Pakistan’s identity war — II

Published: March 21, 2011

The writer is Professor of Environmental Studies and Asian Studies at the University of Vermont. His books include Islam and Education: Conflict and conformity in Pakistan’s madrassas (Oxford University Press, 2009)

What does it mean to be an Islamic state? Was there ever such an entity? Can modernity, as it pertains to developing a functional society in a globalised world, be realised within the context of a theocracy? These are fundamental questions which Pakistanis need to resolve, within this generation, in order for Pakistan to develop and reach its potential.

Pakistan shares the distinction, along with Israel, as being one of only two states to have been crafted, in the post-colonial worlds, on the basis of religion. In both cases enormous migrations were involved with questionable legitimacy for the migrants. The ‘muhajir’ identity continues to be perpetuated, as such, on this basis. The creation of both Israel and Pakistan present a perplexing paradox: Created on the basis of religion, their champions were largely secular individuals. The founders of Zionism as a political force, such as Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben Gurion, were secular. So too were Pakistan’s founders, most notably the Quaid-i-Azam. I would argue that Ben Gurion and Jinnah made a dangerous bargain when it came to conflating cultural identity on the basis of religious adherence.

Pakistan and Israel — two states which don’t recognise each other diplomatically — are facing a similar radicalisation because of that initial crisis of identity which was never fully resolved. Theocratic forces are gaining power in both countries. Like Pakistan, Israel made many concessions to religious parties such as the prohibition of any work activity — including public transport — on the Shabbat (Saturday), and only allowing for marriage to take place under rabbinic tradition. This latter law has fuelled a strange industry of marriage in neighbouring Cyprus, where secular Jews flock for matrimonial weekends to avoid the strict features of a religious wedding ceremony! The main difference between Israeli and Pakistani religious movements is that the latter has turned against the state in a violent way. Because of the violence and a fundamental loyalty to religion, they are unable to figure out how best to reconcile religion with statecraft. Unlike Judaism, Islam has an evangelical streak, which is aimed at converting the whole polity to its brand of religious zealotry that is divided along sectarian lines.

This is where the challenge of ‘moderating Islam’ becomes far more apparent. The struggle between literalist and contextual interpretations of Islam has confounded Muslims from the very start. Three out of four of the early Noble Caliphs (Khulafa-e-Rashideen) were murdered due to doctrinal differences. The tussle between those who want taqlid (following or imitating primordial authority), and those who want ijtihad (independent reasoning of religious doctrine) is nothing new. Pakistan is now, sadly, the centre point for this struggle. The absolutist vision of taqlid is simply incompatible with modern societies as manifest in issues such as the Hudood Ordinance, and so Pakistanis will need to decide whether they are willing to redefine themselves within the context of ijtihad.

Other Muslim states, which we currently consider moderate, such as Malaysia and Indonesia, are also dealing with the same challenge. However, because they have a sizeable non-Muslim minority population, (40 per cent in the case of Malaysia) or have a constitutional mandate to prevent theocracy (such as Turkey), they are able to move more easily to quash the absolutist elements. Pakistan’s task is more difficulty because of our demographic. We have two choices: Either we bite the bullet and endure several years of conflict with the extremist elements, while also reforming our educational system, or we figure out a way to marginalise the extremists to a confined region, where they can exercise their theocracy without hijacking the rest of the state (see previous article).

The latter is clearly a less favourable option, but do we have the will to take on reforms and fight extremism? I fear we do not have the political courage to do so. Compromise in democratic systems is important but when one side (the Religious Right) is structurally incapable of moving from its position, we are left with a dangerous recipe for the tyranny of the malevolent minority taking hold.

 

Published in The Express Tribune, March 22nd, 2011.

Reader Comments (39)

  • Ron(Indian)
    Mar 22, 2011 - 12:18AM

    Identity war??
    Pakistan= Indian region(Punjab+sindhu desh)+pushtun region+baluchistan.
    Keep your patriotic army on borders, strengthen institution, bring real democracy..
    Your priority must be education and economy..
    Thanks.Recommend

  • Majeed
    Mar 22, 2011 - 12:57AM

    Are we to await the final installment … Pakistan’s identity war — III?
    You have not finished saying everything you have to say.
    Unlike the rest of us, you have the safe distance of Vermont and the States,
    to tell it like it is. Thank you for writing.
    Therefore, go ahead and finish the argument completely and in its entirety.
    Don’t leave us hanging with a half enunciated rhetoric.
    The last man who did that was no one else but our founding father.
    And you know, where it has led us to … in the hands of vultures. Recommend

  • John
    Mar 22, 2011 - 12:58AM

    What the author is discussing is theology on Islam. Unfortunately, theological discussion on Islam is a contextual basis and it is viewed by many muslims of modern times as blasphemy.

    The Islamic school of thoughts of modern times reserve the right of discussion only to Muslims and any non Muslim discussion and writing on Islam is viewed as blasphemy.

    The line between literalists and contextual schools is very thin and if contextual school is to prevail, certain suras of Quran have to be considered irrelevant. Such thought itself is antithesis on both schools.

    In the context of Pakistan, Islam is the very foundation of nation’s birth, and two generations were indoctrinated in this religious thoughts in government funded schools. One can see how pervasive religion is in Pakistan from discussions in both print and electronic media.

    Non Muslims realize the central thesis of Islam but also realize the incompatibility of literalist view. Muslims who had the opportunity to read comparative religious texts also understand the need for contextual theology, and may form the band of Moderate Muslims. The mother tongue of majority of muslims are different yet every one reads the Quran in Arabic and memorizes it. And their questions are answered by the religious leaders and the individual has no way of independent verification. In the case of Pakistan, she has become a mono culture and cross fertilization of non islamic cultural and religious ideas are absent. In this context, literalist has come to dominate the theology of Islam in Pakistan.

    Until mullahs educated in comparative religious schools of thought are in pulpit of mosque, literalist schools will prevail, from Turkey to Pakistan. In Pakistan the constitution gives literalist school protection and, ironically, contextual school is only protected in secular countries out side of Pakistan.

    The literalists are no longer minority in Pakistan. They were in power in Zia’s time, and they will soon be again once they reorganize. That is the reality. Recommend

  • Arijit Sharma
    Mar 22, 2011 - 1:48AM

    @author: “Three out of four of the early Noble Caliphs (Khulafa-e-Rashideen) were murdered due to doctrinal differences.”

    Precisely why, people chuckle when a Muslim says “Islam is a religion of peace”. Recommend

  • faraz
    Mar 22, 2011 - 3:42AM

    Islamic state, according to Maududi, is a totalitarian state where state apparatus is used to enforce the ideology of islam, but which ideology of islam? There are different interpretations of islam so the term ‘Islamic state’ is a misnomer, the correct term is ‘sectarian state’ e.g. Saudi Arab a Wahabi sectarian state, Iran a Shia sectarian state. People in Pakistan are divided along different sects and these sects are in voilent opposition to each other. One can see clerics declaring each other heretics on basis of sectarian differences. Different sects of islam just cannot coexist in a totalitarian islamic state.

    Even the finest muslims who lived during Khulfa Rashideen couldnt avoid deadly civil wars which led to death of thosuands of Companions of Prophet (PBUH). Infact, the roots of Shia and Sunni islam were laid in the era of Khulfa Rashideen. The closest Companions of Prophet (PBUH) were alive and differences in interpretation of Quran and Hadees were very few. The state comprised of autonomous regions and there was no strong bureaucracy to enforce the vision of the caliph to each and every corner of the caliphate. But still the ideal Islamic state failed to avoid conflict and anarchy, and ultimately collapsed. Recommend

  • American
    Mar 22, 2011 - 6:41AM

    The most lucid account of Pakistan’s dilemma that I have seen in Pakistani press.
    The author should sit down for a one-on-one with Gen. Kayani… Recommend

  • Mokhtar Sadok
    Mar 22, 2011 - 7:50AM

    I can understand to some extent the idea of comparing Pakistan and Israel for the reasons the author mentioned in the article. However, there is a fundamental difference between the two states. Contrary to Pakistan, Israel was born on the back of another people and still continues to occupy big chunks of territories. Israelis seem to cling to religion for existential reasons, but Pakistanis seem to pay the price for the everlasting struggle in Islam to resolve difference of opinions without rushing to the sword. It appears that the current revolutionary tide coming from the Arab world will have a positive effect on Pakistan by helping to resolve the struggle between Islam and modernity. At a minimum, getting rid of dictators and stopping the petrodollar from fanning flames of religious differences in Pakistan can only help. However, the situation in Israel doesn’t seem as rosy. Recommend

  • ba ha
    Mar 22, 2011 - 10:03AM

    Perhaps we should look at this piece w.r.t. indentity

    http://www.caravanmagazine.in/Story/774/Bringing-Punjabiyat-Back.htmlRecommend

  • Rayyan
    Mar 22, 2011 - 11:29AM

    THe atuhor , may be, hasn’t gone so far in the study of islamic history. The argument he made that the four caliphs were murdered due to doctrinal differences is very much wrong. Umar and ALi were murdered by two Zorasterians and Uthman was murdered by the pople who wanted to destabilize the islamic state. he was the follower of Abdullah Sabai, a jew.
    Acording to Ali, the hudood ordinance is incompatible with the modern society, is a false argument. Do you have any other law or system to stop Adulteration, drinking Alcohol, stealing etc.Or thisthis should be given a legal status. Or girl frien\d and boy friend concept should be allowed, an unpaid prostitution.
    I am just asking the atuhor to tell me the flaw in the hudood ordinance or bring a better system to stop this evil .Recommend

  • Anoop
    Mar 22, 2011 - 11:56AM

    Author has put it very aptly.

    It is a little ironical to compare Pakistan with none other than Israel, considering Pakistanis hate the living day lights out of Israel.

    “I would argue that Ben Gurion and Jinnah made a dangerous bargain when it came to conflating cultural identity on the basis of religious adherence.”

    –> BINGO!

    “Unlike Judaism, Islam has an evangelical streak, which is aimed at converting the whole polity to its brand of religious zealotry that is divided along sectarian lines.”

    –> Double BINGO!

    The options he says Paksitan has are very impossible to implement. It needs a truly Pricipled leader with unequaled support to implement it. Pakistan is incapable of producing such a leader and neither will its Army tolerate such popularity, like it couldn’t tolerate Benazir’s popularity which eventually led to her death.Recommend

  • Rahul Singh
    Mar 22, 2011 - 12:21PM

    Excellent analysis on the issue of religion and identity in modern times with special reference to Pakistan. As I have said this earlier also on other forums but again I want to reiterate that Islam has been militant from the very beginning. Suppression of dissent is a tradition instituted by the Prophet himself, who had a number of his critics murdered or executed. Quran is regularly invoked by the militants for their violent brand of politics because the Quran contain ample injunctions to hostility and war against the unbelievers. Other religions have moved on and have become flexible and are open for criticism about wrong thing in the religion but Islam still wants to perpetuate the policies and beliefs followed by the Prophet and his companions. Islam is more resistant to change because it is closely linked to the literal Quran and Hadith. The contemporary uprising in the Muslim countries is a clear indication of this intolerance. The biggest problem with Islam is that it is a political religion which explicitly aim at the creation of an Islamic state which should ultimately encompass the whole world. So unless there is a paradigm shift in the whole concept of Islam not much positive can be expected in the near future.Recommend

  • Baryal Utmanzai
    Mar 22, 2011 - 12:41PM

    Pakistan needs division on natural lines. Pashtuns need to be allowed to join their mother-country Afghanistan (or have their own state if they chose so). Baluch of Pakistan and Iran should be allowed to have a state of their own. Sindhis should get their Sindhdesh as their fundamental right of national self determination. Punjab should join its cousin in India if it choses so.

    Jews is a nation not only because they share Jewish religion. They are a nation because they share a common historical experience, common language, culture, common suppression. They have the deep consciousness of having common racial stock or DNA. None of these elements can be found among the peoples of Pakistan. Israel as a nation of jews cannot be taken as an example for Pakistan as a “nation” of Muslims.

    When will we be enough courageous to accept the reality that the “Pakistani project” has failed. In fact it never looked like succeeding.Recommend

  • Proud Pakistani Baloch
    Mar 22, 2011 - 2:16PM

    @Baryal Utmanzai: another indian poking his nose in other countries affair ? dont you guys have any other thing to do beside commenting about breaking Pakistan ? perhaps this indian mindset could be considered as the primary reason for all the troubles in the subcontinent ?

    how about giving indian states an option to chose about there future ? with Kashmir joining Pakistan, Indian Punjab declaring independace as Khalistan along with independant countries for tamils ? the list would be long so i would cut it short. as indians point out that people in Pakistan have nothing in common, similar argument can be used for india.

    a simple advice to indians and indian financed so called baloch: Mind your own business and learn to live with present days reality. or else when pandora’s box opens, no one is spared :)Recommend

  • abhinav
    Mar 22, 2011 - 2:36PM

    Very good option, as you can see something similar was done by Indian leaders, Jinnah got the pakistan as laboratory of Islam, and rest of the India was made secular. Now this process of confining hardliners and fundamentalist in smaller area can be repeated untill all of them realise that it is not possible to have successfull hardline state.

    Theoratically Idea is good but practical implementation is very difficult. It could lead to bloodshed that was seen during partition of India.Recommend

  • Baryal Utmanzai
    Mar 22, 2011 - 3:28PM

    @Proud Pakistani Baloch:
    I wish you dont write Baloch with you. It is an insult to Balochs who are up in arms in a fierce freedom struggle. By the way I am not an Indian. My God, India has become a nightmare for pakis. They see India in everything. Zaid Hamid and Hamid Gul’s brainwashing. Recommend

  • ArifQ
    Mar 22, 2011 - 3:39PM

    Saleem Sahib
    If only we could follow the vision of our founding father Jinnah, this would not be an impossible task to achieve. Pakistan is a Federation of four provinces controlled by an overtly strong center, we need to give the provinces their due share by starting with more autonomy, let the people decide what they want, but they must also have the liberty and the requisite information to make an informed decision. For this to happen, Pakistan establishment must be either bought on board or if necessary neutralized, without their consent and participation we will continue with the status quo and engineered narratives. Provinical autonomy is a must for this country, let them sort out their problems, learn to share their resources and be able to help each other in times of need. Creation of new provinces must precede Provinical autonomy, as it is right now we have a disporportionate distribution in terms of population and main source of conflict when it comes reveneue sharing. If we fail to do the right thing and quickly, then I am afraid this country is fast approaching a state of meltdown. Recommend

  • faraz
    Mar 22, 2011 - 3:55PM

    @Rayyan

    Ali was murdered by Kharjite muslim for doctrinal differences. You need for 4 male witnesses to prove adultry under Hudood Law, a female cant become a witness. This is practically impossible to prove, unless someone is committing adultry in the middle of a busy road!Recommend

  • chandran
    Mar 22, 2011 - 4:16PM

    ho what to say actually pakistan is another indian muslim state may be
    soverign country for others.Recommend

  • observer
    Mar 22, 2011 - 4:19PM

    @Saleem H Ali

    Either we bite the bullet and endure several years of conflict with the extremist elements, while also reforming our educational system, or we figure out a way to marginalise the extremists to a confined region, where they can exercise their theocracy without hijacking the rest of the state

    The choice outlined by you presupposes that only a handful of extremists are interested in a theocracy and the system will be able to confine them to a small region. Going by the evidence on the ground, viz.
    a. 40,000 turned up in favour of Qadri, while even 400 did not turn up for Taseer.
    b. Even the National Assembly and the Senate were unable to condemn the murders of Taseer and Bhatti.
    c. 85% favour death for blasphemy and for ‘murtads’.
    it is more likely that the non-extremists will have to be confined to a reserve as endangered species.
    Even if it is conceded that the extremists are small in numbers and can be confined to a small region, what about the source of indoctrination. So long as you have Pakistan Studies you will go on adding to their numbers.And the exercise of conceding further space will have to be undertaken once allover again.Afterall, when North Waziristan was being conceded to the Taliban precisely this argument was given, and we ended up conceding S Waziristan and Swat and South Punjab as well.
    In short, there is no option but to go for the long haul i.e. implement Constitutional, Educational and Administrative reforms and fight these forces.Recommend

  • A Thinker
    Mar 22, 2011 - 4:59PM

    Another “expert” sitting thousands of mile away and proclaiming to know us better than we know ourselves.

    This is a quintessential orientalist article lacking any substance since it shows a lack of understanding of not only the issues facing Pakistan and the real reason why three of the four rightly guided caliphs were assasinated. The author also lacks understanding of concepts such as Ijtehaad and Taqlid and the real issue with the Hudood Ordinance.

    Pakistan is not facing an extremist threat due to sectarian divides or due to the clergy. The extremist forces claiming religious motivations are anti-state elemants nurtured by external forces due to geo-politcal reasons. Of the three Rashidun caliphs, only Ali was assisinated due to sectarian reasons. Umar’s was murdered by an Iranian due to his conquest of Iran and Usman was murdered over political differences.

    There is no war between taqlid and ijtehaad. Both apply to seperate matters and no scholar is foolish enough not to know the difference. Umar’s simplicity and justice requires taqlid whereas air travel related issues require Ijtehaad. It doesnt take a genuis to figure that out. Finally Hudood ordinance is cherry picked out of the whole Sharia and imposed on a Colonial penal code,which makes no sense.

    Sharia is misunderstood, demonised and feared because of it. Omar (r.a) applied sharia in teh most austere way, yet his conquests were the greatest in history and they endured too. He successfuly implemented pioneering reforms in the army, police and other state/administrative matters. His rule remains unrivalled and its hallmark was social justice based on God-consciousness.

    Whats lacking today is God consciousness since all sorts of lies, pretense and deceit goes on under all banners of islamism, liberalism, democracy and even intellectualism.Recommend

  • Fact Check
    Mar 22, 2011 - 6:18PM

    History has showed us religious fanaticism and state craft doesn’t work well. Some exmaples:

    Spain + Catholism Wiped out of native populations in South America and parts of North America.

    Church of England

    Catholic Church Of Rome has the goal of subjugating human race on the planet to catolic belief.

    Islam and Chirstian holy wars in Europe.

    What is it all based on, every one of them were based on a myth called religion created by men to control the human race to their will and we the dumb people goes along with it even today.

    “Man crerated religion, religion created Gods, Man & God, together divided earth and our minds and put us on course of perpetual war”.

    Supposedly the most intelligent creature on earth is not so intelligent after all, are they?Recommend

  • Alsahdiq
    Mar 22, 2011 - 6:41PM

    “Thou shalt not commit murder” is the command of the Lord Almighty and applicable equally to Jews, Christians and Muslims. True or false?
    All those who comply with the above Commandment and other Commandments of Lord Almighty, deserve to call themselves Jews, Christians and Muslims.
    The question is that how many people display through their deeds to be Jews, Christains or Muslims? Not many. Not many is the truthful answer.
    Let me remind everyone here that in the practice of religion, any religion, one is bound to encounter nothing but imposters. Imposters? People who make a claim, which their deeds do not testify to be true. So much so that in the history of mankind, we have heard of the head of European religion, His holiness Papa Urban. His holiness dared to arouse the Europeans to renounce Christainity. Renounce Christianity? How ? By picking up the sword and then march to the land where the holy Asian man of God, Jesus was born and lived. They marched, rode and sailed to this land in hordes afters hordes and when there they showed absolute and utter contempt to almost every preachings and practices of Jesus. Were those Europeans in the following of Jesus? Were they? Certainly not. In practice they proved themselves to be in the footsteps of their Godless Roman forefathers.Recommend

  • Mar 22, 2011 - 7:14PM

    Pakistan and Israel — two states which don’t recognise each other diplomatically — are facing a similar radicalisation because of that initial crisis of identity which was never fully resolved. Theocratic forces are gaining power in both countries. Like Pakistan, Israel made many concessions to religious parties such as the prohibition of any work activity — including public transport — on the Shabbat (Saturday), and only allowing for marriage to take place under rabbinic tradition. This latter law has fuelled a strange industry of marriage in neighbouring Cyprus, where secular Jews flock for matrimonial weekends to avoid the strict features of a religious wedding ceremony! The main difference between Israeli and Pakistani religious movements is that the latter has turned against the state in a violent way. Because of the violence and a fundamental loyalty to religion, they are unable to figure out how best to reconcile religion with statecraft. Unlike Judaism, Islam has an evangelical streak, which is aimed at converting the whole polity to its brand of religious zealotry that is divided along sectarian lines.

    This is where the challenge of ‘moderating Islam’ becomes far more apparent. The struggle between literalist and contextual interpretations of Islam has confounded Muslims from the very start. Three out of four of the early Noble Caliphs (Khulafa-e-Rashideen) were murdered due to doctrinal differences. The tussle between those who want taqlid (following or imitating primordial authority), and those who want ijtihad (independent reasoning of religious doctrine) is nothing new. Pakistan is now, sadly, the centre point for this struggle. The absolutist vision of taqlid is simply incompatible with modern societies as manifest in issues such as the Hudood Ordinance, and so Pakistanis will need to decide whether they are willing to redefine themselves within the context of ijtihadRecommend

  • Babloo
    Mar 22, 2011 - 8:52PM

    The author has diagonized the problem correctly. But unfortunately, there are no easy solutions. Mohandas Karam Chand Gandhi, a Gujrati like Jinnah, had said, nothing great can be achived by foul means or means never justify ends. Jinnah, for either political opportunism or political expediency or his goal of a seperate state for Muslims, chose the emotive issue of religion to achive his ends. The state was thus founded on an ideology which stated religious identity is the supreme identity over humanity, insaniat, cultural, ethnic or linguistic identity. That theory and identity even justified mass migrations, killings and uprooting of people from their native lands where they had lived for thousands of years. Hindus and Sikhs of Punjab in Pakistan and Sindh, were sons of the soil for thousands of years, who were uprooted as a result of this theory of Jinnah. Some of the most ghastly crimes in human history were conducted as the 2-nation theory was implemented. Nations should be based on loftier and noble goals like justice, equality and opportunity for all and not on sectarian goals. For Pakistan to become a modern state , they have to first repudiate Jinnah’s politics and then build their state on nobler and loftier goals.Recommend

  • Mawali
    Mar 22, 2011 - 9:27PM

    Is Pakistan’s identity Islam? On the surface yes; this whole debacle was kick started right under Jinnah’s nose “the great secularist, visionary leader” when his cohorts of the Muslim League decided to use the previously and often used banner and call “danger to Islam” to garner votes and solicit Muslim sympathies to the Muslim league’s dwindling support. Unfortunately, for Pakistan the banner and its usage got even widespread and even in a predominantly Muslim country that same banner is now used in different flavors.
    Pakistan identity remains nebulous at best and undefined for sure! The creation of Bangladesh highlighted many of the flaws in the project called Pakistan. Incidentally it also dug the grave of the famous and now defunct two nation theory.
    But then you perhaps rightly ask and exclaim; so be it we are here and as the song line reads “where do we go from here now that all of the children are growing up”. Pakistan’s children are indeed growing up in the midst of a confusion you rightly point out of; how do Muslims and particularly this strain called Pakistanis define, interpret and practice their religion. Should it be literal or contextual?
    Well, what is it going to be? a legitimate and a crucial question that simply does not have an answer. Not in the present setup and nothing on the horizon. Or perhaps more importantly, you folks are about 60 plus years too late in this debate. Externally, this debate can only be initiated by those that live in the Kingdom behind the iron curtain. That my friend of Environmental science and Asian studies is not imminent any time soon! Viva la revolution! Write for an Urdu daily No!Recommend

  • Dinesh Bahuva
    Mar 22, 2011 - 9:52PM

    Folks, just rember that Islam is the yongest major religion of the world. Hindusm and Judaism are more than 3000 years old. Christanity is 2000 yeasr old. So compared to these religions Islam is a teenager. It has all the symptoms of a teenager like immotional outburst, lack of maturity in thinking. It needs time to to become tempered and mature.

    Also note that it was born in a region where tribal warfare was way of life and pure Darwinismn was rule not exception. It was genius of the Prophet Muhmmad(PBUH) that brought all tribes under one religion. Of course it can not be denied the that transitions were not peaseful.

    In the past politcal power and religion power were always combined in one person. Normaly the king was political as well as religious head except in Hinduism where a separe class of Brahmins were constituted for religious matters. But that class was also dependent on the king for the livelyhood.This combined powere created many evils.As it happens with every religion, after the death of founder or main figure, power struggles goes on the like political power struggle among the heirs after death of king. So a religion is devided into sects and sub-sects. Now the people of these sects try to infulence the new king to convert him into their own religion. India is classic example of this phenomina. Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism struggled for inflence to convert the kings into their own religion although Buddhisms and Jainisms are like protestant Hinduisms. The great emperor Ashoka was converted into Buddhism and helped to propagate Buddhism to distant lands out of India.His grandfather emperor Chandragupt Maurya the founder of Maurya dynasty was Jain. Another great emperor Bimbisar is being claimed follwer of their religion by both Buddhists and Jains. (Jains call him Shrenik).

    Alos powerful people have used religion to spread their power. The famous Roman emperor Constantine accepted Christianity for his survival after 300 years of birth of Christ. Earlier Christans were percecuted in Roman emipre . Jesus Christ, Saint peter were crucified by Romans. It is perhaps the greates irony of the history that seat of power of Roman empire, Rome, today is seat of highest authority of Christianity.

    It took the Christan, Hindus and Jewsish world alsmost 2000 years to separte political power i.e. statecraft and religion. In due course of time Islam will also learn to co-exist with secular state. the modern nformation technology will make it faster. We have already seen this change in Arab world in recent times.Recommend

  • Mar 22, 2011 - 10:43PM

    Don’ they say that s-x sells cheep, same is the case here with this article. cheep material to gain publicity and say this is a ssolution out of the box. You confine the terrorists in Punjab and as if they won’t spread to other parts. this experiment is done and cocluded and the result is all the country in chaos. It’s like another Hameed Gul talking.Recommend

  • LOL
    Mar 22, 2011 - 10:47PM

    @ Mokhtar – You imply that the creation of Pakistan did not displace millions of Sikhs and Hindus? Muslims were not forced to leave India for Pakistan – they chose to. The smart Sikhs and Hindus left while those that remained were slowly decimated. Your own census data shows how minorities have been literally wiped off the map

    Pakistan can either take the path of Turkey or it can take the path of Afghanistan/Iraq. Right now, the latter is the path it is heading down. Why doesn’t Pakistan want to be more like Turkey?Recommend

  • pakpinoy
    Mar 23, 2011 - 12:55AM

    @faraz:
    Yes, good description of the “religion of peace….”Recommend

  • pakpinoy
    Mar 23, 2011 - 1:04AM

    @Proud Pakistani Baloch:
    You obviously don’t know much about your neighbors! I’m a foreigner who lived in Pakistan for many years and I know by the guy’s name, he’s Pashtun and most likely Afghan!

    And yes, you guys, are obsessed over India!Recommend

  • pakpinoy
    Mar 23, 2011 - 1:08AM

    @faraz:
    But the Hudood “code” doesn’t have to have any practical application or sense! Don’t you know?? If the Hudood says jump off a cliff at on my 10th birthday, then that’s what I’ll do!

    This guy’s religion has taught him NOT to think for himself! It’s fine if a country has just a few of those types, but catastrophic when the majority are like that…Recommend

  • Baryal Utmanzai
    Mar 23, 2011 - 12:19PM

    @pakpinoy:

    Pashtun and Afghan is the same thing. Therefore, it is absolutely correct to say that I am Afghan and Pashtun. By the way all Pashtuns are Afghans, but all Afghans are not Pashtuns.Recommend

  • observer
    Mar 23, 2011 - 12:19PM

    @Alsahdiq

    “Thou shalt not commit murder” is the command of the Lord Almighty and applicable equally to Jews, Christians and Muslims. True or false?
    The question is that how many people display through their deeds to be Jews, Christains or Muslims? Not many. Not many is the truthful answer.

    Your words are so true, Muslim campaigns in Europe and in Asia did lead to loss of life or ‘murder’ if you please.The names of Mahmud of Ghazni, Nadir Shah and Timur the Lame are associated with wanton bloodshed. So what do we do.Undo their conquest of non-Islamic lands and revert to status quo ante.Would you clarify how does that help us in dealing with the issue of extremism here and now.Recommend

  • Mokhtar Sadok
    Mar 23, 2011 - 2:25PM

    @ LOL:
    There is no fair way you can draw a comparison between Pakistan and Israel…What happened in Pakistan (and later on in Bangladesh) was more of a war of separation along religious and ethnic lines by peoples of the region…the story of Israel is totally different…Israel brought peoples from Europe, Russia, Ethiopia and from all over the world to settle them in a land that does not belong to them and made the indigenous people refugees all over the places. All of that happened and still continue to happen despite tens of UN resolutions (e.g. 242 and 338) that call for the opposite… As for Pakistan, you are right it is a matter of choosing moderate Islam that can absorb differences along ethnic or religious lines (e.g. Islam in Andalusia) versus intolerant streak of Islam that rushes to violence to resolve differences (notice that this latter brand of Islam does not make any difference between Sikhs, Hindus, or Muslims for that matter- which doesn’t happen in Israel by the way). The point that I am trying to make, is that yes Pakistan has its problems but it is totally unfair to compare it to invader Israel. Recommend

  • Mansoor Ahmed Noon
    Mar 23, 2011 - 4:09PM

    Today on 23rd March 1940, A resolution was passed by the than Bengal CM Moulvi Fazal Haq, at Lahore, which was later termed as Pakistan Resolution, in tht resolution Paksitan was supposed to be Confideration, its Units (provincess) would b Autonomous & Sovereign. But todays Pakistan is a Centralized organization, with no Vision, no mission, unfair recruitment & selection, inefficiency, Less effectiveness, unfair performance appraisal, no succession planning hence ineffective organization which will lead to bankruptcy (Break up).

    Baluch, Sindhi, Pakhtoon & Siraeki are agitating for their rights.

    (Is it the Pakistan, we dream of)Recommend

  • Arijit Sharma
    Mar 23, 2011 - 9:00PM

    @Mokhtar Sadok: “The point that I am trying to make, is that yes Pakistan has its problems but it is totally unfair to compare it to invader Israel.”

    Invader Israel ? Depends on how far you want to go back in history. The area comprising current Palestine was inhabited by Jewish people BEFORE Islam came into being !! Recommend

  • Mokhtar Sadok
    Mar 23, 2011 - 10:58PM

    @Arijit Sharma:
    hmmm…I did not mention Islam or Judaism in this context (i.e. occupation). I was talking about indigenous people (i.e. Palestinians) who are being made refugees out of their homeland. For your information, Palestinians were there even before Moses was sent with Judaism … In history books (and even in the old testament) there is quite a bit about the Phellistines…It happened that some of those Palestinians became Muslims, other became Christians, and other became who knows what. This is not about religion…it is about occupation that cannot be condoned under any excuse…particularly in nowadays where ethnic cleansing is a hard sell.Recommend

  • Mansoor Ahmed Noon
    Mar 23, 2011 - 11:33PM

    @Arijit Sharma:
    lets agree that phalestinian territory once belonged to jews, so is it justifiable for israel to massacre innocent people (Arabs) for the peace of land,
    Israel is the global terrorist, responsible for 9/11, and many other crimes
    Holocast is fallacy to gain sympathy from the world.
    Israel attacked on Aid flotilla.
    how do see these action?Recommend

  • abhinav
    Mar 24, 2011 - 2:30PM

    @Mansoor and Mokhtar

    Comparing pakistan with isreal certainly make sense, both nation tried to bind the people of different culture/geography through religion and in process created such a mind set that is full of hate for others. This two nation also share the victim mentality and think that whole world is against them.Recommend

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