Ideology of Pakistan

In South Asia on 6. March 2012 at 21:49

Article is also published at The Express Tribune Blogs

The hopes were high when Jinnah presided over the constituent assembly in 1947 and declared without doubt that freedom of religion was to be respected. It was his wish to lift up the economic and politically deprived Muslims from their backwardness that led to the support of many non-Muslim minority activists as well, notably Christians. In a time where major Muslim political groupings allied themselves with Indian National Congress, the Christians in their legislation secured Jinnah the desired support All India Muslim League needed.

His close friends, and those amongst the founding fathers of Pakistan, also belonged to minority groups. The first Law Minister, Jogendra Nath Mandal was a Hindu from Bengal, his secretary and later the Chief Justice of Pakistan; Alvin Robert Cornelius belonged to the Catholic Church. The longtime and highly admired Foreign Minister Mr. Muhammad Zafrullah Khan belonged to the Ahmadi sect. In addition, Jinnah himself belonged to the Shia denomination, and many of the top leaders of the Pakistan movement were from the Shia, Ismaili and Ahmadi camps.

Jinnah and Zafrullah

Mandal and Zafrullah Khan became quite disillusioned when after Jinnah’s death the constituent assembly went to declare the newborn country an Islamic state and limiting its leadership only to be preserved for Muslims. Both and especially Mandal became quite vocal and advocated the need for a secular nation which they meant Jinnah wished for. Their voice fell to deaf ears, Mandal was pushed aside and had to leave his ministry. His resignation letter paints a gloomy picture of how violence against Hindus was neglected and the authorities failed to catch the culprits.

Each nation suffers from religious, ethnic and communal violence. But handled properly, the culprits are caught and punished. Authorities do make example of such and reduce the risk of such happening again. But when the state, in its legislation, and the judiciary which acquits three in four cases of sectarian terrorism, fails to bring justice and punishment then there is little help to get.

Why should Pakistani Christians, who are as much proud of this country, and so bravely involved in its freedom struggle, economy and defense suffer for the deeds of USA in Iraq and Afghanistan? Why should our Hindu community, an entrepreneur’s class who pay their taxes just as any other, suffer because Hindu extremists in India preach hatred and indulge in communal violence? And should it even be mentioned how mistreated the Ahmadi’s are on oil soil, dead or alive?

Christians and Hindus both make up about 2, 5 million individuals each. The latter although has for the last three decades fled the country with an average of 10 families moving to India each month. Imagine our own family members being harassed, kidnapped for ransom, raped or converted by force. It is of national disgrace that our federal and provincial authorities fail to realize and accept that such happens systematically.

Merely allocating mandatory seats in the parliament or involving one or two names representing minorities on the electoral list does not provide security and safety to our religious minorities. Our brave civil society and the local neighbor, who do care, can do nothing when all these factors are against them.

Those behind these gruesome acts are not unknown. The most militant of them are these days touring the country under the banner of ‘Defence of Pakistan Council’, together with several political parties. Its militant members Sippah Sahaba Pakistan, Lashkar-e-Jhangwi and Jamaat-ud-Daawa all have an ugly record of several thousand innocent Pakistani civilian lives. They have openly embraced Taliban and denounce the military operations to curb these groupings. Most importantly, this group fails to condemn violence on minorities in the country. And if they do address such, they blame it on ‘foreign elements’.

What can Pakistan’s minorities expect, when the politicians, who on one hand promise to safeguard minorities, on the other stand alongside those who at point blank kill and incite violence? These political parties are not unknown and their members are not ignorant for this basic fact. The reality is that when deciding in between a rally which gives time in media (even if it spews hatred) and to protect minorities, our dear leaders rejects the latter. And if they occasionally do say as Nawaz Sharif so boldly said, that Ahmadi’s are our brethren as well, then hell breaks loose from the self-declared protectors of this ‘citadel of Islam’.

And then we have the silent media, more specifically TV shows and news channels. How often do they report that women are converted to Islam by force? It does not help for those defenders of faith to recite verses of Quran preaching tolerance or freedom of religion, when the ground realities are quite the opposite. The fact is that our minorities fear for their lives, their faith and their children’s safety. Imagine living such a life!

Pakistan is sadly ranked among the worst states to live in for minorities. Our company is with Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia and Congo-Kinshasa. UN Minority Rights Group (MRG) publishes each year dreadful statistics about incidents which occur in Pakistan relating to violence against minorities.

There are many theories on what the ideology of Pakistan is. The most popular theory, which was quite unknown as long as Jinnah was alive, is that the country was created and destined to be an Islamic state. The ground reality although was that the drive force behind Pakistan movement was the fight for the right of minorities.

Jinnah believed in Hindu-Muslim unity but was disaffected when the Nehru dominated camp in Indian National Congress refused to agree on separate electorates for minorities. One thing led to the other, and we had an outcome which divided the subcontinent.

The main essence is that Pakistan was created to protect the minorities of India. And hence, the ideology of Pakistan is to protect its minorities in order to prove its existence. Our mere being on the map is not to be the eternal enemy of India, or to have influence in Kabul, it is merely to protect our minorities. If they are well, all is well. If they are threatened, then we have failed. And at current, we have failed Jinnah and Pakistan miserably.

In the end of the day, in one way or other, we are all minorities. If it is not religion, then ethnicity divides us, and if not that, then language, culture, tribe, cast and creed is always there. But when anyone of our countrymen, no matter what religion they have, travels to a foreign country, they are only known as Pakistani. We need to realize that being Pakistani, in its essence means equality.

  1. Pakistan is a dream gone sour. The nature, purpose and structure of the nation was no established and this lack of blueprint has caused an identity crisis stalling progress and direction for our country.

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