Some random thoughts come to mind this Christmas, a day that also happens to be Mr. Jinnah’s birthday.
If it were the year 1947, would the advisor to the chief minister, Sindh, Ms. Sharmila Faruqui have rushed to the police station in Clifton as she did last Monday to meet a rape victim only to cast aspersions on the victim’s complaint that she was kidnapped and raped by her assailants? Ms. Faruqui not only disclosed the identity of the rape victim to the media but also implied that she was not quite convinced of the victim’s account of the assault; that she found her to be “hyper and rude”, within hours of the rape; and that the victim and her female friend, who was also beaten up badly, were coming from a party late at night. What does the advisor to the CM actually think? That it’s OK to rape a girl who parties? Who gave Ms. Faruqui the right to cast aspersions on the victim’s story even before the police began to investigate?
Then, just who is Ms. Faruqui to judge the veracity of the wronged woman’s claim, whose medical reports proved that indeed a gang-rape had been committed? Does Ms. Faruqui not know that rape is a heinous crime in any civilised society, regardless of the profession of the victim, whether she is a prostitute or a submissive, God-fearing woman, and that a rapist is a rapist even if he happens to be the husband of the victim?
While the whole episode is outrageous, yet another outrage brews elsewhere in the land of the pure, with a victim who is twice disadvantaged – being a woman and that too from a minority community. Aasia Bibi as the latest blasphemy accused, a poor Christian woman from a village in Punjab who’s on death row in a Lahore prison. Would the mullahs of all hues, Barelvi, Debandi, Ahl-i-Hadis, Shia and what have you, who are now demanding her death have been able to rally for their ‘cause’ at the birth of Pakistan?
Remember how they had stood discredited in the public eye on the eve of the creation of Pakistan, which they had opposed, as Jinnah unequivocally charged the Constituent Assembly at Karachi with framing a constitution for his country, declaring that “Religion will have nothing to do with the business of the state”?
Then, are Ahmadis free to assemble and worship in Pakistan today? Jinnah would be turning in his grave if he knew that we created a minority out of a community that was Muslim in his Pakistan up until 1974. The entire Ahmadi population of the city of Rabwah in Punjab, with a population of 70,000, has a gagging order against them to assemble and pray as they wish, in a country where Jinnah had assured all that they were free to go to their “mosques… temples and any other place of worship”.
If there was a Pakistan Ideology, it was given to the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan by Jinnah himself on the eve of independence, that is why he had to die before a new Objectives Resolution could be passed by his deputies in the same assembly in 1949.
This was the starting point of introducing religion into the business of the state, and upon which Z.A. Bhutto and General Ziaul Haq built the entire edifice of their controversial process of Islamisation, with the result that today Islam itself has become controversial, with Sufi shrines and mosques of rival sects being bombed by the puritans, and innocent citizens being killed because they are not Muslim enough. It was about such people that Jinnah had said: “[Pakistan] will not be a country ruled by mullahs with a divine mission;” and that, “The British parliamentary system should be the model before us.” Both the ideals have since been severely compromised.
Jinnah’s Pakistan was as much in the name of Islam as the independent state of Bosnia in our own times. Pakistan was created for the welfare of the Muslim-majority provinces of British India just as Bosnia was created for safeguarding the interests of the Muslim majority of that region of the former Yugoslavia. Following partition of India, Indian Muslims were advised by the Quaid to remain loyal to their country; it is they who have heeded Jinnah’s call while we in Pakistan have created our own distortions and deviations from his ideals.
Here in a nutshell is a very secular rationale for the creation of Pakistan: Muslims of the even Muslim-majority provinces of a united India, in the face of the denial of any affirmative action in their favour by Congress in 1947, could not have been able to safeguard their socioeconomic interests. Non-Muslims were better qualified to take up most jobs and lucrative vocations, which in their absence fell to Muslims in what we call Pakistan today.
The Quaid was more than willing to keep India in one piece provided he was able to extract an affirmative action plan in favour of the very backward Muslims at the time of independence; this means that even before Pakistan became a reality on the map, Mr. Jinnah had revisited and reviewed his Two-Nation Theory. Never was he to invoke it again even to unite East and West Pakistan, which saw the language riots in Dhaka right at the outset.
The leader and the lawyer Jinnah understood well the distinction between creating a country for disadvantaged Muslims or one in the name of Islam. That fine line was later blurred by his deputies after his death and it was removed altogether by ambitious politicians and military dictators to perpetuate their own rule.
In Jinnah’s Pakistan, we would have been saved many a Ms. Faruqui in the government; instead, an Aasia Bibi, on the back of ballot, could have become the head of state without endangering Islam or trading off nuclear secrets. These two feats today are the exclusive privileges of Pakistani Muslims alone.
Murtaza Razvi is the Editor, Magazines, at Dawn.
The views expressed by this blogger and in the following reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.