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Dragged down by the stone

Published Apr 19, 2012 05:47pm


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Cartoon courtesy Zahoor.

I’ve always felt that what we were taught (and keep bleating about) as ‘Pakistan Ideology’ has been like a stone around our collective neck.

A stone that keeps pulling us down, so much so that today, we as a nation are in danger of vanishing from the radar of engaging states.

Through hectic and rigorous intellectual exercises and projects, nation states construct ideologies to base and justify their existence on. Such projects are mostly built through narratives that are a mixture of historical facts and myths.

However, the more clever ideologies in this respect consciously leave vast grey areas within their constructs that can be flexed and used to help adjust the ideologies to the ever-changing political and economic dynamics in the international arena.

The best way to do this is usually through a democratic consensus achieved between the state and society.

All that has become obsolete (in the ideology of the nation state) or is hampering the nation to constructively engage with the dynamic forces of economics and politics within and outside the nation is shed away (if not entirely shredded).

It is then replaced with a rationally refreshed ideological view of the nation state’s existence in the changing world.

Those nation states that have failed to do so are facing growing international isolation. They are also suffering deep political and social fissures within their own societies. Their state and the keepers of their national ideology are asking their people to engage with a highly mutable economic and political scenario but at the same time forcing them to continue carrying the heavy, restrictive baggage of an ideology stuffed with dogma.

Introverted ideological dogma is drastically incompatible with extroverted and pragmatic international mutability.

That is why the tension between the two poles is resulting in a kind of widespread social and ideological neurosis in countries like Iran, North Korea and Pakistan; and perhaps in Saudi Arabia and Israel as well, the two countries that may not seem as isolated (or as anti-West) as the first three but are suffering from equally rigid ideological tendencies.

Anti-West (especially anti-US) sentiments have almost taken the shape of a collective form of obsessive-compulsive neurosis in countries facing imminent international isolation and ideological introversion.

Anti-West (especially anti-US) sentiments have almost taken the shape of a collective form of obsessive-compulsive neurosis in countries facing imminent international isolation and ideological introversion.


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 above are just summarised features of what is understood as Pakistan ideology today. One can expect a majority of Pakistanis to spout them out at the drop of a hat. Questioning them however, is another thing all together.

Oil-rich Arab states have pumped in a large amount of money and resources to generate literature, ideas and outfits propagating a particular version of the faith in Pakistani state and society.

Some of the earliest critics of the Pakistan ideology were Sindhi, Baloch, Pushtun and Bengali nationalists, in spite of the fact that the ideology was still a work-in-progress and in its infancy.

For example, just five years after Pakistan’s emergence and three years after the government of Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan. He passed the 1949 Objectives Resolution that for the first time declared the establishment’s desire to run Pakistan on Islamic principals and laws, famous Sindhi scholar and nationalist, GM Syed, warned that in the coming years not only will Pakistan become a danger to itself, but to the whole world as well.

Unsurprisingly, between the 1950s and mid-1960s, men like GM Syed, Pushtun nationalist figurehead Bacha Khan and many Baloch and Bengali scholars who were quick to observe the inherent dangers of the rigid and monolithic nature of what would become to be known as Pakistan ideology were all labelled as traitors and ‘atheists.’

Pushtun nationalist leader, Bacha Khan.

Their critique of the developing ideology was based on a more rational and deconstructive study of it; a study whose conclusions were soon taken up by leftists and (in the last 30 years or so), by the liberal secularists as well.

So what were these conclusions?

•    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 military-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.

Former East Pakistan Bengali nationalist leader, Mujeebur Rheman. He went on to become the first Prime Minister of Bangladesh.

It was only a decade after such conclusions were drawn (but shunned by the Pakistan state), that many Sindhi, Baloch, Pushtun and Bengali nationalists actually began demanding separation from Pakistan.

And this was also the moment when the debate over exactly what it means to be a Pakistani reached a decisive peak.

Cross Purposes

Till even today, many young Pakistanis believe that the so-called Pakistan Ideology that they were all so vigorously taught at school, came ready-made the moment the country’s founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah announced the creation of Pakistan on August 14, 1947.

It is true that some of the features of the Pakistan ideology summarised in the first section of this piece reared their head during the early years, but it wasn’t until the late 1960s and early 1970s that the Pakistan ideology project reached completion, further enhanced and added upon from the 1980s onwards.

In fact, the term ‘Pakistan ideology’ was not even part of Pakistan’s ideological discourse until the late-1960s!

The term’s emergence can be traced to one of the most captivating debates that took place between the Islamists and the country’s then burgeoning leftist intelligentsia.

The debate erupted between the years 1967 and 1969 during the students and workers movement against the Ayub Khan dictatorship, and at a time when Sindhi, Baloch, Pushtun and Bengali nationalists were moving closer to the radical doctrines of separatism.

Though the Jamat-i-Islami (JI), a vigorous participant in the debate, was staunchly against the secular Ayub dictatorship, it started to pull itself back from the movement when the protests began being dominated by the left in the shape of Marxist student and labour organisations, progressive Sindhi, Baloch, Pashtun and Bengali autonomists and the emergent Pakistan People’s Party (PPP).

Perturbed by the autonomists’ rejection of a ‘Punjab-driven’ and ‘Islam-pasand’  West Pakistan’s claim to power, and by the students’ and the PPP’s socialist overtones during the anti-Ayub movement), JI chief and Islamic scholar, Syed Abul Ala Maududi, formulated the scholarly/propagandist foundations of what he called the ‘Pakistan ideology.’

JI founder and Islamic scholar, Abul Ala Maududi (left) talking to a disciple during a visit to the US in the 1950s.

It was a startling irony in which one of the fiercest opponents of Jinnah and the Pakistan Movement actually coined the term ‘Pakistan Ideology.’

In his writings of that period (1960s), Maududi revised Pakistan’s raison d’etre claiming that Pakistan did not come into being as a nation state (for a Muslim majority) but as an ‘ideological state’ (i.e. an ‘Islamic state’).

The JI enthusiastically published Maududi’s new thesis along with his earlier writings but omitted republishing the essays he had written before Pakistan’s creation in which he had lambasted Pakistan as being ‘Na-Pakistan’ (Land of the Impure), because it was being conceived by a ‘flawed Muslim’ (Jinnah).

Famous progressive writer, Safdar Mir, was the first to notice the omission. In a series of articles he wrote for the popular leftist Urdu literary journal, Nusrat (in 1968), he sardonically laid into Maududi’s claims by reproducing the inflammable contents of Maududi’s missing essays.

A 1978 issue of leftist Urdu daily Musawat reproduced Maududi’s anti-Jinnah comments that he made before the country’s formation. This issue of Musawat was impounded by the right-wing Ziaul Haq dictatorship that had taken over power in 1977.

Mir’s rebuttal was hailed as a victory of progressive forces at the time. But Maududi’s thesis were further carried forward by pro-JI men like the lawyer, A K. Brohi (who was part of the Ayub regime), and novelist Naseem Hijazi, both of whom severely attacked the time’s dominating leftist forces for being ‘anti-Islam/Pakistan.’

Even though Maududi’s thesis was blown away by the triumph of leftist/ secular parties in the 1970 elections, Pakistan Army’s defeat at the hands of the Indian military and the consequent separation of East Pakistan in 1971, saw the elected and left-leaning regime of Z A. Bhutto (PPP), set-up an elaborate project to actually fuse Maududi’s thesis with the secular nationalist narratives emerging from the progressives and the autonomists.

That is why the Bhutto era not only saw a cultural spring of folk music, art, cinema and festivities, and symbolic socialist paraphernalia, it, at the same time, also witnessed the emergence of an aggressive brand of nationalism based on a scornful rhetoric against India, the moving closer of Pakistan towards puritanical (but oil-rich) Arab monarchies, the outlawing of the Ahmadis (as a Muslim sect), and a constitution that (at least in theory) claimed to be working towards achieving an Islamic state through democracy.

A decade later however, Maududi’s thesis that Bhutto had tried to co-opt and dilute, was ripped away from Bhutto’s ideological fusion, and regenerated with a vengeance by the Ziaul Haq dictatorship in the 1980s. In fact the thesis actually began informing state policy and ultimately, the Pakistani mindset.

General Ziaul Haq (right) was an admirer of Maududi. He was also known for handing out copies of Maududi’s books on Pakistan and the Islamic Ideology to soldiers.

What is the Pakistani culture?  

During the aggressive debate that took place between the progressive intelligentsia and Islamist ideologues in the late 1960s, the question of ‘Pakistani culture’ had also propped up.

The progressives were represented by poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz. In 1969 he wrote a detailed report in which he explained Pakistani culture as being a combination of cultures that included those of the various Islamic sects in the country, the cultures of the land’s various ethnicities, elements of western culture and distinct cultures of various minority groups residing in Pakistan. To him Pakistan’s culture was naturally pluralistic.

The rightists disagreed. They accused Faiz’s thesis of being ‘a Trojan horse through which the leftists were trying to storm the fortress of Islam (sic).’

They insisted Pakistan had an ‘Islamic culture’, suggesting that cultural practices like dance, music, painting and drama, and concepts like diversity and pluralism were the ‘leftists’ weapons’ to cow down Pakistan’s ‘Islamic society’.

Progressive poet and thinker, Faiz Ahmed Faiz.

Faiz responded by saying Islam is universal and cannot be associated with a single nation. He said Pakistan has its own culture that has many aspects, one of which was Islam. ‘We do not have a monopoly on Islam,’ he concluded.

Demagogic TV personalities like Zaid Hamid and a number of TV anchors ‘have been activated’ by establishmentarian interests to reinforce the controversial obscurantist aspects of the Pakistan Ideology and justify the Military’s ‘ideological role’ in Pakistan’s politics.

Though much of Faiz’s thesis continued to be discussed and partially implemented during the Z. A. Bhutto regime, they became taboo once the Bhutto regime was toppled in a reactionary coup in 1977.

In Ziaul Haq, the rightist ideologues finally found a man willing to transform the rightists’ narratives of Pakistani culture and ideology into state policy, something that has gradually become a discomfited part of what is now considered conventional mainstream ideological thought in Pakistan.


•    History as official imaging: Ayesha Jalal

•    Radicalization of state & society in Pakistan: Rubina Saigol

•    Religion & Reality: GM Syed

•    Pushtun Nationalism: From Seperation To Integration: Adeel Khan

•    Taliban are Pak Army proxies, not Pushtun: Farhat Taj

•    Faiz on cultural planning in Pakistan: ViewPoint

•    The Phinox Flops: Nadeem F. Paracha

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.


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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 (94) Closed

Shahzad Apr 23, 2012 10:51am
Awesome article Mr. Paracha. I must say, I am amazed how I could't recognize your work.
Raheel Apr 23, 2012 10:32am
amir khan Apr 22, 2012 11:13pm
Early demised of Jinnah and Liaqat Ali khan and strong grip of rightist is not only putting Pakistan but the region in a great threat........................Time has come to teach the authentic history and narratives to the masses.......the best strategy to counter the religious fanatics in Pakistan..............good luck my pakistani friends.....:)
Farid Apr 19, 2012 12:26pm
Wonderful --- pluralistic society is good for any country.If not based on indegenious culture--society can not progress much.. It is an irony of fate--opponent of the creation of Pakistan--took the lead --for protection of the country.They failed in 1971--in future they will not do anthing better --I mean JAMAT AND IT"S FOLLOWERS.
Nisar S. Apr 19, 2012 12:47pm
What an article! One after another you keep producing gems. This article is a must read for millions of confused young Pakistanis who have been fed lies in the name of patriotism and history. In fact, this piece should also be closely read by Imran Khan.
Mehmet Ahsan (@Freed Apr 19, 2012 02:06pm
Nadeem Bhai's articles and essays are way better than that scriptural nonsense we hear day in day out from the pulpits... They are the window of freshness... :).. Gracias NFP!!!.. :)
Shantanu , Gurgaon-I Apr 19, 2012 02:21pm
Nadeem, Reading your articles and listening to Najam Sethi will surely do the younger generation in your country a lot of good. I would love to read your perspective or a detailed treatise on India and Pakistan and how they've moved on in the last 65 years..Best wishes
Azhar Ali Apr 19, 2012 02:41pm
Pakistanis are forbidden to feel proud sons of soil. This is a very rare phenomenon. In no other country people hate their local culture, disown their folk lore and denounce the history which engendered them. To be part of a myth will never allow a people to fare well in real world.
Saba Alim Apr 19, 2012 02:41pm
Superb stuff. Had Faiz's suggestions been implimented fully, Pakistan would have been a much better place.
Yaseen Mirza Apr 19, 2012 03:02pm
Dear Mr. Nadeem F. Parach, your writing have always been very inspirational for me. These piece of writings not only convey to us the historical facts in true form but also force to think and act. These so called custodian of religion and faith are taking us towards Dark Ages. We really need daring scholars like you who have courage to speak the truth in face of danger. You deserve our heartiest appreciation. We pray for your good health and long life. Keep it up. Yaseen Mirza
anil Apr 19, 2012 03:14pm
Nadeem, you are simply superb..and you proves it again and again!Indeed a very nice and informative article.
Aly Apr 19, 2012 04:11pm
This is the sort of stuff we need or expect from you. I find your satires useless and headless but when you put your resources to this use, it is then your brilliance is highlighted.
Shankar Apr 19, 2012 04:14pm
Great analysis! Should be an eye-opener for anybody who is not blind! Qusetion is, how do you take it to the masses?
ubed ullah Apr 19, 2012 04:48pm
good as always by NFP, though iam a worker of PPP, i still believe Maodidi was genius, the stuff he wrote was so clear,though scholarly in nature, that i could be understood by even a lay man.
Kamal Memon Apr 19, 2012 04:55pm
very well written
n.qureshi Apr 19, 2012 05:02pm
excellent article.the younger generation need to know about the historical facts.i wish we had more writers like nadeem.
Haider Budini Apr 19, 2012 05:15pm
enlightening.! please add this the history narrated by NFP in Pak Study..!! :)
raza Apr 19, 2012 05:27pm
Salam Nadeem Saien! U r really great! Know what, whenever ur insightfull article comes on this blog, we sindhi youngsters start sending msgs to one another saying "hey! NFP's article has appeared. Read it and feel enlightened" U r writing in english what G.M syed had written in sindhi. Only difference is that non sindhis had refused to listen to syed but all are willing to listen to his msg, through u!
Zafar lawa Apr 19, 2012 05:49pm
Very objective and revealing analysis.... It would have been better if writer has thrown some light as to the way forward as the nation is confused because they have been fed with so many narratives
sketchy.scribe Apr 19, 2012 05:51pm
Thank you Nadeem for sharing your work with us. So well written!
Tariq Asam Apr 19, 2012 05:56pm
. Beautiful. It should be a part of our School Curriculum. Let's build a nation with conscious, not dogmatic purpose.
Abu Aayan Apr 19, 2012 06:00pm
Despite the fact that Islam is an absolutely perfect constitution of life, state has to stay away from the mosque. The separation is so essential that if not done, can produce chaos. On top of that quality of clerics in our society today is just sufficient to let anyone decide on the brand/ spirit of Islam they would be 'enforcing' others to follow/ join. Perfect recipe for disaster.
amir khan Apr 22, 2012 11:15pm
hahaha true nisar
Tripathi, New Delhi Apr 19, 2012 06:17pm
I could not believe that someone can write such article in a Pakistani news paper. I salute from depth of my heart to the writer for bringing out the facts and making me understand my neighbors in better light.
Bobby Srinivas Apr 22, 2012 05:44pm
Quite right! Absolutely true. Ironically, NWFP had a Congress government led by Dr.Khan Sahib, brother of Badshah Khan. Soon after Partition, the government was dismissed! Bobby Srinivas, Nagpur, India.
BRR Apr 19, 2012 07:07pm
NFP has done a good job here. However, the problem is in coming up with a) alternative narratives b) marketing them c) finding a receptive audience where none exists. Even if a) and b) are executed, there is no audience c) for it. Men with blinders on, who do not want to think, but believe they are always right, cannot be reasoned with. It is a lost cause.
Usman Apr 19, 2012 07:30pm
you have broadened our intellectual horizons indeed!!! brilliant work!!!
Munir Ahmad Kakar Apr 19, 2012 07:34pm
As always NFP has come up with a thought provoking article. The fact of the matter is that all our ailments stems from this ideological nightmare which has no rational and intellectual foundation. The taste of pudding is in eating. The heavy ideological dose has intoxicated a whole generation. What we are witnessing is a hangover which has wreaked economic, political and societal havoc on this unfortunate country. From terrorism to sectarian schism, from economic meltdown to grotesque political chaos, from ethnic polarization to bloodletting, all are the unintended consequences that the hapless people of this country will be grappling with for a long time to come.
sick of this nonsens Apr 19, 2012 07:51pm
the amount of knowledge NFP has is outstanding. He is probably the most open minded historian in Pakistan. The only reason I am still a Dawn reader.
Amit Mittal Apr 19, 2012 07:52pm
Wonderful article. I think this article is a must read for every youngster in the sub-continent, especially the right-leaning ones. I feel the Pakistanis and Indians are basically secular at heart. We need more exchanges and an environment of tolerance. Pakistan needs to reinvent itself. The people are too talented to deserve the kind of Pakistan they're living in today...
Naseer Apr 19, 2012 08:17pm
Nadeem sir, plz tell us more about the psyche of JI's leadership. They tried really hard on few occasion to be a mainstream party like PPP but miserably failed. Why are they so unattractive to the masses when comes to election, despite been in establishment's good book?
Capt Mansur Apr 19, 2012 08:19pm
Good article...Absolutely correct. I can just say that the way the circumstances are progressing I see a Civil war and disintegration of Pakistan, I Pray to God I am proven wrong.
Jamal Apr 19, 2012 08:21pm
Unless a statesman appears in Pakistan who will dismantle feudalism, institue meaningful land reforms, de-emphasize religion, integrate the society, make laws supreme, keep the armed forces away from politcs and do a drastic reformation of the educational system, Pakistan is doomed to wander in the backwaters of history, The Pakistanis may survive as the peons to the world and keep happy watching soaps on TV or foreign movies, and their rich keep living in a different world, but murder, mayhem and chaos will continue to rule Pakistan.
UpendraDeshpande Apr 19, 2012 08:48pm
What a superb and impartial analysis. However more light ought to have throw on detailed efforts of secular/open minded activists who tried their best to stop Islmisation of Pakistan. A fresh and true analysis.
arif mehdi Apr 19, 2012 10:10pm
its gd one
tamoor Apr 19, 2012 10:10pm
Bravo. Elucidating and informative
Friedly neighbour Apr 20, 2012 12:10pm
Another great article by one of the best in the sub continent......
Rizwan Apr 19, 2012 10:36pm
Good writting, Pakistan is supposed to be a muslim majority country and not an Islamic country. Being in majority, it is our duty to provide same safety and respect to others. But in reality, due to week law & order situation and lack of education, safety has become a rare commodity in general. I am sure writtings like this are very much needed and should be debated on nation media.
K Menon Apr 19, 2012 10:41pm
Wonderful article. Your message needs to be heard by the masses through the Urdu media as well
nadeem Apr 19, 2012 11:09pm
Dear NFP, my comments today are not related to this article but are more of a personal nature. I am concerned about your physical well-being. What happened today with Mr. Murtaza Rizvi brought my worst fears to reality. An incredible voice of reason, progressiveness and tolerance has systematically been silenced today. I feel that other journalists of similar caliber are also in danger in Pakistan. Dawn has to ensure that its most valuable assets, i.e. its journalists and staff are protected in a society which has almost lost its mind.
Lodhi Apr 19, 2012 11:29pm
If only NFP could be intellectually and academically honest!! He is always selective in quoting the facts that go along with his own ideology. Quoting from one of his own references: "Nevertheless, these people in all parts of Pakistan shared a common historical experience as well as those common ethical and cultural mores which originated from the religion they professed. It was this common religion and the sum total of these values and their expression in social life which made the Muslims of the sub-continent emerge as a separate and distinct cultural entity over a long period of history." Faiz on cultural planning in Pakistan: ViewPoint
Ravi Apr 19, 2012 11:52pm
Pakistan needs a strong grass-root movement to remove all the corrupt elements in Pak Army and Jihadi camps. Further, Islam needs a grass-root level movement all across the Muslim world to move forward to the new world where people of different faiths are allowed to coexist peacefully. Further, Islam needs to liberate Muslim women from the Jihadi mentality. All religions historically opressed women. Fortunately, most of the societies have moved on the modern world where women are increasing playing equal role in the society-except in Muslim world.
Nazli Nadeem Apr 23, 2012 10:29am
Good to see you here. Appreciate the self-less patriotic couragous work you are doing for Pakistan and Muslims.
khan Apr 20, 2012 12:29am
Did he ever wrote a single line against the rampant corruption of ppp and violence in karachi againt MQM????
Zaid hamid Apr 20, 2012 01:48am
Nadeem, keep writing this ... We are driven by a higher force. We will get our message out to true muslims soon and good luck to you sir.
IFTY Apr 20, 2012 04:14am
We need a detailed article (blog) from Nadeem regarding the standards of Shahadat and who is authorized to nominate our corrupt leaders as shaheeds after they are dead or what ever. Who appointed them as the sole executors of Allahs(SWT) will on earth (Pakistan)
Vikram Apr 20, 2012 05:23am
Excellent article no doubt by NFP ... but for god sake I hope that this gentleman is watching his rear, keeping his ears to the ground etc etc ... seeing what has just (unfortunately) happened to his colleague the late Murtaza Razvi saab. In fact I believe that most other writers of this publication should also beware.
AHA Apr 20, 2012 05:27am
Another masterpiece.
Cyrus Howell Apr 20, 2012 06:26am
Western civilization has given to the world knowledge and skills which made it possible for them, the non-Western nations, to compete with it in production and share markets with it. Criticizing one's own deficiencies is a precondition to inducing oneself to change for the better. Conversely, to glorify one's backward apathetic self is to establish and fortify backwardness, to strengthen the shackles of apathy, and to eradicate the capabilities of excellence. Backwardness is a shameful reality, which we should resent and from which we must liberate ourselves." Ibrahim Buleihi
Rao Apr 20, 2012 08:31am
I am deeply disturbed that a journalist like Murtaza Rizvi is murdered. I think life of all journalists, who stand up to their opinions, is at risk in Pakistan How come people of Pakistan are so apathetic towards these murders. Is there any real hope of saving Pakistan from this fast run to brink. Is there any hope of better relations between the countries in the subcontinent, so that instead of spending money on arms, we can reach out to the poor in our societies
Yawer Apr 20, 2012 09:47am
The photograph of Mailana Maududi appears to have been taken in the 1960's UK and not the 1950's US. Notice the cars in the background.
Muhammad Apr 20, 2012 09:49am
I'm sure what you say makes sense but boy do you give Floyd a bad name.
vijay, chennai, Indi Apr 20, 2012 09:57am
@ NFP, gem of an article. My suggestion to you is keep on writing these kind of articles which open the eyes of the subcontinent people instead of satires which no doubt entertains us but the message is soon forgotten. BTW, what is the actual spelling of "Bacha Khan" since we in India write it as Badshah khan. Please correct me.
Gautam Apr 20, 2012 10:26am
If Pakistan can produce such remarkable thinkers as NFP (among others), I wonder what is going wrong for that society. I sometimes fear for this guys safety because if something happens to him, it'll feel like a personal loss to me. I sincerely hope he moves to India, he'll be free to practice whatever faith he has and we so need him. Sooner Than Later, NFP !!
sajjad Apr 20, 2012 10:37am
only criticism and no solution
arif iqbal Apr 20, 2012 10:45am
One thing is for sure sarcasm is not your thing. Brillian article, Please please only write stuff like that.
Yawar Apr 20, 2012 10:47am
It's amazing how a Punjabi like Nadeem Farooq Paracha takes such a passionate and positive stand on Sindhi, Baloch and Pushtun nationalism. Well done, Paracha, this makes you a true, democratic and progressive Pakistani. This was a wonderful article. I agree with you, had we taken men like G M Syed, Bacha Khan and Faiz more seriously, our country would have been so much better a place to live in.
Wazir Khan Apr 20, 2012 11:02am
An unhealthy and distorted article by NFP, as always. Author could not focus on what he wants to say and the subject also kept on swinging from one end to the other. For those who see Pakistan's disintegration and civil war in future:- 1. Please remember that the only binding force for a heterogeneous and multi ethnic society like ours is the religion Islam. Yes we would contribute towards the worst nightmare if we keep on battering our values and uncover our bellies in front of the entire world, the art mastered by NFP and his likes "pseudo intellectuals". 2. Author, claiming to be a visionary aspired by West and all sorts of secular movements across the globe must have the moral courage to accept critique on his articles and theories. Instead Zaid Hamid becomes his target in almost all of his articles. NFP must avoid being personal. 3. Concept of few in the general public cannot be quoted as national policy. The postulates quoted by author have never been the state's policy. If so author should be asked to quote example from the country's legislation and laws to prove his point, otherwise this article is wastage of time. 4. Finally, Dawn authorities are requested to change the photograph of the author. Showing someone smoking like this is offensive and misleading to the young generation of our country (if at all we care about them).
Srini(San Francisco, Apr 20, 2012 11:24am
Another gem from NFP. Secular with muslim majority is the best option for the nation's growth but it is wishful thinking at the moment. However impossible do happen eventually. Who would have thought british elite who were ruling subcontinent for centuries, now would consider themselves lucky to be auctioned in India sponsored cricket league IPL? With proper infrastructure changes, Pakistan can make it happen. New India is rooting for prosperous Pakistan.In fact whole world wants Pakistan to do well - that is a good thing. Best wishes.
Faraz Apr 20, 2012 11:45am
Thank you for the sanity. Most unfortunately, very much lacking in Pakistan. For people ready to kill in the name of religion, for religion...we don't even follow the basics of the religion right. The concept of Muslim Ummah does not apply in the modern world where trade, economics, regional co-operation and mutual benefits decide relationships between countries and not religion. About culture, our culture is more Indian and certainly not Arabic, following the same religion doesn't make your culture the same too. Pakistanis have been consumed completely by religion.
Asif Gulyani Apr 20, 2012 12:02pm
In the pure sense of the words i really salute you . Your work for the stable and peacefull pakistan is not only highly appreciatable but also unforgetable. You are a soldier of peace , love and liberty. May God protect you from the woes of the universe. And save you from the evils.LONG LIVE PAKISTAN .. LONG LIVE ALL THE PEACE LOVERS
Asif Gulyani Apr 20, 2012 12:05pm
your work is really wounderful
tanaya Apr 20, 2012 12:27pm
Please don't refer Mr. Paracha as a Punjabi alone, that might be his ethnicity. He is one of the person who speaks truth with rationale mind. one of the hopes whose writings troubled Indians and Pakistani generation would read to bring hope.
Trimbak Apr 20, 2012 01:24pm
His article speaks truth.
Ali Apr 20, 2012 01:27pm
Arif, I disagree. NFP is multidimensional. This write is awesome, but I enjoy his brilliantly witty tweets equally.
Umber Apr 20, 2012 02:45pm
good article
Mushtaq Jan Apr 20, 2012 02:55pm
The real name of Badsha Khan is Khan is Khan Abdul Ghafar Khan. He was an Afghan, Pashtun political and spiritual leader known for his non-violent opposition to British Rule in India. A lifelong pacifist, a devout Muslim, and a close friend of Mohandas Gandhi, he was also known as Fakhri Afghan ("The Afghan pride"), Badshah Khan (also Bacha Khan, Pashto: lit., "King Khan") and Sarhaddi Gandhi (Urdu, Hindi lit., "Frontier Gandhi"). Bacha Khan is Pushto title for Badshah Khan. Ghaffar Khan strongly opposed the Muslim League's demand for the partition of India.[ When the Indian National Congress accepted the partition plan, he told them "You have thrown us to the wolves."[
Mushtaq Jan Apr 20, 2012 03:03pm
A very well researched, bold and enlightening summary of the dilemma we are facing today.
Shavi Apr 20, 2012 03:09pm
After a long time we see an article from NFP that coherently states his views instead of drowning them in PPP praise and Establishment/mullah bashing. If only we could have less of the former and more of the latter.
Hitesh Apr 20, 2012 04:20pm
Islam binds Pakistan ( we all know how strong the adhesive is ! ). Then tell me what binds Hindustan for time memorable ( or at least after 1947 AD ) ?
Mikal Apr 20, 2012 04:32pm
As the old adage goes, there is no place like home.
PappuBarista Apr 20, 2012 04:32pm
Mr. P, I enjoyed your article very much however I feel compelled to comment on a number of points you make (which I hope DAWN will allow to be posted), which I feel debilitates your main thesis. Some of the conclusions you refer to as drawn by early scholars and adopted by the leftist and liberal secularist I believe are flawed in a number of ways. My comments are as follows: “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.” This conclusion is perhaps unfair in the least due to the inaccuracy it represents. The Constitution of Pakistan and the objectives resolution, at least theoretically, takes into account different sects and minorities. The question of whether the state, has historically and is, following through with its duties under the Constitution has no correlation with the ‘Pakistan Ideology’. I expand on this point further below. “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 military-establishment. “The establishment will then incorporate the conservative Islamic forces as allies to justify its undemocratic political domination and to legitimise its Islamic credentials.” You fail to consider Turkey’s case, a prime of example of matters gone wrong even where the birth of the nation was based on a secular Kemalist Ideology. The military establishment to this day is considered to be the guardian of Kemalist Ideology and ironically every coup d’etat has been welcomed by the Turkish populace. In this you have some empirical evidence (which I admit is hardly conclusive) to suggest that the actual ideology of a state may have nothing to do with eventual political domination and tyranny of the ruling class. However, I do not for an instance disagree with the notion that whatever the ideology or sentiments of a populace, it can, and in most cases does, result in its misuse and abuse by those willing to exploit. “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.” Here, in this conclusion, you (or whoever has made the conclusion), fail to appreciate that requiring Pakistan to be a secular muslim majority state is akin to demanding the people of Pakistan (who in fact adhere to a traditional or orthodox Islam) to redefine their religion and faith. If one familiarises themselves with the social history of Islam and in particular the history of Islamic jurisprudence, one would appreciate the overlapping dimensions of Islam into politics, governance, public law etc. Thus, the demands of the leftists and liberal secularists amount to an imposition on the people of Pakistan to reduce their religion to a personal affair which it may not be. Overall, it is a tricky scenario. Do we let the populace decide for themselves how they want their homeland to be labelled and to what ideology do they want their nation to be identified with? Are we willing to accept that the ordinary Pakistanis want the ‘Pakistani Ideology’ that many today have come to abhor? Do we apply utilitarian principles and play the role of Big Brother perhaps? Or do we impose so-called universal or western values and principles and dictate them to the populace through the facade of democracy? Do you see where your approach might fit into these scenarios? Your article was a great read nonetheless.
M Ahmed Apr 20, 2012 04:50pm
Moneeza Dawar Apr 20, 2012 05:39pm
Hello! Isn't the solution obvious? Please go through the section in which NFP discusses the conclusions of the nationalists' study of the so called Pak ideology.
Milton Apr 20, 2012 05:43pm
It is once again demonstrated that the ones who claim to be Muslims in the Zia-ul-Haq ilk promote lies knowing full well the consequences of telling lies. Is this what Islam teaches us?
SAM Apr 20, 2012 06:20pm
Since, I am always quick to criticize you Paracha, I think its important to tell you that when you are not ranting like a Bhutto loyalist you make a lot of sense. Please keep up the good work. I recognize the fact that you are a brilliant writer when you are not being just a Bhutto loyalist.
Subhash Apr 20, 2012 06:29pm
Modern Science,modern technology,modern medicine and modern democratic political system are gifts of the western (white) world.Other societies or countries have adopted and used them but not always with right spirit. For example,there is universal franchise and elected government in Pakistan and India but no true democracy. In both the countries scamsters and looters are ruling and voters can do nothing about it. Historically, Islamic rulers and societies (coming from harsh desert) have been violent, while Hindus (mainly agrarian and living by nature) enslaved for a thousand years were subdued and nonviolent. That explains the difference between the two countries.
G.a Apr 20, 2012 07:08pm
@Cyrus Howell - Was it not the Muslim Arabs who brought the Western Civilization out of darkness?
siraj Apr 20, 2012 07:54pm
wonderful sir
ghaleezguftar Apr 20, 2012 08:31pm
Another great history bashing by NFP. You leave me wondering what was the reason Pakistan was struggled for. If Pakistan can only tread the right path if the suggestions by nationalists you mentioned are followed then what was the need for a separate country? What would have Jinnah thought? A separate country where majority of Muslims of different sects and religions live peacefully where he would be free to rule the way he wishes. If India today is a better democracy and they are protecting the rights of every minority better than Pakistan should either merge with India or grant every group a government of their own! What should be the common ground for Pakistanis? Is your only problem that the constitution be scrapped which nobody cares to follow in this country? On one hand you hold up the beauties of democracy and on the other you condemn the majority of the country who by democratic rights can choose the system of its choice. The state in our country has never bothered to think about what the majority thinks or wants, its always the rulers either military or civil who dictate the policies and manipulate public sentiments. Always criticising, you pick up the most extra ordinary evidence to support your statements just like the conspiracy theorists you so hate! Just as you consider socialism, communism and democracy a system of life the same way Islam is a life style. Islamic principles don't hamper International relations, economic development, social balance and equal opportunity for minorities if we ever had time to read enough. Manipulation of religious sentiments by governments requires a person to blame not a system. If you say that this manipulation is a constant phenomena then what good is democracy which for which the US is accepting sacrifices worldwide! Please open your heart for everyone. Expect people to prone to positivity and change rather than always trying to rip off someone's pants.
Kabir Apr 20, 2012 08:48pm
If Islam is binding force then why east Pakistan seceded from west Pakistan ? No Mr. Khan religion have never been a binding force. Can you visit Saudi Arabia even for performing Hajj without passport and visa simply saying that you are muslim
Black Apr 20, 2012 08:52pm
........this man needs to save himself at any cost if not for himself, then at least for the future of a country of 180 million people which with blinkers on has decided to move backward with speed! It is most unfortune to see that we have decided not to be part of this world unless the same changes and accepts our terms! This level of stubbornness is unbelievable to be found now in the modern world!
Shaikh Rahman Apr 20, 2012 08:54pm
It's ignorant morons like you that NFP warns us against!!
Kabir Apr 20, 2012 08:56pm
Yes we Muslims of the sub continent has emeged as a separate and distinct cultural entity yet we are not Arabs we have totally different cultural identity which is purely emerged from the soil of Sub-continent
Wazir Khan Apr 20, 2012 09:58pm
Subject is Pakistan. Not Hindustan.
alpha Apr 21, 2012 06:21am
good one . I was in a view Pakistan ideology need to be reinvented but its in the hearts of all of us despite the fact masses love NFP to in carve the new one.
Ataish Apr 23, 2012 11:28am
Wazir Khan: Rational, succinct, and well put.
murali Apr 23, 2012 12:55pm
Dear NFP, Please take care, we are yet to recover from the loss of Murtaza Rizvi. Subcontinent can't afford to loose you.
NFP Fan Seattle Apr 21, 2012 11:17pm
And when you lose control, you'll reap the harvest you have sown. And as the fear grows, the bad blood slows and turns to stone. And it's too late to lose the weight you used to need to throw around. So have a good drown, as you go down, all alone, Dragged down by the stone... NFP, It's amazing how much you and I think alike.......we even like the same music! :) You are an amazing writer and even a better human being....I hope you continue to write....and the hope is that someday you might be able to be able to get through to the "educated jahils" of Pakistan. An NFP fan from Seattle, WA
Harish Midha Apr 22, 2012 03:00am
Never say "Never". Even a few people with resolve can achieve anything. We need more folks like NFP. HM
ismail khan Apr 23, 2012 06:09pm
This is some crazy article...Hope pakistan learns from its mistake and have good reall democracy and let lose all the crazies like lal topi out of the country who spread lies and live of fake lies about india and militray..untill paks dont change there mind set they cant compete with India
sarita talwai Apr 23, 2012 04:00pm
We in the sub-continent have to continuously question the questionable as well as the unquestionable.Our people are so quick to take affront when it comes to our culture, our identity and our history.It takes courage to call a spade a spade .NFP we wish we had one of you in India.
azharshahani Apr 24, 2012 10:40am
very well done.
Chris Martin May 21, 2012 01:28am
@Wazir Khan: Don't be in a state of constant denial. There is nothing wrong to highlight ones weakness and its never too late to correct it. If Islam is the binding force, why did East Pakistan got separated. I know you might come up with conspiracy theories about how India helped Sheikh Mujib, but the real reason is out in open.