolution.

Even though these were no more than an eye-wash and the Pakistani leadership and society remained largely secular in orientation, but men like GM Syed and Bacha Khan were quick to sight a dangerous trend. To them the ruling elite was now willing to use religion to suppress ethnic aspirations.

The state and the ‘establishment’ of Pakistan painstakingly constructed this supposed ideology, so much so that (ever since the 1980s) it eventually started being used by intelligence agencies, certain politico-religious parties, and media personnel to actually justify the folly of the Pakistan state and military for patronising brutal Islamist organisations.


But whose ideology is it, anyway?

Until about the late 1960s it was normal to suggest that Pakistan as an idea was carved out as a country for the Muslims of the subcontinent who were largely seen (by Jinnah), as a distinct cultural set of Indians whose political and cultural distinctiveness might have been compromised in a post-colonial ‘Hindu-dominated’ set-up.

As Jinnah went about explaining his vision of what Pakistan was supposed to mean, there are no doubts about the historical validity of the notion that he imagined the new country as a cultural haven for the Muslims of the subcontinent where the state and religion would remain separate, driven by a form of modern democracy that incorporated the egalitarian concepts of Islam such as charity, equality and interfaith tolerance.

According to Professor Aysha Jalal, Jinnah’s view of Islamic activism in the subcontinent was akin to him fearing that Islamic zealots would harm the national cause.

However, in spite of the fact that a number of speeches by Jinnah can be quoted in which he is heard envisioning Pakistan as a progressive and non-theocratic Muslim state, there are, at the same time, examples of speeches by the same man (especially in the Punjab and the former NWFP), where he actually uses terms like Shariah and Islamic state.

No matter how intense the debate between those who saw him as a secular, liberal Muslim and those who claim that he was okay with the idea of Pakistan being turned into a theocratic state, the truth is, we might never really know exactly what it was that Jinnah actually stood for.


Jinnah’s death in 1948 reduced his party the Muslim League from being a dynamic organisation of visionary action, into a rag-tag group of self-serving politicians.

Gone too was the party’s ability to bring into policy the modernist aspects of Jinnah’s otherwise rather woolly vision. The idea of a progressive Muslim country got increasingly muddled and shouted down by the once anti-Pakistan Islamic forces.

The Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) went on a rampage in 1953 in Lahore, hungrily overseeing the country’s first major anti-Ahmadi riots. By now, the famous speech by Jinnah in which he underlined the idea of religious freedom in the new country was conveniently forgotten as the ruling elite grappled confusingly with the crises.

Eventually, it caved in to the demands of the handful of vocal Islamic leaders by officially declaring the country as an ‘Islamic Republic’ in the 1956 Constitution.

It was classic ostrich behaviour; the sort a number of Pakistani leaders have continued to demonstrate whenever faced with the question of Pakistan and its relationship to politicised faith.

In 1956, misunderstanding Islamist activism as mere emotionalism, the ruling elite gave the Islamists a bone to play with, without bothering to explain to the rest of the people exactly what an Islamic Republic really meant in the Pakistani context – a country comprising of a number of ethnicities, ‘minority religions,’ and distinct Islamic sects.

Democracy in this case should have been a natural answer. But for the Islamists, democracy meant the emergence of ethnic and religious plurality that would encourage secular politics and further undermine the new-found notion of the Islam-centric Pakistani nationhood. _______________________________

But was democracy really the answer to such a dilemma? After all, the second major step towards the widespread Islamisation of politics and society was actually taken during a democratically-elected left-liberal regime in the 1970s.

Stung and confused by the separation of the former East Pakistan and witnessing the collapse of Jinnah’s ‘Two-nation theory,’ the Z.A. Bhutto regime set about putting into practice the idea of socio-political and economic regeneration.

This idea saw the regime trying to synthesise socialist and nationalist populism with political Islam.

In 1973, the government invited a number of nationalist intellectuals and Islamic scholars for a conference in Islamabad, asking them to thrash out a more defined and well-rounded version of Pakistan’s ideology that would help the state and the government in salvaging the country’s lost pride (after the 1971 defeat in East Pakistan) and also help it keep whatever that was left of Pakistan, intact.

By the end of the conference, both secular and Islamic intellectuals concluded that Islam should clearly be defined as the core thought in the constitution and polity of Pakistan.  Recommendations were made to promote this core idea through the state-owned media, school text books and government policies.

Pakistan was renamed as the Islamic Republic of Pakistan in the 1973 constitution while in 1974 the Bhutto regime (on the insistence of the religious parties), outlawed the Ahmadies as an Islamic sect.

Furthermore, although the government and society (until about 1977) remained largely secular and modernist, the idea of an Islamic state put forward by a government-sponsored conference ironically turned into a rallying cry for religious parties during their 1977 movement against Bhutto.

While Bhutto (like Anwar Sadat of Egypt) was busy taking to task his largely exaggerated communist, far-left and ethnic opponents, religious parties who had been sidelined after the 1970 elections began filling the political and social vacuum created by Bhutto’s strong-arm tactics against leftist student and trade unions and Baloch and Pakhtun nationalists.

Again very much like Sadat, some historians also maintain that Bhutto was allowed the mushrooming of Islamist student groups on campuses to subdue his opponents on the left.

The result? After badly shaken by the Islamist resurgence he himself had (albeit indirectly) set into motion, he was heckled all the way to the gallows by the very forces he had tried to appease.

Ziaul Haq and his reactionary regime that is correctly blamed for finally turning the Pakistani society and politics on its head with his controversial laws and acts in the name of faith, was really just a symptom of what that 1973 conference had suggested as an ideology.


Many years and follies later, and in the midst of unprecedented violence being perpetrated in the name of Islam, Pakistanis today stand more confused and flabbergasted than ever before.

The seeds of the ideological schizophrenia sowed by the 1956 proclamation followed by the disastrous doings of the Ziaul Haq dictatorship in the 1980s, have now grown into a crooked tree that only bares delusions and denials as fruit.

As Islamic parties and reactionary journalists continue to use the flimsy historical narrative of Pakistan’s Islamic state-ism – and consciously burying the harrowing truth behind the chaos the so-called ‘Islamic ideology of Pakistan’ has managed to create – a whole generation is growing up to this cosmetic ideological narrative.

This narrative has continued to alienate not only religious minorities and various ethnicities (mainly Sindhi, Baloch and now even the ‘mohajirs),  it has created intolerance within various Muslim sects as well.

Recent examples in this respect is the way many puritanical Sunni Islamic groups reacted to conservative political leader Mian Nawaz Sharif’s statement sympathising with the plight of the Ahmadis.

In fact, even when the political leaders of all Muslim sects living in Pakistan do get together for a political cause, the state-constructed and all-encompassing Islamic narrative fails to mend the cracks present between the sects.

For example, during the 1977 movement of religious parties against Bhutto, leaders of these parties refused to pray behind one another during a break at a press conference at the Karachi Press Club.

Recently, during a rally against amendments against the Blasphemy Law, though Barelvi, Deobandi, Ahel-e-Hadith and Shia leaders joined hands, there were reports that Shia speakers were heckled by the supporters of radical Sunni groups. In addition, one of Pakistan’s foremost Islamic scholars, Javed Ahmed Ghamdi, has quietly flown out of the country in a self-imposed exile.

Ghamdi was facing a number of threats from certain puritanical Islamic groups.

His sin? He stood out as a mainstream Islamic scholar who was willing to bank on reason and a modern interpretive take on the holy book, eschewing the myopic literalism of the puritanical groups and of political Islam.

In other words, it seems the so-called Islam-centric ideology of Pakistan that began as a modernist and reformist project, has gradually regressed to such an extent that even the idea of having an informed debate on the subject of faith has become a taboo.

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

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.

DAWN_VIDEO - /1029551/DAWN-RM-1x1

Author Image

Nadeem F. Paracha is a cultural critic and senior columnist for Dawn Newspaper and He is also the author of two books on the social history of Pakistan, End of the Past and The Pakistan Anti-Hero.

He tweets @NadeemfParacha

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

Comments (120) Closed

faisal Feb 09, 2011 08:36am
God bless you man.
Saad Feb 09, 2011 04:11pm
Advocating Urdu as a national language was a mistake,and I agree with you on that. Quoting "Musalman musibat mein ghabrata nahin hai" is out of context and undermines your argument. Please be clear. Again let us not forget that Jinnah was a human not a God, and hence like all humans was prone to errors. It's remarkable still that most of his actions were indeed correct, considering the volatility of the pre & post partition era. It were those achievements that makes him a visionary! Ironically there are many mistakes committed by Mr Nehru, but still I would regard him as one of the great leaders of sub continent.
R S Feb 09, 2011 03:08pm
Dear NFP, As one of common Indian citizens, what we sometimes are skeptical of stems from the following part of your commentary: "Eventually, it caved in to the demands of the handful of vocal Islamic leaders by officially declaring the country as an
A.Bajwa Feb 12, 2011 08:16pm
If Pakistan has progressed steadily on the democratic path, and ensured an equitable federalism, things would not have as bad.
kamaljit Singh Feb 12, 2011 10:41pm
we should not compare India and Pakistan or Gandhi and Jinnah. Wrong is wrong , who soever does it. Bengalis were not given their due recognition. Later this notion seeped into the Pak generals who mistreated Bengalis due to their language and dress. They did not look towards middle east for their muslim identity. They do not try to prove more Arab than the Arab, They have no complex to prove to be better muslim.
Saad Feb 09, 2011 04:54pm
Just like my own words proping out of my mouth, but then NFP is great to put them into written form and let the hundereds of thousands read them. I'm just wondering as to how to help you get this all across all the country so they can understand. So my people can understand that our diversity is our streangth and not our weakness. That we are Pakistanis because we are Sindhi, Pakhtoon, Baloch and Punjabis, that this country is a country for the muslims of sub-continent but not a theocratic islamic republic and that the religious fanatics claiming to be thw owners and savors of this country opposed her creation and are now taking her to a total disasster.
Suyash Feb 09, 2011 08:51am
Dear NFP, I am a regular follower of your blog and a great admirer of your clear thoughts and crisp analysis. Gives a great insight of pakistan. Very few such avenues are available for an outsider like me. Thank you.
TariqKSami Feb 12, 2011 10:21pm
To understand Pakistan you have to look at Shahid Afridi. He is not perfect but he has passion. Now Pakistan is here because you are there! Simple as that. To make the long story short just think : who are the 2 biggest rivals in the World Cup Cricket.
saad Feb 09, 2011 02:33pm
thats the whole point, that whatever Jinnah wanted Pakistan to be has gone down and the rulers who came after him completely changed the idea of Pakistan
S.A. Ahmed Feb 09, 2011 09:30am
It is really sad to see scholars like Ghamdi who can make a difference are being hounded out of the country by the intolerant zealots. We need more sane and progressive voices to speak out and take a stand but "Jaan Sab Ko Pyari Hai". Where do we go from here?
samyak gowda Feb 09, 2011 09:49am
"As Jinnah went about explaining his vision of what Pakistan was supposed to mean, there are no doubts about the historical validity of the notion that he imagined the new country as a cultural haven for the Muslims of the subcontinent where the state and religion would remain separate, driven by a form of modern democracy that incorporated the egalitarian concepts of Islam such as charity, equality and interfaith tolerance." This is funny. All the above factors that you claim Jinnah quoted as the reasons for creating Pakistan are available in India, more than they are in Pakistan. Why are charity, equality and interfaith tolerance islamic concepts? In fact anybody will agree that a polytheistic religion by definition is tolerant. Charity is a human concept. Interfaith tolerance is exemplified in India which has thousands of ways to god (you must read about Basavanna, Din-elahi, Acharyas among many others) and has given birth to three more religions (Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism) peacefully.
Mahrukh Husain Feb 09, 2011 10:03am
This is so true. Due to a lack of foresight on behalf of the ruling elite over the past few decades, we have regressed to a point where you run the risk of getting shot at if you so much as utter even a few syllables in favor of having an informed debate on religion and its practices. However, the question remains... will we ever get out of this quagmire?
Samyak Gowda Feb 12, 2011 09:59am
Hindi is NOT acceptable to India. believe me, the day one tries to enforce Hindi, this country will break up. I will lead one such separation. To us South Indians, Hindi is inferior to our languages, it's hardly as old as our languages (lacks history) are and it borrows heavily from Arabic and Persian and it doesn't even have its own script. To us South indians, hindi is like the great grandson of all our languages.
Tim Feb 09, 2011 10:12am
Sad reading its such an irony that even after 63 years of inception of Pakistan,we are not clear as to why it was created? There is so much smoke and ambiguity and the more we analyze history, the more we get confused. It seems that there was never a clear agenda. Simultaneously, future looks pretty uncertain. A true but bitter article.
kapil Feb 09, 2011 10:27am
i forgot to mention that the congress agreed to two nation theory first before the english.
rationalist Feb 09, 2011 10:24am
An utter sense of hopelessness - that is what I read in every NFP article. Sure, he wants to drive key messages into the heads of larger and larger number of people, and turn the tide. And I am fully on board on the message itself. But I wonder if it is possible to make some predictions. Will Pakistan keep collapsing, and turn into a black hole of ignorance and extreme religiosity? Or, will democracy gradually take root, faltering now and them, seemingly in an endless cycle of crisis and despondency that India went through for decades, and continues even now? I hope it is the latter. Maybe the situation is not so hopeless anyway.
kapil Feb 09, 2011 10:26am
This is pure absursity, have no doubts. Jinnah and the leaugue wanted a seperate state for muslims and the english had repetedly over ruled it. But for the heartless direct action day that had millions dead, the british would have never submitted to the two nation theory.
Samyak Gowda Feb 12, 2011 09:48am
Samyak Gowda Feb 12, 2011 09:51am
You missed the point. If everything was available in India, what was the need for pakistan? Think. It's for nothing but power. POWER that's been misused for 60 years.
A Chowdhury Feb 09, 2011 11:09am
There is a zombie out there ... by that I mean the mullahs have infected the society with suicide bombers and zealots who are nothing but zombies !!
sharma Feb 09, 2011 11:24am
The despondency in India regarding democracy was only expressed once when Indira Gandhi imposed emergency. Indian people responded bravely and now no one can fiddle with our democracy . The greatest challenge to democracy in Pakistan is fedual system which does not seem to be amnable to change as of yet.
Bill Feb 09, 2011 11:28am
Hi Nadeem, Nice piece of facts, i will track your articles in future. Always interested in history as it shapes today. Cheers.
zeeshan Feb 09, 2011 11:52am
paracha...i wonder what purpose you serve by spreading so much pessimism and hopelessness through your writings? bashing the very roots of the country you live in all the time... i have been to india more than once and believe me life for ordinary citizen here in Pakistan is way much better than any middle and lower middle class citizens in india can wish for. Minus the political failures this country has thrived tremendously since its birth in every walk of life.. GM syed and bacha khan's ideology is better understood by the people who followed their ideologies for 50 years and they see hope at the end of the tunnel .
Saad Feb 09, 2011 04:14pm
The remedy is stability! Stability will bring economic growth, which in turn will allow the society to be more civil and hence liberal. Overnight changes won't and can never yield these results. The article may be labelled as pessimistic but in my opinion it gives a true picture of the realities that Pakistan has been through. Learning from our mistakes and educating our people about these is the only way to avoid making them again in the future.
G. Din Feb 11, 2011 02:46pm
"British Raj ( a collection of states, conquered by Muslims and consolidated by the British )" This convenient myopia is an ailment practically all Muslims suffer from. So, there was no India BEFORE the conquest by Muslims, no empires, kingdoms at all? According to Muslims, Palestine is a Muslim land. What was there before Muslims occupied it. Get rid of this notion that history starts from the instant Muslims touch it.
Indian Feb 11, 2011 12:20am
Dear Saif, we indians do not need to proove or disproove Two nation theory. This theory has already failed as Bangladesh gained independence proving that religion cannot be the sole basis for existence of a country.I dont intend to lecture you but stop living in make believe world for your own sake!
Jawwad Feb 09, 2011 04:17pm
Amazing work boy. This is epic. Now that's called journalism as opposed to several newscasters we see on TV. I truly admire your work. I had known all this (our history) all along but I hope it is an eye opener for other misguided ones.
samyak gowda Feb 09, 2011 09:59am
Amjad Wyne Feb 09, 2011 01:24pm
Why should anyone listen to a lobster known to change its color the moment it finds itself in hot water.
Nasrullah Khan Feb 09, 2011 04:26pm
Dear Zeeshan, I too travel to India. Firstly there is no need to compare us with India all the time. NFP presents a logical analysis of his thinking as to why we are in the state we are in. Secondly your statement re India is misleading and subjective.
PSPUVACHA Feb 09, 2011 12:09pm
NFP,, you're an amazing guy!! But you must make some conscious efforts to get your message across the to masses who are the ones being shephered by the religious parties because as you can see most people on this forum totally agree with your point of view.. but the people on this forum on are in minority and they cant do much.. wait a minute .. on the other hand may be they just might ignite a spark which can lead to a revolution like it happened in tunisia or egypt.. eitiher way.. keep your good work up.. and you never know one day your voice might actually might be heard all the best
Syed Amir Naqvi Feb 09, 2011 02:52pm
Thank you for the courage to express enlightened views that are so correct, but few would dare to openly support them.
Nasrullah Khan Feb 09, 2011 04:31pm
Dear Observer, Please observe some more. The confusion is with you.
Lobster Feb 09, 2011 12:23pm
"i have been to india more than once and believe me life for ordinary citizen here in Pakistan is way much better than any middle and lower middle class citizens in india can wish for." Why should anybody believe anything you say?
Janjua Feb 09, 2011 02:55pm
Jinnah's first preference was to live peacefully in United India with Hindu's and others but the obstinate behavior of the then Hindu leaders forced him to call for a separate country for Muslims in the areas where Muslims were in Majority. For further detail please see the book on Jinnah written by Jaswant Singh, Ex-Foreign Minister of India.
jordan Feb 09, 2011 03:13pm
NFP, i am sad by your writings. They make no sense and instill a sense of failure among the young people. Sure, our country has problems. but then again which country doesnt. Do you see other people bashing agaisnt their country. The answer is no. As for Bacha khan and GM syed, donot confuse their comments with the current situation and do not use their comments to explain the current situation. Those people were pro nationalistic anti Pakistan leaders who would go to any length to defame Pakistan and hurt its cause.
Muhammad Feb 11, 2011 01:53pm
I disagree with your point regarding URDU. The use of Urdu throughout Pakistan and even in today's India confirm the fact that Mr. Jinnah was a great visionary. What do you think about the language you use in your so-called hindi movies it is URDU and nothing and if you want to hear hindi you should switch on "Dordarshan" I bet most of Indians would fail to understand the language which is being used in "Dordarshan" which is infact is hindi
kishor prasad Feb 09, 2011 04:41pm
I am regular reader of blog man.U have great thinking and facts in support of it.
Raoul Feb 09, 2011 03:41pm
I agree with the analysis. i don't agree with the conclusion of hopelessness .Civil society in Pakistan is not yet rising to reclaim "civility", but there is eevery reason to believe there are a bunch of people who have started rethinking the following - we need to hate "the other" and the west to have an identity? Not necessarily. 2.Do we need to ask no questions of the govt or MNAs and accept the army HQ as sacrosanct for policy making? Probably now pinch of salt is taken and people are doubting. 3.can Pakistanis hope? yes, because hope is the bedrock of being human and of any faith. I think give this struggling democracy 4 yrs, and give or take a change or Prez, things will be radically difftt. 2016 should be v.interesting post 2 elections.
K Baloch Feb 09, 2011 05:17pm
Paracha! One wonders as western world is proud of it smulticultural & multilingual societies,Pakistan denies the facts and realities that by acceptance of our multilingual and MultiCulturalism,we can develop better tolerant society then this we are in now. I 100% agree and appreciate you.Please keep it up.
Observer Feb 09, 2011 08:23am
From the views expressed here in the article the writer looks more confused .
Rajeesh Feb 09, 2011 08:21am
Hi Nadeem Great article. Sometime in the past I had read a conspiracy theory which says that because of the political situation of the late 1940s, the British(a prominent military power then) were rather very happy to have the buffer of an Islamic state between India and Russia. According to this theory the western powers did not want Russia to import communism to India. The Hindu India may get easily carried away by communism. And so they kept Pakistan as a buffer and nurtured pro-Islamic ideology there post independence. This maybe just pure absurdity. But then when you look at it from a wider angle, many things fit in rather easily. Post perestroika this fear of communism has gone down among the west, so they now try to meddle in Pakistan and keep themselves safe from extremists (which they themselves help flourish at an ideological level). Rajeesh
PRADEEP BHATIA Feb 09, 2011 08:11am
Completely in agreement. But what can be the remedy. Guess it's too late for the damage to be undone.
zeeshan Feb 12, 2011 08:08am
Agreed Sir
kamaljit Singh Feb 09, 2011 08:19am
Good article by Mr. Pracha After exhorting the Indian Muslims for creation of Pakistan based on religious sentiments, Mr Jinnah made a complete u- turn in the constituent assembly by declaring that religion has nothing to do with the affairs of the state. This left the common man puzzled and leaders as well. Mr. Jinnah declared that "Muslman musibat mein ghabrata nahin hai." He used the word 'Musalman' not Pakistani. Mr Jinnah could not create dedicated and visionary second - in command. He was not sure for the direction of the new country. He proved not a visionary by advocating Urdu as national language ignoring majority of Bengalis. Kamaljit Singh
deep Feb 09, 2011 08:03am
I know Zardari is a general disappointment for everyone but his inaction on everything is a good thing for Pakistan. He will be remembered as the president who saved Pakistan through inaction. I think Pakistan through writers such as yourself is taking stock of where they are and who is responsible for what.
Imran Faroukh Feb 09, 2011 07:31am
It would be sad,,but as things are going on in Pakistan,,,it seems it would crumble under the weight of its own contradictions.
Mazhar Feb 09, 2011 07:27am
Top article again, NFP. well thought out and articulated. Yes, exactly whose ideology is it anyway? On a side note, I find NFP to be one of the very free pro-PPP journos who is not only willing to support parties like ANP and MQM, but I love the way he tears into the myth of Z A. Bhutto as a progressive.
BRR Feb 09, 2011 01:25pm
Please continue to believe that, if that makes you happy. How does that solve your situation in Pakistan is perhaps not important to you.
kamaljit Singh Feb 12, 2011 03:02am
Dear Saad; my point was that Mr. Jinnah advocated for Musalmans and not Pakistanis where in the assembly he declared that religion is irrelevant for the state. That is the contradiction I find in his thoughts. Had he said it for every Pakistani then he would have been even a taller leader. He narrowed his vision.
omar Feb 14, 2011 11:50pm
I disagree with Saif . religion is never a criteria for a successful nation. otherwise the whole middle east or muslim majority countries would be one today but sadly we need a visa to all these muslim counties. So Lets throw away the notion that nations are built on the basis of religion. All muslims of India did not agree to the two nation theory. Good luck to who ever agreed and left to the new land. I am a proud Indian and a proud muslim. Saif even own brothers have differences and fight bitterly, even kill each other. Hindus and muslims will have differences and still live together. What good has a separate nation brought to the muslims? killings, bombings, leaders plundering national wealth i think the list will go on so stop worrying about indian muslims and worry about yourselves.
SIRT, USA Feb 11, 2011 09:47pm
Good comment and thanks for your warm wishes. And the answer is: the majority of Pakistanis want Islamic Pakistan. Now, we have decided what we want, let us get to work to make it a progressive Islamic country. The fist step should be to reform the Election Commission (also voiced by Imran Khan) so that the democratic-popular people can be voted into power.
Rizwan Ahmed Feb 10, 2011 11:01pm
Jinnah's only accomplishment was that "he brough considerable majority of Muslims of Indian sub-continent to one platform with one voice for a short period of time (few years before Partition)". This was what Muslims could not do in Indian sub-continent since 1700 A.D Jinnah was able to accomplish this task against the dividing nefarious force of Mullah, which has plagued Muslims of India ( as well as other Muslim cultures around the world) for last three hundred years. Pakistan is the fruit of few years of Unity, Just imagine what It would be with everlasting unity, if someone can think.
Ayesha Tahir Feb 11, 2011 06:41am
Dear Sirat, NFP does not mention anywhere that Jinnah used words like 'secular.' He righly says that Jinnah's sppeches on one end alluded to a 'modernist' Muslim state, while at the same time he used words like Shariah when speaking in Punjab and NWFP. And NFP's only relating history. Historians do not point out solutions. Stop being so lazy and come up with your own solutions.
Bilal Roberts Feb 09, 2011 05:54pm
Great Article.
Dawood, Pakistan Feb 11, 2011 06:14pm
NFP always says something which only few hundreds say in Pakistan, or may be less. The majority of the nation openly accepts and knows whats their ideology, what they were made for, and where they have to go. Its the leaders who are piloting our Energetic nation towards the wrong port for their own interest. Pakistan was formed in the name of Islam, for the people following Islam. That was the foundation, the keel on which Jinnah won Pakistan for us. We should respect it, and people are not confused by any means. People want a real Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Which it is not right now.
Raj Feb 09, 2011 05:58pm
"...the truth is, we might never really know exactly what it was that Jinnah actually stood for..." That is the very source of Pakistan's problem. The only way out, as far as I can see, is for Pakistanis to THINK RATIONALLY FOR THEMSELVES as to what type of country they want to live in. No point trying to second-guess Jinnah. After some clarity of thought, there WILL be painful moments in putting that enlightened thought into action. Every country goes through such pangs of birth/rebirth from time to time. Pakistan will not be an exception. All the best - a wellwisher from across the border.
raja jaria Feb 09, 2011 06:22pm
As long as u have one person who is willing to b counted, u still have hope.
Silajit Feb 09, 2011 06:29pm
Yet another great article backed with historical facts. Regardless of what Jinnah stood for, Pakistan has to face it's present day set of issues with present day solutions. It is tragic that Islamic scholars who see this and would like to take a practical approach are also hounded out of the country.
Big Z Feb 09, 2011 06:39pm
"Minus the political failures this country has thrived tremendously since its birth in every walk of life." Sir can you please tell me one "Walk of life" that Pakistan has thieved in? The basic needs of the public is not being met and you are saying the country is doing great? Please open your eyes and look around. Thanks
Poo Feb 10, 2011 07:46pm
I doubt if Indian writers would be so honest and objective about the state of their country. In India, Hindi speaking (or supporting) Hindu (North) Indians behave like they own the country. The rest are condescendingly seen by them as minorities (linguistic, regional, religious, ethnic) and are treated as such. Poo Chennai India
Altaf Hussain, Mumbai Feb 09, 2011 07:37pm
"I have been to india more than once and believe me life for ordinary citizen here in Pakistan is way much better than any middle and lower middle class citizens in india can wish for." Well, I am a middle class muslim citizen of India and I can tell you that India is thriving with ideas and enthusiasm. Everybody wishes to be part of the success story. Nobody has time to bother about deobandis or barelvis, though both are in India. By the way, the current head of Deoband Seminary is an MBA and he himself does not support much of what is passed off as orthodozx islam. So spare India in your discussions.
Kamal Memon Feb 09, 2011 08:11pm
Great piece ..... One of NFP's best !
Shiraz Feb 09, 2011 08:47pm
Though many on this forum are calling it a confused and illusive thought, I totally agree with NFP. Its not illusive nor confused, he is elaborating the damage inflicted when you start mixing religion with governance. Though the two nation theory was propagated in the right direction, the ones who found themselves at the helm of affairs after Jinnah's death used it the wrong way which resulted in nothing but a society, which was a liberal society, to become a biased one. Religion and state of affairs must remain separate.
ayesha_khan Feb 09, 2011 08:52pm
True. Taseer discovered this at the cost of his life that these threats are not idle threats.
Saad Feb 09, 2011 08:56pm
Great article, addressing exactly the issues that need addressing. The endemic intolerance in debate and opinion beyond religious perspectives, sometimes very bigoted, is stifling people's lives today. They need answers to what it means to be a Pakistani today. I hope this article and those like it encourage this debate and allow for Pakistanis to refresh and regain their ideology and in doing so chart a clearer direction into the future.
Tahir Rizvi Feb 10, 2011 05:33pm
Fully agree with you.
Abdul Feb 09, 2011 09:11pm
Great article, keep writing. I always look forward to NFP's articles
Abdul Feb 09, 2011 09:25pm
That's what we fear right now
ALI Feb 09, 2011 09:49pm
"In the years to come, Pakistan will not only become a problem for itself, but it will pose a danger to the world at large.
Mohan Feb 09, 2011 11:08pm
Congress party was truely a secular party with large Muslim backing, and never wanted partition in the first place. Nehru and Gandhi failed to convince Jinnah for united India. There were only two political parties who believed in "Two Nation Theory". Muslim League and Hindu Mahasabha.
G. Din Feb 11, 2011 02:31pm
"I am very positive, they will pretty soon reach where they belong. " You mean there is still more to go. I had thought the bottom was in their view. Eventually however they will get there. But is it there they ought to be going?
Tahir Rizvi Feb 10, 2011 04:19pm
Fully agree with you Mr. Ali Tahir. It takes time to build. We are on a path of progress since democracy was restored after Musharraf. The influence of Mullah culture will be eliminated by us all and with God's help.
Salman - India Feb 09, 2011 11:21pm
NFP - This is top quality stuff. Sitting on other side of border I pray all Paskistani leaders should start accepting this and stop creating conspiracy theories against rest of the world.This will gradually bring a change in the thinking of new generation which lives in complete denial. Mullahs need a boot, completely eliminated from politics and confined within walls of mosque.You simply cannot enforce 7th century laws in a 21st century world. KHUDA Hafiz
saif Feb 09, 2011 11:52pm
To our Indian friends, Partition violence was tragedy. It could've been avoided with better administration by our departing conquerors. If Pakistan was not created there would be a devastating civil war between Muslims and Hindus. There is no way the Hindu majority would hand over proportionate power to their 1000-year conquerors. Jinnah's purpose was to preserve the culture and political relevance of South Asia's soon to be marginalized muslims . At the same time, he envisioned a country where the rights of minorities would be respected. I don't see why this is such a incomprehensible concept. One need not look further than the condition of muslims not named SRK, Kalaam & Premji. One need not look further than Gujrat or Kashmir. Finally, why should ALL subjects of the British Raj ( a collection of states, conquered by Muslims and consolidated by the British ) be forced to accept one nation? The problem is not the two-nation theory but the execution by our leaders.
Kiv Feb 10, 2011 12:10am
You need better "observation" skills.
Tahir Rizvi Feb 10, 2011 12:39am
We have substantially drifted from the basic concepts of our founding fathers Quaide Azam and his associates. The state was established as
MK Feb 11, 2011 02:17am
Very well said Janjua. Pakistan is certainly not there where Jinnah wanted us to be. Similarly India is not there where Gandhi wanted it to be. We talk about religious tolerance in India. Look what is happening in Kashmir. What happens to Muslims in Hyderabad, India and other places. It is very easy to finger point others and forget our own wrong doings.
Conspiracy Tehreek Feb 10, 2011 03:31am
Another wonderful piece NFP! The first paragraph is (sadly) true. We could have tackled this but we did our best to make this come true. What was supposed to be our strength-diversity,pluralism etc-was percieved as a threat. Now all we are left with is denial,hatred and fear....
MK Feb 11, 2011 02:10am
I would like to point out to the history to clarify some important facts. these are very good suggestions but MAO never could stop the Mullahs. Ata Turk could stop the Mulahs but they are back now. Egypt tried to stop it for 30 some years and they are coming back. India could not stop their own Mulahs in the name of BJP and other radical parties. It is very easy to criticize Mulahs (because they cannot reply due to the language barrier) but in the end the outcome is never what the world has always tried to achieve, you know what I mean. Pakistanis are very proud people. Like any other country, they are going through a very rough phase. I am very positive, they will pretty soon reach where they belong. So please don't worry about it.
aristhrottle Feb 10, 2011 03:47am
"we might never really know exactly what it was that Jinnah actually stood for." Maybe it is easier to find what he stood against? Which is not ideal, of course, for any person of stature to be defined as. "In other words, it seems the so-called Islam-centric ideology of Pakistan that began as a modernist and reformist project, " It's hard for me to put my mind across the idea that any religious ideology could be modernist and reformist - with regards to society. It is possible that there are modernist and reformist trends within a religion, but when any society has to explicitly rely on religion for direction, then that society, cannot be deemed to be modernist. One can understand if religion informs society within its narrow sphere, but if it permeates everything, then that society, in the long term, is doomed. Anyway, I am confused by your use of the terms "modernist" and "reformist" in this context.
Vaidya Feb 10, 2011 04:08am
Why are you whitewashing the British? As I said, we have ourselves to blame ;but the British did their best, right from the days of helping separate Hindi and Urdu script.
baloo Feb 10, 2011 04:11am
I am from India and i live in US now. Growing up, we did not think too much about any ideology as to why we are indians. I don't understand why Pakistanis have to waste so much energy and time on why they are pakistanis. Pakistan is just a land. Pakistan was a land before it became pakistan. It will be the same land after we are dead. The only question is what you did with your life and whether you lived happily with your family in that piece of land. Stop thinking about what you should be and live your life.
mjd 911 Feb 10, 2011 06:17am
You will get out of this quagmire as long as there are people like you, Mahrukh, and Nadeem, courageous enough to ask questions. If there are no questions, then it seems people have acquiesced or assented to "their" answers that brook no challenges. The next step is to act decisively on ways out of the quagmire created by people mired in their fascist nightmares which they want to extend to rest of society, whether it likes it or not. Example: Salman Taseer's killer has to be boldly prosecuted in front of cameras with principled lawyers and judges in charge to see this cold-blooded murder gets justice. Otherwise, he and his ilk would have murdered democracy and rule of law itself in Pakistan.
Ibn-e-Maryam Feb 10, 2011 04:15am
Excellent article, as usual. Honest analysis, thruthfully described. We need people like you in this country. May Allah bless you abunduntly.
Vaidya Feb 10, 2011 04:16am
By and large Jinnah was secular. Even in the Khilafat days, he criticized Gandhi for bringing religion into politics. I have heard many educated Pakistanis quote Jinnah's vision for the nation. I think, he spoke from the heart and if he had lived longer, we might have been like Malaysia and Singapore. If Hindi was acceptable to India, why not Urdu for Pakistan? Bengalis are good poets but a bit hotheaded anyway. Sad to read for the first time, that they caused this shift in the young nation.
Ali Tahir Feb 10, 2011 05:26am
Whenever I read NFP's article, I feel like leaving Pakistan immediately. I don't think throwing your nation into utter disappointment is such a good idea. Democracy takes time to flourish & developed countries have taken years to reach where they are now (I never take India as a role model). And I strongly beleive that Pakistan will flourish faster than any other nation. We're already starting to see its effects reflected in many many decisions made by the govt. under public pressure. We'll soon get rid of Mullah culture too. Please make a constructive criticism.
obaid rahman Feb 10, 2011 05:27am
Qaida-e-azam dreamed a country, which is secular but for muslims for proving security to muslims from hindu majority . there was no need to bring religion into system and defence of pakistan. pakistan is muslim majority nation, and no chance of danger to islam in secular pakistan. but bringing religion into politics and system, we have increased the chances of religious confrontation, intolerance and extremism in our own country. democracy is not the priority of majority of pakistanis, that's why there is no democracy in more than half time since formation of pakistan. religious leader have high jacked our education system and set wrong priority in our mind. now it is very hard to convince a normal pakistani for a democratic, secular and progressive nation. without respecting democratic values, we can't adopt tolerance. without toleration and accepting the cosmopolitan society, we can't mitigate violence.
Sarkar Feb 10, 2011 05:27am
Hats off to NFP for this and other brilliant open-minded articles
Saif Khan Feb 10, 2011 05:29am
The author hasn't compared the current situation in Pakistan with that in India and that is why his thoughts come out so clearly. Kudos to NFP on sticking to the point. It is clear from the set of emails here that any such comparisons results in the respective countrymen behaving as if they have undergone a full lobotomy. Reason stops the moment any such comparison is made. Also all knowledge and wisdom comes from within and self evaluation/navel gazing. Reason can sink in only that way. For starters, I recommend that all such comparison in all media and education material in educational institutions inside Pakistan be removed. It is then possible then that we will think about ourselves instead of what happens across the border.
Sohail Sahto Feb 10, 2011 05:48am
Yes,I fully agree with Paracha,you have correctly mentioned the faults in Bhuttos policies which ultimatly led to his fall,at the end of his rule he was left with no friends---In Left or in Right-- thanks to ( Kausar Niazi) a JI trained so called visionary---how managed to replace the word-- Socialism to Islami- massawat in the manifesto of PPP.
Ali Tahir Feb 10, 2011 11:41am
I started counting from 2007 dear, its the first time democracy is taking effect ! I hate the present govt though..but democracy has never been given the chance to flourish before. Its just been 3-4 years, we have to keep our tolerance high. I have high hopes for my future generations
Pradeep From India Feb 10, 2011 05:53am
Why bring India into this debate at all then?
Anwar Yaseen Feb 10, 2011 05:54am
Top piece and very timely. NFP is sharp when it comes to breaking through the myths of both the mullah parties as well as the so-called progressives.
Robert Feb 10, 2011 05:55am
Wow! I always wondered about this myself and never expected a Pakistani to contemplate these things so openly! I always wondered about Jinnah and his idea of Pakistan..if the people are really the same, what can you expect redrawing borders and displace people and spread venom for generations? But the very fact that there are people in Pakistan that muse about these questions is a wonderful thing. Suddenly I am very hopeful for the people of the subcontinent. We don't need to be one country..just live in peace, that's all!!
Ram Krishan Sharma Feb 10, 2011 09:58am
I would like to suggest the following for the betterment of Pakistani nation: (1) First find a sincere leader the like of Ata Turk or Mao who could control the Mullah and the Mufti ( by Election or Selection) (2) Take the best from each of the systems which exists in Turkey , India , and Singapore , i.e. control of religious parties ( from Turkey) Land Reforms ( from India) Law & order and cleanliness ( from Singapore)
Srini Chennai Feb 11, 2011 12:59am
India is more diverse than Pakistan. India also has lots of problems, so does every other country. Enough of excessive analysis, insight on the negatives. Everywhere there are issues, problems. Who is problem free? As someone below has said Pakistanis need to get back to basics of enjoying life which includes being optimistic and focusing on the basics of living a simple life, with friends and relatives around. You guys need to smile more, joke more, laugh more and spread more good news and joy all around in your cities and towns. Organize more comedy shows and social events to focus on non serious issues. If you guys portray a too much serious face, then your kids will mimic that. Turn the air around you into a +ve wave and everything will be better. Enjoy Your life and remember that, thinking too much makes a potential worry into reality. Just like we eat to live and not live to eat..Religion must be given the same treatment! No Worries! Good Luck
Fatima Feb 10, 2011 07:33am
Very well written. Not completely original, as the author has expressed similar views before.
Goga Nalaik Feb 10, 2011 12:30pm
Dear Nadeem, Waoo, very impressive and very well documented (as usual) article. It is indeed the excellent
Abbas Feb 10, 2011 09:39am
Ali Tahir I wish you all the best luck. You said democracy take time to flourish? How much my dear. Pakistan is already 61 years old. People get retired in that age
Subhash Mittal Feb 10, 2011 08:22am
A very nice article. Quite informative & analytical.
Aditya Feb 10, 2011 08:58am
@Vaidya : "If Hindi was acceptable to India, why not Urdu for Pakistan?" The fact is Hindi was and is NOT acceptable to a major portion of India specially down South. States in south have their own distinct language which they are extremely proud of. Hindi as a language was/is never forced anyone. Hindi is a "popular" language in India because bollywood came along.
malang Feb 10, 2011 08:40am
someone has commonsense finally....what but is's not that common....
SIRT, USA Feb 11, 2011 12:31am
I am sorry to say this but this article lacks substance and consistency. It abruptly ends without any conclusion. There are a few mis-interpretations too. Jinnah never said words like 'Secularism' or 'secular' in his speeches but frequently used phrases such as 'according to Muslims' aspiration', 'Islamic teachings'. Jinnah even went so far as assuring the NWFP people of Islamic governance. Moreover, Ghamidi may have interpreted Islam differently, but his teachings also favor Islamic rule, chosen through democracy. Last but not the least, when Bhutto incorporated Islam into the constitution after a consensus between so-called secular and Islamic factions, then it means Islamic governance was accepted democratically. Then how can the people of Pakistan can largely be secular! Too many contradiction in a trivial piece of article. Amazing!
Tahir Rizvi Feb 13, 2011 04:58am
It is necessary for all of us to read our history of independence and review our position for where we are and where we want to be. Provided below is Quaide Azam's speech delivered in August 1947: From Jinnah`s address to the Constituent Assembly on August 11, 1947:
hansa Feb 14, 2011 08:16pm
oh dear! this is a tough one to crack. the more deeper u go into finding answer to this problem, u come up with more questions then answers. there cannot possibly be one good answer but may be several depending upon the various beliefs of people living in this region of the world. but i can say one thing for certain. when ones own insecurity and mistrust builds up to a level where it starts needing protection from its own people through enacting laws and guarding its places of worship, then there can only be one possible answer.there is something very basic wrong somehere in the system. so therefore its just a matter of finding the courage of doing somethig about it.
Ahmed Saeed Feb 13, 2011 06:20am
Totally absurd and inconclusive work. Pakistan is neither a problem for itself nor for others. Its a new state and yet to establish itself. There is always a ray of hope. We have to fight a thousand wars to make a nation. Please don't conclude things so early. And a piece of advise, Islam is Islam. Please don't over translate or under translate it. Good Luck.
Sameer Feb 13, 2011 07:32am
Does one have to have rivals to progress and be great?
saif Feb 16, 2011 03:51pm
The books talk about our civilization. Why should Pakistan be deprived of our pre-islamic history? Doesn't India lay claim to pre-historic civilisations? Pakistanis are southwest Asians, correct?
sharma Feb 13, 2011 07:58am
Somehow I believe if Nehru and Jinnah had been able to patch up in 1947, we would have avoided all this acrimony and bloodshed. Not blaming anybody but if France and England can patch up after 100 year war then what is wrong with us south asians? I think Mahatama Gandhi was overlooked and ignored by both Nehru and Jinnah for their short term political gains. Gandhi did have a vision for India and both Nehru and Jinnah broke that vision. Its not too late, its not 100 years yet!! Lets stop fighting and live as separate countries just like france and england live but in close cooperation, without getting the westerners in between us.
Muhammad Feb 13, 2011 12:32pm
Vaidya, You are correct Jinnah was a true secular let alone his views look at his dressing and style of living can any body say that he was not a secular he was totally secular even in his appearance and living
indian Feb 13, 2011 07:02pm
Dear Saeed your statement is in contradiction to what is being taught in Pakistani text books that Pakistan has been in existence since the Harrapa civilisation.And sadly it is the " thousand wars" that is plaguing Pakistan and not absence of war.Currently Pakistan is undergoing a civil war.
Tahir Rizvi Feb 15, 2011 06:27pm
Quide Azam clearly stated his vision that Pakistan is NOT a
Pirzado Azhar Feb 13, 2011 09:51pm
@Zeeshan: I proudly follow GM sayyed and Bacha khan. Earnestly speaking, if you give them a thorough review which they desrve, you will find something interesting and important. Then you have the coive to make comparisons with any leaders from Jinnah to Bhutto to Nawaz. And we see hope, surely before the end of tunnel. we see light, we see peace and tolerance, we see interfaith and cultural tolerance and harmony. I wonder if we could follow GM Sayed (who presented the first resolution in Sindh Assembly for supporting Pakistan while Mullahs rejected the creation of Pakistan and now they claim to be the owners of our land! hope you think a little!).
Muhammad Ahmed Feb 16, 2011 05:35am
NFP, Two wrong do not make one right. Pride either based on ethnic, racial, scientific, secular or religious lines always results in unnecessary competition. We forget that no narrative is perfect and lies are created (or truth is slightly modified) to help live with ourselves. People like to claim that religion will eventually bring downfall of pakistan and the same argument about secularists is presented by a great number of people wanting a theocracy. I think a great theocracy, democracy or even socialist system can thrive as long as people are busy and they don't have to worry about basic needs. It is however, still possible that people may develop additional unnecessary needs and start a new brawl. I do not usually agree with you but you do offer a different viewpoint which always provides a different perspective to the existing issues. I will just like to have a word of advice for you and your readers. It is natural to have biases based on your own interpretation of history but the humane thing to do is to have the ability to digest the difference of opinion.
Tahir Rizvi Feb 15, 2011 10:32pm
I agree Mr. Salah Maker. We are where we are because we failed to "educate" our people as we should have. We need as much emphasis on our public education as our defence. We need emphasis and revitalization of our public education system. There should be three basic priorities for our National Government, political leaders and we the people of Pakistan: 1. Education 2. Ecconomy 3. Defence We have drifted from our path and we need to get back to the progressive path.
Salah Maker Feb 15, 2011 06:34am
Nationalism is already obsolete and Pakistan has such a long way to go. My only hope is that the poor will one day be allowed computers instead of guns.
Nadeem Feb 14, 2011 12:53pm
Without getting into an ego problem here in the context of Mr. Jinnah for us and Mr. Gandhi for the Indians, I do not disagree with Sharma when he says let us stop fighting and live as separate (neighboring) countries in close cooperation without getting the westerners in between us. Hoping that Kashmir issue will be resolved soon, I'm sure both Pakistan and India will find hundred reasons to cooperate with each other. Let us both pray for the best.
Bharat Feb 21, 2011 11:20am
Tahir, at last we are talking sense Education YES , but not madrasa education with no maths and no science , and no languages, Economy should be first, since as the people get wealthier, they will let their children go to school So the economy is most important : you need to get out of this debt Morass. And with the Defence - remember the Mughals eventually lost their empire, because they could not afford it anymore . Their standing army was gobbling up large amounts of money. And their economy was never going to cope. if America stops backing you and the army, your army will not be able to keep your country together anymore.
Mohammed Hassanali Mar 07, 2011 11:33pm
Even more than that, it is ARMY'S interference in all walks of life that is the biggest hinderance. Pakistan cannot progress unless this interference stops once and for all.