Daily Archives: April 22, 2009

Partition of India: Pakistan and Islam

The Series continues from our last piece Partition of India: The Final Years . We reproduce the seminal work on this issue by the foremost Pakistani intellectual,  the late Hamza Alavi,  who explains why Pakistan was not created as a confessional state but as a secular state and also gave his famous “Salariat” theory which went a long way in explaining the forces behind the creation of Pakistan.

By Hamza Alavi

There is a pervasive belief, held more widely outside Pakistan than in the country itself, that Pakistan like Israel and Iran, is one of three confessional states in the world; that, like Israel, Pakistan’s very origin was to fulfil a religious ideal, to create an Islamic state and Islamic society for Muslims of India. Within Pakistan itself that slogan was proclaimed most stridently by the Jamaat-e-Islami, a fundamentalist extreme right wing party, which was aided and abetted by politically bankrupt regimes such as that of Gen. Zia which hoped, by exploiting the good name of Islam, to gain some spurious political legitimacy. Continue reading



Filed under History

The House of Bilquis: Tales of Pakistani Diaspora

From the Wall Street Journal

In Azhar Abidi’s new novel, “The House of Bilqis,” the Pakistani-born author raises a series of difficult questions: What are the consequences of leaving home and marrying outside one’s culture? And how does one address familial obligations, never stated but always present, that demand sacrifices grown children don’t want to make?


Filed under Pakistan


Originally published in Dawn some 24 years ago.  The author now is a great leader in his own right.  His contribution here was as an historian.  Part of this argument was explored in “Indus Saga and the Making of Pakistan”.

By Aitzaz Ahsan

When the rationalist abdicates his function and the obscurantist holds the field unchallenged, dogma is born. Its scope is narrow; its potential nil; its utility “non est”. Yet it is not a nullity. Dogma is negatory of growth, and recusant of progress. It is another name for stagnation.

To take and maintain its hold upon upon the minds of men, the dogmatist creates a mythological system. Myths become his vehicle. The common denominator between myths and dogma is an absence of reason and logic. Both complement each other.

The origins of Pakistan, the impelling and historical circumstances that brought it into being, and the political necessity of its creation have also been subjected to the onslaught of dogma. The rationalist has stood by and allowed the very obscurantist who opposed the Movement, to dictate, by what is called the Ideology of Pakistan. Of necessity, the mythological support-system of this dogmatic frameword is tailor-made to serve an elite tied up, through their Saudi partons, to the interests of the western world. Being bereft of historica truth these myths tend to distort the national identity, stulting growth and thereby, under the cover of a ‘myth of independence’ keeping us the captives of international imperialism.

Continue reading


Filed under Pakistan