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Wake up Pakistan ! Presently the Muslim societies are in a state of ideological confusion and flux. Materialism, terrorism,...

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Ideology of Pakistan - Debate

A steady but intense debate is taking place all over social, print and electronic media in Pakistan. The trigger has been the worrisome condition of the state and polity of the country that have been facing a serious existentialist crisis ever since extremist militancy began to reach unprecedented propositions from the early 2000s.

The debate is squarely based on the following question: What role (rather, how much of a role) should faith be playing in the matters of the state, governance and society in a country like Pakistan that came into being as a Muslim-majority entity? This question (and the debate that itusually triggers), is certainly not a new phenomenon. It has cropped up before.

But the urgency that it seems to have gathered today had been missing for over three decades now.

This urgency is largely the result of some extraordinary policies that the state and the government finally decided to enact from early 2014 to curb the once seemingly uncontrollable menace of extremist violence and bigotry that Pakistan has been in the grip of, especially after 2006.

The decision of the Pakistan armed forces (under General Raheel Sharif) to exhibit certain overt maneuvers to tackle the mentioned menace; and the (albeit hesitant) anti-extremist actions of thecurrent PML-N regime, have opened up the debate, giving it the kind of fluency that it had been lacking for decades.

In a nutshell, one section in the debate insists that whatever that was concocted in the name of a national ideology (after Jinnah`s demise in 1948; or more so, after the late 1970s), is largely to be blamed for popularising an idea of nationhood engineered through the state`s many experiments that seeded a non-organic ideology.

They believe such an ideology characteristically mutated into becoming a dogma that has contributed the most to whatever that has gone down in the country in the way of faith-based violence and the ever-increasing episodes ofbigotry.

The other section disagrees. It suggests that it is the opposing section that is to be blamed because it undermined the true raison d`etre of Pakistan`s creation by imposing `alien / Western concepts` of governance and nationhood and (in the process) stalled the infusion of divine laws and culture in a country that came into being in the name of faith.

As the debate rages on and the military establishment, the state and government of Pakistan now find themselves urgently trying to carve out a much clearer middle-ground between the two poles, it should be remembered that this debate is not a sudden occurrence that emerged from a manic vacuum.

A similar debate had raged in the country almost four decades ago (in the 1960s). The question that triggered that debate was quite similar to the one thatis prompting the current one.

The only difference is that the 1960s were a more tolerant period in which an inte11cetually superior debate was likely to thrive and in which various wellknown scholarly figureheads from both sides of the divide participated.

The debate had crupted with the coinage of the term, `Pakistan Ideology` As author and historian, Ayesha Jalal, has often observed, the term `Pakistan Ideology` was nowhere in the speeches during the creation of Pakistan in 1947.

Nor was its Urdu expression `Nazriya-iPakistan`.

When the 1962 Constitution of Field Marshal Ayub Khan`s regime highlighted its understanding of Pakistani nationhood to mean being a Muslim (as opposed to a theological) state where a modernist and reformist spirit of Islam would guide the country`s politics and society, the religious parties opposed it.

It was at this point that the term Nazriya-i-Pakistan first emerged. It is largely believed that the expression was first used by the Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) who suggested that Pakistan`s ideology should be squarely based on policies constructed through the dictates of the faith, striving to turn Pakistan into a theological entity.

The debate about exactly what kind of a vision drove Jinnah to demand a separate Muslim country in South Asia, and what should constitute Pakistani culture and nationhood peaked in the late 1960s when Zulfikar Ali Bhutto formed the left-leaning Pakistan People`s Party (PPP); and when Sindhi, Baloch, Pushtun and Bengali nationalists accel-erated their agitation for provincial autonomy.

After witnessing the ascendency of leftist parties in Pakistan in the late 1960s and the growing agitation by ethnic nationalists, JI`s founder and prolific Islamic scholar, Abul Ala Maududi, declared that socialism was an anti-religious ideology.

Prominent progressiveintellectuals such as Hanif Ramay and poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz responded by emphasising that Pakistani nationhood and culture were multi-ethnic and multicultural and best served by democracy and socialism.

Maududi struck back by explaining leftist and liberal Pakistani political organisations and cultural outfits as `Trojan horses` who had infiltrated Pakistani society and government to `damage the country`s faith-based fabric.

Responding to Maududi`s outburst, the popular Urdu literary magazinc, Nusrat (that had been founded by Hanif Ramay) began to run a series of essays ex plaining `Maududiat`.

Though the term had been first coined by Maududi`s opponents in another religious outfit, the Jamiat Ulema Islam (JUI), which had accused Maududi of trying to construct a separate sect, Nusrat and eventually the PPP used the term to define Maududi`s philosophy as being opportunistic because he had originally opposed the creation of Pakistan but was now using the polities of the same country to safeguard his `economic (industrialist) and foreign (Western / capitalist) allies (from socialism).

Maududi bounced back and accused the leftists of being on the strings of the Soviet Union. The JI began publishing Maududi`s new Nazriya-i-Pakistan thesis along with his earlier writings.

Author and journalist, Safdar Mir, claimed that JI had omitted republishing the essays that Maududi had written before Pakistan`s creation and in which he had lambasted the Pakistan Movement because (according to Maududi) Muslim Nationalism was contrary to the univer-sality of Islam.

Mir sardonically lay into Maududi`s thesis by reproducing the contents of the missing essays. On the other end, famous lawyer, A.K.

Brobi (who, ironically, was part of the anti-JI Ayub regime before its fall in 1969) and popular novelist, Naseem Hijazi, sided with Maududi and denounced the period`sleftist forces for being `anti-religion` and `anti-Pakistan` The debate abated after the 1970 election. But the separation of East Pakistan (1971), the economic failure of the first PPP regime (1971-77), the emergence of a reactionary dictatorship (1977-88) and the fall-out (in Pakistan) of the Afghan Civil War, retarded the debate.

Decades later it has returned; or rather, it has returned to become a proper polemical entity again as opposed to being a one-sided narrative which began explaining opposing ideas (of what constitutes Pakistani Nationhood and ideology), as a threat to the country`s existence.

Thus, one section of the debate is now claiming that such an existentialist threat actually emerged due to the myopic egoism of the post-`77 narrative, while the other section is suggesting that this happened because what the narrative suggested was never properly implemented.

It is still too early to determine which way the debate would turn. But the way it has opened up once again after years of becoming extremely narrow and mutated, the changing conducts of the military establishment and the government in this context should encourage the debate by drawing in more scholarly-sound men and women from both sides of the divide. Because so far, unlike the one in 1960s, this debate is still being largely moderated and defined by somewhat ill-informed and `abistorical` opinions (especially on the electronic and social medias).

After all, it is the synthesis emerging from such a debate that can surely provide the key to any positive outcome of a country and polity in turmoil.
By Nadeem.F.Paracha Dawn.com

Why Pakistan? http://pakistan-posts.blogspot.com/p/why-pakistan.html

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The Other Perspective

Reclaiming the original ideology
By Zahid Hussain

Liberalism is a political philosophy or world view founded on ideas of liberty and equality. The former principle is stressed in classical liberalism while the latter is more evident in social liberalism.
Liberalism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberalism 

Nawaz Sharif is under intense attack by the religious lobby for calling for making Pakistan a ‘liberal’ democratic nation. The chief of the Jamaat-i-Islami wants the prime minister to withdraw his comments, which were made at an investment conference. Though Sharif actually used the term in the context of the economy, it has nonetheless triggered a renewed debate on the ideology of Pakistan.

Islamic parties gathered under the umbrella of the Milli Yakjehti Council (MYC) have threatened to launch nationwide protests against what they describe as a ‘conspiracy’ to turn Pakistan into a secular state. “We cannot compromise on the basic ideology of Pakistan,” they have vowed. This squabbling lot that never agrees on any religious issue now appears united in defending the country’s ‘Islamic identity’.

Such a strong reaction to the mere mention of the term ‘liberal’ does not come as a surprise given the ignorance and narrow outlook of our religious elite. More shocking, however, are the views of some supposedly moderate political leaders on the concept of liberal democracy and secularism. One wonders how these political philosophies clash with the basis on which this country was founded.

Nothing could be more ludicrous than the claim by Sirajul Haq that the remarks by the prime minister are contrary to the Constitution, the philosophy of Allama Iqbal and the principles laid down by the Quaid-i-Azam. How do concepts of political and civil liberties and religious freedom come into the conflict with Pakistan’s original ideology and the vision of the nation’s founding fathers?

Liberal democracy was the core ideology of Pakistan’s founding, as articulated by the Quaid himself.

In fact, it is an attempt to redefine Pakistan’s ideology that has harmed the country the most by widening the religious divide within its polity. The Islamist groups gathered under the banner of the MYC have been instrumental in fuelling sectarian differences and religious extremism in the country. One of the participants in the group’s recent meeting was Jamaatud Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed whose organisation is on the UN list of terrorist organisations.

Liberal democracy was the core ideology of the foundation of Pakistan, something that was clearly articulated by Mohammad Ali Jinnah in an interview to Reuters in 1946. “The new state,” he said, “would be a modern democratic state with sovereignty resting in the people and the members of the new nation having equal rights of citizenship regardless of their religion, caste or creed.”

Pakistan was never supposed to be, in the words of Mr Jinnah, a “theocratic state” that these religious groups strive for. In fact, the country has long deviated from this core principle. Theocracy is anathema to the modern democracy that the Quaid had envisaged.

The country drifted from its ideals when the state got involved in religious matters, and with deciding who was and wasn’t a true Muslim. It went from bad to worse when the religious groups, many of whom are part of the MYC, took it upon themselves to determine the Islamic credentials of different sects. This has also been the major cause for the deaths of thousands of Muslims in sectarian violence in Pakistan.

Rising religious extremism and intolerance have led to escalation in violence against religious minorities and their systematic persecution. The mob attacks on Christian colonies and the lynching of Ahmadis in the name of faith has given the country the dubious reputation of being among the most intolerant nations in the world. What happened in Shantinagar, Gojra, Joseph Colony, etc and more recently in Jhelum is testimony to that.

Many of these religious groups have been directly and indirectly patronising militant organisations such as the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan. They rationalise terrorist attacks that have killed thousands of innocent people including young children and also provide religious sanction to suicide bombings. Is that the country that our founding fathers had envisaged?

Not surprisingly, the MYC has criticised the recent Supreme Court ruling upholding the death sentence of Mumtaz Qadri, the police guard who murdered Salmaan Taseer. Most of those comprising it have publicly condoned the killing of the former governor of Punjab in the name of alleged blasphemy. They have reserved their harshest criticism for that section of the ruling that said that calling for the reform of the blasphemy law is not blasphemy.

The misuse of the blasphemy law both against Muslims and non-Muslims has increased in recent years, in that it is being used as a licence to kill. Many of the mob attacks are instigated by clerics associated with these groups. The latest such example is the burning of an Ahmadi-owned factory and an Ahmadi place of worship in Jhelum last week sparked by allegations that some employees of the factory had committed blasphemy. Announcements from area mosques instigated the crowd to violence.

One wonders why the law has not come into action against Hafiz Saeed for making inflammatory statements. Although the media is barred from reporting the activities of his organisation, his remarks against the prime minister were widely covered. It is highly ironic that he is projecting himself as the protector of Pakistan’s ideology.

Liberalism is the essence of modern democracy. It is a philosophy that believes in progress, religious tolerance, the essential goodness of the human race, the autonomy of the individual and protection of political and civil liberties. How are these values in conflict with our religion as these self-styled guardians of Islam claim? For this country’s stability and progress we need to go back to the ideals of our founding fathers.

The country has suffered hugely as a result of religious bigotry and the wrong interpretation of Pakistan’s ideology. Pakistan was created to be a modern democratic state with freedom of belief and religion. It was not supposed to be an obscurantist state as the country is now being portrayed by assorted so-called Islamic groups. We must reclaim the original ideology of Pakistan if we really want to move forward and establish a tolerant society. Liberal democracy is the only answer to violent extremism and religious bigotry.

By Zahid Hussain: The writer is an author and journalist.
RIAZNov 25, 2015 07:27am
Liberal or theocratic are both irrelevant. Their is one and just one ideology practiced in Pakistan. It is feudal ideology in every nook and corner of Pakistan's culture and mindset irrespective of one's claims to be liberal or Islamic. Corruption, nepotism, patronage and the high and mighty being above law and accountability are feudal paradigms that are in the very DNA of Pakistan. The so called liberals keep the nation illiterate to ensure their vote bank of ignorants who vote for them no matter how corrupt and disgusting they are. The religious on the other hand ensure their vote banks by offering free education with free board and lodging. They churn out useless programmed human robots with ability to think rationally rendered immune for good at a young age with systematic and sustained dogmatic indoctrination.
More comments: http://www.dawn.com/news/1222036

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