Daily Archives: August 17, 2010

Saving a drowning country needs an ideological shift

Nasima Zehra Awan’s passionate post for the Pak Tea House

You are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques……..Religion is not the business of the State”.   Thus spoke Jinnah, whilst addressing the Constituent Assembly on August 11, 1947.

Sixty three years later, this is what our honorable Chief Justice has to say: “Parliament with Unlimited Powers can secularize state” (Source:  DAWN,Monday August 16, 2010)
Won’t that be a good thing, judge saheb!

At a time when our country is intellectually and morally bankrupt because of its moorings as a national security state built on the toxic teachings of Maududi, isn’t secularism the way to get out of this mess.  Instead of spending tens of billions to support a failed national security state, “a fortress of Islam” if you will, wouldn’t Pakistan have been better off with sustained representative governments that could have gone past the Kalabagh dam issue and built provincial consensus for half a dozen other dams that could have greatly reduced
the current catastrophe.
Unfortunately for Pakistan, this Judiciary, like most of its predecessors follows the ethos of the bureaucracy-security establishment, not the parliament or gasp, the principles of law and constitutionalism.  That would entail that
they ditch the prevailing sentiment, nay, control of Jamaat Islami at all the Bar Councils and actually allow the elected representatives of the people to draft and discuss legislation that would make Pakistan a functional state in the 21st century, not an faux Ommayad Caliphate of the 8th century!

The Judges and their media supporters and urban elite cheerleaders are obsessed with going after the elected leaders of one party and folk singers; the two actually have the same political powers in Pakistan today.  The dare not go
after Jihadi sectarian leaders who have rendered Pakistan into a wasteland.  The damages incurred by these Jihadis;  thousands of Pakistanis killed including the targeting of professionals belonging to minority sects and religions, the tens of billions of destroyed property and lost investment is incalculable.  These are the fruits that the State of Pakistan, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan has reaped by constructing itself in the vision of Maududi and Qutb.

However, in the chauvinist and elitest debates about corruption, there is NO mention of the billions that are taken at every budget without audit, the tens of billions taken from foreign powers who are subsequently vilified by the same and the trillions that are made by using the country as a corporate and real estate business entity.  After all, how will this debate start while we continuously see ourselves not as a modern, democratic and secular state but as the
realization of the Islamist neurosis of failed ideologues who see a warped view of religion and not shared human values, as the basis for a functional society. Continue reading



Filed under Activism

The Message of Fazlur Rahman

(An old article that perhaps deserves renewed focus.  On another note Pakistan was once the bastion of Islamic modernism and was thought to be leading the way to an Islamic reformation.  We went wrong when we rejected Fazlurrahman – not to confused with the Maulana with the same name- and adopted Maududi instead.)

M Yahya Birt



For all those Muslim Researchers out there, I would like to offer Fazlur Rahman as a paradigm of the modern committed Muslim intellectual. Often we hear the tired litany of historical triumphalism, ‘we gave the scientific and philosophical impetus to the European Enlightenment.’ This is no doubt true. But to say this when Muslims have fallen into the deepest intellectual stagnation, which no amount of self-defeating rhetoric can hide, we must face the uncomfortable truth: within modern accumulations of knowledge lie some of the tools for our intellectual re- ignition and renewal. This is something that Fazlur Rahman recognised, and, in this sense, he is a torch-bearer. For insight, independence of thought, and crucially, unremitting courage, his work bears repeated examination. His bravery is borne out by the fact that he was criticised by all sides, as well as praised by many. If I might begin with a brief outline of his life. Continue reading


Filed under Pakistan