No priests needed – search of a Pakistani identity

Raza Rumi wonders why we remain in search of a Pakistani identity

Half-truths are what we love to indulge in. One of the countless crimes committed by President Asif Ali Zardari is that he wears a Sindhi cap instead of a Jinnah cap. That by preferring a Sindhi topi and thundering at the occasion of late Benazir Bhutto’s death anniversary, he undermined his Pakistani identity, is truly mystifying. After all, what is a Pakistani identity and why is the Jinnah cap being elevated to the level of an article of national faith?

If anything, Mr Jinnah’s patronage of Muslim identity mark was an afterthought. His usual attire was a well-tailored pucca-sahib-like suit. It was only in the nineteen forties and that too close to India’s independence that Mr Jinnah started donning the Muslim nobility’s attire.

So what is this fuss all about? Constructing Pakistan’s ideology based on theological interpretation of a universal religion like Islam has been a carefully executed project of the Pakistani establishment and its shadows in the non-state domains. Such cliques have grown bigger, mushroomed and are now essential to our lived reality. Therefore lambasting of Zardari on not sporting a Jinnah cap finds public resonance and broad acceptability within the populous Punjab province where the Urdu press flourishes and finds readers and writers aplenty.The opening up of the electronic media has been a liberating experience but it also means that the deep-seated and embedded distortions, cultivated by the state, biased education system and militarisation, have now captured a wider public space. This includes audiences and listeners who are outside the ambit of the ‘literate’. Given the inherent dangers of such a phenomenal change, many independent observers have called for arresting and regulating further corporatization of the media. Advanced countries such as the USA have already experienced the pernicious trend of ‘dumbing down’ and mainstreaming unaccountable political and security agenda[s]. The case of the war on terror is a pertinent example of this unfortunate reality. If we are aware of it should we not undertake pro-active course correction?

The dominant linear Pakistani narrative is geared to kill diversity; and silence dissent of all kinds. This is why women politicians are perennially under attack from the clergy and patriarchal power structures. The myriad identities of Pakistan are rendered invisible under the broad rubric of Islam, the ‘Pakistan ideology’ and an unidentified ‘Pakistaniat’. This is why Pakistan has remained an unworkable federation where provincial or local identity and its articulation has always been a challenge. Defining Pakistani identity remains a distant goal even after sixty years.

Meeting Indians abroad is always an eye-opening experience. They suffer from all the divisiveness of their fractured social reality. But when it comes to defining themselves they proudly own up to their national, howsoever imagined, Indian identity. On the other hand, Pakistanis are wont to define themselves in terms of their ethnic and religious-sectarian identities. This is a deeper issue and we have yet to come to terms with it. And, this is what many visitors to India often point out. Despite the squalor and widespread poverty in India, the optimism of its residents is remarkable. On the other hand, speak to an ordinary Pakistani and you will sense impending doom. These days our countrymen express little faith in the future of Pakistan.

In fact a recent survey conducted by the British Council makes some depressing revelations. For instance, on the question of identity three quarters of the youth surveyed viewed themselves as Muslims first, Pakistani second, compared to just 14% who saw themselves as primarily citizens of Pakistan. More importantly, the survey found a widespread disenchantment with democracy, as only a third of the young respondents believed that it was the best system for the country, while another third prefer sharia. Militarization and educational indoctrination has resulted in 60% expressing faith in the military and 50% believing in religious educational institutes. But the highlight of this survey was that our youth were despondent about the social injustice in Pakistan. When asked this question, they saw lack of opportunity and lack of merit in awarding jobs as a major hurdle towards their belief in the country they live in.

It is time that we acknowledged that this lack of identity and faith in our country is closely linked to the way we have digressed from the vision of Jinnah who had clearly stated that “Pakistan is not going to be a theocratic state to be ruled by priests with a divine mission.” The lashkars and hordes of jihadis and their sponsors need to emphasise that. It is on record that Mr Jinnah had rebuked a Muslim League worker when he raised the slogan – “Pakistan means no God except God”. This incident took place in a Karachi meeting of the Muslim League immediately after the creation of Pakistan. In fact the Islamic references to Pakistan were not approved by the higher command of the Muslim League. Of course, doctored histories would make us believe otherwise.

Pakistan’s first Law Minister was J.N. Mandal, a Hindu and Sir Zafarullah Khan, an Ahmedi was appointed as the country’s first Foreign Minister. A Hindu poet Jagan Nath Azad was asked to compose the first national anthem of Pakistan. Mr Jinnah’s words, “You may belong to any religion, caste or creed – this has nothing to do with the business of the state”, were amply backed by his actions.

Therefore, we need to accept that if we have to survive as a nation, we have to respect the pluralism of Pakistan. We need to acknowledge that religion is a personal matter and its mixing in the business of the state only leads to a sectarian based theocratic mode of governance that can exclude many citizens. We remain in search of an identity and unless we respect the rights of ethnicities, minorities and determine that much of Pakistan lies beyond the Grand Trunk Road, there is little hope that we will become an inclusive, socially just state.

With a demographic revolution in the making, a depressed and cynical youth is a time bomb that we are living with. Things will have to change, otherwise history has its own ways of effecting transformations that are not always peaceful or desirable.

254 Comments

Filed under History, Identity, Pakistan

254 responses to “No priests needed – search of a Pakistani identity

  1. Ally

    We all know the religious overload has had a detrimental effect. Its only through secular education that change will come.

  2. Pingback: Global Voices Online » Pakistan: In Search Of A Pakistani Identity

  3. Raj

    Hi RR

    Good article , however you mention and I quote

    “They suffer from all the divisiveness of their fractured social reality. But when it comes to defining themselves they proudly own up to their national, howsoever imagined, Indian identity. ”

    Well (Minus a Pakistani prejudice) this quote express a very important Indian social accomplishment that Human Nature is universal but human culture is diverse .
    we accept the social and cultural differentiation of each other and still respect them . this is the biggest failure of Pakistani society .

  4. neel123

    Dear Mr Raza Rumi,

    I am sure, your article will not be well received by some of the fiercely patriotic PTH contributors.

    Your mention of how the Indians look at themselves, should act as eye opener for many that are mislead by media misinformation campaign.

    Three quarters of the Pakistani youth do not relate to your thinking of pluralism and religion as a personal matter…… !

    If there is identity crisis after 62 years of coming into existance, then will the Pakistanis ever be able to find an identity for themselves ?

    A sharp contrast to the optimism of the patriots of PTH, does it not look like a losing battle……. a little too late ?

  5. karun

    The muslim minority in India has served a great purpose. It always has been a sobering effect on the overzealous hindu zealots in their hatred against Islam. They(Hindu zealots) have to stop in their tracks before going too far ( in their hatred against fellow muslim citizens) lest their patriotism/nationality may be questioned.

    many have successfully dissociated pakistan with muslim, so that they may not harbour ill will towards Islam, yet want to destroy Pakistan.

    In Case of Pakistan , sadly, India = Hindus.

    This makes a huge huge difference.

  6. updike

    So it is admitted that Jinnah too falsified himself by wearing this central asian felt cap. See how even small/tiny, seemingly petty, even external falsifications can have disastrous effects.

    Then what about the huge islam-muslim-glorifying falsifications in history-writing and history-narration and history-teaching in Pakistan?

    Who (which muslim in the Pakistani upper hierarchy) has the courage to bell the cat publicly? The PTH?

    As regards religion being a personal matter – this very idea or thought undermines islam and the ummah (the very idea of ummah and world dominance).

    (UMMAH = United Muslim Monolith for Arab Hegemony) (or Aggressive Hegemony)

    Islam undermines honesty in certain crucial social, poitical and cultural matters. Hence islam has failed to bring about justice, peace and a relaxed society. The very god-concept of islam undermines honesty. This god-concept rewards flatterers (especially public flatterers of muslim leaders) and threatens/silences the honest. Jinnah’s 1947 August 11 speech was thus doomed to fail in Pakistan.

    Unless such criticism becomes public in Pakistan things will not improve. Dishonesty breeds new dishonesty and leads to an ever-worse disaster.

  7. D_a_n

    @ Karun…

    ‘They(Hindu zealots) have to stop in their tracks before going too far ( in their hatred against fellow muslim citizens) lest their patriotism/nationality may be questioned’

    Arent we overstating a bit?

  8. wsmith

    “Meeting Indians abroad is always an eye-opening experience. They suffer from all the divisiveness of their fractured social reality. But when it comes to defining themselves they proudly own up to their national, howsoever imagined, Indian identity”

    Thank you for the backhanded compliment

  9. yasserlatifhamdani

    Dear Raza Rumi,

    Extraordinary article. Jinnah’s Secular Pakistan is the need of the hour. The nazaria-e-Pakistan is a bogus ideology constructed by fools who have led Pakistan to a morass.

    Did you catch my interview with Nadia Jamil on Samaa TV yesterday? She wants me on again to discuss the fallacy of Nazaria Pakistan v. Jinnah’s idea of Pakistan.

    AN ASIDE: Would you, Raza Bhai, mind explaining to Neel123 who you discussed this article with before you wrote it … I wouldn’t have brought it up had it not been the ridiculous comments of this Hindu fascist bigot who continues to plague our website for god knows what reason.

    Poor Neel123 did not even get the left handed compliment you heaped on India Shining crooks like him.

  10. yasserlatifhamdani

    Isn’t it strange that Hindu Fascists and Islamo-Fascists hate “PTH Patriots” in equal measure?

    Well it isn’t really… it is a measure of our balance and our resolve.

  11. yasserlatifhamdani

    “Your mention of how the Indians look at themselves, should act as eye opener for many that are mislead by media misinformation campaign.”

    One can forgive this statement because Neel123 can’t even spell misled ….so it is a comprehension issue.

    We are all aware of how Indians view themselves. Indeed we know that it is a sad and pathetic case of over-projection and over-estimation:

    Meeting Indians abroad is always an eye-opening experience. They suffer from all the divisiveness of their fractured social reality. But when it comes to defining themselves they proudly own up to their national, howsoever imagined, Indian identity. On the other hand, Pakistanis are wont to define themselves in terms of their ethnic and religious-sectarian identities. This is a deeper issue and we have yet to come to terms with it. And, this is what many visitors to India often point out. Despite the squalor and widespread poverty in India, the optimism of its residents is remarkable. On the other hand, speak to an ordinary Pakistani and you will sense impending doom. These days our countrymen express little faith in the future of Pakistan.”

    And when I say the same thing in one line…“The difference between Pakistanis and Indians is that we Pakistanis know that our shit stinks, Indians devour theirs like it is the sweetest thang … the tastiest halwa … ” … I am an optimistic PTH Patriot.

  12. yasserlatifhamdani

    by author ofcourse I mean Neel123 not Raza Rumi🙂

  13. Why is that the Indian visitors here are always out to belittle Pakistan and Pakistanis. We are the biggest and fiercest critics of our country and suffer from no delusions of grandeur unlike our neighbours.

    YLH helped me with the theme and construction of this article and this by no means make him or me unpatriotic.

  14. D_a_n

    It’s our good looks Raza Bhai……..

    ……it’s our good looks😉

  15. That was a naughty comment Dan…🙂

  16. yasserlatifhamdani

    Now that’s putting the smack down.
    🙂

  17. vajra

    @Raza Rumi
    @YLH

    Your criticism of the Indian visitors here was certainly due to extreme provocation, but I do think it was harsh.

    Not all Indians; only two types out of five. The bigots and the fanboys have misbehaved and will go on doing that. Some have tried to set them straight, but it is a thankless and discouraging task. It is just the thought that keeping them occupied might allow others to go on with interesting discussions that is a motivator.

    Then there are the kids, the Indian equivalent of Mustafa Shaban, who need to be cut some slack. It isn’t easy staying alive through their initial naive attempts to get a reasonable opinion worded and expressed, but presumably all of us try, for kids on both sides, howsoever irritating.

    I nearly forgot the cynics. For reasons not understood, they are preponderant on one side, and it isn’t on the Indian side.

    It isn’t very motivating, though, when the coolest and most reasonable people hosting this site make blanket statements about Indians. Even an Indian who believes with considerable conviction that our loyalties as intellectuals is primarily to the world of reason, not to the world of politics and belligerent jingoism, not to an individual country, can be taken aback by an assumption that whatever we say, at the end of the day, we’re the niggers.

    Maybe you’re right, and maybe the cynics are right, and it’s time to give it a break. Things still need to play out, and it looks like any time is a bad time to talk of peaceful relations.

    Even if this is not a good time to say that we can work as differently-oriented neighbouring countries, with completely different world outlooks, let me just say it on record, for whatever small change it’s worth, and move on.

  18. Ali Abbas

    @Raza and YLH,

    Great article.

    YLH,

    I missed your spot on Samaa. Is the video clip available somewhere.

    While I agree with your assesment of Jinnah’s landmark August 11, 1947 speech being the essential foundation for Pakistan, he has stated other things that are problematic and have been used by the various Islamists and establishment figures for promoting an inflexible supremacist ideology. We need to evaluable Jinnah and Iqbal realistically and not put them on a pedestal (something that the ideologues have done)

  19. karunx

    @DAN

    no i am not overstating. For those who are elite secularism comes easy. This acts as a conscience check for the masses and acts both ways (for muslims as well as hindus). Most Indians on this site know this.Often people who even try to become hardline hindutvawadis, discover they have couple of muslim friends in daily life here and there. How to reconcile that?. it always helps.

    if u ever visit wagah border (Attari) :

    Indian slogans are limited to : Bharat mataki jai, Hindustan Jindabad… i have never heard of any Hindu idiom/lexicon used.

    As for the Pakistani side….you know better.

    pls note this is not being said with an idea to boast rather to undestand some root issues.

  20. karunx

    Why is that the Indian visitors here are always out to belittle Pakistan and Pakistanis. We are the biggest and fiercest critics of our country and suffer from no delusions of grandeur unlike our neighbours.

    Unfortunate comment Raza. Really unfortunate. Sign of openess is not what you crticize but how you let others criticize of what is wrong within.

  21. D_a_n

    @ Karun…

    yes, you are overstating and your explanations on the limits imposed on the RSS brigade by public opinion or their own exposure to fellow Muslim citizens just does not wash with events as they are seen physically…

    ‘discover they have couple of muslim friends in daily life here and there. How to reconcile that?.’

    do you think im 6 that I’ll buy utter banality like that? what is that social sciences for dummies?

    As for the slogans at Wagah….unfortunate as it is…you’ll hear Naara-e-Takbeer at sporting events also. I dont condone it but it’s not used as a function to deride any ‘other’ at all…it’s just a rallying cry ‘at these occasions’….
    The same slogans were shouted with Hindu/sikh Indian guests in Pakistani cricket stadiums sitting with us cheek by jowl….
    but I am honest enough to admit that I’d rather it not be used for such occasions. I know the difference between Halwa and Poo…

    How in the world does that explain massive pogroms? I believe as Yasser would say….you’ve been having a bit too much of the ‘halwa’..there cannot be any honest discussion on this line unless you let go of the total dishonesty that is dripping from your posts…

  22. D_a_n

    @ YLH….

    post the clip dude….there is a channel for Sama TV on youtube ayeshasamaa who has all sama TV clips…

    and more importantly Ejaz Haider’s show at Sama as well…

    Clips not on youtube yet so If and when you get it…please share it with us as well..

  23. Sir,

    We continue to talk about a reversion to the ideals expounded by Jinnah that inform his vision and identity for Pakistan as a secular state. In my own reading of Jinnah (largely informed by Prof. Jalal), im pretty sure he himself was quite vague regarding the composition of the national identity. In my mind, there is a significant disjuncture between the identity of the state and the identity of the nation. The state can remain secular as Jinnah wanted, but national identity will continue to be informed by social consciousness of which religion is a significant part. Hence the process of democratic government will by consequence ensure that social consciousness and social identity interact and reform a secular state identity (the converse is also possible). Its important to look at this entire phenomenon as relational/dialectical as opposed to top-down paternalism of some vague notion of secular nationhood that Jinnah expounded.

  24. ylh

    Ali, umair,

    I don’t understand why you wish to argue the opposition’s brief.

    whatever you think Jinnah said – as political expediency- cannot override two things:

    1. The 33 odd speeches in which he clearly spoke of a democratic state based on equality of citizenship, rule of law and popular sovereignty. The 11th August speech is quite clear, unambiguous and is spoken to the constituent assembly in Jinnah’s own words and not some random Eid message which was probably not even written by Jinnah himself.

    2. The fact that Jinnah did not allow the Muslim League to legally adopt any resolution calling for an Islamic state nor is there a single piece of legislation or document in the Pakistan Constituent assembly during Jinnah’s tenure of 13 months as its president which has formalized Islam’s role.

    I am not sure why you keep bringing Iqbal into it. Iqbal had nothing to do with the creation of Pakistan. He is an afterthought – a military afterthought at that- at balancing out Jinnah’s liberal democratic secular vision.

    Don’t put anyone on the pedestal but I am not sure why you insist on shooting the secularists in the foot. I am merely repeating a historical truth: Jinnah wanted a secular state. It is immaterial to me if he was driven by political expediency to try and justify it by referring to Islam. All I know is that Jinnah was the last politician in Pakistan who blocked the way and vetoed resolutions seeking to introduce Islamic institutions in the constitution. And that is all I am saying.

    I wonder if you are serious about achieving a secular state in Pakistan (I am addressing Ali Abbas now) because your arguments seem to only parrot Islamist arguments- bankrupt as they are- on why Jinnah’s pronouncements did not supposedly indicate a secular state.

  25. ylh

    PS there is nothing in Jinnah’s words that can be used to promote a supremacist exclusivist ideology.
    Even his references to Islam – few and far between- are positive ones suggesting that Islam does not believe in theocracy and that Islam seeks human equality.

  26. Ali Abbas

    @YLH

    I too want a secular Pakistan; however we cannot get there without a proper, honest and whollistic debate and that includes an objective critique of Jinnah.

    You write:
    ” I am merely repeating a historical truth: Jinnah wanted a secular state. It is immaterial to me if he was driven by political expediency to try and justify it by referring to Islam. All I know is that Jinnah was the last politician in Pakistan who blocked the way and vetoed resolutions seeking to introduce Islamic institutions in the constitution. And that is all I am saying.”

    It may be immaterial to you and to me but not to the security establishment that saw within these political “expediencies” an opening for their theocratic ideologue state.

    In his speech at Sibi Darbar, Febuary 14th, 1948, Jinnah concludes with:
    “It is my belief that our salvation lies in following the golden rules of conduct set for us by our great lawgiver, the Prophet of Islam. Let us lay the foundation of our democracy on the basis of truly Islamic ideals and principles. Our Almighty has taught us that “our decisions in the affairs of the State shall be guided by discussions and consultations. I wish you my brethren of Baluchistan, God speed and all success in the opening of this new era. May your future be as bright as I have always prayed for and wished it to be. May you all prosper.”

    When one talks of “truly Islamic Ideals”, then the pandaro’s box for the Islamists has been opened. In other quotes, he hedges a direct question about whether Pakistan would be a secular or theocratic state. He rebufs the latter view but once again hedges by confusing a religion (Islam) with a political system of governance (democracy).

    Yasser, today these expediencies hurt the cause of all those who want a SECULAR and PLURALIST Pakistan. In striving for our ideals, we cannot cherry pick our arguements. This simplistic approach of ignoring the problematic aspects of Jinnah’s views and speeches may work for the converted but are hugely problematic when arguing for the future of Pakistan that is free from theocratic compulsions

  27. I dont want to resort to essential culturalism but your arguments are forcing me to do that.

    Lets hypothesize that Jinnah ruled for as long as Nehru. He manages to veto the objectives resolution and any potential Islamizing of the constitution. (Assuming he is powerful and autonomous enough to resist the overtures of the religious right). His ideal state is a democratic, secular, liberal state something along the lines of the Nehruvian ideal in India.

    Lets take the first characteristic of his ideal state. Democratic. In its most procedural manifestation, it allows people to form political associations on issues that they believe are politically relevant enough to garner electoral support (or state patronage). Now lets take the composition of the 4 provinces that form Pakistan. 95 percent Muslim out of which 60 percent reside in one province that has significant social inclinations towards religion and religious movements (Tablighi Jamaat, religious parties). Religion hence becomes a functional source of political mobilization in tandem with issues of socio-economic concern and ethnic/linguistic/cultural concerns. Since there is democratic space for political associations and mobilization, any set of political entrepreneurs who use a platform of social reform through religiously ordained measures can hypothetically step into power or influence state power (as was the case with Bhutto)

    My argument is that a secular identity is only as worthwhile as it is informed by the society it claims to represent. If a top-down imposition of secularism (and by that i mean a secular state such as the one vaguely envisioned by Jinnah) is the only true way of keeping out religion from politics then im afraid it will have to shed any pretensions of democracy. Jinnah’s democratic credentials have been challenged on many occasions and with considerable merit. We continue to hold democracy as some vague idealized notion of state-craft yet we cringe when it comes up with people like Nawaz Sharif or Qazi Hussain Ahmed. For me personally this paternalistic attitude towards secularity can be interpreted as fascistic.

    (Since Raza knows me personally, he can testify to the fact that im an avowedly secular person and im neither an apologist for religious elements and nor do i idealize idiots like Zaid Hamid but my personal experiences with identity politics and social consciousness in this country have brought me to the view that iv elaborated above.)

  28. yasserlatifhamdani

    Ali,

    The problem here is that you’ve missed the entire point. It is you and the Islamists who are cherrypicking … not I … by ignoring the context and reading too much into words without any legal sanction. You speak of a holistic critique but then you go ahead and deny it. You instead make several soundbytes which make no sense to me.

    I have already answered this question above in great detail but consider: Yes Jinnah referred to Islamic ideals in many public pronouncements but why don’t you bring the resolution or legislation where Jinnah altered the Muslim League’s charter to limit it to Islamic principles or Pakistan’s constitution to it.

    We are debating moot points … that Jinnah used Islamic symbolism (as did Ataturk by the way and much more glaringly – read his 6 day speech where he explains Turkish revolution … does that mean Ataturk did not create a secular state in Turkey?) … and that people in our establishment have used it to defeat his idea of Pakistan .. does not take away from the fact that his idea of Pakistan was of a secular democratic state and not of an Islamist theocracy. What is wrong with stating that.

    “He rebufs the latter view but once again hedges by confusing a religion (Islam) with a political system of governance (democracy). ”

    I can’t agree with this statement… Jinnah would have confused religion with a political system of governance if he had passed a resolution to that effect. I have read in detail the 14th July, 1947 statement many times. It is quite clear to me what Jinnah is saying in that Islam does not allow any system other democracy.

    The bottomline is that secularism in Pakistan has only one moral authority …. Jinnah. Secularists have always drawn great strength not just from 11th August speech but the holistic picture of Jinnah’s career ranging from his role as the best ambassador of Hindu Muslim Unity to his conception of Pakistan as a state. Cherrypicking his statements with references to “truly Islamic principles”- always defined as equality fraternity and justice – here and there which no doubt have allowed Islamists to argue the indefensible notion that liberal secular Jinnah was somehow fighting for an Islamic state … can only be useful to those people who want to undermine Jinnah’s vision as unambiguously and clearly stated again and again … a modern democratic state based on popular sovereignty of all people regardless of religion caste or creed i.e. a secular state. What is there in Jinnah’s so called “problematic” references to Islam that you feel logically counters this vision?

    If we were to accept your point of view (which is essentially wrong) and put Jinnah aside, secularism in Pakistan doesn’t have a leg to stand on. Are you Mr. Inayatullah going to convince the people of it? For long Jinnah has acted – from beyond the grave- as a shield for religious minorities and secularists in Pakistan. I can give instances in Pakistan’s history where Jinnah was invoked – not just his 11th August speech- to block the way of a retrogressive Islamist piece of legislation.

    A secular Pakistan without invoking Jinnah (which is right and proper since he was the only leader in Pakistan’s history who was truly secular) is as impossible an undertaking as changing Vatican City to a protestant state. After all the PPP ran up and down the country on an entirely secular manifesto…. went ahead and created an Islamic constitution…. why?

    The people don’t give a damn about Ali Abbas, Yasser Latif Hamdani or Raza Rumi my friend. Just like the Turks, the entire secular movement in Pakistan derives itself from this the founding father. You take Ataturk out of the Turkish secular movement ( because of the references to Islam that Ataturk made through out the Turkish revolution) and you’ve destroyed Kemalism in its entiretly.

    A part of it – Ali mian- has to do with what Raza alluded to above… the Pakistani talent for shooting one’s self in the foot. A Turkish secularist will not argue something as preposterous as “Ataturk should be abandoned because many of the statements he made during the Turkish war of independence were Islamically oriented and therefore problematic”. A Turkish secularist knows that if Ataturk is abandoned …. the entire Secular project in Turkey collapses. Similarly if Jinnah is abandoned in Pakistan … the only thing standing in the way of an Islamic theocracy will be done away with.

    Now I know your routine arguments Mr. Abbas. I am deifying Jinnah etc etc… but I am frankly not concerned with what you think … you are free to pursue the course as you please… I don’t think you are ever going to be successful… except win a few brownie points with the Hindutva brigade.

  29. yasserlatifhamdani

    … Erratum…. the Hindutva Brigade and with Islamists who you are inadvertently strengthening.

  30. Ali Abbas

    @YLH,

    What, my arguing with you strenghtens the Islamists and Hindutva brigade. Wow!! That is truly a stretch especially as you yourself state that “people don’t give a damn about Ali Abbas, Yasser Latif Hamdani or Raza Rumi”

    Given that Jinnah left us speeches and no legislation, the Islamists will use those that are fuzzy to make their point. My point is simply that Jinnah’s August 11 speech is a great foundation to build a secular Pakistan on. However, his other speeches are problematic. Islam is a faith that has widely differing interpretations and to use that as a basis for comparison with a political system is deeply problematic.

    A secular Pakistan should not be build on the sole moral authority of Jinnah. I stand by that and good luck to you on your alternate thesis.

  31. yasserlatifhamdani

    Umair Javed,

    I find your views much more palatable logically than I do Ali Abbas’s.

    Now hear me out. When I use the word democracy, I do not mean the tyranny of the majority. When a majority lynches a minority that is not democracy. Lynchocracy is exactly what Islamization through the ballot would amount to… not that the people of Pakistan ever voted for Islamization. So this top down secularism might not be as undemocratic as you make it out to be.

    In my opinion democracy without secularism is impossible. However, it is quite possible to establish in the modern world quasi-democratic theocratic states…. it is also possible to allow for long term residents without conferring citizenship (UAE) …. or have limited constitutional monarchies. If it were not for Jinnah, Pakistan would have stripped its christians, Hindus, sikhs etc of whatever nominal equal citizenship the constitution confers on them (it is ofcourse equal only on paper…. and is limited by article 41 of the Pakistani constitution which limits the office of president to Muslim citizens… hence Pakistani citizens are equal but others are more equal)

    In Pakistan … whatever little semblance of democratic state there is (here what I mean by democratic or undemocratic is not whether Jinnah used 51(5) to dismiss Khan sb’s ministry – that is another debate- but rather popular sovereignty, freedom of religion, expression, fundamental rights, equality of citizenship and rule of law) … it is because of Jinnah. No one in their right mind can deny that Jinnah stood unequivocally for equality, rule of law and fundamental rights… through out his career. … even his so called “problematic” Islamic statements are to this end… to convince his constituents that Islam believed in democracy, equality etc… the democracy he meant was not limited by any “Divine missions”.

    Thus … the top down secularism that you declare as undemocratic is the only thing keeping faint glimmer of real democracy alive in Pakistan.

  32. yasserlatifhamdani

    “Given that Jinnah left us speeches and no legislation, the Islamists will use those that are fuzzy to make their point. ”

    Well the facts are that Jinnah left us with no Islamic legislation… and he vetoed several attempts both in the League and in the PCA to introduce Islamic legislation. True Secularism is always the absence of religious consideration and not elevation of it as a religion itself. Instead of arguing on behalf of the Islamists, as you’ve done, I would ask the Islamists to tell us which Islamic state in the world has a Hindu law minister with no knowledge of Islam (as Jogindranath Mandal – Jinnah’s law minister – was)…when Islam’s main preoccupation is all matters legal?

    Your argument in another time and another place would mean that US constitution is not secular because it doesn’t use the word secular … and because American founding fathers who deliberately kept religion out of the constitution were not secular because everyone of them referred to Christian principles repeatedly…. I am not even going to go into Slave owners and Dredd Scott… you won’t be able to handle that but suffice to say…. you would be found advising the Americans to abandon the US constitution because well it was drafted in the large part by slave owners… and advising the Turks to leave Kemalism… well because Kemal Ataturk appealed to Islam, Prophet Muhammad PBUH and Jehad repeatedly during the war of independence.

    “That is truly a stretch especially as you yourself state that “people don’t give a damn about Ali Abbas, Yasser Latif Hamdani or Raza Rumi” ”

    But you’ve strengthened the Islamists by affirming the ridiculous notion that Jinnah’s references to Islam- rare as they are- somehow gives them an outclause. So you see it is not the measure of your importance but the symbol you want us to abandon.

    “A secular Pakistan should not be build on the sole moral authority of Jinnah. I stand by that and good luck to you on your alternate thesis.”

    And I am going to tell you that it is not about should or should not… but that you won’t build a secular Pakistan without the moral authority of Mr. Jinnah.

    -YLH

  33. Instead of re-articulating my argument (which i believe has not been addressed, i will proceed to counter the points that you have elaborated in your rebuttal)

    Point Number 1: ‘In Pakistan … whatever little semblance of democratic state there is… it is because of Jinnah.’ I disagree wholeheartedly. Whatever democracy there is in Pakistan is because of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and the politics of resistance that characterized the period of the 60’s and the 70’s. The first 11 years of this country were a period of bureaucratic consolidation. Where the above mentioned traits of equal citizenship, rights of expression etc were all championed but without the explicit procedural front of democracy. ZAB brought politics to the people and allowed them to exercise their fundamental right of political decision-making. In any definition of democracy (and i use Phillipe Schmitter here) that is the first principle and all the ancillaries that you suggest are just that: ancillaries.

    Point Number 2: ‘A secular Pakistan without invoking Jinnah (which is right and proper since he was the only leader in Pakistan’s history who was truly secular) is as impossible an undertaking as changing Vatican City to a protestant state.’ Untrue again. and the example you give of ZAB is shorn of its relation to democracy (a relation that i have explicitly mentioned in my second post). The socio-economic agenda of ZAB (which i have previously labeled as the politics of resistance) allowed him to come into power. His rhetoric not only invoked fundamental imbalances of the system such as relations of production etc..but also incorporated Islam (Islamic socialism, the eastern turn etc). Why did he invoke Islam given his own secular proclivities? Its because simply he was a much smarter and more able DEMOCRATIC politician than Jinnah. He realized that Islam informs the consciousness of the masses to some extent (not the most important variable but a fundamental constituent of an aggregate thought process). More so his adoption of various Islamizing measures are another proof of how identity politics works in the country. His alienation of his traditional support base of industrial labor and the peasantry, made him turn towards the urban middle classes and the religious right to maintain his control in parliament. His pandering of these particular groups is what led to the Islamization of the constitution. What lessons can be learnt? The fact that there was a religious right (that came out of the democratic process itself) in parliament is proof enough of a distinct Islamic political and democratic existence.

    Point Number 3: ‘Jinnah stood for equality, rule of law etc etc.’ Equality is a funny thing as is the word citizen. Both of course euro-centric concepts in their entireties. What does equal citizenship imply? It means that in the eyes of the state all of you are equal. Regardless of whether you’re a Christian or a Muslim. This entire concept is fundamentally flawed in its imposition to a vertically cleaved society such as ours. There is no one concept of citizenship in society. Society itself augments its orientations according to various identities (caste, religion, linguistic etc). Hence when the state says you are all equal, it basically says that your foremost identity is not your material position, your caste affiliation, your religious affiliation or your linguistic/ethno-provincial affiliation. Your foremost identity is (vaguely) Pakistani. And where does this identity come from? naturally it comes from those who control the state and its discursive power nodes. Who mans the state? Ummm…some western-secular-liberal like Jinnah? For one year yeah sure…but after that it was a Sindhi or a Punjabi or a Mullah or a Khaki. People who come into power, especially in the case of a country like Pakistan where the problem of national identity is due to its non-existence, cannot by definition extricate themselves from society and its conceived notions of identity. They are themselves products of that society and more importantly they are responsive to society for support and direction (yes even the military rulers).

    What you are basically talking about is a redundant conception of how secular projects of statecraft can operate in insulation of societal norms. A society that is hierarchical is bound to be reflected in the state itself as long as democratic politics are the norm. India is the biggest example. Top-down secularism in a fundamentally hierarchical/divided polity. What eventually happened…the sub-sumption of secular politics by identity politics. Even the Congress (and it is a secular party no-doubt) conducts local electoral exercises along caste/religion and ethnicity (read Yogendra Yadav or Atul Kohli or Paul Brass for greater detail).

    My conclusion to this rather long argument is that Jinnah is irrelevant in any project of secularity today in Pakistan. Figuratively he can be invoked, but in practice his brand of politics was high-brow, autocratic and insulated from society to a large degree (a brand that was largely true for people like Ghulam Muhammad or I. Mirza). For a true project of secularism, populist politics of resistance have to be re-inculcated within the masses. An agenda of socio-economic reform should dictate the rhetoric and Islam can neither be criticized nor ignored in any form of politics. Grassroots level mobilization according to this discourse (as done by ZAB) is the only way that we stand a chance against religious extremists and dogmatic idiots like Zaid Hamid or the religious parties.

  34. updike

    To Raza Rumi

    Islam, Pakistan’s ideology, suffers from illusions of grandeur and finality. Some pakistanis are sick on this or due to this, but some are elated about it.

    Karl Popper wrote that famous book – Open society and its enemies. Kuran and islam are such enemies, though Popper forgot to mention it since at the time he wrote this book (1930’s) islam had not reached the resourceful notoriety of today and islam’s totalitarian goals were not known to many.

  35. AZW

    Yasser:

    While Jinnah stands as the most dominant figure in the Pakistani political history, he was a human, with his strengths and his weaknesses.

    He was indeed the most dominant secular voice in the leadership that created Pakistan. And for Pakistan to become a pluralistic society, Jinnah’s speeches and actions will play a big part.

    I also believe that the religious right would have run amok in Pakistan had it not been for Jinnah. He was derided by the religious parties who were keen on making Pakistan a Sharia governed state right after the creation. Jinnah’s speech to the Constituent Assembly, his various interviews and the anecdotal exchange of his ideas show that he was looking for a pluralistic society that would not be governed by religious edicts, but would have healthy influence from Islamic edicts.

    I do find Jinnah saying a lot of things that show political expediency or real politicking. It was indeed done to wean the Muslim votes. While no official resolution exists to combine religion and state together, Jinnah invoked Islam, Quran and Sunnah quite a few times. We don’t know what kind of Sharia he talked about (personal or state level), but his references to Pakistan as the laboratory of Islam and Sharia as guiding force behind the state of Pakistan are contrary at best. I have no doubt that it was probably a political necessity of the time. However if you wish to make Jinnah the sole figure to further the cause of equal and plural Pakistan, be prepared for the Islamic baggage that comes invariably through Jinnah’s own political speeches.

    Part of the problem was that though Jinnah was an exceptional leader, he was leading a communal cause. Muslim Nationalism in the face of major minority makes sense for us today, but it is safe to assume that the Muslim electorate in 1940s was clearly enamoured with the idea of Pakistan where religion will rule the state in absolute sense. The slogans “Pakistan ka Matlab kiya, La Ilaha Illalah” and “Muslim hay to Muslim League main aa” were used by Muslim League in almost all of its rallies, and the separation of religion and state was never clearly identified in any speech by Jinnah and his companions. It cannot be denied that Islam was explicitly invoked for the cause of Pakistan, during the pivotal election campaigns and public gatherings throughout the 1940s India.

    Therefore is it a surprise that all except one of the Muslim members voted for the Objectives Resolution barely six months after Jinnah’s death? We cannot fathom the difficulties a state faced right after its inception, but it is clear that the separation of religion and state was not clear even to the closest of Jinnah’s confidants. This was one of the Jinnah’s biggest failures; he formed a state based on a concept of Muslim nation. Yet except one Constituent Assembly speech he never completely clarified the Muslim nation ideology that was already under severe attack by the Islamic religious right.

    Secularism cannot be imposed; it has to evolve gradually from the grass roots. Equality of man, irrespective of his faith is an extremely powerful idea. It still requires committed political and social torchbearers. Jinnah has and will remain a central figure to a pluralistic Pakistan. Yet to make a saint out of him and pin the whole cause in total on Jinnah’s personality is in my humble opinion an error. It assumes that Jinnah, with all his strengths as well as weaknesses is the only figure that can support this cause, and cannot be bettered by any other leader. Remember Jinnah’s error in proclaiming Urdu as the only national language of Pakistan. The national language segment in West Pakistan latched on to that speech as a final verdict, thereby weakening Pakistan by suppressing, not appreciating the country’s diversity. Same mistake in a slightly different format would be done by the secular crowd. Secularists latch on to Aug 11 speech and treat it as a be-all commandment that justifies secularism in Pakistan. It is the evolving society in Pakistan that will determine the future course of Pakistani politics. This evolution requires a society amiable to debating all modes of governance, including the Islamic theocracy, and then choosing the best mode through the elected representatives. Invoke Jinnah but don’t suppress the political expedient comments by him eulogizing 1400 years old religious based mode of governance. Recognize Jinnah as a powerful secular proponent, one of the biggest bulwarks against religious right in Pakistan, yet a leader who was not perfect. To get a secular Pakistan, it is us and our fellow secular Pakistanis who will bear the torch without having an infallible secular prophet to always rally around.

  36. Hayyer

    A fascinating discussion raising a key question, which can be extended further back-What makes any polity secular? Though it can be argued back to the death of Socrates at least, the context (since India and Nehru have been invoked) suggests comment not only on the Pakistani dilemma but its corollary, the claimed Indian praxis.
    Ali Abbas’ pithy conclusion, ” A secular Pakistan should not be build on the sole moral authority of Jinnah.” is apt, as is YLH’s reply, “you won’t build a secular Pakistan without the moral authority of Mr. Jinnah”. We are talking of idealism and pragmatism, or if you will, normative and positive points of view.
    Pakistan is different from India and Islam is different from Hinduism, but the adherents of both faiths see life through that same glass. Perhaps Christianity did and does still.
    Ali Abbas thinks secularism as a political system should stand on its own legs without the crutch of Jinnah, but that is impossible according to YLH. Umair Javed’s view is really a despairing one. If Jinnah must be invoked then how authentic is Pakistani secularism? Is it not the indulgence of a social superstructure, even fascistic, and therefor an imposition on the masses.
    As things stand today in Pakistan YLH is probably right, but not necessarily so if Jinnah had lived longer, or even if the early history of Pakistan had taken a different course.
    The Pakistani masses steeped in their faith and their set ways, as they are in India, could in the early years have been presented a differing vision of the future, as they were in India. The fact that India succeeded in becoming a largely secular country certainly owes a great deal to Nehru, but it is also because the Bengali renaissance in the early nineteenth century under the intellectual liberation of the British that soon spread all over the country. Hindu bigotry is as embedded as any other, yet there are enough numbers of Hindus who don’t care too much about the tenets of faith and whom the colporteurs of salvation cannot intimidate. Jinnah need not have been the sole support of a secular system in Pakistan. Why use the Turkish example as the only representative of a secular Islamic country. How about Indonesia?
    A top down political vision is not one that can be imposed overnight; it has to be communicated, and it has to be accepted. This takes time and extended preaching.
    In Iraq, in Iran, in Indonesia democracy did not spring full blown from the top, neither was it paternalistic. There is an innate sense of justice in humans that does not necessarily come out of faith. But beyond the tribe or the village panchayat democracy is a received western idea, inadequately absorbed as is secularism, whose implications are not fully comprehended. Therefore Umair Javed’s view that ” If a top-down imposition of secularism (and by that i mean a secular state such as the one vaguely envisioned by Jinnah) is the only true way of keeping out religion from politics then im afraid it will have to shed any pretensions of democracy.” Not so I’m afraid. Political leaders and political organizations have to go out and sell these ideas to their voters and show them by practice what they mean.
    Again, “We continue to hold democracy as some vaguely idealized notion of statecraft..”. Not vague at all, even if idealized, but definitely desirable. Politicians in India are happy to exploit these
    ‘idealized’ notions. Its called paying lip service, but every now and then the notions slip through and knock out a few front teeth.

  37. ylh

    ZAB was a crooked feudal lord who fooled leftists and socialists and then discarded them like a used condom.

    The constitution of 1973 is in essence a theocratic constitution and Bhutto’s actions constitute a tyranny of the majority.

    Anyone who thinks ZAB who jailed and tortured opponents, hobnobbed with the military in 1970, refused to accept the people’s mandate and then persecuted a minority is a “democrat” is deluding himself. I find it ironic that according to Umair javed, Jinnah was not democratic (presumably because he used 51 5 to dismiss the khan ministry – ofcourse section 93 was used in a much worse manner by Nehru but no one calls him undemocratic) but Bhutto who bombed the hell out of Balochistan, put the entire opposition in jail, terrorized the real founder of PPP J A Rahim and got him beat up by his goons and then rigged the 1977 elections was “democratic”. What next ? Zia ul Haq was a pious saint?

    Let us grow up.

    It is shameless that Jiyalas continue to discredit PPP like this.

  38. Hayyer

    Who, or what are Jiyalas?

  39. Yes indeed let us grow up…First let me clarify my point on top-down secularism. The kind that i am labeling as undemocratic is the one that is done by a non-representative elite. Such as a military dictator or a civilian autocrat (of which Jinnah was the latter). I however am all for secular government as long as it evolves from the ground-up by the political classes themselves (who are representative elites). My previous rant was based on the argument that ground up democratization will have to invoke socio-economic issues of mobilization as opposed to religion or ethno-linguistic. That is the secularism thats worth fighting for. The closest approximation to such a movement is the one by Bhutto. (who apart from being a feudal and a megalomaniac was nonetheless a popularly elected leader. something that our apathetic upper classes fail to digest).

    YLH: clearly my arguments on social identities and political consciousness were unable to stimulate a response from you so you ended up attacking Bhutto. A classic retaliation of our class who would no sooner put their stock in with a dictator because they instill ‘order’ in society. Jinnah and Nehru can be compared in a fair number of things but what cant be compared is their democratic credentials. Nehru was the leader of a political party that was so well institutionalized in India that it could afford a top-down approach towards secularism but populist secularism at that. Jinnah knew very well that populist secularism was beyond the ability of a migrant Muslim elite so he vested his faith in centralized autocratic rule (not just the dismissal of Khans government) as pointed out by Professor Jalal in her seminal book State of Martial Rule: The Political Economy of Defense.

    So rather than pointless hagiographies of Jinnah (a good one is by Akber Ahmed), we should really think of other ways in which social structures of patronage/communalism/divisive ethno-nationalism can be overcome. Jinnah to the common man is the father of the nation. A nation for muslims. The common man has been schooled for 62 years to believe in the morality and Islamic-ness of the Pakistani state. This notion has fertilized enough ground for a small but powerful religious right. These issues cannot be ignored. All those who disagree with my argument on the state-society dichotomy should read my post on identity formation. You will realize that a state cannot take an either/or approach as far as its polity is concerned. There is enough space (just barely though) for a wider range of views to be expressed but the continued insulation of our liberal secular elites has rendered them completely useless.

    As a final point, i personally found Zardari’s speech to the PPP cadre in Lahore quite interesting. For 10 minutes he invoked the issues of subsistence, materiality, unity and provincial harmony. All lip service no doubt after all Zardari is hardly the champion of democracy. But its interesting to see that the PPP continues to raise secular notions of politics as opposed to rabid religious ones. That is where i derive the notion of populist secularism from. Not confronting Islam in the public space, just underplaying it as far as the agenda of politics is concerned.

  40. And i take mild, albeit, amused offense at being called a Jiyala. In the 6 years of my higher academic life, i have never been labeled a PPP supporter yet alone a Jiyala. I do not idealize Bhutto, but at the same time i do not idealize Jinnah either. I idealize the democratic state where the real people (not you or me) can stake a claim and find redress. The closest we ever go to that was the movement of the late 60’s. If such a belief is enough to categorize me as a Jiyala then i so be it. I hope Raza is reading all of this haha.

  41. AZW

    @ Umair Javed:

    ZAB rhetoric not only invoked fundamental imbalances of the system such as relations of production etc..but also incorporated Islam (Islamic socialism, the eastern turn etc). Why did he invoke Islam given his own secular proclivities? Its because simply he was a much smarter and more able DEMOCRATIC politician than Jinnah. He realized that Islam informs the consciousness of the masses to some extent (not the most important variable but a fundamental constituent of an aggregate thought process). More so his adoption of various Islamizing measures are another proof of how identity politics works in the country. His alienation of his traditional support base of industrial labor and the peasantry, made him turn towards the urban middle classes and the religious right to maintain his control in parliament. His pandering of these particular groups is what led to the Islamization of the constitution. What lessons can be learnt? The fact that there was a religious right (that came out of the democratic process itself) in parliament is proof enough of a distinct Islamic political and democratic existence

    Yes, there are plenty of imbalances in the Pakistani society. And for Bhutto to invoke them and then Islam, and then pander to the right by demonizing and ejecting a sect as Non Muslims does not auger anything decent for that person. You may choose to blindly eulogize him as a smart and worthy leader, for many of us he would remain an opportunist whose lust of power always got the better of his judgment. His treatment of any opposition and the rigging in 1977 elections, along with his unabashed use of Islam when it suited him firmly puts him in the list of extremely small leaders that have dotted Pakistani landscape.

    Despite holding Bhutto in contempt, PPP is always a serious contender for my vote. World is never a perfect place and Bhutto being a lowly person does not make everyone else saint. I would love to find a secular leader who is not even mildly narcissist or worst a fascist. I have yet to come across one. Yes Bhutto was a lowly opportunist; yet he was still relatively better than the one who immediately followed him.

    Equality is a funny thing as is the word citizen. Both of course euro-centric concepts in their entireties. What does equal citizenship imply? It means that in the eyes of the state all of you are equal. Regardless of whether you’re a Christian or a Muslim. This entire concept is fundamentally flawed in its imposition to a vertically cleaved society such as ours. There is no one concept of citizenship in society. Society itself augments its orientations according to various identities (caste, religion, linguistic etc). Hence when the state says you are all equal, it basically says that your foremost identity is not your material position, your caste affiliation, your religious affiliation or your linguistic/ethno-provincial affiliation.

    This is a rather unfortunate analysis that follows the same mantra that democracy and equality has to be Pakistan-centric, and that Western oriented democracy and equality is rather not applicable in Pakistan.

    The fact that West discovered social equality irrespective of caste and creed does not make it Western specific. Every region has its own cultural and political norms, yet human DNA for equality does not have a Pakistani or a Korean trademark on it. The equality in the eyes of the state irrespective of being a Sunni, Shia, Ismaili or Ahmadi has nothing to do with suppression of ethnic or religious identities. For a Muslim majority country the secularism is not less applicable than a country that has a population equally divided between the two faiths.

    A state stands for providing equal treatment and protection of its citizens; their lives, their rights as equal citizens and their private property. A state may have developed its boundaries based on ethnic or religious historical accounts, but to move forward as a viable state it needs to proclaim and protect the equality. And this is the foremost edifice of a state to stand upon around which its citizens rally. The fact that any state based upon superiority of a certain caste or creed has never been stable and existent in the long run throughout the history speaks volume of the initial romance with the idea, but eventual desertion of the selective religious or caste based discrimination that invariably follows in these states.

  42. ylh

    Umair javed,

    I suppose hagiography of a feudal crook like Bhutto is alright.Bhutto hijacked the movement in the 1960s. He was a beneficiary of it. Pakistan could have been democratic had he not hobbed nobbed with Yahya and denied Awami League the chance to form a government.

    You are an unfortunate fellow with not a lot of depth. You are dropping names of books you haven’t read or if you have you haven’t actually understood.
    The fact remains that if Jinnah was “undemocratic” for using constitutional powers to dismiss a ministry, Nehru did worse at least thrice if not more and he used the section 93. Now I consider Nehru a democrat and hence I don’t agree with your characterization of Jinnah. Section 93 was the most centralizing provision of GOIA 1935 and Jinnah discarded it in Pakistan’s version. It was retained by India.

    I explained democracy differently above. It is not about how much power Jinnah, Nehru or Bhutto wielded but the substance ie popular sovereignty, equality, rule of law. Democracy cannot exist without these. Congress Party’s favorable comparison to the League and general political evolution of Hindu and Muslim bourgeoisie notwithstanding, in India secularism wouldn’t have thrived with Nehru. It was the top down approach.

    Bhutto as the civilian martial law administrator and then “president” in parliament kind of prime minister far exceeded any amount of centralization that either Jinnah or Nehru ever practised. Bhutto was a vile politician and this ridiculous confusion of populism with democracy is the real problem. PPP’s treatment of Ahmadis is a case in point. Even today those bastards pirzada and mubashir hassan make excuses for what they did.
    Still I voted for PPP for reasons given above…but so long as PPP remains tied with Bhutto legacy it will never become democratic or a truly people’s party.

  43. ylh

    Erratum: “without Nehru”

  44. ylh

    Hayyer,

    Jiyalas are those idiots who think that a feudal like Bhutto was god’s gift to democracy (and that Bhutto family should establish dynastic monarchial rule in Pakistan at the earliest).

  45. My amusement has grown even further as now i appear to be eulogizing Bhutto. I will now take this space to distance myself from his time in power and condemn his narcissistic tendencies.

    With that out of the way, Yes i fundamentally believe that concepts originated in the West and then applied (in mutilated fashions through colonialism) in south asia have not yielded and probably will never yield the same results. to understand the notion of equality before the state we need to study the process of state formation in Europe itself. A protracted struggle between various clans and feudal elites ultimately culminating in the creation of modern state boundaries that are largely along ethnic/tribal lines. More so the equality of people in these states was not guaranteed till well into the 20th century. You only have the Civil Rights Movement in America to look at that. War in Europe was the fundamental drive behind the creation of the modern state. The state that is now eulogized in political philosophy through the works of Locke and Rousseau. That state was a creation of struggles between various societal forces and the victors eventually came up and assumed power. The vanquished, well not many would have heard of those Lords and Barons who were defeated during the 15th and the 16th century. (All this is of course citable to Charles Tilly: War Making and State Making)

    The point of this detour into history was that the state is not distinct from the society it rules over. Especially not a democratic state. You can either have perfectly homogenous societies and then have the state treat everyone as equal or you can find a formula for addressing the various cleavages that divide a heterogenous polity such as ours. In my mind there are four major composites to social identity in Pakistan. Material, Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic. (with a fifth being the Pakistani identity itself). For a state to guarantee equal protection to all of its citizens it will have to disregard all 4 of these divisions and treat that individual as a citizen. But then my point is that who is the state itself?? Is it not just a collection of people who step into power from society and then need society to maintain power. Will these people not pounce on notions of identity that will continue to garner them votes and electoral success?? That is why i feel that any vague notion of equality is fundamentally linked to the notion of Pakistan itself as a country. That missing fifth constituent of social identity is what acts as the common denominator between vertically divided individuals and that is where equality before the state will come from.

    The search for a Pakistani identity, in my opinion, should be left to the people themselves. The democratic norm would be to follow this particular route. If the principles of humanitarian equality are so endearing to a mark-less DNA, then why does both India and Pakistan suffer from severe cases of identity mobilization. Please stop seeing the state as a distinct and autonomous floating object that dictates society. it is very much part of society and has both the ability to influence and more importantly be influenced by society.

    There is always a huge disjunct between what is desirable and what is practical. To link the two is to settle in between a common ground and that common ground will have to involve taking into account all the dividing factors of society as they stand right now.

  46. ylh

    My amusement with your ability to write things in a 100 words where the same could be said in 15 is ever expanding. You keep confusing things and now it is about taking that foot out of your mouth.

    Since you accused me of being from the class that welcomes dictators – I can assure you that unlike ZAB who was a lackey and paltoo kuta of a dictator and whose anti-people role in the 1965 election is well documented, I will never side with a dictator and never become a uniformed man’s squeeler. So there you may shove your analysis of my class where the sun don’t shine buddy. I believe constitutional civilian rule when expanded top down on secular principles does a wield a democratic society sooner or later. Political opportunism by former lackeys of military dictators like ZAB cannot be democratic. And no amount of fancy “academic” humbug can change that.

  47. I reiterate. I am not a Bhutto supporter nor a PPP supporter. But what i do take offense to is that i’ve been called an unfortunate fellow with little depth. My arguments on identity politics have been ignored by YLH again and again primarily because they are too shallow for him. I will now take this time to send emails to my Political Science instructors at LUMS telling them of the miserable failure in training me as my arguments were simply not worth reading at all. More so i will also go cry about this to my PHd. supervisor in the Politics department at the School of Oriental and African Studies and tell him that im giving up on becoming a political sociologist because i eulogize Bhutto and label Jinnah an autocrat.

    Again YLH, even though i should take offense to your personal attacks (as opposed to a challenge on the merits of my argument) i will reiterate my fundamental point. Popular sovereignity was not a strong point of the Muslim League of which Jinnah was the leader. Equality before the state is meaningless because the state is not distinct from society hence equality in society (through political discourse) has to be achieved before it translates into an egalitarian state.

    Please Indian secularism has developed its own identity and its western notion is hardly thriving. Local politics is not conducted on the basis Indian secular nationalism. it is conducted on social identity. My name throwing is not shallow, it is the relevant literature discussing the state of affairs in India.

    Finally populism expressed through the ballot is the fundamental principle of democracy, whether its eastern, western or on Mars. Without populism a democratic state is neither democratic nor popular. It is simply autocratic. And before you criticize me further for name dropping, i would urge YOU to read political economy of defense by Professor Jalal. While she may have other theoretical shortcomings, her history research is immaculate. And she has chartered the course of how autocracy and by consequence Islamization is a path-dependent process of the early decisions taken by the migrant elite (which includes Jinnah although to a lesser extent).

  48. YLH, I apologize for the wordiness of my argumentation. I cannot help it, you see before my undergraduate years, i did not know the English language. Hence all i learnt was through academic readings. That coupled with my training as a future academic has pretty much left little room for simple English.

  49. ylh

    Umair mian, thanks for telling me your “background”. I am so in awe now. My response : Google me. You probably hadn’t even heard of Ayesha Jalal when I read State of Martial Rule.
    The difference between Congress and League is a factor of political development of their respective -communally conscious- bourgeoisies. The gap between Hindus and Muslims is the period between Ram Mohan Roy and Sir Syed. It is immaterial to the discussion. The point is that when such notions are applied top down ie popular sovereignty, rule of law, equality, they are ultimately adopted by the people. Without Nehru, India would not be secular despite the advanced Congress Party. In Turkey Kemal Ataturk imposed a western secular model that ultimately has transformed Turkey into a secular state. US’ constitutional model came top down. Even British democracy developed along those lines.

    I am not sure why you are acting like a jerk. We are not interested in your LUMS and SOAS education. Go cry to whoever you want to but on PTH we call spade a spade and your comments are crap.

  50. ylh

    It is not “wordiness”. Your nonsense seems to be out of a postmodern theory crap generator.

    Stick to simple logical arguments. This way you’ll only be a substandard mediocre academic…no Ayesha Jalal by a longshot.

  51. Haha, like i said, thats the only English i know. And i have apologized about it. labeling my prose as a product of ‘Postmodern theory crap generator’ is of course a fairly strong rebuttal.

    Im sorry for throwing my background, its just that i continue to be amused at the fact that my arguments are still not being addressed and iv been invoked in fairly offensive terms now (without sufficient reason).

    If you wish to call a spade a spade, so be it. I’ll give up on the hypothesis of identity politics and take up your hypothesis of top-down civilian constitutional rule. You have given three characteristics:

    1) Popular Sovereignty
    2) Rule of Law
    3) Equality

    I will now pose a few questions:

    You say civilian…my question is who chooses this civilian and what form of civilian government are we talking about?

    You say constitutional…my question is who decides what the constitution says

    You say Popular Sovereignty…My question is how do you define popular sovereignty ? Is it democracy (restricted franchise or universal)..?

    Finally rule of law and equality…these are linked to the concepts above. Equality before the state…the composition of the state has already been asked of you. and rule of law (what laws: bureaucratic/rational, spiritual etc) is principally constitutional rule with enforcement which is a repetition of what you previously said when describing the government itself.

    Tone down your language please, i wish to have a fruitful debate. Refrain from name-calling and personal attacks. It really does distort the argument itself. Thank You

  52. ylh

    This is called creating unnecessary confusion. You are doing to poli sci what priests have done to religion.

    Popular sovereignty as I mean it here is simply acceptance of the principle that sovereignty rests with the people and not an undefined entity. It is not necessary that it has to be perfect the first day but if the principle is accepted there can be progress.

    Equality before the state is fairly easy. I am not sure where you produced spiritual from. It is about equality before law and equality on a theoretical plain as a citizen of the state with equal fundamental rights and opportunities legally.

    You are obviously not very well trained as you’ve easily confused “rule of law” with “rule of laws”. Ja bachay pehlay apnay concepts clear kar aur phir bahas karna meray saath. Chal puttar. Had you known what rule of law means you would not ask me such a stupid question.

  53. AZW

    @Umair Javeid:

    First of all, I don’t agree with YLH attack on you. You have your opinions and you do seem amenable to other opinions, which is always nice to see.

    Second, it is also not amusing to see you invoke your alma-mater or PhD dissertations to back up your intellect. They do not make your points any better or worse therefore let’s not try to hang our qualifications here to make us feel any more intelligent than we actually are.

    Third, your enthusiasm for Bhutto as a “much more smarter and much more able democratic leader than Jinnah” has noticeably dimmed. I find it untenable that a lowly person like Bhutto can even be compared to Jinnah, let alone be exalted above Jinnah. Jinnah’s “autocratic tendencies” or being a “Western educated liberal out of touch with masses” have been amply refuted on this forum, many times over. Excuse us, if we start feeling indifferent towards someone trying to throw blanket statements, and quote S. Akbar Ahmed and Ayesha Jalal’s book indiscriminately to back himself up without actual references.

    Fourth, the fascination with castes and religion as something that clashes with equal democratic values seems quite incorrect. For example:

    You: For a state to guarantee equal protection to all of its citizens it will have to disregard all 4 of these divisions and treat that individual as a citizen

    Why does equal protection has to depend on any of the four identities. These identities may be immaterial in the eyes of the state, yet by no means suppressed. Why “disregard” is automatically equal to “suppression”?

    You: Is it not just a collection of people who step into power from society and then need society to maintain power. Will these people not pounce on notions of identity that will continue to garner them votes and electoral success?? That is why i feel that any vague notion of equality is fundamentally linked to the notion of Pakistan itself as a country. That missing fifth constituent of social identity is what acts as the common denominator between vertically divided individuals and that is where equality before the state will come from

    This is a rather confused logic, and I hope I am not the only one looking at glaring contradiction in your own statements. Let’s take a step back and realize that secular based government cannot survive without

    1) Complete Rule of Law to ensure equality
    2) Democratic Institutions with checks and balances

    In their absence, secularism is at best a nice word, nothing else. Equality extends to individual protection of life, property and honor, irrespective of caste or creed. That India has an imperfect democracy and secularism is manifestation of the evolutionary process that the democracy is passing through in that country. No one is calling Indian example perfect, yet it remains eminently worthy of careful study as it has survived the massive social fractures and furious religious fervor that its population has always shown. It is important to notice that they have not let their divisions affect their vow for a secular India that Nehru had envisaged. They did not indulge in a Hindu secularism, or a Hindu-Muslim secularism, or any Indian variation. The goal and the direction has always remained a system where everyone is equal in the eyes of the law. Has it always happened? Not a chance. But then evolution in the right direction is always preferable to haphazard revolution.

  54. ylh

    “My comments are not being addressed”$

    Could it be that your reading comprehension renders you unable to read arguments that don’t follow your “academic” style and refrain from referring to crap as halwa?

  55. ylh

    Umair,

    I just read your first comment again and I am a little confused. You say you’ve read state of martial rule. I am assuming that you’ve also read self and sovereignty. Why then are you confusing “nationhood” with state/citizenship?

  56. ylh

    Azw shucks man you never agree with my attacks😦. I feel like a violent out of control junkee😦

  57. AZW: ‘Why does equal protection has to depend on any of the four identities. These identities may be immaterial in the eyes of the state, yet by no means suppressed. Why “disregard” is automatically equal to “suppression”?’

    I didnt use the word suppression. And please i have mentioned this too many times…What do you mean by eyes of the state?? What is the state?? Who controls it and who is part of it?? Reflect on these questions as they are a fundamental part of my argument.

    Secondly: I agree that yes Indian secularism was a brilliantly conceived project by Nehru and the Congress elite that was possible because of an all-pervasive discourse that they built due to their popularity. More importantly, it has set the path for institutionalized secularism and equality of citizenry, because it came ORGANICALLY from the people via their representatives in the parliament of India. However, the problems that are their in India, from the rise of the Hindutva, to caste mobilization to the Maoists and separatists, do shed some disturbing light on the project of Indian state consolidation. However, i would swap this organic development of discourse that is still evolutionary for autocratic impositions any day.

    Also please point out the glaring contradiction in the second point you highlighted. It has obviously escaped my attention.

    YLH: ‘Popular sovereignty as I mean it here is simply acceptance of the principle that sovereignty rests with the people and not an undefined entity. It is not necessary that it has to be perfect the first day but if the principle is accepted there can be progress.’

    I roughly translate that as universal adult franchise and regular free and fair elections.

    ‘Equality before the state is fairly easy. I am not sure where you produced spiritual from. It is about equality before law and equality on a theoretical plain as a citizen of the state with equal fundamental rights and opportunities legally.’

    Which law and rights are we talking about? Obviously that follows in from the concept of constitutionalism. I asked previously…who decides the constitution? If its to be decided by popular sovereignty then im guessing thats the people in parliament right?

    And i apologize if i conflated rule of laws with the singular. I reckon rule of laws means constitutional abidance, and rule of law means a transcendental belief in the superiority of law itself.

    Again, please give me answers to my questions in concrete terms. ‘Jaa Bachu apnay concepts theek kar aa’ is hardly good argumentation on your part.

  58. ylh

    It is as good as “I go to SOAS” argument you put up.

    Constitutions are decided by people but a theocratic constitution cannot be democratic. About Indian constitution you know nothing. Read ICA debates. It is not very organic as it is top down.

  59. ylh

    Rule of law is also indicative of equality before law. That means law is above the subject of the law.

    I don’t know what rule of laws means.

  60. The indian constitution was determined by the constituent assembly. Of which many of its members were also members of the Congress party, a party that has reaffirmed its role as representing the people through electoral contestation and winning non-stop till the Indira Gandhi fiasco. That is what i term organic and democratic. (and which you interestingly enough term as top-down).

    Secondly, if a parliament comes up with a theocratic constitution how is that against the principles of procedural democracy (i repeat procedural not essential).?

    I apologize again for my going to SOAS comment…that was my response to being labeled an unfortunate individual with little depth whos doing name throwing. Your inability to grasp my argument or to contradict it on its merits is not a shortcoming on my part.

    Interestingly your Wikipedia page cites you as a scholar. Which academic journal holds the repository of your substantial scholarly works?

  61. ylh

    Well you should ask wikipedia that.

    Little boy you don’t have an argument for me to “grasp”. You started off objecting to secularism because it wasn’t “organic”.
    Congress’ secularism emanated from above and Nehru was enlightened enough to see merit in Ambedkar’s arguments. Nehru could have easily acted like your Bhutto and made a populist constitution paying heed to Hindu values and Gandhian ideology. This is why someone who hasn’t read the debate leading to the formation of the Indian constitution should refrain from arguing about it.
    Had Jinnah managed to live through he might have done similarly…but then you’ve described that as top down. Indian secularism owes a debt of gratitude to Nehru’s refusal to pander to populist tendencies.

    I am calling it top down because your entire discourse has already labelled this top down. If Nehru was to go by what you say, he should have invoked “imbalances” in Indian society and used Hinduism like Bhutto did in constitution making because that would have been democratic.

    This pigheadedness you show imagining yourself and your pathetic arguments as something superior or of higher intellect is just ridiculous. You comments about Bhutto exposed you. Now what is the point of getting into my “scholarly” credentials?

  62. ylh

    Now you’ve introduced “procedural” democracy …yet another humbug.

    I already said the discussion was on essence and majoritarian rule by vote is not necessarily democracy. Read Frederick Douglass man.

  63. pigheadedness….?? yaar please refrain….the entire purpose of this debate is not to put one over each other…im using this to inform myself on a prevailing opinion.

    Congress secularism…was populist despite not being religious bhai…they had just led a movement of national liberation…they stayed in power till god knows when…and they continue to dominate national elections…hence secularism as an agenda was given the go-ahead by the people through the ballot box…yet the project of secularism in general has been distorted considerably more recently and the details are quite clearly there in the books i mentioned before as well as by the simple example of the rise of the cow belt politics.

    Also congress politics at the local levels (thats where democracy is in action) is still based on identity pandering…why do you keep ignoring this point.

    Yaar mein maan gaya hun aapkee knowledge ko…you have read all the debates on the constituent assembly. yet you continue to ignore the fact that Indian secularism has been democratically approved through elections once it was in place. Hence that makes it democratic.

    Agar imagine karo aik theocratic constitution deytee hay parliament…and its voted in by the people…how is that different from a secular constitution being voted in favor of by the people of India in 1951?

  64. AZW

    Yasser:

    Trust me. I agree most of the time with your attacks than disagree. But your mention of “spaces where sun doesn’t shine” and the “halwa” analogy are a bit too much at times.

    Umair Javed:

    Why not answer your own questions about what defines state, eyes of the state? Why not look at secular democracies across the globe with rampant ethnic and religious divisions. How are they coping with the equality of their population? How many of them were homogeneous to start with, how is the state interacting with the population. If you appreciate Indian experience, why is this not an empirical evidence of the evolution of a healthy society based on democratic and secular principles?

    I believe Yasser has pointed out quite well the confusion that are embedded due to your analysis paralysis.

  65. ylh

    Your knots are getting tighter for your little brain.

    Unfortunately your understanding of Indian independence movement is as lacking substance as your general confused circular arguments.

    Consider: secularism was not a cornerstone of Indian National Congress. Had Nehru not been around, I don’t think India would have such commitment to secularism. This is something most Indians acknowledge.

    What if Jinnah had lived and gotten a similar constitution passed by PCA? Would that be organic or topdown? Why do you have two different standards?

    Hayyer already answered this above.

    Now you say that Bhutto was an able democratic politician who realized Islam’s contribution. But tell me wasn’t PPP elected on a platform of left leaning populism which was largely secular in nature? Then wasn’t Mr. Bhutto a crook? Wasn’t it true that secularism in Pakistan was organic and Bhutto imposed Islam on it?

    After all haven’t the people of Pakistan always rejected theocratic parties?

    Your problem is that your logic earlier made no sense. Now you are trying to prove to me that Indian secularism is organic because it was passed by the ICA and because Congress had a non-religious agenda. Well it applies equally to Pakistan.

    I am ignoring only those points which are irrelevant. If local politics by congress is identity based does that then mean that you are saying that Indian secularism is not organic?

    Or are you simply a very confused self styled “academic”?

  66. ylh

    Indian constitution was passed in 1950 not 51 fyi …for academic reasons.

  67. ylh

    66 addressed to umair🙂

  68. Secular democracies across the world with rampant ethnic and religious divisions? hmm lets see…that just pretty much leaves me with India…with significantly high fragmentation.

    Oh wait…there was this one other multi-ethnic part of the world…..Yugoslavia i believe?? and we all know what happened there….new countries keep popping up in east europe every single day because of ethnic imbalances.

    I appreciate the Indian experience but it is not as secular as everyone is making it out to be….it is popular undoubtedly but it is also fragmented in ethnic and religious strife…Ayodhya, Gujarat, Hindutva politics, separatism in the North East, Khalistan, Kashmir, Telengana, Assam, tribal unrest, Naxalite movements etc etc…

    I will lay my point just once more…i believe that a democratic state is democratic its composed of individuals elected by the people. If those people bring forth a secular agenda and then obtain approval for it through the democratic process of elections…well and good…in our case after 62 years of history to bring forth a secular reform in the state we need to de-islamize a constitution. That means a democratic process which gains support from the people on this agenda…and also that dodges the religious fundamentalists in society such as the Jamaat, JUI etc. That movement will also have to win over ethnic and cultural differences to be completely successful. Otherwise our polity will remain fragmented and we will be stuck in the same rot that we’ve experienced for so many years.

  69. ylh

    Yugoslavia was a democracy? I guess Tito was re-elected so many times that he thought he might as well wear a uniform.

  70. and fyi i was talking about the 1951 elections…

    Listen…i’ll say this only once….Congress brings forth an agenda of secularism…it gets mandated through the ballot box…

    PPP brings forth an agenda of secular socio-economic reform (but not secularism per se)…it gets mandated through the ballot box…but the box brings in the theocratic right as well….oh bhai kisee nay unko bhee to vote diyay hain naa?? Bhutto being a mad-man loses support from teh unions, and goes over to the religious right to curb opposition. Again, religious right has the power to act as an opposition. The constitution ultimately becomes Islamized. Now tell me this….yay jo aapka mard-i-momin aana thaa aur jis nay secularism kaa jhanda lehraana thaa…usnay kaheen asmaan say to utarna naheen hay…aur naa hee us akeylay nay secularism implement karnee hay….how do you avoid this fundamental question…This is what i label organic vs inorganic/top-down secularism.

  71. Yugoslavia implemented democracy and fragmentation is what happened…Tito kay downfall kay baad democratic government instill hui thee yugoslavia mein…aur uskay baad fragmentation hui thee..basic history to apnee theek karo

  72. Titos death not downfall

  73. swapnavasavdutta

    Truly useless mental masturbations. The ground reality is so far off from these utopian debates with
    absolutely no chance of none of these wishes coming
    true outside of PTH. Sad.

  74. Hoss

    Umair Javed
    January 29, 2010 at 3:52 pm
    January 29, 2010 at 5:17 pm
    “My argument is that a secular identity is only as worthwhile as it is informed by the society it claims to represent. If a top-down imposition of secularism (and by that i mean a secular state such as the one vaguely envisioned by Jinnah) is the only true way of keeping out religion from politics then im afraid it will have to shed any pretensions of democracy.”

    Very well said sir! I agree with this entirely and generally I am in agreement with your other arguments supporting your contentions against the top down approach. I also agree with how you define Nehru’s populism and I would add that the INC built its whole political house on secularism and it is not possible to dismiss Nehru’s secularism as the top down approach. Like most political parties in India, Congress had too many internal contradictions to deal with and eventually its politics create many currents that have hurt the secular credentials of the Indian state. You have already discussed them in details so there is no need for me to go in to that again.

    There is no doubt that Jinnah was secular and perhaps was as or more secular than Nehru or any other INC leader. However, he was leading a political party that highlighted the plight of a religious minority in central India. Later on he created alliances with the separatists in Muslim majority provinces.

    While INC’s contradictions took a while to surface to undermine secularism in India, the contradictions in Pakistan were even deeper and Jinnah had no choice but to step away from his pre-partition rhetoric in an effort to pacify mostly secular leadership in all Pakistani provinces. The provincial leadership in pretty much all provinces in Pakistan was secular but the elements that came from India remained on the extreme side and what we see now is the result of their intellectually bankrupt thoughts that still persist courtesy the army establishment and its power to mold public opinion in one province.

    I fundamentally disagree that effort to secularize Pakistan should be linked to Jinnah and his often ambiguous message. Jinnah should remain one of the symbols but linking the whole effort with Jinnah would amount to creating the secularism of the elite. It would allow the establishment to hijack secularism like it hijacked the entire Pakistan movement and turned it into Islamic jihad. For many in smaller provinces Jinnah is a symbol of establishment and not of people. Hoisting Jinnah as the symbol for struggle against the army and for democracy would alienate and not unite people.

    I think it is clear now that the struggle for democracy and the rule of law in Pakistan means fighting the establishment and its official ideology. So the secularism in Pakistan has to remain within the public domain as part of the overall democratic struggle. Jinnah does not fit in this picture by any long shot. How the secularism develops in Pakistan depends on how the struggle for democracy progresses in Pakistan.

  75. ylh

    Hoss,

    I’ll do it my way …you do it yours.

    The problem is that Pakistan missed that Nehruvian period because Jinnah died early. Had he lived, perhaps today the secularist would be in a better position in Pakistan. If you read Rajmohan Gandhi’s account of Bacha Khan’s meeting with Jinnah in Karachi, he was desperate to woo the Khudais to his side.
    Now the situation is that neither democracy (and I mean real stuff not Bhutto style nonsense and megalomania) and secularism are linked to Jinnah. By democracy one means the conception that sovereignty rests with the people not god or any other unknown.

    Even the ANP realizes as Haji Adeel’s now famous controversey shows and they are the ones with a gripe against Jinnah.

    Nehru imposed secularism top down and permeated into the people. It was he who plastered over fundamental contradictions. The difference between him and Tito was that Nehru institutionalize secularism.
    What Umair javed mian wrote is nonsense and he wrote a lot of other nonsense subsequently. You all have a very superficial view of history, society and evolution of society. Too many academic parameters and a misplaced self confidence have spoilt you.

    The bottom line is that Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was a crook who despite having been elected on a secular manifesto chose to make theocratic constitution because he wanted to be an Islamic Napoleon.

  76. ylh

    Institutionalized.

  77. ylh

    “Congress brings an agenda of secularism”

    Congress’ agenda was secular but how was it an agenda of secularism in 1951? And what is the difference genius?

    Like you said that Congress contests locally on identity based agenda. That itself negates your contention that it was something that sprung organically.

    Why don’t you make up your mind genius. Maybe you can ask your PhD supervisor at SOAS.

  78. ylh

    PS I am still waiting for an answer to my question about your confusion of nationhood with citizenship and statehood. Had you actually read the books you drop the names of every two minutes you wouldn’t do it.

    Maybe this one you can refer to your lecturers at LUMS.

  79. ylh

    “Tito’s downfall”

    “Apni basic history theek karo”

    Good that you later corrected yourself. Such a blatant error could cost you Mr. Academic.

  80. iqbal akhund

    To go beyond preaching to the- mostly- converted what we need are articles and discussions like these in Urdu

  81. ylh

    Are you the great Iqbal Akhund the diplomat and author?

  82. AZW

    @ Umair Javed:

    You are going off in ten different directions with your comments. They seem more like ramblings at times. Problem is, in between your lines, I do agree with some of what you say. But you say so much that it is impossible not to agree or disagree with some parts. This discussion has gone south mainly due to the fact that you need to stick to your point of view and not keep going at tangents at every argument thrown at you.

    You: I agree that yes Indian secularism was a brilliantly conceived project by Nehru and the Congress elite that was possible because of an all-pervasive discourse that they built due to their popularity. More importantly, it has set the path for institutionalized secularism and equality of citizenry, because it came ORGANICALLY from the people via their representatives in the parliament of India

    I am sorry; what Nehru did is more top down than a bottom up approach. Nehru envisaged India as a secular nation, and worked tirelessly that India will turn out that way. I don’t believe that in formative years, complete ground up approach for nation’s ideals are practical. This is why your simplistic approach of dismissing Jinnah’s influence in the future course of Pakistan (secularism or not) is flawed. Take your reading glasses off and honestly ask yourself that had there been no Jinnah, won’t the right have run amok in the new nation. I have a huge problem with you throwing a blanket statement about Jinnah as a “civilian autocrat”. This is at best a naive statement; we don’t treat Jinnah as saint here; but his actions with Khuro Government and Khan Brothers government were not autocratic. Kindly read YLH’s four piece write up published sometime in April 2009 on this subject to better understand Jinnah’s actions.

    I am a firm believer in populist approach, and contrary to the ready assumptions you make, the liberals elites do not have any fancy ideas here that secularism has to be installed upon the nation of Pakistan. Now Jinnah was not a populist leader?? This is news for me. And somehow a leader who did not have majority in the combined Pakistan, who became a Prime Minister literally by helping break apart the country is the populist leader that you will gladly put above Jinnah, the civilian autocrat???

    The liberal elites here (you really are not shy about throwing terms and names indiscriminately) however have no confusion also that secularism is ever a complicated process that somehow needs to cater to the linguistic, material, ethnic, religious and Pakistani identity. You are suffering from analysis paralysis, looking to needlessly treat Pakistani nation as something completely different from everyone being equal in the eyes of the state ideal that defines secular democracies around the world.

    I do not have to point out at the mental acrobatics that you are performing trying your best to define an organic populist democracy that is somehow different for Pakistan. You pose confused questions about what is state, and what constitutes civilian government and who chooses it? Rather than engaging in these needless acrobatics, may I point out that stop living in the world of your thesis documents and start looking at actual democracies around the world. Empirical observations may help clear the ideas of Pakistan specific democracy that you find untenable; and when you started off by casting the terms equality as fundamentally flawed for vertically cleaved society of ours.

    I am sorry if you can come up with only India or Yugoslavia (a quotable democracy??) as examples of countries with rampant ethnic and religious divisions. You of course assume that the stable democracies in the world were stable right at their initiation, right? Or that democracy is natural to West and is readily absorbed by their societies. Try US around 150 years ago with a conservative South at loggerheads with the liberal North, or look at Switzerland that is a nation with its French and German provinces working under a tailor made system for Switzerland, or South Africa for the past 20 years that is still running a secular democracy, how imperfect it may be, with rampant tribalism abound in the nation.

    And for the benefit of readers on this forum, stop writing as if you are writing a political science thesis here. Try to keep it short and simple, and maybe you can keep your readers engaged. It has been a massive headache for me reading your thoughts as they keep leaking in all directions at any given moment, adorned with all the clichés and the terms that you are never shy to employ.

  83. ylh

    It occurs to me that Mr. Javed is under the illusion that secularism must emanate from a secular society. Historically secularism has been a device to free the state from the compulsions of an overtly religious society.

    India is a deeply religious country which is why the state emphasizes secularism. Britain for example is an increasingly secular society – has been for a long time- which is why the state does not need to emphasize secularism. One could argue that in the balance and in theory Britain is an anglican kingdom…but in practical reality it is a secular state.

    Pakistan’s models can be Turkey, US and India. Britain it cannot be.

  84. Hoss

    Umair Javed
    January 29, 2010 at 5:17 pm
    “Now lets take the composition of the 4 provinces that form Pakistan. 95 percent Muslim out of which 60 percent reside in one province that has significant social inclinations towards religion and religious movements (Tablighi Jamaat, religious parties).”

    That is the source of many problems in Pakistan. I would add pockets in Karachi in the mix too. I believe that the Pakistan establishment ideologically has been defeated in every province in Pakistan except Punjab. Bengal rejected the establishment ideology way back in the 60s and separated its way in 1971. But the other three provinces have to live with it. Every time the question of Pakistan identity comes up we see the majority mostly representing the larger province immediately rejects the Pakistan identity and becomes Muslim first thus eroding every possible effort to create a national identity. The smaller three provinces react to that by aligning themselves more with their sub national identity as they reject the establishment sponsored identity of Muslim first. The establishment tries to sell a nation based on religion and only one province buys that thus making it difficult to have an identity based on the reality on the ground rather than on satwan assmaan.

    Jinnah and Iqbal both are linked to the establishment’s narrative; no one can separate them by claiming one as the symbol of secularism and the other as irrelevant. Even if one tries to sell Jinnah as the symbol of secularism, no one in the three smaller provinces is ready to buy that baloney. For all practical purposes, Jinnah cannot and should not be part of developing the secular identity of Pakistan. People may succeed in Punjab but they will alienate other provinces right away.

    As I had said in my earlier post, secularism in Pakistan is intractably linked with democracy in Pakistan. A democratic Pakistan ensures a secular Pakistan and we need no Jinnah crunches for that.

    YHL
    “Had he lived, perhaps today the secularist would be in a better position in Pakistan. If you read Rajmohan Gandhi’s account of Bacha Khan’s meeting with Jinnah in Karachi, he was desperate to woo the Khudais to his side.”

    I had in one of post on this blog mentioned that had Jinnah been alive in 1971, he would have supported the army action in East Pakistan. The state structure or no structure that Pakistan inherited pretty much preordained that Pakistani leadership at the center would always be struggling to establish and consolidate the center. Jinnah too saw that and he tried to strengthen the center so that he could deal with the provincial autonomy demands that he and ML promised in 1940 resolution. The trend continued after his death and eventually the center found an army to protect it from the demands that provinces were making. Once Pakistan became an army protectorate, the next logically step for the provinces was to ask for separation and Bengal was the first to get it. The other provinces vacillate between an outright demand for separation and demanding more provincial rights.

    Jinnah might have sought some reconciliation with Bacha Khan but that was not to establish secularism in Pakistan his goal probably was to see what he could do to pacify one province and wean it away from forming an alliance with the restive Bengal and Sindh. However, I do agree that had he been alive, Pakistan assembly would have taken a bit longer to surrender before the mullah and the OR would not have met instant approval of the assembly. But OR was not the only hurdle in the way of secularism. The main barrier was the tendency to justify a strong center on some ideological grounds that led his successors to make alliances with the Mullah.

  85. the best part about the arguments made by YLH is that he continues to state that if Jinnah would have been alive. All of my arguments, regardless of how apparently complex they might be are clearly addressing the fact that Jinnah is dead, he died in the first year of this country’s birth and we have the burden of 62 years of our history to act with. Magar blind insistence on the fact that had Jinnah been alive so and so would have happened is purely useless…

    AZW: ‘You are suffering from analysis paralysis, looking to needlessly treat Pakistani nation as something completely different from everyone being equal in the eyes of the state ideal that defines secular democracies around the world.’

    Unfortunately our state has not treated everyone equal, regardless of whether its Jinnah with the Bengali language, or whether its Bhutto with the Baloch people. Which is my point. WHy is this so difficult to comprehend. The state is only as good as the people who run it. Iss baat mein kyaa aisee mushkil cheez keh dee hay mein nay. When you have mad-men in the state they will treat people differently, when you have a military ruler, they will treat people differently (as they have) and so on and so forth. Jo examples aap log itnee khullay aam pehnk rahay ho of European states mein nay aik post mein highlight kiya of how the process of state consolidation took place….it was 4 centuries of war fare that led to the formation of states in Europe. They were fighting secular/religious battles till the second world war for gods sake. Yet there is this blind insistence on secularism = equality before the state. As if the state is some god gifted (Jinnah gifted) entity imported from the heavens filled with people who have no relation to the people or better yet are not from amongst those people as well.

    As for Jinnah being a civilian autocrat, well im not the first to use this label and there are significant traits that allow me to use this description (dismissals, language controversy, underrepresentation of the Bengalis etc.) More importantly, hes dead. Deal with it…..the nation doesnt know that he drank whiskey, they dont know he’s secular….they add a rehmatullahalaih with his name. How are you possibly going to use his memory to invoke a discourse on separating the constitution from Islam????

    My arguments might be based on theory, but they are also grounded in the realities of this country, when i said that Nehruvian secularism was organic, i meant that it got approval from elections on numerous occasions during the early part of independence simply because local politics continued to be dealt with using common sense. Indian secularism is not like secularism in the US….for gods sake koi dimagh say kaam lo….iv pointed out numerous problems even within Indian secularism, all of which have been ignored by you people. North east kee struggles etc, RSS etc. You continue to insist it was top-down, while i maintain that despite being an imported idea, it was accomodated into society through discourse and largely because Indian nationalism and developmentalism was seen as a bigger emancipatory force yet its problems have now become apparent as well. Congress kee leadership nay on the ground maintained rakheen apnee politics magar at the level of the state they agreed to keep it secular. And the people had NO problem with that. This is what i call organic secularism. The opposition was small and insignificant enough (Mahasabha types) to not render the process of having a secular constitution unfruitful. Although i maintain that it continues to be evolutionary as opposed to regressive. Hamari example India honee chayay….lay lo yaar India kee example…magar yay yaad rakho kay 62 years of history cannot be reversed. My entire concept of dealing with identity politics and the pain-staking analysis of how the state is part of society is an attempt to deal with history itself.

    and somewhere in between someone gave the example of the US….hahahahahaha…..yes the native American population must feel right at home when you talk about how the Americans dealt with heterogenous societies. or the fact that the South had to fight a civil war (even though they were not ethnically different).

    Stop giving me half baked examples of the US and Turkey and start dealing with concrete facts such as a history of colonialism and multiple identities.

    and YLH put a sock in it for gods sake…your posts are offensive and sweeping. Scholar that you are (published on chowk.com nonetheless hahahahaha) you have a highly selective reading of South Asian history. you claim historically secularism is a a device to free the state from the compulsions of an overtly religious society…..you should study how the rise of secularism is linked to civil wars, the protestant reformation/calvinist critiques of religion. And you’ll realize that it wasnt the brainchild of state leaders to impose it on society, it was the fundamental product of years and years and years of in fighting between the church (which had become a secular institution through its lands and poitical power) and the Prince (or the monarchies).

    But more funnily enough you accuse me of name dropping and then ask me the difference between nationhood and state/citizenship. The difference is that one is ideational and the other is political practice. Yet they are inextricably linked to one and the other primarily because the ideational realm informs us how to define both the state and the citizen. Citizen is not an abstract notion. It is built upon an identity of what the country is and what it means to be a part of the country.

    Before you offensively abuse even further im asking you to go over my arguments once again. They might be wordy magar they address the present and not make-belief hypothetical situations on what would have happened at Jinnah stayed alive

  86. ylh

    Hoss,

    I responded to your post on that issue and did not receive any thing from you. At the time I got the impression that you brought what J would have done in 1971 to defend that Bhutto of yours who you have ethnonationalist affiliation with. Now it seems that you are seriously deluded on this point. In any event I responded to it then and you may refer to it.
    I cannot agree with you as I think you lack in any serious analysis and are victim of your own earlier politics. The typical dilemma of a leftist who sold his soul uncleji.

    Umair javed,

    You continue to contradict yourself. You are responding to my questions about the distinction b/w statehood and nationhood. You continue to say Nehruvian secularism was organic when it is not as I have shown above. You have no clue about South Asian history or you would know that mass movement in India was always religiously informed. You continue to insult me and claim superiority on the basis that you go to SOAS even though all your arguments are a joke. You speak of multiple identity (I suggest you read my article on multiple identities you might learn a thing or two). You throw words like “ideational” and “political practice”. Citizen my dear friend is a concept entirely divorced from nationhood and identity. The latter two are imagined identities (oh yeah go ask your PhD supervisor about Benedict Anderson…no not Arnold), the former is a legal concept based on a compact between the state and subject ie constitution.

    You and the uncleji who is being silly by supporting a name-dropping little twit like you claim that I can’t use Jinnah because the establishment has appropriated him for the pakistan ideology project. More and more people now know that Jinnah was not the Islamic apostle Ziaist state has made him out to be. The choice you jokers give us is rather ironic – either we accept the state’s ridiculous nazaria or wait for your organic “secular” society nonsense which is not it has happened anywhere in the world. Had Nehru listened to idiots like you India would not have had its “organic” secularism.

    Then you are going into calvinism etc … again you are confusing the evolution of a secular clergy leading to a secular society with the conception of a secular state…two very different concepts. Had you applied your mind -though it is hardly a mind that can be applied it seems- to my example of Britain – which was the first state won over by protestantism – you would have understood what I am saying. The first real truly secular state in the world was the Colony of Rhode Island but you probably haven’t bothered to read that bit now. Rhode Island was a secular state precisely because it was a religious society. The first incident of state secularism and its practice in principle comes from Cardinal Richelieu who said something to the effect that the state is mortal and for it everything is here and now. Ofcourse France was hardly a secular state till 1905 but today the staunchest secular state in Europe is completely divorced from the Calvinist-Lutheran tradition. Ofcourse to know all this you would need to grow up and realize that you are not very well read.

    Now why don’t you go back to your PhD supervisor at SOAS.

  87. ylh

    The main argument against Secularism in Pakistan is that “pakistan islam kay naam pur hasil kiya giya”. Jinnah thus becomes a potent symbol against this claim.

  88. Yes i am an idiot who went into European history to trace the rise of western secularism, you fall over my arguments everytime and then give words like secular, state and citizen as if they are universal concepts. The colony of rhode Island?? pray do tell me how they dealt with the notion of various religious sects and various caste associations within them…..

    Oh hahahaha 1905 France secularism comes into play with the principle of le’stat or the forced separation of religion and state. And Cardinal Richeleiu is when exactly??? 18th century France if i am correct?? a revolution and god knows how many wars passed in between. You continue to attack the one mistake i made by lending my academic credentials (probably because you are a 30 something lawyer with a BA kee degree yourself who’ll never be taken seriously by the intellegentisa)

    Yes indeed, you have proven that Indian secularism was of course top-down, well done i have been soundly defeated by your impressive abilities to prove top-down imposition of Indian secularism…never mandated by the public nor supported through elections….zaahir see baat hay mujhay kya pata hona hay…after all im a name dropper who wouldnt know anything about South Asian history….if you get out of your own head for a while. you’d realize that my argument on organic secularism in India is precisely premised on the point of the electoral success of the Congress….but i also claimed that it has been sub-sumed by political practice as well….you’ve never addressed that part of my argument so you’re the idiot who continues to miss the point completely. Regardless of who brought in the idea of secularism, and where it came from, it was not opposed by the masses. Now think of our own history and see how projects of secular practice (just the repeal of the Hudood Ordinance) have been taken in by the population

    You have shown absolutely nothing except an inclination to remain steeped in western-centric concepts of secular, state and citizen. Koi khudaa kaa khauf kar mujhay gaalian deyna band karo aur jaa kar kuch parho…..for the last 40 years theres been an entire body of work specifically related to the state in post-colonial societies, the democratic state in societies with multiple contradictions. Its amazing how you keep shoving the example of the US in this context….clearly im not the one whos being an idiot here….any reasonable person would be able to see that through the entire course of your offensive postings and rants you have yet to come up with a claim of your own…all you do is hypothesize oh agar Jinnah zinda hota to yay ho jaata…..bhai woh mar gaya hay….he’s not coming back…and his spirit has been distorted…..get out of your shell and go out and experience the country for once….dekho what informs the public imagination and how is politics done on the ground in real life….

    Bennedict Anderson must be cringing right now on hearing you use his name in such a useless argument. and dont preach on what i should read or not….he talks about nationalism and the nation….(an argument he borrows from Ernest Gellner) in Europe. His arguments are applicable to a certain extent but a better understanding of the concept of nation and citizenship is Mamdani. Now of course im just name dropping. Mujhay kyaa pata kay Mamdani nay citizen in the post-colonial realm par kya likha hay. After all he’s probably an idiot as well because he comes from a post-modern theory crap generator hahahahahaa.

    The sad part is you’re so totally convinced in your command over the history of this region that you fail to see your own failing. Which is the continued assumption that a western experience can be replicated in Pakistan….in this rather long debate, that is according to my own understanding the major difference between you and me. I challenge the notions of citizenship, equality and state in the context of Pakistan. You continue to spew bullshit on the colony of rhode island and funnily enough France, without understanding either the contexts of how they came into being or how fundamentally different they are from our situation. Mein nay european history kaa jo aik chota lesson diya thaa on the calvinist reformation, the entire point was to bring reflection on how the secular state came into being…how secularism came into power and how it dictates society and more importantly HOW THE STATE CANNOT BE SEEN IN DISTINCTION FROM SOCIETY…..a process of 4 centuries….but NOOOO, you think its good to say oh the example of the US is perfect for Pakistan because well the US is a religious country and has a secular constitution or India is a secular country which went through top-down secularism….sahee baat hay iss liyay Gujrat and Ayodhya never happened, the BJP never came into power and the RSS is a figment of my imagination (which is ultimately uninformed since i have already been proven as an idiot countless other times). Your own reading of India is completely myopic so please before you criticize me any further, expand on your rather limited western-centric thought process and try to see the rationality of my arguments. Also stake a postiivst claim next time….Jinnah to mar gaya uskay ilaawa 18 crore abhee bhee parhain hain waiting for your scholarly opinion on salvation from the religious fundamentalists.

  89. YLH

    Umair Javed mian,

    You write:

    “You continue to attack the one mistake i made by lending my academic credentials (probably because you are a 30 something lawyer with a BA kee degree yourself who’ll never be taken seriously by the intellegentisa)”

    Thank you. If intelligentsia (or as you say i-n-t-e-l-l-e-g-e-n-t-i-s-a) Maybe your PhD advisor at SOAS did not tell you this but “Hahahahaha” and “I am a PhD candidate at SOAS” are not good counter-arguments.

    1. You did not give examples from European History. You are not conceptually very clear on any thing you only mixed concepts like secular clergy, secular humanism, secularism in a general sense and state secularism. The problem with “academic” types is a lack of humility and an inability to stay on the topic. Calvinism and reformation itself has nothing to do with the creation of a secular state. Reformation had is contribution to the coming of the age of enlightenment which made the process of secularization of society irrevocable…. but concept of a secular state has very different antecedents.

    2. Ofcourse I am no academic like you but atleast I know that Cardinal Richelieu was not from the 18th century. Indeed that would be too late. I quoted him as the beginning of an irreversible process in European History… which in any event was happening in Catholic country – not a protestant/calvinist/lutheran one. Ofcourse you would have to read some more to understand what I meant.

    3. Rhode Island was the first real constitutionally secular government in the history of mankind because it was explicitly formed on the basis of the separation of Church And State. I suggest you read some history instead of ranting the way you are.

    4. The point of Raza Rumi’s article is that those who construct an ideology of Pakistan are historically inaccurate. The state-crafted ideology of Pakistan is quoted as a response to any move towards secularism. Here Jinnah’s credentials become important for secularists whether you like it or not.

    5. Given 4… the “had Jinnah lived” argument was in response to your claim that secularism is not organic in Pakistan because the people are religiously oriented. But then you go into several sommersaults explaining why you think Indian secularism is organic …. the problem is that to me this term “organic” means jackshit. The fact is that Pakistanis voted for a secular manifesto in 1970…. when they voted for Awami League, the PPP and the NAP. Parties promoting a theocratic agenda… Jamaat-e-Islami for one … were soundly defeated by the people of Pakistan. Why then was Islam misused? Theocracy does not emanate from the people…. Bhutto imposed it from the top and Zia gave it teeth.

    The problem with you is you just are convinced that because you go to SOAS … and are a PhD candidate there…. you are better than everyone else. Has it occured to you that Jinnah, Gandhi, Nehru, even your little crook Bhutto… were not PhDs either. Nehru’s “Discovery of India” remains one of the finest works of history…

    6. “Mamdani”… interestingly a colleague of my father in law from Uganda… I am not sure how he would take a compliment from someone like you…. but I have read Mamdani’s Good Muslim Bad Muslim and have met him once with his wife Mira Nair in Lahore… I am afraid while there is a lot I agree with him on, I am not going to put him in the same class as Benedict Anderson. The problem with you is that you are unable to divorce a constitutonal legal identity i.e. “citizenship” from an imagined one … “nation”. State Secularism can only be a factor in the former … the latter is as private at the end of the day as religion itself.

    Now grow up little boy. My suggestion … do something worthwhile with your life. This academic business is not working for you.

  90. Pray tell me the historical antecedents of the Secular State if they dont lie in the reformation of the Church or the wars that preceded the treaty of Westphalia. I’ll humbly agree to give up all pretensions of being an academic if you can prove the rise of secularism as an independent phenomenon free from the dynamics of European state formation of the 17th century

    2) Given the Cardinal was active in the latter part of the 16th century (i admit to my historical inaccuracy something you should do more as well)…that just proves my point even further about how secularism is an accumulated process of over 4 centuries in Europe and not an overnight separation of religion and statecraft

    3) Rhode Island means jack shit to this discussion because a) homogenous communities of settlers in America from the UK are irrelevant to the discussion of Pakistan, b) Isolated examples from the 17th century and that too from the western world have zero applicability in the dynamics of post-colonial societies.

    4) My claim was that secular politics CAN be done in Pakistan but it has to be grounds up as done by the PPP in 1970 or the ANP or even as the MQM or Jeeyay Sindh movement or the BLA is doing right now in their provinces. What it cant do is to confront religion head on and which is why i gave the example of Bhuttos pandering of the right, the rise of the Jamaat etc exactly because the theocratic parties are democratically mandated by a part of the population as well. Till such time that a grassroots level re-education is not conducted in society, the religious right (or sympathizers like the idiot Sharifs) will continue to maintain some manner of mobilizing control in at least Punjab if nowhere else (which is what gave us the 1973 constitution). Whether you like it or not, call all politicians manipulators but manipulation is in built into the system when you ask for elections…there are no two ways about it…i feel like iv been hitting a brick wall for the last 2 days simply because you continue to ignore the fact that votes are needed and will be garnered on whatever agenda people value (whether its secular or theocratic)….agar MMA aatee hay power mein through elections, stop pissing your pants and try to understand why secular agendas work in some places and not others, when they go out of power, try to understand what led to their ouster…also try to come up with a solution on how democracy (elections) can be conducted on an OVERTLY secular platform in a country with 95 percent muslims

    5) Mamdani did more than just produce the coffee table favorite Good Muslim Bad Muslim (which every psuedo-intellectual hack in the world has read)….if you want a detailed discussion on what i mean by citizenship in the post-colonial framework go read ‘Citizen and Subject: contemporary Africa and the legacy of late colonialism’….or for that matter read Nation and its Fragments by Partha Chatterjee…both post-structural accounts of how the concept of the state as it is envisioned by westernized modernizers is simply not applicable in a society that has its own rationality of action. But kudos to you for rubbing shoulders with Mamdani in Lahore…that really must have given you all of his insights into post-colonial politics (clearly they dont show themselves though since you keep using secular, state and citizen as concrete dictionary defined terms that can work everywhere from Mars to Pakistan)

    7) Listen its probably frustrating doing a 9 to 5 and pretending to be intellectual at the same time (you probably do wish that you had actually gone on and studied something worthwhile rather than live your life compensating for a lack of knowledge by scaring of commentators on a blog…also as your work has been labeled as scholarly on wikipedia, what with it being published in the esteemed journal of chowk.com or PTH, you’ve made my day….if you dont mind i’d want to circulate the link to your page amongst my comrades at the National Workers Party, we all really do enjoy a good laugh)….i happily admit my lack of knowledge in many things which is probably why im still studying and will continue to be involved in academics for some manner of time…but by labeling me and instead of attacking my arguments as half-baked or stupid or idiotic is just bad manners on your part but of course you are entitled to do that given you’ve already attained the rank of ‘scholar’ and im just a pretentious and confused idiot with no knowledge whatsoever….

    8) Still waiting for a response on the subsumption of derivative secularism by identity politics in India (your successful example of course)

    9) Still waiting for a positive claim on how exactly secularism will be brought about in the Pakistani context.

  91. Correction: the cardinal was active in the 17th century.

  92. ylh

    You are yet to prove my “historical inaccuracy”…especially the gawking ones that you are guilty of my friend. Cardinal being one and the other about Tito and Yugoslavia.
    You continue to harp on why you are better than me because you are a PhD candidate. So far you’ve proved yourself as rather inadequate at what you claim you are ie an academic. How does it feel to have your rear handed to you by a non-academic.

    I gave you the example of Rhode Island which emerged out of practical necessity. But you are too pigheaded to actually admit when you are wrong.
    If PTH is so below your standard what are you doing here?

    My friend you can circulate the link to whoever you want …national wankers party or whatever but at your own risk. You’ve damaged your credibility considerably …especially by claiming that those who haven’t gone to school for PhD are worthless.
    I am sure your “colleagues” if they are workers not wankers would not be too thrilled with that.

  93. Milind Kher

    A secular Pakistan is something that is easier said than done.

    Even India is far from being a truly secular state.

  94. None of my points addressed again….no claim whatsoever in over 50 posts by mister YLH…i dont have a problem with non-PhD. intellectuals…just a problem with those who claim to know better than all and sundry with rabid arguments as opposed to properly articulated points….YOU STILL HAVENT ADDRESSED MY ARGUMENTS

    No of course, i’ll circulate the link….the wankers as you label them are of course always interested in self-styled scholars from the comprador class…

    Victory to you mister YLH for pointing out two of my mistakes one which i immediately corrected myself…..your example of rhode island is your biggest mistake….secularism rising out of practicality….what use is that in Pakistan???? as a word of advice…go to your nearest chai kaa dhabba….and ask the people their what they think about the state…whether there should be room for religion or not…and then tell me the practicality of the rhode island agenda….i know its hard for you at a personal level since you’ve unable to refute any of my claims that deal with post-colonial rationality, importation of western ideals, the history of secularism in europe, the rise of identity politics in secular india and of course the lack of a viable alternative in your rather uninformed framework…and its probably harder that it comes from someone whos about 8 years younger than you are…either admit to your failure in addressing my arguments or start addressing them from scratch….

    The only reason why i initiated this argument was because me and Raza have had a similiar debate many times before on secularism and religion in the country….what had ultimately happened is that iv become embroiled in another pointless argument with someone who’s not only academically insulated from post-structural/sub-altern theory but also completely insulated from the logic of politics in our country. But then again, like i said, what else would you expect from a 9 to 5-er….cheers!

  95. http://www.nwp-pk.org/

    (For those of you interested in bringing about a truly secular and popular state in Pakistan)

  96. ylh

    Your “points” tangential and irrelevant as they are will be answered when you start answering my questions.

    Till then keep going in circles. Also I have never claimed myself to be a scholar. I am not the one editing wikipedia. If you think one can write one’s own entry why don’t you try and do that my friend?

    Infact I have always only claimed to be a lawyer and a blogger and I am damn proud of the fact that I am not a crap generating masquerading as an intellectual which you are my dear PhD candidate from SOAS.

    Atleast some of us work for a living. I am glad I am insulated from “sub-altern” crap. Raza bhai is a good man. He warned me against your kind a long time ago… Ah well now we know better.

  97. ylh

    Can someone explain to me why common sense things like the fact that a state should treat everyone on an equal plane regardless of their background and that religious belief should not guide state policy first needs to be analyzed by subaltern super-post-understructure postmodernism post-colonial humbug?

  98. By labeling my points as tangential and irrelevant, you’ve pretty much defeated the entire concept of the argument….

    But your second comment: ‘Can someone explain to me why common sense things like the fact that a state should treat everyone on an equal plane regardless of their background and that religious belief should not guide state policy first needs to be analyzed by subaltern super-post-understructure postmodernism post-colonial humbug?’

    Reveals far too much….you see the keys on my keyboard are now wearing out because of the number of times iv stated TO STOP LOOKING AT THE STATE AS AN AUTONOMOUS ACTOR OVER SOCIETY (especially in democratic countries). I will use one more academic term and that is that the relationship between state and society is dialectical. Each informs the other….now take baby steps with me on this one..

    I am a mullah…in Jhang….i need to win an election….i know that there is a considerable economic divide between powerful Shia’ Landlords and Sunni urbanites. I therefore use my pulpit in a mosque to preach against the shia landlords and more importantly tell them they are kafir and that by voting for me, i will ensure that the benefits of political patronage are granted to you ‘true muslims’ and not them. I win the election and step into the National Assembly

    Now here is an example of a Sindhi politician in Ghotki…..He goes to his electorate (urban or rural) and claims that those Punjabi bastards are taking our water and jobs…they are sucking the life out of our province and they are killing our language…if you vote for him, he will ensure that our culture and language is saved and our economy is revitalized….he gets elected and he sits in the National Assembly

    And so on and so forth….now lets take those baby steps a little further…see what was done on both these examples? identity mobilization…the electorate identified itself as either Sunni in one case….and Sindhi in the other….now imagine that the Mullah in Jhang is part of a larger set of Mullahs everywhere in the country..not enough to form a government…but just enough to cause political havoc if they are completely ignored…I happen to be an urban western-oriented politician (a lawyer perhaps?)…i manage to win an election (magically of course)…i try to get rid of the Hudood ordinances in the parliament….the Mullahs see this as a great opportunity….from every goddam pulpit in the province we start hearing that this man is trying to damage Islam…he must be stopped….my hands are tied…there is no way i can maintain electoral incumbency nor hold on to power with such rabid opposition to my agenda…i cave in to the Mullahs (or the ethno-nationalists) and there goes my agenda of secularism down the drain.

    Musharraf is the best example of a secular with a large amount of insulation yet still completely unable to bring about a change in policy orientation as far as equality of citizenship is concerned.

    What have we learnt from this infantile exercise? Firstly, identity matters in elections….and in pakistan its unfortunate that identity is associated with multiple things as opposed to primarily class (as is the case in the West). Secondly, if we continue to have a parliament that derives its members from all parts of the country, we are in effect limiting the political space for these people to act because they are responsible for their own agendas. (Kabhe socho land reform kyun naheen implement ho saktay iss mulk mein)

  99. AZW

    @ Umair Javed:

    Has it ever occurred to you that Bhutto’s pandering to the right was a sign of his innate shallowness? That had he stuck to the socialist democracy that he started with, he would have strengthened democracy. But he tried to latch on to every identity (in your terms) that he could garner support from, and in the process lost most of them.

    But no, it doesn’t matter to you. You are so enamoured with your concepts of identity mobilization that you don’t even step back and realize that sometimes it just takes simple firm decisions, without a hoot in the world to pander to minor players who love to blackmail the leaders using their identities.

    I have pointed out analysis paralysis that you are extensively suffering from. And I have also mentioned (horror horror) that rather than trying to look for a Pakistani-centric organic democracy that caters to all five identities that you love to invoke by cherry picking your Ghotki or Jhang examples, it is rather a simple exercise of basic democracy that has to be accompanied by rule of law independent of political administration.

    The reason I say that is there have been an actual incident in the early Pakistani history that shows what is the crux of the political decline in the country. After the Anti Ahmedi riots of 1953, Justice Munir and Kiyani published a report outlining the reasons the situation got out of control. Their conclusion; a simple one Magistrate and a Police Inspector had been fine with arresting the whole situation in the beginning. Instead, the Daultana Administration allowed the problem to fester due to their political situation, passively encouraging the religious right until the situation was out of control.

    The present paralysis is a direct result of a series of small missteps that Pakistan kept on taking, and until Pakistan gets this fact right (separation of rule of law from political considerations), Pakistan would always remain in trouble, even if it was a lot more homogenous than it is now.

    Every human being on the planet carries multiple identities. Yet political systems develop on the basis of equality of each and every one of them, everywhere. This fundamental basis does not change anywhere in a secular democracy. Start with this basic premise, and have some faith. Yes it took Europe almost four centuries to get to the present secular democracy that they have now. For them unfortunately there was no precedent. But we do know what works, and we know that whatever a society is, the underlying foundation is a grass roots democracy and rule of law. Until we don’t make them the bedrock of our political understanding, no matter of heterogeneity (or lack of) is going to show progress.

    You love to type up incessantly. And I am afraid that typing up storms while quoting political science chapters make you lose sight of rather simple things that keep the society moving forward. I have no grand hopes that secularism in Pakistan will appear overnight. Yet for all the complexities of our nation, this nation has kept rejecting theocracy election after election. It will be small incremental steps and we will be working with center left parties to try to keep the society stable by emphasizing on investing in the Rule of Law. And for Pakistan to remain free from the absolute clutches of religious theocracy, you can thank that wiry old founder a.k.a. the Civilian Autocrat, who spoke firmly against Pakistan being a theocratic state. And if you wish to disregard him for any Pakistani discussion involving religion or lack of in the matters of the state, fine; it will be just one of the many sad comments of you where a PhD dissertation makes you ignore the basics, and hang on to the minor details as absolute necessities.

    I would rather enjoy my weekend than see you make yet a dozen more mental acrobatics in trying to figure out the Pakistani-centric democracy in its smallest detail. Take a deep breath, go out and get some fresh air. And for your penchant to let every detail override your judgement, remember that one who tries to cover all bases, is left with none of his own.

    Regards,

    Adnan

  100. I agree completely with your notion of grass roots level democracy…you are completely right in that sense…but what i disagree with is your insistence on some magical political administration that can act in insulation. If bhutto catered to the right, how do you reduce the possibility that there will be no more bhuttos in the future…after all he himself was a clear product of society.

    Theocracy might have been rejected in elections, but it continues to limit political space for politicians. I agree whole-heartedly with your viewpoint that secularism is a grass roots level project..(something that i have been screaming from the first instance)….at least you have given an alternative that is not based on some imaginary concept of state and equality of law unlike YLH….we have 62 years of bad history to reverse…62 years of reversing the way people act and the decisions they take…by associating ourselves with the center left is a good start….but associating ourselves with something more radical that goes beyond the landed interests, and the industrial classes is what is truly required for this country….person to person democracy and a person to person agenda of reform….i hope you find this exchange more palatable…unfortunately YLH in the course of 50 posts never once mentioned his own alternative…i was forced to use theory because the myopic view of elite politics was being thrown at me every now and then

    For true change it is time that politics is brought to the common man….and for that very purpose i believe it is important for us to consider secularism from ground up..as opposed to top-down

  101. Gorki

    Perhaps some of the difference in approaching questions like citizenship and secularism in a democracy may be YLH being a lawyer looks upon it legalistically and Javed Sahib a social scientist.
    India may have developed as a secular state because it had a receptive fertile ground but indeed the seed was actively planted by JLH even in the face of some opposition from other members of the constituent assembly as some historical documents seem to suggest; thus it was indeed a top down approach to some extent.
    As a noted jurist N. Palkiwala once observed, “India has a first class constitution with a third class democracy” the fact that political parties including the congress try to go against the spirit of secularism or that occasionaly the Ayodhya or Gujarat happens does not change the fact that secularism is codified by the constitution; a legal covenant between two parties: the Indian Citizen and the state.
    My questions are for Javed Sahib as an outsider observer in this otherwise enthralling debate:
    1. Even if one were to agree with you that Indian political process tries to subvert this covenant from time to time, how does that change the fact that it is a legally binding covenant, that is still held sacrosanct (even if reluctantly sometimes) by all parties including the BJP?
    2. Also I agree with you that secularism was arrived in Europe by a set of very peculiar local circumstances; yet once secularism is there, how does it matter how we got there, it works in many different places and can be adopted by all, no?

    Regards.

  102. Hayyer

    Umair Javed:
    You are probably the victim here, but not of intellectual inconsistency. Yet in your last post the lucid examples you give are themselves an outcome of the lack of a overriding thematic discourse. That alone allows extreme narrow perspectives to dominate a political process.
    Sure, all politics is local. But localism by itself cannot produce a mandate for collective action in complex multi-faceted societies like that in Pakistan. That requires a collective ideology.
    Your examples of Sindhi localism or Sunni particularism can only be countered by a larger vision that rises above the localism or particularism. Hoss made an acute observation that the nationalist discourse has been usurped by Punjab. That probably leaves the Baloch or the Sindhi with no political space except to suffer the real effect of exclusion. But this does not address the example of the Sunni preacher you quoted, except if the Punjabis have usurped and internalized the religious discourse on Pakistani nationhood too. Religious particularism in politics can be countered by a political discourse that stands outside of religion which is what secularism is. But it will not spring from the preachers pulpit , or from those excluded like your Sindhi landlords. The political discourse has to rise above religion, and for nationhood, region also. Only a sufficiently visionary leader can do this. So if Jinnah is dead and there is no one now to carry out his role then his memory and his image however contrived are probably the best alternative.
    Democracy can work within a purely religious mindset but it will fail in that case to attend to problems of localism in heterogeneous societies.
    Once the big idea of secular unity gets settled in it is hard to displace. In India notwithstanding attempts to woo religious sentiments or local grievances voters generally go for the more important issues such as development or jobs. Local identities have to be respected and given their space. A dominant Punjab in Pakistan is probably part of the problem of establishing the idea of Pakistan.
    Of course the politician will keep his ear to the ground and exploit every gust that can billow his sail, but, generally speaking if norms exist rabble rousing cannot succeed.

  103. ylh

    Gorki sb,

    He is no political scientist. Don’t be fooled sir. This fellow is from the same tribe that quotes from Edward Said’s orientalism to justify Islamist bigotry.

    He keeps asking me for “alternative”. The alternative is to do the right thing, tell the truth and follow Jinnah’s 11th August speech to its logical conclusion. The problem with this debate is that javed fellow keeps changing goal posts. I am frankly unconcerned whether secularism in India is organic or top down but that it exists. This fellow however continues to argue both sides of that argument selectively. Indian secularism is organic but Congress’ local politics is not and that India’s secularism is under pressure. It can’t be both can it ?

    He mocks me for my education but horrible errors and gaps in his knowledge tell a different story. He seems to be completely oblivious to new trends in our politics and the opportunity they present.

    Adnan has already called a spade a spade when he called it “analysis paralysis”.

  104. Gorki: To hold an object sacred at the level of the state is immaterial if it does not affect the way local interaction takes place in society. In one of my previous posts, i did talk about subversion of local politics, which of course i can only claim to know anything about from reading several authors on the subject of Indian secularism. However, i will clarify my stance on Indian secularism once and for all by stating that i do believe it remains popular as far as electoral support to it is concerned. It is one of the greatest successes of Indian democracy (and i have remained a steadfast supporter) yet it continues to be preyed upon by the rise of identity politics. The state at the federal level might retain its secular orientation. But in matters pertaining to ground realties of the thanna (police station), katcheri (local court), the role of identities have come to play a more significant role especially when they are taken in a socio-economic context. Hence secularism should not only over ride religious imbalance but also ethnic, caste based, provincial, linguistic etc. Now i ask you if you believe that whether the Nehruvian ideal of top-down secularism has brought this fundamental equality within society itself (where it matters the most)?

    2) The problem with importing European secularism (that you yourself admit was the product of a peculiar set of conditions) in a multi-faceted, heterogenous and vertically divided society such as South Asia is problematic at many levels. At the most basic level, secularism would ask for equality in the eyes of the state itself (regardless of whatever level the state operates at (federal, provincial, district). Now at the local level, where 90 percent of all of India or Pakistan actually interact with the state itself the state, in my humble opinion, tends to be localized and reflective of societal divisions. The state officer associates himself very much with certain versions of local identity hence rendering the process of equality before the state useless…A good example of this is the concept of state-employment by politicians to their respective caste/ethnic electorate.

    (State used here means government and not province, i apologize for the cross-border confusion that this word holds🙂

    Hayyer: Thank you very much for agreeing with what i have written and i will clarify my stand on this overarching national vision of secularism. I have no problems with any such vision what so ever, what i do believe is that this national vision can only influence local realities in a superficial manner if it is not accompanied by a bottoms up approach towards it. Pressure both from above and below will result in a stronger and cohesive overarching identity that will eradicate the pettiness of localized politics and finally bring forward a truly secular agenda.

  105. Hoss

    Hayyer
    January 30, 2010 at 10:21 pm
    “Only a sufficiently visionary leader can do this. So if Jinnah is dead and there is no one now to carry out his role then his memory and his image however contrived are probably the best alternative.”

    You are reinstating the argument that Umair and I are trying to debunk. There is no messiah and there will not be any messiah that will come to Pakistan to change the things. Pakistan has to go thru a process, a process that is long and arduous to achieve any substantial changes in the current system.

    When some here claim that they need to resurrect Jinnah to create an impetus for secularism or believe that someone would come and change the things ala AZW believes, we fall in to the trap that has been part of the religious beliefs over last many centuries. It is the same belief that allows Pakistani in the largest province to celebrate when a General on TV shows up with his with his regular “mere aziz humwatoon” speech. Debunking this messiah syndrome is an important part of the struggle for democracy in Pakistan. No one person or one dead person can change the political realities in Pakistan. Anytime anyone who claims to be liberal or even supports a liberal discourse in Pakistan comes out supporting the messiah syndrome, he/she ends up supporting the elitist and religious beliefs and unwittingly ends up siding with the same people who would restrict the political process in Pakistan to a few for the ‘general’ good of all Pakistanis.

    I don’t think Umair’s analogy about the Sindhi zamindar is accurate but it captures the essence of his argument that political forces act in many different ways and create pressure even when they are not part of the elected majorities. If anything, it is not the Sindhi Zamindar who raises the Punjab bogey, it is usually the Sindhi middle class that does that. Sindhi Zamindar would never bring this subject in to his election campaign but would threaten the establishment with the Sindh card whenever needed.

    YHL is utterly wrong when he dismisses the political thoughts of the smaller provinces as ethnocentric. This is one way of saying that the smaller provinces don’t matter and restricting the dialogue to the elites. The smaller Provinces are almost 40% of Pakistan and without their input; it is not possible to overcome the identity as well as the political crises in Pakistan. This incidentally was the same attitude with Bengali when their ideas for nation building were rejected as anti-Pakistan. Btw, the somewhat lukewarm support for secularism in Pakistan comes from the political parties that have their roots in the smaller provinces.

    ylh
    January 30, 2010 at 2:18 pm
    “I responded to your post on that issue and did not receive any thing from you. At the time I got the impression that you brought what J would have done in 1971 to defend that Bhutto of yours who you have ethnonationalist affiliation with.”

    Probably your first response was as bogus as this one so I ignored it.

  106. YLH: Your posts have been 10 percent argumentation and 90 percent derision and personal attacks. Even though i find your inane and childish attacks humorous, in the process of trying to put one over me, you have really failed to grasp the argument itself. But then like i said before, i dont blame you for doing that because it is now a matter of pride for you to admit to your insulation from how politics takes place in this country (and not in the drawing rooms of compradors of our cities but in the villages). Again its not everyday that you get to hear that from someone who’s 8 years younger and probably more nuanced about local politics than you’ll ever be.

    I have eulogized Bhutto, dropped names, supported religious extremism and had my rear handed to me because of huge gaps in my knowledge of both Pakistan and political theory.

    In the situation where someone is truly hoping for a practical solution to the problems of secularism in the country, the time is now to join hands with the Left. With true grass-roots campaigning and a peoples approach towards politics, the issue of divisiveness in this country can be solved.

  107. ylh

    Btw I did once flirt with the idea of multiple identity accomodation in a constitutional framework …but realized just how tedious and self defeating a notion that is. I even drew up a third house …a house representing communities but it would be meaningless and pointless.

    The thing is that most of these subaltern types don’t even calculate for the natural evolution of society and economic realities are rendering multiple identities politically less attractive thereby overriding them.

    My pre-occupation is with the state. I am unconcerned about subaltern super-imposed under-structure nonsense.

  108. Hoss: It is ultimately futile, YLH will find ground to attack you on some personal level as well….I’ve already been abused far too much for my liking and i will only say that leave this topic before you too are abused.

    YLH’s solution: To carry the agenda of Jinnah to its logical ends. Who will carry this agenda? YLH…how will he come to power? By using the message of Jinnah to all the drawing rooms across the country in order to obtain support of 1 percent of the population. I dont need any education to make fun of this solution…..

    They talk about democracy yet they continue to hope for a messianic leader who will come and sweep all and sundry before him (ignoring all other contending realities). And since there are ‘new’ developments in our politics….who knows such a messiah might just be abusing me and you on this very blog. This debate has been truly priceless not only because of the incessant contradictions handed out to me by YLH and people of his ilk, but also by the sheer perseverance in not recognizing that you might be wrong on some accounts. At least i maintained that i would be open to new opinions if proven wrong (which i havent been so far)

  109. Please everybody pay attention to YLH, his pre-occupation is with the state. All right? He is not concerned on where this state comes from nor is he concerned of who controls it…Its just the state that is of eminent concern….please YLH when you see the ‘state’ in its practical manifestation, do tell me what you saw okay?

  110. Umair, you are absolutely right in pointing out the role of identity in local politics. A big part of the reason for this is the inability of an avowedly ‘secular’ state to act in a secular manner due to the non-secular nature of society which produces the individuals that man the state. But local politics in India can often be a mix of secular and identity based principles, I had talked about a paper that discussed such an election campaign,

    http://vikramvgarg.wordpress.com/2009/07/09/understanding-election-campaigns-in-rural-india/

    Note that in cases where identity actually corresponds to social and material standing, political mobilization might bring about secular outcomes (like land reform) even when the movement centers around a particular identity. The Dalit movement in UP is an example.

    On the other hand identity mobilization can be used simply to corner the resources of the state, and unfortunately certain provisions of our Constitution legitimize such politics. Examples would be the SP in UP, similar ‘Yadav’ parties in Bihar and the Shiv Sena/MNS in Maharashtra.

    There seems to be a movement in India away from caste based parties, but that does not mean the end of caste-based politics. On the whole I would say identity based politics, in its purest sense is definitely on the wane in Southern and Eastern India. It remains strongest in Northern and Central India.

  111. Very interesting analysis Vikram. Finally, there are people here who understand the importance of identity politics in secular/non-secular frameworks.

    There is still hope out there.🙂

  112. Majumdar

    The debate between Umair and Yasser is front page news on chowk UP.

    Regards

  113. ylh

    Majumdar,

    Yes I am sure Umair mian has thrilled a lot of losers in that gutter. I have been following link data on PTH and it seems like an old scoundrel is particularly obsessed with me. May I suggest however that you don’t mix chowk with PTH. Even Hoss will agree with me that crazies there are better kept caged there.

    Umair mian,

    After a million words of subaltern post-pre-superimposed under-structure you have finally admitted that pressure from above is a key component.
    Hayyer did not “agree” with you as much as he put for you the whole thing in perspective.
    All this to prove that 1973 constitution was the right thing to do? That discrimination against minorities is alright because well local identities including those of a maulvi in Jhang don’t allow it?
    You’ve yourself said that Indian secularism has succeeded despite local pressures. India is decisively making a move away from local, parochial and caste identities …it has done so because the constitution on top is secular and national.
    The problem with you – as I see it – is not with your analysis of local identities which in any event don’t prove that we should not make a push for a separation of church and state, but that you are trying to justify as a PPP Jiyala why PPP’s compromise was justified. I just don’t think it was.
    It is your right to argue any which way but have some humility. You are doing no one favors getting a PhD …it is for yourself. Why must that be an argument here …is going to SOAS a legitimate argument?

    I have grappled with the idea of multiple identities and reimagining citizenship myself (I’ll link my article in a minute) but frankly I don’t see and forgive me for not getting a PhD in it and not understanding how that can be used to justify a monolithic Islamic polity imposed from the top. May I suggest you read my non-scholarly non-academic article -the link to which shall follow this post- before you respond to this one.
    Hoss,

    Can you point out where I have described provincial politics as “ethnocentric”?

    I haven’t.

    The rest of your post is quite bogus and not worth my time.

  114. ylh

    Citizenship, Identity and the nationstate : Reimagining Pakistan

    https://pakteahouse.wordpress.com/2008/10/04/citizenship-identity-and-the-nation-state-re-imagining-pakistan/

    My conclusion is that it is precisely the local identity that stands in the way of an imposition of an Islamic monolith… It is that important pressure that corresponds to Jinnah’s agenda ie state’s impartiality to an individual’s background.

  115. yasserlatifhamdani

    As promised : Citizenship, Identity and Nationstate

    https://pakteahouse.wordpress.com/2008/10/04/citizenship-identity-and-the-nation-state-re-imagining-pakistan/

    In my opinion local identities will never allow an imposition of Islamic monolith from the top. It is this pressure that corresponds to top down secularism …(If you read the 11th August speech, you’ll see it corresponding to this.
    The state must be impartial because there are vertical and horizontal divisions. That is what Jinnah said.

    There is no justification for an ideology of Pakistan. Asif Ali Zardari is right to wear Sindhi topi and resurrecting Jinnah is important entirely because the bankrupt ideology uses a caricature of him to justify itself.

    I am surprised that local identities are being brought up as a counter-argument when Raza’s article which is the position I am defending is itself in defence of a provincial identity.

    I think Hoss and Umair Javed have tied themselves up in knots.

  116. YLH, please forgive me for not considering your analysis on multiplie identities in any esteem…naturally, the way you have argued your case through out would make me averse to anything that you produce….More so because of your complete disregard for the politics that happens in this very country that you so ardently wish to reform.

    What is more amusing is that you have cherry picked my statement on Indian secularism. If you read my reply to Gorki. you would know that i talked about the state at the local level and how it interacts with individuals. A view that was supported by another person in a subsequent comment. Neither did i claim that India was moving away from identity politics (in fact it has continued to show a remarkable resilience).

    Our basic disagreement is on the brand of politics that each of us believes in. You fundamentally treat the state as a monolith..sitting on top of the country with the ability to dictate and influence decision-making and the thought process of its citizenry. My belief is that the state is disaggregated, emanating from society and interacting with society at every level hence it cannot be free from the contradictions that are found in society itself.

    As for being a PPP jiyala, i dont know where you get that from….i’m a revisionist socialist hoping for a progressive Pakistan (secular and egalitarian), i have nothing to do with the PPP nor with Bhutto…i am a staunch advocate of a secular constitution but i am also a staunch advocate of mass politics. Call me a communist or call me a jiyala…whatever it is, my brand of politics has been made clear in all of my posts above…and so has yours….(despite your lack of a credible alternative)

    So please, in respect for our mutual friend Raza, i apologize for any misdemeanor on my part, and i hope that when you experience Pakistan like i have done (minimally) you will understand the consequences of top down and bottoms up approaches towards reform. Till then, try to be more open towards new ideas regardless of where they come from.

  117. AZW

    Hoss: or believe that someone would come and change the things ala AZW believes, we fall in to the trap that has been part of the religious beliefs over last many centuries.

    Hoss, you are most welcome to disagree with me. What you are not welcome to do is to concoct about me what you think I believe. Unfortunately, it shows that you are not reading this forum very well. Needless to say, you are completely offside on this statement here. I have a disappointing feeling however from our previous exchanges that you like to believe what you like to see, rather than what passes in front of you.

    Umair Javed:

    You have shifted your position on initial Bhutto statement after being challenged. Your statement on Indian democracy as a bottom up phenomenon was incorrect. You have been cherry picking examples in Pakistani politics to construct question about the state and its interaction with the population that are answered rather well empirically, all across the globe. Each time you are challenged on your stance, you shift your position, and invoke new tangents.

    You may find a few friends here who agree with your confused ideas. Good luck deciphering the world in its minutest details. I have heard the Pakistani centric democracy argument before, that ground realities have to be considered for democracy in Pakistan, and that Pakistani unique identity must be respected when introducing democracy; and that Western secularism is peculiar to West and needs to be modified for Pakistan. This line of thinking has remained a failed approach before in previous decades and it will remain failed in the future. It disregards the fundamental factors of a successful democracy, secular or not: Equality of citizens, and the protection of that equality.

    No one is saying that a prophet will be sent to implement this philosophy. But failure to realize that basic premise results in indulging in action that is more akin to drudgery in absence of a vision. Democracy does require a bit of top down approach, except that approach has to evolve out of the current decrepit system some time later. Important point is to keep the current system going and let it strengthen by letting it go along. Pakistan has been short of vision throughout its history, but also the visionary leaders have to evolve from the current political system. (The last one by the way was the one that you have summarily dismissed already as a “Civilian Autocrat” and unworthy of any mention in the future political direction that Pakistan will take).

    My ideals of equality for everyone and complete rule of law edifice for a grass root democracy may never materialize in my life time; but for anyone who thinks Pakistan will have quick fixes in matter of years is sadly mistaken. For all its problems, I do believe Pakistan, with its current imperfect democracy, still has still the best among the all options right now; and that PPP and PML-N still represent the best hope for democracy to move forward.

    Notice that no one is ignoring the ground realities of Pakistani politics, but it is not coming at the cost of lack of a firm vision. Ask yourself, what are you or Hoss proposing? More jargon of ideas that have been tried in different formats by various leaders in Pakistani history, and that have failed miserably. Your own example of Bhutto is the most damning indictment of the fallacy of your own argument. Now kindly don’t tell me that you did not mean to use Bhutto as an example; (you: Its because simply he was a much smarter and more able DEMOCRATIC politician than Jinnah). Bhutto did exactly what you think is required; he pandered to the religious identity to gain religious vote, and he pandered to extreme left by nationalizing free market industries.

    At the end, his excessive pandering to all these segments left him with no identity of his own. His own flock left him as nobody could tell where he stood. Exactly like where you are; trying to cover all bases, with standing on none of them. Bhutto fell hard, and took the whole system down with him. You went on to say that More so his adoption of various Islamizing measures are another proof of how identity politics works in the country. No, this is not how it works; this is rather how it has failed miserably in Pakistan.

  118. yasserlatifhamdani

    Dear Umair,

    No one requires you to hold anything in esteem. But it is clear that you haven’t even bothered to read the article.

    Instead of harping on why you are so superior to everyone why don’t you tell us how local identities in Pakistan support the idea of a monolithic Islamic model imposed from the top.

    Today you’ve become a revisionist secular socialist …yesterday you were claiming that Bhutto the great saviour alone has ensured democracy in Pakistan singlehandedly…

    I am asking you simple questions my friend …why must you respond with analysis paralysis?

    And let me disabuse you of the notion that any of your ideas are novel. Multiple identities is the most celebrated thesis of “Self And Sovereignty” by Ayesha Jalal and Sugata Bose. My gripe is not with multiple identities but your contention that it can be used to justify the theocratic nature of the 1973 constitution given by your great savior of the people Z A. Bhutto.

  119. yasserlatifhamdani

    118 addressed to Umair Javed.

    Azw,

    I am myself surprised by the overnight metamorphisis of Mr. Javed.

  120. yasserlatifhamdani

    “You went on to say that More so his adoption of various Islamizing measures are another proof of how identity politics works in the country. No, this is not how it works; this is rather how it has failed miserably in Pakistan.”

    Brilliant Adnan. Thrilled. I wish others had such clarity …

  121. I dont need to justify why i classify Bhutto as a democrat. You people are clearly holding the 1973 constitution as something against him. Bhutto did single-handedly bring democracy to the people of Pakistan. and by democracy i mean bring the state in the public imagination as something that could be claimed for by the people themselves. That is by far his biggest legacy. Just the fact that the PPP continues to act as a moderating force between the four provinces is proof of that. (and more so i dont know how that contradicts my position as a socialist)

    Can you imagine a peasant staking a claim in the state before the PPP was formed? And if you’re having a hard time imagining it, its because there was no state for the peasantry or the proletariat before Bhutto. Everything was high-politics, Karachi/Islamabad intrigue, the masses of course being kept out of power since the country was created.

    I maintain that Jinnah is irrelevant in Pakistan after 62 years and also that he was a civilian autocrat. You people are blindly pursuing hagiographical descriptions of his actions without considering the fact that you have the burden of a 62 year old history to reverse.

    As far as theocratic politics is concerned, i have never claimed that it is deeply rooted in pakistan nor does it intrinsically give rise to theocratic politics from above…but what i have said again and again and again is that religion IS part of the identity here and cannot be confronted because for SOME people it is the foremost symbol of political identity…….my alternative was of course a socio-economic movement of the masses (something that liberals would like to call a revolution). such a movement would break traditional barriers of patronage and religious indoctrination and finally set the stone for an equal society (not just an equal state)

    YLH, more blabber less argumentation has been your forte throughout. I never claimed that identity politics was my own creation, in fact Prof. Jalal is probably one of the people who informed my current opinion on it. In fact i think you need a refresher in how the system here in Pakistan works. Dr. Jalal is teaching South Asian History at LUMS this semester, you should go and rub shoulders with her as well, that’ll give you even more authority to speak on what she has written, because clearly the rest of us are complete imbeciles hence we need others to interpret her works for us.

    Finally ‘Pakistan has been short of vision throughout its history, but also the visionary leaders have to evolve from the current political system’: So what if the system keeps throwing up Nawaz Sharif or Asif Zardari or another Bhutto? is the system flawed or is there something wrong with society in general? Bhutto was a product of this system yaar yay kyun naheen samajh saktay aap log….yay jo visionary leader aana hay…iss nay Jibraail kay kandhon par baith kar aana hay??

    Not one person has looked at how i see the state as disaggregated in many levels. You keep exhuming tales of equality before law in the eyes of the state……the state is not islamabad and neither is it the constitution…its much much more than that….for me the state is the patwari, the thana, the katcheri…that is where politics takes place..magar that is highly out of touch with your system all together….after all for you two the state is like i said, a monolith.

    Khair enough has been written on this for readers to make an informed opinion on what approach is required after 62 years (with Jinnah not coming back frm the grave anytime soon…if he does, im sure YLH’ll be involved somehow in the whole process)…we can either wait for the messianic visionary leader who will purge the system of the religious right and bring forth the fruits of secularism at every level in society where the state functions…or we can make a conscious grass-roots level push to break the bonds of patronage and religious indoctrination towards a movement for capturing the state itself.

  122. Milind Kher

    Any attempt at using religious identity as a crutch will fail because people can spot a fake when they see one.

    Either you want a state religion or you want secularism. When you opt for something in between, it is a recipe for disaster.

    Actually, it’s a no brainer, because having a state religion is not workable for Pakistan. Whose version of the religion will the state be administered by?

  123. AZW

    @ Umair:

    No one claims to know the truth here. This discussion was just another one of those; you have your views and I do believe that in the garb of making your ideas practical, you end up with a fancy and utterly unworkable idea. Why this is a dangerous path? It takes eye off the ball by focusing on imaginary constructs. Tell me honestly if your argument has already not been repeated before by various Pakistani rulers, without any success whatsoever. Tell me honestly if the prime example of Bhutto you have used is not the worst indictment of your very own flawed argument.

    I think the discussion is beginning to exhaust itself. And your penchant to write an instantaneous response without reading my comment in full is not helping the cause. Please spare this poor nation any more talk of socio economic movement of the masses a.k.a revolution in liberal terminology. Life does not give us any guarantees; more so when we migrate from university texts into chaotic societies. Let the current system go on; it is the best option among all the available ones. Work with the political system, and raise your voice against the Army and the right wingers hell bent on bringing the government and possibly the whole system down, yet again. Have a clear head that at the end the system needs to firmly recognize that Rule of Fair Laws and grass roots democracy is the end goal. Let secularism come into being by letting democracy evolve. It never works the other way. Don’t expect miracles though. Life does not throw any certainties, all the more true in our current political situation.

    @ Hoss:

    Interestingly, in the heat of discussion, I believe it has become quite clear who is the one holding the exact position that you accused me of holding in your comment in this thread.

    Thanks for the discussion; despite some heated arguments, it was a pleasure talking to all of you.

    Adnan

  124. Adnand: It really was a pleasure having a vigorous debate on a an important issue. I enjoyed talking to all of you about this (some more than others)

  125. yasserlatifhamdani

    Dear Umair,

    Still no answers. Only more “I know better because I am a PhD candidate”.

    Your are clueless about the political history of Pakistan…Peasant movement in Pakistan was very strong. Pre-1971 Pakistan consisted of East Pakistan which had a long tradition of peasant movement. In West Pakistan National Awami Party and other left parties were quite active. Bhutto didn’t do jackshit for them. I used to be a major Bhutto fan and used to make these inane arguments till I read more and realized that Bhutto only excelled at fooling the people.
    Let us put aside Jinnah, Bhutto and everyone else for now because you are ill informed on the issue (don’t let people tell you otherwise)… Why don’t you just answer the question:

    Here it is: what do you feel in the multiple identities thesis is there that you feel allows for a monolith Islamic superstructure to be imposed through a badly worded 1973 constitution. PONAM is absolutely against the 1973 constitution. Push comes to shove even ANP will rescind its allegiance to the 1973 constitution. All I see are local identities rebelling against the officially imposed Islamic ideology…and underscoring Jinnah’s 11th August speech. From Wali Khan to Rasul Bux Palijo to Samad Achakzai and now Mahmood Achakzai …all have referred to 11th August speech as an alternative to the ideology of Pakistan. So local identities seem to be the biggest argument for organic all permeating secularism in Pakistani society and not a justification for Bhutto’s ridiculous political opportunism.

    This is what I wrote in the article which actually is a regurgitation of Ayesha Jalal’s views in my opinion. But if you must we can ask Raza Rumi to check with Dr. Jalal whether she thinks local identities stand in the way of secularism or in its aid as I believe them to be.

    My suggestion don’t assume that others will not take you to task about your name dropping.

  126. yasserlatifhamdani

    “You fundamentally treat the state as a monolith..sitting on top of the country with the ability to dictate and influence decision-making and the thought process of its citizenry. My belief is that the state is disaggregated, emanating from society and interacting with society at every level hence it cannot be free from the contradictions that are found in society itself.”

    Frankly maybe it is because I am not a PhD candidate at SOAS as umair mian has told me so many times, but I don’t see why or how this applies as a defence of allowing the state to discriminate on the basis of faith?

    I don’t understand how I fundamentally treat the state as a monolith sitting on top …when all I am saying is that the constitution should not vest sovereignty in an unknown entity and should not impose an ideology on the people.

    “Bhutto singlehandedly brought democracy to the people of Pakistan”

    Anyone who makes such a preposterous claim cannot be taken seriously.

  127. Dear Yasser:

    From amusement my feelings have now gone over to sympathizing with your completely deluded mindset.

    I mentioned SOAS only once (and i apologized for it on several occasions), and apparently i seem to have hit a very sore point with you. I think you’re often not taken seriously by people who have been academically trained much better than you. You have consistently abused my writing and shoved personal attacks at me while showing very little of what you actually believe in. No wonder PTH loses its educated readership to blogs like fiverupees every now and then.

    This is my last post and i will summarize my argument as shortly as i can. After that you can keep on criticizing my education and my knowledge of history but i guess this was your only chance to vent out against people who’ve never taken you as a serious mind (simply because you’re a self-styled ‘scholar’ (still cant get over that one btw haha) and a 9 to 5er).

    My argument on social identities was to point out that vertical cleavages in our society are reflected in the state themselves. The state is not a monolith. It operates at many levels of which the federal state is one (and a distant one at that). You claimed that secularism would be that the state treats everyone as equal. I even gave up on my initial point regarding the premise of this equality and eventually compromised to work with your myopic perspective. Now my basic point, and please hear this out…the state operates at every level, social identities are reflected at every level hence equality for the citizenry is not possible unless there is a consensus on some manner of equality in society prior to its application in the state. Now how is this consensus achieved. I believed that it required a re-evaluation at the grassroots level, you believe in its authoritarian imposition from above.

    You’re an idiot because you gave the example of the ANP and Palijo both of them are ethno-nationalists which is also contradictory to the principle of equality in the eyes of the state. I repeat, no social divisions should be of any concern to the state itself. They might be rebelling against the 1973 constitution (and rightfully so) but they’re also crystallizing ethnic identities which i believe is fundamentally against the 11th August speech.

    Finally, as far as the rise of theocracy is concerned. My contention was that you people are avowedly secular to the extent that you believe a visionary leader will arise and will ensure the de-Islamization of the constitution. My point was that the space for de-Islamizing is limited precisely because in some parts of the country, the religious right have gained electoral and mobile support. However, there is nothing intrinsic in Pakistani society that gives rise to religion as a force in politics, it is just that over the course of 62 years, such an identity has been constructed and it will have to be dealt with as a new agenda for secularism is constructed. YOU CANNOT OVERTLY CONFRONT RELIGION IN PAKISTAN. drum this fact in that thick skull of yours and for once admit to the fact that your knowledge of Pakistani politics is only limited to the urban drawing rooms, in which you bore people to death with endless rants on how your scholarly command of Pakistan is much greater than the idiot who’s currently at SOAS and is 8 years younger than you.

    Oh and your point on peasant movements is hilarious. You completely missed the argument. My original point was that the peasantry was mobilized in electoral politics for the first time in Bhutto’s period. Your counter claim was that i was a stupid idiot who didnt know that the peasantry has had a history of activist struggle in Pakistan (Apart from the Haari movement and the Hur rebellion (even though thats pre-independence) i cant think of any other in West Pakistan till the Okara movement of the last 5-6 years. And my concern is West Pakistan, not the East because we’re talking about Pakistan now and not Bangladesh.

    But what i find most irritating is that i even groveled and apologized to your for my misdemeanor on three or four occasions but yet you continue to act in the same childish manner (you’re 30 + for gods sake grow up haha). Its okay if you were unable to get a degree to give credence to your scholarly opinions. Not everyone is as fortunate my friend. deal with it and i urge the other moderators of this blog that if they want to have fruitful discussions, they should ask this jack-ass to shove it once in a while. He really is a nuisance to people who want to broaden their own opinions.

    Raza was right about you Yasser, i should have stopped this debate 20 or so posts ago…your immaturity and self-righteousness knows no bounds….word of advice, if you ever want to be taken seriously, modesty and some basic manners will help. If not for yourself then at least for this blog.

    (Oh and in all the name dropping that i did, i was never proven wrong even once about any of the books i have claimed to read, you on the other hand have a selective reading of politics in this country)

  128. Milind Kher

    It is an excellent indicator of how vibrant a site is when you have intense arguments.

    However, I do believe that we should refrain from attacks ad hominem. Of course, that is a call the moderators have to take, it is just my $.02🙂

  129. YLH

    Dear Umair,

    You are all over the place again… I see that this is getting very hard for you and you’ve lost all your focus.

    You say you brought up SOAS once… but from what I can see you brought up atleast a dozen times to establish your authority and denigrate mine… even in your last post you brought up the fact that I don’t have a degree to back up my scholarship… just because you are unable to answer some basic questions.

    Anyway… your personal attacks aside…. can you gather your personal education and academic greatness and answer this question:

    How do multiple identities – as explained by Dr. Jalal’s “Self And Sovereignty”- stand in the way of the state – interacting with these identities at every level- from adopting the principle that is should deal with every citizen on the same plain – at any given level- regardless of religion, caste or creed.

    Now I see some sign of remorse and regret on your part when you very reasonably declare:

    However, there is nothing intrinsic in Pakistani society that gives rise to religion as a force in politics, it is just that over the course of 62 years, such an identity has been constructed and it will have to be dealt with as a new agenda for secularism is constructed.

    That is precisely my point. And what are those 62 years? The construction of an Islamic ideology and its imposition as an increasingly exclusivist narrative especially under General Zia’s fascist dictatorship.

    Now instead of abusing me unnecessarily why don’t you realize that this is where Jinnah becomes relevant … because every time the self-styled champions of Pakistani ideology get up declare that “Pakistan Islam kay naam pur hasil kiya giya thaa”…. Jinnah becomes a potent symbol and defence against it.

    How do you get about deconstructing 62 years of history …. without even harking back and pointing out to the champions of Islamic ideology that whether you agree or disagree with Jinnah, it is clear that Jinnah had no truck with the puritan and pious ideology they have constructed over the last 62 years. Hence the humbug of “Pakistan Islam kay naam pur hasil kiya giya tha” is in of itself irrelevant to the debate.

    I never said that secularism in Pakistan can be built on the sole moral authority of Mr. Jinnah. I did however say that without Jinnah’s moral authority it would be impossible… why? Because Jinnah alone stands in the way of a complete bulldozing by the state of all things secular in the name of Pakistani ideology. (a small example… MMA was trying to ban western clothes in NWFP schools during its government… ANP legislators used Jinnah whose portrait in his suit hangs in the PA… ultimately MMA backed off).

    The problem with you is that you think when I speak of secularism I mean something other than an official separation of church and state at every level whereby every citizen of Pakistan stands at the same plane…when confronting the state… at every level – as you say – it interacts with the citizen.

    Finally… as the moderator of the website… I thank you for your constructive feedback and summarily reject it. Instead I suggest that you learn to appreciate the fact that I am allowing you to abuse me and denigrate my education and me personally despite having all the discretionary rights to put my foot down. So stay off the personal attacks and condescending tone and stick to the topic.

  130. hayyer

    Hoss:
    Sorry for the delay in responding. I have been busy all day and cannot even now post a detailed response, but very quickly if you don’t mind I shall respond to the following and the rest later;
    “You are reinstating the argument that Umair and I are trying to debunk. There is no messiah and there will not be any messiah that will come to Pakistan to change the things. Pakistan has to go thru a process, a process that is long and arduous to achieve any substantial changes in the current system.”
    Since India is invoked let me point out that India did not go through a long and arduous process to get where it is. It was mostly top down with a urban educated middle class to support it.
    There is no Pakistaniat or Indianness out there that must grasp the essential truths of secularism and democracy if they are to take hold.
    Pakistan and India are constructed identities and secularism is a constructed idea as well. It wont arise out of the natural course. One may want the idea to evolve as it did in the west-but does want to go through the pain of some centuries of conflict as in Europe. Why reinvent the wheel? Top down and borrowed is better as well as instant.
    More later.

  131. Milind Kher

    @YLH,

    People like Vajra and you are sincere to a fault. You have a penchant for arguing with people who will never listen to you.

    Don’t take it wrongly. Just an observation..

  132. How do multiple identities – as explained by Dr. Jalal’s “Self And Sovereignty”- stand in the way of the state – interacting with these identities at every level- from adopting the principle that is should deal with every citizen on the same plain – at any given level- regardless of religion, caste or creed?’

    Ans: Because the state is not manned by martians nor aliens…its manned by people who have either used these multiple identities to come to power or believe in these identities themselves. That is what i have been ranting about for god knows how much time. If i am a Union Councilor (Lowest level of elected state official) and i come on the basis of a Rajput vote, in order to maintain my electorate i will continue to grant favor to my particular support base as opposed to others. What is so difficult to understand in this??? Now can you seriously step back and tell me that this is not how the logic of local politics takes place in this country????? Do peasants not vote for their landlords because there is a patron-client relationship, Did the Sunni’s not bring in the SSP to the provincial cabinet in Jawad Naqai’s government during the 90’s? Did the ANP not garner votes on an agenda of re-naming the province much to the dismay of the Hazara population?? These are all examples of how state functionaries are unable to extricate themselves from the concept of identity that they ascribe to.

    Reclaiming Jinnah for secularism is all well and good…but what you need to understand is that in a country with multiple imbalances, true equality can only be granted on paper if it does not work itself through society. Hugo Chavez once claimed, that the biggest impediment to his program of egalitarian socialism was not imperialism, it was the bureaucracy and the people themselves. You may not like Chavez, but his words have an ounce of truth. Stagnation and static-ness are two fundamental characters of our social formation in the last 62 years. Please try to understand what im saying and the solution that i am giving (grass roots mobilization on socio-economic agenda of egalitarianism). It really is not that difficult at all.

    YLH: ‘The problem with you is that you think when I speak of secularism I mean something other than an official separation of church and state at every level whereby every citizen of Pakistan stands at the same plane…when confronting the state… at every level – as you say – it interacts with the citizen.’

    Ans: Because if you read your statement above you claim that equality before the state in terms of religion, caste and creed. Now here is a good contradiction i could belittle you on but i’ll pass the opportunity.

  133. yasserlatifhamdani

    Umair you write:

    If i am a Union Councilor (Lowest level of elected state official) and i come on the basis of a Rajput vote, in order to maintain my electorate i will continue to grant favor to my particular support base as opposed to others. What is so difficult to understand in this??? Now can you seriously step back and tell me that this is not how the logic of local politics takes place in this country????? Do peasants not vote for their landlords because there is a patron-client relationship, Did the Sunni’s not bring in the SSP to the provincial cabinet in Jawad Naqai’s government during the 90’s? Did the ANP not garner votes on an agenda of re-naming the province much to the dismay of the Hazara population?? These are all examples of how state functionaries are unable to extricate themselves from the concept of identity that they ascribe to.

    All these only second my point of view that multiple identities and local cleavages stand decisively in the way of state’s imposed Islamic ideology and that multiple identities as well as local cleavages only strengthen the case for a secular state … at every level… just like India.

    Dear PhD candidate… I have a different understanding of “multiple identities” than you. My understanding of multiple identities is that if these are properly utilized they can help create linkages and therefore ultimately harmonious society. Maybe I am naive… I see multiple identities building up from ground up a magnificent secular edifice in Pakistan… one which requires a secular constitution as its cement.

    An aside:… I checked with Raza bhai and he doesn’t know what you are talking about… I am referring to your little comment above. Why don’t you tell us what you meant in clear terms.

  134. ‘My understanding of multiple identities is that if these are properly utilized they can help create linkages and therefore ultimately harmonious society.’

    Properly utilized is what iv been saying….you need to find a common cause amongst all these identities that move them from being in opposition to one another…i have stated that the common cause is socio-economic reform…that will build upon the relations of exploitation that the common man has to go through in his day to day life.

    The multiple identities do stand in the way of state imposed Islam…but they dont stand in the way of Islam in society itself. Multiple identities includes a powerful albeit small political Islamic identity as well….which can be mobilized (Danish Cartoon protests for example) and can cause hurdles in the process of secularizing the country (at every single level)

    Thank you for finally seeing my point of multiple identities in disaggregated frameworks. Over the course of 50 posts i only wanted you to understand that multiple social identities are by their very definition divisive. Each is defined in terms of opposition to the other. Me being a good muslim requires having someone who i can label a bad muslim, similarly me being a Pakhtoon means i have certain characteristics that other people DO NOT have. The only identity that can counter all others is a horizontal identity such as economic class.

    As for what Raza said, he told me to stop arguing with you after a little while because you tend to get aggressive. Which is what i meant in my comment above. And like i said it was completely true.

  135. AZW

    @ Umair:

    First of all, in this debate, you have been abusing Yasser too. From the beginning you have tried to hang your shingle to browbeat Yasser and assuming if one is not doing a PhD in Social Sciences, one is not qualified to debate with you. You have also implied him to be a stupid person. From the beginning your attitude towards PTH itself has been rather condescending. This is low; and I have not agreed with Yasser’s attacks on you, and at the same token you are no better, if not worse in your own way. So stop this name calling once and for all.

    Yasser has actually given quite cogent replies to your points, only if you try to listen to him once in a while. Now remember that no one has ever denied that Pakistani society is not a vertically cleaved society. No one has ever denied that various identities play a part in regional politics all the way up to the federal government level. I told you before you are cherry picking examples. Because your argument about a Sunni radical getting elected by using sectarian tendencies falls flat when one has to explain the presence of PML-N or PPP as majority national parties. Because logically extrapolating your argument will preclude the possibility of Nawaz Sharif or Yusuf Raza Gilani ever emerging as national leaders of Pakistan, rising above the identities that they possessed at the local level. My point is secularism is way down the road phenomenon. Get the democracy working by strengthening the present setup. No radical surgery, nothing. Just have some faith in it man. It is about the exact same leaders that come out of the (almost disgusting system for you) to rise up and say that every person is equal in the eyes of the state (yes another construct, but a damn good one, and probably the one that comes closest to absolute universal reality, if there is any. And no state is not independent of the society if it makes you feel better).

    This has happened umpteen times before in other nations, happens every single day in the closest example to Pakistan, India. But you choose to stick to your point again and again. And I will say it once more; this is an extremely dangerous slope. Why? It has been tried and tested before in Pakistani history, and so many other nations, to fail again and again.

    I have also pointed out that the emerging democracies in Brazil, Turkey, South Africa (since it falls on deaf ears of yours that European DNA is not exactly made to order for democracy, and they themselves came out of extremely vertically cleaved societies) are coming along once their leaders are getting it that stabilizing the society and not letting identities (regional, religious) not override the national discourse. This is a natural democratic evolution, and better democratic participation mostly results in stronger leaders working to strengthen what shows results; rule of law and increased society prosperity. Come on man, there are tons of empirical examples where your argument does not hold water. You started off by citing Bhutto, and now you are not touching Bhutto right now with a ten foot pole, because he was the worst example of your flawed argument.

    Yasser and I may be liberal elites (you love to throw around terms), but at least in our naive idealism, we are not losing sight of the fundamental factor that no identity disparity or vertical cleavage will override; that democracy is an evolutionary process and its voyage and end goals are exactly the same; equality of man in the eyes of law and defending this equality. We also realize that it is a mix of bottom up and top down approach, and that the process does not require putting societal identity matrices above everything else. Blame us all as drawing room visionaries; I have actually heard more watered down arguments of yours in drawing rooms. I am disappointed that in the name of democracy customization, you fail to notice its abject futility in the real world.

  136. You are right…i apologize to everyone i have offended. I think we were all caught up in the flare of the argument itself.

    I agree with most of what you’ve written. Strengthening democracy is very important especially in opposition to the various faultlines that we now see in our country. And it needs to be strengthened from the ground up.

    I will be the first person to admit to my mistakes in arguing this cause. And moreso i think i should stop all together because increasingly i am appearing to be a religious sympathizer or the supporter of a megalomaniac (neither of which i am). So yes lets take the few positives from this debate and see how we can move on forward with the various intricacies of our country.

    Sorry once again
    Regards
    Umair Javed

  137. yasserlatifhamdani

    Dear Umair,

    I am afraid I don’t see your point at all. None of what you’ve written … or what you think we’ve agreed upon can be taken to mean that what Bhutto did was smart democratic politics… that one should not confront the role of religion in the constitution… nor does it make it okay for the state to discriminate on the basis of faith.

    I am going to ask you this…. why did Khawaja Nazim uddin’s Muslim League ministry refuse to play ball with the Majlis-e-Ahrar and the Jamaat e Islami in 1953? Wasn’t the League in power on a Muslim identity platform?

    Read Hayyer’s comments above.

    BTW… you’ve won a number of fans on chowk’s unplugged… especially amongst those who describe themselves proudly as “Islamists” and “terrorists”.

  138. Dear Yasser,

    I clearly have given up…because i really have no other arguments left.

    I came to this post in hope of arguing a less insulated approach towards secularism. to offer the way of radical leftist politics to those who are confused on the constant mire that multiple identities have caused in this country.

    I stumbled upon Chowk.com and unfortunately my argument has been termed as religious. (which was never my agenda, im a completely non-religious person, i have denounced institutionalized islam because i am an ardent socialist).

    The League was in power on the platform of patronage (landlord patronage), that is another form of identity manipulation that any sort of secularism needs to deal with. For every Nazimuddin who was secular, you have one Bhutto or Nawaz Sharif who would gladly associate himself with the Jamaat. Such is the complexity of the system itself.

    Now as far as Bhutto being smart and democratic is concerned, you claim he was a manipulator who turned everyone into fools. Then i take my statement back and label him as cunning instead of smart. How do you prevent people from manipulating and using identities to their advantage? And how do you enable people to stop responding to such identities.

    I dont know if you’re familiar with the writings of Aasim Sajjad, but he is where i get most of my thought-process from.

    Confronting Islam means giving reactionary asses like the Jamaat fuel for fire (precisely because of the 62 year history that this country has had). Side-stepping or underplaying Islam (as it would be possible through leftist politics at the grass-roots level) would allow you more space to work the system to your advantage. that is my argument

    Now you can proceed to rip it apart

    Regards
    Umair Javed

    p.s. no hard feelings man…im just looking for a place to flex the brain tissue

  139. AZW

    Umair:

    Now as far as Bhutto being smart and democratic is concerned, you claim he was a manipulator who turned everyone into fools. Then i take my statement back and label him as cunning instead of smart. How do you prevent people from manipulating and using identities to their advantage? And how do you enable people to stop responding to such identities?

    No this is perfectly valid point. And it is my humble opinion that there is no magic antidote that will always prevent it. A secular leader can run amok in a nation and bring everything down with him. This is why I don’t think that secularism is the progenitor of an equal society; it is rather a down the road end product. But first the society has to get used to democracy, how much imperfect and messy it sounds.

    That I am putting faith in an democratic evolution may sound extremely naive. I fully realize that it may or may not happen in a few years. That democracy’s messiness overwhelms the democracy itself a lot of times. But I know that any benevolent attitude towards a customized form of democracy to cater to various identities has been extremely disastrous, and ends up hurting democracy more than not. Maybe this is why democracy is so messed up in Pakistan. The setbacks in the 1950s resulted in Ayub Khan proclaiming his own version of Pakistan specific democracy for the next 10 years. Interestingly, if Mujib was allowed to rule from Dhaka, we may have prevented the horrors of the next thirty years that Pakistan has faced. Note that democracy did not suppress the regional identity in the 1970 elections; suppressing the democratic procedure resulted in suppressing the identities themselves.

    I honestly do not know when the democratic process will become self sustainable in Pakistan and start producing more visionary leaders than we currently have. But I am realistic enough to know that the current leaders are still the best we have, and any more socio-economic revolution will put us back another few decades. That I put faith in a party of Bhutto’s son-in-law is my acceptance of the imperfection of this world, and working with what we have, rather than trying to construct yet another version of democracy in Pakistan.

    And please do contribute to PTH more. It has been quite a vigorous debate so far; quite theoretical, but made me appreciate how fragile our current democracy is, and how elusive the end goals are. But if we do not acknowledge the fragility of the system, and realize that despite its faults it is still worth fighting for, it will never stand by itself. All of us, have to make our efforts, no matter how little they are to let the system evolve without putting it to yet another major surgical procedure.

  140. AZW

    Erratum:

    Interestingly, if Mujib was allowed to rule from Dhaka, we may have prevented the horrors of the next thirty years that Pakistan has faced

    Make it thirty eight and counting. Hopefully not for long though.

  141. yasserlatifhamdani

    Dear Umair,

    To be fair there are other people who have taken your point of view in a different light as well…But over all… on chowk your argument is being seen with the anti-YLH lens on both sides… which sadly is another identity you’ll have to contend with… you might even use it to your advantage.

    Reading your last post has made me change my view of you…we may not agree on everything but atleast you are ready to step back and reconsider now that you’ve seen how your own argument is open to misinterpretation.

    I don’t think we ever disagreed on the nitty gritty … but it was your comment about Bhutto that upset me because we have gone down that road before.

    I think we understand each other’s position better. My reference to Nazimuddin btw was not that he was secular but that the state was logical enough to reject a fanatical demand… a fanatical demand that secular Bhutto was unable to resist.

    Honestly I am not in it for academic reasons. My concern is simply to see the discrimination against minorities end. As a Pakistani, I feel slighted to see my country, my constitution discriminate against people because of their faith … or because of their gender.

    There are other class reasons as well that you can guess. Chalo ab ghussa thooko. I accept your apology that you rendered vis a vis the personal attacks and reciprocrate with a similar apology from my side.

    I also second AZW’s invitation for you to contribute here.

  142. Good Lord, this is an intense but thoroughly illuminating debate except for the personal attacks. Umair, I second what AZW has said – you shgould contribute more and do not take YLH’s comment as personal attacks. His views are firmly grounded in his readings and insightful analysis even though he is not an academic. And, I for all the problems with Yasser’s style, strongly support his discourse as it is free of academic monopolies. His views are original and even though I disagree with him from time to time, I am impressed with the rigour with which he has arrived at a certain point of view.

    I take strong exception to what AAENA has stated above. First of all, you are not revealing your identity which is not a very fair thing.

    Secondly, PTH is not in competition with any other blog – it is a unique space for all its highs and lows.

    Thirdly, Yasser does not FORCE his views. He argues with force and is one of the most well-read persons I know. I disagree with him on his style and I am on record on various threads on this cyberzine.

    But this personal attack is unwarranted. UJ is a grown up adult and he can make his choices. Stop being so patronising…

  143. Sir, i think its time i take you up on your advice to write more on the things that matter…i have my blog as well which is more academic in nature but does discuss some of the arguments that i have mentioned above.

    I believe the desired result of secularism remains the wish of all of us here, but the approaches to obtain it remain radically different.

    I hope we can continue to have such enlightening debates on such topics at this forum.

    Regards
    Umair

  144. hoss

    hayyer
    January 31, 2010 at 7:01 pm
    “Since India is invoked let me point out that India did not go through a long and arduous process to get where it is. It was mostly top down with a urban educated middle class to support it.”

    India was not invoked by me. What I said was that the INC had a history of supporting the secularism before the partition and it was not possible for Nehru to ignore that whole plank after the independence. So the Congress already had a mandate to incorporate secularism in the national discourse. Therefore, I don’t think that it was a top down effort or an idea that one person imposed on the nation like Ataturk did. Yes, there was opposition to secularism within and outside the congress party but the congress had enough support to move forward with the ideals of secularism. The setbacks need more studies but generally I disagree that the failure is at the lower level of the society, it is in the middle and at the top. How the votes are gathered has very little impact on the overall polity.

    “One may want the idea to evolve as it did in the west-but does want to go through the pain of some centuries of conflict as in Europe. Why reinvent the wheel? Top down and borrowed is better as well as instant.”

    This is a simplistic. We are talking in Pakistan’s context and the situation in Pakistan is entirely different than say India and Europe. The Top down approach in Pakistan would never work for the simple reason that the state is controlled by elements who consider secularism as an attack on the State itself. I don’t think you need more on this subject to figure out what I am saying.
    I would go one step further and say that had Jinnah explicitly gone with the secularism in 1947-48, he would have been overridden, if not right away, immediately after his death. Jinnah and Muslim League had no mandate nor was secularism ever part of their platform. I doubt that it even occurred to Jinnah or the Muslim League that secularism would be such an important issue for Pakistan in the years to come.
    Jinnah did say a few things here and there but I seriously doubt that he was advocating secularism as state policy.

    In Pakistan’s context wheel has to be invented. Pakistan State is evolved differently than India. Any attempt to establish secularism from the top would mean a civil war in Pakistan. Politically, secularism in Pakistan is now tied with the peoples right in Pakistan; people’s rights include the rights of ethnic, religious as well as subnational minority’s rights. Yes, I am talking about the Baloch, the Sindhis and the Pathan. The struggle in Pakistan is basically a struggle for democratic rights and secularism is part of that struggle and not something that can be forced from the top.

    If Pakistan is able to establish a viable democracy, secularism would follow.

  145. hoss

    Why this I-am-a-moderator baton is being shown here? If you think it is not right to disagree with you then came out and say it or stop writing that you are a moderator. The problem clearly appears that you are not ready to accept the new ideas or ideas that are different than yours. (There is nothing new in what Umair wrote or what I write; it is new to you because you have never been exposed to ideas different than yours.)
    “Unfortunately, it shows that you are not reading this forum very well.”
    AZW, frankly it is hard to read your rambling thoughts that are full of ridiculous ideas that are nor here nor there. I don’t have to but you can look up your many posts that show exactly what your ideas are all about. Your liberalism is that of a child who just wants to repeat the words but have no inclination to actually learn what it means. No one here is talking about a revolution and no one presenting ideas that are new. All I am doing presenting my ideas on this forum. If you don’t like them, say it, I will not show up here again.

    Frankly, I am just as pissed at the way YHL responded to Umair in the initial stages of the discussion. As a moderator you need to show more maturity, restrain, and tolerance than an average poster. If you want people to express their opinions you need to be ready to deal with counter-arguments with dignity instead of name calling and abuse.

    AZW, your tone also not civil to him just because he did not agree with your over the top ramblings.

  146. hoss

    Sorry for the errors in the previous posts. I just did not have time to edit them.

  147. hoss

    Mujamadar,

    I agree with Yasser. Please don’t bring that cesspool of filth in this forum.

    One of things that I regret in my life was interacting there. Though, I did meet some people there, who would probably remain my friends for life.

  148. AZW

    Hoss:

    Feel free to ignore my ramblings and over the top analysis. Just don’t put words in my mouth that are not just untrue, but run smack against everything I believe in. This is with reference to what you said in a comment” or believe that someone would come and change the things ala AZW believes”.

  149. Hayyer,
    “Since India is invoked let me point out that India did not go through a long and arduous process to get where it is. It was mostly top down with a urban educated middle class to support it.”

    In addition to the point made by hoss, I think one must realize that the state is not the only agency that can ‘make a society more secular’. Other agencies, notably the media have also played a part, both in showing a secular vision of the nation and serving the interests of the right wing. On the whole though, I would argue that the Indian cinema and television media has tended to support the more secular principles of the Consti.

  150. updike

    YOU CANNOT OVERTLY CONFRONT RELIGION IN PAKISTAN.

    In this statement it becomes clear that a confrontation is necessary and may soon be unavoidable. How long can a society, especially the younger generation, live in hypocrisy? How can a 7th century arab tribal ideology be imposed on 21st century Sindhu valley people? A few good ideas being used to camouflage an ideology that is basically fascistic in its methods and goals – is it not necessary to expose that reject it?

  151. Rajesh Chotani

    ” Sadly he too was from Sindh and his wife is buried in a shia graveyard in Mumbai. In his own Pakistan, he would either have been hanged or shot dead by your jihadis.”

    I was referring to Jinnah and if he was alive today. However, his Nawabzada sycophant probably made sure that the ailing leader was marginalized as he went about grabbing power, building his constituency in Karachi and laying the foundations of a theocracy in Pakistan by that famous Objectives Resolution.

  152. vajra

    Where would a Chotani be from?

  153. AAENA

    and where would be a vajra be from?

  154. AAENA

    and where would a vajra be from?

  155. vajra

    @AAENA

    From East Bengal, from close to the village of Vajrayogini, which was Atisha Dipankar’s village.

  156. yasserlatifhamdani

    Rajesh Chotani,

    The only thing confused and naïve here are your comments. I write as an ex-Bhutto admirer and a confirmed PPP voter. No we are not blaming Bhutto for 1971 atleast not here. We are blaming Bhutto for betraying his secular mandate by first creating a theocratic constitution and second excommunicating the Ahmaddiya sect… none of which he was mandated to do.
    Your comments about Jinnah smack of ignorance of the worst kind. Why Jinnah – the best ambassador of Hindu Muslim unity- opted for a separate Pakistan is subject of many books …including the latest one by Shri Jaswant Singh. You obviously have no clue. I don’t want to get onto a tangent but I don’t agree with your opinion of Azad or Bacha Khan both of whom we’ve discussed in detail.

    Suffice to say the relevance of Jinnah is not derived as a secular lawyer than he was …but that he is the unquestionable founding father of Pakistan. Jinnah alone stands in the way of the complete whitewash by those who want to impose the bogus “nazaria e Pakistan” on us. Let us not forget that in 1970 the people of Pakistan voted decisively for secular parties over theocratic parties. Then the secular Bhutto went onto make Pakistan a theocracy…so it is clear that Bhutto is to blame for a lot of things which people like ought to start accepting.

    Even the ANP – Bacha Khan’s own- refers to Jinnah everytime it wants to bring up the idea of a secular Pakistan.

    As for the PPP government both Adnan and I …and the author of this piece raza rumi suoport him against the current vindictive turn by the Punjabi bourgeoisie…so why don’t you stop mixing issues.

    Hoss,

    The absence of a religious course is secularism. The appointment of a Hindu law minister is secularism. I think Jinnah always had an idea. You should read Adnan’s well written series on the issue.

  157. yasserlatifhamdani

    Also …rajesh mian, Jinnah did not take Mohatta Palace as his own property…it was acquired by the state under the Land Acquisition Act of 1894. The businessman was offered fair price for it but he said he didn’t want to part with it. When Jinnah refused to intervene at his request, he considered that an insult and signed it away as “gift” to the government of Pakistan.

    It was in the mid 50s that the government acquired Fatima Jinnah’s Flagstaff house and the state gave her Mohatta Palace as compensation. You can have a legitimate point of view but why must people like you distort history?

  158. yasserlatifhamdani

    Vajra has raised a good point. We would have to see the IP addresses for this guy. He seems like a Pipliya acting as an Indian.

    No Indian would ever praise a rabid India-baiter like Bhutto in this manner.

  159. yasserlatifhamdani

    The user posting as Rajesh Chotani is not an Indian and is using Pakistan’s masking Transworld IP which he shares with me and Raza and a whole lot of other people.

    Therefore as per the rules Rajesh mian’s ridiculous post is being discarded. He is on the dot about the Objectives Resolution though.

  160. hoss

    “The appointment of a Hindu law minister is secularism.”

    There are lots of things that make good sound bites but they have no real value. Hiring a Hindu Minister does not prove anyone’s secular credentials. So lay off it.

    I am sure Gen. Zia had couple of minority ministers, what does that prove?

    Jinnah’s appointment of a minister only proves that he actually denied proper representation to the minorities in his cabinet. Just to let you know that minority % in 1947 was 10-15% in ’47 Pakistan. His cabinet only had one minority minister so he actually failed to provide proper representation to the minorities in Pakistan.

    I wrote earlier that secularism was not Jinnah’s politics even tho he harbored no religious superiority claims.

    Btw, Secularism has very little to do with religions or appointing a minister from different religion. It has more to do with level of tolerance you develop and encourage in the state’s spheres of influence. You don’t have to write secularism in the constitution to be a secular state.

  161. Sadia Hussain

    Sindhi cap, Punjabi pugari or well endowed “maswak”! What difference does it make? What worries me are the British council results as the nationalistic identify is compromised over religious affiliation and over 50% in fact did show their confidence in religious seminaries is matter of grave concern.

  162. yasserlatifhamdani

    Hoss uncle,

    I know you are not forthcoming to logical discourse these days but consider the following:

    1. Mandal was one of 7 ministers in Jinnah’s cabinet. Plus he held two portfolios- law and labor. Let us divide 1 by 7 …what is the percentage?

    2. The issue was not that Mandal was a minority but that Islamic state would not have a Hindu law minister. Which Islamic state has a Hindu law minister?

    3. Then you prove my point when you negate your own earlier point about secularism as an agenda by saying that secularism does not require its definite positive statement. This is what I said when I said that Jinnah’s agenda was secular because he kept religious expression out resolutions and official documents both in the League and post 1947 till his death.

    Next time get your calculations right. Also the facts and logic.

  163. yasserlatifhamdani

    Now Hoss uncle will disappear in the shadows again and claim 10 days later that what I said was bogus …

  164. hoss

    Was Pakistan a Islamic state when Mandal joined as minister?

    Let me repeat that again whatever you say about Jinnah’s secularism is bogus. He never set out to make Pakistan a secular state.
    Pakistan was operating under India act of 1935 and there was no mention of secularism in that document. The act actually called for separate electorate and it was retained by Jinnah. Did Jinnah ever say that separate electorate does not apply in Pakistan any more?
    Jinnah is totally irrelevant as for as secularism is concerned.

    Your sound bites are just that.

  165. yasserlatifhamdani

    Dear Uncle,

    At 9:21 pm you write: You don’t have to write secularism in the constitution to be a secular state.

    At 1:41 am you write: Pakistan was operating under India act of 1935 and there was no mention of secularism in that document

    First you say you don’t have to mention secularism to be secular… now you say Government of India Act 1935 was not secular because it did not mention the word secularism in it. What constitution existed in India in 1948? Oh wait it was the same GOIA 1935. Oh damn… did uncle ji tie himself up in another knot.

    Those familiar with Jinnah’s politics know that he had only reluctantly accepted the principle of separate electorate in United India … after having opposed it when it was first instituted and having tried to convince the right wing conservative section of the Muslim political leadership to trade it in for other benefits. Even if you read the famed point 5 of the 14 points it has a clear route for abandonment of separate electorate for joint electorate.

    So I am afraid it does not quite follow that because Pakistan like India adopted GOIA 1935 as an interim constitution… Pakistan was not going to be a secular state.

    Then you ask me : Was Pakistan a Islamic state when Mandal joined as minister?

    No it wasn’t. And what did Mandal’s appointment as the law minister show ? That it wasn’t going to be either…atleast not in the mind of the man being hailed as the father of the nation.

    Jinnah will forever remain a source of strength to secularists and a bullwark against those who wish to appropriate the Pakistan Movement in their impose Islam project in Pakistan. This is his relevance to secularists in Pakistan… the real ones in any event.

    By the way have you managed to calculate the percentage that 1 out of 7 is yet or not?

    My dear uncle ji… you are completely irrelevant to Pakistan. Stick to doing whatever it is that you do in the US and stop bothering us with your inane and rather mediocre analyses (which can appeal only to third rate below average Hindu fanatics like your old friend Alephnull).

  166. yasserlatifhamdani

    Dear Kashifiat,

    I read that article with interest…. ironically it only proves that Jinnah wanted a secular state more than it proves otherwise. For example the author writes:

    “Quaid-i-Azam’s vision of Pakistan is very clear: he wanted Pakistan to be modern, progressive, dynamic, forward looking and a democratic country with equal rights for all its citizens irrespective of their casts, creed or religion.”

    This defines only a secular state….I am surprised by how far Moin Ansari actually inadvertently admits that Pakistan was meant to be a secular state… at another point Moin says that Jinnah wanted personal faith of a citizen to be his personal matter.

    As for Pakistan ka matlab kiya… Jinnah himself said “neither me nor the Muslim working committee ever passed a resolution pakistan ka matlab kiya… you may have done so to catch a few votes”.

    When Moin admits that Jinnah wanted faith to be the personal matter and wanted Pakistan to be a dynamic progressive country based on equal rights… he is admitting that Jinnah wanted a secular democratic state….

  167. AAENA

    batmizi ki bhi koi hadd hoti hai, ylh mian.

  168. hoss

    You are just wasting my time right now because you don’t even understand the context of these two statements.

    At 9:21 pm you write: You don’t have to write secularism in the constitution to be a secular state.

    At 1:41 am you write: Pakistan was operating under India act of 1935 and there was no mention of secularism in that document

    Did I say the 1935 act was secular anywhere? I just mentioned that Pakistan was still operating under 1935 which had separate electorate. Did Jinnah at anytime until he died mentioned anything that the legislative assembly in Pakistan should change that or adopt 1935 act without those articles in it?

    What 14 points have to with a debate that concern Pakistan? Jinnah was an mbassador of Hindu Muslim unity in 1920, was he the same in 1940?

    I am really tired of these sound bites. If you want me to go on and puncture your personality cult bubble, I will gladly do that.

    Now about percentage I don’t want to make it a childish debate but starting cabinets usually have less numbers but ministers are added later on. What was the number of numbers in 1948 in the cabinet when he died and how many were from minority?

    I am not comparing myself with Jinnah so my relevance does not matter, Jinnah’s relevancy matters to only those that are still shilling for the army and the establishment.

    Final words as I have no intention to debate issues with kids.

    Jinnah was as much an opportunist in his later politics as ZAB and Mujib were in their prime.

    Jinnah was a politician like Nehru, Gandhi, ZAB and Mujib were. There was nothing in his politics that can inspire some folks to become his camp followers.

    When you turn him into a cult figure, you are merely following the Sufi traditions or the religious edicts that make one go to the mazars and worship a dead person. Lay off this personality cult style of debate.

    The guy is dead get over it. Before I forget, Jinnah tried to wriggle out of the 1940 resolution when he made the ML council to pass 1946 resolution in a closed session.

    He was really lucky that he died early, otherwise he would have been a victim of military coup or would have been shot like Liaquat was. He had no clue how the tribal politics in Pakistan was practiced at that time.

    You will be ready for a serious debate, when you have purged yourself of the nonsensical personality cult usually practiced by political neophytes.
    Thank you very much.

  169. hoss

    What was the number of numbers in 1948

    number of ministers….

  170. swapnavasavdutta

    Has any political leader from the majority community belonging to a major political party
    (not someone from minority community)
    advocated to make Pakistan secular (has anybody
    used that word specifically) as envisioned by
    Jinnah since Jinnah’s demise?

  171. updike

    Jinnah lost his chance when he failed to write a publicly-made-and-published political will in clear unambiguous words about secularism, about restoring the hindu population component in Pakistan (West and East), about Pakistan having made a grave mistake and sin in carrying out an armed invasion and introducing violence in the Kashmir question in Sept. 1947 etc.

    He knew he had not long to live. He knew he had said contradictory or opportunistic things in the past in order to transform his idea of Pakistan into reality. He knew that his legacy was still not confirmed or well-entrenched in the new pakistani context post-1947. As a lawyer he should have taken measures to clarify and present an impeccable case of his final ideas about real-existing Pakistan after 1947 (not the imaginary Pakistan pre-1947). As an experienced lawyer he should have known what leads to confusions – and what confusions lead to.

    JINNAH FAILED MISERABLY AFTER 1947. The year 1948 was one not only of his physical demise but also of his total lack of political intelligence and wisdom, of total political failure and downfall.

    Resurrecting Jinnah makes positive sense only if this fact is not silenced over. Making a cult out of him will bring forth new political dangers.

    Leaving behind ambiguities and contradictions is the worst thing that a leader can do. In fact, even Mohammad, the 7th century strongman of islam, did this terrible mistake. Mohammad (Ali Jinnah)’s performance is no better. Whatever their good achievements (real or imaginary), they left behind confusions and contradictions which need to be inspected and discussed publicly.

  172. AZW

    Hoss:

    You: In Pakistan’s context wheel has to be invented. Pakistan State is evolved differently than India. Any attempt to establish secularism from the top would mean a civil war in Pakistan. Politically, secularism in Pakistan is now tied with the peoples right in Pakistan; people’s rights include the rights of ethnic, religious as well as subnational minority’s rights. Yes, I am talking about the Baloch, the Sindhis and the Pathan. The struggle in Pakistan is basically a struggle for democratic rights and secularism is part of that struggle and not something that can be forced from the top

    You have a bad combination of paranoid thinking and ill temper. I have seen enough of your ideas on how Pakistan needs to be treated, how Afghanistan needs to treated, how Jinnah is completely irrelevant, and how wheel needs to be reinvented for Pakistan to realize that you are firm in your all over the place beliefs. No one is going to change the world or win any awards by arguing with you; but you act like a maven on this forum and once challenged, quickly start muttering that you aint’t talking to kids philosophy, or how irrelevant and bogus the other arguments are. Here are a few gems by you yet again:

    1) You: In Pakistan’s context wheel has to be reinvented.

    Thank you for the grand idea for the poor Pakistanis. Now reinventing the wheel, is it a bottom up approach or a top down approach? And who will reinvent the wheel? And who has the mandate to reinvent the wheel? Do inform the attentive nation for your grand remedy.

    2) You: Any attempt to establish secularism from the top would mean a civil war in Pakistan. Politically, secularism in Pakistan is now tied with people’s right in Pakistan; people’s rights include the rights of ethnic, religious as well as subnational minority’s rights

    Again in your fine analysis, in the first sentence, secularism does seem like a horrible idea. The second sentence makes it seem like Pakistan’s definition of secularism makes it imperative to have. But you proclaim you are only pointing out that top down secularism is a horrible idea. But then we have been shouting for a long time on the forum that secularism is a dandy idea, but for Pakistan what is imperative is to strengthen the present democratic setup first. Let democracy go on; with its current imperfections it is our best hope, period. How about working with the current system first, rather than employing another grand reinvention of the poor wheel?

    How in the world are the multi faceted Pakistani identities disregarded by the current democracy? Who in the world is asking to impose the God’s greatest gift called secularizm (sic) on the Pakistani society. Who is saying that let it be ordained that Second Constitutional Amendment by expunged herewith because we shout against it on PTH so much? It all has to work through the democratic system. If Parliament doesn’t rescind Second Amendment, that’s fine. We surely do not agree with it, but we absolutely do not want it abolished any way other than the Parliament. Equality of man has to be a constitutional step, and unless you have a narrow and parochial view of religious identity in Pakistan, the supposedly conservative society has never allowed sectarian or religious parties more than 12% votes in any election. Give this illiterate nation some credit for voting center or left for most of its existence. Why not work with the current setup. As for your deep concerns about the ethnic identities, for your information, a democracy will always throw a Punjabi majority in Pakistan; that’s unfortunate because Punjabis are in majority in Pakistan. And your ideas of finetuning democracy to cater to minority identities/rights will be even more disastrous. The last time Pakistan went against the clear democratic mandate of a majority province, it ended up being bifurcated. Your argument for Balochi, Sindhi and Pathans rights are valid: your prescription is however horrible.

    Are you just not tying yourself in knots coming up with grand ideas of this wheel reinvention?? And by the way you are not the first one in Pakistani history who said “Pakistan is unique, the wheel has to be reinvented for Pakistan”. Mind you, you are not in the most honorable company in that regard.

    3) You: He (Jinnah) was really lucky that he died early, otherwise he would have been a victim of military coup or would have been shot like Liaquat was

    How about making your case by analyzing how history as it was; not how it would have been in your mind.

  173. yasserlatifhamdani

    Dear hoss uncle,

    Both your statements are contradictory and it is obvious that you are now only sinking deeper.

    You may inform us what new ministers were added in the first cabinet till Jinnah’s death. Why must you proceed on conjecture? Were there more than 7 ministers in Jinnah’s cabinet?

    The point dear uncleji is that Jinnah remains a powerful defence against “pakistan islam kay naam pur hasil kiya giya”. Even your favorite ANP deploys Jinnah to this end. To qualify for this role Jinnah need not even have made a clear statement of secularism as on 11th August.

  174. hoss

    Bhatijay,
    You are down to really silly debate but just to let you know one famous person was added to the cabinet in Oct-Nov 1947 as Foreign Minister… do I have to write his name here? There may be more and obviously I have no time to search for the other ministers.

    Btw, you are setting the bar too low to qualify Jinnah as a secular leader. He might have one but the amir-ul momineen general Zia ul Haq had more than one non-Muslim ministers. May be coming generations would consider Zia a secular leader too. After all he was the President of the Islamic Republic and Jinnah was not!
    Another interesting tidbit to get you rolling again: Jinnah removed the 92A from the India Act to get a certain power (may be you know about that power too.) But he never removed the GOIA 1935 clauses that dealt with separate electorate. How is that for juices going again?

    AZW,
    Since when it is my fault that you can’t understand what I write and the topics I write about. It is not my job to educate you. There are people out there who understand me and I am fine with that.

    If you have something you want to know, ask politely.

  175. hoss

    Do I care what ANP does? I am not ANP or Ghaffar Khan groupie. I criticize and praise them on case to case basis.

    A word of advice: never use Jinnah as reference for secularism. There are people out there who would chew your arguments up and turn them in to jokes before spitting out.

    Jinnah got Pakistan an almost impossibility and that is enough praise for him. Beyond that he was just a better politician than Gandhi and Nehru and other riffraff combined.

  176. hoss

    I was reading up something about the Israel-Palestine conflict and I saw a famous epigraph from Theodore Herzl’s Novel Old-New Land. It reads, “ “Im tirzu, ein zu agaddah,” “If you will it, it is no dream,”

    I think some people need to continue to will democracy in Pakistan and it will not be a dream anymore, perhaps divine interference would help too.

    The mere mortals like us will continue to talk about the problems that are in the way of democracy in Pakistan.

  177. yasserlatifhamdani

    Uncle hoss ji,

    Your inability to understand a simple argument is baffling. An Islamic state does not deploy a non-Muslim as a law minister.

    Who was Zia’s law minister.

    Next time stay off the stiff drink before you argue like a dick.

    And thanks for the “tidbit”. Your legal knowledge about these clauses is even less than your other knowledge. Have some shame old man. You are way out of your depth on this one.

  178. yasserlatifhamdani

    PS the cabinet was 7 including Zafrulla. So you are basically wrong on all counts.

  179. hoss

    Yeah right. Come right down to your abuses. Zafarullah was sworn in Oct or Nov 47. Simple info you can google it too. But you will not be YLH, if you agree to something that cuts through your arguments like stiletto.
    This was the first cabinet:
    Sardar Abdur Rub Nishtar, Raja Ghazanfar Ali Khan, Fazalur Rehman, I.I. Cundrigar, Ghulam Muhammad, Jogindarnath Mindal
    Of course Liaquat ali was Foreign minister too until that post was given to you-know-who in Oct-Nov 47.
    What is so exalted about Law Minister? If you are implying that Law Ministers make laws than you need to get another law degree.

    Little knowledge is an extremely
    dangerous thing.
    Time for you to learn something.

    You can continue your abuses. I have no time for you any more.

  180. yasserlatifhamdani

    Hoss mian,

    Including Zafrullah the cabinet totalled 7. What is the percentage 1/7 ?

    It is 15 percent. (Forget that Mandal held two portfolios that is more inconvenient.

    This is in response to your original argument that 10 to 15 percent minorities were underrepresented in Jinnah’s cabinet. I simply said that the total number of ministers in Jinnah’s cabinet were 7.

    You’ve now listed 7 ministers and are now abusing me for little knowledge.

    You need to take a basic class in logic.

    And while law ministers don’t make laws, wouldn’t it make sense for an Islamic state to have someone who knows Islamic law? Was Mandal proficient in Islamic law? No he wasn’t.

  181. hoss

    “wouldn’t it make sense for an Islamic state to have someone who knows Islamic law?”

    Will you continue being silly?
    Didn’t you agree that Pakistan was not a Islamic state when Jinnah was the GG?

    When they passed OR presented by the PM Liaquat, Mandal was let go.

  182. hoss

    I am glad that you finally concede that Zafarullah was added to the Cabinet later.

    There is more that will add to Jinnah’s secular credentials. He kept three or two Christian governors. He retained a Christian CnC too…. What a guy, What a guy, what a secularist! Man, he gave all juicy Positions to non-Muslims including the exalted position of the Law minister…. What a guy, Secularist to the core.

    Mandal was in the cabinet because he was a known as anti Gandhi before the partition and joined ML for some unknown reasons. He presence does not prove that Jinnah was secular, it proves that Jinnah had a despicable sense of (fill in the blank) to tease Gandhi.

  183. yasserlatifhamdani

    “I am glad that you finally concede that Zafarullah was added to the Cabinet later.”

    Ha ha. Hoss mian like I said.. I included Zafarulla in the 7 I mentioned earlier…. so the “additional” was in addition to 7. … by your logic till Zafrulla was added to the Cabinet…. minorities were represented as 1 over 6 (that is if we put aside the fact that Mandal had two portfolios… which would make it 2/6 – more complications for uncle Hoss) …1/6 is 16.5 percent which means the minorities were over represented. 2/6 means 33+ percent.

    Ofcourse I am well aware that Zafarulla became the foreign minister in December and I mentioned very clearly in my article on him. So what is your point? Does it change the fact 1/7 is 15 percent? or that you are completely wrong?

    Why don’t you stop creating strawmen and losing whatever little respect I have for you.

    “Didn’t you agree that Pakistan was not a Islamic state when Jinnah was the GG?”

    Ofcourse. Nor was it going to be according to Jinnah. That is Jinnah’s relevance to secularists even if we take out his clear pronouncement on the separation of church and state.

    “When they passed OR presented by the PM Liaquat, Mandal was let go.”

    Actually… it was in late 1950 that Mandal resigned and typed a rather long letter listing his grievances… in which Objectives Resolution was listed as a leading one.

    Just accept that you miscalculated and a foot in your mouth and be on your way.

  184. yasserlatifhamdani

    Another gem:

    “Mandal was in the cabinet because he was a known as anti Gandhi before the partition and joined ML for some unknown reasons. He presence does not prove that Jinnah was secular, it proves that Jinnah had a despicable sense of (fill in the blank) to tease Gandhi.”

    More little knowledge… you are making up things as you go along.

    Mandal was not known as anti-Gandhi in the least. His comrade B R Ambedkar was … but not Mandal.

    Nor did Mandal join the ML. Mandal was from the Schedule Caste federation. He was a nominee of the ML to the Interim government and that was done essentially to stake a claim on Assam …

    However…. Mandal being chosen to preside over the first session of Constituent Assembly of Pakistan and then being given the position of the law minister, was Jinnah’s message to the Islamic types that Pakistan was going to be a secular state.
    Same reason he got a Hindu poet to write Pakistan’s first national anthem.

  185. hoss

    Keep writing nonsense. You have nothing left. Zafarullah was not in the original 7 (including Liaquat) he was added in Nov or Dec.

    Why don’t you mention Jinnah’s keeping three or two Christian governors and One CnC? How come that is not a sign of his secularism but a Hindu minister is?
    I know you wanna have the last post, but you will not get that pleasure here!

  186. Majumdar

    Mandal was in the cabinet because he was a known as anti Gandhi before the partition and joined ML for some unknown reasons.

    It had little to do with the Gandhi actually. JNM hated upper caste Hindoos, he was the leader of the SCF and was allied to the AIML in the Bengal govt even before Partition. When 1947 happened he believed that Bong Dalits were better off with Muslims rather than upper caste Hindoos as neighbours and threw in his lot with AIML/Pak.

    He didnot quit or was expelled by AIML in the immediate aftermath of OR-49. He resigned in 1951 or 52 I believe and later ran off with his tail between his legs to Calcutta.

    Regards

  187. hoss

    “Mandal was not known as anti-Gandhi ”

    Elementary my dear Watson! Check his wiki page and I did not write it.
    Little knowledge is really dangerous!

  188. Majumdar

    JNM was not anti-Gandhi per se. He hated upper caste Hindoos and believed that Bong Dalits were better off with Muslims as neighbours than Hindoos. That is why he chose to allign his SCF with AIML on the Pakistan issue- even before that his party propped up the AIML ministries.

    Regards

  189. yasserlatifhamdani

    On the contrary you are the one writing nonsense. Jinnah only had 7 ministers ..and 1/7 is 15 percent. Go back to chowk where you belong.
    Mandal had 2 portfolios and that makes 2/7 according to your logic ..that makes a little less than 30 percent.

  190. hoss

    “Same reason he got a Hindu poet to write Pakistan’s first national anthem.”

    So that proves he was secular! Wow….What a secular man… He also had some Christian governors.
    Btw, do you really know anything about secularism or just make up stuff as you go?

  191. yasserlatifhamdani

    Hoss,

    Why don’t you stop acting like a jerk and realize that your strawman fallacies make no sense.

    1. I didn’t bring up the representation of minorities you did. My point was a non-muslim with no knowledge of Islamic law showed that Pakistan was not envisaged an Islamic state. You forgot to do your calculations and when I proved you wrong …you started whining about Zafrulla joining in december…which in any event is immaterial given that 7 was the number of ministers Jinnah had even after Zafrulla and further more even if it was as many as 10 minorities would not be underrepresented ..
    2. You then started whining about there being no mention of secularism after admitting earlier that secularism does not require positive mention but rather an absence of religious agenda.

    Now unless you can show that Jinnah allowed any Islamic legislation …you don’t have a point to counter mine. But you’ve already admitted that under Jinnah Pakistan was not an Islamic state…so why are you going in circles and wasting my time.

  192. yasserlatifhamdani

    “Wikipedia”

    Ok I rest my case.

  193. Majumdar

    JNM’s gripe was not with the Gandhi per se. He hated upper caste Hindoos. As leader of SCF he aligned his party closely with AIML govt in Bengal in 1937-46 and when Partition became inevitable he sided with AIML POV ‘cos in his opinion Bong Dalits were better off with Muslims as neighbour than caste Hindoos. We do not know for certain whether he recanted his belief after his shameful flight to Calcutta in 1951 (???).

    He may have disliked MKG but his alignment with AIML had nothing to do with that. Not only Assam, even Bengal’s accession to Pakistan may have been difficult without the SCF’s vote given the peculiar electoral arithmetic of the Bengal Assembly under the Communal Award scheme.

    Regards

  194. AZW

    Hoss:

    I hope you realize the criticism you have faced on this and many threads before on your sweeping statements point towards a systematic attitude where you make up your mind and try to justify it at all costs. You are unwilling to listen to any of us here, have shown a very subjective analysis streak and are becoming exceedingly defensive when your own words seem contradictory.

    It is however clear to all of us that you have a healthy attitude towards democracy in Pakistan, have no confused maniacal Pakistani Establishment mentality that is afraid of everything Indian, or looks for Pakistan’s salvation in the arms of religion. Pakistan is a diverse country with its own ethnic and provincial composition, and it is my (and many others here) view that many of Pakistan’s current problems are an unfortunate result of its identity crisis, compounded with bad governance and short term decision making throughout its history.

    While I completely agree with your statement that what Pakistan needs is democracy now, and secularism will flow itself, I have time and again found you taking some positions that are almost unthinkable for someone having such a healthy view of democratic and paranoid free Pakistan. You supported one of the rabid Pakistani nationalist journalists, Shireen Mazari when she irresponsibly accused a WSJ journalist of being a MOSSAD spy. Where SM stands and where you stand are miles apart ideologically. You quoted irresponsible journalism in West to somehow imply that two wrongs make it alright. Your previous statement about Afghanistan “Sure we care about democracy in Afghanistan, but we also care about foreign forces” could have been ripped out of a Pakistani ISI official handbook hell bent upon making sure that Pakistan doesn’t lose its influence in that country (unfortunately due to this thinking, exactly 2% of the Afghani population has a favourable view of our country).

    I am not going to quote how many times you have contradicted yourself on this thread about Jinnah and the unfortunate quote “For Pakistan, wheel has to be reinvented”. As I said, the world will not change one bit if you realize that your obstinacy hinders a person with a sharp mind. We are all prone to errors here; I hope you would not take this criticism personally. I will look forward to engaging with you more on other topics on PTH.

    If there is anything that comes out of this long thread is that on the crux of the matter, everyone agrees. Pakistan cannot survive without democracy. Pakistan’s various identities have no chance if another benevolent dictator comes to town to set things right and introduce his own version of grass roots democracy, enlightened democracy, basic democracy, or religious democracy. Whether it is top down or bottom up is really irrelevant right now because democracy in this country is living on a knife’s edge. Despite our differences with PPP, it is the elected party and needs to be allowed to do its job. While we cannot change the world at PTH here, it has been an enormous vehicle for personal growth for me in learning from all of the participants here. For ours sake, I hope we will keep the exchange of ideas going at this secluded corner on the World Wide Web.

    Regards,

    Adnan

  195. hoss

    AZW,
    “I hope you realize the criticism you have faced on this and many threads before on your sweeping statements point towards a systematic attitude”

    I can’t figure out where you are coming from. Why expressing my opinions is a systematic failure in me?
    My statements may appear to be sweeping to you perhaps because you have not studied the problem or can’t figure out what I mean. Is it your failure or mine? You need to understand that perhaps you’re not the audience that I am addressing. The simple way to deal with is to ask questioning politely instead of taking the position that you are always right and I have systematic failure. I call this attitude condescending.

    First you show, in our posts, extremely low knowledge of issues and then come back out claiming that since you don’t understand what I wrote is somehow my failure.

    “You supported one of the rabid Pakistani nationalist journalists, Shireen Mazari when she irresponsibly accused a WSJ journalist of being a MOSSAD spy. Where SM stands and where you stand are miles apart ideologically. You quoted irresponsible journalism in West to somehow imply that two wrongs make it alright.”

    The question was how much she was right. There’s a history and I showed some references from the past where CIA used journalists as agents. It is not about two wrongs, it is about her speculation that has a historical background. She might have been wrong but did anyone from the WSJ or anyone else including the journalist himself showed that she was wrong instead they called her Ann Coulter of Pakistan. What rubbish.

    There are certain reasons I consider Shirin more credible than Ann coulter or WSJ here. The thing that raises red flags about Shirin is her closeness to the establishment in Pakistan. It may be bad but it also shows that she is worth paying attention because she maybe saying things on someone’s behalf. She may not be an establishment mouthpiece per se, but she has shown incredible amount of insight in to the establishment’s thinking in the past. When she comes out swinging against one particular journalist (remember she did not have this opinion abt all foreign journalists.), there is a plausible reason to believe that she is more right than wrong. It is possible that the Journalist might have ruffled some feathers in Pakistan but if you read his work, it seems that he has not said anything that hasn’t been said earlier. So what was the reason she picked him or was prompted by someone in the establishment to pick this particular person for doing things in Pakistan that were not exactly within that journalist work.

    Obviously, I don’t expect a completely uninformed person like you to think about the whole background, but some out there who pay attention to things won’t waste their time in looking at moral issues before thinking of the reasons about what she said and how credible her word is in a situation like this. And simply looking at her background she was more credible in this particular issue than anyone else who called her Ann Coulter of Pakistan.

    I have written more than enough on this already and it is not my fault if you can’t figure things out by reading and understanding where people come from.

    “Your previous statement about Afghanistan “Sure we care about democracy in Afghanistan, but we also care about foreign forces”

    Can you explain why only ISI can think of this? Your statement, if not entirely risible, shows how ridiculous you are in your approach.
    I would seriously like to hear what is wrong with this statement.

    I still can’t figure out why Jinnah is considered more than a politician. He was just that. Some are better and others are not but there is no reason to worship any politician. I have not contradicted myself on any Jinnah related issue. Please elaborate on this before making asinine statements.

    Jinnah had a forty years political history and he contradicted himself plenty of times. If there is any contradiction, it is because his own changing political stands and beliefs. Any objective analysis would show that he was not consistent on many issues. Discussing him on this small forum, one tends to skip many details assuming that the other person already has knowledge of the details.

  196. hoss

    Btw, It is not enough to claim that I have some failure, you need to show by our arguments and correct references that I was incorrect. Your inability to discuss issue shows your own lack of knowledge. You approach is that of a mullah who pontificates but has no stomach for differing opinions.

  197. AZW

    Relax Hoss, stop taking things personally and start feeling threatened immediately. It is a discussion forum, and you will be pointed out when you keep contradicting yourself. You get offended quickly and go a bit below the belt; I gather we (and I suspect you) can’t do anything about that. But at the bare minimum you need to stop putting words in other people’s mouth if what they say is not what you hear. What needed to be said has been said already at this thread, so cool it off. See you on next thread at PTH.

  198. hoss

    Yeah right after writing inane stuff, you again find that I am the guilty party, get over this mullah complex.

    You have again failed to respond to my post & decided to blame me for taking your arguments apart. And I have not put words in anyone’s mouth. Your whole take on this forum is that Farishtay would come to resolve issues.
    What I wrote was consistent with your approach not your exact words. But that would be hard for you to figure out with your literalness and simplistic approach on issues.

  199. AZW

    Hoss:

    What we have here is the failure to communicate

    Yes it is clear that I have failed to respond to your posts. I have failed to do that over this whole thread and many before. Do you honestly need me to try that again? Not a chance. I perfectly understand that the literal and simplistic approach is not cutting with you. So you can repeat the same thing over and over again here, or we get to hear your finely tuned analysis on another thread on PTH.

    You do need to cool it off. It seems though that you like to have last words in discussions, and if that’s why you are pulling an Updike one here, beginning to repeat the same sentences again and again, I will gladly give you the center stage. Have a blast!!

  200. YLH

    AZW,

    It occurs to me that perhaps our leftists buddies like our Islamists pals have a different idea of secularism…

    In so far as I am concerned… my entire objective as a practitioner of this legal system is to see the following principles expressed in the constitution … in this order:

    1. State’s Impartiality to all citizens inter alia all communities and faiths.

    2. Complete legal equality for everyone regardless of the various distinguishing characteristics.

    3. State’s freedom from encumberances of a divine or from magical thinking.

    4. No state religion.

    This is what I mean by secularism and it is for this purpose I invoke Jinnah because as the father of the nation he expressed these principles clearly. Whether uncle Hoss likes it or not… the fact is that that the Mullahs will always cite Islam as the raison d’ etre of Pakistan… and whether uncle Hoss likes it or not…a large majority of secularists – even those who don’t admire Jinnah or disagree with him- will point to Jinnah and say that wasn’t so.

    Now I am not interested in any fancy theories about secularization – my concern is not to make people faithless or atheists or to divorce them from spirituality … that is their personal business though I see the march of humanity in that direction.

    My concern – as a constitutionalist – is confined to those four points… and as far I am concerned, umair javed and hoss can take a hike.

  201. hoss

    There was no need to bring me back in to this conversation that you can easily have with AZW. But since you have chosen to, I will respond to it.

    My initial and consistent point has always been that no one buys Jinnah as the apostle of secularism in Pakistan. Pakistan has four provinces and in three of them, Jinnah is considered a symbol of establishment and not of anything else. Also the liberal community in Punjab-very small in numbers- also is not convinced that Jinnah ever had the secular credentials either in the united India or the partitioned India. Some may pay lip service to Jinnah to get in the news but even they would balk at the idea of getting behind Jinnah to secularize the Pakistani State.

    Both Sindh and Baluchistan have consistently been electing representatives that are more secular than what is thrown in from Punjab. So far the Punjab has been winning the numbers game but before secularism, Pakistan will have to decide whether it is a federation of the willing or the federation by force.

    Without a true federation there is no chance of democracy in Pakistan, and w/o democracy there is no chance of secularism in Pakistan. Jinnah does not come in to any picture at all. If at all, he will again be invoked as the champion of the center by the establishment.

    Secularism is part of democracy. Once democracy is established or Pakistan progresses beyond just the civilian rule, secularism would follow.

    What you are talking about is equal rights to all religions. These are human rights. A country does not have to be explicitly secular before these rights become part of the constitution.

  202. vajra

    @hoss

    Frankly, I am hesitant to butt into a dialogue that is going on with such conviction on each side about the rightness of its stand. It is also a matter which is so close to the definition of the core of a nation that misunderstanding an interjection is unfortunately only too easy. I can only request both you and YLH to assume goodwill on my part before reading on.

    It doesn’t seem to me that there is such a huge gap between your positions as to lead to such desperately fought encounters as we have seen recently. Very exciting, but not clearly necessary.

    YLH has always made it clear that his views on the matter are linked to Jinnah’s original position on secularism. It is not so much an insistence on Jinnah being the sole arbiter of the dialogue between secularism and a religion-oriented view of the state, as the foundation of the state today, whatever it is today, having been intended by a key architect of that state to be secular in all aspects, while still favouring the free development of the Muslim personality.

    This does not seem incompatible with your stand that today Jinnah is seen differently, as a pillar of the establishment, and due to an induction by the establishment of him, his personality and his views over the last 60 years, it has become difficult for him to be a symbol of secular forces now; he has been co-opted by the conservatives, who don’t want a debate on secularism versus the religious ideal, but who want to muddle along, leaving out all kinds of dialogue that might endanger their established position.

    Please correct me if I am wrong. It is known that YLH favours the powerful iconic qualities of the Jinnah charisma to back the secular movement, especially due to Jinnah’s unmistakable and clear views at that original time of foundation; it is equally clear that you are of the opinion that a lot of water has flowed under the bridge, and this is no longer feasible.

    Second, on the question of the ethnic balance. I am not sure that any one in particular has been dogmatic about Punjabi supremacy; in fact, this kind of favouring a section of the population over others seems alien to the philosophy articulated and whatever has been advocated on other matters so far.

    Whether anyone would go so far as to join you in thinking that the provinces are key to the intricately, inextricably linked questions of democracy and secularism, to retain the sequence in which you perceive them, is another matter. I suspect that many are unwilling to accompany you on this part of your journey, with the very strong stuff that you recommend for the legitimation of the state. This freedom to secede is a curious matter, and keeps cropping up in all unions that have taken place throughout constitutional or legalised history, and you will agree that there is no uniform response.

    You may have to allow others a little room for retreat with regard to your very strict prescription; it may be good medicine, it certainly is strong medicine. It is superfluous to add that my national and state affiliations have a lot to do with my perceptions, and my plea to you to cut those not firmly with you some slack, indeed, a lot of slack.

    These, the question of how to re-introduce the secular motif, and the question of the dependency of the state on the whims and fancies of one preponderant province, or a more desirable arrangement that transfers to this state and makes a live guardian of the interest of the citizen the care and concern for the minority that was seen to be absent in the majority 60 years ago, are perhaps the major points on which you seemingly differ. Forgive me if I am being obtuse, and you have been among the successful in detecting this condition, but it does seem to me sometimes that your positions are far more similar than you wish to believe.

  203. YLH

    Vajra,

    Thanks … but I doubt you’ll make headway with this fellow.

    Hoss mian,

    I am not interested in your little theories anymore. You are clueless.

    As far as I am concerned the issue is simple- the Mullah says the raison d etre for Pakistan is Islam … hence all secular prescriptions are out of the question.

    The secularist answer to this is that Jinnah never said Pakistan’s rationale was Islam … and that on 11th August he expressly ruled out any role for religion in the state.

    Now I don’t care what symbol you think Jinnah is but I have always considered you quite clueless when it comes to Pakistani politics.

    Forget the “Punjabi” or “Urdu” liberal intelligentsia (including but not limited to names like Sibt-e-Hassan, Faiz etc) but even those “anti-establishment” politicians from the smaller provinces that have no love lost for Jinnah and don’t hold him in great esteem continue to point out that the same thing I have done above. Included in this are people Rasul bux Palijo, your Wali Khan, Mahmood Khan Achakzai etc… why only recently I quoted Haji Adeel… using the same argument. There is another article by Professor Ishtiaq Ahmed- an academic otherwise highly critical of Jinnah’s politics- which describes Jinnah as the central motif of secular politics in Pakistan.

    So before you come here and lecture me why don’t you ask them first? Why don’t you bring Wali Khan – the arch-small-province “anti-establishment” politician- back to life and ask him why he has dedicated an entire chapter to proving that Jinnah wanted a secular state?

    <I have the pleasure of quoting it for your benefit:

    According to the Muslim League, differencesbetween the Hindus and the Muslims ceased to exist in this newcountry. In the context of this two-nation theory, it is necessaryto dispel one more myth. The Muslim League continued to givethe impression that this was their own ideology. AGovernment, State, or Nation, has no ideology of its own;ideology does not pertain to any landmass. It relates to a groupof individuals, an organisation, or a party. It continues to bepropagated by this group of individuals; parties, ororganisations so long as they are in power. For instance, as aland mass, Russia has no ideology of its own. To begin with, itwas the Czar’s monarchy, but when the Czar was overthrownthe political power passed on to the Communist Party. Thus theCommunist ideology was introduced. What happened in India?Here the British held sway over crores of people. When they left
    and the Country was partitioned, Pakistan had no ideologyof its own. Its ideology was the ideology of the MuslimLeague. So long as the Muslim League continued to be inpower their ideology prevailed. When another party with adifferent ideology came to power, the Muslim League walkedout with its ideology and the ideology of Pakistan was that ofthe new ruling party.It is a paradox that Jinnah did not wait for anotherpolitical party to come to power and, on his own, rejected thetwo-nation ideology and accepted secularism. It was, therefore,a fair game for people to ask the leaders of the Muslim Leagueto define their ideology after Jinnah had made some surprisingcomments in his speech to the Constituent Assembly ofPakistan. He had suggested to the people that they shouldchange their past and that the policies of the new countryshould be governed by the principles which had beenenunciated in this speech. Whoever accepted Jinnah as hisleader and trusted his political acumen, intelligence, andwisdom, must have concluded with him that the two-nationtheory of the Muslim League was not his ideology nor that ofPakistan. His concept, on the contrary, was secularism. If onethinks carefully, it becomes apparent that as a result of thepolicies of the British rulers India was partitioned on the basisof communalism, and, with the departure of the British,communal politics was rejected.

    ….Later, when Jinnah made it clear that in Pakistanthere would be no discrimination on the basis of faith, caste,creed or community, how could the Muslim League advocateand adhere to the principle of separate electorate? In the light ofthe new policy proclaimed by Jinnah, the Muslim League hadto accept the principle of joint electorate.

    Page 189-190 Facts Are Facts by Wali Khan.

    (Frankly I don’t agree with Wali Khan’s account of partition and I have discussed this on here many times… but I am just pointing out how major leaders from smaller provinces – even those who opposed Jinnah or don’t admire him – use Jinnah as a symbol for secularism… Mahmood Khan Achakzai is another such politician. Palijo has written extensively…)

  204. PMA

    YLH (February 9, 2010 at 9:38 am) in his ‘four points’ above has very clearly articulated his vision of Pakistan. Although often I am uncomfortable with his use of abusive and vulgar language on this forum, I support these four points. But the question is how to convince a conservative society as ours to accept this vision. Invoking Jinnah alone will not do it. Sixty years after his death Jinnah has become many things to many people. Both, ‘politically liberal’ and ‘religiously conservative’ camps have come to claim Jinnah as exclusively their spokesperson. He is more of a symbol now, free to be grabbed by all those who wish to promote their own ideology and vision of Pakistan. Perhaps at this juncture it is best to leave Jinnah alone and promote the liberal ideology on its own merits without using Jinnah as crutch to support our argument.

    My second point is about the use of the word ‘secularism’. YLH says: “I am not interested in any fancy theories about secularization.” Whether we like it or not, secularism is a theory; a concept and an ideology with many versions. There is a ‘Soviet style secularism’ and then there is a ‘Western style secularism’. The word itself generate passions in the mind of those who support and those who appose the idea. Considering its perceived negative connotations such as ‘la-deeniat’ and ‘ Western immortality’ perhaps we in Pakistan should do away with the use of the word ‘secularism’. Pakistan is a Muslim conservative country. Her problems are mostly sectarian and not inter-religion. We need to eliminate sectarian biases and prejudices from our society. And it could be achieved by taking government out of the business of religion. But neither ‘Soviet style’ nor ‘Western style’ secularism will fit our needs. We need to tailor our own ‘separation of church and state’ to suite our own needs.

  205. hoss

    “Please correct me if I am wrong. It is known that YLH favours the powerful iconic qualities of the Jinnah charisma to back the secular movement,”

    Vajra,
    I have no problem with you joining the debate, actually with your keen and positive interest in Pakistan; I think it is good that you are attempting to gain knowledge about what actually takes place in Pakistan. The Newspaper stories don’t tell you the real stories.

    The approach to pull an iconic figure in the movement of secularism is sophomoric because the guy is tainted. As I have repeatedly said the minute you pull Jinnah in to the debate, your own credentials go out the window in at least three provinces in Pakistan. You cannot build a movement for secularism in Pakistan w/o the three provinces. In fact, there is no need for an iconic figure, all you have to do is support the right causes and the first one is democracy in the country, and secularism is part of the democracy not something in isolation.

    You can quote a few of his speeches or some of his actions but when you reach high point of debate with the establishment or the right wing conservatives or the religious groups, you will begin to lose the debate as they have more quotes from Jinnah supporting their arguments than a few of Jinnah’s quotes and one speech that really does not spell out secularism but mostly mentions basic human rights and implies something that is a generally accepted fact for all civilized countries.

    Jinnah was not going to have Pakistan in the middle of India, in UP or CP. He got Pakistan because Muslim majority provinces joined him. Even after that his rhetoric in central India never changed. In fact, after independence, he mostly catered to the central Indian audience. There was nothing secular about the Pakistan movement in central India. I have mentioned this umpteen times up thread and there is no need to go back in to this charade again. His politics was and later his legacy is mostly tied with the communalists from Central India and with the establishment. You simply can’t turn around everything by quoting one or two speeches and claim his secular credential by his appointment of one Hindu minister. No one buys that.

    “especially due to Jinnah’s unmistakable and clear views at that original time of foundation;”

    He never spelled out any clear views on anything really except for one speech and I mentioned that already. In fact he followed the communal approach well in to 1948 when he alienated Bengalis on his first visit to East Pakistan. No one cared about Urdu as National language in Pakistan. It was important for some in the central India as it was part of the communal politics there. Why would you impose Urdu on Bengalis unless, you are either seeped in the communal politics or are still fulfilling the communal agenda. You see images and symbols count a lot in Politics.

    “I suspect that many are unwilling to accompany you on this part of your journey, with the very strong stuff that you recommend for the legitimation of the state. This freedom to secede is a curious matter, and keeps cropping up in all unions that have taken place throughout constitutional or legalised history, and you will agree that there is no uniform response.”

    The many who understand me are even vocal than I am on what I say about the provincial autonomy and the rights of all provinces in the country. Pakistan was accepted by the Muslim majority provinces on 1940 resolution and that resolution called for a federation of states or provinces. Unless, the 1940 resolution is implemented in Pakistan, the viability of the State will always be questioned.

    The last compromise in Pakistan on the provincial autonomy was in 1973 constitution. The next step was to increase the autonomy ten years later but the army rolled in and that stage was never reached. You might not have heard about it because other three provinces hardly have any presence in blogsphere but the local papers are full of provincial autonomy talk. Please visit thebalochhal.com/ to get some info on what is going on in Baluchistan.

    Your assumptions would have been correct, if we had a normal political discourse in Pakistan. That did not happen and now the situation is even worse than what I tell you here. The provincial autonomy is central to the struggle for democracy in Pakistan; secularism drawing on Jinnah’s few quotes is completely irrelevant. You also have to realize that all movements that have curbed religious freedom in Pakistan including declaring a few non Muslims have come from a province that still buys the Iqbal-Jinnah story of Islamic Pakistan.

    The other provinces are already far ahead in their understanding of democracy and secularism, Jinnah does not offer them anything. You can try and reincarnate Jinnah in one province but he would mostly draw blanks in other parts of the country. Even in Punjab, your flimsy arguments to make Jinnah a symbol of secularism would be buried in his other pronunciations that clearly show that he had no interests in a secular Pakistan.

  206. hoss

    Vajra,
    I support YLH and have been doing that for years and on many issues our positions are similar or close. However, while I support Jinnah on many issues, I just don’t buy the story that he can be brought to life back again as a some symbol of secularism. I also don’t agree with obsession with Jinnah, it is almost a personality cult type of thing. I have mentioned that to YLH in person and as well as on other occasions too.
    Jinnah gets many credits and there is no doubt that the creation of Pakistan in itself was a huge credit to his ability to wade in difficult waters.

    He was out of ideas once Pakistan was independent. He did not live long after the independence, but had he lived longer, he still would have been without any clear picture as to what his legacy in Pakistan would be. He was a good politician and his story ended right at his death.

  207. PMA

    hoss (February 10, 2010 at 12:15 am): Do I hear you say that Frontier, Balochistan and Sindh have already abandoned Jinnah?

    On the subject of “provincial autonomy and the rights of all provinces in the country”: If I hear you right, are you advocating a ‘republic’ status for all four provinces of Pakistan with a weak and nominal ‘center’? You say: “The provincial autonomy is central to the struggle for democracy in Pakistan.” Please draw a picture for us, in your opinion, what the “provincial autonomy” entails to and after the provinces are granted the autonomous status what would be the democratic structure of the country? What would be the makeup and the power limits of the National Assembly? How far do you wish to push the envelop? Do you have a ‘six point formula’? Do you view the provinces as ‘nations’ and Pakistan as a loose federation of nations? I would like to hear some ‘direct talk’ from you on this subject. Thanks.

  208. hoss

    PMA,

    Here is a little introduction to federation at wiki that will help you. You can read more there. That is just the beginning, if you would like to explore, you can study more on the subject.

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federation

    “A federation (Latin: foedus, foederis, ‘covenant’), also known as a federal state, is a type of sovereign state characterized by a union of partially self-governing states or regions united by a central (federal) government. In a federation, the agonizing of self-governing status of the component states is typically constitutionally entrenched and may not be altered by a unilateral decision of the central government.”

    Pakistan is a federation and the federating units should have the right to secede. In Pakistan’s context , a conditional right to secede which incorporates that any intervention by the army or any takeover or any coup by the army would automatically dissolve the
    federation, would be nice to have.

  209. PMA

    hoss (February 10, 2010 at 2:39 am):

    The wikipedia part of your answer thankfully I already knew. I was hoping that you will spell out the extent of your views on the subject specific to Pakistan as you very well know that various federations all over the world have varying arrangements between the center and its federating units. So for you have pointed out that you will like all four provinces to have the right to secede the federation particularly in the case of military coup. Please be Pakistan specific if you can. You may want to check again the questions I have posed to you earlier. Thanks.

  210. hoss

    Well when you ask, “If I hear you right, are you advocating a ‘republic’ status for all four provinces of Pakistan with a weak and nominal ‘center’?” then say that, “what the “provincial autonomy” entails to and after the provinces are granted the autonomous status what would be the democratic structure of the country?” You are clearly looking for what a federation is. So I sent you the link that explains what a federation is.

    Let us start with the Lahore resolution.
    “No constitutional plan would be workable or acceptable to the Muslims unless geographical contiguous units are demarcated into regions which should be so constituted with such territorial readjustments as may be necessary. That the areas in which the Muslims are numerically in majority as in the North-Western and Eastern zones of India should be grouped to constitute independent states in which the constituent units shall be autonomous and sovereign”.

    What provincial autonomy entails is clearly defined in the Lahore resolution. It also includes that the provinces control their resources and only a few subjects are handled by the center. The center would deal with the subjects that provinces mutually agree to pass on the center. Center cannot grab any subject or authority on its own. Usually it means the center would only deal with Defense, Foreign affairs and Finance. It means that center would depend on approval from the provinces to enact laws and how the taxes collected at the federal level are spent by the center. In the end it means that the power would flow from the provinces to the center and not the other way around.

    In Pakistan’s context it also means that all major languages of Pakistan would be recognized as national languages. Pakistan has many ethnic groups and entities and they should all be recognized. Pakistan’s democratic structure would remain what it is with reduced power to the president as defined in the original 1973 constitution. You can continue with the parliament and Prime minster. The only difference would be that the parliament would not be able to force something on the provinces based on the simple majority alone.

    In Pakistan’s case it also means getting rid of the large army, demolishing the expensive bureaucratic structure etc. Democracy is a process and it takes a while to get things together but it needs a start and that start can only come when the true principles of federation are accepted and the first step towards that would be implementing the 1940 resolution in letter and spirit, as was promised to the provinces before they joined the struggle for Pakistan.

    The center in Pakistan has a history of denying-mostly by force- the provincial rights to its constituent provinces. Therefore, it is absolutely necessary to start with a complete distrust of the center and the center should not be allowed to retain any powers that can be used to steamroll provinces.
    I think it would be important for the provinces to have their own constitution so the provinces can provide constitutional guarantees to its population and pursue the course that has support in their own province.

    In Pakistan’s constitutional history many things have been forced on the provinces when only one province was in agreement with those stipulations. Two good examples are Pakistan becoming an Islamic republic and Non-Muslim status to Ahmedis. These two were demanded by the majority province and none of the other three provinces were interested in that nonsense. The center or the parliament should not have the right to amend the constitution without approval from all the provinces.

    The above was really a brief synopsis of what should be done. You might have questions and some disagreements and I expect that. I will not be able to visit the site for couple of days but sure would respond to you as and when I can after that.

    I would also recommend you read Mujib’s six points, they are a good start without the two currencies and two central banks clauses. Other than that, it was a good blueprint of what the federation should look like in Pakistan.
    Thanks.

  211. YLH

    But wait uncle Hoss… Lahore Resolution is also dead and buried and has no legal weightage (to use your own line)… and provincial autonomy is subject to 1973 constitution. In any event Lahore Resolution is the hobby horse of the establishment … so why are you arguing on its basis?

    In Pakistan’s constitutional history many things have been forced on the provinces when only one province was in agreement with those stipulations. Two good examples are Pakistan becoming an Islamic republic and Non-Muslim status to Ahmedis

    Presumably then the legislators of smaller provinces voted against these two provisions… can you name those who voted against these two acts?

    The problem is … that in the absence of ideological clarity the smaller provinces will always sacrifice common sense of secularism for perceived and imaginary benefits.

    After all … it wasn’t a Punjabi PM in charge when 1973 constitution was promulgated and when Ahmadis were ex-communicated.

  212. hoss

    Elementary Dr. Watson.

    Baloch MNA’a did not vote for the constitution. They also did not vote for the Ahmedi amendment., If provinces had veto, this constitution would not have passed.
    The Ahmedi amendment was passed on simple majority and all record is secret. I doubt that Majority Sindhi or even Pashtoon MNA’s voted for it along with the Baloch MNAs.

  213. Hayyer

    Hoss:
    Your views intrigue me, particularly on the connection between federalism and secularism in the Pakistani context. Could we possibly engage in some private correspondence so as not to bore other PTH readers with the arcana of centre versus state in the nationalistic framework.

  214. vajra

    @hoss

    I am sorry not to have replied sooner, but I am out of my depth. Perhaps it is better to read and learn quietly for the time being. Every post by yourselves is an addition to my knowledge of your country and local conditions. Things are so different that any facile answer will be horribly inappropriate.

  215. vajra

    @hoss
    @Hayyer

    And yes, it would be so interesting to be able to read your exchanges.

  216. Democracy, as has been pointed out above, is a process, to be arrived at by trial and error.

    I too am very fascinated by the above discussion; which reminds me of the federalist verus the republican (anti-federalist) debates in the early years of the United States.

    It is interesting to note that in the United States Alexander Hamilton was an ardent federalist, (supported a strong center) and was opposed by Thomas Jefferson but only before he became a president.
    Once a president, Jefferson too became something of a federalist. One take away point is that it helps to keep an open mind; for who know where one will end up some day.😉

    Regards.

  217. PMA

    hoss (February 10, 2010 at 10:54 am):

    I sincerely appreciate you taking time and outlining your vision of Pakistan. I had asked if you had a ‘six point formula’ and indeed you do. To have four ‘nations’ and four ‘republics’ loosely tied around a nominal center and a small defence force is definitely an idea but for what purpose should such federation must exist? If we the people of Pakistan are unable or unwilling to give and take and create ‘one-nation’ out of our multi-ethnic and multi-linguistic society then we definitely do not deserve to have ‘one-country’.

    But I respect your right to have your own opinion.

    I on the other hand will like to see our ethnic and linguistic differences softened over a period of time to the point that the need to maintain ‘ethnic nationalities’ disappears and we all become ‘one-nation’ – a truly Pakistani Nation with each and every one of its citizen fully and equally invested into the State of Pakistan. A nation above ethnic, linguistic, religious and sectarian affiliations of the individuals.

    I would like to do away with the present ethnicity based provinces altogether and have a completely new and different provincial realignment. I would like to see Punjab further divided into three – a Potowar Province north of River Jhelum and a Multan Province south of River Sutlej including Multan and Bahawalpur. And then a Central Province with a new capital closer to River Indus.

    I would like to grant Gilgit-Baltistan a provincial status and would like to see PATA and FATA merged into Frontier Province. I would also like to see Gwadar as summer capital of Balochistan Province. But at the end all changes must come from the people itself and not from above.

    Obviously we have two very different visions of Pakistan. I hope you respect mine as I respect yours. Thanks again for sharing your thoughts. Regards.

  218. PMA

    Hayyer (February 10, 2010 at 8:52 pm):

    Unlike India, Pakistan’s problems are not religious but sectarian in nature. Hoss has successively pointed out that ‘Ahmadiyya’ issue – a sectarian issue in my opinion – is a Punjab-centric and not a Pakistan wide issue. By connecting secularism with federalism in Pakistani context, hoss has neutralize the thrust of YLH’s argument. How could secularism be an issue in other three provinces if there are no Ahmadiyya representation there? But if we look at secularism in Pakistan as a sectarian issue then it becomes obvious that secularism is a Pakistani issue with or without federation. Case in point Shia-Sunni problems which is prevalent in all parts of Pakistan. Therefore it is important that both provincial and federal governments of Pakistan get out the business of defining who is a Muslim and who is not or which sect is Islamic and which sect is not. A kind of ‘don’t ask don’t tell’ a la Pakistan.

  219. PMA

    Gork (February 10, 2010 at 10:29 pm):

    As you have pointed out ‘loose union of republics’, which hoss is alluding to, is attractive option when you are an outsider or even wish to be an outsider. But once you are in and in-charge, a federation with strong center become preferred option. That is why I advocate an ‘east bank’ move closer to the ‘west bank’; a sort of national integration around the spine of our country – the mighty Indus, a powerful symbol of our nation. Promoting ethnic provincialism and regionalism is not good for Pakistan.

  220. PMA Sahib:

    “That is why I advocate an ‘east bank’ move closer to the ‘west bank’; a sort of national integration around the spine of our country –”

    A very sensible option indeed.

    Regards.

  221. PMA

    Gorki (February 11, 2010 at 2:48 am):

    “A very sensible option indeed.”

    Winning your approval would be an unsolicited gain. Thanks.

  222. insight

    RR:

    First off, good article.

    @In fact a recent survey conducted by the British Council makes some depressing revelations. For instance, on the question of identity three quarters of the youth surveyed viewed themselves as Muslims first, Pakistani second, compared to just 14% who saw themselves as primarily citizens of Pakistan.”

    —–I am surprised seeing you surprised. Does this not arise from the belief system of Muslim brotherhood; national identities mean nothing; if one Muslim is hurt others feel the pain concept; frankly this is a narrow concept that is tied to religion not to humanity. This also is the basis of Muslim Ummah.

    @Meeting Indians abroad is always an eye-opening experience. They suffer from all the divisiveness of their fractured social reality. But when it comes to defining themselves they proudly own up to their national, howsoever imagined, Indian identity. On the other hand, Pakistanis are wont to define themselves in terms of their ethnic and religious-sectarian identities.”

    ——Thanx for the complement (with pungent flavor!!! I can handle that). Pakistanis might be feeling that Pakistani identity is “artificial”; so they prefer Muslim and worse Sunni/Shia…—perhaps they do not like artificial identity like you said about India: “howsoever imagined, Indian identity”.

    Talk of pluralism is all good but from where would you bring back the changed demographics. I am afraid it is too little too late but still needed.

    @This is a deeper issue and we have yet to come to terms with it. And, this is what many visitors to India often point out.”

    — India has hell lot of problems but any day it is the best place to grasp pluralism. If Indians induce allergic reaction, look at other good examples of Muslim countries. How do Turks or other Muslims come to terms with all the problems you mention? Whatever works.

    Lastly wish Pakistan the best since this bug will affect India too.

  223. hoss

    Well, I am finally able to steal a few minutes.

    Hayyer
    “Could we possibly engage in some private correspondence so as not to bore other PTH readers with the arcana of centre versus state in the nationalistic framework.”

    I think I would like to discuss these matters in very public way so others would understand what the real sources of problems are in Pakistan. So please go ahead with your questions.

    Vajra,
    You are not out of your depth; it is only that perhaps you were not aware of the issues. I think if you look in to them you will have many questions.

    PMA,
    “I on the other hand will like to see our ethnic and linguistic differences softened over a period of time to the point that the need to maintain ‘ethnic nationalities’ disappears and we all become ‘one-nation’ ”

    Who wouldn’t agree with you? The ethnic nationalities would not disappear because Punjabis will remain Punjabis and the Baloch will remain Baloch. The question is how you integrate them in to one national identity.

    India has always been one nation despite many ethnic entities within that nation, Pakistan was unable to achieve that because of the simple reason that Pakistan has no historical record, it is an entity with no history at all. When you deal with a unique situation, you think out of the box. In Pakistan’s case the answers were actually within the box in the shape of 1940 resolution. Had the center agreed to relinquish most powers and had worked with the concept of a federation, the 62 years might have seen democracy and devolution taking care of many issues that are being contested now. It is better to take care of lesion when it is just a boil but when you allow it to become tumor you should expect to deal with the malignancy too.

    Democracy never solves economy problems or defense problems or the Foreign policy problems, it primarily solves the communication problems. Center controlled and discouraged conversation and the result is that we have whole country burning and one province Baluchistan, almost ready to bolt.

    Army believes that it can squish any insurgency or struggle of independence in Baluchistan. They are sadly mistaken. The army cannot fight on many fronts and eventually it will be defeated at some front. I think that front will be Baluchistan.

    One more thing before I finish this. Most of the sectarian problems in Pakistan have originated from Punjab and that includes Shia-sunni conflicts too. Sindhi are shia and sunni both which means they mourn the death of Imam Husain like the regular shia in Iran would do but also call themselves sunni. Generally, Sindhis are Hussainis, so it is unlikely that there is going to be a Shia-Sunni conflict in Sindh. Baloch are pretty much non-muslim in the sense that almost 80% have no clue what Muslim first Kalima is. They perform their Hajj in Baluchistan and you would rarely see any Baloch haji in KSA. They don’t even care or know much about Shia-Sunni divide. In NWFP problem is in very small area of Parachinar and that has very limited impact on rest of the province. The anti Shia groups were raised by the agencies as part of their sinister agenda to keep the people divided and to strengthen the army rule.

  224. Hayyer

    PMA:
    I would like to get some understanding of Hoss’ thought processes as they pertain to secularism, federalism and ultimately, to national identity in Pakistan.
    I have no interest at all in sectarian differences of Islam except as they hold up or encourage the Pakistani national identity everyone talks about but fails to define effectively.
    My purpose is comparative. Despite the solidly entrenched Indian identity that most of us Indians have, the problems that Hoss mentions lurk very much in the background. The fuss over Shahrukh Khan and the Maharashtra ‘manoos’ is just the latest example.
    I wish you well in your search for a commonly acceptable notion of Pakistani identity but I fear that it is not going to emerge the way you have often expressed on PTH, or indeed by a geographical and political manipulation of state entities. The states cannot be wished away and no synthetic syncretism idealistically inspired or otherwise is going to work. At least that is the Indian experience. Of course Pakistan is different, and Hoss has said so as well, which is why I suggested exchanging notes.

  225. Hayyer

    Hoss:
    I just saw your response. The discussion has already gone off course this particular topic of priests. In an open discussion other readers (like Vajra) can join in and liven up proceedings.
    I will be writing at length a little later.

  226. B. Civilian

    After all … it wasn’t a Punjabi PM in charge when 1973 constitution was promulgated and when Ahmadis were ex-communicated.(YLH)

    a punjabi pm would likely not have felt similar compulsion to ‘prove his credentials’, as it were.

    Promoting ethnic provincialism and regionalism is not good for Pakistan(PMA)

    insofar as it is a reaction, proactive promotion is not the right way to describe it.

  227. PMA

    hoss (February 11, 2010 at 10:25 am ethnic):

    Not for one moment I believe that ethnic identities would totally disappear from Pakistan. It took centuries for the present day identities to develop and as long as there are groups of individuals with vested interests in maintaining these demarcations, such identities will grow and flourish. But ethnicity and ethnic identity is not something cast in stone nor it stops at the provincial borders. Like culture it changes continuously and flows freely. Ethnic groups divide and subdivide and merge with other groups only to emerge as new groups. We have seen such developments even in the short sixty years of Pakistan. We have this so called ‘Urdu speaking’ ethnic group in Karachi and lower Sindh. In 1947 individuals and families now belonging to this group arrived from various parts of India with diverse backgrounds. Today they form an ethnic group of their own and are demanding an ‘ethnic province’ of their own. Then look at the case of Punjab, the melting pot of Pakistan. For centuries people have migrated to Punjab from all points west. After three generations all original ethnic identities melt away only to emerge as new identities.

    The point is that we have created a new country for ourselves. Now we need to create a new identity to match with this new country. Let us take elements from all of our various ethnic groups and create a new National Identity. It can be done if we have the will to do it. The first requirement is to soften the present ethnic demarcations, not to strengthen it as you seem to be suggesting. I too want a democratic Pakistan but not as a ‘union of four republics’ but as one republic with an overarching Pakistani identity.

  228. PMA

    Hayyer (February 11, 2010 at 10:46 am):

    I know you have your doubts. I don’t. We have already achieved much and can achieve more. If there is a will, there is a way. It may be callous to say so but the secession of East Pakistan did have some positive consequences. Pakistan of 1947 was a fully ‘sub-continental’ country born out of British India. In the first twenty years so much energy was spent to create a ‘trans-indian’ Pakistan that needs and demands of our ‘west bank’ were totally ignored. But the post-71 Pakistan as a contiguous unit with its own historical and cultural evolution has more chances to succeed than the former. Unfortunately we are still so focused on the ‘east bank’ that we continue to ignore our other half. If we want to succeed and progress as a nation, we must move west to fully accomodate and embrace our ‘west bank’ in all national spheres. As a result what will emerge is a stronger Pakistan with its own national identity entrenched its own culture and geography.

  229. Hayyer

    Hoss:
    You swept a wide floor with a dismissive broom and so I shall have to try and narrow the range of issues, just to keep the discussion within reasonable confines.
    Politically, (you say) secularism in Pakistan is now tied with peoples right in Pakistan; peoples rights include the rights of ethnic, religious as well as sub national minority rights.
    Would it be correct to conclude that secularism in Pakistan (if not everywhere) is inseparable from democracy. If that is what you mean how about a religious democracy that only allows rights to a particular religion, race or language; all others being outside the pale so to speak.
    Your comment on 9/2, 10:34
    “Both Sindh and Baluchistan have consistently been electing representatives that are more secular than what is thrown in from Punjab. So far the Punjab has been winning the numbers game but before secularism, Pakistan will have to decide whether it is a federation of the willing or the federation by force.’

    Now this could mean that Sindhis and Balochis are more secular ( or that Sindh and Balochistan have more secular inhabitants) than Punjabis. The argument is double edged. If Punjabis are less secular but prevail only because they are in a majority it is an argument for regional autonomy not secularism. With all the states of Pakistan equal partners in a federation Punjab would then continue to be non secular while the other states become secular entities. But the majority of Pakistanis being Punjabi continue under a non secular regime. How do you suppose that a minority of the Pakistani populace could expect to get its views accepted?

    “Without a true federation there is no chance of democracy in Pakistan, and w/o democracy there is no chance of secularism in Pakistan. Jinnah does not come in to any picture at all. If at all, he will again be invoked as the champion of the center by the establishment.”
    In a true federation of the sort you envisage all four states or provinces would have equal rights to create a centre and equal say in it. Jinnah being now associated with the Punjabi establishment ( as I read your views) becomes irrelevant. Do you think the secular sentiment of Sindh and Baluchistan is strong enough to turn the tide against Punjabi or perhaps Pakhtun religious inclinations?

    “Secularism is part of democracy. Once democracy is established or Pakistan progresses beyond just the civilian rule, secularism would follow.”

    Secularism is not part of democracy unless it is in a particular context; one that you have been outlining.
    Autonomy for the states does not make Punjab secular if most Punjabis favour religion in public life.

    “The center would deal with the subjects that provinces mutually agree to pass on the center. Center cannot grab any subject or authority on its own. Usually it means the center would only deal with Defense, Foreign affairs and Finance. It means that center would depend on approval from the provinces to enact laws and how the taxes collected at the federal level are spent by the center. In the end it means that the power would flow from the provinces to the center and not the other way around.
    n Pakistan’s context it also means that all major languages of Pakistan would be recognized as national languages. Pakistan has many ethnic groups and entities and they should all be recognized. Pakistan’s democratic structure would remain what it is with reduced power to the president as defined in the original 1973 constitution. You can continue with the parliament and Prime minster. The only difference would be that the parliament would not be able to force something on the provinces based on the simple majority alone.

    In Pakistan’s case it also means getting rid of the large army, demolishing the expensive bureaucratic structure etc. Democracy is a process and it takes a while to get things together but it needs a start and that start can only come when the true principles of federation are accepted and the first step towards that would be implementing the 1940 resolution in letter and spirit, as was promised to the provinces before they joined the struggle for Pakistan.
    The center in Pakistan has a history of denying-mostly by force- the provincial rights to its constituent provinces. Therefore, it is absolutely necessary to start with a complete distrust of the center and the center should not be allowed to retain any powers that can be used to steamroll provinces.
    I think it would be important for the provinces to have their own constitution so the provinces can provide constitutional guarantees to its population and pursue the course that has support in their own province.”

    Your views here are a reversion to the historic Muslim demand versus a Hindu majority India. But are they necessary in a Muslim majority Pakistan? They also apply to any true federal union but as we know unions all over the world are increasingly yielding to strong centres, even in the US.

    “In Pakistan’s constitutional history many things have been forced on the provinces when only one province was in agreement with those stipulations. Two good examples are Pakistan becoming an Islamic republic and Non-Muslim status to Ahmedis. These two were demanded by the majority province and none of the other three provinces were interested in that nonsense. The center or the parliament should not have the right to amend the constitution without approval from all the provinces”

    Here of course you plunge head down deep into the cold pool of federal theory.
    My interest is due to my being somewhat of a federalist myself. But, and I say this with some regret, India is not yet ready for pure federalism. The barbarians are at the gates of the Union.
    I have long believed that the centre in India is only an extension of the empire. But both India and Pakistan are governed by imperial systems and we are held together by a modified imperial methodology. In the Pakistani context, which has undeniably sprung away on a trajectory different in many ways from ours, the spirit of the Union though suffused with a Punjabi agglutination, shares with it nevertheless instruments of a familiar bondage if not the thongs of common binding materials. The instruments remain even if the masters have changed.
    India and Pakistan are not so evolved I think that the states can become responsible entities of their own. Of course they have been denied every chance of such development; in India, very cleverly, but that is a different set of discussion points.

  230. insight

    Good discussion.
    My 2 cents:

    YLH: Not everyone that disagrees with you would be dumb. Like few others, I also feel that you play more rough than necessary.

    1. Nehru’s contribution to India on the issues under discussion is significant as most here feel—17yrs of productive rule with only one major one minus point of 1962 loss to China means he was successful and well accepted by Indians and laid necessary foundations (education and research institutions) with India as a secular democracy. It could be a minor point but at personal level Nehru was an atheist or at least agnostic which perhaps helped the realization of secular democracy—increasingly becoming imperfect though—in India. While not negating Nehru’s role, it is important to understand that Nehru’s contribution to India’s secular democracy is overrated. He and other leaders can make a secular constitution, not create a secular society.

    2. Indian secular society arises from the “organic” tolerance of Hinduism as a philosophy. It is not switch on/off button operated by one man Nehru, but centuries old ingrained in the religious philosophy. At social level there are problems but the collective drive is forward movement for secular democracy. Right wing Hindu fundamentalists are a minority and BJP is a case in point that over emphasis on religion is not viable and issues are more important than identities. Secularism is a Western concept already ingrained in belief system in India, evident from religious tolerance and active participation of all religions in states of India, historically speaking. One example of secular rule (not religious though) could be called Sikh monarchy of Ranjeet Singh with seat in Lahore. Muslims, Hindus, Europeans were part of his administration.

    3. Arguably, Jinnah’s secularism is so much talked because of the success of Nehru’s secular India, especially during Nehru’s rule. Had secularism failed and Nehru was thrown out of power, Jinnah, for all his credentials, would not be discussed here.

    4. An image of Jinnah alone would not work for realizing the secular democracy in Pakistan. India and Turkey had leaders alive to guide them. Mere ideology would be as useful as a peaceful version of Islam followed by some these days. It will always remain debatable what Jinnah wanted and how Pakistan would be if Jinnah also ruled Pakistan for 17 years like Nehru did. Someone in Dawn mentioned that Pakistan has chosen to go with Aurangzeb’s way than with Akbar’s. How true! While true, even this is beside the point. People of today like ylh, Umair …. will have to create Pakistan. A nation has to work within the limits or strengths of our society—all social and religious elements. Time has moved on and so should the society.

    Good article to read: “Secularism in India” By Asghar Ali Engineer

    http://www.milligazette.com/dailyupdate/2006/20060623_secular_india.htm

  231. insight

    Good discussion.
    My 2 cents:

    YLH: Not everyone that disagrees with you would be dumb. Like few others, I also feel that you play more rough than necessary.

    1. Nehru’s contribution to India on the issues under discussion is significant as most here feel—17yrs of productive rule with only one major one minus point of 1962 loss to China means he was successful and well accepted by Indians and laid necessary foundations (education and research institutions) with India as a secular democracy. It could be a minor point but at personal level Nehru was an atheist or at least agnostic which perhaps helped the realization of secular democracy—increasingly becoming imperfect though—in India. While not negating Nehru’s role, it is important to understand that Nehru’s contribution to India’s secular democracy is overrated. He and other leaders can make a secular constitution, not create a secular society.

    2. Indian secular society arises from the “organic” tolerance of Hinduism as a philosophy. It is not switch on/off button operated by one man Nehru, but centuries old ingrained in the religious philosophy. At social level there are problems but the collective drive is forward movement for secular democracy. Right wing Hindu fundamentalists are a minority and BJP is a case in point that over emphasis on religion is not viable and issues are more important than identities. Secularism is a Western concept already ingrained in belief system in India, evident from religious tolerance and active participation of all religions in states of India, historically speaking. One example of secular rule (not religious though) could be called Sikh monarchy of Ranjeet Singh with seat in Lahore. Muslims, Hindus, Europeans were part of his administration.

    3. Arguably, Jinnah’s secularism is so much talked because of the success of Nehru’s secular India, especially during Nehru’s rule. Had secularism failed and Nehru was thrown out of power, Jinnah, for all his credentials, would not be discussed here.

    4. An image of Jinnah alone would not work for realizing the secular democracy in Pakistan. India and Turkey had leaders alive to guide them. Mere ideology would be as useful as a peaceful version of Islam followed by some these days. It will always remain debatable what Jinnah wanted and how Pakistan would be if Jinnah also ruled Pakistan for 17 years like Nehru did. Someone in Dawn mentioned that Pakistan has chosen to go with Aurangzeb’s way than with Akbar’s. How true! While true, even this is beside the point. People of today like ylh, Umair …. will have to create Pakistan. A nation has to work within the limits or strengths of our society—all social and religious elements. Time has moved on and so should the society.

    Google “Secularism in India” By Asghar Ali Engineer

  232. insight

    Corrected:

    “One example of secular rule could be the Sikh monarchy of Ranjeet Singh with seat in Lahore. Muslims, Hindus, Europeans were part of his administration.”

  233. hoss

    Hayyer,
    I don’t know what religious democracy means. Religion is antithesis to democracy. You really can’t mesh religious edifice with democratic system. If you do, sooner or later there will be a conflict and more often than not, religion would dominate the process. Having a PM, a Parliament and a President is not good enough for democracy. Any theocratic state can create a similar arrangement but that is not enough for democracy. Democracy as I understand it is all about empowering the people by vote, by their participation in elections and by having multiple political parties to represent many thoughts and political aspirations out there, so on and so forth. With religion you just don’t have choices. Even with 100% Muslim population you would have many sects and within one sect you may have many theological currents, in a democracy they all can be represented but in a religious state, conflicts would be sacrilegious.
    No, I never meant that Sindhi and Baloch are more secular than the Punjabis. What matters is the political and ideological positions people support. By and large, I think in 1947 people started at the same level. In Punjab and in Karachi, the political leaders were able to sell an Islamic state and strong center but they couldn’t sell that to people in Bengal and Sindh. Over the years some discernable patterns emerged. There can be many reasons for that and I think there is no reason to explain the whole process here. What we need to understand is that due to several factors such as the army primarily being from one province and some residual communalism in Karachi, the idea of the Islamic state caught on and in other provinces it did not. I also think that since Bengal vs. Center plus Punjab conflict emerged immediately after the partition, the political developments followed those conflicts until some ideas matured in the populace. In Punjab people still vote for the so-called secular parties but those parties have to adjust their message in Punjab. Whereas in Bengal political parties stayed with their message. Similarly, the PPP has a different message in Sindh and NWFP, in Punjab it still has to cater to Muslim, Kashmir and strong center but in Sindh it does not. Also as I had mentioned earlier positions in Pakistan have hardened. For example, after Partition many Sindhi started speaking Urdu at home because it was declared national language by Jinnah but during the last 10, 20 years, Sindhi stick to Sindhi at homes too. Some of it is mainly because of adversarial positions. It is opposition for the sake of opposition too. Punjabi love Yellow, would not love yellow sort of argument without any rhyme and reason. So there is a love and hate relationship because the center cramped dialog and reconciliation in national affairs.
    I will respond to other points raised by you later.

  234. YLH

    Insight bhai,

    I think none of the people here have really looked at it from the perspective that I am placing it in.

    Secularists in Pakistan are told that Pakistan must not be secular because it was gotten for Islam. Secularists across the board …. whether they agree with the idea of Pakistan or not… whether they admire Jinnah or hate him…. point out that Jinnah did not intend Pakistan to be an Islamic state… that he wanted constitutional equality of citizenship, freedom of religion and state’s impartiality. What is more is that he wanted the sovereignty to rest unconditionally with the people.

    That is all I am saying.. the anglicized, worldly Jinnah who did is – and will always be- a slap in the face of those Mullahs who claim that Pakistan must be a theocracy ot that sovereignty must rest with god.

    Umair mian and Hoss mian have been making a strawman fallacy… which I am afraid is not supported by anything I said… what I said was that by abandoning Jinnah, you will not have secularism in Pakistan for the aforementioned reason. They have taken it to mean that I am trying to build the case for secularism on Jinnah alone…

    Vajra has explained my position much better above.

  235. YLH

    hoss uncle,

    I think you should revisit the voting record of Balochis in 1973 and 1974. I am afraid you are not being completely honest.

    The 1973 constitution is the most centralized constitution in Pakistan’s history. And it has the most Islamic elements in it… and the funny thing is that both the principal author and the “leader” who was in charge … were “secular” Sindhis …. not Punjabis.

    The constitution (1962) that a Punjabi (Manzur Qadir) wrote in comparison was far more de-centralized and far more secular in spirit… ofcourse 62 and 56 were operating with the one-unit hogwash … but then remember it was Yahya Khan who reverted to old federalism.

    Historically the smaller provinces have resisted the center …and since center has increasingly relied on the theory that Islam binds Pakistan together …. smaller provinces have appeared to be secular.

    I don’t care much for this … so and so are more secular than so and so…. this makes no sense because frankly other than you, in my personal life I have not come across a secular Sindhi.

    I suppose it is how you define secular… because in any event… state secularism is a device that has its best practical application in a society which is religious…which is why the “separation of church and state” is emphasized more in societies which are otherwise religious… India is deeply religious…US is the most religious country in the developed world… France’s catholics can be very devout…. Turkey has a strong Hanafi undercurrent…. in comparison the increasingly irreligious societies such as UK and Germany etc are not that bothered with this principle…. Pakistan is a deeply religious society which is why constitutional separation of church and state is very necessary.

  236. YLH

    By the way… totally irrelevant to this discussion… but in Pakistan and other places this misnomer continues that Jinnah designated Urdu as the “national language”.

    This is untrue. The two terms Jinnah did use when he regrettably (a political blunder in retrospect) broached this subject at Paltan Maidan were:

    1. Lingua Franca

    2. State Language

    A lingua franca is a language systematically used to communicate between persons not sharing a mother tongue, in particular when it is a third language, distinct from both persons’ mother tongues

    The issue of “National language” is of later origin.. The constitution of Pakistan designated Urdu and Bengali as the national languages of Pakistan in 1956.

  237. hoss

    Hayyer
    “Do you think the secular sentiment of Sindh and Baluchistan is strong enough to turn the tide against Punjabi or perhaps Pakhtun religious inclinations?”
    “But the majority of Pakistanis being Punjabi continue under a non secular regime. How do you suppose that a minority of the Pakistani populace could expect to get its views accepted?”

    The short answer of the first question is: it might not. But in a federation all units are equal and that puts two smaller provinces against one province. The drift of my arguments is different than your specific questions. I don’t think there is a need to vote or referendum for the secularism. Since I believe it is part of a democratic system, once a space for openness and honesty in dealing with the issues is created, the positive impact of democracy would change opinions in Punjab too. It might not happen right away but once you have a process in place where people get used to difference of opinions as well as difference of faiths, and if that happens the groundwork for secularism is already laid. As I said in a previous post, you don’t have to write secularism in the constitution to make it a requirement, you can do that by just promoting tolerance and since democracy encourages tolerance as it makes people open to differing opinions.

    “Secularism is not part of democracy unless it is in a particular context; one that you have been outlining. Autonomy for the states does not make Punjab secular if most Punjabis favour religion in public life.”

    Yes, a country can be secular without the democracy but in the current day and age we need to think about what would ensure continuity. A democratic process or a system that might not survive and the entire ethos it promoted might go down the drain with it because people just did not agree with the system. The process of peaceful change at the top that democracy promotes ensures the longevity of the system.

    I think I have answered the second part already. I would add that it is again not about what most Punjabis wants. It is about what policies they favor now. What if another trend emerges due to the softening of the center and demise of its politics at the top and that can happen when it is understood that Pakistan can only be kept together when all its units are on equal footing. So, yes, there would be an invisible sword out there. If done crudely that would amount to forcing the issue but if done in democratic environments, reason would prevail.

    “Your views here are a reversion to the historic Muslim demand versus a Hindu majority India. But are they necessary in a Muslim majority Pakistan? They also apply to any true federal union but as we know unions all over the world are increasingly yielding to strong centres, even in the US.”

    As I said I don’t look at secularism in isolation. I look at it as a part of the deal that would establish a truly federal and democratic Pakistan, secularism would emerge as democracy establishes in Pakistan. I agree it is a reversion but if you leave the Hindu-Muslim divide issue aside for a moment and look at the creation of Pakistan all by itself, you step out of the religious boundaries. Had Pakistan not been a country created in the name of religion, or had it been a country created by all Bengalis hindu-muslims together or all Punjabis Hindu, Muslims and Sikhs together, wouldn’t that country be naturally secular?
    Now remove the Hindu, muslim and replace that with a country demanded by Punjabis, Bengalis, Sindhis and Pathans and they separated from India not in the name of religion but in the name of the their ethnic alliance, that country would have been secular right away. So when I say we need to establish Pakistan as a multi-ethnic country, I am demanding that fundamental changes have to be accepted in Pakistan’s charter. That is why my arguments attack the very basis of Pakistan or attack the narrative developed by the establishment. The establishment wins the argument in Punjab when it claims that Pakistan has to be an Islamic country because it was created for Muslims. I win the argument in smaller provinces but I actually won the argument in the largest province Bengal too. Bengal was let go because the Bengali majority would have destroyed the basis on which the establishment has built its whole house. In my opinion without attacking the very basis, we will not be able to put the establishment on the back foot. That is why I think brining Jinnah in to the equation would be tactically and strategically too, a wrong move for the liberals and progressives in Pakistan. How can you bat on a pitch which already has land mines placed in there by the establishment?
    I hope now you would also understand my emphasis on 1940 resolution because it was in line with my my arguments.

    I also agree that even in a loose federation the center would attempt to grab powers. That is part of the struggle in democracy. We see that lots of commentator crying over grabbing of power by the President and larger government in the US too.

    “My interest is due to my being somewhat of a federalist myself. But, and I say this with some regret, India is not yet ready for pure federalism. The barbarians are at the gates of the Union.”
    “Of course they have been denied every chance of such development; in India, very cleverly, but that is a different set of discussion points.”

    I will comment on this later but generally, Indian constitution has less autonomy for the provinces/states, than the 1973 Pak constitution.

  238. hoss

    Yassir mian,
    I don’t have to revisit any thing. Three MNA from Balochistan Sardar Khair Bux Marri, Attaullah Mengal and Dr. Abduk Hai are still alive and anyone with rudimentary knowledge of the state of affairs in 1973 knows that all three did not vote for the constitution.

  239. Hayyer

    Hoss:
    Thank you for the detailed response.
    I await your next comment but shall take the liberty of commenting briefly on what you have said so far.
    Religious democracy is very much a possibility. Adherents of the majority faith can frame a constitution that allows representation to minorities but denies them any say in governance. The minorities are then visible but mute. The constitution can be drafted in a way that puts it above sectarian interests and ignores the priesthood. I daresay it could even be done in Pakistan. But the UK provides us with an example of a democracy where the monarch is also head of the church. For a long time democratic European countries did consider themselves Christian. This subject is however only of passing interest. One can argue about it but it is tangential to my interest in your views on identity and nationhood.
    I also agree with your theory of gradualism in the spread of democracy and secular thought in Pakistan, though your views in the post of 10:34 reflect what happened in India. The Congress leadership believed in democracy. That went down very well with the masses. A section led by Nehru were socialists and secularists and Patel led a group of Hinduist thinkers. Nehru won the battle and imposed his vision. The masses went along with that. But had Patel, Tandon and Prasad won out the masses would have gone with that too, albeit at the cost of great social unrest. The process was top down. The public voted for the Congress while practicing all the restrictions of caste in their private lives and holding on to their prejudices about each other. Caste is now receding. One can even be hopeful about the state of communal feelings. But it is gradualism in action, inspired top down.
    It is your views on Pakistani provinces that continue to intrigue. The Islam Pasands may have captured the Pakistani establishment but their influence surely extends into Sindh and Balochistan, as it certainly seems to do in the Frontier. Bangladesh was sloughed off, but that is not to say that Bangali Muslims are a secular lot; as it cannot be said that Bengali Hindus do not harbour anti Muslim sentiments just because they do not give the RSS and BJP space in the political system. In Bengal the political sphere seems marked out for a non-religious discourse.
    It therefore does not follow that if Sindhis, Pakhtuns, Panjabis and Baloch formed a nation together as Muslims, secularism was the only natural outcome.

    “Now remove the Hindu, muslim and replace that with a country demanded by Punjabis, Bengalis, Sindhis and Pathans and they separated from India not in the name of religion but in the name of the their ethnic alliance, that country would have been secular right away. So when I say we need to establish Pakistan as a multi-ethnic country, I am demanding that fundamental changes have to be accepted in Pakistan’s charter.”

    The key argument here would be that these disparate peoples did not ask for Pakistan in the name of their ethnic alliance, because there was none. Attempts are being made to form an alliance called Pakistan, but they seem to flounder in a conceptual morass. I can understand your argument that if Sindh and Balochistan did not feel subservient to Punjab or to the central establishment they might have even greater enthusiasm for the alliance. But what does multi-ethnic means precisely? India is more multi-ethnic; it is indeed nothing but multi. But the issue is not raised any more in any contested definition of nationhood. Issues of ethnicity come up when ethnic identities are threatened. If Sindhis and Balochis feel that way the remedy is to discuss it upfront in the political process. Secularism is not the cure for non religious conflict.
    And in this whole business where does this leave the Mohajirs?
    I have no knowledge about Pakistan’s constitutions so I cannot talk comparatively but India’s, restrictive though it may be of states rights still leaves plenty of leeway for states action. It is this precisely that has been compromised in ingenious, even deceitful ways, all of them legitimate, but all wasteful. I was hoping in fact to engage you on the nature of states rights and strong centres in the context of India and Pakistan and the difficulty of nationhood arising in this context.

  240. B. Civilian

    “….Dr. Abduk Hai are still alive and anyone with rudimentary knowledge of the state of affairs in 1973 knows that all three did not vote for the constitution.”

    (to a quote a relatively obscure but relevant example:) Dr Abdul Hai did not vote for Sardar Iqbal Ahmed’s bill in 1990s against honour killing in the senate, either. nor did mushahid hussain, for that matter*. what does that say about smaller provinces vs punjab/centre in the context of secularism and/vs democracy?

    *most of the senate either abstained/disappeared or voted against, by the way.

  241. hoss

    A quick response to B.Civilian.

    Dr.Hai was not in the senate in the 90s. He is now president of some political party in Balochistan. I know him personally for a long time now.

  242. yasserlatifhamdani

    Fine how many elected legislators from Balochistan signed the 1973 constitution and how many didn’t?

    And how many of them voted against the second amendment in 1974?

  243. hoss

    For a person who claims some knowledge of constitution development process in Pakistan, this info should have been on the finger tips.
    There were four elected members and one woman from Balochistan
    The following four were elected in 1970 elections.
    Sardar Khair Bux Marri, NAP
    Dr. Abdul Hai Baloch, NAP
    Ghous Bux Bizenjo( not Attaullah Mengal, I wrote earlier), NAP. Dead now
    One member from JUI
    Woman member elected also from NAP
    Jennifer Musa
    Only the JUI member voted for the constitution. And he was a pathan. I have forgotten his name now.
    In 1974 when the second amendment (ahmedi amendment) presented, All the MNAs except Khair Bux Marri who left for Afghanistan, from NAP were in Jail after the 1973 military action. Here is the sequence. The Baloch ministry in Baluchistan was dismissed in Feb 1973. The draft constitution passed sometime in April and in May ’73 army action started in Baluchistan and all Baloch leaders were arrested.
    Jennifer Musa was the only MNA from NAP was present and she did not vote for the Ahmedi Amendment. Since all Baloch male MNAs were in either in Jail or outside the country, they obviously did not vote for the ahemdi amendment.
    PS. Both Bizenjo and Dr. Hai were leftist and close to the communist Party in Pakistan. Sardar Marri is not a religious person and called himself a Leninist but he is also the one the most powerful and influential Sardar of the Marri tribe.

  244. insight

    ylh mian:

    @Umair mian and Hoss mian have been making a strawman fallacy… which I am afraid is not supported by anything I said… what I said was that by abandoning Jinnah, you will not have secularism in Pakistan for the aforementioned reason. They have taken it to mean that I am trying to build the case for secularism on Jinnah alone…”

    …….Is it wrong to say that when secularism is brought into Pakistan’s constitution and practiced, it would have several points emphasized by Jinnah (that you also mentioned). You claim not to make a case that Jinnah is essential for secularism but Jinnah alone may not be enough. To me that makes sense. Now it will be hard for those who do not like Jinnah’s ideology to reject that their version of secularism will not overlap with Jinnah’s. Despite all the contradictions, it is hard to say No to the fact that Jinnah did favor secularism.

    The biggest hurdle is the idea of Pakistan itself, based on Islam. Even wine drinking/pork eating secular Jinnah cannot tackle the fact that Pakistan is based on Islam and suddenly Jinnah’s “secularism” faces tough challenge.

    There is always a stalemate when Jinnah is brought into picture. Can there be a more fruitful discussion on secularism and democracy if Jinnah is not in the picture? Is it not possible?

    Congress in India is used as an example of secularism. It is all relative. if BJP earned the tag of non-secular party, Congress did that much earlier. Sikh killings in Delhi are a case in point that religion was taken into picture by Congress while governing India. This is a blot that will never allow Congress to enjoy the tag of secular party. But that’s a different discussion.

  245. insight

    ylh mian:

    Correction:

    “You claim to make a case that while Jinnah is essential for secularism, he alone may not be enough.”

  246. insight

    ylh:

    One addition:

    “Congress in India is used as an example of secularism. It is all relative. if BJP earned the tag of non-secular party because of Gujarat riots against Muslims, Congress did that much earlier against Sikhs”.

    While BJP’s peripheral parties responded to attack on the killing of 50+ Hindus and killed 2000 Muslims, Congress (some was random acts) was worse by killing 5000 Sikhs in response to Indira Gandhi’s killing by her own body guards (not common Sikh masses).

  247. hoss

    Hayyer
    February 12, 2010 at 12:55 pm
    “Religious democracy is very much a possibility. Adherents of the majority faith can frame a constitution that allows representation to minorities but denies them any say in governance.”

    That is no democracy….the minute you deny a group of people to have some say in governance, you are denying them their basic human and democratic rights.

    “A section led by Nehru were socialists and secularists and Patel led a group of Hinduist thinkers. Nehru won the battle and imposed his vision. The masses went along with that. But had Patel, Tandon and Prasad won out the masses would have gone with that too, albeit at the cost of great social unrest. The process was top down.”

    If the masses went along with that, then it was not a top down process. I think that is not accurate that only Nehru was in favor of secularism. It was a Congress platform for more than two decades. Since this was what the Congress promised to do after the independence, there wasn’t much room to get away with that. However, the conservatives within the congress might have not agreed with that.

    Okay let me send another curve ball at you. Imo, “the masses” barely have any interest in a secular polity. This is primarily a middle class issue. The masses, in our part of the world, usually are not tuned in with secularism and they deal with the daily situations as they come while dealing with people of different faiths, beliefs and ethnicity. Masses only tune in when it is about economic issues. Secularism is not an economic issue; it is an ideological issue. Not to say that the masses are crazy ass backwards, but this issue really resonates with the middle class, where some western liberal ideas have much currency.

    So, there is a massive wedge between what the masses went with and what the middle class preferred for the society.

    The problem is that when secularism related issues are raised about Pakistan, not only Indians but many Pakistanis too, immediately jump to mental comparison with India. I think it is unreal. We need to think about these issues based on the political environments in both countries. Even hard core secularism in India was not a big deal because large political parties at independence were able to keep their politics above religion. But situation in Pakistan was different. Secularism, contrary to Indian situation, was a hard pill to swallow in Pakistan. Since independence, many larger issues have emerged in Pakistan and secularism is just a wedge issue now.

    It was galvanized by a pathetic amendment and later some laws that are primary against the human rights and turn a small percentage of the population in to second class citizens. It sure is an issue of democratic rights of that small minority but when you have larger issues facing the larger majority, the secularism loses the punch.

    So first when you look at secularism in Pakistan, you need to do away with the comparison or you look it as an issue which is not related to India in any way. Second, we need to realize in Pakistan now it is an issue of democratic rights and when a large majority in Pakistan is denied its democratic rights, the small minority will not get its rights ahead of the large majority. However, when the large majority gets its democratic rights restored, the small minority would benefit from that.

  248. B. Civilian

    hoss

    “Dr.Hai was not in the senate in the 90s.”

    if this is the same guy as your friend, he was a senator from balochistan (at least) during the 1994-1997 tenure, according to the official senate website. (senate.gov.pk->senators->senate tenure 1994-1997->baluchistan)

    or, if the official website has got it wrong, your friend can perhaps let them know.

  249. Hayyer

    Hoss:
    My interest was in federalism per se and its role in consolidating or obstructing Pakistani identity. I was looking for similarities or dissimilarities with the process undergone in India and still underway. But we are no longer on that course.
    Of course the middle classes have their own world view differing from the feudal mind set and that of the ‘simple’ villager. The middle classes are prone to a top down discourse as well though more inclined than others to experiment with their own notions.
    Your focus on secularism as a prerequisite for provincial political rights was meant I suppose in the general democratic context.

  250. hoss

    B. Civilian
    February 13, 2010 at 4:10 pm

    Yes , you are right it is the same guy. I just did not know he became a senator in 1994. It is still hard for me to believe that he would vote for something non progressive.

    Other than that in 1973 he was NAP MNA and voted per NAP Baluchistan request & did not vote for the constitution.

    I have not met him since I left Pakistan but this time around when I go to Pakistan, I surely will meet him and shame him for his non vote on the issue you mentioned.
    Thanks.

    Btw, If you remove htp and 3w from the URL, the filter would consider that as text and your post will not go in queue for approval.

    senate.gov.pk/ShowMember.asp?ProvinceId=4&Province=Baluchistan&cboCategory=4&CatName=Senate+Tenure+1994+-+1997

  251. FG

    ok, this massive debate ended a long time ago, but i came upon it just today while surfing the web. “ylh” a.k.a. Yasser Latif Hamdani’s comments have compelled me to note the following:

    1) as a favor to you, Mr. Hamdani, i’m letting you know that you sound like a huge douchebag. as a political science academic turned law student, i can follow the debate (and agree with neither sides fully), but as someone who doesn’t live in pakistan and as someone who realizes that internet shouting matches are really very silly, i don’t really have much vested in it. so i’m giving you my objective assessment that most of your comments were simply ad hominem attacks, and that you come across as unjustifiably arrogant at first glance, and then terribly insecure upon further thought.

    2) i googled you as you very condescendingly told Mr. Javed to do so. i found some biographical information on “wikibin.org” (what is this? a site that keeps all the article wikipedia trashed?). it says that “As a student at Rutgers, Hamdani first brought national attention to the growing influence of Salafi and Wahabi Islamists in Muslim organizations on American campuses. ” is this for real? you pioneered the Muslim witch hunt on U.S. campuses? you helped out david horowitz and his ilk in furthering their absurd and dangerous bigotry? if so, kindly receive a collective FUCK YOU from every Muslim in the U.S.

  252. FG

    holy shit, mr. ylh, i just clicked a little further and found an article quoting your articles in the Rutgers paper. son, you are JUST as whack and bigoted as the Islamist crazies you’re after! actually, i’ll be straight, you’re crazier. you literally called all american mosques temples of bigotry. have you ever even been in one?! wow. look, ISRU is notorious (although it’s def gotten better over the past few years), so i get that you had some bad experiences. yeah, and so did i with racist evangelical hicks in the u.s. and missionary atheists like you in pakistan. but do i think all evangelicals or all atheists are effed up like those bad eggs? hell no. your inability to see things in context, your knee-jerk grossly inaccurate generalizations, and likely your aversion to trying to “step into another’s shoes” espouses your own form of bin ladenism, not liberalism. american muslims are basically the only hope for the muslims world, so long as they grow the balls to stop apologizing when assholes like you try to spread paranoia and bigotry. the american muslim community is incredibly unique as a minority muslim community — it is the closest the muslim world has come to achieving pluralistic rawlsian political liberalism (which is what you seem to be trying to get at when you say pathetically and inaccurately repeat “democracy!”). grow up, mr. hamdani.