– Subcontinent’s First Islamic Extremist Political Party
By Yasser Latif Hamdani
The role of Majlis-e-Ahrar (truly the real grandfather organization of all Islamic Extremist Parties in the subcontinent and also of all anti-Shia and anti-Ahmadi agitation in Pakistan subsequently) is the most significant when it comes to Militant Islam in the subcontinent. This was a pre-partition body of Nationalist Muslims who had sided with the Congress throughout the independence movement and had been part of satyagraha (this is significant) at the time they believed in secular nationalism and secular India and in 1931 formed itself as a Indian Nationalist Muslim body, separate from the Congress, but always in support of it and in staunch opposition to the Muslim League. Continue reading
By Bronwyn Curran from The National
Pakistan’s liberal leadership capitulates to Taliban militants in the Swat Valley, what is often described as the world’s “most dangerous nation” faces the biggest existential struggle of its short life. Continue reading
The Series continues from our last piece Partition of India: The Final Years . We reproduce the seminal work on this issue by the foremost Pakistani intellectual, the late Hamza Alavi, who explains why Pakistan was not created as a confessional state but as a secular state and also gave his famous “Salariat” theory which went a long way in explaining the forces behind the creation of Pakistan.
By Hamza Alavi
There is a pervasive belief, held more widely outside Pakistan than in the country itself, that Pakistan like Israel and Iran, is one of three confessional states in the world; that, like Israel, Pakistan’s very origin was to fulfil a religious ideal, to create an Islamic state and Islamic society for Muslims of India. Within Pakistan itself that slogan was proclaimed most stridently by the Jamaat-e-Islami, a fundamentalist extreme right wing party, which was aided and abetted by politically bankrupt regimes such as that of Gen. Zia which hoped, by exploiting the good name of Islam, to gain some spurious political legitimacy. Continue reading
By Yasser Latif Hamdani
The events as they have unfolded in Swat over the past few months have once again underscored the need for Pakistan to be a constitutionally secular state.
Instead of getting into the debate as to whether Pakistan was meant to be a secular state (which I believe it was but that is not the point here) or a modern Islamic state (whatever that means), let us be very clear- it was NOT meant to be a state where rogue raggle taggle groups like the Taliban would challenge the writ of the state and then establish its own system of “justice” based on a misinterpretation of Islam. Islam is not the problem here. I tend to agree with the interpretation of Islam that is favored by Allama Ghamidi but the question that comes up is “which Islam?” Ghamidi’s? Or Israr Ahmad’s? Rahman Baba’s ? or the Taliban’s? Iqbal’s? or Maududi’s? Continue reading