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Whose ideology is it anyway?

Photo courtesy: Creative Commons

The following is what Sindhi nationalist leader and scholar, G.M. Syed, said about Pakistan’s future – and mind you, he said this way back in the summer of 1953: “In the years to come, Pakistan will not only become a problem for itself, but it will pose a danger to the world at large.”

Now how prophetic is that? Very. However, he was not the only one in those days casting a pessimistic shadow across the possible future of the newly-founded country. Those who agreed with Syed were were various Bengali and Baloch nationalists along with Pakhtun nationalist icon, Bacha Khan.

So what exactly were they reacting to? The answer to this question is quite simple and it is the answer to this that between 1947 and at least up until the late 1980s, it made an assortment of military dictators, politicians, ideologues and even some intellectuals denounce men like G M. Syed and Bacha Khan as traitors.

Very early on such Sindhi, Pakhtun, Baloch and Bengali nationalists and thinkers had started to raise an alarm about the cosmetic nature of what was beginning to be devised by the state as ‘Pakistan’s ideology.’

Starting with the 1949 Objectives Resolution, which for the first time introduced religion as a binding force for the young nation, men like Syed and other ethnic-nationalist icons correctly saw through the beginnings of a process which they feared the ruling elite would try to bulldoze an awkward reality with an invented illusion.

The awkward reality that was to be suppressed had to do with the fact that Pakistan was not exactly a single nation with a single language. It was a diverse country with multiple ethnicities, religions and sects. Each one of these had their own literature, language, culture and interpretation of faith, society and history.

The invented illusion in this respect was a monolithic, state-sponsored strain of faith that was to be imposed over ethnic and sectarian diversities described as dangerous cleavages by the state.

Logically speaking, constructing state-level unity out of this diversity should have been attained by providing a generous degree of democratic autonomy to the provinces. But instead of taking the logical democratic route in this context, the ruling elite began seeing this diversity as an existentialist and political threat to the country.

___________________________

It is interesting to note that there is little or no evidence to suggest that there was ever a concrete plan to immediately turn Pakistan into an Islamic state.

However, when agitation by Bengali nationalists in former East Pakistan over the issue of making Urdu the national language broke out, this suddenly triggered the government to officially introduce certain theocratic concepts in the 1949 Objectives Resolution.

Even though these were no more than an eye-wash and the Pakistani leadership and society remained largely secular in orientation, but men like GM Syed and Bacha Khan were quick to sight a dangerous trend. To them the ruling elite was now willing to use religion to suppress ethnic aspirations.

The state and the ‘establishment’ of Pakistan painstakingly constructed this supposed ideology, so much so that (ever since the 1980s) it eventually started being used by intelligence agencies, certain politico-religious parties, and media personnel to actually justify the folly of the Pakistan state and military for patronising brutal Islamist organisations.

_________________________

But whose ideology is it, anyway?

Until about the late 1960s it was normal to suggest that Pakistan as an idea was carved out as a country for the Muslims of the subcontinent who were largely seen (by Jinnah), as a distinct cultural set of Indians whose political and cultural distinctiveness might have been compromised in a post-colonial ‘Hindu-dominated’ set-up.

As Jinnah went about explaining his vision of what Pakistan was supposed to mean, there are no doubts about the historical validity of the notion that he imagined the new country as a cultural haven for the Muslims of the subcontinent where the state and religion would remain separate, driven by a form of modern democracy that incorporated the egalitarian concepts of Islam such as charity, equality and interfaith tolerance.

According to Professor Aysha Jalal, Jinnah’s view of Islamic activism in the subcontinent was akin to him fearing that Islamic zealots would harm the national cause.

However, in spite of the fact that a number of speeches by Jinnah can be quoted in which he is heard envisioning Pakistan as a progressive and non-theocratic Muslim state, there are, at the same time, examples of speeches by the same man (especially in the Punjab and the former NWFP), where he actually uses terms like Shariah and Islamic state.

No matter how intense the debate between those who saw him as a secular, liberal Muslim and those who claim that he was okay with the idea of Pakistan being turned into a theocratic state, the truth is, we might never really know exactly what it was that Jinnah actually stood for.

____________________________

Jinnah’s death in 1948 reduced his party the Muslim League from being a dynamic organisation of visionary action, into a rag-tag group of self-serving politicians.

Gone too was the party’s ability to bring into policy the modernist aspects of Jinnah’s otherwise rather woolly vision. The idea of a progressive Muslim country got increasingly muddled and shouted down by the once anti-Pakistan Islamic forces.

The Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) went on a rampage in 1953 in Lahore, hungrily overseeing the country’s first major anti-Ahmadi riots. By now, the famous speech by Jinnah in which he underlined the idea of religious freedom in the new country was conveniently forgotten as the ruling elite grappled confusingly with the crises.

Eventually, it caved in to the demands of the handful of vocal Islamic leaders by officially declaring the country as an ‘Islamic Republic’ in the 1956 Constitution.

It was classic ostrich behaviour; the sort a number of Pakistani leaders have continued to demonstrate whenever faced with the question of Pakistan and its relationship to politicised faith.

In 1956, misunderstanding Islamist activism as mere emotionalism, the ruling elite gave the Islamists a bone to play with, without bothering to explain to the rest of the people exactly what an Islamic Republic really meant in the Pakistani context – a country comprising of a number of ethnicities, ‘minority religions,’ and distinct Islamic sects.

Democracy in this case should have been a natural answer. But for the Islamists, democracy meant the emergence of ethnic and religious plurality that would encourage secular politics and further undermine the new-found notion of the Islam-centric Pakistani nationhood.
_______________________________

But was democracy really the answer to such a dilemma? After all, the second major step towards the widespread Islamisation of politics and society was actually taken during a democratically-elected left-liberal regime in the 1970s.

Stung and confused by the separation of the former East Pakistan and witnessing the collapse of Jinnah’s ‘Two-nation theory,’ the Z.A. Bhutto regime set about putting into practice the idea of socio-political and economic regeneration.

This idea saw the regime trying to synthesise socialist and nationalist populism with political Islam.

In 1973, the government invited a number of nationalist intellectuals and Islamic scholars for a conference in Islamabad, asking them to thrash out a more defined and well-rounded version of Pakistan’s ideology that would help the state and the government in salvaging the country’s lost pride (after the 1971 defeat in East Pakistan) and also help it keep whatever that was left of Pakistan, intact.

By the end of the conference, both secular and Islamic intellectuals concluded that Islam should clearly be defined as the core thought in the constitution and polity of Pakistan.  Recommendations were made to promote this core idea through the state-owned media, school text books and government policies.

Pakistan was renamed as the Islamic Republic of Pakistan in the 1973 constitution while in 1974 the Bhutto regime (on the insistence of the religious parties), outlawed the Ahmadies as an Islamic sect.

Furthermore, although the government and society (until about 1977) remained largely secular and modernist, the idea of an Islamic state put forward by a government-sponsored conference ironically turned into a rallying cry for religious parties during their 1977 movement against Bhutto.

While Bhutto (like Anwar Sadat of Egypt) was busy taking to task his largely exaggerated communist, far-left and ethnic opponents, religious parties who had been sidelined after the 1970 elections began filling the political and social vacuum created by Bhutto’s strong-arm tactics against leftist student and trade unions and Baloch and Pakhtun nationalists.

Again very much like Sadat, some historians also maintain that Bhutto was allowed the mushrooming of Islamist student groups on campuses to subdue his opponents on the left.

The result? After badly shaken by the Islamist resurgence he himself had (albeit indirectly) set into motion, he was heckled all the way to the gallows by the very forces he had tried to appease.

Ziaul Haq and his reactionary regime that is correctly blamed for finally turning the Pakistani society and politics on its head with his controversial laws and acts in the name of faith, was really just a symptom of what that 1973 conference had suggested as an ideology.

_______________________________

Many years and follies later, and in the midst of unprecedented violence being perpetrated in the name of Islam, Pakistanis today stand more confused and flabbergasted than ever before.

The seeds of the ideological schizophrenia sowed by the 1956 proclamation followed by the disastrous doings of the Ziaul Haq dictatorship in the 1980s, have now grown into a crooked tree that only bares delusions and denials as fruit.

As Islamic parties and reactionary journalists continue to use the flimsy historical narrative of Pakistan’s Islamic state-ism – and consciously burying the harrowing truth behind the chaos the so-called ‘Islamic ideology of Pakistan’ has managed to create – a whole generation is growing up to this cosmetic ideological narrative.

This narrative has continued to alienate not only religious minorities and various ethnicities (mainly Sindhi, Baloch and now even the ‘mohajirs),  it has created intolerance within various Muslim sects as well.

Recent examples in this respect is the way many puritanical Sunni Islamic groups reacted to conservative political leader Mian Nawaz Sharif’s statement sympathising with the plight of the Ahmadis.

In fact, even when the political leaders of all Muslim sects living in Pakistan do get together for a political cause, the state-constructed and all-encompassing Islamic narrative fails to mend the cracks present between the sects.

For example, during the 1977 movement of religious parties against Bhutto, leaders of these parties refused to pray behind one another during a break at a press conference at the Karachi Press Club.

Recently, during a rally against amendments against the Blasphemy Law, though Barelvi, Deobandi, Ahel-e-Hadith and Shia leaders joined hands, there were reports that Shia speakers were heckled by the supporters of radical Sunni groups. In addition, one of Pakistan’s foremost Islamic scholars, Javed Ahmed Ghamdi, has quietly flown out of the country in a self-imposed exile.

Ghamdi was facing a number of threats from certain puritanical Islamic groups.

His sin? He stood out as a mainstream Islamic scholar who was willing to bank on reason and a modern interpretive take on the holy book, eschewing the myopic literalism of the puritanical groups and of political Islam.

In other words, it seems the so-called Islam-centric ideology of Pakistan that began as a modernist and reformist project, has gradually regressed to such an extent that even the idea of having an informed debate on the subject of faith has become a taboo.

Nadeem F. Paracha is a cultural critic and senior columnist for Dawn Newspaper and Dawn.com.

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.

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120 Responses to “Whose ideology is it anyway?”

  1. Muhammad Ahmed says:

    NFP,
    Two wrong do not make one right. Pride either based on ethnic, racial, scientific, secular or religious lines always results in unnecessary competition. We forget that no narrative is perfect and lies are created (or truth is slightly modified) to help live with ourselves. People like to claim that religion will eventually bring downfall of pakistan and the same argument about secularists is presented by a great number of people wanting a theocracy. I think a great theocracy, democracy or even socialist system can thrive as long as people are busy and they don’t have to worry about basic needs. It is however, still possible that people may develop additional unnecessary needs and start a new brawl. I do not usually agree with you but you do offer a different viewpoint which always provides a different perspective to the existing issues.
    I will just like to have a word of advice for you and your readers. It is natural to have biases based on your own interpretation of history but the humane thing to do is to have the ability to digest the difference of opinion.

  2. Tahir Rizvi says:

    Quide Azam clearly stated his vision that Pakistan is NOT a “theocracy”. Please see, Quaide Azam’s broadcast to the people of Australia on February 19, 1948 below:

    Jinnah`s broadcast to the people of Australia on February 19, 1948: “The great majority of us are … members of the Muslim brotherhood of Islam in which we are equal in right, dignity and self respect. Consequently we have a special and a very deep sense of unity. But make no mistake: Pakistan is not a theocracy or anything like it. Islam demands from us the tolerance of other creeds and we welcome in closest association with us all those who, of whatever creed, are themselves willing and ready to play their part as true and loyal citizens of Pakistan.” (Ahmed, Sayings , p. 69.)

    It is very important for all Pakistanis to remember our history and to honour the dreams/vision of our founding fathers. We can already see the price we are all paying for drifting away from the clear path laid out for us by our founding fathers that created the country of Pakistan for us.

  3. Salah Maker says:

    Nationalism is already obsolete and Pakistan has such a long way to go. My only hope is that the poor will one day be allowed computers instead of guns.

    • Tahir Rizvi says:

      I agree Mr. Salah Maker. We are where we are because we failed to “educate” our people as we should have. We need as much emphasis on our public education as our defence. We need emphasis and revitalization of our public education system. There should be three basic priorities for our National Government, political leaders and we the people of Pakistan:

      1. Education
      2. Ecconomy
      3. Defence

      We have drifted from our path and we need to get back to the progressive path.

      • Bharat says:

        Tahir,
        at last we are talking sense
        Education YES , but not madrasa education with no maths and no science , and no languages,

        Economy should be first, since as the people get wealthier, they will let their children go to school
        So the economy is most important : you need to get out of this debt Morass.

        And with the Defence – remember the Mughals eventually lost their empire, because they could not afford it anymore . Their standing army was gobbling up large amounts of money. And their economy was never going to cope.
        if America stops backing you and the army, your army will not be able to keep your country together anymore.

  4. hansa says:

    oh dear! this is a tough one to crack. the more deeper u go into finding answer to this problem, u come up with more questions then answers.
    there cannot possibly be one good answer but may be several depending upon the various beliefs of people living in this region of the world.
    but i can say one thing for certain. when ones own insecurity and mistrust builds up to a level where it starts needing protection from its own people through enacting laws and guarding its places of worship, then there can only be one possible answer.there is something very basic wrong somehere in the system.
    so therefore its just a matter of finding the courage of doing somethig about it.

  5. Ahmed Saeed says:

    Totally absurd and inconclusive work. Pakistan is neither a problem for itself nor for others. Its a new state and yet to establish itself. There is always a ray of hope. We have to fight a thousand wars to make a nation. Please don’t conclude things so early. And a piece of advise, Islam is Islam. Please don’t over translate or under translate it. Good Luck.

    • indian says:

      Dear Saeed your statement is in contradiction to what is being taught in Pakistani text books that Pakistan has been in existence since the Harrapa civilisation.And sadly it is the ” thousand wars” that is plaguing Pakistan and not absence of war.Currently Pakistan is undergoing a civil war.

      • saif says:

        The books talk about our civilization. Why should Pakistan be deprived of our pre-islamic history? Doesn’t India lay claim to pre-historic civilisations? Pakistanis are southwest Asians, correct?

  6. Tahir Rizvi says:

    It is necessary for all of us to read our history of independence and review our position for where we are and where we want to be. Provided below is Quaide Azam’s speech delivered in August 1947:

    From Jinnah`s address to the Constituent Assembly on August 11, 1947: “We should begin to work in that spirit and in course of time all these angularities of the majority and minority communities, the Hindu community and the Muslim community — because even as regards Muslims you have Pathans, Punjabis, Shias, Sunnis and so on, and among the Hindus you have Brahmins, Vashnavas, Khatris, also Bengalis, Madrasis and so on — will vanish. Indeed if you ask me, this has been the biggest hindrance in the way of India to attain the freedom and independence and but for this we would have been free people long long ago. No power can hold another nation, and specially a nation of 400 million souls, in subjection; nobody could have conquered you, and even if it had happened, nobody could have continued its hold on you for any length of time, but for this. Therefore, we must learn a lesson from this. You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place of worship in this state of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed, that has got 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. The people of England in course of time had to face the realities of the situation and had to discharge the responsibilities and burdens placed upon them by the government of their country, and they went through that fire step by step. Today, you might say with justice that Roman Catholics and Protestants do not exist; what exists now is that every man is a citizen, an equal citizen of Great Britain and they are all members of the nation. 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.” ( Dawn , Independence Day Supplement, August 14, 1999.)

    It is important for us to know what our founding fathers wanted Pakistan to be.

    • sharma says:

      Somehow I believe if Nehru and Jinnah had been able to patch up in 1947, we would have avoided all this acrimony and bloodshed. Not blaming anybody but if France and England can patch up after 100 year war then what is wrong with us south asians? I think Mahatama Gandhi was overlooked and ignored by both Nehru and Jinnah for their short term political gains. Gandhi did have a vision for India and both Nehru and Jinnah broke that vision. Its not too late, its not 100 years yet!! Lets stop fighting and live as separate countries just like france and england live but in close cooperation, without getting the westerners in between us.

      • Nadeem says:

        Without getting into an ego problem here in the context of Mr. Jinnah for us and Mr. Gandhi for the Indians, I do not disagree with Sharma when he says let us stop fighting and live as separate (neighboring) countries in close cooperation without getting the westerners in between us. Hoping that Kashmir issue will be resolved soon, I’m sure both Pakistan and India will find hundred reasons to cooperate with each other. Let us both pray for the best.

  7. TariqKSami says:

    To understand Pakistan you have to look at Shahid Afridi.
    He is not perfect but he has passion.
    Now Pakistan is here because you are there! Simple as that.
    To make the long story short just think : who are the 2 biggest rivals in the World Cup Cricket.

  8. A.Bajwa says:

    If Pakistan has progressed steadily on the democratic path, and ensured an equitable federalism, things would not have as bad.

  9. Dawood, Pakistan says:

    NFP always says something which only few hundreds say in Pakistan, or may be less. The majority of the nation openly accepts and knows whats their ideology, what they were made for, and where they have to go. Its the leaders who are piloting our Energetic nation towards the wrong port for their own interest. Pakistan was formed in the name of Islam, for the people following Islam. That was the foundation, the keel on which Jinnah won Pakistan for us. We should respect it, and people are not confused by any means. People want a real Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Which it is not right now.

  10. Srini Chennai says:

    India is more diverse than Pakistan. India also has lots of problems, so does every other country.

    Enough of excessive analysis, insight on the negatives. Everywhere there are issues, problems. Who is problem free?
    As someone below has said Pakistanis need to get back to basics of enjoying life which includes being optimistic and focusing on the basics of living a simple life, with friends and relatives around. You guys need to smile more, joke more, laugh more and spread more good news and joy all around in your cities and towns. Organize more comedy shows and social events to focus on non serious issues.

    If you guys portray a too much serious face, then your kids will mimic that.
    Turn the air around you into a +ve wave and everything will be better.

    Enjoy Your life and remember that, thinking too much makes a potential worry into reality.
    Just like we eat to live and not live to eat..Religion must be given the same treatment!

    No Worries!
    Good Luck

  11. SIRT, USA says:

    I am sorry to say this but this article lacks substance and consistency. It abruptly ends without any conclusion. There are a few mis-interpretations too. Jinnah never said words like ‘Secularism’ or ‘secular’ in his speeches but frequently used phrases such as ‘according to Muslims’ aspiration’, ‘Islamic teachings’. Jinnah even went so far as assuring the NWFP people of Islamic governance. Moreover, Ghamidi may have interpreted Islam differently, but his teachings also favor Islamic rule, chosen through democracy. Last but not the least, when Bhutto incorporated Islam into the constitution after a consensus between so-called secular and Islamic factions, then it means Islamic governance was accepted democratically. Then how can the people of Pakistan can largely be secular!
    Too many contradiction in a trivial piece of article. Amazing!

    • Ayesha Tahir says:

      Dear Sirat,
      NFP does not mention anywhere that Jinnah used words like ‘secular.’ He righly says that Jinnah’s sppeches on one end alluded to a ‘modernist’ Muslim state, while at the same time he used words like Shariah when speaking in Punjab and NWFP.

      And NFP’s only relating history. Historians do not point out solutions. Stop being so lazy and come up with your own solutions.

  12. Rizwan Ahmed says:

    Jinnah’s only accomplishment was that “he brough considerable majority of Muslims of Indian sub-continent to one platform with one voice for a short period of time (few years before Partition)”. This was what Muslims could not do in Indian sub-continent since 1700 A.D

    Jinnah was able to accomplish this task against the dividing nefarious force of Mullah, which has plagued Muslims of India ( as well as other Muslim cultures around the world) for last three hundred years.

    Pakistan is the fruit of few years of Unity, Just imagine what It would be with everlasting unity, if someone can think.

  13. Poo says:

    I doubt if Indian writers would be so honest and objective about the state of their country.

    In India, Hindi speaking (or supporting) Hindu (North) Indians behave like they own the country. The rest are condescendingly seen by them as minorities (linguistic, regional, religious, ethnic) and are treated as such.

    Poo
    Chennai
    India

  14. Goga Nalaik says:

    Dear Nadeem,

    Waoo, very impressive and very well documented (as usual) article. It is indeed the excellent “rappel d’histoire” for our younger generation. How exact and pertinent you are in narrating historical facts and in your analysis. We certainly feel proud to have you as journalist in Pakistan. If we don’t learn from our past mistakes then sooner or later, we are condemned to disappear (this is what history tells us). Please keep showing us the mirror.

    Nadeem, keep it Up, we are with you

    Your fan

  15. Ram Krishan Sharma says:

    I would like to suggest the following for the betterment of Pakistani nation:

    (1) First find a sincere leader the like of Ata Turk or Mao who could control the Mullah and the Mufti ( by Election or Selection)
    (2) Take the best from each of the systems which exists in Turkey , India , and Singapore , i.e.
    control of religious parties ( from Turkey)
    Land Reforms ( from India)
    Law & order and cleanliness ( from Singapore)

    • MK says:

      I would like to point out to the history to clarify some important facts. these are very good suggestions but MAO never could stop the Mullahs. Ata Turk could stop the Mulahs but they are back now. Egypt tried to stop it for 30 some years and they are coming back. India could not stop their own Mulahs in the name of BJP and other radical parties. It is very easy to criticize Mulahs (because they cannot reply due to the language barrier) but in the end the outcome is never what the world has always tried to achieve, you know what I mean. Pakistanis are very proud people. Like any other country, they are going through a very rough phase. I am very positive, they will pretty soon reach where they belong. So please don’t worry about it.

      • G. Din says:

        “I am very positive, they will pretty soon reach where they belong. ”
        You mean there is still more to go. I had thought the bottom was in their view. Eventually however they will get there. But is it there they ought to be going?

    • Tahir Rizvi says:

      Fully agree with you.

  16. malang says:

    someone has commonsense finally….what but is commonsense…..it’s not that common….

  17. Subhash Mittal says:

    A very nice article. Quite informative & analytical.

  18. Fatima says:

    Very well written.
    Not completely original, as the author has expressed similar views before.

  19. Robert says:

    Wow! I always wondered about this myself and never expected a Pakistani to contemplate these things so openly!

    I always wondered about Jinnah and his idea of Pakistan..if the people are really the same, what can you expect redrawing borders and displace people and spread venom for generations?

    But the very fact that there are people in Pakistan that muse about these questions is a wonderful thing.

    Suddenly I am very hopeful for the people of the subcontinent. We don’t need to be one country..just live in peace, that’s all!!

  20. Anwar Yaseen says:

    Top piece and very timely. NFP is sharp when it comes to breaking through the myths of both the mullah parties as well as the so-called progressives.

  21. Sohail Sahto says:

    Yes,I fully agree with Paracha,you have correctly mentioned the faults in Bhuttos policies which ultimatly led to his fall,at the end of his rule he was left with no friends—In Left or in Right– thanks to ( Kausar Niazi) a JI trained so called visionary—how managed to replace the word– Socialism to Islami- massawat in the manifesto of PPP.

  22. Saif Khan says:

    The author hasn’t compared the current situation in Pakistan with that in India and that is why his thoughts come out so clearly. Kudos to NFP on sticking to the point. It is clear from the set of emails here that any such comparisons results in the respective countrymen behaving as if they have undergone a full lobotomy. Reason stops the moment any such comparison is made. Also all knowledge and wisdom comes from within and self evaluation/navel gazing. Reason can sink in only that way. For starters, I recommend that all such comparison in all media and education material in educational institutions inside Pakistan be removed. It is then possible then that we will think about ourselves instead of what happens across the border.

  23. Sarkar says:

    Hats off to NFP for this and other brilliant open-minded articles

  24. obaid rahman says:

    Qaida-e-azam dreamed a country, which is secular but for muslims for proving security to muslims from hindu majority . there was no need to bring religion into system and defence of pakistan. pakistan is muslim majority nation, and no chance of danger to islam in secular pakistan. but bringing religion into politics and system, we have increased the chances of religious confrontation, intolerance and extremism in our own country. democracy is not the priority of majority of pakistanis, that’s why there is no democracy in more than half time since formation of pakistan. religious leader have high jacked our education system and set wrong priority in our mind. now it is very hard to convince a normal pakistani for a democratic, secular and progressive nation. without respecting democratic values, we can’t adopt tolerance. without toleration and accepting the cosmopolitan society, we can’t mitigate violence.

  25. Ali Tahir says:

    Whenever I read NFP’s article, I feel like leaving Pakistan immediately. I don’t think throwing your nation into utter disappointment is such a good idea. Democracy takes time to flourish & developed countries have taken years to reach where they are now (I never take India as a role model). And I strongly beleive that Pakistan will flourish faster than any other nation. We’re already starting to see its effects reflected in many many decisions made by the govt. under public pressure. We’ll soon get rid of Mullah culture too. Please make a constructive criticism.

    • Tahir Rizvi says:

      Fully agree with you Mr. Ali Tahir. It takes time to build. We are on a path of progress since democracy was restored after Musharraf. The influence of Mullah culture will be eliminated by us all and with God’s help.

    • Abbas says:

      Ali Tahir

      I wish you all the best luck.
      You said democracy take time to flourish? How much my dear. Pakistan is already 61 years old.
      People get retired in that age

      • Ali Tahir says:

        I started counting from 2007 dear, its the first time democracy is taking effect ! I hate the present govt though..but democracy has never been given the chance to flourish before. Its just been 3-4 years, we have to keep our tolerance high. I have high hopes for my future generations

  26. Ibn-e-Maryam says:

    Excellent article, as usual. Honest analysis, thruthfully described. We need people like you in this country. May Allah bless you abunduntly.

  27. baloo says:

    I am from India and i live in US now. Growing up, we did not think too much about any ideology as to why we are indians. I don’t understand why Pakistanis have to waste so much energy and time on why they are pakistanis. Pakistan is just a land. Pakistan was a land before it became pakistan. It will be the same land after we are dead. The only question is what you did with your life and whether you lived happily with your family in that piece of land. Stop thinking about what you should be and live your life.

  28. aristhrottle says:

    “we might never really know exactly what it was that Jinnah actually stood for.”

    Maybe it is easier to find what he stood against? Which is not ideal, of course, for any person of stature to be defined as.

    “In other words, it seems the so-called Islam-centric ideology of Pakistan that began as a modernist and reformist project, ”

    It’s hard for me to put my mind across the idea that any religious ideology could be modernist and reformist – with regards to society. It is possible that there are modernist and reformist trends within a religion, but when any society has to explicitly rely on religion for direction, then that society, cannot be deemed to be modernist. One can understand if religion informs society within its narrow sphere, but if it permeates everything, then that society, in the long term, is doomed.

    Anyway, I am confused by your use of the terms “modernist” and “reformist” in this context.

  29. Conspiracy Tehreek says:

    Another wonderful piece NFP! The first paragraph is (sadly) true. We could have tackled this but we did our best to make this come true. What was supposed to be our strength-diversity,pluralism etc-was percieved as a threat. Now all we are left with is denial,hatred and fear….

  30. Tahir Rizvi says:

    We have substantially drifted from the basic concepts of our founding fathers Quaide Azam and his associates. The state was established as “Pakistan” in 1947. Its conversion into the “Islamic Republic of Pakistan” was the beginning of our drifting away from the basic concepts of a country for the Muslims of the subcontinent where the state and religion would remain separate, driven by a form of modern democracy that incorporated the egalitarian concepts of Islam such as charity, equality and interfaith tolerance. The type of state Kamal Ataturk of Turkey created after the fall of Ottoman Empire. We have lost our way and are now being lead on a completely different path, by those who did not even support Pakistan movement and partition of the sub-continent, like Jamate Islami. Our country has been on a non progressive course ever since.
    We need to get back to the vision of our founding fathers of modern democratic country that incorporated the egalitarian concepts of Islam such as charity, equality, justice, interfaith tolerance and freedom for all its citizen.


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