Can we emulate Turkey?

Published: April 9, 2012

The writer is executive director of the Centre for Research and Security Studies

Turkey was referred to as the ‘the sick man of Europe’ and suffered inflation rates as high as 80 per cent per annum. But eventually it fought back, reformed its economy with some tough decisions, and made a remarkable economic turnaround. Though still somewhat volatile and beset with bouts of inflation every now and then, Turkey is not a risky economy anymore; for the simple reason that its economic managers are quick to make adjustments whenever needed. Turkey also owes this turnaround to political stability, heralded by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan leads the party in a roughly 550-member parliament with 327 members of parliament. He has managed to remove the stigma that Turkey carried for a long time; that of being ‘the sick man of Europe.’

At the same time, the grand political consensus on the separation of politics and religion remains strongly in place. The entire political discourse, therefore, continues to be embedded in universally acknowledged democratic values, despite the fact that outside modern Ankara, Izmir and Istanbul, Turkey, like Pakistan, is a religious country which is strictly orthodox Hanafi Sunni. Not every Turk drinks but most people pray and fast. They are, at the same time, very comfortable with the secular model of governance.

Wine is no longer served in government functions. The hijab is okay. A friend quoted an older Turk friend saying that the country Turkey wanted to emulate in the past was –– Pakistan. But not the Pakistan of today, which they see slipping very quickly towards chaos.

It is, of course, debatable as to whether Pakistan can follow what Ataturk did over 90 years ago with brute power. The extent to which Ataturk went to remove references of religion from every segment of the society was breathtaking and is probably not possible today in an era of fast-moving transnationalist Islamist ideologies, epitomised particularly by al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood. This may, however, endanger the secular edifice that Ataturk raised in 1923.

Meanwhile, what deserves consideration is whether Pakistan can emulate some of the fundamental principles that guide the Turkish model of democracy.

Other Muslim countries like Malaysia and Indonesia have also gone through similar experiences which can indeed serve as benchmarks for a country like Pakistan that is currently embroiled in a crisis that stems from the intertwining of religion and politics. If the entire education system is subject to state regulations, why can’t the private religious education establishment i.e., madrassas be subject to those regulations to avoid sectarian divisions and their adverse impact on the society?

The monopoly of religious thought and dissemination in private hands is risky and fraught with numerous pitfalls. This is what we see happening in Pakistan, led by the five wifaqs –– and the religiopolitical parties.

Based on the experiences of Turkey, Malaysia or Indonesia, Pakistan’s mainstream political parties can perhaps help initiate a debate on the subject. They need courage and vision for a liberal and prosperous Pakistan to embark on that path. This, however, must not be misconstrued as an attempt on infringement of religious freedom. Everybody is, and must be free to practice faith. But that practice must not become an instrument of injustice, discrimination and intolerance.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 10th, 2012.

Reader Comments (56)

  • Ali Tanoli
    Apr 9, 2012 - 10:46PM

    Pakistan is made by idealogy of islam how can u make em secular sir?????

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  • Ammad
    Apr 9, 2012 - 10:50PM

    Bad thinking, putting in place secularism means taking away the world’s best religion’s aim to be the global religion and Allah’s rule on earth. Islam as we all believe asks us to preach and disseminate it among the non-believers but does not ask us to convert anybody forcefully. So there is no room for secularism in Islam as it already allows total religious freedom to all other religions.

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  • BlackJack
    Apr 9, 2012 - 10:50PM

    Growing economies with low unemployment rates and low inflation tend to reward their incumbent governments, regardless of whether the stable parameters are a result of any significant policy shifts by the new executive or not – this the AKP’s day in the sun. I hope that Turkey is able to see the back of Erdogan before he reverses all the revolutionary measures implemented by Ataturk to make Turkey a secular, well-educated and forward looking nation.

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  • Zafar Khattak
    Apr 9, 2012 - 11:05PM

    Kamal Ataturk set Turkey on the right path. He outlawed all that which holds any society back.
    Religious dogma has no place in a progressive society. Ataturk’s vision led Turkey forward while we are stuck debating whether phone par hello kehna haram hai ya halal.

    Sadly,a religious fanatic Erdogan is turning back the clock. He is using religious propaganda to erase the good work Ataturk had done. Ataturk’s secularism is what made Turkey a great society. Erdogan is going to make Turkey into another Afghanistan or Pakistan where religious intolerance is rife,women are treated as second-class citizens and homophobes are applauded.

    If Pakistan has to follow a model, it must be Ataturk’s model.

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  • Apr 9, 2012 - 11:06PM

    Excellent article – buts sadly most Pakistanis confuse secular (seperation of state and mullahs) with athiesm and most of the population are uneducated in whats really happening in the world let alone Islam.

    What Pakistan needs is an open discussion on where the people need to be in the future say 100 years? still uneducated and following the maulvis or seeking Islam and evolving their people, society and nation?

    Mohammed Abbasi
    Association of British Muslims

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  • Owais Khan
    Apr 9, 2012 - 11:11PM

    If we are to save Pakistan it has to be by making it a secular state. Whenever religion is allowed to interfere in the affairs of the state, the results are disastrous. We have seen the harm religious bigotry has done to our society, where people are murdered just because they belong to a different sect or belief system.

    Our society’s mentality has regressed to the point where people are shot dead because of religious differences, where students are thrown out of schools and colleges because they belonged to the wrong sect or religion.

    Our society treats atheists, agnostics, LGBT community as outcasts and pariahs and the public does this proudly with the support from hatefilled mullahs.

    If any system is to be adopted of Turkey’s than it must be the system of life Ataturk intorduced in Turkey.

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  • Shah
    Apr 9, 2012 - 11:17PM

    Great article.

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  • Hasan Malik
    Apr 9, 2012 - 11:17PM

    Pakistan can never be a Turkey. But we can be a New Somalia or new Afghanistan in coming future. We think we are the Thekedaars of whole Islamic World and we bring religion into everything. For us everything is connected with Islam. Every Political party exploit religion for their own needs . Bhutto bring resolution to declare one sect as Non Muslims and Nawaz Sharif even tried to become Khalifa through Parliament legislation and Jamaat e Islami and Even Imran Khan now a days bring religion into Politics.
    So sorry we cannot emulate Turkey but we can only emulate Saudia Arabia, Iran, Somalia, Afghanistan, Yemen and and our role models are only those countries while we can never separate religion from politics and administration and ultimately we are preparing a perfect recipe of Fundamentalist country of the future by bringing religion into politics..

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  • Ali Tanoli
    Apr 9, 2012 - 11:21PM

    Is not it all the recent achievments made by islamist roots justic party let by Tyeb Ardogan
    and Abdullah Gul.

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  • Citizen of Pakistan
    Apr 9, 2012 - 11:29PM

    Turkey is not wasting it’s resources on resisting American power. Whereas America has treated Pakistan like a door matt therefore we need to redefine our relationship. This in itself causes some of our resources and possibilities getting wasted.

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  • @plarkin
    Apr 9, 2012 - 11:41PM

    No you can’t because Turkey views religion as something embarrassing that can’t entirely be shunned. You should visit cities like Istanbul to see how religion is practiced. There are no rampant mullahs running around telling people how to live, dress and eat. In Pakistan you live eat and breath Islam.

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  • Pollack
    Apr 9, 2012 - 11:44PM

    The question is turkey worth emulating? Turkey is not really secular as the word is understood in secular world. Turkey has mandatory religious education for children deemed by the state to be Muslims. No secular state will do that.

    My opinion is that a country founded on the basis of religion cannot be secular. A more realistic aim for Pakistan is to “manage” and moderate the level of religious fundamentalism as is being done in Indonesia.

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  • Whats in the name.
    Apr 9, 2012 - 11:59PM

    @Ammad, Fine let us for a moment hypothise that the entire world has embraced Islam and all other religions have been perished. What now. I fail to understand your logic. Do you mean to say that Pakistanis would continue to be in 12 th century untill and unless the whole world embraces one religion. Also what gives you power to say that your religion is the only way. Also if some body is a non believer what would be his fate. You said that there is religious freedom in your religion. You must be joking. Then why is that the minority population keeps shrinking with passing of time. No don’t give me crap telling they have will fully embraced.

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  • Ali Tanoli
    Apr 10, 2012 - 12:00AM

    according to one christian historian we changed the cloth of khilafath in Turkey but we could not able to change there faith………

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  • Babloo
    Apr 10, 2012 - 12:09AM

    My suggestion, Pakistan should try to emulate Bangladesh first , which has outlawed religious parties from fighting elections and taken other constitutional stapes to seperate state and religion.Recommend

  • Arifq
    Apr 10, 2012 - 1:18AM

    Turkey has mosques, churches, synagogues all in the same city! Then there are the bars and western life styles accepted and practiced with no overt or covert subversion people’s fundamental rights. Dear writer, Pakistan could have and should have been where Turkey is today but sadly that is no more possible because of the structural shift in our psyche and imposition of tribalistic values that started in Zia era and continues to thrive under the guise of Jihad. Turkey has cordial relationship with Israel, America and Iran whereas In today’s Pakistan quickest mode of popularity comes with anti American propaganda, hatred for Jews and all other religions. Bazaars of Istanbul are full of western, Arab and other Asian tourists compare that to Pakistan with no electricity or security. Sir, we should not give false hopes nor should we live in the past, it’s about time we told the people of Pakistan of what we have become, very troubled people with very little hope.

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  • Krishna
    Apr 10, 2012 - 2:24AM

    Just emulate India. You are Indian not Turkish!

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  • Minto
    Apr 10, 2012 - 2:35AM

    Bias and prejudice is abound in ET’s comment sections. Take ‘BlackJack’ and ‘Zafar Khattak’ above as an example. True Ataturk saved Turkey from disintegration after WW1, but his legacy includes an extreme secularist and power hungry army which you admire so much. In your hatred towards anything religious, you live in your fairytale world where whatever a secular group/individual does is right whilst if an Islamic group/individual even commits good you still loath them/him.

    Erdogan’s AK Party has democratically ruled Turkey since 2002 and the facts pre-AKP and post-AKP speak for themselves. Turkey’s economy was in shambles, military was all powerful, tensions were on the rise with Armenia, and the Kurdish minority was treated with disdain. AKP has completely changed the scenario and Turkey’s economic growth rivaled that of China with 8.5% GDP growth in 2011after racking up 9% a year before. Simply because Erdogan and AKP is Islamic leaning you compare him with Mullah Omar, Saudi Arabia or Iran? I despise religious extremist but I also abhor extremist secularist who support a secular military establishment responsible for the killing and torture of hundreds of its own citizens. Thank God our founder was a moderate Muslim rather than Mustafa Kemal- your beloved Turkish military threw a politician in jail for chewing gum while laying wreath on Kemal’s mausoleum.

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  • Indian in Turkey
    Apr 10, 2012 - 2:59AM

    Seriously ???? does ET allow anybody to blabber anything without an ounce of investigation and 99.99 % assumptions ? Turkey is atheist when compared to Pakistan. There is not a single fanatic or radical group which instigates any idea of Jihad in people. religious extremism is strictly banned in Turkey and can be prosecuted even with the penalty of death. Most of the citizens are liberal muslims and quite fashionable to european standards and does not have any dogmatic law of compulsory hijab or naqab for that matter. People drink, go clubbing and yes they do their daily namaz too and live quite a balanced life. Any common Turk would hate to associate him or herself to any religious fanatic no matter how high the cause is. This is Turkey 101 for you.
    Coming to Pakistan, Allah Touba, you guys have a long long way to come to become Turkey. And sorry brothers and my fellow muslims but we do not see that happening in this millennium unless the common liberal and sane muslims gets head on with the radicals and fanatics who have literally taken over your nation’s army, government and even holy places like Mosques. You need to first control them, remove them, and then you can make any step towards real progress. Your economical and industrial progress ( not your religious progress ) will make you stronger to take on India for any outstanding issue with Kashmir. Then India too would not have any excuse of stalling the long outstanding issues under pretext of terrorism sponsorship by Pakistan. Take my words brother, you need to first stand on your own feet rather than living on wheel chair made by foreign donations to take any more responsibility.

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  • Hindi hain hum...
    Apr 10, 2012 - 5:35AM

    Turkey is not a state sponsor of terrorism. Pakistan has an affliction of using non-state actors to wade its proxy wars. In order to leverage these actors, Pakistan cannot be a moderate Islamic state like Turkey — Pakistan has to support extremist forms of Islam. So in other words, to answer the author’s question, NO, Pakistan can never be like Turkey.

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  • Apr 10, 2012 - 6:24AM

    Turkey govt. became NATO allied and took and taking part in attacking Islamic countries. If this is the democracy, Pakistan is already well ahead of Turkey in demoncracy.

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  • Apr 10, 2012 - 6:26AM

    @Arifq:
    You forgot to add Zia had the American blessings coming into power. There is no Anti American propaganda, it is Americans coming home to roost.

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  • Mirza
    Apr 10, 2012 - 7:12AM

    I would urge my countrymen to first emulate Bangladesh or Indonesia before we start talking about a more advanced nation like Turkey. Not too long ago Turkey had their own “Kashmir” in the form of Cyprus and Greece but they have reconciled their differences from military to low level politics. The economic growth of Turkey has been phenomenal in the last decade and human rights record has improved with no death penalty. Another imp factor that makes Turkey very different is the army service has been mandatory thus making it army a national not regional army.
    Another imp difference is in Malaysia and Turkey one can see people in shorts eating pork or drinking on one table in a restaurant while on the other a family sitting in hijab. Nobody cares about what the other is doing. There is a culture of noninterference or live and let live.

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  • Shyam
    Apr 10, 2012 - 10:04AM

    @Moise
    Turkey govt. became NATO allied and took and taking part in attacking Islamic countries. If this is the democracy, Pakistan is already well ahead of Turkey in demoncracy.

    Pakistan is also NATO Allied. Do you forget the “Major Non NATO Ally” status or is it just selective memory????

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  • Tanmay
    Apr 10, 2012 - 10:32AM

    You Pakistanis have a little bit of explaining to do on this one. I read this site and see video clips of your top talk shows often, and I hear this all the time — “Turkey hamare liye misaal hai”. Frankly, it’s a bizarre and nutty legacy of Partition that you’re carrying here. Why Turkey? Why not India? Why not Bangladesh? Why not Sri Lanka? Or, if Turkey, why not Germany, which is close by enough if you’re looking that far away? It’s like India saying: We need to emulate Trinidad and Tobago (which has a substantial Hindu population) Ridiculous. Please grow up and out of 1947 and its ideology.

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  • Spud
    Apr 10, 2012 - 11:48AM

    @Ammad: World’s best religion eh? Is that why today in Quetta Shias were killed. Separating the State and Religion is the way to go. That does not mean we should abandon teachings of religion. However it means deleting bad dictats from the religion and only adoptning those that are good such as non-violence, peace toward all etc. Turkey has so far kept religion and the state separate let us see how long can it keep it that way.

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  • Sanjay Bhattacharya
    Apr 10, 2012 - 12:02PM

    @Ammad: ‘World’s best religion’ – this casual reference is symptomatic of everything that’s wrong with Islam. NO religion can claim to be the world’s ‘best’ : each is ‘best’ to its own followers. EACH has its positives and, difficult for its followers to digest, its very definite negatives. Unless the Muslim Ummah can collectively give up this mindset, which in any case is wholly unjustified in the light of what is happening in the name of Islam around the globe, they can forget about living in peace, harmony and prosperity with the rest of the world’s religions.

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  • Apr 10, 2012 - 12:20PM

    Good article but at least we try to emulate turkey good things Pakistan has potential and can do any thing but just need will of doing.

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  • Ozymandias
    Apr 10, 2012 - 1:01PM

    @Moise:
    You’re right. We are ahead of Turkey in ‘demon’cracy!!!!

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  • AIN
    Apr 10, 2012 - 1:27PM

    @Ali Tanoli:
    Pakistan was made on two nation theory. Its later on our historian who mingled it with the religion…Jinah wasn’t a religious cleric rather he was secular person .And he was sheer wrong in his perception by considering us a nation

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  • Rameez
    Apr 10, 2012 - 2:58PM

    Before we can start thinking of being like Turkey, we need to decide what we want to be. Do we want to become like AFG dominated by Islam extremist, or do we want to be like Malaysia (modern civilised Islam). At the moment looks like we’ve decided copy AFG since we’ve allowed the Islamic parties to interfere in the main stream politics, one example I can give you is JUI-F just prevented the approval of domestic violence bill from the parliament, because according to them it promotes wastern culture. As a Pakistani our head should be buried in shame as result.
    If people with such ideology are part of our political system , then I am afraid Pakistan is heading for doom day sooner then later. We need to separate Islam from politics, and control the madrassas, by setting effective protocols. So the simple answer is YES we can become like Turkey BUT we need to ban these Islamic political parties .

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  • Ashar
    Apr 10, 2012 - 3:25PM

    It is very unfortunate that people have started taking secularism in the meaning of athiesm. Islam is also secular in its core that there is no complusion to others to accept Islam. In reality there is no debate of being secular or religious, the problem of Pakistan is its leaders who are corrupt and inefficient at the same time. we only need good people no matter Muslims Hindus or Christians. If the rules are followed things definitley will improve.

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  • elementary
    Apr 10, 2012 - 3:30PM

    To most pakistanis ,separating religion from politics means ,westernization and atheism.

    Under secular goverment we are free to practise our faith therefore can still be muslim and non weternized nation, by free choice. We only lose the power to oppress, dominate and dictate our fellow countrymen.To majority this is too much to lose.
    We dont want to be muslim nation by free will; we want it enforced upon us by iron hands of Government.We are afraid of free choice. We can not be Turkey.

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  • Khan
    Apr 10, 2012 - 4:02PM

    @Tanmay:
    There is a very good reason for that .. ground reality tells us that We have a long running dispute with India over Kashmir due to which we never had good relationship with them .. and a big chunk of right wing majority has dislike for India due to that.

    India has always had good democracy which we lacked while on the other hand Turkey was must like us and had many coups, and also had religious right wing populace just like us. Many of our Army officers have spent time in turkey and knows their culture and system of governance from within. With all its faults India will be a better example for us but in long run only.. while if we want to get rid of our shortcomings the shortcut is to emulate Turkey because it was them who got a hold of its Armed forces even though at once point they were more powerful. You don’t see that example in India.

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  • Hasan Mehmood
    Apr 10, 2012 - 4:08PM

    @Ali Tanoli:
    The Islamic roots party you are referring is worse than ultra liberal forces in our context.
    (Thats from the frame of reference of people like you)
    You are so sadly mistaken.

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  • Ali Tanoli
    Apr 10, 2012 - 5:24PM

    @Hasan Mehmood
    I got you sir. thank u

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  • Ali Tanoli
    Apr 10, 2012 - 5:34PM

    @AIN
    Two nation theory is nothing but joke because our grand parents and there grand parents were indians and lived with other faith peoples the whole idea of reliegen based states came after European war no 2 and thats the whole mistake and troubles starts i guess and on other hand white Europe and america still have mixure of peoples living and suceeding together with christians govt.

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  • kaalchakra
    Apr 10, 2012 - 8:59PM

    Turkey is atheist today, but not much longer. Inshallah it shall have Islam in a couple of decades – at the most three. It is Pakistan, not Turkey that is ahead in the evolutionary game.

    Hopefully, we shall both be alive three decades from now and see where Turkey and Indonesia stand then with respect to (what kind of) Islam. Best.Recommend

  • HMM
    Apr 10, 2012 - 9:37PM

    @Zafar Khattak

    Dear you really need to check your figures….dont go such extremism in islamic enmity that you even dont bother to check the reality….Turkey before Erdogan till 2000 had all the ills….it was this govt which turn it around economically and give the country a name in this world…..Secularism when banning other religions is also an extremism..Erdagon delivered and people are with him and that is why he go third successive tenure….

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  • Ashvinn
    Apr 10, 2012 - 9:42PM

    @Khan:
    I agree with you, but I must also add Pakistan must not forget it cultural connect lies in south Asia.culutre defines how we do our mundane activities, like governance, religious ceremonies ,etc,we share a 5000 year old culutre We own and celebrate it.

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  • kaalchakra
    Apr 10, 2012 - 9:45PM

    Ammad and Ashar

    There is no contradiction between your views because you will not find a single contradiction within Islam.

    The great thing about Islam is that with Islam, you can have BOTH – religion and secularism since Islam is secular! One does’t have to create some new system or follow the atheists, or the Westerners or the Hindoos. One simply has to implement Islam fully and completely so all its beautiful aspects can become visible – instead of remaining hidden. Pakistan has never allowed that to happen, unfortunately, because of the caste system and all other local traditions that Pakistanis still follow. Focus on implementing Islam so Pakistan can have the perfect society a Great Religion like Islam can create. Then everything that a man needs will become available.

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  • pmbm
    Apr 10, 2012 - 9:54PM

    There is only one Islam but many ignorant and misguided muslims.The source of Islam(QURAN)
    does not mention shia/sunni nor deobandi etc. It only guides human beings to a way of life which is pertinent even today. Examples should be Mohammad Asad and Justice Khalil UR Rehman Ramday who have learnt and understood the religion as it is meant to be, as has Erdogan of Turkey and Mohathar of Malaysia, not misguided ones like Zia and Mula Umer.. So called educated Muslims should first try to learn their religion from its source.Basic teaching of Islam is personal honesty and justice,without which no society can progress. That is why it is not wise to separate Islam from a Muslim.Recommend

  • elementary
    Apr 10, 2012 - 11:00PM

    @Babloo:
    And why would pakistan want to emulate Bangladesh?

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  • shakrullah
    Apr 11, 2012 - 12:41AM

    @pmbm:

    How can we substantiate the assertion that ‘there is only one Islam’ . What is common between the Islam of Sir Syed , Allam Iqbal , Quad-e-Azam or Javed Ghamdi on the one
    hand and Islam of Mulla Omar , Maulana Fazal-ur-Rahman , Mangal Bagh , Maulana Maudoodi or Osama bin Laden and a host of Taliban ulama on the other . All of them
    sincerely follow the same holy scripture , that is , Quran .
    We must see our problems , and not bury them under untenable slogans .

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  • Apr 11, 2012 - 6:53AM

    @Shyam:
    That is why we are well ahead.

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  • pmbm
    Apr 11, 2012 - 8:56AM

    @shakrullah, please read my post again, may be you will understand what I said.
    “all of them sincerely follow” how can you be sure.Yes we must see our problems and Quran provides the solutions if one cares to learn.

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  • Surya
    Apr 11, 2012 - 9:19AM

    @Ali Tanoli:
    Then don’t cry for secularism or your religious rights when you are in other countries…

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  • AIN
    Apr 11, 2012 - 10:33AM

    @Rameez:
    Totally agreed. Infact there will be sort of curse on us if we tried to portrayed a wrong picture of Islam like Taliban are doing so? Islam meant for humanity not for cruelty or being insane

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  • Rameez
    Apr 11, 2012 - 1:50PM

    @AIN
    Thanks mate, me as a British Pakistani will not accept Islam placed forward by these extremist, even though they pray 5 times a day. At the end of the day these so called Mullas caused more damage to Islam than the Americans did. Number of people are using Islam as a weapon to gain political advantage, which is shameful. Islam being used for personal political purposes will give birth to disputes between sunis, or shias thus giving opportunities to Islamic extremists. This is further encouraged by mudrasas across not just in Pakistan but here in UK also. So the best thing which we can do is either control Islamic parties/mudrasas or ban them.

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  • M.uzair Shaikh
    Apr 11, 2012 - 2:36PM

    Excellent article..Exactly what we need in times like these.The country is in economic turmoil and the generation is confused about the exact ideology of religions role in state affairsRecommend

  • AIN
    Apr 11, 2012 - 5:54PM

    @Rameez:
    Madrassa either should be ban or some enlighten teacher should be appointed who can teach and preach the good picture of Islam. In Pakistan now you can’t speak or questioned any religious things about God or Prophethood or even history as you may be called infidel or accused for toheen – e- rasalt.

    what is the edge of hypocrisy at our end that we call all non Muslim kafir (even kalma go muslim too) and it is taught not only in madrassas but also in moderate thinking school that all kafir are liable to kill.As they don’t recite kalma so they can’t be good. On the other hand the same fundamentalist people do use the electronic gadgets, edible and cloths lines of the same kafir’s…
    I really disappointed when I saw faces of mullahs who supposed to be at the highest place in our society and they have so much harsh language and dark faces. You can’t even see a thin glimpse of softness on their faces.

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  • Truthbetold
    Apr 11, 2012 - 10:38PM

    I have always admired Mr. Gul’s progressive, secular and intellectually honest columns.

    On Turkey, I think the issue is quite the opposite! Turkey must now worry not to become a Pakistan in terms of religious extremism. Religious extremists are gaining ground in Turkey and Malaysia, especially the latter. Malaysian laws have been getting more and more intolerant towards non-Muslims. Islamic radicals have been trying hard to turn Indonesia into an intolerant society, but so far they have not been too successful.
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  • Truthbetold
    Apr 11, 2012 - 10:46PM

    @Tanmay:

    “Why Turkey? Why not India? Why not Bangladesh? Why not Sri Lanka? Or, if Turkey, why not Germany, which is close by enough if you’re looking that far away? “

    Interesting thoughts. You have a good point. I think Bangladesh would be a very good model for Pakistan to emulate, assuming Bangladesh will stay on the reform path set forth by the current administration. Pakistan and Bangladesh share a common history but now are on different paths of social, economic, geopolitical and regional progress. Pakistanis have to wonder why is that Bangladesh does not worry about an eternal “enemy” India while Pakistan has made this paradigm a national identity and priority.

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  • Khan
    Apr 12, 2012 - 5:16AM

    @Ashvinn:
    Sir, We are not talking about changing culture .. the emulation is about undoing of what Zia & Bhutto had done to this country for extending their own rules. Its about bring Armed forces under the parliament and separating religion from the affairs of state.
    @Zafar Khattak:
    I believe in current Geo political situation it is near impossible for us to do what Attaturk did in the past, as we have open border with a country where guns are cheaply available and people are easily misled by the mullahs and extremists. Any blow back will be catastrophic.
    IMO, the easier solution is to empower all minorities and give them all larger quotas and free private education (if possible). Then settle all outstanding issues with India so that people become more tolerant towards people from other religion as it will no longer be an alien thing to them. This will also improve economy and reduce unemployment in coming years.
    But the only hurdle is will power of our leaders especially Establishment.

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  • Ahmet Katzoglu
    Apr 12, 2012 - 9:08AM

    No, you can’t emulate turkey. Ataturk helped us say bye bye to Islam (though at some level we think we are still Muslim) and embrace the west. We think of ourselves as a more forward looking European country, not a backward Arab influenced society. Pakistan can never shake off their religiosity that is fundamentally unsuited for democracy and plural thinking.

    An amused Turk

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  • Arindom
    Apr 12, 2012 - 11:30AM

    Dear Author, Erdogan is making Turkey back-pedal from the great heights of thinking established by Ataturk. IF this continues in the next couple of years youll hear of sharia, persecution of minorities, talk of jihad, women banned from work and education and all round retrogressive thinking……soon it will be a Saudi Arabia – without Oil. Turkey is on a slippery slope!!

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