Daily Archives: July 31, 2010

Forging Faith and Freedom – Iqbal and Jinnah

AA Khalid has written this thoughtful article for PTH

Pakistan has been unfortunate that two of its founding fathers Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Muhammad Iqbal died before the country were properly on its feet. Iqbal died years before he saw Pakistan come alive and Jinnah died in its infancy. Their deaths represent more than just their earthly demise; it represents the death of their ideas in the public sphere of Pakistan.

Every nation has a series of figures and architects of the country that leaves behind an intellectual legacy about the type of ideas they wish to see flourish in their new nation. With Pakistan this has not happened, from the earliest days of its existence there has been a vacuum with the political and indeed religious discourse. What does Pakistan stand for, and what is our identity? What are our ideals and how can we implement them? These ideas provide the social and psychological bedrock for the type of democratic discourse which flourishes in a country, but due to their absence from the marketplace of ideas there is a noticeable vacuum.

If Pakistan is an ‘’Islamic Republic’’ then it must learn to balance these two concepts and learn to forge faith and freedom, and this can be done by revisiting the intellectual and political legacies of Mr Jinnah and Iqbal. Whilst Mr. Jinnah was an exponent of liberalism, appreciating minority rights, democracy and tolerance, Iqbal on the flip side of this very same coin of liberalism was a humanist and a religious man. Iqbal clearly thought a synthesis of the republican spirit (as he put it) and religious sensibilities of a Muslim nation can be achieved (as he cited Turkey many a time). If Pakistan is to be an ”Islamic Republic”, it must learn to develop a republican based religiosity, a religiosity based on tolerance, rationality and democratic contestation. Continue reading


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by YLH

An example of a collossal miscalculation by our otherwise very cautious founding father: 

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

The truth is that Pakistani Muslims are incapable of growing up and to hold such expectations from them is to set yourself up for disappointment. Continue reading


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Redefining national interest

Raza Rumi

Courtesy The Friday Times: —
The elusive quest for peace between India and Pakistan remains hostage to the military-industrial complex at both the global and regional levels. Such is the dynamic unleashed by two imagined “nations” that their existence as states is dependent on a perpetual state of confrontation. More so for Pakistan, given its deeply embedded paranoia, which has assumed a reality of its own. Sixty-two years ago, it was hardly envisioned that the two states would erect an iron-curtain and fight forever. From actual wars to propaganda campaigns the task seems complete now. The oft-repeated phrase ‘trust deficit’ is a natural culmination of this ugly process. Of late, another dimension has been added, i.e. information-deficit as India had marched towards a new phase of its economic development, it has stopped taking interest in transitional Pakistani society and kept the time-warped framework of understanding Pakistan. However, the situation cannot remain static. Policymakers are slow to catch up on both the sides.

Mumbai factor: Twenty months ago, the Mumbai attacks changed the atmosphere created by President Zardari’s unprecedented offers of peace, dialogue and cooperation. The day Zardari made his remarks in a conclave organised by the Hindustan Times in 2008, many observers saw a Mumbai coming. The jihadis of Pakistan and perhaps their counterparts in India were quick to stop this process. Ironic that PPP, a party fed on the Pakistani nationalist rhetoric, thirty years down the road had read the writing on the wall. Pakistan’s future and survival is dependent on a reduction of hostilities with India. More importantly, this also holds the key to correcting the endemic civil-military imbalance.

Zardari’s stride: Why would a national security state apparatus bloated by an Indian threat not react to Zardari’s statements: “I do not feel threatened by India and India should not feel threatened from us…today we have a parliament which is already pre-agreed upon a friendly relationship with India. In spite of our disputes, we have a great future together.” As if this was not enough, Zardari declared that Pakistan will not be the first country to use its nuclear weapons, thus undermining a carefully constructed Pakistani nuclear doctrine of first-use. Continue reading


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