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
I recently came across this brilliant feature by Shehar Bano Khan on Tahira Mazhar Ali – Tariq Ali’s mother and Sir Sikandar Hayat Khan’s daughter. It is a very interesting account coming from the daughter of one of the most influential politicians of Punjab. Her association with the Communist Party, her meetings with Nehru and Jinnah and her recollection of partition makes her part of our collective heritage. Published 5 years ago in Dawn, we are reproducing it here for the benefit of our readers. -YLH
She is blunt to a fault. Her brusqueness has not lost its sharp edge with time, neither has her witticism surrendered to old age. At 80, Tahira Mazhar Ali’s vivacity, her political ripostes, and her tirades against capitalism define her originality.
Filed under Left, Pakistan
We have discussed partition of India far too many times on PTH but old habits die hard (Partition was the most frequently discussed topic in the real PakTeaHouse as well). This is another article on Jinnah published by Dawn, we are reproducing here for discussion. While Faruqui is on the money about Jinnah’s secularism, his over all analysis is as usual quite weak – which is nothing new for those of us who have followed his articles in Daily Times and Dawn. For example, Life Magazine’s coverage has been discussed on several occasions on this website. Similarly the words he uses – ethnicity, religion etc – are terms Faruqui is incapable of fully understanding. 1971 cannot be termed as a war between ethnicity and religion, as much as the failure of constitutional accomodation. Nationalism is the ideology of the other and there is not much to choose between X, Y and Z kinds of nationalism. Nationalisms can be abated by constitutional accomodation. By Faruqui’s logic 1947 should be seen as a victory of religion over ethnicity – but what ethnicity? Had both Jinnah and Nehru lived to see 1971, they would have viewed it similarly – with alarm and regret- Nehru might have seen his own shadow in the policies of West Pakistani elite when it rejected Awami League’s perfectly reasonable six points much in the same way Nehru had refused to accept Muslim League’s mandate as the sole representative party of the Muslims of South Asia. Jinnah might have been horrified to see Bhutto employing some of his own arguments perversely to deny Mujeeb ur Rahman’s majority party the chance to form the government. Just as Jinnah and Nehru were part Hamilton part Jefferson, both Bhutto and Mujeeb were each part Jinnah part Nehru. Hence the second partition in 25 years. History is an argument without an end, because on a long enough time line all survival rate falls to zero. Have a look -Yasser Latif Hamdani
By Ahmad Faruqui
Jinnah remains shrouded in mystery, hagiographed in Pakistan and demonised in India. Born just 19 years after the end of the Mughal Empire in 1857, he studied law in Britain. Within a few years of returning to India, he had emerged as one of its most successful barristers. But politics was to be his true calling. With his entirely secular upbringing and thoroughly British outlook on life, it was no surprise that he soon became, in Gopal Krishna Gokhale’s words, “an ambassador of Hindu-Muslim unity”. Never known to be a religious man, let alone an advocate of a theocratic state, Jinnah went on to establish Pakistan. Jinnah had envisaged that Pakistan would be a homeland for the Muslims of India. In less than seven years after his death, his successors had declared it to be an Islamic Republic. Continue reading
(Posted by YLH)
A few weeks ago an ignorant little Mullah from the Jamaat-e-Islami claimed that Dr. Salam’s achievement in science was nothing compared to many other great scientists of Pakistan and that Salam got the Nobel Prize because he was a “Jewish agent”. I suppose one of these “great scientists” he was referring to was the idiot who read his paper on “how to harness the power of genies for electricity production” at Zia’s famous “Science Conference” in International Islamic University in the 1980s. Well this article by Kunwar Idris in Dawn shows just how amazing a scientist and how great a patriot Dr. Salam was- especially in comparion to the crooks, cranks and madmen who have now become- to use Justice Kiyani’s apt phrase- the chachas and mamas of Pakistan:
Abdus Salam’s 15th death anniversary went unnoticed recently. The 25th death anniversary of Waheed Murad that fell on the same day was celebrated with fanfare. They say nations which do not honour their great men cease to produce them.
Pakistan, for sure, has produced no scientist of Salam’s stature nor perhaps an actor of Waheed’s popularity. Whether it is serious research or playful acting, the national scene remains barren. Continue reading
Dear Indian friend,
I am sorry for the tardiness in marking 26/11. It was not deliberate but as we fight daily battles with terrorism, it is not easy to tell what date it is. Don’t consider this letter a sign of weakness because I am a member of proud nation which will one day prove its potential and take its rightful place in the comity of nations as a progressive and modern country at peace within and without. Continue reading
By Yasser Latif Hamdani
ANP’s NWFP government is fighting the onslaught of terror and even those who disagree with its politics and its past have rallied behind it all over Pakistan. We at PTH support all steps in the right direction and therefore this morning I wrote an article welcoming ANP’s suggestion of changing Pakistan’s name. Democratic politics requires old configurations, compromises and coalitions re-align themselves along new political realities. Alas I knew that it was too good to be true and by evening ANP sparked off a divisive controversey of a very different nature which revealed the true pettiness of this party and its politicians. Continue reading
I saw this film a while back but I decided to check it out again and was surprised by how close it came to admitting the truth about partition. Here is a sample.