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Babar Ayaz: The myth of the ideology of Pakistan

10 April 2013

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Daily Times, April 10, 2013

ROVER’S DIARY: The myth of the ideology of Pakistan

by Babar Ayaz

Nowhere in history was Islamic ideology of Pakistan mentioned, it was always the political, social, economic rights of the Muslims

Moments of rejoicing in this country are few and far between. While the democrats are rejoicing that for the first time a smooth transfer of power is in sight through free and fair elections, their spirits are dampened by the holy warriors of the country. This time around for the forthcoming elections no General Hamid Gul, General Aslam Beg or Mahmud Durrani is needed to engineer the defeat of the left-of-centre political parties by supporting formation of the Islami Jamhoori Ittehad (IJI).

The Taliban have threatened Pakistan People’s Party, Awami National Party and Muttahida Qaumi Mahaz that their candidates and election rallies would be attacked. This gives an advantage to the right-of-centre political parties like Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, various factions of Pakistan Muslim League, Jamaat-e-Islami and other religious parties over the parties under threat from the Taliban and their associated militant groups.

The kind of questions asked by some returning officers (RO), supported by a section of the media, shows that the Taliban mindset is not limited to the militant groups only. While now the Lahore High Court has instructed the returning officers that they should not be asking irrelevant questions, they had already rejected papers of some candidates for their lack of knowledge about the Quranic verses or history. Will the ECP, which has just woken up, reverse rejections by the ROs when the candidates appeal remains to be seen.

The most prominent case is that of journalist-politician Ayaz Amir. He was told that he did not believe in the Islamic ideology of Pakistan and that he did not qualify as a good Muslim because of his personal habits. From where does the returning officer draw this power? As stated in my column last month, it is from the perfidious clauses of Article 62 and 63 of the constitution. These clauses were there ever since they were inserted by General Ziaul Haq but were not invoked in full force in all the elections held since 1988 to purge candidates.

A quick look at the history of the Pakistan Movement shows that all important documents presented by the All India Muslim League did not mention the Islamic ideology of Pakistan. The 1906 Muslim League demands were: 1) To inculcate among Muslims a feeling of loyalty to the government and to disabuse their minds of misunderstandings and misconceptions of its actions and intentions. 2) To protect and advance the political rights and interests of the Muslims of India and to represent their needs and aspirations to the government, from time to time. 3) To prevent the growth of ill will between Muslims and other communities without compromising its own purposes.

Initially, as the president of the Muslim League Mr Mohammad Ali Jinnah endorsed four points in 1927: 1) Constitution of Sindh as a separate province; 2) Introduction of reforms in North West Frontier Province and Balochistan; 3) Guarantee of Muslim majority in the Punjab and Bengal legislature; and 4) Reservation of at least one-third of the seats in the central legislature for Muslims.

In the 14 points presented by Muslim League only point 12 said: “The constitution should embody adequate safeguards for the protection of Muslim culture and for the protection and promotion of Muslim education, language, religion, personal laws and Muslim charitable institutions and for their due share in the grants-in-aid given by the state and by local self-governing bodies.” It talks about protection of rights, not imposing Islam on people.

In the 1940 Lahore Resolution, which was renamed as Pakistan Resolution after the creation of the country, there is no mention of Islamic ideology. It was again asking for the security of the rights of Muslims: “That adequate effective and mandatory safeguard shall be specifically provided in the constitution for minorities in the units and in the regions for the protection of their religious, cultural, economic, political, administrative and other rights of the minorities, with their consultation. Arrangements thus should be made for the security of Muslims where they were in a minority.”

The 1949 Objectives Resolution, which was made a substantive part of the constitution through a P.O. (Presidential Order) No.14 of 1985, and is now referred to as Article 2(A) of the constitution, was done by General Ziaul Haq, the man who damaged Pakistan more than anybody else. The relevant part of the Objectives Resolution says: “Wherein the State shall exercise its powers and authority through the chosen representatives of the people; Wherein the principles of democracy, freedom, equality, tolerance and social justice as enunciated by Islam shall be fully observed; Wherein the Muslims shall be enabled to order their lives in the individual and collective spheres in accordance with the teachings and requirements of Islam as set out in the Holy Quran and the Sunnah.” (Again the word used here is ‘enabled’ not ‘enforced’.)

“As late as March 1946 the India Office prepared a scheme for a ‘confederal system’ as an alternative to complete partition. The Cabinet Mission gave its verdict against partition and proposed a centre that restricted powers (on 16th of May, 1946)” (A C Banerjee, 1981).

Even Article 31 clause (2) (a), which is being quoted by Mr Ansar Abbasi, who has the right to his views, says that the “state shall endeavour as respects the Muslims of Pakistan...to make the teaching of the Holy Quran and Islamiat compulsory to encourage and facilitate the learning of Arabic language...”

Clause 2 (b): “promote unity and observance of Islamic moral standards (this sub-clause is also impossible to implement as for the last 1,400 years Muslims have not practised uniform ‘observance of Islamic moral standards as different sects have different standards and codes).” Nowhere does Article 31 say that it is mandatory for a Muslim to learn the Holy Quran. (A fine point missed by Mr Abbasi in his ideological zeal.) Neither it should have been, as religion and its learning is a private matter of a citizen and nobody has the right to dictate this, as it would be in conflict with the fundamental rights of the people, a right universally accepted by all civilised nations, and the spirit of all major religions, which are against forced learning of their respective teachings.

Nowhere in history was Islamic ideology of Pakistan mentioned, it was always the political, social, economic rights of the Muslims and their freedom to live their life in accordance with their beliefs. It was inserted in the 1973 constitution, and there onward in the 2013 elections nomination form. Now this is a disputed political formulation among historians and political scientists. The country is suffering from the dangerous chemistry of mixing religion with the state. The present religious extremism, militancy and sectarianism are the logical outcome of this political formulation. The new parliament should be free to debate and separate state and religion. In doing so they should not be forced to agree to the Islamic ideology of Pakistan. This is crucial for Pakistan if it has to put the jihadist genie back in the bottle and to survive; or else Pakistan would be consumed by hyper-religiosity. Even Israel, which was created by the British imperialists as a Jewish state, has left the highly controversial subject of the relationship between religion and state in abeyance.

The writer can be reached at ayazbabar at gmail.com

P.S.

reproduced from Daily Times for educational and non commercial use