By Col Riaz Jafri (in The Paktribune)
It was indeed brave of Ghazi Salahuddin to stir a sensitive subject like “Induction of Religion in Politics” and thereby obliquely question the efficacy of Islamisation of Pakistan in his article “Nawaz Sharif’s Chance” “The News” Sunday June 13th . He advised MNS against being an Ameer ul Momineen if he is elected PM for the third time and keep the state and religion separate from each other. I agree with him. Much is talked about the Nazria e Pakistan (Ideology of Pakistan) by our intellectuals – pseudo as well as genuine, and it has become fashionable to paint it in an Islamic hue.
I am 80 and saw Pakistan coming into being. Though Islam was used extensively in uniting the Muslims of the sub-continent and to expound the Two Nation Theory yet, nowhere did I witness any kind of religiosity in the party and public meetings of All India Muslim League during the entire Pakistan movement. Not a single meeting – party or public – ever started with what to talk of recitation from holy Qura’n followed by a Na’at or Hamd even with the Bismillah ar Rahman ur Rahim. At the most a poem of Hali, Hasrat Mohani or Iqbal appropriate to the occasion was recited to start the proceedings.
The reader is requested not to misconstrue it as something anti-Islam. It was just not the practice then. Islam was in the hearts and not on the lips. May I, therefore, ask those who say now and say it emphatically too that Pakistan was created for Islam, was Islam in any kind of danger in the united India and Pakistan had to be created to save it? If it were so then why did the religious parties and almost all the ulema and mushaikh oppose its creation? A very important question arises here. Did an accomplished and astute politician like Jinnah not know the power of the pulpit? Could he not measure the damage they could cause and were actually doing to the League’s political efforts by alienating them? Why did he not, therefore, try to draw them into the ambit of his political struggle? The answer that comes to my mind is simply because he knew that once the clerics were given some space in a political arena, how so ever small it may be, they would expand it to its entirety. Once religion, more so Islam, is mentioned in any context no one would dare say even a word remotely at variance with it. They (ulema) would prevail upon the innocent masses in the name of Islam and dictate their diktats to the extent that the religion will overshadow the governance in its all spheres. And, he did not want theocracy in Pakistan about which he had made his thoughts amply clear to all at many an occasion. Therefore, Pakistan was NOT created for Islam in that sense but to ameliorate the socio-economic lot of the down trodden Muslims of India.
Next, we have to examine if the Islamic Ideology was given to us by the founding fathers? If yes, then why was Pakistan not named The Islamic State of Pakistan to start with on its inception on August 14th, 1947? Not only that, why did Quaid have Dr. Jugandar Nath Mandal as his Law Minister? Imagine, the law minister of an Islamic state being a non-Muslim Hindu and that too of the lowest caste ! Why was Sir Zafar ullah Khan – a known Ahmadi – appointed as the Foreign Minister of the newly born “Islamic” state of Pakistan? Did Quaid not know of the bias against the Ahmadis in the Muslim world, particularly amongst the Muslim Arab countries? Why was CE Gibbons – a Christian – elected as the Deputy Speaker of the Constituent assembly – the constituent assembly that was to frame the constitution for the “Islamic” state of Pakistan? Why did Quaid say what he did in his August 11, 1947 speech — Hindus will cease to be Hindus and Muslims shall cease to be Muslims, not in the religious sense but in the political sense —-? Also, please note what else did he talk of in his ever first address as the first President of the Constituent Assembly of sovereign Pakistan? The very first thing that came to his mind was Law & Order, next Corruption, then Black Marketering & Hoarding, then Nepotism and Jobbery and finally a word of advice to all those who had opposed Pakistan to accept it now that it had become a reality. Not a word about Islam or anything Islamic in his entire speech of 45 minutes or so! This all could not have been there just co-incidentally!
Let’s examine a few more historical facts connected with the Pakistan movement to clarify our thoughts more. Is it not a fact that Quaid wooed the Sikhs to side with Pakistan instead of India? Had they opted for Pakistan and the Punjab with all its Hindu and Sikh population not divided and its boundary extended up to Shahdara on the home bank of Jumna with Delhi across on its other bank, would Pakistan still have been an Islamic state in the strict sense? Next, we all know of the Cabinet Mission Plan of 1946, dividing India into a Confederation of three Zones, A, B & C. A zone comprising of Assam and undivided full Bengal. Zone B comprising of present Pakistan with undivided Punjab. And, Zone C comprising of Central (or remaining) India. Imagine, Quaid and the Muslim League accepted it. Again, mercifully Congress didn’t agree to it and we got Pakistan. Had Congress also agreed to the Confederation of United India, where would have been Pakistan and its (Islamic) ideology? And, mind you it was to happen in 1946 – six years after the Lahore (Pakistan) Resolution and the struggle for Pakistan and only a year before the actual birth of Pakistan! If Pakistan were to be created for Islam, would the founding fathers have agreed to the Cabinet Mission Plan?
From the above it is amply clear that Pakistan was neither created for Islam nor did the founding fathers give it an Islamic Ideology for us to follow it blindly. Pakistan was, however, certainly created in the name of Islam but for the amelioration of the Musalmanan e Hind. Islam was never in any danger in the pre-partitioned India. It were the down trodden Muslims of India who were badly oppressed by the non-Muslims and needed a socio-economic amelioration for their survival. If Pakistan was created for Islam, why is there not-with-standing The Objectives Resolution any Islamic centre of authority in it even after 63 years of its existence? Would we all follow the Islamic verdict given by the Banuri Town Karachi, the Makhdooms and Pirs of Hala, Hur or Multan, the Maulanas of Okara, Akora or DI Khan, or the Popalzeis of Peshawar who in any case rarely see eye to eye with the rest of country’s clergy. As a matter of fact, the real centres of authority are still in India – at Deoband and Breilli for the most and at Qum, Al-Azhar and Saudi Arabia for the others.
Next, the question arises should we have an ideology for Pakistan – Islamic or otherwise? But before we delve into it let’s see as to how did this expression “Ideology of Pakistan” come into being. During the first fifteen years of Pakistan nobody knew or used the term Ideology of Pakistan, till in 1962 Maulvi Abdul Bari of Jama’t Islami used the term for the first time when the political parties bill was under discussion. Chaudhry Fazal Illahi, who later became the president of Pakistan objected to it and asked as to what was meant by it. The mover of the bill said that the ideology of Pakistan was Islam. That was that. Nobody raised any objection or asked for further explanation and the bill was passed.
Naturally no one raised any questions. Who could dare do so and invite the wrath of the clerics calling him a heretic, a murtad and what not ?! That’s how we got the Islamic Ideology for Pakistan. Thanks to Jama’t e Islami, the party who had opposed the very creation of Pakistan gave it the ideology and started dictating Islamisation of the country.
Coming back to having an ideology or not raises an important question. Can we subordinate the acquisition of knowledge to any ideology? If we do, would we not restrict the field of knowledge only to what the ideology teaches us? The ideology has to run through a groove or a defined channel and does not permit one to go out of it. Europe and the West suffered from the Christian dogma for centuries. To them the earth was flat and centre of the universe. Sun revolved around it. Galileo had to face an inquisition tribunal for having expounded a theory opposed to the Christian ideology. The object of education is to acquire knowledge, knowledge of everything, of universe, the space, the remotest nebula, the oceans and the seas. Now if we subordinate the acquisition of knowledge to any ideology, political, economic, or religious, we reduce the field of knowledge because it imposes limitations on human intellect and its activities.
Never-the-less education was subordinated to the so-called Islamic Ideology and, the zealots in the process did quite a damage to Pakistan. A case in point is the education imparted in madressas. It does not inculcate quest for knowledge among the students there. Their young and impressionable minds are ingrained with the thought that only their creed is based on truth. All other faiths and creeds are manifestations of evil. For this the curriculum was redesigned and textbooks rewritten to promote the ideology of Pakistan and create the monolithic image of Pakistan as an Islamic state. Muslims were the only citizens of Pakistan, others could also live if they wanted. Forgotten was the fact that Pakistan is a multi-lingual, multi-ethnic and multi religious society. Non-Muslims are an integral part of it. Many of them having contributed to the image, stature and wellbeing of the country.
The process is not confined to the madressas only but even the secondary school text books of regular institutions contain fantasies like the Pak army soldiers laying themselves in front of the Indian tanks with mines tied to their chests in Chawinda 1965 war (implying to attain Shahadat — ) Soldiers from outer world (angels) dressed in green with swords in hand were seen fighting alongside the Pak army in 1965 etc.! When the rest of the world is invading space, travelling to moon and the mars, we are being taken back 1500 years in the name of Islam and Islamic ideology for Pakistan.
The bottom line is, please do have Islam but as a personal matter and not that of state. There are no two views that Islam is the best religion, the ultimate, the universal and most beneficial to the humanity. It is our heritage and a proud one too. But for God’s sake do not confine it to the medieval and fifteen century old religion only. Keep it abreast of time, as ordained in the holy book. Let’s draw on Qura’n to fashion (I am intentionally not using the word ‘mould’ which smacks of restrictions) our lives commensurate with the progress of the mankind. And, Pakistan will soon INSHALLAH be the envy of the most developed nation on this planet.