General Kiyani Stick To Soldiering And Stop Concerning Yourself With Pakistan’s Ideology

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)



Filed under Pakistan

84 responses to “General Kiyani Stick To Soldiering And Stop Concerning Yourself With Pakistan’s Ideology

  1. PMA


  2. yasserlatifhamdani

    No… I am not a “South Asianist” or a proponent of “India-Pakistan Union”…. you might want to color me with this brush, but that shows your dishonesty and insecurity for my efforts for Pakistan and Pakistani nationalism are well known.

    I believe in Pakistan as a nation state. What I’ve written above is a historical fact i.e. Pakistan like any nation state was a product of history not ideology … history here being the failure of British Indian politicians to agree on a constitutional framework for United India.

    To then shamelessly say what you said… makes me wonder about your credentials.

  3. wajid

    Thank you for stressing that a public servant, and especially an army chief, can not and should not blather such statements.

    This shows that the army has no fear of the constitution, under which, i am sure, they could be prosecuted.

  4. PMA

    Yasser: The question, that you have chosen to block, was rather simple. What is sir, your definition of ‘United India’? And in which year did such such entity exist? Now what is so inconvenient about that? And no name calling please. That is beneath both of us.

  5. AZW


    A few things to consider here:

    1) Creation of Pakistan was a demand for homeland for Muslims in British India. Islam was invoked as a uniting symbol to join the disparate group of Indian Muslims. Yet, Quaid himself had clearly said that Pakistan would not be a theocracy. Role of religion in the state affairs was explicitly negated by Quaid. There have been numerous examples when he made it clear that state would not employ divine mission.

    2) But we all agree that the role of Islam in Pakistan has been vague, and even Quaid’s colleagues in the Muslim League were unsure of how much Islam needs to be mixed in with the state.

    3) Yet, we as a nation are not living in 1947. As an evolving entity, Pakistan needs to consider its founder’s vision as well as the best practices across the globe to move forward politically as well as socially.

    4) In this soup, where religion is mixed in and out according to the whims of our rulers, the last thing we need is our Army Chief stressing his support for a vague concept that no one is able to exactly define for the past 60 years. This is not General Kiyani’s place to underpin a contentious ideology that has played havoc with the fabric of nation.

    5) An Army General implicitly backing of an ideology embraced by a certain faction in our society is inappropriate, and reinforces the image of Armed forces’ disastrous forays into Pakistani politics.

    In a democratic structure, our Commander in Chief is not Mr. Kiyani. The only entity that can define the role of Islam in Pakistan is the Sovereign Parliament, elected by the people. There is a working parliament in our country, elected by a popular vote. Please let it keep working, and don’t prop these senseless rhetorics by our General and his right wing cheerleaders.

  6. PMA

    AZW (November 26, 2009 at 3:14 am):

    Adnan: I have no problem with any of your points above. In fact you and I are in agreement. I was only trying to understand what does my friend Yasser mean by ‘United India’. When did such entity exist.

  7. Vajra


    It never existed. Any discussion of that, taking up YLH on that could perhaps wait for later. The substantive issue is far more serious, and you need to lead thought on that matter. If you get distracted, what will the rest of us do?

  8. Milind Kher

    I agree broadly with whatever YLH has to say in the article

    @PMA, it may be just a matter of semantics and you may choose to substitute the words “United India” with “Undivided India”.

    Of course, temporary geographical borders notwithstanding, the internal divide was clear, and hence partition.

  9. Milind Kher

    If we disregard the controversy over the character of Ahmad Shah Abdali, we can definitely regard him as an excellent general.

    Something similar to Changez Khan, Halaku and Amir Timur. Compared against these juggernauts, he may seem a minnow amongst the whales, but he was a (relatively) softer version cast in the same mold

  10. AZW


    After following YLH on this website for the past one year or so, can we honestly ever doubt his devotion to Pakistan? Is it even a debatable point, or is it even relevant here when we see a blatant breach of responsibilities by the Chief of Army Staff.

    It is not COAS job to make statements of the ideology of Pakistan, an ideology this is increasingly under scrutiny for its vagueness and the havoc it has caused for Pakistan throughout its brief history. The role of Islam in Pakistani state will at the end be a constitutional matter, and if our legislature is bold enough to introspect one day, it may or may not overturn the theocratic aspect of our state. Even if the legislature does not do anything about it, at least let them be the arbiters of our constitutional matters. Let’s not condone an Army chief’s blatant abuse of his powers. This has happened so many times in our history that further repetitions are bordering of being sickening events.

    Democracy is not the best system the world will ever see in the future. Yet it is the best among all the options we have at present. We do have semblance of democracy in our country, where there is a democratic government, elected by a popular vote. We do have a free press, and our society has some semblance of rule of law. We have to work with the system, to strengthen the institutions and the rule of law. When the statements like the ones by COAS come out, they undermine the most of the basic tenet of democracies; undermine the sovereignty of the Parliament. It is fair to point out government shortcomings, but to hope for a change at every transgression and looking for a heroic saviour every time is gambling on something with dangerously low odds. If people like you, who believe in democratic institutions, will overlook these transgressions by the Army Generals, what hope can we expect from others.


  11. vajra

    To Whom It May Concern, To Those Who Are Willing To Understand

    The point is about de-toxification of your own country by pulling the Army back into a situation where it does not interfere with your right, or YLH’s right to think about, form opinions about, write about and promote a point of view about what should, or should not be Pakistan’s constitutional configuration, today, tomorrow and in the nebulous future.

    You cannot continue to let the Army and its leadership, with their doubtful ability to articulate these issues, dictate what can or cannot be discussed. If you do, and the choice is yours, as we all well know, then you effectively cauterize that part of your national ability to think about issues independently, fearlessly.

    This is not about India. It is not about India and Pakistan. Such matters are in the realm of the hypothetical. Hypothetical speculation, for good or for bad, talented or incompetent, is a type of thinking which will be constrained and left alone only in one direction by threat of military action if you allow the trend to continue.

    This is about Pakistan. Please support the side that is righteous and deserves your support.

    YLH is upholding what he thinks is right, and he is doing it where it matters; right there in Pakistan, with explosions going off every day, killing and maiming people of Pakistan, with a belief in Pakistan, every day. As for the rest of us, at least we could refrain from upbraiding him.

  12. Samson Simon Sharaf

    First you must have your facts right. Kayani as I know personally for over 36 years is a sobre individual with heavy smoking habits. He never .
    drinks. He is a man of few words and not a public relationship man.

    By Ideology of Pakistan, he means Jinnah’s Pakistan. I have had lengthy discussions with him over this intriguing and wide open aspect of ideology and his thoughts are no different on it than your or mine. In fact both of us sat together for many weeks in 2002, to interpret just such notions.

    You tend to evaluate only from seeing the tip and not the whole iceberg. As of today, Pakistan is a very hot bastion of intrigues and most of us never know where they are coming from.

    Just as much as we abhor the rightist and central rightists, we must also remain alert on the diverse sub nationalists some of whom are now openly talking of secession from Pakistan. I am sure you heard two such threat yesterday.

    So please do not look at these events through the history of constitutionalism, military interventions and growth of the rightists. The soldier’s oath talks of territorial and ideological frontiers in the same stride.

  13. Milind Kher


    I agree with you that democracy as a system needs to be respected, and when people want to speak up for their nation, they have the full right to do so.

    I think YLH has written a good piece.

    P.S. Sorry my Abdali piece got posted here by mistake. I don’t know if there is a way to transfer it !

  14. AZW

    Brig Sharaf:

    Can you please give more details on what is General Kiyani’s views on Jinnah’s Pakistan. Every segment of our society believes that they stand for Jinnah’s Pakistan; please let us know what General Kiyani’s thoughts are in this regard.

    Can you also say, among all these intrigues, what kind of message General Kiyani is giving to the nation with a statements below. More importantly, is it ever his position to comment on these matters in the first place?

    “Pakistan was founded in the name of Islam by our forefathers and each one of us should work for strengthening the country and make commitment towards achieving the goal of turning the country into a true Islamic state”


    “No one can seperate Islam from Pakistan”.

    Is the present mess we have with a home grown militia attacking our country’s institutions not an unfortunate result of the policies that were accelerated when we turned towards making Pakistan an Islamic state?

    Is this ever a COAS position to proclaim what is the domain of a sovereign parliament?

    General Kiyani is a fine soldier. But why do we not learn from history, again and again?

  15. yasserlatifhamdani

    Dear Simon uncle,

    My comment about Kiyani enjoying a strong drink was based on hear say which is why I called it a “rumor”.

    My own view of General Kiyani is that he is a good, liberal and patriotic man who is in any event ready to support democracy … and is also a pragmatic military chief. I for one completely agree that he may well have the same kind of Pakistan in mind that you and I envisage.

    However what he said yesterday was … and I quote “We got Pakistan in the name of Islam and we shall keep it in the name of Islam”. I am assuming that this was a snub to ANP for suggesting that the name ought to be changed to “People’s Republic of Pakistan”. You would know better than anyone else why this statement is fallacious …. historically… given the Christian contribution to both the creation of Pakistan and to its continued existence.

    Your reference to the sub-nationalists leads me to believe that Pakistan Army believes that if Islam is taken out of the equation, Pakistan will disintegrate. I do not challenge the assertion that Islam – amongst other things- unites present day Pakistan…. this is a fact… but taking Islam out of the constitution and the state will only strengthen not weaken the Islamic bond. Post 1971 Pakistan may well have seen the various sub-nationalities sink their ethnic prejudices in the name of Islam, had Islam not been exploited by the state in such a cynical and obviously dishonest way.

    The second issue is more urgent. Does Pakistan Army have a role in determining and safeguarding Pakistani ideology… regardless of what Kayani’s views are? I think we’ve been down that road many times… and it is time that Pakistan Army develops the thinking that it is not the equivalent of the Turkish Army in Pakistan. Pakistan Army was a professional army… never a revolutionary army… which is why all the coups have backfired.

  16. yasserlatifhamdani

    His statement in Risalpur earlier was much more constitutional and logical:

    “He said Pakistan came into being on the basis of two nation ideology but we would not allow anyone to wrongly interpret the religion.

    He said that Pakistan would achieve all its goal and the armed forces would restore the Quaid’s Pakistan. The army chief said that the enemy should not underestimate our capabilities and the success of Swat operation is a reflection of our professional capabilities and we would achieve the same successes in operation Rah-e-Nijat.”

  17. Majumdar

    Brig sb,

    He never drinks.

    You misunderstand Yasser Pai. When he says someone drinks it is meant as a praise not as a censure- after his (and mine incidentally) idol was fond of whisky.


  18. Samson Simon Sharaf

    YLH as you and me know can change positions. Here I see him showing Kayani to be a rightist ready to join hands with the gun totting rightists who have hijacked Pakistan for far too long. ANP has nothing to do with his statement. Then he again alludes to his Risalpur address. Would I as a minority group not have stakes in a moderate plural Pakistan? I would and do.

    No one can separate Islam from Pakistan. Would a good Indian Statesman not say this when projecting Muslims as part of Indian Secularism?

    Kayani sees the same Pakistan that YLH, me or Majumdar (another well read Indian person on Pakistan) mean. He is well aware of the divide within Muslims after 1857, Khilafat, All India Muslim League, Unionists the opportunists, and most, political instability and illegitimacy as cause for the rise of the right. He has some close friends who are not Muslims.

    Having said that, lets see and discuss how events, tide and time will lead him.

    So for he has proven moderate credentials in operations. Very recently Noel Israel was promoted a General and Maj Sermecis awarded a gallantry award (posthumously) in Waziristan. This has not happened in Pakistan for a very long time. There are also a few Christian soldiers who have been recognized for gallantry. By the way, I have played golf with him and despite my erratic performance he was always very encouraging.

    After all, even Bhutto was a Socialist Liberal but ended up in the lap of rightist to declare Ahamdis as non Muslims.

  19. Milind Kher

    Brigadier Sharaf,

    Without a doubt, Islam and Pakistan cannot be seperated. However, as I have stressed earlier, the situation is unlike Iran.

    There, the Jafari fiqh is treated as the fiqh on which all matters will be conducted. Here, there are Hanafi, Shafi, Maliki and Hanbali fiqhs as well, which is why I believe Mr Jinnah was not looking for a theocratic state.

    I am sure, as everybody has said, Gen Kayani is a good general and a thorough patriot. The people here are, as I see it, questioning his locus standi on making political statements considering that it is a civilian administration.

    It is good to know, from what you have written, that minorities are doing well in the army.

  20. Majumdar

    Brig sb,

    Most likely from whatever evidence we see Gen Kiyani is not an Islamist. But the more relevant question which only someone who knows him and the Pak Army can answer is:

    1. Is he committed to civilian supremacy over political and military affairs in Pakistan?
    2. Is he willing to stop the process of misusing religion and religiously motivated militants from furthering the Pak states’ “strategic objectives” within and without Pakistan?


  21. yasserlatifhamdani

    Dear Simon uncle,

    I am sorry to hear that you feel I change positions. If you have the time, please point out where I have changed my positions…

    My own approach is to take each issue on merit… let us take ANP as a test case… I don’t agree with ANP on its interpretation of history especially their glorification of Bacha Khan, but I agree with their push for a “People’s Republic of Pakistan”… I don’t agree with ANP when it refuses to visit Jinnah’s mausoleum…. I agree with ANP when it fights the militants but I don’t agree with the ANP when it signs deals with them…

    The issue here is a basic one… does Pakistan Army have the right to make public policy in matters unconcerned to defence? In my view they shouldn’t. In Pakistan civilian authority must be supreme right or wrong.


  22. Samson Simon Sharaf

    1. Yes for sure.
    2. Events, Tide and Time also swept Bhutto. Let us hope India does not take its coercive policy to that point.

  23. Majumdar

    Brig sb,

    I am sure you know more than me about strategic and defence affairs incl possibly about India’s own moves. But to the best of my knowledge, India is not really applying any serious coercive moves unless the support to the pathetic Baloch militants can be sounted as such.

    As I see it, if Pakistan stops trying to change Kashmir’s borders and accepts LOC as the border (even if quietly) India has no motivation to try and undermine Pakistan.


  24. Samson Simon Sharaf

    I read your piece on Fakir IPIPI and later when ANP blanked you out on NWFP. In politics you cannot be right in one and wrong on the other; it is the aggregate or the construct.
    ANP does not come out clean on many issues otherwise you and me would have joined them long time back. So why back them selectively.

  25. Majumdar

    Brig sb,

    I am afraid YLH is correct. There is no black or white out there- it is all a bit gray. ANP has had its share of good deeds and bad deeds- and so have PPP and PML- N.


  26. Samson Simon Sharaf

    It depends how we look at Black and White.

  27. PMA

    AZW (November 26, 2009 at 8:48 am):

    I have followed Yasser perhaps longer than you have. He is a bright young man and has come a long way. Like most of us he has his strengths and weaknesses. He is well read on the subject of independence movement of Pakistan. I have problem with his terminology. There is no such thing as ‘divided india’, ‘undivided india’ or ‘united india’. British India was a creation of a colonial power and like all other empires before, in post-colonial period it was bound to fall apart and divide up into new successive states. Like Brigadier Sharaf has pointed out, Yasser in his enthusiasm is being unnecessarily harsh on General Kiyani.

  28. Milind Kher


    Whereas Ancient India was a loose federation of states, under the Mughals, it was divided into Hindustan, north of the Vindhyas and Deccan, south of them.

    What the British effectively did was to join both these parts to then form “British India”.

    This British India could possibly be referred to as Undivided India.

  29. AZW

    May I respectfully point out that the discussion has veered away from the main issue here?

    General Kiyani is abusing his responsibility when he steps into an ideological debate about the role of Islam and Pakistan. It is not for him to underpin any ideology. This is not his job; importantly the clout he wields due to the nature of his job makes any implicit encroachment into other institutions’ authority extra worrisome.

    Debating the role of religion or any ideology is the sole domain of a Legislative Assembly in a democratic country.

    If General Kiyani was vowing for making Pakistan a secular country and defending its secular credentials, he would have been equally out of line, and should have been roundly condemned there as well.

    This is in no way a criticism of General Kiyani and Brigadier Sharaf for their professional services here. They have served our country with dedication and we are all grateful for their service. But that fine record is stained when our present COAS starts influencing our foreign policy decisions (Kerry Lugar Bill) or support any ideology. Our history is replete with similar episodes in the past, followed by undoubtedly disastrous results.

  30. yasserlatifhamdani


    The issue is not whether India existed or didn’t exist… it clearly did not exist as one political entity- however loosely tied- in all but three periods i.e. Asoka’s reign, Aurangzeb’s reign and British Rule. I for one follow the Aitzaz Ahsan school … so what you are ascribing to me now is only in your imagination.

    The point I am making is that had Jinnah and Nehru come to an agreement on the issue of grouping clauses, British India might have found a successor state… loosely federated but united… the fact that they came so close to an agreement shows that the whole ideology argument is not true or factual. Two Nation Theory was not an ideology but a consociationalist solution to Hindu-Muslim antipathy and antagonism… I know my Indian friends nor my Pakistani friends would agree but had Two Nation Theory been given a chance, it would have only strengthened Indian secularism. Even Jaswant Singh’s remarkable leap has a blind spot when it comes to an honest assessment of this idea.

    I have no issues with Kayani’s Pakistani Nationalism which I believe in and forward … my issue is with his appropriation of the role of chief ideologue of Pakistan… I am not sure what he meant when he said what he said… but in Pakistan the state and religion must be separated for the good of both state and religion. There is no doubt in my mind that the Islamic bond between various ethnicities will only grow stronger if this were done.

  31. I guess it’s a fact beyond doubt that Islam was the tool through which Muslim League minted political currency among the Muslims of the sub-continent after Jinnah failed to negotiate a favorable way with Congress. So is evident from the letters of Sir George Cunningham to Jinnah, citing explicitly that Islam could be used as a good rallying point if the sympathies of the masses of NWFP were to be won, him being a former governor of NWFP province under British rule.
    As for army’s involvement in the ideological affairs of the state, I’d say it comes more out of tradition that anything else – Islam had been, conventionally, an essential part of our army, albeit sadly and unfortunately so. And the General’s vow to continue with this is to tread dangerous grounds, considering how Islamic militancy has made us suffer and continues to do so in present days.

  32. yasserlatifhamdani

    Salman mian,

    You wrote: is evident from the letters of Sir George Cunningham to Jinnah, citing explicitly that Islam could be used as a good rallying point if the sympathies of the masses of NWFP were to be won

    Please give cite a reference to these letters you refer to… because I have not come across them in either the Jinnah Papers or TOPP. I hope this is not another rabbit conjured up by the ANP’s tricksters who conjure up so many rabbits all the time.. to justify their absolutey illogical rendering of history from a Pushtun nationalist angle that does not make sense at all….

  33. Here:
    It is indeed excerpted text from Jinnah Papers, in which Cunningham suggests that Jinnah may present Pakistan and Islam as synonymous to the tribal Pshtuns and thence, win their sympathies.

  34. Ummi

    lol. I read it today in papers and I just wanted to link it up here to piss you further. Glad to see you are already pissing around.

    I despise Army role in government but heck, Kayani is so true. I wish you seculars admit the reality as well.

  35. Hasan

    Brig Sahab,

    Can I ask you that kinldy send this article to General Kiyani if you are able to. At least let him hear what others are saying of him.

  36. PMA

    “… it clearly did not exist as one political entity- however loosely tied- in all but three periods i.e. Asoka’s reign, Aurangzeb’s reign and British Rule………The point I am making is that had Jinnah and Nehru come to an agreement on the issue of grouping clauses, British India might have found a successor state… loosely federated but united…”

    Now that you have put it this way, I may agree with you. But then again I have my doubts. British India was a British creation. Once the imperial powers are removed or weakened, the empires tends to fall apart. That is what happened to the Mughal Empire and Mourian Empire before that. I am not sure if the British Indian Empire would have survived beyond Brits. Look at the insurgency problems both India and Pakistan are having within their borders. I maintain that the sub-continent is not one, two or three countries. It is many countries, perhaps seven, ten or twelve. Save under an imperial set up, the sub-continent has never been one country, nor it ever will.

  37. Vajra


    Isn’t that effectively a re-statement of the nationalities issue?

    I say this without any intention of discounting or disparaging your comment.

    Where this is going is to point out that perhaps we need to be clear in our heads to go in one of two directions.

    We can either (a) create a strong, centralised state, more or less on the model of the Indian state, but with a drastic legal overhaul, and a substantial re-working of the administration system to make it a citizen-centric, rather than an administrator-centric system; or (b) distribute power extensively retaining only residual powers to these ten or twelve states that you have identified (different points of view will yield different numbers and minutely different configurations, but the starting point will inevitably be the same as yours), and allow them to become strong and citizen-centric before merging voluntarily, after decades of seasoning and strengthening, on the lines of the European Community.

    It is difficult to visualise any other viable structures.

  38. Vajra


    lol. I read it today in papers and I just wanted to link it up here to piss you further. Glad to see you are already pissing around.

    It is good of you to share with us your personal predilections. Your frankness and transparency are indeed remarkable.

    Cannot someone recommend a good doctor to you? A properly chosen course of therapy might bear remarkable results and give you years of a life of better quality.

  39. Milind Kher


    You are advocating separation of the church and state, which I am fully in favor of. I do not even believe that it will reduce the religious zeal of the people.

    However, if you look at the benchmark of the Islamic nation, it would be the Rashidun Caliphate, which by all accounts was a theocratic state. The Ulema would then argue that by instituting a secular state, you are deviating from the practice of the leading lights of Islam.

    How can this point be addressed?

  40. Majumdar

    Milind babu,

    However, if you look at the benchmark of the Islamic nation, it would be the Rashidun Caliphate, which by all accounts was a theocratic state. The Ulema would then argue that by instituting a secular state, you are deviating from the practice of the leading lights of Islam.How can this point be addressed?

    This point cannot be addressed. Pakistan or for that matter any other state has two choices- it can either be an Islamic state or a secular state. And either are equally valid options. And as Stuka and I (both non-Muslims incidentally) have argued, it is not necessarily a bad thing.


  41. Majumdar

    Btw, Rashidun Caliphate wud be acceptable only to Sunnis, not Shias, no?


  42. Milind Kher

    @Majumdar Saheb,

    You are right. Rashidun Caliphate is acceptable only to Sunnis, but I am viewing it from Pakistan’s frame of reference where the majority is Sunni.

    As for your previous comment, I would still tilt in favor of a secular state.

  43. yasserlatifhamdani

    People like Ummi will gladly bend over if they knew Kiyani would establish their theocracy of choice.

    Isn’t it ironic people… that three parties … PPP, MQM and ANP… which command the majority in the parliament together through a popular vote … cannot press for a People’s Republic … because Kiyani an unelected public servant has the final say in public policy because of his gun?

    The truth is that these Ummi types know that if democracy takes its course people will always choose Jinnah over Iqbal… democracy over theocracy… freedom over religious persecution… which is why they appreciate when a military man makes an unconstitutional and illegal statement ….it exposes their tall claims of standing against military dictatorship in the past… they opposed Musharraf not because of the reasons we opposed him i.e. he was an unconstitutional military adventurer… they opposed Musharraf because Musharraf was socially liberal… and they supported Zia because he was an Islamist.

    We the “seculars” admit the reality that Pakistan is being held hostage by the military establishment and its Mullah allies… and untill the MMA (Military Mullah Alliance) is dismantled there isn’t any hope for Jinnah’s Pakistan to emerge.

  44. Ummi

    “People like Ummi will gladly bend over if they knew Kiyani would establish their theocracy of choice.”

    It means you and your likewise bend over as “token of thanks” when your Mamaays in washington give you happy tidings? Thanks for sharing your secrets.

    BTW, only an ignorant and idiot can equate Christianity with Islam while talking about separation of Church and state. One must have to study Islam first before talking about it. Offcourse people who talk about it would not even have read the last sermon of Holy Prophet(saw) and the speech of Omar Bin Khattab(ra) who seemed to be copied by Jinnah as well who delivered 11th August speech which is almost similar to words said by Omar after Jerusalem conquest.

  45. YLH

    people who talk about it would not even have read the last sermon of Holy Prophet(saw) and the speech of Omar Bin Khattab(ra) who seemed to be copied by Jinnah as well who delivered 11th August speech which is almost similar to words said by Omar after Jerusalem conquest.

    …. Nice… so you are saying that Hazrat Omar Khatab RA said the following:

    1. Religion is a personal faith of an individual and not a political matter.

    2. Religion, caste or creed not to be the business of the state.

    3. There would be no bars against people who were not Muslims.

    If this is true then that just proves what some have said many times…. Islam advocates a secular state…

    I produce here Mr. Jinnah’s speech :

    “I cannot emphasize it too much. We should begin to work in that spirit and in course of time all these angularities of the majority and minority communities, the Hindu community and the Muslim community, because even as regards Muslims you have Pathans, Punjabis, Shias, Sunnis and so on, and among the Hindus you have Brahmins, Vashnavas, Khatris, also Bengalis, Madrasis and so on, will vanish. Indeed if you ask me, this has been the biggest hindrance in the way of India to attain the freedom and independence and but for this we would have been free people long long ago. No power can hold another nation, and specially a nation of 400 million souls in subjection; nobody could have conquered you, and even if it had happened, nobody could have continued its hold on you for any length of time, but for this. Therefore, we must learn a lesson from this. You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place or worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed that has nothing to do with the business of the State. As you know, history shows that in England, conditions, some time ago, were much worse than those prevailing in India today. The Roman Catholics and the Protestants persecuted each other. Even now there are some States in existence where there are discriminations made and bars imposed against a particular class. Thank God, we are not starting in those days. We are starting in the days where there is no discrimination, no distinction between one community and another, no discrimination between one caste or creed and another. We are starting with this fundamental principle that we are all citizens and equal citizens of one State. The people of England in course of time had to face the realities of the situation and had to discharge the responsibilities and burdens placed upon them by the government of their country and they went through that fire step by step. Today, you might say with justice that Roman Catholics and Protestants do not exist; what exists now is that every man is a citizen, an equal citizen of Great Britain and they are all members of the Nation.

    Now I think we should keep that in front of us as our ideal and you will find that in course of time Hindus would cease to be Hindus and Muslims would cease to be Muslims, not in the religious sense, because that is the personal faith of each individual, but in the political sense as citizens of the State.

    Please quote Hazrat Omar’s address which you feel Mr. Jinnah copied from.

  46. Hayyer

    India of-course has been united only episodically, and the British India episode could have continued for a longer period had things turned out differently. Of the many kingdoms in which the geographical area known as India has mostly remained divided over most of its history the portion known as the Indus valley has remained out of India for far shorter periods than it has remained attached to kingdoms centred outside geographical India.
    This argument in any case distracts from the point YLH made. It is no business of the Army Chief to talk of defending a self defined ideology of Pakistan. Properly speaking he should not even speak of defending Pakistan’s constitution. That is the business of the courts and the legal fraternity. Armies should confine themselves to defending a country’s borders.

  47. Hayyer

    Of the many kingdoms in which the geographical area known as India has mostly remained divided over most of its history the portion known as the Indus valley has remained out of India for far shorter periods than it has remained attached to kingdoms centred INSIDE geographical India.

  48. Milind Kher

    In a pluralistic society, it has to be a secular state. Even a Muslim nation can be a secular state, Turkey being a prime example.

    In any case, in a country like Pakistan a theocratic rule can never work, on account of the multiplicity of schools of law.

  49. yasserlatifhamdani


    I am afraid your conclusions drawn from the said letter are completely off. First of all notice that the date is 20th September 1947 …. that is a whole month after the creation of Pakistan and long after League had already won the referendum.

    What George Cunningham is saying in 7a is that in order to counter Fakir of Ipi’s revolt against Pakistan, the government of Pakistan must play up the propaganda that Pakistan and Islam are synonymous. Fakir of Ipi … (Read my article on him) … had famously declared that Pakistan was an irreligious state, a bastion of British Imperialism and run by Ismailis and Qadiyanis …

    In George Cunningham’s view the way to counter Fakir of Ipi’s anti-Pakistan activities in the name of Islam in September 1947 was to drive home that Pakistan was a Muslim country and that any activities against it would be unIslamic.

  50. Bloody Civilian

    Milind Kher
    November 28, 2009 at 11:46 pm

    so there is nothing much wrong with iran, then? and the super-democratically elected supreme leader?

  51. rex minor

    @ Sir George Cunningham

    Just a minor point in good old days of Sir George Cunningham, he was one of the most dishonest official of the British empire. I wonder if any one has researched into his personal integrity, he was known to accept bribes from any one and of any value, including poultry from poor farmers. Sorry, I broke my own principle of not talking ill of dead people.

  52. Rabia

    Well Salman’s point is supported by this excerpt from the Sole Spokesman:

    Jalal cites George Cunningham taking credit for “rallying Islam” in order to win the League election seats in 1943. So how can one make the argument that Cunningham and the Frontier League’s communalism was simply a reaction to the Faqir? Cunningham’s points in the memo on Frontier policy regarding appealing to Islam in FATA were in keeping with his sentiments in 1943 as described by Jalal.

  53. rex minor

    @ general kyani,
    You people may like to continue the debate on the subject article. But please do consider the simple realities. Have we not lived this type of debate in the past? Let us cool down and do not forget that Pakistan military is neither comtrolled by one man, nor by the President, the Prime minister, or the Parliment. You may not believe this but the Pakistan military has existed in the country as an independent entity run by corps commanders with a chairman. They have a superior intelligence network and control all avenues of the Society in the country. The Govt. cannot and will not make any decision be it of domestic or foreign nature. Unlike political personalities, it is not usual for the military commanders to enggage in public discussions over their role, responsibilities and political views. Though even the basic law in any country would allow them the same rights which some of you have assigned to yourself and believe can operate without any constraints. We all know how the previous elected Govts. were removed by the military in your country. We cannot also forget the fate of the country’s Prime ministers at the hand of the military, not forgetting also the aggressive statements made by the politicians before the military response. So please, be kind to yourself and your country and let the democracy move forward in peace and preferably without provocing the semi-retired military ghost.

  54. rex minor

    @eneral Kyani

    PS: former General Parvez Musharaf might be considered by some of you a liberal, but in reality was a ruthless military commander and refused to accept the dismissal orders of the democratically elected Prime Minister. He also ordered the arrest and the exile of the Prime Minister. During his military rule he he did allow certain liberty to the media specifically run by his former comrades and migrant community, but took a hostile posture towards neighbouring India simply to solicit financial support from the middle eastern countries. And finally he caved in to George W, the decision maker, and brought economic ruin, the political bankcruptsy and a set back in my view of over 20 years. Your today’s Govt. came about with the support of the US Congress. The military in Pakistan is the only remaining independent entity in the country. The civilian structure is under repairs and would require a minimum of five to ten years calm period . Would you be allowed this period?

  55. Milind Kher


    What is wrong with Iran? Which leader are you referring to – Ahmedinijad ot Ayatollah Khamenei?

    Iran is the world leader in stem cell research. It is doing very well in nuclear development. The education levels are as good as some of the best in the Islamic world.

    Yes, there is a relationship issue with the US. However, no dialog has happened, and if both nations could shed their baggage, it could clear the way for meaningful talks.

  56. vajra

    @rex minor

    Merely on a point of usage:

    The @ symbol is used in this kind of e-mail exchange to single out a particular person to be addressed. Pronouncing it aloud gives the sense; (the following message is directed…)@ vajra – dear vajra, stop sounding off and do a day’s decent work instead. @ Bloody Civilian – dear BC, just let me finish this series of 137 mail messages aimed at rex minor, and I shall do what you suggest.

    So it might confuse the simple-minded like me if you start a mail with @Sir George Cunningham, @general kyani and @eneral Kayani. Somehow the thought of more than one General Kayani churns me up deeply.

    @Milind Kher

    They are also the biggest killers of underage children in the world.

  57. Bloody Civilian


    i mean khamenei – the supreme leader, as i said. not the president. what is the process of khamenei’s election? what is his term in office? who is he accountable to? and how? we saw his power and role in the aftermath of the recent election.

    what credibility should we attach to a ‘democracy’ where election candidates are ‘vetted’ the way they are in iran – not by an independent election commission like in modern democracies where the only criteria for pre-election disqualification are (mainly)unspent criminal convictions and time since leaving govt service (where applicable). there are no vague and arbitrary ‘character’ assessments, religious or otherwise.

  58. Milind Kher


    If you are talking about the time period that he served as a President, then that was from 1981 to 1989, where he won a landslide victory polling 95% of the votes.

    Thereafter, he succeeded Ayatollah Khomeini after the latter passed away. This was through the concept of Vilayate Faqih. He is a mujtahid, and to many he is a marjae taqlid too, the other major ones being Ayatollah Seestani and Ayatollah Fadhlallah.

    Ayatollah Fadhlallah is a marja mainly for Lebanon and thereabouts, and Ayatollah Khamenei for Iran, though I believe he may have followers in Afghanistan and Pakistan too. Ayatollah Seestani is followed in India and many countries in the world.

    Ayatollah Khamenei’s office is a spiritual one and may continue till his end of days.

  59. Bloody Civilian


    thanks for the confirmation on that score.

    you left out the council of guardians. how the unelected, spiritual-only supreme leader gets to appoint half the members of the council. and how the council decides who can and cannot be a candidate in elections, whether presidential or parliamentary, based on criteria so wide that they might as well not bother with any at all. vilayet-e-faqih it might well be, but it is no democracy.

  60. Milind Kher


    It is not a perfect democracy, as in not just everybody can stand for elections. That may not be such a bad thing. Think about it, in a perfectly democratic setup , many criminals contest elections too. Here they are selected by people who are known for their upright moral character. Thereafter, it is the people’s choice.

    It seems quite alright to me. Am I missing something? Do let me know your thoughts on this..

  61. Bloody Civilian

    many criminals contest elections too

    do you mean ‘guilty until proven innocent’? last time i checked, convicted criminals could not contest elections (until the conviction is spent; is it 7 years in india?).

    lets stick to the democratic structure and the letter of law, not how effectively it is enforced, or the reality. i’m not talking of political prisoners and executions and banned publications in iran.

    Here they are selected by people who are known for their upright moral character.

    you mean members of the council of guardians? so how and from where does one get this certificate… for ‘upright moral character’? what does it mean to be of ‘upright moral character’? how is it different from being a ‘law-abiding citizen’? and what can one do if the council denies one such a certificate? whatever happened to fair trial and due process, in both cases? so a difficult to define accusation/charge is made against a candidate, and then he has to somehow prove he is innocent of an undefinable charge.

    Thereafter, it is the people’s choice.

    selection before election – given totally arbitrary powers to select, and the arbitrary selection of half the selectors themselves – is no democracy.

  62. Majumdar

    Milind babu,

    Think about it, in a perfectly democratic setup , many criminals contest elections too. Here they are selected by people who are known for their upright moral character.

    You seem to be of one mind with Allama sb whose gripe with Western style democracy was that in demos, people are counted not weighed.

    It seems quite alright to me. Am I missing something?

    Not much, I guess. But a small issue needs to be addressed- how do we decide who has an upright moral character and has the right to filter out undesirable characters.


  63. Milind Kher

    @Majumdar Saheb and BC

    The guarantees of the kind that you are asking may not be possible. However, a closer look at the personal life of any marjae taqlid will show you that they are very transparent and simple. So, you will have to believe that the council that such people select would be good.

    You may not wish to agree with the quasi democracy running in Iran, but the indications are that it seems to be working. Besides the progress that Iran is making, two crimes are virtually non existent – terrorism and drug trafficking.

  64. Bloody Civilian


    a closer look at the personal life of any marjae taqlid will show you that they are very transparent and simple

    it is tempting to spend the next 25 years of my life shadowing one 24/7.. but, no thanks! i would rather carry on being rational about these things.

    two crimes are virtually non existent – terrorism and drug trafficking.

    so iran’s is almost as successful a system as saudi arabia’s, then.

  65. Majumdar

    Milind babu,

    Unfortunately not every country is blessed with such a vast pool of talented Shi’ite alims like Iran is. Sadly, I guess we will have to live within our limited means.


  66. Bloody Civilian


    i’ve no problems assuming the marjae taqlid innocent until proven guilty, like everyone else, or even accepting that they are whiter than white, purer than pure. my issue is not with transparency or lack thereof in their personal lives. i ony require the system to be transparent. for it to rely on checks and balances rather than purity of individual souls. if there is arbitrary or absolute power, due to big gaps in the system of checks and balances, it’s not democracy.

    rule of law requires a citizen to know beforehand what can and will constitute a crime in the eyes of the law. something as ambiguous (and, therefore, arbitrary) as ‘moral character’ goes against that requirement of rule of law. an express law must define criminal behaviour as precisely as humanly possible. and even then, conviction must only be as a result of a fair trial.

  67. rex minor

    Mr Vajra,
    Thank you fotr the tip. I do not believe that you are a smple minded person. You are talented and very balanced in your expressions. As a matter of fact I was addressing General K, incase his people are reading this mail to remind him of the military code of “Silence”. I was also addressing the demon of the late Cunn……, the sort of notes he left behind to confuse the coming generation in Pakistan.

  68. Milind Kher


    I am not aware of what their criminal procedures are. However, I had read their constitution. Two things really impressed me.

    One, that the right to housing is a fundamental right.

    Two, that nobody may be persecuted for their religious beliefs.

  69. Bloody Civilian


    that’s very good. as long as you realise that quasi democracy is not necessarily a victimless crime.

  70. YLH


    Refer to the link posted by Salman. The letter is from September 1947.

    The discussion is whether there was an Islamic ideology on which Pakistan was sought. The letter in question – address to LAK- is very clearly only in response to Fakir Of Ipi’s revolt (which was supported by the Frontier Congress)..Fakir claimed that Pakistan was bastion of Imperialism and Qadiyanism and was completely anti-Islamic. Please read my piece “NWFP history Fakir of Ipi’s uprising” or some such title for exact reference.

    Now coming to your point …

    Thankfully I have a sole spokesman copy handy always …which is why when someone makes a reference to it, I can respond to it.

    To quote completely (to remind you this is the situation 1943 – after 1945 the situation changed completely)

    “Cunningham’s astonishing (but in part justified) assertion that he, not the League, was responsible for rallying Islam is a true a measure of Jinnah’s irrelevance in the politics of NWFP.”

    Jinnah sitting in Delhi or the All India Muslim League had scant control over provincial Leagues. The provincial Leagues had been cobbled together of elements that were rather unsavoury …much like the British used the Unionists in Punjab against Muslim League especially after 1946, the British used these tribal Leagues against KK. These Leaguers took their direction from the governor’s house and not Jinnah house.

    But this proves quite clearly that there was no Islam as ideology platform given…

    Cunningham’s letter- quoted by Salman- is a different issue. It is a letter from the governor of a province to the prime minister of the country telling him that the best way to counter an Islamic revolt of Fakir of Ipi is to drive home that Pakistan is a Muslim country and Islam and Pakistan are synonymous.

    Kind of explains where Kiyani’s statements are coming from. Apparently it is the opinion of many that the two cornerstones of politics in NWFP are Pushtun Nationalism and Islam..and together they make Taliban.

  71. YLH

    It is Page 116 of the Sole Spokesman.

  72. Rabia

    glad you saw my comment. I thought it didn’t make it through the wordpress spam filter.

    The reason I cited the Jalal reference was because it shows that Cunningham had been involved in rallying Islam in the favour of the League even in 1943 and his letter to Liaquat Ali Khan fits this already existing pattern rather than it being simply a tactic adopted as a reaction to the Faqir’s insurgency as your explanation to Salman suggested.

    imo, it is not true that the League tactic of rallying Islam stopped after 1945. Ian Talbot cites Jinnah as campaigning in November 1945 and saying “Every vote against the Muslim League candidates means Hindu Raj” (Pakistan: a modern history pp. 85). I am not saying that the League was the only group that used Islam as a rallying cry, clearly the Faqir of Ipi did as well.

  73. YLH


    No it doesn’t. That would be a most superficial understanding of history. What Cunningham did vis a vis the tribals in 1943 is totally different from the suggestion made in the letter quoted by Salman. If there is a continuing trend it is that Islam has always had popular appeal in the frontier. Countering an Islamist insurgency -fomented by Congress and Afghanistan in 1947- against Pakistan by saying that Fakir Of Ipi’s jehad is against a Muslim state is entirely different from the governor helping tribals along by using Islam as an electoral slogan.

    The reference you quoted actually establishes how the League’s central command was not really behind the activities in NWFP.

    What I said is totally different from what you interpretted it. When did I say that the League stopped use of Islam after 1945. On the contrary if you read it carefully I said the exact opposite ie League started appealing to Islam more vociferously after 1945.

    Btw what Jinnah said was quite accurate. How that translates into Pakistan was supposed to be an Islamic state is beyond me. We’ve already criticized Jinnah for his ambiguous references to Islam but then Gandhi and the Khilafat movement religion had become the dominant discourse and for a leader leading a mono-religious community, Jinnah’s appeal to faith was too vague and too little… All and sundry – especially the so called secular nationalists – used Islam much more vociferously than the Muslim League.

    Since I have already discussed this a million times I have no desire to reinvent the wheel.

    Also there seems to be some confusion between “communalism” and the use of Islam. Communalism has become a bad word. In strict sense it means someone who fights for his community’s rights. Nazir S Bhatti of the Pakistan Christian Congress would be termed a “communalist”…but his role in my opinion as a whole is positive for Pakistan.

    Communalism – in my opinion- is alright so long as it is minority communalism based on a genuine desire for economic and political uplift of the community. This is why Muslim Nationalism was always in conflict with Islamic clerics by and large who are never interested in material progress but spiritual objectives.

    Communalism becomes disastrous when 1. It is in the hands of clerics in a minority situation (Deoband in Modern India or the American Muslims held hostage by ISNA and ICNA) 2. When it is in a majority ie Hindu Nationalism.

    You will no doubt appreciate that most Islamist clerics were opposed to Muslim nationalism and therefore in strict sense could not be considered “communal” because they were not interested in the uplift of the community and simply interested in establishing god’s rule.

    Everywhere the interests of Muslim bourgeoisie and middle class collide in the final analysis with the clerical and ulema class which is why the latter become tools in the hands of parties like the Congress…

  74. Milind Kher

    Islamist clerics are the ones proving to be the biggest disaster for the Ummah.

    They drain the Ummah, but give nothing in return. Exactly the way cells of the Big C behave in the body..

  75. Bloody Civilian

    Islamist clerics are the ones proving to be the biggest disaster for the Ummah.

    except in a vilayat e faqih?

  76. YLH

    … Rex minor,

    Would love to know the source of your information vis a vis Sir George Cunningham because this is not what I have read.

  77. Milind Kher


    You are right. Those clerics are in a different class altogether.

  78. Bloody Civilian

    Those clerics are in a different class altogether

    so are you, my friend 🙂

  79. vajra

    @Bloody Civilian 😀

    Please, now you are overstepping the line, picking on a member of a minority group. I’ll have to mention this to Raza and to Yasser. Adnann are you listening?

  80. Bloody Civilian


    did it give the wrong impression? sorry! it was just an honest admission of being bested. no shame in being bested by the best 🙂

  81. Rabia

    ylh I never argued that Jinnah’s 1945 statement translated into support for an Islamic state merely that it was quite clearly a use of Islam as a rallying cry for the League which was Salman’s original point.

    anyway, thank you for a good discussion.

  82. YLH

    Dear Rabia,

    My issue was never with the contention that League like any other party of the time used religion to rally the people… but that any such appeal translated to any real or serious promise of an Islamic state in Pakistan.

    Secondly I was countering the letter in question and not defending Sir George …who needs no defending from me. Contrary to Rex minor’s assertion he was a first rate civil servant in the finest British tradition.

  83. Milind Kher

    I believe that Mr Jinnah did use Islam as a rallying cry. However, that was only in the context of asserting that Hindus and Muslims were two separate nations.

    I do not believe it was any move to set up an Islamic state.

  84. Rabia

    YLH, actually regardless of Cunningham’s personal integrity, the Cunningham memo contains a number of excellent recommendations including an urgent recommendation for the full integration of FATA into the NWFP which it is unfortunate that the government of Pakistan ignored.