By Adnan Syed
This two part series revisits one of the pivotal events of the early Pakistani history; the riots by the religious right wing parties to get Ahmadis declared as non-Muslims, and the subsequent Munir-Kiyani inquiry commission report into the causes behind the riots. The report went on to interview the religious leaders of the newly formed state of Pakistan regarding their motives and their ideas of Pakistan as a pure Islamic state. As the interviews revealed the incongruous replies of various leaders, they also showed vague but chilling ideas that the right wing parties harboured to turn the newly formed Muslim nation into a political- Islam-dominated theocratic nation. The interviews reveal the role of democracy, non Muslims, Jihad and punishments like apostasy that would be practiced in an ideal Islamic state.
The interviews are as relevant today as they were 56 years ago. If anything, they foreshadowed the violence that would engulf Pakistan as the state gradually ceded to the demands of the Islamic right wing parties. Religious parties kept incessant pressure on the newly formed state to take a turn towards Islamism. At the same time the pressure was on to the governments to kick the Ahmadis out of the fold of Islam by a state decree. It was not until 1974, that another bout of religious agitation got Prime Minister Bhutto to accede to their demands and get Ahmadis declared non-Muslims. If anything, Pakistan has paid dearly for ignoring its founding father who spoke unequivocally that the newly formed state would not be theocratic, and that everyone is free to practice their religion as an equal Pakistani first and foremost.
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
– 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
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