Tag Archives: Islamism

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

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Filed under Activism

Religious Liberalism – Our Greatest Hope?

A.A Khalid has sent us his exclusive post for PTH. It is quite gratifying to note that PTH is becoming a hub for many of us who want things to improve without using the violent means and indiscriminate jihadist agenda. Raza Rumi

Is religious liberalism an oxymoron, or is it something long established? More to the point is there something known as Islamic Liberalism, or Liberal Islam? Surprisingly, there is indeed something, a discourse known as Liberal Islam. And contrary to popular perception it is not a contradiction in terms. Charles Kurzman a Professor in Sociology who deals with Islamic movements asserts there is a tradition with specifically Islamic context known as Liberal Islam (pdf file) . What’s more Liberal Islam is not monolithic it has multiple schools and traditions each with a different approach and (pdf file) different methodology. Each tradition within the Liberal school faces different challenges and has differing prospects. If such a tradition exists how is it that within the Pakistani discourses it is eerily absent, with instead conservatives and political Islamists dominating the interpretive discourse of Islam. It should be noted ‘’Liberal Islam’’ is known under many rubrics from Islamic Modernism, Islamic Reformism, Reflexive Revivalism to movements professing Ijtihad, Islaha, Ihya and Tajdid.

The situation in Pakistan is a paradox. Its founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah was a secularist in the sense he sought an institutional division between mosque and state, the clergy and the government and to a greater extent religion did not have such an effect in his personal life. His political ideals are liberal a vision of a pluralistic society where the citizens of the State would be equal in rights and responsibilities. Towards the end of his life Jinnah attempted a synthesis, coining terms such as ‘’Islamic democracy’’, ‘’Islamic social justice’’ Jinnah tried to weld his liberal politics and ideals with religious faith. Muhammad Iqbal on the other hand was not a politician per se but a thinker and intellectual, hence his ideas are always going to attain a greater sophistication. Though Iqbal too can be seen as an Islamic humanist, a critical humanist, critical of both European ideas and traditions and the Muslim traditions, Iqbal focused on the free will of all human beings, an original and unique position among Muslim intellectuals and scholars. Iqbal’s focus on self development and his synthesis of philosophy, theology, mysticism and law which he tries to achieve in his Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, where he puts many traditions both from Islam and Europe in critical conversation is till this day and probably for some time to come an inspiration to religious reformists and liberals. Continue reading

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Filed under Islam, Religion, secular Pakistan, secularism, Society

Is this Jinnah’s Pakistan?

Raza Rumi writing for Express Tribune:

The massacre of Ahmadis in Lahore has once again exposed the inner fissures of our society. As if treating them like second class citizens was not enough, the attacks on their private space of worship has confirmed that militant Islamism is now an embedded reality. Those who have been denying the presence of Punjabi Taliban will have to construct another web of denial and disbelief. We saw signs of that after the fateful tragedy. Instead of constituting investigation teams and ensuring that all necessary leads are collated, senior officials of the Punjab government made a direct reference to RAW, the infamous Indian intelligence agency. Continue reading

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Filed under Al Qaeda, Jinnah's Pakistan, liberal Pakistan, Pakistan, Religion, Taliban, Terrorism, War On Terror

The Rise and Fall of the Maoist Movement in Pakistan

We are publishing this insightful paper authored by Ishtiaq Ahmed. This paper was written as part of a theme ‘More than Maoism: Rural Dislocation in South Asia’ under the aegis of ISAS, National University of Singapore. In many ways, documentation of the Left movements is an important area that has not been researched and documented. This is why Dr Ahmed’s contribution is so important. Raza Rumi

Abstract

During the late 1960s and early 1970s, Maoist ideas gained considerable popularity and influence in left politics and the labour movement, and made an impact on Pakistani mainstream politics, which was out of proportion to the Maoists’  political strength in the overall balance of power. Neither class structure nor the ideological and political composition of the state apparatus warranted any such advantage to Maoism. Clues to it are to be found in the peculiar power game over security and influence going on at that time between several states in that region and, perhaps, more crucially in the internal political situation surrounding the rise to power of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (1971-77).  His fall from power, the coming into power of an Islamist regime under General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq (1977-88), and the Afghan jihad spelled disaster for leftist politics. In the 1980s, Maoism faded into oblivion.

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Continue reading

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Filed under Imperialism, movements, Pakistan, Politics, poverty, south asia, violence

Terrorism, Shameless Religious Bigotry and Pakistani Mindset

We are grateful to Raza Habib Raja to have authored this post for PTH. Today’s horrific events demonstrate that the threat of terrorism and Talibanisation is real and not imagined. Raza Rumi

The Attack on Ahmedis Today

As I write these sentences, the details of the most shameful attack on the religious sites of Ahmedis in Lahore are unfolding. However, this is not new as Pakistan has been the victim of this brazen behavior repeatedly. The thirty years of state sponsored “true” Islam is showing its colors. In Pakistan all the minorities are constantly harassed and state’s protection has often proved completely ineffective when a serious attack occurs. Although the counterargument can also be made that state is not also able to protect even when Muslims are attacked.

In case of Ahmedis it is a well known fact that they have been victims of state induced discrimination also apart from being openly hated by the public. In fact even today as this most in human barbarity was unfolding I had the opportunity to actually hear people in my office saying that though terrorism is bad Ahmedis deserved it. Muslims are an extremely intolerant group and yet extremely sensitive when it comes to their own religious sensitivities. And when such minorities are under attack the state protection has often been particularly inadequate and public condemnation virtually absent. After all we all remember Gojra where the government was completely unable to provide protection to the Christians when attackers attacked their houses and literally burnt people alive. In that incidence, there was no “sudden’ attack but mob actually first assembled after being provoked by the religious clergy and then systematically executed the attack. But even much more horrific was the aftermath where instead of widespread condemnation, the public response was apologetic. That incidence was not a political failure alone. It was national shame and depicted weakness at every level of our society’s moral fabric. Continue reading

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Filed under Al Qaeda, Pakistan

Pakistan: A Shift in Dealing With the Afghan Taliban?

We are publishing this interesting analysis by a respected think tank. However, it should be clarified that the views expressed here are not those of PTH. The purpose of this post is to inform the readers and elicit responses and debates that may not be possible within the confines of conventional media. Raza Rumi

STRATFOR – February 19, 2010 | 2143 GMT

Summary

Pakistani security officials said Feb. 19 that Mohammed Haqqani, son of Jalaluddin and brother of Sirajuddin Haqqani (the leader of the Taliban in eastern Afghanistan) , was killed in an unmanned aerial vehicle missile strike Feb. 18. The strike comes just after the arrest of Mullah Baradar, the Afghan Taliban’s second-in-command, in Karachi. These two actions against the Afghan Taliban on Pakistani soil could be part of the ongoing shift in U.S.-Pakistani relations, with Pakistan trying to work with the United States to regain influence over the Afghan Taliban and strengthen Islamabad’s position in Afghanistan.

Analysis

Pakistani security officials announced Feb. 18 that Mohammed Haqqani, son of Jalaluddin and brother of Sirajuddin Haqqani (who leads the Taliban in eastern Afghanistan) , was killed in an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) missile strike Feb. 18. Mohammed Haqqani’s role within the Haqqani network is unclear, and even his death is being contradicted by some STRATFOR sources (confirming the death is all but impossible, given the difficulty of obtaining forensic evidence from the scene) but his presumed demise is not likely to seriously affect the group’s operations. Continue reading

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Filed under Pakistan

Drone attacks and US reputation —Farhat Taj

 In terms of the drone attacks, the US must not make any distinction between al Qaeda and the Taliban. They both have internalised a global ideology that is anti-civilisation and anti-human

There is news coming up in the media that al Qaeda in Waziristan may run away to Yemen in the face of growing drone attacks. The people of Waziristan have expressed deep concern at this news. They do not want al Qaeda to run away from Waziristan. They want al Qaeda along with the Taliban burnt to ashes on the soil of Waziristan through relentless drone attacks. The drone attacks, they believe, are the one and only ‘cure’ for these anti-civilisation creatures and the US must robustly administer them the ‘cure’ until their existence is annihilated from the world. The people of Waziristan, including tribal leaders, women and religious people, asked me to convey in categorical terms to the US the following in my column. Continue reading

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Filed under Al Qaeda, FATA, Islam, Islamism, North-West Frontier Province, Pakistan, Peshawar, strategy, Taliban, Terrorism, USA, war, War On Terror