Ideological confusion amongst Neo-PPP diehards

By Yasser Latif Hamdani

(This post is solely my opinion. Other PTH editors, in particular maker-founder Raza Rumi and leading editor Raza Raja, have nothing to do with it. I want to make it clear so that they do not feel compulsively compelled to apologise on my behalf again- YLH)

A blog that is (un)critical of PPP, supports (un)secularism, defends organised religion and PPP’s policy of imposing Maulana Sherani- a right wing Islamo-fascist- on the nation has further exposed just how confused these “critical” supporters of the PPP are.  In an interview with Nadeem Farooq Paracha, a liberal par excellence and a real hero to all people fighting for sanity in Pakistan, they asked a question that laid bare just how terribly ignorant of history and how bankrupt their ideas are. PTH’s leadership has in the past surrendered to this blog.

“LUBP: Also, can we choose to ignore our nationalist leaders like ZAB, BB, Bizenjo, G. M. Syed, Haider Bux Jatoi and Bacha Khan and their appeal to the masses in our combined struggle for a secular Pakistan or can secularism be constructed simply from Jinnah’s August 11th speech to the Constituent Assembly?

NFP: Legacies – secular or theological – need to be looked and studied critically to see what went right or what went wrong during the time those people associated with the legacies were doing what they have become famous or infamous for.

Of course one can’t but respect the politicians that you have mentioned, but I’d rather look at their weaknesses and vulnerabilities in trying to construct whatever they thought was secularism, or progressivism or liberalism. I am specially critical of ZAB in this respect.

But the truth is, secularists and liberals in Pakistan must stop looking backwards for inspiration. It’s an entirely different Pakistan today. A Pakistan on the brink of turning itself into a Somalia or a myopic, widespread reactive society that instinctively and without much thought is seen to applaud populist narratives brimming with isolationist, intolerant and delusional notions of patriotism, politics and faith.

Like I said, enough of the apologetics. I personally have no doubts about me being a Muslim Pakistani. I believe in God, but why should I have to wear my beliefs on my sleeve? I’ve seen young people wearing T-Shirts saying, ‘I am a Muslim.’ But who is doubting that? I never thought that they were Martians, so why the exhibitionism?

I am a believing Muslim who is a staunch secularist. I do not see a contradiction in this. I do not have to evoke my belief in God, or prove how Jinnah was also a secularist, to make my point.

My points should be proven in showing how the whole idea of a theological state has been disastrous for this country, over and over again, and how if Pakistan has to advance and survive as a cohesive state in the future, it can only do so through democracy and by having a progressive relationship between all of its many ethnicities, religions and sects and with the world at large.”

Now the aforesaid italicised part is ironic… to say the least (and NFP has hinted to it albeit in dabbay chuppay ilfaz).I agree with NFP’s response. However let us try and understand the incredible mindset of the LUBP fascists….  tomorrow if NFP will condemn the attack on Sherry Rahman they will abuse him as “ISI” stooge and pseudo-liberal.

First of all ZAB and BB were not nationalist (as in linguistic or ethnic nationalist) leaders, they were Pakistani nationalist leaders.  ZAB’s policies in Balochistan etc prove this point whether you support him or oppose him.  Furthermore it is forgotten that ZAB was an ultra-Pakistani nationalist- his views as expressed in the 1960s and 1970s would warm the hearts of people like Zaid Hamid…  his role in the 1965 war (that turned two peaceful neighbors into warring parties), at Tashkent… his declarations of a 1000 years war with the Hindus… all were contributing factors to irreparably irrevocably wedding the conception of Pakistani Nationalism to anti-India sentiment.

Nor was Z A Bhutto a secularist in any sense of the word.  ZAB got Pakistan to introduce Islam as a state religion (both the 1956 and 1962 constitutions had no reference to a state religion). ZAB involved Maulana Maududi in the constitution-making and met him in Lahore’s governor house. ZAB’s backstabbing of the Ahmadis is also well known and spoken about.  It was ZAB who banned alcohol and horse racing and gambling in Pakistan and it was ZAB who made Friday the weekly holiday.  Ironic that ZAB is now being touted as a nationalist and secularist leader… but in 1970s, he was attacking ethno-nationalist leaders like Wali Khan (Bacha Khan’s son) for being against two nation theory….  how ironic that Wali Khan defended himself by referring to Jinnah’s 11th August speech and claimed that his party was committed to Jinnah’s conception of Pakistan.  The entire record is listed in Justice Dorab Patel’s book “Testament of a liberal”… (and before LUBP denounces Dorab Patel as evil ISI stooge let me point out that Dorab Patel was one of the judges who opined against Bhutto’s death sentence). Bhutto even castigated Mujib ur rahman for making Bangladesh Secular and was in touch throughout with the conspirators who assassinated Mujeeb ur Rahman. Read Stanley Wolpert’s Zulfi Bhutto of Pakistan to confirm.  And let us not forget, it was Bhutto who started the Islamic insurgency against the left-leaning Afghanistan government, a policy that his handpicked general and executioner the bigoted General Zia took to another level.

Benazir Bhutto – her hate-India rhetoric notwithstanding and despite her role in creating the taliban – was a much better leader than Zulfikar Ali Bhutto…. she was committed to a truly plural and democratic Pakistani society. She was however a Pakistani to the core and nothing in her outlook represented narrow ethno-nationalist considerations.  It is a great tragedy that she was assassinated and unfortunate that she did not get the opportunity to govern for a third term. It would have saved the PPP and a genuine secular PPP might just have emerged under her sane guidance and leadership. At the very least we would not have ANP’s attempt to hijack the PPP as is obvious from the blog in question. 

Bacha Khan’s supposed secularism has been discussed elsewhere. Perhaps his apologists ought to also revisit Bacha Khan’s alliance with Fakir of Ipi (whose grandson now is a leading member of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan).
 
The unkindest cut of these little knowledge types is that they claim – much like their Mullah counterparts- that those who refer to Jinnah only refer to his one speech. This is a blatant and shameless lie. Only Mullahs and the Neo-jiyalas continue to put it up. For this I recommend that the readers here should revisit this argument which has been discussed in some detail.

Jinnah’s secularism remains relevant not because a few people admire Jinnah or revere him (and this author is a self-professed admirer and follower of the Quaid-e-Azam) but for the same reason that Wali Khan cited Jinnah in his defence.  Wali Khan’s argument was that if Jinnah is considered the founder of the country, the country ought to follow his ideas as clearly expressed at a time when the constituent assembly was about to start work on constitution-making. By understanding the 42 years of Jinnah’s political history which saw a committed and determined secular Indian nationalist transform- at the end of his life- into a champion of Muslims and an advocate of Pakistan one can de-construct the Islamic ideology that the state has imposed starting with Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and PPP’s 1973 constitution.

Unfortunately championing ethno-nationalists will never help the liberal or secular cause. Wali Khan welcomed General Zia’s coup because Zia over threw Bhutto who had persecuted Pushtun Nationalists. Bacha Khan’s letters to General Zia about the re-naming of NWFP shows that Bacha Khan was ready to go along with Zia if he renamed the province. Bacha Khan’s son Ghani Khan accepted presidential medal from General Zia.  It must also be remembered that ANP – the so called secular party today- had willingly joined the PNA alliance which had promised to impose Islamic law on Pakistan and which started a movement funded by Pakistani establishment against the PPP. How ironic that today the same people are owning up to Bhutto and are also turning a blind eye to his flaws.

This author has voted PPP in all elections but not because the author is blind to PPP’s flaws.  It is because PPP represents the lesser of all evils in Pakistan.  It is a federal party that is liberal to a certain extent.  However its policies increasingly show that it is now giving up both planks on which Pakistanis who want a liberal and democratic framework support it. Babar Awan’s statement represents this mentality. So does the attempt by ANP to hijack the PPP.

42 Comments

Filed under Pakistan

42 responses to “Ideological confusion amongst Neo-PPP diehards

  1. YLH

    Now I have been accused of misuing my position as an editor of PTH to “misrepresent” LUBP (by telling the truth about them).

    Ofcourse when Sarah Khan and Abdul Nishapuri and other idiots from LUBP use their blog to attack “pseudo-liberals” like Sherry Rahman, Adil Najam, Raza Rumi, Raza Raja, Ali Chishti and moi (but note they never attack Mullahs) …. it is proper and fair use.

  2. Ahsan

    Agree Mr. Yaseer

    The difference as I see it between ‘Liberals’ and ‘Conservatives’ here lies in the propagation of ideologies. Conservatives skillfully deploy their cadres to expand support. Whereas the liberals often do lip-service. Condemning Taliban and other evil is admirable but at the same time explain your pint of view with some kind of practical thesis. I am sure these parties (PPP and MQM) have sane and sensible people but the problem is that they are not expressing themselves as efficiently as the conservatives. They can use electronic media and print media to transmit their message.

    Secondly they have to decide now whether they want to surrender or they want to fight. Just not mentioning faith in party names doesn’t make you liberal and progressive.

  3. Bin Ismail

    Yasser Latif Hamdani:

    “…..The unkindest cut of these little knowledge types is that they claim – much like their Mullah counterparts- that those who refer to Jinnah only refer to his one speech. This is a blatant and shameless lie…..”

    Brilliant article. Now with more specific reference to your words quoted above, may I add that Jinnah’s clearly “secular” approach and robustly “non-theocratic” vision, or shall we say “anti-theocratic” vision, is by no means confined to the epoch-making 11th August 1947 Presidential Address to the first Constituent Assembly of Pakistan. Let’s consider some of his other saying, both before and after 11th August 1947:

    1. “…Religion should “NOT” be allowed to come into Politics…Religion is merely a matter between man and God”.[Jinnah, Address to the Central Legislative Assembly, 7 February 1935].

    2. “…in the name of Humanity, I care more for them [the Untouchables] than for Mussalmans.” [Jinnah, Speaking about the Shudras or Untouchables, during his address at the All India Muslim League session at Delhi, 1934].

    3.“…I am “NOT” fighting for Muslims, believe me, when I demand Pakistan.” [Jinnah, Press Conference, 14 November 1946]

    4. “…But make no mistake – Pakistan is “NOT” a theocracy or anything like it.” [Jinnah, Message to the people of Australia, 19 February 1948].

    5. ”…The constitution of Pakistan has yet to be framed by the Pakistan Constituent Assembly…..Islam and its idealism have taught us democracy. It has taught Equality of men, Justice and Fairplay to “EVERYBODY”…..In any case Pakistan is “NOT” going to be a theocratic State – to be ruled by priests with a divine mission. We have many non-Muslims – Hindus, Christians and Parsis – but they are “ALL” Pakistanis. They will enjoy the “SAME” rights and privileges as any other citizens and will play their rightful part in the affairs of Pakistan.” [Jinnah, February 1948.Talk on Pakistan broadcast to the people of USA]

    Regards
    Bin Ismail

  4. libertarian

    @YLH: Don’t know – and don’t care about – the genesis of this feud. Don’t waste your time on them though. There’s a large left-sympathetic constituency in Pakistan that is completely unrepresented now – that political space is wide open. The PPP has effectively abdicated that representation. The parties on display range from far-right to even-further-right. If folks like Sherry Rehman, Raza Rumi, Adil Najam and you could find common cause there’s much political mileage to be had. Who knows, it might even be more palatable to the Kayanis of the world.

  5. Jamshed Gulzar

    Absolute truth.

  6. Tilsim

    Well done YLH. Kudos. Do you think it’s possible for the PPP to change in a positive way from within? That’s the crux of the issue.

  7. YLH

    I don’t see PPP reforming any time soon. The problem is that there is no credible alternative.

    I am sure now the minorities are looking very carefully at the PPP. If PPP does not repeal the blasphemy law it will lose the Christian vote atleast.

    Perhaps the credible alternative be a party that mobilises the minority vote.

  8. Pankaj

    YLH

    For PPP which is fighting ITS OWN daily battles of survival either with Judiciary or media or the establishment ; fighting extremism is just NOT POSSIBLE

    PPP has Neither the TIME nor the INCLINATION for social reform

    Now ever since PPP government has been formed , there has been a systematic campaign to malign and remove Zardari bcos of his shady past

    They PML and the establish ment want to totally destroy PPP

    By breathing down the neck of Zardari on one pretext they are ensuring that Zardari CANNOT FOCUS on Governance

    If PPP has to turn towards the Right wing for its SURVIVAL it will

    Once Zardari is removed and Bilawal being a kid ,PPP goes into OBLIVION for 10 years .

    The establishment wants their own man maybe Nawaz or somebody totally new whom they can dictate terms

    PS : minorities are just too few in number Their numbers 3 percent are just too few for them to matter or be called as a vote bank

  9. YLH

    “Their numbers 3 percent are just too few for them to matter or be called as a vote bank”

    Actually that is manipulation of numbers by our census bureau. A more genuine estimate would the minorities in range of 10% to 15%.

  10. Talha

    PPP has always been a joke. Lets just analyze the current line up of jokers.

    – ‘Fakir’ Zardari (Former ticket seller at his dads cinema ‘Bambino’)
    – ‘Pir’ Gillani (Legend has it Hitler spend some quality time in Multan, result, Pir Gillani)
    – ‘Blackwater’ Malik (Pakistan’s own 007, elite spy master and international foreign hand (bahrooni haath) conspiracy theorist)
    – ‘Khadim e Khadmaan e Rasool’ Awan (Dr, Islamic Scholar, Servant of the Servants of the Rasool (SAW), Law Minister and jaali degree holder. Need I say more)
    – ‘Jaali & Aasli’ Nawab Raisani (Degree is a degree, doesn’t matter if its fake or real)
    – etc

    Jiye Bhutto.

  11. Rabia

    But earlier in the interview when NFP was asked “… or can secularism only be achieved by treating the works and words of Jinnah and Iqbal as sacred texts and building on the mists of our past?” he himself said:

    “NFP: Unfortunately, in Pakistan, anyone claiming to hold liberal or secular views is both directly and indirectly forced to be apologetic about his or beliefs. This apologetic behavior then usually sees such individuals constantly using the examples of Jinnah and Iqbal, saying how liberal, secular, or, in Iqbal’s case, how moderate and enlightened, they were.

    Well, the truth is, Jinnah unfortunately will always remain to be a huge enigma in this respect. What was Jinnah’s Pakistan? Who knows, but yes, it certainly wasn’t something that it became many years after his death.

    Secularists, leftists and liberals should break out of this apologetic mindset. They can use Jinnah and Iqbal when it is necessary, but, hey, Jinnah and Iqbal have been used by the reactionaries as well, haven’t they?

    If one claims to be a progressive, secular or liberal, then he or she should talk about how the current reality is calling for Pakistan to once and for all overthrow the self-imposed burden of being the so-called bastion of Islam and look forward to being a progressive, tolerant Muslim majority republic. One should now be able to do this without always finding the need to invoke Jinnah or Iqbal. Enough of the apologetics.”

  12. Aadi

    ====================================================
    Jinnah’s secularism remains relevant not because a few people admire Jinnah or revere him (and this author is a self-professed admirer and follower of the Quaid-e-Azam) but for the same reason that Wali Khan cited Jinnah in his defence. Wali Khan’s argument was that if Jinnah is considered the founder of the country, the country ought to follow his ideas as clearly expressed at a time when the constituent assembly was about to start work on constitution-making. By understanding the 42 years of Jinnah’s political history which saw a committed and determined secular Indian nationalist transform- at the end of his life- into a champion of Muslims and an advocate of Pakistan one can de-construct the Islamic ideology that the state has imposed starting with Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and PPP’s 1973 constitution.
    ====================================================

    If you read the interview of Nadeem F Pracha, he has a different take on this. Here it goes below:

    ====================================================
    “Unfortunately, in Pakistan, anyone claiming to hold liberal or secular views is both directly and indirectly forced to be apologetic about his or beliefs. This apologetic behavior then usually sees such individuals constantly using the examples of Jinnah and Iqbal, saying how liberal, secular, or, in Iqbal’s case, how moderate and enlightened, they were.

    Well, the truth is, Jinnah unfortunately will always remain to be a huge enigma in this respect. What was Jinnah’s Pakistan? Who knows, but yes, it certainly wasn’t something that it became many years after his death.

    Secularists, leftists and liberals should break out of this apologetic mindset. They can use Jinnah and Iqbal when it is necessary, but, hey, Jinnah and Iqbal have been used by the reactionaries as well, haven’t they?

    If one claims to be a progressive, secular or liberal, then he or she should talk about how the current reality is calling for Pakistan to once and for all overthrow the self-imposed burden of being the so-called bastion of Islam and look forward to being a progressive, tolerant Muslim majority republic. One should now be able to do this without always finding the need to invoke Jinnah or Iqbal. Enough of the apologetics.”
    ====================================================

    I agree with NFP here – who has put Jinnah’s role in context over here.
    Jinnah can’t be the silver bullet for progressive, secularist and liberal people. His speeches have something for everybody in the left, right and center. If Pakistan has to become secular, modern and progressive – it should be because of the strength of the ideas themselves – rather than what Jinnah wanted or did not want.

  13. YLH

    I have already explained what Jinnah’s relevance is. My own admiration for Jinnah is not the reason I apply the Jinnah argument.

    Jinnah remains relevant because he deconstructs the ideology and false history that every government starting with Bhutto has imposed on this country.

    I respect NFP a lot but the issue here the issue is precisely the opposite… state imposing its conception of Jinnah and liberals quoting directly from Jinnah’s life to prove the exact opposite… I have written a three part series- at Raza Rumi’s insistence- that addresses these issues.

  14. Rabia

    … the question you quote is a follow up to the one that I just quoted in the comment above. Clearly, the last paragraph in the first answer, about building secularism from the current reality of Pakistan is a build-up to the next question which asks what inspiration that a secularist like NFP derives from left-of-center leaders like ZAB, BB, Wali Khan, Bizenjo, GM Syed and Bacha Khan. Now I am not sure why you (and the earlier commenters) think that you have scored such a slam dunk by mocking each and every one of these leaders as some kind of “fakes” or something – but surely you have to admit that whatever these flaws all of these folks are members of our sparsely populated left of center political spectrum. So why on earth is it so ridiculous to ask NFP what, if anything, he can learn from these leaders? And his answer is perfectly sensible, which is that he would like to learn from their practical mistakes and move on.

    What on earth is objectionable about this exchange? Perhaps someone can explain?

  15. YLH

    Excuse me? The commentators here are not concerned about personalities but the idiocy of the question and the general fascist trend that has become commonplace on that stupid website.

    How have I described each and everyone of them as fakes ? I have described none of them as fakes… I hold Benazir Bhutto in great esteem as is clear from what I have written above… possibly as much as Jinnah.

    The term “left of center” btw was not used. The term “nationalist” was used. ZAB and BB were clearly not part of some ethno-nationalist clique… they were federal and mainstream Pakistani leaders.

    Secondly none of these leaders can be described as “left of center”. ZAB was bigger enigma than anyone else. Just because he flirted half heartedly with Islamic socialism does not mean he is a leftist. BB was strictly a centrist politician. Bacha Khan was not center left politician from any angle. His son was a secularist no doubt … but his party sided with the PNA and that should be taken into account. Don’t know enough about Bizenjo… but G M Syed was not a left of center politician either.

    Having followed NFP and having read him from time to time and having interacted with him … I can only imagine the huge smile he must have broken into having read all these names together.

  16. YLH

    “If you read the interview of Nadeem F Pracha, he has a different take on this.”

    But unlike the crooks at LUBP… Nadeem F Paracha does not abuse and attack those who may have a different point of view on this matter.

    One of the distinguished editors at LUBP has the habit of calling anyone who quotes Jinnah “political orphans”. This coming from someone who till 2009 had nothing to do with PPP.

  17. Rabia

    1. OK, let me ask more directly: how does the question that you quote indicate fascist thought?

    2. In your rebuttal, you quite clearly take each one of those politicians mentioned and show them to be “fake” secularists.

    3. Sure, nationalist, left of center, whatever. Are you trying to say that by using the term “nationalist” to describe a politician one becomes an “ethno-fascist”? In any case, this is quibbling about nomenclature. The reason that it’s difficult to find a proper term to group these folks together with is simply that no one has built a meaningful, pro-people secularism in this country’s history. Anyway, imo, when someone (like NFP) does successfully manage to do so, all these figures that you like to mock and label people ethno-fascists for supporting will be part of that secularism’s history.

  18. @ Pankaj (November 27, 2010 at 4:55 pm)
    Agreed! Will comment more later.
    ciao

  19. Raza Raja

    I fully agree with Yasir here. At times I may have disagreed with yasir’s tendency to indulge in excesses as far as language is concerned, but he is spot on most of the time.
    Frankly PPP’s critical supporters are just critical of those who criticise PPP,no matter how sincere and constructive their criticism is.
    While thet were ready to defend harassment of their own party member Sherry Rehman like anything, yet they can not bring themselves up to condemn the following 3 developments

    1. The statement of Babar Awan regarding blashemy law
    2. The handing over of the chairmanship of Islamic Ideological Council to hardline deobandis
    3. The statement of their “presentable” minister of tourism calling Taliban the real Islamic face

    Now they were ready to pounce on Shabaz Sharif when he asked Taliban not to attack Punjab ands when their own party commits even bigger blunders, they prefer to just dodge the issue.

    Yes they are ready to copy paste from PTH’s comments section and write entire articles in which they try to prove how psuedo liberal PTH is, while maintaning a hypocritical silence on the above developments.

    Even now one can see their site and actually see articles where they are alleging that ISI is turning blog sphere against PPP!!

    Come on …and For God Sake get real…

    2.

  20. YLH

    Rabia,

    1. No. Attacking anyone who disagrees with LUBP’s policy as “ISI stooges” and “Pseudo-liberals” and “Imran Khan supporters” is McCarthyism of another kind and fascist.

    2. They would be fake secularists if they tried to be secularists. I questioned the grouping of these people together. How is ZAB an ethno-nationalist leader btw? My point was very different…. that Bhutto was not secular and all these people (with the honorable exception of Benazir Bhutto) were at odds with each other. Clearly this confusion of limited nationalism with placement in the political spectrum is wrong to say the least.

    3. Refer to 2. I am sure ZAB will be part of “Secularism’s history” for introducing a state religion, making a theocratic constitution, imposing the Islamic ideology of Pakistan, handpicking the worst Islamic dictator etc. After all Napoleon is part of the history of French Secularism as its villain of sorts. They undid Napoleon’s horrible concordat in 1805 a 100 years later. And Bhutto was an unabashed admirer of Bonaparte.

  21. Pankaj

    This task of removing extremism AND bringing in moderation has to be LED by the ARMY

    The political class is neither ABLE nor WILING TO do this Herculean task.

    Benazir in her campaign speeches, before her assasination said that she would take on the extremists

    Her assasination was a clear MESSAGE to all politicians to stay away from the hard liners.

    And after Benazir ,no politician would dare to take on the hardliners.

    Yes BUT ALL politicians will make the right ” NOISES ” about the dangers of extremism .

    Since all political parties want POWER as soon as possible they will be on FRIENDLY terms with the right wingers.

    Because for government formation AND survival you need the support of as many parties as possible

  22. Rabia

    @Raza Raja,
    please help me understand. What are you agreeing with in this particular instance? Can you explain what, in that one paragraph question, makes the person who asked that question a fascist? I am beyond confused here

    @YLH
    ok… I guess I still don’t understand what exactly was so objectionable about that question. But I’ve asked this too many times and don’t want to flood the comment section so last comment from me.

  23. YLH

    Read postulate 1 of my post addressed to you.

    Whoever asked that question is a joker.

  24. Raza Raja

    @ Rabia

    I think I have made it very clear WHERE I agree with yasir.

  25. Raza Raja

    @Rabia

    Just to clarify I agree with yasir on his assessment of Bhutto as a nationalist and his role in political islam. moreover he is right in his criticism of LUBP in the sense that they do not take any criticism and are quick to pounce on any one who is critical of their party.

    Where I do not agree with yasir is about his views about ANP and ethnic nationalism. I am not anti ANP at all.

  26. YLH

    It is not about being anti-ANP anyway. It is about ANP trying to take over PPP

  27. humza ikram

    ANP trying to take over PPP🙂

  28. Amjad Cheema

    Yes PPP has gone through the evolutionary process has made all kinds of mistakes for which it has suffered. but more or less its the only acceptable secular & liberal paryty on the national level which we must not try to destroy. Yes Shirani is chair of IIC but that’s a ground reality with in context of RGST. Yes people like BAR Wan are their but would you do about hypocritical role of Aetizaz Ahsan which was recently expose in Supreme Court Bar election. He is still,loyal to Chaudhri Iftikhar the one who is allergic to secularism.

  29. YLH

    Nonsense. You are defending sherani’s appointment? Shame on you.

    This is why PPP cannot be trusted to bring any positive secular change.

  30. Farid

    I have very little interest in this debate but I would like to clear a few things up here as I have personal knowledge about a few folks mentioned here.

    Before that, it is correct that the PPP in its present shape is not a secular or a liberal party but it did start out claiming to be a secular party. Its initial four principles had secularism in it too. The current PPP, if you really want to classify it, is right of the center party. It will lean more right for the simple reason that it is losing support in its core constituency and it will have to rely more on religious parties to stay in power. It will continue to lean right because that is where the army leans and the PPP will continue to try and stay to the right of the army too.

    Bacha Khan ideologically was conservative. He never supported any liberal ideas nor did he favor a secular polity in NWFP or in the current KP. GM Syed, I have more intimate knowledge of and he too was conservative to the core. This was one aspect of his politics that actually never allowed him to become undisputed leader of Sindh. Bhutto in Sindh claimed to be progressive and portrayed himself as liberal and almost socialist and that was and still is the key factor in his popularity in Sindhi. GM Syed appreciated all the support he got from the left and the liberals in Sindh and Pakistan but he would not allow his followers to join any liberal or secular party. He never joined NAP himself.(perhaps he did join but left right away too.) Of the others mentioned above, only Bizenjo was liberal or left wing politician.
    Both Bacha Khan and GM Syed despite their strong conservative leanings still were not in favor running the state on religious principles. That made them part of the movements in Pakistan that were opposed to using religion or declaring Pakistan a religious state. In that narrow sense, both were part of the movement for secularism and liberal politics in Pakistan. They vehemently opposed the military takeovers so they became part of struggles for democracy in Pakistan.

    I had written an article on why Wali Khan was forced to support the army coup in 1977 and why later Ghaffar Khan made up with Ziaulhaq in the 80s. I will not repeat what I wrote about Wali Khan but I know Ghaffar Khan was entirely disappointed with the Afghan revolution and saw the writing on the wall. His grandson Asfand Yar, Ajmal Khattak and my old buddy Afrasaib Khatak were stuck in Kabul along with many other Pashtun leaders. Had they stayed there any longer, they all would have been killed by the Muj. Their safety was the primary reason Bacha Khan decided to patch up with Zia regime. After coming to Pakistan, he did not take part in politics and on death he was buried in Jalalabad(I think).
    Rabia has some good questions; I will try and respond to them if I can later.

  31. YLH

    Is this your real name Hoss?
    *** This Message Has Been Sent Using BlackBerry Internet Service from Mobilink ***

  32. Mnoor

    PPP started out as liberal party and attracted a lot of progressive thinkers, but ZAB was always a politician first and foremost. He did not hesitate in compromising the creed of the party in face of political opportunism. While some may view it as pragmatism, this policy always undermined any substanative push towards progressive movement in the country.

    PPP shines when it is in opposition to a right wing government, because then it can play upon its liberal ideology, in opposition PPP is so much vocal for rights for minorities, women and masses in general, because in that situation these slogans look good.

    ANP is another party which supposedly stands against religious politics, and was once the proponent of socialism. At the very onset that was the biggest contradiction. As Farid above pointed out, our so called socialist Inqilabis were conservatives to the core. They hardly did any awareness building of the masses of their constituencies. They remained the lords of their villagers, kept women out of public, and did nothing to remove mass povery even within their own villages. Socialism never had a chance to be much of a mainstream idea under leaders who never practiced the idea. And today the present day liberals have no true leadership for the similar reason.

  33. I do not know what stupid game in the name of journalism is being played at CriticalPPP. I dropped there indirectly, (in search of Aisha Siddiqua article) two or three times. I always have been regarding this site as a louderspeaker of PPP. However, what is being done here is not wise either. I do not think meanness of one blog should be retaliated with meanness in equal terms. A site remains tall if it just brushes aside nonsenses of other competitors.

    ZAB was not an international figure because of national machoism or secularism for that matter, he would always be remembered for his strategic advice that he professed to helpless Arabs (that were being defeated by Israel with the help of West, especially USA) the Oil power and Oil Embargo. That was the first time his name was included in CIA’s most unwanted personalities. When he called AQK, West knew Pakistan was going to be nuclear and it was too much for them – ZAB did know what would be his fate as a result, but still he continued his plan. These are the two feats of his that can not be overshadowed by any stretch of “Pakistani Nationalist” and “Pakistani Secularist” debate.

    Benazir was just a shadow of her father, always afraid of heavy boots, did her best to reconcile with them, agreed to a democratic government controlled by Military. In fact, she could not match her father stature.

    About this PPP, they are just beneficieires of ZAB and murder of Benazir, and I do not foresee anything good happening to Pakistan through them. But, then, I do not see any worthy replacement either.

  34. @ YLH

    Despite our disagreements on a host issues, past, present and future, I support you in the views expressed in this article and as a historian of sorts, say to you: never compromise with the historic truth. What you have stated, in this article, based on my own understanding and reading, is closer to the reality than what your distractors may claim.

    By stating Z. A. Bhutto’s role in fishing in the troubled Afghan waters and embarking us upon a policy, for which we are paying such an expensive cost and suffering so dearly, you are in a rare company of a very few Pakistani analysts who have pointed out this truth as to where, and from whom, our dystopian concept of “strategic depth” originated.

    Bhutto must be held accountable before the bar of history, because it is the job of those who study the past to hold those who held power in the past accountable for their actions, which have influenced us as a nation and as a people.

    Bhutto was a creature of the establishment and his rise to the very heights of Pakistani political constellation was made under the patronage of a military regime and a dictator – Ayub Khan. The only lodestar Bhutto was true to, was the star of his own political status quo and in his personal pursuit of power, Bhutto firmly fixed his fortunes with that of the establishment and all his subsequent actions, as a politican, prove that he was more interested in achieving, retaining and plying political power than in challenging it and that as you have said it; that makes him something other than a liberal and in fact, he was a lot closer to theideals of conservatism – a conservatism, which did not maintain the parity of a political system as much as a conservatism which did not undermine his own political ambitions and for the sake of those ambitions, Bhutto made numberous Faustian bargains for which we are paying the price in the rise of religious intolerance and the ruination of our moderate political believes.

    My last word to you, should you care to accept it; do not retreat from your stated positions and do not lose your objectivity by personalizing this debate. Your distractors do not have a historical argument to discredit your views; but they can incite your legendary “slash n burn” temper! Please avoid that temption as this debate is too important to be yielded, and lost, due to emotionalism.

    ciao

  35. Amjad Cheem

    Woh jo qarz rakhtey they jan par woh hasaab aaj chuka dia
    ZAB on 4th April 1979 & BB on 27th Dec 2007
    Anyhow congrats YLH on joining angel’s brigade.

  36. Amjad Cheema

    With my correct surname
    Woh jo qarz rakhtey they jan par woh hasaab aaj chuka dia
    ZAB on 4th April 1979 & BB on 27th Dec 2007
    Anyhow congrats YLH on joining angel’s brigade.

  37. Amjad Cheema

    Hassan Mujtaba on same topic
    مٹی کی محبت میں ہم آشفتہ سروں نے
    وہ قرض اتارے ہیں جو واجب بھی نہیں تھے

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/urdu/columns/2010/11/101128_ppp_hasan_mujtaba_si.shtml

  38. Iqbal

    Oh, for heaven’s sake YLH, get over it, already.

  39. Yawar

    People quoting NFP’s interview at LUBP here are completely missing the point. What they are conveniently not quoting is what he said about various secular blogs out there:

    (“What is becoming an impossibility in the mainstream media in Pakistan, has become a refreshing reality on a lot of very good blogs. The alternative political, ideological, cultural and theological narrative that rightly challenges the narrow, right-wing narrative being peddled by the mainstream media in this country, is now emerging from such blogs.”)

    (“Each one of them have to realize that they maybe different in their approach in this context, but they are all on the same boat. For example, progressive blog sites like LUBP, Café Pyala, Pak Tea House and Five Rupees are very different in their assessments of the media, politics and society. But keeping in mind the larger picture, they are serving the same purpose of providing a lot of young Pakistanis out there with a different and much needed new take on things. A take that is still taboo on most mainstream media platforms.”)

    What better way to put it. So what’s the fight about? Yasser has every right to put forward his version of secularism and so has LUBP or any other progressive out there.

  40. Bin Ismail

    Political ideologies, in Pakistan, seem to have been available for both purchase as well as sale, to willing contenders. Jinnah’s vision of “Secular Statehood” was readily disposed of, after his demise, and a rightist ideology was bought under the name of the Objectives Resolution of 1948. 25 years after this infamous bargain, Z A Bhutto made another bargain, as he prepared the new constitution in 1973. What remained of the secular outlook, was once again sold and the idea of a “State Religion” was bought, which manifested itself as the Article 2 of the Constitution. By then, the country which had just been halved, was struggling out of its post-war trauma, and the leadership was on the lookout for aid, from anyone. Saudi Arabia stepped forward generously. What Pakistan thought was going to be “fee sabeelillah charity” unfortunately turned out to be just another “fee sabeelillah fasaad”. There was obviously no “free lunch” – there never is – just another infamous bargain. Another sale and purchase of political principles took place. Pakistan’s already sabotaged dream of “secular statehood” was further shredded. In return for Petrodollars and Riyals, came the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the country in 1974. Upon the foundation of the Second Amendment, was erected the edifice of Zia’s draconian policies. The seeds of Talibanism were sown across the Durand Line. The bitter harvest however, crossed the Durand Line. And here we are, today, plagued by the curse of militant mullaism.