By Yasser Latif Hamdani
General Kayani chose Peshawar to reaffirm his faith in the officially ordained “ideology of Pakistan” by declaring that no one could separate Pakistan from Islam. The message was quite clear: he was using reports in the media that ANP had proposed a change in Pakistan to drive home that Army was the defender of the country’s ideological borders.
It goes without the ideology of Pakistan is a case of projection backward of the state’s Islamization project on its founding movement. Pakistan Movement itself was a movement of Modernist Muslims, who nonetheless made appeals to religion and let it sink into Pakistan’s constitution. However, the founder and maker of this country always pooh poohed the idea that Pakistan would be a theocracy. As for ideology, Jinnah’s famous statement that neither him nor his working committee ever passed a resolution saying Pakistan ka matlab kiya and that some may have used it to “catch some votes”, shows that the question of ideology is not as settled as the General assumes it to be. Had Congress not made an awesome deal of the grouping clause in the Cabinet Mission Plan which Mr. Jinnah accepted , India would have remained united. Where would Pakistan’s so called ideology be then? And if it could be discarded at will, it should not be paid much attention to. Any and all use of Islam during the Pakistan movement was purely political and was too ambiguous to have translated into an ideology.
But the issue is not one of history – historically the fact that Pakistan exists as a result of a political struggle leading to a deadlock between two representative parties of British India is unassailable. Ofcourse Pakistan Studies’ curriculum can claim whatever it wants. The real question that we should be asking ourselves is why is it that a public servant like the Chief of the Army Staff is making statements of an ideological and constitutional nature. Where in the constitution is the Pakistan Army given the task of defending the country’s ideological borders?
General Kiyani is rumored to be a professional solider. He should concern himself with soldiering for now and not making statements that are outside the purview of his job description. And shame on those people who are appreciating such a statement by the General. This is tantamount to aiding and abetting a military dictatorship.
( I have edited the post slightly after being corrected by people who know Kiyani personally)