Pakistan must be a secular state or it will perish

By Yasser Latif Hamdani

The events as they have unfolded in Swat over the past few months have once again underscored the need for Pakistan to be a constitutionally secular state. 

Instead of getting into the debate as to whether Pakistan was meant to be a secular state (which I believe it was but that is not the point here) or a modern Islamic state (whatever that means),   let us be very clear- it was NOT meant to be a state where rogue raggle taggle groups like the Taliban would challenge the writ of the state and then establish its own system of “justice”  based on a misinterpretation of Islam.    Islam is not the problem here.   I tend to agree with the interpretation of Islam that is favored by Allama Ghamidi  but the question that comes up is “which Islam?”  Ghamidi’s? Or Israr Ahmad’s?  Rahman Baba’s ? or the Taliban’s?   Iqbal’s? or Maududi’s?

In a revealing interview yesterday,  Ghulam Mustafa Khar revealed that he played a pivotal role in bringing Maulana Maududi on board with Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s constitution.  Bhutto was ready to go to any length to secure consensus and the “welding in” of Islam into a democratic popular constitution was one such compromise.   Like Liaqat Ali Khan before him,  Bhutto was being clever by half with the Mullahs.   It was,  however,  Maududi who was to have the last laugh for Islam – as it was inserted in the 1973 constitution-  was akin to leaving the door wide open.  Since 1973 we’ve seen a steady erosion of fundamental rights in this country, all justified by the Islamic provisions of the constitution.

Now therefore we must learn a lesson from this.   Islam is a rational and pragmatic religion which aims to create a just and egalitarian society.   It does not favor any exclusivism of any kind and treats faith as a matter between man and god.   Islam also does not favor form over substance.  A state does not become Islamic simply because it is called Islamic.  Similarly a state meets certain criteria of social justice, equality and human solidarity, it is perfectly Islamic, even if there isn’t a single Muslim living there.  This is what prompted Iqbal to call the British Empire the “greatest Mohammadan Empire on Earth”. The issue of what constitutes an Islamic state has no consensus and therefore it much more advisable to strive for a just society that Islam claims it seeks to create.

So let us not forsake the substance for form.   Only a secular state which saves Islam from manipulation by various contending groups in this country can truly fulfill the aims and objectives of Pakistan as a prosperous and egalitarian state. This is no paradox.  It was no paradox that the Muslims of South Asia chose as its leader someone like Jinnah who was so obviously disdainful of religiousity for anyone else would be too partisan or sectarian.  The same principle applies on a state level.   

 Let us say this openly:  Pakistan needs to be a secular state to survive.  There is no other way.  True Islamic principles of equality, fraternity and justice dictate it.

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104 Comments

Filed under Pakistan

104 responses to “Pakistan must be a secular state or it will perish

  1. rws

    this is so hilarious.

    Don’t you realize that in your third paragraph you are doing exactly what you criticized Bhutto and Liaquat Ali Khan for doing in your second one?

    As long as “secular” Pakistanis like you continue to claim that a secular state is interchangeable with a “truly” Islamic state (which only you are aware of the details of and the Mullahs are just making up some random gobbledegook that has nothing to do with the “real religion”), our identity crisis is only going to get worse.

  2. Monkey

    Absolutely..YLH, I would request to write a series of posts about how this transition from “religious” to secular can take place. It will also open up discussion on people’s views on how or if this social change must take place….

  3. yasserlatifhamdani

    RWS

    Clearly you have no
    idea or sense of what I am saying.

    What Bhutto and Liaqat did was the exact opposite of what I am suggesting. I am saying that there is no need to put Islam in the constitution…where as they argued that a state could still be modern and democratic with references to islam in it.

    People like you are the reason why normal Pakistanis have a problem accepting the idea of a secular state. You are so conceptually weak and closeminded like the mullahs.

  4. rws

    “I am saying that there is no need to put Islam in the constitution…”

    Yeah, because a secular state can be an Islamic state, according to you. I mean, you are totally incapable of saying that a secular state is VASTLY different from an Islamic state and that you reject the concept of an Islamic state because, for example, it discriminates institutionally against non-muslims. Do you think that Pakistanis are a bunch of kindergarteners that they will believe this non-sense?

  5. yasserlatifhamdani

    No. What I am saying is that a secular state is not unislamic because islam does not prescribe an “islamic state” but rather a just society.

    I don’t know if I am capable of saying one thing or the other but with people like you around Pakistanis will not agree to a secular state in a million years.

    This is what makes people like you utterly nonsensical.

  6. rws

    ok, last post:

    First, what I say has zero impact on what anyone in Pakistan thinks.

    “No. What I am saying is that a secular state is not unislamic because islam does not prescribe an “islamic state” but rather a just society.”

    Islam is not interchangeable with justice, especially from a non-muslim perspective. You would have a difficult time convincing, say, a Jew, that the Holy Prophet’s Medina was a perfectly just society or even one that he wanted to live in. So I am not sure why you claim that Islam merely prescribes a “just society” from an objective perspective, because it doesn’t. A basic recognition of this fact is a pre-requisite to a genuine implementation of secularism. I suspect that you do recognize this fact but are acting like a politician and packaging up something sellable. That’s why I said that you were doing what Bhutto and LAK did.

    cheers.

  7. yasserlatifhamdani

    Look I am not interested in venting my own frustrations … You are clearly someone who is allergic to the word “islam”…whereas my concern is to convince people who are staunchly Muslim that secularism is the only way they’ll be able to safeguard their state.

    If you don’t see the difference between Bhutto/LAK did and what I am suggesting- then I can only marvel at your analytical skills… because putting references to something in a constitution is fraught with misinterpretation.

  8. Pingback: My rants on Taliban « Shahbazali’s Blog

  9. Incredible

    yasserlatifhamdani,

    Well done brother.

    Keep it up.

  10. Chris Hayes

    The ‘ideal’ democractic state is one that can be anything, as long as each iteration or ideology is forced to leave open the possibility of being swept aside at the next vote.
    But religion (as opposed to faith etc) cannot allow that. To survive all these centuries it has to include an element of compulsion and permanance. Without these things religions wither, as countless have. Also lets not forget Islam, Christianity and other similar faiths have a hell. That is if you are spiritually corrupted you are damned for all eternity, and if you see others going in that direction surely every element of compassion in you cries out to stop them at any cost to save their souls from an eternity of punishment?
    Really Christians in Western countries must be cruel indeed to have allowed the moral greyness that a lack of religion in private life allows, they are cheerfully condeming their countrymens souls.

  11. Chris Hayes

    Yeah, because a secular state can be an Islamic state, according to you
    >>>>>>>>>
    Well, are Malaysia and Indonesia successful Islamic states by virtue of being populate largely by Muslims as opposed to Sharia law or similar measures?

  12. rws

    “Well, are Malaysia and Indonesia successful Islamic states by virtue of being populate largely by Muslims as opposed to Sharia law or similar measures?”

    I don’t think I understand the question. What I meant initially was that yasser is putting forward the idea that any society with a certain degree of justice and social equality is an Islamic state and should be acceptable to staunch muslims who want Pakistan to be an Islamic state. It’s a very circular argument against Shariah since the obvious answer to that would be well, if Islam is indeed a perfect guide to social justice then why not follow Islam and create an Islamic state?

    yasser’s answer to that is that there isn’t one school of jurisprudence that we could follow so it’s better to scrap all of them. It’s really a very weak argument, because what we are seeing in Swat is that the only “school of jurisprudence” that has ever mattered is the one whose followers were strong enough ideologically to impose it.

  13. yasserlatifhamdani

    No … It is not circular. My argument does not pre-suppose that all just societies have to be Islamic but that Islam envisages a just society…

    In Pakistan, the state has tolerated a lot of what goes on because of its constitutional obligation to impose Islam.

    On another note- your penchant for misinterpretting and attacking people who are ostensibly looking for the same thing as you makes one wonder as to whether your priority is to merely attack Islam and not secularism.

  14. Amber

    Is there a really secular state that exists in the world? Most of the nations are secular only because a clear majority professes a particular faith. The moment a new faith starts to rise, heckles are raised by the majority and various direct and indirect methods are employed to curb it. So what does secular mean in real terms?

  15. RWS and YLH
    I think it is a pity that the two of you essentially share the same vision for Pakistan – a country where religious tolerance prevails; yet religion has nothing to do with the business of the state in the words of Jinnah.

    The argumentation here on this post is reflective of how we are not united in the face of growing bigotry and intolerance – we now stand at a juncture where militant takeover is not a fanciful idea anymore.
    Please consider my appeal – appreciate the nuances of each other’s position and agree that Pakistani state has to be re-shaped for a better, secure future.

  16. You ask an important question which is the result of vast conspoiracy to desatbilize Pakistan and blame Islam. Unfortunately the conclusion you draw from the recent events in Swat is based on Anti-Pakistan propoganda perpatuated by the Pro-Indias, and Unpatriotic Left in Pakistan.

    Let us assume that for minute, the 1973 constitution created by consensus of all parties is changed and Pakistan is declared a “secualr state”. How will that change anything? Will the war in Afghanistn go away? Will poverty be eliminated? Will corruption be history? Nothing will change!

    The issues is not secularism or Islam. The issue is geopolitical and a result of the US occupation and continued bombing of Pakistanis by US drones.

    This is hard concept to comprehend by some in our youth who see “nirvana” promised by the Non-religious Left who are pre-disposed on blaming Islam as the root cause of the problem.

    Pakistan will NEVER be a secular state. This is the talk of the enemy from across the border.

    It is not Islam that is the problem, it is the murderous gang of terrorists from across the border that want to demoralize Pakistanis into thinking that somehow the religion is the issue.

    Seculr Christians murdered 55 million of their own During WW2 and 15 million in WW1. Millions died during the Amiercan Civil war–a secular country.

    3 million were killed by Buddhist Cambodia in the killing fields.

    Bharat has enslaved 450 million Untouchables, marginalized 150 million Muslims and does not control 40% of its territory (which is controlled by the Naxalites).

    Bait Mehsud is an Indian agent sending terror to Islamabad. The US is planning an exit strategy and will leave by 2011. Then this terror will stop.

    Of course we are deeply disappointed that Pak Press is presenting this point of view which runs contrary to our glorious constitution and for which millions have died. But its OK, you guys do a lot of good work, and perhaps want to publish all points of view. Its only, that we can get the other point of a view form hundreds of Bharati sites, and this is our oasis.

    It is amazing that the same people who raise the issue of secularism also praise Iran where millions were killed and where the Vice Police even today enforce segragation and Imam Sastani enforce a strict enforcement of religion in Iraq, Leabnon, and Iraq. So should Palestine, Sudan, Libya, Sudan, Iran and a host of other countries also have to be also be secular. Why only Pakistan?
    Let us all refocus our priorities on the real issues–illitracy, unemployment, and build Pakistan as a prosperous state.

    Editor Rupee News
    http://www.rupeenews.com
    http://www.pakhistorian.com
    http://www.pakistanledger.com
    http://www.pakpunch.com

  17. rws

    Raza Rumi, just because two people are secularists, there should be no reason for them not to disagree. If Jinnah’s vision was, indeed, a secular vision it has failed miserably and perhaps it is time to analyze why.

    regards

  18. A reponse to the call for secularism was published in Rupee News.

    http://rupeenews.com/2009/01/04/pakistan-islamic-not-secular-non-theocratic/

    Perhaps you can publish that as a response to the call of “Secularism”. Perhaps we are close in our thougts…semantics are important…we cannot use the language of the enemy.

    Was Salaam

    Moin Ansari
    http://www.rupeenews.com

  19. Admin: Both my posts had spelling errors, Can you kindly correct and post. Thanks. Please do not publish this note

    Thank you.

  20. yasserlatifhamdani

    Raza,

    There is an essential difference. I am a secularist because I want this country to succeed.

    This RWS person is merely interested in his/her own axes and petty agenda. This is precisely why his/her target is never those who we are fighting for our survival against but those with whom disagreement is only academic- that is if our public positions represent our real positions.

  21. RWA/YLH
    OK. But you guys have not responded to my question – of how can we have a more united front –
    I have God forbid not argued for a totalitarian level of agreement – that is unhealthy and what I oppose anyway.

    All I am saying is that we have to find some common threads among people who want religion out of state business.

    Otherwise how can we counter the ideology that wants to annihilate Pakistani state and society to ‘capture’ it. I am not being sensational – look at the three emirates in the northwest and teeming factories of jihad elsewhere????

  22. PMA

    Hamadani & Rumi: Your posts are always wonderful. I enjoy reading these posts daily. Some of these posts generate very lively intellectual discussions. My question to both of you gentlemen is this: How do you envision the ideas and views generated here in these posts and discussions reaching to the ‘man on the street’? The ‘man’ who is neither able to read nor write; the ‘man’ who does not know English or has the sophistication to understand your intellectual arguments; the man who has no access to computer and Internet; the man who constitutes the majority of our people. Until and unless there is a mechanism to reach to the ‘man on the street’, what ever is said and discussed here is just that. An intellectual exercise with no end result. Meanwhile our beloved country is slipping away from our hands. I hope you know what I am saying here.

  23. yasserlatifhamdani

    Some people are trying to put up posts arguing about what kind of Pakistan was envisaged by the founding fathers especially Jinnah.

    Whether Pakistan was envisaged a secular state or not …has been discussed to death. Misquoting Jinnah or quoting him out of context will not change the fact that he blocked every attempt to introduce any exclusivist principles in the constitution.

    This discussion here is not about this debate… And frankly I am not going to allow it to be derailed.

    If you have a comment about what kind of state Jinnah wanted or what it was that he was after- may I suggest “tragedy of Jinnah” an article where we’ve discussed these issues in detail.

  24. Adil

    We need Allah’s Pakistan not Jinnah’s.

  25. ralam420

    I think Pakistan needs to be a less impoverished state or it will perish. The poverty level has risen from 23% to 37% in the last 5 years. This has nothing to do with religion. Or secularism.

  26. yasserlatifhamdani

    Even that has everything to do with religion…

    Still the clear and present danger is that we would lose this country to those groups which are well armed, religiously motivated and have nothing to do with poverty,

  27. yasserlatifhamdani

    Adil mian,

    And does Allah ka Pakistan tell you to do what is going on Swat.

    The Pakistan I stand for is in my view Allah’s Pakistan.

  28. Ibad ur Rehman Ahmed

    Can you please explain how you intend to reconcile with the people in Pakistan having a religious bent of mind? No, I’m not talking about the Taliban or the firebrand mullahs here. I’m talking about the common man who maybe likes to pray five times a day and remembers his grandfather’s chants in the freedom movement – “Pakistan ka matlab kiya” and has the two nation theory ingrained in his psyche. Do you have a plan on convincing them that indeed secularism is the key?

    P.S. I’d like a reply which doesn’t present precision drone attacks as an answer.

  29. yasserlatifhamdani

    Without getting into the unnecessary discussion about “Pakistan ka matlab kiya” and whether this was actually raised during the Pakistan movement… as this is not the forum for that discussion… I think it is in the interest of the people with the religious bent of mind (and I also mean those who are not Taliban types) to realize that only a Secular state can protect their religious liberties…. that otherwise Taliban and other such religious groups will force their own religious interpretations down their throat…

    Only a secular Pakistan can protect Islam from manipulation and destruction.

  30. Ibad ur Rehman Ahmed

    I suppose you didn’t get my question. You are just adamant that secularism is the answer and that people will have to understand this for their own good.
    What I’m asking you is; do you have a plan on how we can possibly create an awareness amongst the masses that this in fact is the answer.
    Secularism has proven itself as a workable and successful model for many nations but can it really work for Pakistan? If yes, how?
    I too, like yourself, don’t want to delve into the debate of what was in fact Jinnah’s Pakistan. But it most certainly was not secularism that brought together so many diverse cultures and ethnicities under one umbrella and one flag. I’m NOT saying that I am convinced religion can do it again. I find it harder to believe that secularism can!
    I would second nice bharatiya’s comments in the other contribution “True colours of so called ‘Sharia’ Law – a citizen speaks”.
    Indeed it is difficult not to let religion mix with polity specially for a country whose birth has religious sentiments within its roots.

  31. Adnan Siddiqi

    EDITED.

  32. yasserlatifhamdani

    Once again…. it doesn’t matter whose comments you second or not… or what you think brought the masses together… that has nothing to do with the fact that putting Islam in the constitution degrades Islam and destroys the constitution… get it?

    I am not against solidarity based on religious identity but putting Islam in the constitution only destroys solidarity as we’ve seen in this country.

    As I hinted above… it had to be an anglicized seemingly westernized Muslim who united the Muslims and not a Mullah in 1947… precisely because a more religious person would be more sectarian as well. The same principle applies to the constitution. The more Islamic you try and make it, the easier it is for you to divide Muslims of this country.

  33. yasserlatifhamdani

    Not really Adnan mian… we just don’t like defaecation stinking up the place.

  34. Ibad ur Rehman Ahmed

    Let me re-iterate here; there are a lot of ‘religious’ Pakistanis who are unwilling to accept the Talibanized version of religion and are standing up against such a mockery being made out of their faith. This doesn’t mean they will automatically lend credence to a secular form of government.

    Yes, the ‘man’ is important but the form of ‘rule’ and ‘governance’ is equally important, if not more! It wasn’t his secular beliefs or how he wanted Pakistan NOT to be a theocracy that helped him rule the hearts and minds of the people or provided verve to the freedom movement.
    We can still have an “anglicized seemingly westernized Muslim” and yes that might be the kind of leadership we have been searching for. But I really doubt that person would employ secularism as the modicum of polity, if he were to prove successful. I’m still to be convinced on that count.

    P.S. My comments matter no more than yours do and either of us might not be representatives of what the masses feel/think. But I guess you will agree that it is important to convincingly compel them in order to instigate a movement – even if you’re the only one with a workable solution to this country’s problems.

  35. yasserlatifhamdani

    Awais,

    You are welcome to post your comments on a relevant board… we’ve discussed what Pakistan Movement was about on “Tragedy of Jinnah” board… to cut the long story short, I am afraid your view is jaundiced by “Pakistan Studies” propaganda… but we can’t cure it on a board that has nothing to do with it.

  36. yasserlatifhamdani

    Ibad mian,

    Once again…

    In order for Islam to continue to unify the masses, it would have to stay out of the constitution. I am not asking for a mass movement around “secularism” (secularism is not a slogan or ideology or religion but rather a principle of state: separation of church and state or religion and constitution)…. all I am saying is that don’t bring religion into the constitution.

    Look for the form not the substance. When the common man speaks of Islam, he speaks of a just and egalitarian society and not the kind of totalitarian dystopia that Taliban present … now we’ve seen that whenever you etch this sentiment i.e. Islam in stone – or constitution- that simply opens the door to taliban like elements…

    It is not about leadership. It is about the principle. Just like only a seemingly irreligious man could unify Muslims … only a secular constitution can unify Muslims of Pakistan in the name of Islam even.

    No I am not looking for a movement… this has to come top down… the elected leadership would have to decide whether they would continue to fool the people by insisting on form and not substance… or would they go for substance i.e. just egalitarian society based on Islamic principles, which is now only possible if any exclusivist sentiments are kept out of the constitution.

  37. Ibad ur Rehman Ahmed

    I appreciate the fact that you speak with such conviction but conviction alone does not make an argument convincing.

    Is the constitution the only thing that constitutes governance? Are constitutions meant to unify people? Does the Pakistani Muslim only want the justice and egalitarianism that Islam brings with it?

    If that were the case then there are places where these values are upheld better than in any Islamic country and without any Islamic diktat. The common man should then be more than willing to rejoin India – the largest secular state in the world and the only exceptions would be the Gujarat massacre and the offhand Bal Thackeray/Varun Gandhi comment, otherwise the model has been largely successful and complimentary if not a requisite towards the overall progress of our neighbor. We can then assume that only the Taliban would struggle for Pakistan in the name of Islam. That’s not the case! A small example, the Aga Khan Board decided to impart sex education as a part of its curriculum. In a personal opinion, perhaps it was a good initiative. If you think, it was the mullahs alone who ran a campaign against the implementation and foiled any such attempts, Google it up again.

    A top-down change? I would choose to think of myself as more of a realist than a pessimist but you place too much faith in our ‘elected representatives’. Okay, let’s assume that we are finally ‘granted’ a noble man, an absolutely incorruptible leader; the one we always wanted. You think suaveness and charisma alone or babbling about Jinnah’s rhetoric will help any leadership make this country secular or even allow them to incorporate secular amendments into the constitution? You perceive there will be no widespread public resistance to such a change? It’s anybody’s guess. Yes, the fore runners of the ‘anti-secularism’ movement will be the Mullahs but if you think this is what the masses want, I’m afraid you are mistaken. The change must come from within first. It will be a long, arduous process but again nothing’s impossible!

    P.S. I ephemerally digress from the topic at hand. With your resounding faith, leave the PTI and/or the PPP. Be the change you want to see in your world. You might not live to witness its culmination but your name just might grace the history books!

  38. yasserlatifhamdani

    Dear Ibad,

    Thanks for your kind words… but I think I have written everything quite clearly.

    The reasons why Pakistan was created have been discussed elsewhere and no it was not for the imposition of a selective brand/interpretation of Islam. Nor does your conclusion that a common Pakistani should somehow rejoin India follow in the least from what I have said. The reasons why Pakistan was created had nothing to do with imposing a selective interpretation of Islam. Pakistan was a result of a complex negotiation between competing nationalisms… to give an analogous example… the Quebecois don’t want to separate from Canada because they have a problem with Canadian secular democracy but with Canadian identity. Pakistan is an independent state… and whatever we decide to do with this independent state has nothing to do with our history as part of India.

    In any event, this is not the thread for “why Pakistan was created” and if you wish to discuss it you are welcome to join the discussion at “Tragedy of Jinnah” board, where a very illuminating discussion will hopefuly help you understand what was essentially a very nuanced demand.

    Now I am not asking for a secularism movement … I am simply saying that Pakistan cannot fulfill its potential as a prosperous homeland for Muslims so long as it keeps Islam in the constitution for that only leads to manipulation of Islam. The very religiously Muslim Pakistani people don’t want mullah raj… as much as they love Islam. Nor do they equate Islam with Mullah raj. Nor should anyone try and make Pakistani Muslims less Muslim (that is what people like RWS ostensibly want to do)… it is however time that Pakistani people realize that Islam is misused if it is found in the constitution.

    As for your concern about Mullahs/Taliban rising up in the name of Islam… and leading an anti-secularism movement… that has been happening since day-1. Faqir of Ipi rose up (ironically supported by Frontier Congress) against Jinnah’s government for being “secular” and “unIslamic”. Most of these religious parties were against the creation of Pakistan because they felt that it wasn’t going to be Islamic to their liking. But the people know better… if one trusts them. Secularism and Islam need not to be mutually exclusive spheres….

    So trust the people. They will do the needful. Never have the people of Pakistan ever voted for any of the Islamization measures that have been forced down Pakistan’s throat.

  39. PMA

    Dear Mr. Hamadani: Several comments ago I asked you a simple question answer to which I am still waiting for. Your wonderful intellectual arguments at Pak Tea House are fine. But how do you perceive these high ideas reaching down to the ‘man on the street’? The silent majority that can not read and write English and has no access to computer and Internet. Or may be it is that my question falls short of your high intellectual bar.

  40. Gorki

    Ibad ur Rehman Ahmed
    Reading your discussion with YLH, I think I can understand your question as ‘how do you convince an average Pakistani that secularism is the way to go in Pakistan. I have no reason to believe that you do not share YLH’s conviction about secularism. If that is indeed so, then perhaps I can try to make another effort to answer your question in another way.
    First, I agree with you that conviction alone does not make an argument convincing. You mentioned India as an example but national unions is a very complex matter. Here I agree with YLH that sovereign nations have more than one reasons (besides secularism) to unite or not, other wise the US and Canada would have no reasons to be separate countries. This is another discussion, and I will leave it for now but your comparison with India can be discussed another way.
    To begin with, I agree with YLH that secularism is needed by any society (including Pakistan) for the following reasons. In a connected world, one can not truly realize the full potential of its people unless they are freed of the baggage of exceptionalism of the ‘one and only one world view’ that religion imposes.
    You mentioned India as a secular democracy. India is perceived rather negatively in Pakistan but it is an excellent example of a like country. Compare that with another democracy; Israel. Superficially, Israel is even more livable place in terms of economic conditions, social justice and the lack of corruption compared to India. Yet it has one major difference; while India is truly secular in that it treats all religions as equal, Israel is based on a principal that it is a state committed to Jewish welfare and preponderance. The argument one makes is this; Out of these two states; which one would an average Pakistani would like to live in; which one would an average Pakistani would prefer Pakistan should be like? Most Pakistanis will instinctively feel that although they like neither, India would still be more livable since in principal, every one is truly equal, regardless of religion. I agree with you; it would be a hard sell. But to an average educated Pakistani, it would be clear that in the long run, the Israeli model, for all its military and political strength would still be a society at unease with itself while India, for all its faults can look forwards with confidence.
    OK this argument may only win some educated liberals but the average man is still unconvinced. Here is another. Separating religion and politics does not mean choosing one versus another. Separation may even be desirable to make both of them strong. For example everyone would agree that a nation needs a president and an army chief, yet we all know that combining them both in one office diminishes both. Pakistanis agitated not too long ago to separate such a union. If they agree that it was the right thing to do and this separation ahs not weakened either the state or each office, then similar separation would not diminish religion either. It is only the combining of religion and politics which diminishes both; by separating them, religion can be free of politicians’ needs for ‘dirty compromises’ needed in everyday politics and yet can remain a spiritual and a moral glue for the country.
    I guess what I am saying is essentially this; Pakistan is going through a major crisis with a population confused by a seemingly Hobson’s choice of whether to pick religion versus nationalism; it needs to be reassure that this is not the case, it can have both, only by letting them exist in separate spheres; one public and another private.

  41. Gorki

    Again sorry for the typos and mistakes in the above post. Kindly overlook them.
    PMA
    You make an excellent point. How do the educated ‘elite’ pass on the above ideas to the people at large?
    This is the job of the ‘elite’ as a national duty. The message and the need of the hour has to be understood first by the elite themselves using above forums, and then spread out like a thousand points of light among the general public using other forms of communications; media, TV public rallies and such.

  42. Danial Burki

    @Gorki: Actually, I think the biggest step towards secularising Pakistan and ridding our society of the BS that’s been burned into our collective mind would be a complete revamp of our history, religion, civics and social studies textbooks. While it is the responsibility of the media, the intelligentsia and the academy to address such issues, the ultimate tool for shaping national identity is the state.

  43. yasserlatifhamdani

    YLHh and M.Tahir,

    Gentlemen you are welcome to discuss what you feel Jinnah wanted or didn’t want on the “tragedy of Jinnah” board where we’ve discussed Jinnah’s politics in some detail. Suffice to say, Jinnah did refer to Islam on occasion – several occasions- but he understood what I have been trying to argue above… you don’t need to put Islam in a document or in the constitution to be Islamic in the true sense. So there was no contradiction when Jinnah famously blocked the various League resolutions to commit Pakistan to Quran and Sunnah… including the famous 1943 session where he called it nothing less than a censure on every leaguer.

    What you (ylhh), Awais and others are saying is thus completely irrelevant to this board. PTH welcomes you to put your views up on a relevant board.

  44. yasserlatifhamdani

    Dear Ali Arqam,

    Your post was irrelevant for the reasons quoted above. You may try your luck at a more relevant board. Infact I welcome you to participate in the discussion on “Tragedy of Jinnah” board to see just how wrong that plagiarized nonsense really is.

  45. yasserlatifhamdani

    PMA,

    I am still trying to think of an appropriate answer to your question… which is obviously very important and pertinent.

    My feeling is that this is an issue for which elected leaders would have to take responsibility… for the issue is one of leaders acting in the interest of their electorate and not just on its whims.

  46. PMA

    Mr. Hamadani: Thanks for the reply. Perhaps you will like to expound later on on my question. I am not against intellectual discussions like the ones often held here at PTH even though sometime the discussions get skewed either by the interventions of Hindus of India or by unnecessary reference and comparison with that country. My preference is to be and remain Pakistan focused and Pak-centric. But intellectuals like Rumi and yourself have to move beyond Internet discussions and ‘lower’ ourselves down to the ‘man on the street’ otherwise nothing will come out of these discussions. You are a big fan of The Quaid. So are millions of other Pakistanis. But Jinnah did not just write papers and speeches. He went to the people. I appeal to those intellectuals who live in and care for Pakistan: Please take one more step. Take your message of religious tolerance and enlightenment to the masses. Time to move from ‘cyberspace’ to ‘common place’. Without that nothing would be achieved. Pakistanis do not live in the electronic ‘talk shops’ like this. They live on the main street. Find a way to take your message out where our people live.

  47. nice bharatiya

    It is pleasant to hear word ‘secular’ Pakistan. YLH is reviving what Quaid failed to do. If I am not wrong if I say Jinnah by touching this topic lost part of his image. First of all for Pakistan to be a Secular state, it has to be good and strong democratically. It is preferable to concentrate on that than opening Pandora box for secularism. By the by may I know is YLH proposing Secular state where all religions are treated equal or is he envisaging Islamic secular state where all Islamic sects are treated equal?

    The dictionary meaning of secularism is unattached to any religion. This is practically impossible. In India, Hindu fundamentalists demand for establishment of common civil code whereas Muslim fundamentalists demand no state interference in their law. Muslim Personal Law Board works parallel (some times above) to India law establishment. For example only Muslims can get rid of his wife by saying ‘Talaq’ three times in India but others will have to establish reasonableness for diverse to the courts. The purpose of this reference here is not to tell about India but to tell how religious people demand for their diverse identity.

    It is easy to float new idea. But one should have clear thoughts and good intentions. It is not as easy as YLH snubbing his opponents in his replies/blogs.

    When YLH finds an answer to PMA’s question, he will realize the difference between writing proposals/ floating ideas/ searching holes to that of respecting ideas of others/ workability of proposals/ realities in implementation. Until then all have to live with YLH and his utterances.

  48. Bloody Civilian

    @Chris Hayes

    “But religion (as opposed to faith etc) cannot allow that. To survive all these centuries it has to include an element of compulsion and permanance.” This element can be as basic and completely flexible as, say, the Magna Carta. “Religion of the past is history of the present which can only be used as a good reference point and no more.” Maulana Amin Ahsan Islahi (he was very mainstream, founding member of the Jamaat i Islami). It depends which voice from within a religion, any religion, you choose to hear. What you say is true for those who have a vested interest in religion, not for true believers or seekers.

  49. Bloody Civilian

    Religion (i.e. the essential, permanent part of it) not only chooses to say nothing on many (if not most) public matters and statecraft, leaving it to society to work things out for itself, according to its times and needs. Similarly, the lesson from religion is for public law (certainly the constitution) to stay completely quiet on the subject of religion… i.e. steer clear of it. As for lawmaking, in a religious society, that’ll be done democratically, and will automatically have some basis in the majority’s religious sensibilities. But to mention or in any way try to make obvious that source in the law itself would be irrelevant and useless at best and disastrously mischievous otherwise. This is very much the minority school of thought within Islam, but it enither started nor stopped with Islahi… nor did he manage to develop it to the fullest (which can never happen any way). The tradition itself goes back all the way to Ibn Sina and beyond, no matter how over-shadowed it has been by the ta’ziris and others.

  50. yasserlatifhamdani

    Precisely… Let religious values be the civic sense and instead of public law…

    No wonder Maulana Islahi’s student is our finest scholar today.

  51. yasserlatifhamdani

    Nice Bhartiya,

    I mean a position where a citizen’s religion has no bearing on his or her relations with the state.

  52. Shahzad

    PMA,

    If I may address some of your concerns. No one individual or group has the capacity to bring these secular/liberal ideas to the masses. I am afraid it will not be possible unless our political leadership, educational institutions and all civil society recognizes the need for it, or we wait for our messiah which of course is not practical. As a whole our society has not yet reached the point where they are ready for it, this is proved by the nonsense that is spewed by our ‘analysts’ on all of our cable channels and it’s ready consumption by a majority of Pakistanis.

    There are however some measures which might help, revision of our school’s curricula is absolutely important, like one of the comments above mentions. I still remember reading some text book in our school years that Hindus can not be trusted or something to that effect.
    Secondly, television in my opinion has become the single most powerful medium in our society, more so then radio or even newspapers, and will only become stronger in the years to come. It is incumbent upon the media barons of Pakistan to sit down and agree to universal ethical standards in the national interest. This will go a long way in creating a society which is able to think for itself and help usher in an era where change can actually happen.

  53. PMA

    Shahzad Mian. (If I may call you that.) Thanks for the input. So may be then our Mr. Hamadani should be more on the TV than on the Internet!
    I have heard many ‘analysts’ on Pak TV channels. Not all but most of them are comical characters unable to develop public opinion in a positive way. I am sure Rumi and Hamadani could do much better job than most of them.

    About the on going debate here. Our religious scholars want religion to be part of our constitution and law because under that system they have a built-in role to play. The religious vs. non-religious debate has more to do with power struggle between the two camps than with the state or the religion. Pakistan should be compared with Turkey and not with India or Israel as some erroneously try to do. Jut like Pakistan Turkey is 99% Muslim country yet it is considered ‘secular’ because religious scholars are not allowed to create theocracy in that country. Pakistan needs to separate religion from the affairs of the state. That is not to say that it should be a non-religious country like communism tried to create one.

    So should we look for Mr. Hamadani and Mr. Rumi on Pak TV any time soon? That way they won’t be dogged by the Hindus of India on a regular basis. And about not trusting a Hindu Bunnia. Well jury is still out. (Just kidding. No need to get excited.)

  54. Shahzad

    Yasser and Raza can definitely be on TV, however I am not sure how effective that would be considering our current circumstances. My guess is that they would be labeled godless, stooges of the West etc etc. Secularism in Pakistan is not really well understood, generations of our kids have been brought up on the Zia doctrines and all it’s absurdities.

    In the absence of strong institutions and a watchful media, religion remains a potent force in Pakistan as it goes unquestioned by a majority of the population. It is indeed a tragedy that our media can present a balanced opinion, however, is refusing to do so with great implications for all.

    As for Turkey, it too has it’s own complexities. Erdogan and his rising popularity are anathema to Turkey’s establishment and it’s army. Historically, Turkey and Israel have had decent relations over the decades yet the performance put up the Turkish prime minister at Davos was purely for domestic consumption, and in the long run is setting a dangerous precedent. It would be interesting to see how it all plays out.

  55. nice bharatiya

    YLH,
    Thanks for the clarification. If you really believe in what you stated ‘I mean a position where a citizen’s religion has no bearing on his or her relations with the state’, clarify this:
    Will it be possible to have Multi-nations theory, separate electorate, multi-federations etc in such a ‘Secular’ Pakistan? Please don’t tell me those arguments were meant for subcontinent and not for Pakistan.

  56. yasserlatifhamdani

    This is your ignorance of history nice bhartiya. Nothing else.

    Had you read history you would know that Jinnah was willing to settle on the basis of joint electorate and had actually opposed the separate electorates when they first came about. And as a principle he was opposed to separate electorates all through out, accepting it only as interim measure with the option to revert to joint electorate…read point 5 of 14 points.

    And as for nations etc, just like Quebecois can exist as a nation within Canada…and now don’t prove yourself to complete dud by saying that Quebecois’ nationalism is based on language. Feel free to read “Partition of India: A dialogue” to educate yourself.

    Anymore comments on the issue of partition on this thread and I’ll put you on spam. You may contribute to the discussion at the relevant board.

  57. Gorki

    PMA

    I understand that your question about educating the average person pertains to Pakistan.

    I am not from Pakistan; therefore I will respectfully stay away from giving any advice in this matter as a Pakistani yet as a fellow South Asian I want to make some general comments in response to your query but will address it to all fellow South Asians readers of this blog.

    Shahzad made some excellent points when he said the following “no one individual or group has the capacity to bring these secular/liberal ideas to the masses. I am afraid it will not be possible unless our political leadership, educational institutions and all civil society recognizes the need for it”. I agree with him.

    Moreover since the decay in the body politic (in India, Pakistan and BD) started decades ago it will also take decades (and a lot of luck) to reverse now. I also agree that although TV is a powerful medium, in the current climate, the sane liberal voices will not have a receptive audience.

    That leaves another medium; the internet. This also as you pointed out; it is a tool of the elite; unavailable to the average South Asian. So what do we do?

    Indeed if we only use the net only for blogging and occasional debating, it will only remain a useless pastime. Yet the net is a much more than that. It can be used by the like minded individuals to organize around a single idea, if they all believe passionately in it. The recent election of Obama in the US is a living testimony to this fact since his campaign was first conceived and later organised around the singular opposition to the Bush war.

    People like your self, Shahzad, Rumi, YLH and several others on PTH appear to be passionate, intelligent and energetic individuals. There are hundreds, perhaps even thousands such liberal, educated and passionate individuals in South Asia and the US who surf the net every day, reading what you all have to say.

    If the blogs are used in such a way that they not only inform, but also vet and then invite like minded individuals to join in a common project, then it is possible that over time, a core group of such committed, energetic individuals can be assembled who would dedicate their energies to a common idea; that of liberating our people from mistrust bigotry and intolerance.

    Such individuals can continue their daily lives yet go on promoting the above ideals, one small group of people at a time. They can go on informing perhaps bigger groups, writing in papers maybe even go on to win an election or two but wedded to the long term common goal as outlined above.

    What I suggest is a long term project and may sound farfetched and grandiose yet so was the idea of the Indian national congress in 1885.

    As a South Asian professional in the US, I am aware of the fact that I belong to a lucky and somewhat exclusive minority; one that has an immense potential. We South Asians are only about 3.5 million strong yet 38% of US physicians, 12% scientists, and fully 36% of NASA scientists are from among us. The net worth of South Asians in the Silicon Valley alone is estimated to be about $250 billion.

    Let us compare this to another group of Asians a century ago.

    In 1912, a few ‘Hindustanis’ got together in Portland, Oregon to found the ‘Gadr movement’. They published their manifesto in 1913; in Urdu, and stated their goal in simple words; ‘to free our people of the racist foreign rule.’

    They were mostly poor laborers and some students; Hindus and Muslims, Sikhs and Parsis; Hindustanis; they called themselves. Today we have come a long way, but our people need to be freed still; now from prejudice and mistrust; bigotry and ignorance.

    The prize then was, a free South Asia. The prize is even bigger today; a subcontinent of more than 1.4 billion people with an expected economic growth rate of 8-10% annually for decades; all set to surpass the GNP of the US or even that of the combined EU in the next century. After 500 years, the pendulum is again set to swing back towards the East, if only our people can understand this fact and live up to their potential. For this to happen we have to quickly quit wasting our resources on needless rivalry and pool our resources.

    Here comes the difficult part. The trick will be to first build a public opinion in the favor of decent, liberal oriented institutions in both India and Pakistan and then form a loose economic super grouping; like EU or NAFTA (which will be then be the largest in the World).

    I am fully aware of the fact that this sounds like a near impossible dream, given the ground realities in S. Asia today. Yet more impossible sounding things have come to pass in history. Like a black US President or the establishment of a Jewish homeland after 2000 years.

    The 21st century can become the South Asian century if only the South Asians have the wisdom and the fortitude to make it happen. We, all who can imagine it, owe it to our selves to give it a try.

    We also owe it to our previous generations; who also had a similar dream of a prosperous South Asia but did not live to see it; all those who fell in the struggle for our land; whether in the battlefields like those of Delhi, and Cawnpore in 1857, in the Gadr movement of 1912-18 or the mass protests and massacres like those of the Jallianwalla bagh in 1919 and even later.

  58. Shahzad

    As much as I hate to say it, something inside tells me that the average Pakistani will not realize the dangers of Talibanzation till it comes to their towns/cities in all it’s ugliness. As a nation we are procrastinators and will only act once it becomes evident that we have to, the dilemma is would it be too late by then….

    PMA, to further address your question of how the masses can be enlightened, there is hope at the end of the tunnel. That hope is the youth of Pakistan. Their dynamism, boundless energy and conviction can go a long way. The Taliban essentially are unemployed 20 somethings, at least the rank and file. Pakistan’s history has only seen the youth rise up once and that was in Ayub’s rein, when along with Bhutto they forced the dictator out of his office. Many have contributed in their own way since, though we have not seen a coordinated effort similar in scope to that of the 60’s. This may be due to our campuses being hijacked by pseudo student leaders/goons backed by corrupt politicians in an effort to muster street power on the cheap. A classic example would be the JI’s hold on the Punjab University campus. As for our Ivy Leagues, namely LUMS, GIK, AKU etc….they don’t seem to be bothered that much. You may hear of some token protests every now and then but that’s about it. I should mention that I say this based on my own experiences dating back some 10 years when I was at Govt College, Lahore and subsequent conversations with friends in Pakistan. Perhaps things have changed but that’s my take on it.

    Gorki mentioned the role of the internet in Obama’s campaign. I would add to that the immense following he has with younger Americans who practically carried him into the Oval office. It’s safe to say perhaps that he would not have been elected had it not been for those countless volunteer hours which the Republicans could only dream of. On the other end of the spectrum, any meaningful opposition to China’s government and it’s policies invariably involves students.

    Coordinated efforts across our campuses in my opinion still have the power to usher in a new era.

  59. PMA

    Shahzad: Thanks for the detailed response. Very happy to converse with a fellow Ravian. Interesting that you mention of student power during the Ayub regime because it was my generation that protested against Ayub Khan and Amir Mohammad Khan. But ultimately we were all disappointed by ZAB because he turned out to be an autocrat and feudal lord that he was all along any way. But our ‘dark ages’ start with the ‘prince of darkness’ Zia-ul-Huq. Unfortunately we as a nation are still paying the price of his crimes. I have seen our educational institutes turned into crime scene with ‘professional’ students paid by the political parties running the battle fields. The rich and upper middle classes have removed itself from all that ‘mess’ and found refuge in what you have referred as our ‘Ivy League’. Your hope on the younger generation is well placed but if those who are in a position to make the difference remove themselves from the public then who is going to educate the masses?

  60. PMA

    Gorki: Thanks for the input and Indian perspective. Pakistan needs to first put her own house in order before she could meaningfully and effectively participate on ‘Pan-South Asian’ scale. There is such a great imbalance between India and her smaller neighbors that any thing ‘South Asian’ ultimately turns out to be ‘Indian’. Pakistan is more than a South Asian state. It is politically, culturally and economically tied with Central Asia, South-central Asia, Persia and Arabia as well. India is not her only neighbor. The fact that Obama administration has decided to tackle Pakistan and Afghanistan as ‘one problem’ speaks for that. For her to move forward Pakistan needs to get out of what I call ‘Indian Matrix’. She needs to pay more attention to her Pashtun and Baloch constituencies than to Indians and Bangladeshis. Republic of Pakistan needs to emulate Turkish model and not that of Indian. Thanks for visiting this site and giving your perspective anyway.

  61. Bloody Civilian

    @PMA

    It is because whatever less than democratic similarities Pakistan has with Turkey that we have failed the Baluchs and Sindhis, and in the past 8 years especially, Pashtuns too. Just like Turkey has been unable to resolve the Kurdish question.

    The Indian, pluralistic model is the only answer. You cannot have a presidential system, let alone authoritarianism in a multi-ethnic country like Pakistan (or India).

    I take your point about secularism vs religiosity vis a vis the Turkish example. Again, without built-in respect of the Constitution and rule of law, we would have to sit and wait for an Ataturk to fall out of the sky and ram secularism down our throats.

    In order to first return to a decent Constitution, we have to return to Jinnah’s vision. Other than ‘Islam’, Jinnah is the only other ‘authority’ Pakistanis might listen to. Not to allow Jinnah to be perverted and abused the way religion has been is in itself going to be a huge struggle and battle. The enemies would be those with a vested interest in authoritarianism and religion. Zia fused the two camps together. Lets hope Taliban brutality can make enough of the authoritarians rethink the ‘marriage of convenience’, and put off a good number of the Zia generation.

  62. Shahzad

    PMA,

    Nice to know you are a Ravian as well, the two copies of Ravi that I have from my time there are prized possessions. The walks to Anarkali, Urdu Bazaar, the walled city and Phujja’s are some of the nicest memories I have of Lahore. Sitting in on one of Shoaib Hashmi’s lectures was a treat even though I wasn’t supposed to be there 🙂

    Pakistan’s closeness to Central Asia and the Middle East, I am not so sure about that one. There are ties no doubt, but the long term security and prosperity of our nation lie within the subcontinent. Javed Burki some time ago authored a study at the Peterson Institute which advocates open markets/borders for Kashmir as an initial step towards resolving that issue. He also takes it further by advocating that SAARC should truly become a regional free trade zone which would ensure lasting peace.

  63. PMA

    Dear Civilian: I respect your opinion. Why to follow Turkish and not Indian model? Turkey and Pakistan have more similarities with each other than say India and Pakistan do. Both are 99% or 97% Muslim countries whereas India is a multi-religion country. Both Turkey and Pakistan house various small and large ethnic but Muslim groups. The problems within India are inter-religion such as Hindus vs. Muslims. The problems within Turkey and Pakistan are not inter-religion but sectarian and ethnic in nature. In case of Pakistan it is Sunni vs. Shia and Punjabi vs. non-Punjabi. Pakistan can learn both from the successes and failures of Turkish model. Even though Turkey is constitutionally secular, still it is a Muslim country with ‘crescent & star’ as its national emblem. Pakistan too could continue to be a Muslim country even after it adopts a secular constitution where ones religious affiliation has no bearing in his or her relation with the state. On the other hand India has never claimed to be a Hindu country nor she could ever do that. I hope you see my point. Pakistan need not to be a religion-less secular country. It only need to separate affairs of the state from religion or sect of its citizens. For that Turkish model is best to emulate.

    On the subject of Pakistan’s ethnic problems. Pakistan government needs to bring smaller ethnic groups such as Balochs and Pashtuns into mainstream of national life especially the tribal belt. It is another discussion that we could pick up on another day.

  64. PMA

    Shahzad: Perhaps you could tell that my heart is still in Lahore. I used to enjoy reading Ravi as well. When they first built a new mosque on campus I contributed a pictorial to Ravi magazine covering that addition. But I will stop at that as others may have very little interest in our chit chat. Sitting in Lahore Central Asia and Persia seem far away. But it is not the case when you are in Peshawar and Quetta. That is the trouble with Pakistani-Punjabi mind set. Pakistan is more than Lahore and Punjab. About the long term security and stability of Pakistan. Look what is going on in Pakistan today. Are our security threats not Afghanistan, Iran and Saudi Arabia related? Sunni-Wahhabi Pashtun Taleban are financially supported by Saudis as a hedge against Iranian Shia influence in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Seventy Five percent of Afghan trade is with and through Pakistan. Had Pakistan paid attention to the development of its tribal belt and tried to bring Pashtuns and Balochs into national mainstream, perhaps she would not have the problems that she has today. Javaid Burki also advocated that for long term security Pakistan need to move its center of gravity westward away from her eastern border. I support that thinking.

  65. Shahzad

    PMA,

    Pakistan’s security concerns do present a conundrum as can be seen by the Iranians and Saudis acting through their proxies on Pakistani soil with the loss of Pakistani lives. That shows exactly why Pakistan must embrace secularism. Our historical ties to Iran or India’s relationship with the Persians prior to partition were limited to the primarily Muslim elite and intellectuals and as proof may I offer the rapid fall of Farsi from both India and Pakistan over the past 150 years or so. The British of course had a lot to do with that as well, but the Pakistani/Indian masses never really had a Persian connection. Places like Quetta and Peshawar of course are going to be influenced by our neighbors due to their geography but that does not mean the whole nation needs to move westwards. Majority of Pakistanis live close to or east of the Indus and this is reflected by the physical location of our industries and businesses.

    This is not to say that the state should not develop Baluchistan or NWFP, on the contrary both of those should be on top of the govt agenda. Pakistan must also reevaluate it’s relationship with the Saudi kingdom, the Saudis act only in their self interest and so should Pakistan. This blind deference to them just because Islam’s holiest cities happen to be there is nonsense.

    Regarding the Afghan trade we seem to be getting only drugs and illegal arms from them while practically feeding a majority of that country.

  66. yasserlatifhamdani

    May I suggest that the difference between the Turkish model and say the Indian model is that the former was based on French legal and political traditions while the latter is rooted in British institutions.

    While I tend to favor the latter, perhaps it is time we admitted that the latter leaves so many things to convention that in a muslim majority society, it leaves the door open for what has happened in Pakistan. The so called Indian model is what we started with …and then we allowed the Mullah a space in politics and law (common law is far more accepting of canonical sources and traditions than civil law).

    In comparison, Turkey went for the kill and now 80 years later, even their right wing pro-islamic religious right speaks in terms quite identifiable with European secularism.

  67. Bloody Civilian

    We allowed mullahs to creep in through the mischief of the Objectives’ Resolution. In itself , it could be seen as a normal right vs left struggle, nothing inherently sinister about it. But on the ground, we allowed the Anti-Qadiani movement to grow unchecked. Politically resurrecting the mullahs that had gone in to hiding since 14th August 1947. The Martial Law in Lahore came months too late; and, even then, afterwards the mullahs were back to their old tricks.

    The Governor General resorted to bullying. The Chief of Army bypassed the government in his links with the US, and soon became a member of the cabinet. Justice Munir used the ‘doctrine of necessity’ of the kind you would have expected in classical/Greek times. These were all illegal, extra-constitutional means. Nothing to do with the British system. By 1956, we had Mirza’s more Presidential rather than Parliamentary constitution (already). We had bandoned the British system after 9 years of shamelessly undermining and defying it at every turn, in every way.

    As a republic, we were supposed to treat the Constitution as sacred. Where even Parliament could not change its fundamentals. Nothing short of a revolution, a new republic emerging, could do that. Yet we have the absurdity of Mirza being not satisfied with even his own Constitution and Justice Munir suggesting a new one being waved to the crowd and the applause to be taken as legitimising public acclaim! Even Mirza and Ayub Khan laughed at that suggestion.

    The consensus constitutional framework for Pakistan remains to be the Lahore Resolution. The 1973 Constitution acknowledges most of those fundamentals. But we need to reject all that was added by ZAB to appease those who were never part of the Lahore Resolution; indeed were against Pakistan and Jinnah. They can hardly be allowed to hijack the Constituion, when even Parliament ought not to have the right to change the fundamentals as set on 23rd March 1940 and 11th August 1947.

    Sadly, Zardari said in Neodero the other day that Quad-e-Azam’s Pakistan died on 16 December 1971, and the Pakistan we have today is Quad-e-Awam’s Pakistan. Respecting Quaid-e-Awam’s mandate and contribution in no way amounts to giving him the right to over-rule Lahore Resolution or Jinnah – ‘consensus’ or no ‘consensus’.

  68. Shahzad

    Eqbal Ahmad is one of the finest scholars produced by Pakistan, yet his work often seems to not get the appreciation it deserves. He was an ardent secularist, a man of impeccable character and one who answered the call to fight for justice wherever it was needed.The following website has a decent collection of his articles:

    http://www.bitsonline.net/eqbal/index.asp

  69. bonobashi

    @YLH

    About the different impact of following a French system as against following a British system: that is an extremely interesting remark. Were you referring to the underlying legal system in the countries concerned (Turkey and Pakistan), the constitutional overlay or the composite structure?

    I doubt that many of us are up to the intricacies of constitutional law, or even the difference between common law and civil law. Could you throw some more light on the subject?

  70. Chris Hayes

    Oh secuar wise would that allow people to convert from Islam to a different religion? I.e. no apostacy?

  71. Bloody Civilian

    @Chris Hayes

    The dark ages, getting darker by the day, decade and century, that muslims have been living in have been such that the most intellectually dishonest, preposterous and repugnant thing is claimed and defended by the vast majority of clerics and condoned or never questioned by the majority of muslims. It has no basis in the Quran, hadith or (what is called) sunnah. The perversion is quite easy to identify and analyse, quickly, because it is so nonsensical and preposterous.

    It, of course, forms no part of Pakistani law. Btw, the media did take an intiative, a couple of years ago, against Zia’s Hudood Ordinance, and despite the ‘ulema’ in live televised debates being 4:1 in favour, the overwhelming majority of viewers sided with the minority argument. People could see how preposterous and repulsive it was to have any equivocation between rape and consensual sex, as well as other serious flaws. This example might suggest the way forward. But the media has to be on board. The state’s role in purging the curriculum has already been discussed here.

  72. Bloody Civilian

    “…because it is so nonsensical and preposterous” = because it is so nonsensical and incredibly crudely done.

  73. Bloody Civilian

    @YLH

    The theoretical point you are making is applicable to the Objectives’ Resolution itself, as the mischievous ‘preamble’. Ignoring the facts that I was trying to quote as evidence that, subsequent to Liaquat Ali’s death, we did not follow any system or law at all.

    The point I made in passing was that as a Republic, we should have distanced ourselves, by a billion miles, from the British ‘flexibility’ of the unwritten constitution. Recent republics, homegenous or heterogeneous, without the luxury of history and historical convention, must treat the popular consensus with which the Republic originated, as its inalterable definiton. It is more important for homogenous republics to do so since any alternations can creep in more ‘silently’ than in a hetrogenous republic.

    Now this danger ought to lead to your suggestion of considering the French system. But the problem is that though religiously homogenous, Pakistan is ethnically heterogeneous. While any heterogeneity within Pakistanis’ religious views and strength of feeling is not a problem, since under a secular system they will all be equally irrelevant, a system that is blind to ethnicity, will not work in Pakistan. Assimilation will not be possible, since a Baluchi cannot become a Punjabi, try as he may.

    I don’t know much about the French system, just how the French responses to these issues tend to be different than those of the Brits. But I can see examples of the person of an empowered/executive President, say, to raise controversies on the mere fact of his/her ethnicity. Cabinet government from within an elected and sovereign Parliament, seems better able both to smooth out and represent these ethnically diverse interests and anxieties.

  74. Bloody Civilian

    The ethnicity question in Pakistan is about centralisation vs decentralisation – e.g. the ‘concurrent list’. Is the British or French system better able to deliver decentralisation? Despite the fact that both Britain and France are strongly centralised countries. The issue with the American system is that of the person of the strong President (especially if Pakistan is unable to moves towards decentralisation).

    Now, I will end this monologue, with apologies for taking more than my fair share of space. 🙂

  75. PMA

    When I spoke of Turkish example I was referring to the demographic mix of Turkey and not of its constitutional model. I am not a lawyer or a constitutional expert like our friend Hamadani is. My point was that both Turkey and Pakistan are near totally Muslim countries. Both have various groups that are ethnically diverse yet Muslim. That is where the similarities are. Perhaps Turkish ‘model’ of state governance could be applied in Pakistan as well.

    Our friend ‘Civilian’ (I dare not call him ‘Bloody’) has different take on the subject. He is more ethnocentric than I am. But I respect his concerns. I do not say that make a Balochi in to a Punjabi. I fully recognise our ethnic diversities. But I do say that in the absence of Hindu-Muslim problem that India has, Pakistan has better chances of success. My answer to our ethnic problems is that center must bring Balochs and Pashtuns (and others) into to the main national stream like Turks have done it. In Ottoman Turkey they used to reach out to the peripheral areas of the empires and bring the best and the brightest to the center to run the affairs of the state. Even today the brightest of the Kurds are at the highest positions in Turkey. Unfortunately in Pakistan we have neglected our Baloch and Pashtuns. Just look at the consequences of our neglect of our tribal areas. Why FATA is kept out of the NWFP and not given representation in the provincial assembly. Why tribal areas are kept out of the the provincial administration and legal system. Why Baloch Sardars are allowed to continue their fifedoms. I say make ALL ethnic groups equally vested in the Republic of Pakistan. Be inclusive. It will go a long way.

  76. Shahzad

    PMA I agree with you on being inclusive. There is something wrong when pretty much all the Baloch regiment has in common with the Baloch is it’s name. Granted the army may not want to have ethnocentric fighting units for national security reasons. But do Sindhis, Baloch or Pukhtoons in the army match their demographics, especially when it comes to commissioned officers.

  77. Bloody Civilian

    @ Chris

    Last I knew the Apostasy Bill 2006 (Draft) was before a standing committee. Unless it got passed and I completely missed it. Even if it is in cold storage, before a standing committee; that’s cold comfort. Cold comfort was all I meant by the statement “It, of course, forms no part of Pakistani law.” I should’ve added “… yet.”

    @PMA

    India’s hindu-muslim problem is also it’s strength, given the direction she has set herself in terms of her constitution. As her democracy evolves, in to more than a legalistic constitutionalism (which in itself is an achievement), her heterogeneity will become a safeguard and a strength. Things might get worse before they get better, but I do not see how the obscurantists can prevail in the Indian context. India’s judicary quickly developing in to a strong institution, capable of protecting the legalistic constitutionalism, gives hope. But a lot needs to be done. The politicians are far behind what is required, as is the electorate.

    Minorities leaving, especially the middle classes, was a huge loss for Pakistan. We have no disagreement about the need for Pakistan to be ethnically inclusive, but is Turkey really the model? I doubt whether Kurds will agree with your characterisation of the improvement in their lot, despite the progress made. The attraction of EU has a big normative effect.

    Whereas we started with a big enemy in the form of our eastern neighbour, so in our endless wisdom, we turned our western neighbours in to enemies as well. Our interference in Afghanistan, against Iran’s national interests, has turned them both against us.

    Our problem really has been the boots. Be it Islamisation, or the ethnicities not represeted at GHQ and, therefore, not finding any voice in Islamabad. Since our politicians tend to be products of ‘licking the military boot’ (forgive the extreme characterisation), be it ZAB or NS, and because civilian rule has never been allowed a run longer than 10 years, the lack of inclusion continues. The military policies of divide-and-rule, add to the anxieties and grievances (let alone the military crackdowns in Baluchistan – even if one was during a period of civilian rule, and against the MRD in sindh). Zia, stupidly, added sectarianism to the ethnic divide-and-rule. As for the suicidal stupidity of growing (religious, sectarain!) militias in your own society, as a proxy paramilitary…. well that discussion can wait till later.

  78. nicebharatiya

    YLH
    so, u did it!

  79. PMA

    Dear Civilian: Your enthusiasm about Indian fair play vis-a-vis minorities is less shared by the marginalized Muslim millions in that country as party of Hindutva is predicted to return strongly in next month elections. But that is not the thrust of my argument so I will not take it any further. That is their problem, not ours. You do not see demographic similarities between Turkey and Pakistan and insist upon comparing Pakistan with India. There too I will end the argument without being able to convince you otherwise. Also I am aware of your disgust and contempt of Pak Armed Forces. Your choice of pseudonym ‘Bloody Civilian’ gives away your predisposition. Pak Armed Forces are very important and essential part of the state. Any attempt to weaken that institution amounts to further weakening the state. I am not aware of any policy to deny entry of any ethnic group into the Pak Armed Forces at any level. Iskandar Mirza was from Bengal. Musa Khan was ethnic Hazara and Yahya Khan was ethnic Pashtun; both from Balochistan. Mirza Aslam Baig and Pervez Musharraf were both ethnic ‘Mahajar’ from Sindh. This is not to say that I support military involvement in politics. If certain ethnic groups are not comfortable serving in the military then they should not be made to do so. There are many other opportunities of self advancement. But at the end I respect your opinion as we all are entitled to one. Now I will beg leave to move on. See you at the next discussion board. God be with you.

  80. Majumdar

    PMA sb,

    Pak Armed Forces are very important and essential part of the state.

    Yes, provided the armed forces are the servants of the state, not its rulers.

    Any attempt to weaken that institution amounts to further weakening the state.

    Unfortunately the greatest harm has come to Pak as a state from the army- Bangladesh, Talibanisation etc. Pak Army as an institution has retarded the growth of every other institution of Pakistan.

    Regards

  81. yasserlatifhamdani

    Chris Hayes,

    Pakistani law allows conversion out of Islam ostensibly…

  82. yasserlatifhamdani

    bloodycivilian,

    That is extremely well argued. Lahore Resolution and Jinnah’s 11th August speech should form the grundnorm of Pakistan.

    Everything else will fall in place.

    That Zardari statement was very disturbing. The ironic thing is that the Jiyalas didn’t notice the absurdity of the statement because it really amounts to saying that ZAB broke Pakistan which is what the military establishment has been saying for a while.

  83. Bloody Civilian

    Pak Army as an institution has retarded the growth of every other institution of Pakistan
    >>>>>>>

    Just to rephrase using your words, Majumdar, the greatest harm to Pak Army has also come from its Chiefs who embroiled the institution in to politics instead of protecting it from it.

    I feel as much concern for Pak Army, may be a bit more, that I do for other state institutions.

    YLH

    I remember having a conversation with a jayala, telling him that how can the army blame ZAB for 1971 when army had absolute power, executive, state, de facto … the whole thing. Even the power to pull ZAB in to line, or at least ignore him. He kept disagreeing with me because he did not want to concede that ZAB had no power! So much for the jayala way of thinking.

  84. Rao

    ralam420

    April 5, 2009 at 2:44 am

    I think Pakistan needs to be a less impoverished state or it will perish. The poverty level has risen from 23% to 37% in the last 5 years. This has nothing to do with religion. Or secularism.

    It has everything to do with religious bigotry and fanaticsm that have taken roots in our society. Every month we read news regarding attacks on non muslims, division of muslims in futher sects, if such conditions and psychy prevails, I wonder who would come here and put life and money on risk. Mullahs getting stronger day by day, if there was secularism, these bastards would not had a single chance to run their show on the streets of Pakistan. Poverty, unemployment and inflation all are ills can only be reduced by either FDIs or economic autarky. In both conditions, peaceful, safe and law abiding society is necessity.

    Regards

  85. Hayyer

    Rao:
    I don’t quite follow your line of reasoning. The decline of Pakistan’s economy from earlier highs (though one learns it is now recovering) can surely be ascribed to the general political malaise and the dominance of the military mind.

  86. Rana Umedh Singh

    I can only categorize this article as excellent rantings of a sandmonkey. Islam is not a personal religion as you claim it to be. far from that Islam is a communal religion which teaches its adherants to seek salvation by death, “Jihad”. Ofcourse you would tell me that Jihad means all sorts of internal struggle and stuff. But fact is that Jihad in Islam means struggle for the cause of allah, the islamic deity. This struggle was always voilent which cost this world millions of lives.
    Your prophet, launched his Gwazas or raids in the dead of the night. Nowehere from his biography does one get a glimpse of internal jihad. Right after his first wife died he took several wives and concbines from the tribes that he slaughtered.
    Now if Muslims are to be believed he was the best of creation and all Muslims should follow in his footsteps.
    In other words, kill people if they believe differently from you, take 6 year olds as your wives, force yourself on women and have no respect for them at all. Just like the Quran says, ‘right hand possetions”
    You know what pseudo secular, ‘liberal Muslims like you are far more dangerous than the Mullahs who speak the truth.
    You are nothing but a two faced liar and a hippocrite who takes what he likes and leaves what he dislikes. That is a fact and it will never change.
    As for Pakistan, it was born to die, and it will die no matter how hard you try.
    Pakistan is an abomination, land that was righfully ours was taken on the pain of death because of our gutless leaders who stopped us from taking back ours.
    So Pakistan has to go and the Muslims of the subcontinent have to go back to where they came from!
    All your lies have now been exposed by the internet and wonderful websites which tell the truth about your faith.

    Dude! your time’s up, start counting

    _____________________________________________________________________________________________

    Editor Note:

    Mr. Singh:

    I am not in favour of outright deleting incendiary comments, or empty rhetoric that builds itself on blind hatred. I am putting you on moderation for now, and I am leaving this comment for everyone to read and know why your posts are being moderated. Consider it the final warning. If you do not like the PTH, take your hate to countless other websites that will welcome you with open arms.

    AZW (editor)

  87. It seems Mr Rana Umedh Singh stands for extreme right-wing Hindutva politics in India whose hallmark is violence, terror and false propaganda against Muslims and Islam. This is a well-known fact about the Hindutva.

    Such anti-Islam and anti-Muslim views are akin to Christians’ perception of Islam for over thirteen centuries. I had tried to present a detailed historical analysis of how such views took shape in my last research book, Perceptions of Islam in the Christendoms: A Historical Survey (Oslo: 2006). To make this expensive book available to all, I have put it on my website for free download:

    Nasir Khan blog: http://nasir-khan.blogspot.com

    I believe many students and scholars of history and religion will find much useful information in this book.

  88. stumblingmystic

    Bravo, Yasser, for putting up with incendiary comments from both the right and the left. Bari himmat wala kaam hai. Aur mein aap ki iss baat se bilkul ittefaaq karti hoon …

    “As I hinted above… it had to be an anglicized seemingly westernized Muslim who united the Muslims and not a Mullah in 1947… precisely because a more religious person would be more sectarian as well. The same principle applies to the constitution. The more Islamic you try and make it, the easier it is for you to divide Muslims of this country.”

    Well-said.

  89. zara

    mr Rana singh even though i am only 14 ,i do not judge people by their religons .i have never seen me or any of my friends hating people because of their faith.As you have said that our prophet[pbuh] took concubines ,well let me tell u that he NEVER took any concubines, he was married 13 times i agree but he never forced himself on any woman ,and i advise u that if u do not know even the basics of our religon then do not comment on it. His 3rd wife Hazrat Aishah was not 6 but 9 years old at the time of her ‘nikkah’ which is marriage in ISLAM and her ruksathi[sending away bride with husband after marriage] did not take place until she became of age.Hazrat Aishah’s father Abu Bakr who was also the Holy Prophet’s best friend himself brought his daughter’s proposal to the HOLY PROPHET[PBUH].The Holy Prophet treated Hazrat Aishah with the utmost respect and love until he died. Yes sir i agree that the HOLY PROPHET married 13 times but there are also reasons for that, mostly being that the women which he married were under threat of being murdered because of their conversion to Islam and there was the need for them to be uder the protection of a strong personality which the Holy Prophet [PBUH] provided. As you have referred that the Holy Prophet took several concubines from the tribes that he slaughtered, let me 1st of all bring into knowledge the fact that ISLAM IS A RELIGON OF PEACE. When Muslims went to war in the Holy Prophet [PBUH]’s time ,the rule was and still is in Islamic law that no Muslim is allowed to harm women, children ,and crops. Such an example of this is the ‘conquest of makkah’ which i request you dear sir to read up from trusted and acknowledged sites . The Holy Prophet forgave even his bitterest enemies for e.g Hinda (Abu Sufyan’s wife who ordered her slave to cut out Hazrat Hamza’s liver who was the beloved uncle of the Holy Prophet [PBUH] and then she ate it).. Tell me sir will you ever be able to forgive such a person who did this to someone you loved?……………I think not. He did not take concubines from any wars or anywhere else ,once there was a war between the jews and the muslims ,in which the muslims won and the daughter of the leader of the jews was captured .The Holy Prophet proposed to her and she agreed ,and they got married. The Holy Prophet released all of the prisoners from of the jews.She was not forced and she would have been released anyways. The prisoners ,the educated ones ,were entitled to teach uneducated people and the rest of the prisoners were entitled to some other work or had to pay some money to be releasad and the money was used for the good of the soceity. Hazrat Hajrah was sent back to the Holy Prophet as a present from an emperor whom the Holy Prophet had invited to Islam.He married her and her status rose from a slave girl to one of the “Mothers of the Faithful”.to be continued

  90. Justin

    This blog is a fake.

  91. ylh

    Ask your mommy. She’ll affirm that it is not fake.

  92. Nusrat Pasha

    Why do proponents of theocracy seek to limit “laa ilaaha illallah” to the confines of Pakistan ? This is a very robust disservice to Religion. The Holy Quran intoduces Allah to us as Rabb ul aalameen. If anything, the slogan deserves to be rephrased as “aalameen ka matlab kya laa ilaaha illallah”. The entire Cosmos is a sign of Allah. The whole Universe glorifies God. So why limit something as boundless as “laa ilaaha illallh” to the confines and boundaries of Pakistan ?

    Why only Allah’s “Pakistan”? Why not Allah’s ‘Earth”, as the Quran presents it – “arzullah” – phonetically “ardullah”. Why are we always bent upon depriving Islam of its greatest beauties – its spirituality, its love, its universality and its treating of all humans as equal. The Islamic value of “musawat” or equality of all humans can be achieved only in a “secular” country, where the state treats all citizens equally and without any religious biases.

    As if the orientalists were not enough to defame Islam, by presenting it as a political system instead of a spiritual one – Muslims have also joined their ranks, to advocate the same.

    Sometimes in our urge to serve Religion, we inadvertently end up doing a disservice to Religion. For a change, let us do some service to both Religion and the Country by keeping religion out of politics and politics out of religion.

  93. Bin Ismail

    In response to the comment by Rana Umedh Singh, Oct 21, ’09, 2:09 pm:

    #1. Mr Singh, You’ve said: “You know what, pseudo-secular, liberal Muslims like you are far more dangerous than the Mullahs who speak the truth.”

    Well said. Your soft corner for the Mullahs is obviously on account of the fact that they loyally serve what you seek – the defamation of Islam. Your refined language and courtesy too, match those of the Mullahs. Birds of a feather, do indeed, flock together.

    Your study of the life of the Holy Prophet, does not even qualify being rated as superficial. Keeping in view your scholastic tendencies, may I humbly suggest that a minimum amount of homework should be done, prior to expressing one’s opinion on any forum. It would seem rational to infer from the contents of your comment that this trouble was certainly not taken.

    #2. You’ve also said: “You are nothing but a two-faced liar and a [hippocrite] who takes what he likes and leaves what he dislikes.”

    Following your criterion, how would you categorize your esteemed self, in view of the fact that you have most evidently picked what you liked and left what you disliked. By the way, this term you’ve coined – “hippocrite”- somehow also reflects positively on your innovative skills, that have manifested themselves in History as well as Spellings.

    Please be assured that I would never choose to pay you back in the same coin. Even considering this option is disgusting.

  94. Bin Ismail

    @zara

    For a 14 year old, you’ve argued very well, and with decency. Well done. May I add by saying:

    #1. The first wife of the Holy Prophet was 15 years older than him and a widow.
    #2. Most of the Prophet’s wives were either widows or divorced. By marrying them he gave each of these ladies a home.
    #3. It was a tradition among the Arabs that tribes whose daughters shared common in-laws, would give up all mutual discords. By marrying ladies from diverse tribes, the Prophet was able to establish peace among many tribes.
    #4. It would not be objective to stick to a single source, in the study of history. According to some accounts, the age of Hazrat Ayesha, at the time of her marriage was 9, while according to others it was 13. In those days, it was customarily common among Arabs for girls to get wedded in that age.
    #5. Hind was not the only person who was extended pardon, by the Prophet. When he finally conquered Mecca, he avenged atrocity with amnesty and pardoned all those who had persecuted him.

    Anyway well done.

  95. Khullat

    The Government of Pakistan has enough of challenges on its hands already. Widespread terrorism, fanatical Mullahs, power crisis, water crisis, education, a badly hit industry due to irregular electricity, rising crime rate, etc, etc. Does all this leave the state with enough resources to handle religion? Religion will only serve the purpose of a decoy to continue distracting the attention of the masses from the real problems.

  96. mukherjee

    I came across this blog quite by chance and read all the posts with extreme interest. Though I wouldn’t say that Pakistan’s problem are her alone (we face the same problems in India, as the minority/ ethnicity issue has reached monstrous proportions), I not am competent enough to comment on whats happening in Pakistan, especially after all of you have dealt with it with such sincerity and intelligence.

    I would, if it is acceptable, like to apologise on behalf of the likes of Mr Singh here. And thanks to the Editor for not deleting it. It helps us to understand how the fanatical right wing of any religion or country operates.

    The idea of a strong South Asian Forum for Regional Cooperation is extremely appealing, though SAARC can never achieve it due to obvious reasons. Free trade would also be a great help in bolstering the economy of the whole of the South Asian countries. The vision chalked out in the following article that appeared in an earlier issue of the Frontline might be of some relevance in this context: http://www.frontlineonnet.com/fl2705/stories/20100312270510200.htm

    I have been trying to understand the idea of secularism and Islam in particular, as no proper appreciation of secularism is possible in India unless we (the Hindus) can appreciate the ‘other religion’ properly, and have been studying quite a bit in that direction. This blog (and the links in it) becomes an essential read for me.

    Perhaps this post is rather irrelevant in the present context, but thanks a lot still.
    Warm Regards

  97. Bin Ismail

    In my opinion, a secular state can best be described along the following lines:

    #1: Secularism does not at all mean an anti-God, anti-religion, Godless or religionless system.
    #2: Secularism simply means that the state will not hold the religious affiliation of the citizen to the advantage or disadvantage of the citizen.
    #3: There will be no State Religion in place.
    #4: No particular religion or adherents of a particular religion will enjoy state-granted privileges, exclusive to that religion.
    #5: Adherents of all religions, without exception will enjoy equal civil rights and have equal civil responsibilities.

    Any country, whatever the religion of its majority, if governed along the above principles, should be categorized as secular. Jinnah wanted Pakistan to be run along these lines. Latter deviations, in all fairness, cannot be attributed to Jinnah. A deviation is a deviation.

    The best and most prudent way to avert the disastrous outcomes of this deviation is to pursue and materialise Jinnah’s vision of a secular Pakistan.

  98. Bin Ismail

    @mukherjee

    May I respectfully recommend another link:

    http://secularpakistan.wordpress.com/2010/01/26/jinnahs-will-to-the-nation-he-founded/

    Best Regards

  99. jeremy

    I havae read a lot of comments and I must say that Secularism is the only way of saving Pakistan.
    for those who don’t think like me, well, i must say that I have lost a couple of my friends.

    Well Pakistan good luck and I hope Pakistan does become secular.

    regard

    jeremy

  100. Nusrat Pasha

    THE WAY FORWARD NOW:

    #1: Replace the Objectives Resolution, which presently serves as the Preamble of the Constituion, with the text [entire text verbatim] of Quaid-e- Azam’s historical 11th August 1947 presidential address to the first Constituent Assembly of Pakistan.

    #2: Remove the undeserved prefix of “Islamic” before Republic of Pakistan. The name “Republic of Pakistan” is perfect.

    #3: Repeal Article 2 of the Constitution, which states that “Islam shall be the State Religion”, for the simple reason that it tilts the balance of justice in favour of the already privileged and secure majority. Thus, by making a robust departure from the fundamental Islamic principle of “Musawaat” or equality, the state, in any case violates the spirit of Islam.

    #4: Remove “all” religious content from the Constitution, whether included or endorsed by Acts of Parliament. Quaid-e-Azam’s following words should serve as the beacon:

    a) “….Religion should not be allowed to come into Politics …. Religion is merely a matter between man and God….”. [Jinnah, Address to the Central Legislative Assembly, 7 February 1935]

    b) “….You may belong to any religion or caste or creed. That has nothing to do with the business of the State….” [Jinnah, Presidential address to the first Constituent Assembly of Pakistan, Karachi, 11 August 1947]

  101. Asad

    Assalamualikum,
    what does islam mean to u is all that matters here brother, my question to u is why did the Prophet SALLALAHUALAIHI WASSALAM came to this world? and why did he created that model islamic society in medina? the deen is not claimed to be completed so that u may preech ur secular so called islamic society but for the reason “ALLAH KI ZAMEEN PAR ALLAH KA NIZAM RAHE” not ur absurd idea of a place where u can kiss in public and no one should have the right to ask u not to? and talking about these mullas brother, well i just want to say that it is these mullas because of which u call urself a muslims, these r the saviours and the keepers of Allah deen brother! so i think u should take a hike!
    Wassalam.

  102. Asad

    Assalamualikum,
    what does islam mean to u is all that matters here brother, my question to u is why did the Prophet SALLALAHUALAIHI WASSALAM came to this world? and why did he created that model islamic society in medina? the deen is not claimed to be completed so that u may preech ur secular so called islamic society but for the reason “ALLAH KI ZAMEEN PAR ALLAH KA NIZAM RAHE” not ur absurd idea of a place where u can kiss in public and no one should have the right to ask u not to? and talking about these mullas brother, well i just want to say that it is these mullas because of which u call urself a muslims, these r the saviours and the keepers of Allah’s deen brother! so i think u should take a hike!
    Wassalam.

  103. Well … I think… As long as religion is there, you can not avoid the dangers its posing to human societies. I feel there must be not religion on the earth. This primitive ghost must be eliminated.

    This is the only way through which we can make progress other wise you can see whats happening time to time in India with Christians, Muslims and other minorities ….

  104. amar

    to shazi gul
    when you want to give negative examples then why choose only India? why not first point out to what negative things are being done by relgion and in the name of religion in your Pakistan?