Tag Archives: Partition

Was Jinnah A Democrat?

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

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Religious Right in Their Own Words; the Concept of an Islamic State

Part 1

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.

(AZW)

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Filed under Constitution, Democracy, Islam, Islamism, Jinnah, Judiciary, Liberal Democratic Pakistan, Pak Tea House, Pakistan, Religion

Daily Times: Nationalism: inclusive versus exclusive — III

Cross Post from Daily Times

Published July 13, 2010

By Ishtiaq Ahmed

Rather than hate India, we should learn from India. It has five times a greater population, far greater ethnic and linguistic variation and myriads of religious faiths and cults. It is not a democracy in the social sense but it is a sophisticated democracy in the political sense

I have presented, mainly, the exclusive model of nationalism and state-nationalism that I have argued emerged in Pakistan, notwithstanding the very bold attempt of Jinnah to supplant it with inclusive nationalism. Exclusive nationalism — whether based on race or religion or some other cultural factor — discriminates, constitutionally, people who do not qualify as members of the community because they do not share the specific cultural ties that have been chosen to define the nation, even if they live in the same territory. Israel is a case in point. Jews from anywhere in the world can come and settle in its territories but not Palestinians who may have lived there in 1948 or in 1967 or in 1973. Only Jews have a timeless law-of-return privileging them over the Palestinians.

The question arises: are states and nations fixed and frozen forever or can things change for the better? In other words, can an exclusive type of nationalism be transcended by an inclusive type of nationalism? The answer is, yes. After all, the nations of Western Europe were originally founded on membership in the State Church. Before World War II, most states in Western Europe required membership in the State Church in order to hold public office. Thus, for example, Sweden, where and my family and I are now settled, required even schoolteachers to be members of the Lutheran State Church.

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Filed under Democracy, Identity, India, Islam, Islamabad, Islamism, Jinnah, Jinnah's Pakistan, Liberal Democratic Pakistan, minorities, Pakistan, Religion, secular Pakistan

Daily Times: Nationalism: inclusive versus exclusive — II —

By Ishtiaq Ahmed

When the Hindu members of the Pakistan Constituent Assembly expressed their worries about ‘sovereignty over the entire universe belonging to God’, Liaquat Ali Khan assured them that a Muslim state should have no problem in having a non-Muslim as prime minister. However, this was not true

Jinnah wanted to establish a Muslim-majority state, but not a Muslim-majoritarian state that would privilege Muslims over non-Muslims in their status and rights as citizens; hence he spoke of Pakistani nationalism and not Muslim nationalism when on August 11, 1947 he addressed the Pakistan Constituent Assembly:

“You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place or worship in this state of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed that has nothing to do with the business of the state…We are starting with this fundamental principle that we are all citizens and equal citizens of one state…Now I think we should keep that in front of us as our ideal and you will find that in course of time Hindus would cease to be Hindus and Muslims would cease to be Muslims, not in the religious sense, because that is the personal faith of each individual, but in the political sense as citizens of the state.”

Stanley Wolpert, who is considered a sympathetic biographer of Jinnah, has noted that when Jinnah was delivering his address even his immediate disciples were visibly confused and shaken. What Jinnah was doing was repudiating the basis of nationhood on which he had demanded Pakistan: that Muslims were a separate nation from other communities of India. Now, he seemed to champion inclusive nationalism. Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur mentioned (‘Whose progeny? — I’, Daily Times, June 20, 2010) the 1928 Nehru Report as having made the same pledge. In fact, this was explicitly stated in the Nehru Report: “There shall be no state religion; men and women shall have equal rights as citizens.”

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Filed under Democracy, Egalitarian Pakistan, History, Identity, Islam, Islamism, Jinnah, Jinnah's Pakistan, Liberal Democratic Pakistan, minorities, Pak Tea House, Pakistan

Daily Times – Nationalism: inclusive versus exclusive — I

At PTH, we have argued for the partition as a nuanced set of events that were characterized by extreme mistrust between the two major political forces of that time. These major parties harboured deep distrust against each other. The Muslim League politics increasingly focused on the idea of Pakistan as a bargaining chip to win the rights for the sizeable Muslim majority within the United India. The British hurry to leave the United India, emergence of Muslim League as the sole spokesman for the Muslims, and Congress unwillingness to recognize the Muslim nation demands within the United India resulted in a bloody and messy partition. We still live with the scars of the partition that resulted in one of the largest uprooting and human migration of modern times. Continue reading

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The J-Man and His Pakistan

I was informed that this article has resulted – to put it euphemistically-  in giving wedgies to quite a few chaddiz over at Bharatrakshak.com (as I had predicted in the article).  So I dropped by and just as I predicted… their rear is entirely up in smoke.  And the responses are hilarious.  One genius is suggesting that Jamiat-e-Ulema-Hind are “secular” and the Majlis-e-Ahrar were good guys (that they laid the foundation of Anti-Ahmadiyya bigotry and led the movement for Islamization in Pakistan is just an inconvenient side-point for these geniuses).    Mohandas Gandhi- whether someone admits it or not- is the father of politicization of religion.  He brought Mullahs into politics deliberately to sideline the liberals.  Jinnah and his ilk were only using the tools that were left to them.   No wonder Hindu fascist chumps from Bharat Rhakshak think Jamiat-e-ulema-hind were harmless.  The only harm JUH and Deobandi Islam ever did was to Muslims by stifling their progress.   After all the latest edict from the “Secular” Deoband is that banking is haram for Muslims.  Brilliant… what more could Hindu communalists ask for.  

Update:  Responses to Nusrat Pasha’s article confirm the Gandhian mindset amongst Indians and I use the word  Gandhian in the most uncharitable sense of the word.  Gandhi – whatever his intentions-  made a crucial mistake of driving down Muslim liberals and allying himself with Islamo-fascists- same Islamo-fascists who are responsible for much of the problems in the Muslim world.  In the Urdu language,   the word “taya” is used for an uncle who is older than one’s father.   If Gandhiji is estopped from claiming fatherhood of political Islam,  he must surely rank as the taya of political Islam in South Asia.     Same thing is happening today.  Many Indians – who have a vested interest in bolstering liberals – are so seized with nationalist bigotry and hatred that is ingrained in them against Pakistan and Jinnah that they are gleefuly celebrating Pakistan’s descent into chaos.  Well my little short-sighted friends,   if we in Pakistan fall – yes we the liberals you hate so much-   you will be faced with a darkness that you can seldom conceive and which you barely realize at this moment.  Then your little “secular deoband” fantasy will quickly turn into something you have no understanding of.

From Daily Times today

VIEW: The J-man and his Pakistan —Yasser Latif Hamdani

Jinnah was, and remained so, till the end of his life a classical liberal schooled in the Victorian era. His economics and politics was based on liberal and limited government protecting and forwarding the cause of freedom of speech, religion, press and also markets

It has been pointed out, quite justifiably, that most of my articles, if not all, refer to Jinnah and his conception of Pakistan in some form or the other. I can assure you that this reference is quite deliberate on my part for primarily two reasons. The first reason is that Jinnah was, as the Americans would say, the man, indeed our ‘main man’, or as I like to call him affectionately the J-man. Those who have had the opportunity of studying abroad and have read about Jinnah in our college libraries there can seldom recognise the sky blue sherwani topi-clad fellow with a similar name who is found on the walls of our government offices. Continue reading

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Why Pakistan is not a nation

And how it could become one.

By Pervez Hoodbhoy    Himal South Asia,  June 2010

 Pakistan has been a state since 1947, but is still not a nation. More precisely, Pakistan is the name of a land and a people inside a certain geographical boundary that is still lacking the crucial components needed for nationhood: a strong common identity, mental make-up, a shared sense of history and common goals. The failure so far to create a cohesive national entity flows from inequalities of wealth and opportunity, absence of effective democracy and a dysfunctional legal system.

While it is true that most Punjabis think of themselves as Pakistani first and Punjabi second, this is not the case with the Baloch or Sindhis. Schools in Balochistan refuse to hoist Pakistan’s flag or sing its national anthem. Sindhis, meanwhile, accuse Punjabis of stealing their water, the Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) runs Karachi on strictly ethnic grounds, and in April the Pashtun of NWFP successfully had the province officially renamed Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (against the wishes of other residents). In getting a job, caste and sect matters more than ability, and ethnic student groups wage pitched battles against each other on campuses throughout the country. Continue reading

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