A continuation from “Was Jinnah secular?” and “Did Jinnah want Pakistan?”.
By Yasser Latif Hamdani
There are many people who criticize Jinnah – quite incorrectly in my opinion- of having laid the foundations for subsequent periods of authoritarian military rule. They allege that Jinnah’s decision to become the Governor General was the first blow to parliamentary democracy in Pakistan. Unable to distinguish the argument of constitutional purists pleading the ceremonial and executive roles of president and prime minister i.e. head of state and head of government from that of democratic argument about the sovereignty of parliament, these authors etc make the fatal error of not making an effort in understanding both the constitution in place and the environment under which Jinnah exercised his constitutional authority. By confusing the two, they make a mockery not just of the latter issue, but history itself. In the process they end up abusing the one person in Pakistan’s history who can truly be called a liberal democrat in every sense of the word. Continue reading
By Yasser Latif Hamdani
(In wake of the national debate on ideology and textbooks, Mr. Raza Rumi, the founder and editor of Pakteahouse, recently asked me to revisit the issue of Jinnah’s secularism through a comprehensive blog-post. This blog post is written for PTH exclusively and may be reproduced by giving PTH credit.)
Many people (though not all) on all sides of the ideology divide in Pakistan take umbrage with the description of Mahomed Ali Jinnah – the anglicized founder of Pakistan- as a secular leader or a secularist. Islamists in Pakistan say that he wanted an Islamic state. Islamic modernists say he wanted a modern Islamic democratic state (whatever that means), some people from the left say he was a communalist who was not secular because he championed Muslim separatism (albeit only in the last 11 years of his life). All of these groups agree that if Jinnah had been secular, it would not have been necessary to make a separate state. All of them – unconvincingly and inaccurately- claim that those who lay claim to a secular Jinnah are basing it on a solitary speech of Jinnah made on 11 August 1947. A slightly different claim is made by the Wali Khan group- which is ideologically consistent if historically errant- which claims that Jinnah wanted a secular state and that his push for Pakistan was the result of British manipulation and divide and rule which made him utilize Islamist rhetoric for the creation of Pakistan. While respecting all these points of view, I disagree with all of them and through this article I will explain why. Continue reading
By Yasser Latif Hamdani
Muhammad Ali Talpur and Ishtiaq Ahmed, in their articles in Daily Times, have addressed the issue of identity and nationhood in their serial articles in recent weeks which require careful review. Addressing a very fundamental issue i.e. the interplay of identity with citizenship, regrettably both gentlemen have turned the facts on their head and equally unfortunate is their appeal to each other’s authority on the subject which is neither here nor there. Continue reading
By Wajid Ali Syed
In almost every briefing pertaining to South Asia, the U.S. Special Envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan Ambassador Richard Holbrooke says that he won’t use the ‘K word,’ by which he means Kashmir. This is sensible of him, knowing that any statement could escalate into an exchange of hot words between India and Pakistan (and India has made it clear it has no intention of bowing down before an meddling intermediary). Hence Ambassador Holbrooke understands the seriousness of the situation and thus avoids the “K” issue.
There is another increasingly controversial “K” that U.S. officials should refrain from using, especially in a derogatory manner. And that “K” stands for Karzai. Until recently the United States has treated the Afghan President as a puppet without realizing that his power base has grown in Afghanistan. It’s true that when Karzai was installed by the Bush administration he had little to no support in the country. But just the Bush era has passed and America has voted in a new President, time has not stood still for Karzai. The sooner the US realizes this the better for the Afghanistan, the NATO, the British and the US army. Over the years Karzai made himself matter in the country while rumors of his impending political death continued to circulate. The first sign of Karzai’s power was evident last year when the West discredited him during Afghanistan’s presidential elections. His opponent Abdullah Abdullah was openly supported by the Obama administration. The conflicting reports coming out of Afghanistan made the geniuses in Washington conclude that an ethnic Pashtun shouldn’t represent Afghanistan. Karzai didn’t take the news well. On the ground the situation was quite different. An intelligence expert based in Afghanistan said that if Abdullah Abdullah runs again he will still lose to Karzai. The reason? Abdullah Abdullah is of Tajik ethnicity.
In four years, standby to greet Prime Minister Narendra Modi
By Jawed Naqvi | Crosspost from Dawn, 29 Mar, 2010
A big race, probably the biggest that India is mandated to hold, was kicked off last week. It could usher Narendra Modi or Rahul Gandhi as prime minister in 2014 when elections are due, if not before. And since Modi has the unqualified support of major industrialists who know the art, shall we say, of financing parties, lobbying for MPs, and influencing key policies, there is little reason to doubt who the corporate media would be backing when push comes to shove.
Gandhi, with his limited experience of NGOs in Amethi and Rae Bareli might find himself as the back-up. He is untested. Modi, on the other hand, has shown his worth to those who run democracy in India.
By Brigadier (ret) Simon Samson Sharaf
In an emotional and controversial address to his constituency, the President of Pakistan, Mr. Asif Ali Zardari referred to the country as Sindhu Desh. In his fiery and reactive speech, this was perhaps the only silver lining. Deliberately or otherwise, he had touched a very sensitive issue of nationhood.
The politicians of Sindh unlike the Unionists of Punjab have been more Pakistani in many ways than they are accredited. Jinnah, the Syeds, Qazis, Soomros and Bhuttos are but to name a few. Reviewing the annals of history, we are pleasantly reminded that Pakistan was never the realization of one ethnicity, sect or mindset. It was a struggle based on the aspirations of diverse groups and still remains so. Continue reading
By Yasser Latif Hamdani
Some people believe that if you repeat a lie enough times it becomes the truth. Making the rounds on the internet these days is a “suddenly discovered” interview of Maulana Azad which he allegedly gave to Agha Shorish Kashmiri of Majlis-e-Ahrar-e-Islam in April 1946.
Well I hate to break it to all of you – Agha Shorish Kashmiri was a fraud and the interview itself was most probably cobbled together through excerpts from Azad’s book “India Wins Freedom” and his famous address to the Muslims left behind in India in Jamia Masjid- both easily available texts. Before I come to the actual nature of the forgery, let us re-cap for a second what this creature Majlis-e-Ahrar was and just how deep its motivation ran in discrediting Pakistan and the leadership of Mr. Jinnah who Majlis-e-Ahrar considered an outright Kafir. Majlis-e-Ahrar-e-Islam, a group of Islamic fanatics closely allied to the Congress party, was one of the most rabid anti-Pakistan movements around. Continue reading