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Pakistan: Looking Back to Look Forward

Sunday 11 November 2018, by siawi3


Looking Back to Look Forward

by Abid Ali

7 Nov 2018, 15:48

The sight of religiously fueled up mob gathered on roads vis-à-vis Supreme Court’s Asia Bibi verdict should compel every citizen of the country to think why this happened, how a religious class got domination on the writ of the state and who is responsible for it. The answer to all these questions is already available in history.

On 11th of August 1947, the founder of Pakistan made a secular speech on the floor of the assembly. The crux of his speech was that Pakistan would not be a theocratic state, rather it would be a welfare state where Muslims would cease to be Muslims, and Hindus would cease to be Hindus, not in religious terms but in the political sense that they all would be equal citizens of Pakistan. At that time everyone was clear about the future of Pakistan, but sadly that was the first and last speech toward a pluralistic Pakistan.

Six months after Jinnah’s death, the then Prime minister of Pakistan, Liaqat Ali Khan, passed the Objectives Resolution. The resolution proved itself to be the first brick for the foundation of a theocratic state. This was the time when the state bowed before religious class, and ignored the vision of Jinnah. The non-Muslim members of the constituent assembly accused Liaqat Ali Khan of deviating from Jinnah’s resolve, and they voted against it. For instance, Birat Chandra Mandal said that Jinnah had unequivocally said that Pakistan would be a secular state. Mian Iftikhar-uddin was the only Muslim member of the Constituent Assembly to have opposed the Objectives Resolution. On the other hand, religiously motivated people knew well the significance of this resolution for them, that’s why Maulana Maududi said: “Pakistan recites the Kalma and now I am living in a Muslim State.” Hence, now religious people got a space to decorate their shop in the name of religion.

The matter did not stop there. After 4 years, Punjab province erupted with a series of violent riots against Ahmadis, a marginalized sect. Lahore was the epicenter of anti-Ahmadiyyah agitation that began in February, 1953. Incidents of looting, arson, and murder took place and violent clashes started. Homes and mosques of Aahmadis were burnt, and finally Pakistan Army had to declare martial law for three months. The then Prime Minister Khawaja Nazimuddin was dismissed at center and Government at Punjab was also dismissed. Although the law and order situation was controlled by army later but a message was passed that religiously motivated people can do anything, including overthrowing a settled Prime minister

Fast forward to 1974 when trouble resurfaced and a similar movement against Ahmadis started. Country-wide attacks on Ahmadis took place and it was demanded that government declared Ahmadis as non-Muslims. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, the then Prime Minister, himself was a liberal and socialist, but he cowed down to demands of religio-political parties and announced that the issue would be referred to the National Assembly. Finally, Ahmadis’ faith was forcibly and against their wish declared through legislation, which is known as second amendment in constitution. This was a clear indication that constitutional matters can be raised and solved on roads by using pressure tactics and that writ of the state can be undermined by using religion as a tool in politics.

If Pakistani state keeps repeating its policies, this would be a terrible choice. This is the time to look forward while keeping in mind the past mistakes.

This appeasement of religious class by Z.A. Bhutto didn’t work in the long run, and later he himself had to face a nine-party protest movement against his government. Besides other demands, a religious flavor was added in protests and protesters called for the enforcement of Nizam–e-Mustafa. The protest movement by Pakistan National Alliance continued for a number of months and using it as an excuse finally Gen. Zia-ul-Haq rolled up the civilian government. Zia’s martial law reversed the social and political fabric of the society like never before. Now parliament was used for which roads were used before. Religious people were appointed on big posts, military was so called Islamized and in a nut shell the Pakistan was Islamized and women and minority were thrown before the wolves. Everyone knows what Zia did with Pakistan and what he did with Islam.

Now the question is why this happened in Pakistan and who is responsible for it? The establishment is known for using these religious people in order to destabilize the civilian governments. They used it against Khwaja Nazimuddin, Z.A Bhutto, Benazir Bhutto and recently against the Nawaz Sharif government in 2017 when Tehreek-e-Labbaik phenomenon originated. No one can forget how 1000 rupees were distributed amongst the miscreants and how called they were “apny log (our own people). The way establishment had used these people as their assets has made them so strong that even that state is unable to control them and we saw it in recent case of Asia Bibi in which the angry mob destroyed properties of people, roads were blocked but our state again bowed before them.

If Pakistani state keeps repeating its policies, this would be a terrible choice. This is the time to look forward while keeping in mind the past mistakes.
The writer is the student of Pakistan Studies at Government College Mansehra.



Asia Bibi: Mullah and Pakistani State

by Dr. Pervez Hoodbhoy

November 3, 2018

These mullahs who have been nurtured by the Pakistani state ultimately come back to bite it. This has been Pakistan’s misfortune. Will we learn from it?

Watch here 5:41