Tag Archives: Eqbal

Acknowledging our mistakes; a step in the right direction

A small headline made its way to the newspaper today. Mian Nawaz Sharif admitted that the proxy policies that Pakistan pursued in Afghanistan during the 1990s were wrong and destructive for Afghanistan. He realizes that “’Our policy in the past has failed. Neither will such a policy work in future. We have a centuries-old relationship, and we can maintain this relationship only when we remain neutral and support the government elected there with the desire of the Afghan people.”

In between bleak and despondent atmosphere that comes from reading Pakistani news, we tend to forget our land is still governed by a working democracy, free press and free judiciary. While we never cease to malign the very leaders that we elect (and they do leave a lot to desire at times with their short sighted actions), we have two major parties that have worked together on charter of democracy, NFC accord, and are in general agreement against the scourge of religious based extremism that has morphed into a existential threat for Pakistan itself.

For the first sixty three years of our existence, we are still in the process of finding our footings. Our geographic location is a mixed blessing as we found ourselves right in the midst of the great conflict that raged between the Red Russia and the ascendant West. The Muslim nationalism that formed the basis of our existence did include our religion as one of the major influences. As the twentieth century rolled on and more Muslim countries gained independence from the colonial rules, Islam-as-a-political-system ideology started finding proponents in the Middle East and the Indian Sub Continent. Pakistan as a new state gained for Muslims fell progressively to the vague and undefined relationship that Muslim nationalism and Islamic theocracy engenders. In the absence of a prescient leadership, Pakistan never was able to segregate the role of religion from its political system. The confusion morphed into a full blown infection as decades rolled on.

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Filed under Afghanistan, Al Qaeda, Army, Islam, Islamabad, Liberal Democratic Pakistan, Pakistan

Roots of Violence in Pakistan

To say that Eqbal Ahmad was as a political sociologist, par excellence, would be to describe only one aspect of this scholar, writer, activist, humanist and thinker of rare quality. This aspect was perhaps fundamental to his ability to see so much clearer and further in to political events and developments than most political scientists and analysts could hope to. We are reproducing an article here that he wrote for Dawn, in January 1998, in which he not only analyses the roots of Pakistan’s present predicament, but also predicts it.

Roots of Violence in Pakistan
[Dawn, 25 January 1998]

Proliferation of violence has become the most serious social problern in Pakistan today. Not a week, often not a day, goes by without some terrible act of violence shaking public confidence in the state’s ability to protect citizens, and reminding us that a serious decline in civility has occurred in our country. Officials announce ever?strong measures as the cure while citizens wonder over the causes which underlie our descent into insensate savagery such as the recent massacre of mourners in a Lahore cemetery. Continue reading

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