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Smokers’ Corner: Past tense

Published Apr 14, 2013 05:25am


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Recently, a shocking display of self-righteous tactics employed by the Returning Officers (ROs) while whetting the moral standing of candidates for the May 11 election triggered a series of heated debates in the media.

The controversy revolved around Articles 62 and 63 in the Constitution which were introduced by a reactionary military dictator in the 1980s.

Yet, even after the demise of the dictator, about 15 years of civilian rule couldn’t put the controversial articles up for any worthwhile democratic scrutiny or debate.

The mentioned articles are based on almost entirely abstract allusions about Pakistan’s founding ideology. No matter how much the term Pakistan Ideology is mentioned in the country’s school textbooks and by the mainly right-wing intelligentsia, the truth is that the term has never been fully defined and/or agreed upon.

But it is also true that in spite of the fact that the so-called Pakistan Ideology (Nazariya-i-Pakistan) is at best a figment of lofty and illusionary thinking with very little connection to any substantial historical reality, it remains a widely used term among a majority of Pakistanis.

The main reason for this has been the kind of history almost each and every Pakistani has been taught at school and college ever since the mid-1970s. School and college students are actively discouraged from understanding history as a set of facts based on literary and archaeological evidence.

They are also asked to blindly consume history (especially that of Pakistan) even when facts in this context suggest that much of it was written to fulfil certain manipulative ideological ends and to popularise political and social episodes that have little or no link to any historical reality as such.

No matter how aversely some Nazariya-i-Pakistan enthusiasts in the media, the ‘establishment’ or the intelligentsia may react to the above-mentioned scenario, the truth remains that the whole Pakistan Ideology bit is a comparatively recent construct (if not an outright convolution).

Scholars like Ayesha Jalal, Rubina Saigol and A.H. Nayyar, historians K.K. Aziz and Dr Mubarak Ali, and authors like Hussain Haqqani, Ian Talbot and Stephen P. Cohen have all provided reliable evidence to substantiate that the term Pakistan Ideology was nowhere to be found in the speeches and documents related to the founders of the country.

The ‘Pakistan Movement’ was based on the ‘Two-Nation Theory’ which considered the Muslims of India a separate political and cultural entity from the region’s Hindu majority and was dynamic enough to deserve a separate Muslim homeland. Nevertheless, even after Pakistan was created in 1947, there were more Muslims in India than there were in Pakistan.

The founding father, Mohammad Ali Jinnah was quick to realise this and according to two of his colleagues, Chaudhry Khaliq-uz Zaman and Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy, this is why in his first major speech to the Constituent Assembly (August 11, 1947), he emphasised Pakistan to be a Muslim nation-state that was broad-based in its make-up.

In his 1961 book, Pathway to Pakistan, Khaliq-uz Zaman suggests that the speech “effectively negated (and put to rest) the faith-based nationalism of the Pakistan Movement”.

So if Jinnah dropped the Islamic aspects of the movement, then what is the Pakistan Ideology?

Subscribers of this ideology explain it to be a belief in the ‘Two-Nation Theory’ and in the conviction that Pakistan came into being in the name of Islam and was destined to become an ‘Islamic state’.

Detractors, however, point to the fact that the Two-Nation Theory collapsed the moment the majority of Muslims stayed behind in India, making Jinnah affirm his idea of Pakistan as a Muslim-majority nation-state where the state will have nothing to do with religion.

Detractors also suggest that the Theory was contradicted once again in 1971, when Bengali Muslims in the former East Pakistan broke away to form a separate country on the basis of Bengali nationalism.

They further point out that had the founders conceived Pakistan as an Islamic state, they would not have been opposed by Islamic fundamentalists, many of whom were staunchly anti-Jinnah and thought the idea of Pakistan was an un-Islamic abomination.

Jinnah justified Pakistan as a Muslim majority state that would encapsulate the political, economic and cultural genius of the Muslims of South Asia without evoking the theological aspects of their faith.

He was also conscious of the history of polemical conflicts between the many Muslim sects and sub-sects Pakistan had inherited.

Unfortunately, his concerns and vision were rudely ignored after his death in 1948, and the ruling elite haphazardly began to give shape to a monolithic idea of Pakistan in which Islamic laws would be central (1949 Objectives Resolution).

The 1956 Constitution again spoke of an Islamic Republic, but the problem was, all this was being suggested without putting the plan up for any authentic democratic scrutiny or consensus in front of a multi-sectarian and multi-cultural polity.

Most nation states have a history of creating an idealised past to sustain their justification. It was during the secular military regime of Ayub Khan (1959-69) that the myths required to build a nationalist narrative began in earnest. He formed a Council of Islamic Ideology but populated it with liberal Islamic scholars.

The Council was more an exercise in painting Ayub’s polices as being close to Jinnah’s thinking, who, according to the Council, only believed in ‘controlled democracy’ and a centralised government. The Islamic aspect was given mere lip-service in the 1962 Constitution.

Ayub’s policies were opposed by the fundamentalist Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) that, in 1962, for the first time used the term Nazariya-i-Pakistan.

Over the next few years, JI, without mentioning Jinnah, continued to call for the creation of an Islamic state by claiming that it was a natural outcome of Nazariya-i-Pakistan.

Leftist thought and groups ascending in the late 1960s trashed JI’s claims by countering that Pakistan was conceived as a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural Muslim-majority country based on democracy and socialism.

Interestingly, it was during the populist and left-liberal government of ZA Bhutto (1972-77), that the term Nazariya-i-Pakistan first began to appear in textbooks and official lingo (especially after the passing of the 1973 Constitution).

The government rationalised the separation of East Pakistan as a natural occurrence because the real Pakistan was always West Pakistan or the region that ran along the mighty River Indus.

Though more friendly to the idea of the country being multi-cultural and multi-ethnic, the Bhutto regime explained that a largely homogenous understanding of Islam was the glue that kept all the ethnicities together (in the Indus region).

For this, the 1973 Constitution gave power to the state and government of Pakistan to define this so-called homogenous understanding of Islam.

In a land riddled with numerous sects, sub-sects and varied religious interpretations, the move was bound to alienate and even offend a number of Pakistanis who disagreed with the state’s version of Islam.

The Constitution actually took away the right of a Pakistani Muslim to interpret Islam for him or herself without state interference. But it was under General Zia, the man who toppled Bhutto in 1977— all that was first part of public debate (in the 1960s), and then a constitutional allusion in the 1970s became strict state policy — that Nazariya-i-Pakistan finally became an official creed.

Flushed with petro-dollars and an increasing confidence in his power, Zia unfolded a number of Islamic laws culled from interpretations of certain puritanical branches of Islamic thought and then (through textbooks, constitutional amendments and state media), weaved them to become the central planks of the Pakistan Ideology.

Ever since the 1980s, Nazariya-i-Pakistan has come down to mean the belief in the right of the Islamic state and Islamic constitution to not only define faith, but to also judge and measure the faith of the faithful as well as denounce and prosecute those deemed to be threats to the Pakistan Ideology.

All this has created sectarian and sub-sectarian divisions; justified state interference in matters of faith; and rationalised non-democratic intervention in the name of defending the ideology.

Consequently, the mindset has trickled down and armed people to openly manipulate faith as a means to meet self-righteous as well as cynical ends.

Lastly, the so-called called Pakistan Ideology has also left the youth of the country thoroughly confused about its identity in a rapidly changing and complex world.

For starters, instead of looking for their roots upon the ground that they stand on, many of them now look for these roots in the ways and trends of booming desert lands hundreds of miles away, as if Pakistan was conceived in Arabia.


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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 (54) Closed

Zafar Apr 14, 2013 05:00am
I am not sure why articles 62, 63 are being discussed so much now. Are the Returning Officers (ROs) more strict now than in previous elections or has our intelligence level fallen so low that our 'graduates' fail to answer simple questions about their country and religion. The governments from 1998-2012 had ample time to repeal or revise these articles. Did they do anything about it? If not, why complain now?
Nony Apr 14, 2013 05:23am
Quid e Azam assumed to be a liberal muslim created a nation in the name of religion. Bhutto an other liberal (islamic marxist i guess, God bless Marx's soul) gave us official Nazariya e Pakistan !! I think we have suffered more because of liberals rather than conservative right wing politicians.
Cynic Apr 14, 2013 05:24am
A lesson in history, but what is your point? Pakistan was not conceived in Arabia and neither was it conceived in the pubs of perfidious Albion.
Rabia Nawaz Apr 14, 2013 06:11am
Well written, well researched and well argued. How I wish it was you who thought us Pak history at school.
observer Apr 14, 2013 06:52am
I don't see a way out of this rotten and dangerous state of affairs. Do you?
Guest63 Apr 14, 2013 06:58am
Precisely to the point and Correct Question you have asked Zafar . The so called ( i would say it bogus claim by all parlimentarians and political leaders ) about Unanimous passing of 18th amendment to restore the original 1973 constitution . Where the hell these two articles came from into original 1973 constitution any way ??? Now as you sow so shall you reap . These self proclaimed leaders and law makers DID NOTHING to get rid of these Draconian insertions by a dictator , so when the ROs are applying the rules as they were given in the so called original 1973 constitution under 18th amendment , WHY CRY FOUL ???
Sinn Sal Apr 14, 2013 06:59am
Curious case of a sinking nation is more apt label of this article.
Capt.Abdus Salam Khan Apr 14, 2013 07:18am
Why drag poor Jinnah into the discussion at hand. The way Articles 62 and 63 are being implemented by the Returning Officers, even Mr. Jinnah would have difficulty in having his nomination papers approved. Even the election Commission has taken notice of misuse of these articles by the Returning Officers. A common legal premise is that a man is innocent unless proved guilty. Let the Returning Officers abide by this rule..
Nawaz Apr 14, 2013 07:25am
But that's exactly what the writer is pointing out. Did you even read the article?
Iqbal Oxorick (@iqbaloxorick) Apr 14, 2013 07:31am
Rational, well researched and written with an open mind. NFP you be the genius. Our schools and colleges textbooks only teach us to follow everything with closed eyes, as if we are studying faith.
Nony Apr 14, 2013 07:47am
yeah, weak federation and strong provinces. Equal representation of provinces in all sectors at federal level. No use of religion. No military diktraitorship. and some other small things to do. But this is not going to happen, reason, we are heading towards some strong federation regulated by shariat under diktraitorship.
Murthy Apr 14, 2013 08:00am
Unfortunately, the urge for power clothed in imaginary ideology is holding sway still in Pakistan, well over six decades after its birth. Unless a very clear constitution, separating religion from law and politics, is framed after thorough deliberation a 'Pakistani ideology' can only be the figment of the imagination.
Capt C M Khan Apr 14, 2013 08:02am
FAILURE OF LEADERSHIP that is all I can say. These 62 and 63 sections could have been removed if the so called leaders had some brains, they had ample time after Zia but NO they were more interested in body posturing and of course their personnel businesses. The Pakistani ship started sinking since ZAB and keeps on going down while trying to discover the correct sect of Islam.. Good article Mr Paracha but it is not going to change anything for the next 100 years until we ALL start living in caves and maybe then we will build schools that will teach TRUE HISTORY and TRUE ISLAM, an ISLAM that respects all humans irrespective of cast, color, creed or sect.
anil Apr 14, 2013 08:47am
@Nadeem I enjoy reading your article , because I find some conclusion in it . In an article , the writer had written "Muslims are the most prosecuted people in south Asia" ? I wondered why without reading the full article . Then I went on reading and he had written , Muslim converts put their faith in Mecca and Medina in stead of their mother land . They take pride in Ghaznavi and Babr or Mughals . They take pride in their monuments , they take pride in their past glory . But real story is not that . The invaders (conquerors for them) didn't do any good for Muslims . They only spread their faith. They built monuments by sucking their blood , didn't educate them enough. Then came some leaders and Mullahs who mislead them . This trend is prevalent as of now .Isn't it Mr.Nadeem .? Then I quietly agreed to the writer . I realized that they are not the victims of others , they are the victims of their own . This is not the case of Asia , this is the case of whole world . See a mad man in UK shouts "Sharia for UK" . I appeal you to put some wisdom-venom into the society , so that they can realize the whole story . History says "mass followers are always fool and wisdom-man always follows his own". I don't know whether you agree with me or not....But this community needs a heeling touch , otherwise it will be like "horns of deer kills the deer..."
Shakeel Apr 14, 2013 09:20am
The political, economic and cultural genius of the Muslims of South Asia would never have been fulfilled as Jinnah's dream even if had he lived another 20 years. He would have been easily bulldozed and bounced off to extinction. The religious hardliners had almost assumed Pakistan's custodianship as theirs from the outset. In Pakistan nowadays, it is no more nationalism first, it is Islam. But to confuse the issue even more, which Islam? Since every sect or sub-sect want to muscle in with their own brand as true Islam.
kausik Apr 14, 2013 10:01am
NFP is always brilliant in analyzing dissecting articles on Ideology of Pakistan i would like to see amd hear on you tube like Mr Sethi who also analyzes with great insight and unfortunately for Pakistani citizens this obsession of India as no 1 enemy and vice versa almost bankrupted both nations with 4 wars and nuclear build up.I do know India will never confiscate Pakistan as it will inherit and can never govern a hostile population and problems and viceversa.The intelligent thing India did was to name India as secular Republic even though Pakistan may not think and always says Hindustan naming Islamic Republic even though Jinnah had second thoughts as he tried to assure minorities and declaring Ahmadias as not Muslims and constant internal turmoil,dictatorships,lack of democratic expression does not serve the poor population on theology alone as swami Vivekananda said a hungry person can not live on religion alone.
Faizan Apr 14, 2013 11:29am
Jinnah fought for a nation for Muslims, not in the name of a religion but for the people of a religion. He didn't want a religionist state, he wanted a state run without religion interfering any of the decisions it made. He must be rolling in his grave right now because of what is happening to our nation. In his August 11th speech, Jinnah said, "You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place or worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed -- that has nothing to do with the business of the State". How exactly did he want a nation dipped in religion so deep that there's no point of return.
Astro Apr 14, 2013 11:38am
'diktraitorship' - wonderful word, although I would spell it differently!
Mushtaq Apr 14, 2013 12:15pm
I do not believe that there were more muslims in India than in Pakistan at the time of partitiion. Today between Bangl desh and Pakistan there are more than 300 million muslims where as there are less than 180 million in India. These demorgraphic have not change that much over the years. Other than that I agree with the columnist about article 62 and 63.
Karachi Wala Apr 14, 2013 12:36pm
Ever since the 1980s, Nazariya-i-Pakistan has come down to mean the belief in the right of the Islamic state and Islamic constitution to not only define faith, but to also judge and measure the faith of the faithful as well as denounce and prosecute those deemed to be threats to the Pakistan Ideology. I watched Faisal Bank T20 domestic cricket tournament's final played couple of weeks ago. Immediately after winning the final Faisalabad, players embraced each other huddled around, and suddenly one player fell into Sajdah on the ground. One by one all of the players followed the suite quickly as if aware of the watchful eye of camera. I was wondering who among the players could have dared not to bow in "Sajdah"?. I also wondered why Sialkot players did not bow and fell in Sajdah? After all, all the glory and demise come from Allah and one should be thankful in winning and losing both....
Khaliq Ma Apr 14, 2013 01:02pm
A cynic confused , whats your solution ? wipe the slate clean & let him create a model state acceptable to all, let him start from our brothers of fata ie if he has any idea of their existance
TKhan Apr 14, 2013 01:15pm
ROs were so eager to know if the person knew Sura-Ikhlas or was aware of Ideology of Pakistan that they forgot the looted Treasury of Pakistan. Most who plundered are back again on the saddle with a clean slate. A huge joke is being played out in Pakistan in the name of Elections and democracy; "In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens, you can bet it was planned that way.(Franklin D. Roosevelt).
Babar Shameem Apr 14, 2013 01:18pm
Unfortunately, since Ayub's departure, the state of Pakistan has spiraled downwards. Economic growth, coupled with a balanced distribution of opportunity / wealth framework, should have been the focus of "leaders." A model akin to the Chinese was needed to provide for the basic needs of the populace which would have encouraged less of an inclination on the part of masses to gravitate towards the absurdities propagated by Mullahs who have their own axes to grind and who, in large part, don't worry about economics since they're taken care of by the House of Saud and Emir of Qatar. Get people off the street, provide them with opportunity to take care of themselves and their own, and this religious fever will subside, this fever which is the bane of existence for most Pakistanis.
ahmad Apr 14, 2013 01:46pm
conclusion of the article may be states as Jinah achieved as state by decieving people of sub continent
a.k.lal Apr 14, 2013 02:07pm
sir--the basic question is that if all religions should co-exist then two nation theory is negated. all problems stem from proving two nation theory right.sad that so many people are leading uncomfortable life, for no fault of their own.
abbastoronto Apr 14, 2013 02:38pm
You give an inch to a bureaucrat he takes a foot. So the best government is no government, or at least, small government. More government - more corruption. Democracies, the rule of the Law and Order moneyed Demos, is top-down heavy in government. In contrast, the Republic, the rule of the justice minded learned, is bottom-up less government. Iqbal and Jinnah rejected Nehru?s Democracy for Pak Republic. Democracy is un-Islamic, Republic is Islamic. Khomeini?s Vilayet-Faquih is very similar to Plato?s Republic, and Jinnah the jurist may have been Islam?s first Vali-Faquih. The closest Western governance model for Pakistan is America, not UK. Misguided Z. Bhutto veered away from small government Republic towards heavy government feudal Democracy. Zia used the heavier State to use it to his nefarious ends of which we are paying the price. We did not make Pakistan to have Democracy, but a Republic. Let India have Democracy. A Republic for Pakistan ? NOW.
Azhar Mahmood Apr 14, 2013 03:22pm
Good heavens Abbas, you made some sense at last, well just a wee bit. But you couldn't help having a poke against India at the end which made your answer look like that coming from a mischievous little boy. You must be at least 70 years old, I think.
Sumit Apr 14, 2013 03:24pm
Here we go again - Mr Abbas from Dearborn coming up with the same utterly obscure statements that appear to be almost intelligent. I wonder if Mr Abbas ever has met the countless progressive Iranians in the US who are desperate to get rid of their political system that allows a Vilayet-i-Fiqh to exist, who can then throw out the election papers of anyone that defies the party line. But then - would dawn publish a comment against the wise Mr Abbas who is not from Toronto?
Aa Apr 14, 2013 05:16pm
So why don't you move to Iran? Hippocrates preach jihad and sacrifice while eating red, seedless grapes in their plush living rooms.
Quims61 Apr 14, 2013 05:35pm
Pakistan's history is one blunder after another by successive rulers.
Tauseef Apr 14, 2013 05:57pm
Eye-opening stuff once again, NFP. You are a master of all that you do: Satire, social commentary and insightful historical articles. Kudos.
pankajdehlavi Apr 14, 2013 06:08pm
How can in a nation created for the people of a religion, there will be no role for a religion ? Just saying few words to satisfy international media (may be he was eyeing for aid) is not suffice. You must see his actions from 1940's onwards, specially after loosing first election to Congress even in muslim majority areas.
sri1ram Apr 14, 2013 06:55pm
Fully agree. It is really laughable that one of the primary justifications by many for the state of Pakistan today is given as Jinnah's premature death. There *were* capable, secular, liberal, Jinnah-mould leaders in Pakistan even after. Jinnah held a special place in the hearts and minds of Pakistanis, but JI and other parties would have slowly yet surely muscled him away. Well, Mahatma Gandhi also was murdered before his time. His idealistic politics were also rejected by Congress and he was getting largely sidelined. Has India fallen into this morass of faith, faith and faith alone?
Shah Apr 14, 2013 07:40pm
Such a serious topic would require a lot more than op-eds & more importantly all those alleged facts with proper references.
Shah Apr 14, 2013 07:54pm
Although growth rates have changed since then, but yes when combined Pakistan had a greater muslim population than India back then. The author didn't care enough to check that fact.
qzj00 Apr 14, 2013 08:40pm
Also, you complain about dragging poor Jinnah into the discussion and then use Mr. Jinnah in your argument! What am I missing here?
kausik Apr 14, 2013 08:42pm
The election taking place on may 11th is wonderful and a land mark event for Pakistan as even a former dictator came to contest election from his hideout.I hope and wish the election conducted peacefully and probably money and booze does not play major role as it is witnessed in India in some constituencies.I have not read of extent of poverty in Pakistan but in India as per wsj analysis 40% subsist on $1.50/day.elections and democracy must improve life of the down trotten. Ideology,Religion,nuclear power does not fill bellies and Pakistan does not escape evils of untouchables see the documentary India untouched by stalin i was shocked to see Muslims practicing untouchability outside mosque.I hope democracy and elections will give voice to these people.
kausik Apr 14, 2013 09:03pm
One Thing India and Pakistan proudly share even after 65 yrs of Freedom is poverty 33% of population below poverty all the rhetoric,Ideology,Religion,weapons,wars,nuclear build up did not solve hunger even in Democratic India.we all badly need peace and peaceful co existence education economic improvement and less Ideology.Democracy and elections are first steps to establish responsible Leadership.
pankajdehlavi Apr 14, 2013 09:07pm
Nice to see an army captain supporting NFP and secularism in Pakistan.
warrenlarson Apr 14, 2013 09:11pm
Yes sir. This is the truth: "The so-called called Pakistan Ideology has also left the youth of the country thoroughly confused about its identity in a rapidly changing and complex world."
HNY2013 Apr 14, 2013 09:14pm
Is that pure business or opportunism that though the widely proclaimed and touted "Nazariya-i-Pakistan" boasts of Islamic principles yet China and USA (non muslim nations) are earnestly sought after when it comes to need of AID and back up support.
Pizza wala Apr 14, 2013 09:26pm
Abbas Sir, YES Sir! your Republican Pizza will be delivered to you in 30 min, If it is not we will give you coupons of double the amount.
truthseeker Apr 15, 2013 12:05am
The external influence on pakistan is immense and determine its discourse every second. the important event going to happen will be the saudi funding because middle east funnelled money to wahhabism which is a import of extreme form of islamism, so with the penury sets in the middle east with their oil field dried up for another 25 years the influence of middle east in the south asia will be minimum then it is interesting to see which discourse will pakistan take.
Raj Apr 15, 2013 12:21am
You are right. This is a classic case of economic colonialism using cultural subjugation that even after it has ended centuries back the residents hate their ancestral culture and religion and worship that of their subjugators.
KKRoberts Apr 15, 2013 02:37am
"Let India have Democracy. A Republic for Pakistan ? NOW.".Definitely that makes sense.Go for it.
Abdul-Razak Edhy Apr 15, 2013 02:38am
I fail to understand why we need to cook up a NAZARIA when plain history as is could serve the purpose. People try to justify their opinion religiously and enforce their views like wise. Without going into controversy what it was then, people can propose and mold their philosophy for the future as no one can expect a Nation to freeze their course of progress or goals for all times to come.
observer Apr 15, 2013 03:17am
He must be captain of some sports team.
truthseeker Apr 15, 2013 07:45am
The external influence on pakistan is immense and determine its discourse every second.
Syed Hydar Apr 15, 2013 08:26am
"The ideology of Pakistan" was created by the Jamiat to use it against Bhutto. The true essence of this ideology should have been to provide the muslims of the sub-continent a seperate muslim state and to provide and protect the rights of all the non-muslims and to safe guard their places of worship so that they can freely practice their religon. Sadly we couldn't protect even the muslims in this country let alone the non muslim Pakistani's.
Karachi Wala Apr 15, 2013 10:17am
@Kausik, Sub Continent needs more people who can think like you.
Parvez Apr 15, 2013 12:26pm
Brilliant article. The way I see it is that in the beginning there was no ideology. A need arose and a series of events mostly political and personality based took place which culminated in the formation of Pakistan. Instead of building on this history altering event, small minds decided to invent an ideology to suit their agendas and not Pakistan..............and its quite apparent that they have messed thing up to the delight of our enemies.
SP Apr 15, 2013 03:15pm
I assume you mean that the enemy is India - and that it is delighted. The reality is that most (admittedly not all) Indians believe that a stable Pakistan is in its best interest.
Magister Ludi Apr 15, 2013 05:47pm
Reading this article increased my respect for Jinnah many fold. He truly was one the great statesman of the 20th century along with Castro, Trotsky and Lumumba.
jay london Apr 15, 2013 06:58pm
Not pakistani cricket team right?