The abyss stares back

Published: September 3, 2012

The writer is a partner at Bhandari, Naqvi & Riaz and an advocate of the Supreme Court. He can be reached on Twitter @laalshah. The views presented in the article above are not those of his firm

What do you do when you look in the mirror and get scared?

Between the Rimsha Masih case and the recent rise in sectarian killings, Pakistan has been forced to confront its dark side in a more concerted fashion than ever before. What we see is scary. We are a nation increasingly at war with ourselves. And we’re losing.

Till date, the standard response of the liberal has been to respond with an invocation of Jinnah’s famous speech to the Constituent Assembly. You know, the one which includes the famous line about being free to go to your temples and your churches.

I have a question here. Is that all we have? One speech by one guy, 65 years ago? Is that the entirety of the foundation on which our commitment to freedom of religion rests? Because if that is the case, we are in bigger trouble than we know.

Let me go further. We need to believe in freedom of religion not because Jinnah said so but because it is the right thing to do. What Jinnah said six plus decades ago has nothing to do with anything.

Before everybody reacts in shock and horror, let me try to explain my heresy.

I yield to no person in my admiration for the Quaid. But Jinnah, above all others, would have been horrified by his deification. Jinnah was a lawyer, one of the greatest in a continent full of litigators. As many commentators have noted, Jinnah was famed for his principles and his integrity. But what made him great was his dedication to those principles. To respect those principles because he believed in them is to put the cart before the horse.

The logical response to my objection is that I am being unnecessarily finicky. Given our current predicament, the argument is that we need people to believe in religious liberties. Who cares why they believe, so long as they believe? For the average Pakistani, Jinnah is more than a leader and whatever can be associated with him stands sanctified. Why not then use popular veneration for Jinnah to buttress the right cause?

The problem with this approach is that it is both cowardly and ineffectual. It is cowardly because it hides behind the mantle of a revered leader to advance its arguments. It’s the equivalent of arguing that the chicken should be our national symbol because the Quaid was fond of KFC.

There is a further problem in personalising ethical issues. Moving the debate from what we should believe in to what our leaders have believed only changes the dispute from a war of ideas to a war of biographies. All that happens then is that history gets selectively rewritten so that Jinnah the secularist, Jinnah the champion of minority rights gets reborn as Jinnah the patron of obscurantism.

The best example of this rewriting of history comes from a recent column by Nadeem Farooq Paracha titled “Jinnah rebranded?” (Dawn, August 26). In his column, Paracha mentions a story about a student who attacked a procession of Shias. When that young man was told that Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, was a Shia, he denied it vociferously. “Jinnah wasn’t the founder of Pakistan. Quaid-e-Azam was. And Quaid-e-Azam was Sunni.”

Splitting the Jinnah and the Quaid into two different people is, perhaps, the most schizophrenic response I’ve ever seen. But the attempt to reinvent Jinnah as a fundamentalist has a distinguished pedigree. General Ziaul Haq once announced that he had access to a secret diary in which Jinnah had confided his desire for an Islamic state. And General Zia’s favourite legal adviser, Sharifuddin Pirzada, has also parlayed his association with Jinnah into the claim that the Quaid wanted an Islamic state.

Part of the problem is that the evidence is ambiguous. As detailed by Pervez Hoodbhoy, Jinnah said all sorts of things to all sorts of people. That, by itself, is not surprising. The struggle for Pakistan was a political struggle and like all politicians, Jinnah promised everything to everybody; or, at the very least, said lots of things that can certainly be construed in many different ways.

My point though is different. Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah may have been a closet secularist or a closet fundamentalist. But the sovereign state of Pakistan is more than Jinnah’s closet. It is the homeland of 180 million people, each of whom has an opinion as to how this country should be run. It is their elected representatives who are supreme, not any one person.

The further point is that relying on the Quaid’s charisma to sell human rights is a fool’s game. If we are to win against the kind of people who are out there beheading our soldiers, we need to sell a picture of this country that treats it as more than the testamentary gift of Mr Jinnah.

Treating this country as Jinnah’s bequest infantilises Pakistanis and justifies a paternalistic state. What it says to the voters is that this is the Quaid’s country, you just happen to live in it. What it says to the establishment is that they are the custodians of a particular vision and that the wishes of the voters count for naught. That is hardly the basis of a free state.

Pakistan is in the middle of a mortal struggle. On the one hand, we have a flawed and enfeebled state, riven with corruption, democratic only in name. On the other hand, we have the apostles of virtue, selling a simple vision in which all our problems will be solved if only we let them drag us back a millennium.

US Judge Learned Hand (1872-1961) once famously noted that, “Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can save it; no constitution, no law, no court can even do much to help it”. This country can only survive as a free republic if our people accept in their hearts and minds that freedom of religion is a right they need to preserve. Treating them like children doesn’t help that cause.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 4th, 2012.

Reader Comments (74)

  • sid
    Sep 3, 2012 - 9:06PM

    Can anybody explain Direct Action Day??????????????Can one speech wash previous crimes…………….

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  • Ahsan
    Sep 3, 2012 - 9:07PM

    This country will survive with militarism as Saudi Arabia has survived with Whabi-ism, Iran with Shia-ism and Turkey with Islamism. I wonder why does the author advocate ‘freedom of religion’ only? Is not ‘freedom of no religion’ also a point? Pakistan’s problem of religious extremism will stay as long as religious extremism stays in Saudi Arabia and Iran. We are not Pakistanis for our heart beats with the heart beats of Iranians and Saudis.

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  • Al
    Sep 3, 2012 - 9:07PM

    Great job… LIberal Pakistan needs a platform. Enough is enough….. it is time for the liberals to stand up against the evil extremists. Take out the words “Islamic Republic of…” from the name of Pakistan. Eliminate the id requirement to state religion. Send mullahs back to their mosques. Remove the blasphamy laws. Let Ahmadis be whoever they want to be. Protect the Shias and other minorities. And then you will see where this country can reach. These religious people have destroyed this land. Today Pakistan is more hopeless than Africa. Look at what has happened to Afghanistan. Soon Lahore and Karachi will be tunred into Kabul. Wake up Pakistan. Paks are not Arabs. Stop acting like them. Make Pakistan the great country it deserves to be. Do it now.

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  • mr. righty rightist
    Sep 3, 2012 - 9:31PM

    Pakistan was created to enhance the business interest of a few landlords. When the genesis of a large country is based on such lies, the country is bound to stare at abyss and soon a black hole.

    Good luck.Recommend

  • Al
    Sep 3, 2012 - 9:45PM

    @Ahsan
    I agree with you on one point… the separation of religion and state and as such the right to have no religion. However, at this ciritcal stage when Pakistan is seeing an unprecedented rise in Shia killing, your comment is extremely dangerous, even though your point is a good one – it is argued strangely. By bringing Saudi Arabia and Iran in the same sentence, you are drawing a moral equilence between the two. By saying Saudi (Sunnism) and Iran Shiaism, you are somehow blaming Shias and Sunnis – as if this is some type of a sectarian war. It is not. This is misleading – particualry for liberals – to classify this conflict as Saudi vs. Iran or Shia vs. Sunni. Call it what it is… Extremists vs. Pakistan. Believe in it. Verbalize it. Place it your nation’s psyche that this is Extremists vs. Pakistan. Aren’t they killing Sunnis? They are. It just happens to be that they are Sunni extemists and supported by the Saudi extermists. No Iranian backed Shias are blowing up other people or their mosques. No normal Sunnis are doing this terrorism. Liberalism doesn’t mean absence of religion. It means freedom of religion and protection of all faiths.

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  • Falcon
    Sep 3, 2012 - 10:32PM

    Faisal – A very bold article indeed. An article that requires of us to introspect.

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  • Ejaaz
    Sep 3, 2012 - 10:32PM

    Ishtiaq Ahmed in DailyTimes on September 2 writes:

    “The biggest deception that Pakistani Marxists and liberals have been indulging in is that the ulema as a whole opposed the creation of Pakistan.

    The Muslim League had to wrest Punjab away from the Punjab Unionist Party and that necessitated portraying it as an agent of anti-Islam forces. Consequently, ‘Islam in danger’ was launched as the battle cry, the Muslim League was projected as the saviour and Pakistan as the utopia where no exploitation would exist, moneylending would be abolished and a model Muslim society based on Islamic law would come into being. Pages 81-106 of my book The Punjab Bloodied, Partitioned and Cleansed (Oxford, 2012) provide the details. Islamic slogans, of which the most famous, Pakistan ka nara kiya? La Illaha Illillah (What is the slogan of Pakistan? It is that there is no god but God), were used profusely. The pirs and ulema told the Muslims that voting for the Muslim League would be voting for the Holy Prophet (PBUH); those Muslims who did not do so, their marriages would be annulled, they would be refused an Islamic burial, and so on. The Hindus and Sikhs were told that they would be tried under Islamic law and they would have to bring their cases to mosques.”

    Feisal Sahib, It is a century too late to start talking freedom of religion.

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  • Ahsan
    Sep 3, 2012 - 10:39PM

    @Al:
    Dear Sir I used the term militarism for Pakistan. Militarism means infighting, quarreling etc. I wonder how the facts I wrote led you to conclude that they (facts) justify the killings. I do not know what liberalism is all about. What I know is that in FREEDOM FROM FEARS (COMPULSIONS)OF FAITH lies the well being of all. What I know is that the nations which became free from fears of faith are a light year ahead of the faith-full.

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  • Bala
    Sep 3, 2012 - 10:42PM

    As an Indian , I am touched by this article, great!

    “Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can save it; no constitution, no law, no court can even do much to help it”

    I hope somebody somewhere manages to get this to urdu medium as well…would ET stand urdu editions?

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  • Aaa
    Sep 3, 2012 - 10:44PM

    Funny how “elites” are falling over each other for right of minorities claiming that Pakistan was created for minorities.
    Pakistan was created for Muslims. Want proof – during partition 1 million Muslims from India migrated to Pakistan and 5 million minorities, including Muslims, migrated TO India. Everybody knew that only the Sunnis would get any rights in this deeply feudal and religious country.

    Even now all minorities including the Ahmedais, mohajirs, hindus and Christians migrate to India and don’t want to go back to Pakistan.

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  • Al
    Sep 3, 2012 - 11:12PM

    @Ejaaz
    You are referring to one slogan and a very small element of the greater partition movement to make a point that Pakistan was bound to be an extremist country. There are several logical errors in your argument: 1) you are ignoring the 50′s, 60′s and 70′s – half the history of this nation – a history of being a highly progressive and a liberal nation. 2) somehow you are also implying that an Islam based country necessarily has to be an extremist country. He is not a century too late – he is three decades in hiding. He is three decades in a closet. And now the moment is here to reclaim Pakistan and take it back from the extremists. It is time to rise and liberate Pakistan from these lunatics. As always, the liberals are always the ones who come to the rescue and our time has come. “Islamic Republic… No More”. Pakistan … and only Pakistan.. Yes.

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  • Sep 3, 2012 - 11:20PM

    Before partition some Shia Indian Muslim leaders questioned Jinnah’s rationale when he curried support from them. Knowing his own background they wondered whether he wasn’t simply being naive to the possibility that he may simply just land them from a supposed Hindu hegemony into a Sunni Islamist hegemony instead under the false guise of unity, which in itself is admirable but seemed divorced from reality of how things were. Recommend

  • wajahat Masood
    Sep 4, 2012 - 1:01AM

    Naqvi, simply marvelous! That is it. Why do we have to invoke the Quaid for our understanding of the nation state that Pakistan is? A nation state, by its very definition, necessitates the equality of citizenship without prejudice to faith, ethnicity or gender. Sir, take a bow. My hat is off to your sagacity.
    Wajahat Masood

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  • Parvez
    Sep 4, 2012 - 1:10AM

    You my friend are on a roll, you just keep getting better each time.

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  • Dasmir
    Sep 4, 2012 - 1:48AM

    Pakistan has to find a new narrative fit for its survival.Jinnah and Iqbal will not do that.Bangladesh after her separation from West Pakistan found one and is trying to evolve into one modern welfare state,Islamic or Secularist.
    Two nation theory is flawed.Bury it in Arabian sea.Zia’s vision of Pakistan is gradually devouring its own children.Sooner that is also buried in the Arabian sea better.
    Indus valley civilization,Heer Ranjha,Bulle Shah,Budha of Swat,taxila.Ranjit Singh,Bhagat Sigh,Manmohan Singh,Dev Anand,Dilip Kumar,Raj Kapur,Mehadi hasan,Nusrat Fateh Ali,Grand. Trunk Road,Lahore Fort,Manto will live for ever.That is what should be the narrative.Only the we will survive as a nation.
    Otherwise Pakistan ka to Khuda hi hafiz!

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  • Feroz
    Sep 4, 2012 - 1:52AM

    It is a wonderful article written eloquently and communicating its message strongly. People have been debating about political Islam often but the issue has transcended that stage of evolution and is now posing a threat to peoples lives. Once Religion is given primacy in a Political system made up of nation states it will debilitate the concept of free debate and make life a matter for Religious interpretation. That is where the fault lies. When you have a legal system and Constitution where Religion is a guiding force the result can only be a totalitarian State that will thrust itself on its people.

    Currently a large section of the population wants to impose themselves on the rest and will kill to have their way. Now the nation does not have a leader like Gandhi who can help them achieve their goal through non violence. So the choice is to be run over by murderous marauders or fight back. Fight back can be on two fronts – military and ideological. The air from the ideological balloon can be deflated by removing Islamic from the name of the country and simultaneously rewriting the Constitution wiping it clean of any religious intrusions. This will firstly spell the end of all exploitation in the name of Religion, which in reality only defiles Religion. Taking the best ideas from the best Constitutions in the World to rewrite a new Constitution that will be a beacon for all nations will be the ultimate glory.

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  • Kafir
    Sep 4, 2012 - 2:07AM

    @ Bala- Do not get carried away. These are selective statement for selective situation. To get some feel of Pakistani’s psychosis read their constitution. Follow their court,s verdict when a hapless hindu or christian girls are abducted , raped, intimidated and converted and sigh list goes on…

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  • Spud
    Sep 4, 2012 - 3:37AM

    When Pakistani Sunnis kill Pakistani Shia do they know that the founder of Pakistan Jinnah was an Ismaili Khoja i.e. a Shia?

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  • Sep 4, 2012 - 4:31AM

    Marvelous column, but standing against the radicals requires courage and organization. How many courageous Pakistanis are left? And will they really change tack and organize to protect themselves against violence?

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  • gp65
    Sep 4, 2012 - 5:04AM

    @Al: “you are ignoring the 50′s, 60′s and 70′s – half the history of this nation – a history of being a highly progressive and a liberal nation.”

    1) Joginder nath Mandal who was Pakistan’s first law minister returned to India due to atrocities and oppression of Hindus in Bengal
    2) The objective resolution of 1954 can hardly be descibed as progressive
    3) Anti Ahmadi riots of 1950s.
    4) A war on India based in 1965 on lies told to Pakistanis that India is the one that attacked.
    5) Operation Searchlight in 1970.
    6) Law passed to declare Ahmadis as non-Muslims

    All this is pre -Zia history and somehow does not support your hypthesis that 50s, 60s and 70s were a very liberal period in Pakistan.

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  • Overseas Pakistani
    Sep 4, 2012 - 6:21AM

    I agree with one of the commentators…People like the author are a century too late in making their argument. There truly can be no freedom of religion in a nation whose foundational principle is – different nations for different religions.

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  • kaalchakra
    Sep 4, 2012 - 7:18AM

    The Great Quaid was a giant of man, the like of whom are born only once in a dozen millennia. By being even half as able, honest, and wise as the Great Quaid, Pakistanis will be ahead of the rest of the world. When such a leader is available, not invoking his name in any argument would be infantile.

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  • Hemant
    Sep 4, 2012 - 7:25AM

    As a recent reader of Pakistani newspapers I have not really understood why all discussions of
    nationhood in Pakstan begin and end with Jinnah . No body should doubt Jinnah’s role in the creation of Pakistan but the discussion on the polity of Pakistan or the idea of Pakistan should definitely go beyond Jinnah .
    This article in this respect is a step in the right direction .

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  • Jim
    Sep 4, 2012 - 8:14AM

    I so totally agree with Feisal Naqvi. Me and about 1500 Pakistanis. As for the rest….oh well, never mind….

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  • Sep 4, 2012 - 8:22AM

    Yes, not invoking Jinnah is the right approach, even though the writer fails to follow his own advice in this article.

    The argument for freedom of Religion and secularism is so strong that it doesn’t need anyone else to propagate it in order for it to gain strength. It can stand on its own merits. Absolutely right.

    But, reality is much different.

    Jinnah, what he wanted is polarizing, since he spoke for all constituencies- Right, Left and Center, as the Author too agrees. The Right will invoke the statements from Jinnah about the Quran, the Left-Center will counter with one particular speech.

    http://peddarowdy.wordpress.com/2011/10/23/the-legacy-of-gandhi-nehru-vs-legacy-of-jinnah

    Its best not to use Jinnah. India doesn’t have such problems. Everybody agrees what Nehru and Gandhi meant to the nation and what they thought. They do not confuse.

    The day Pakistanis are taught about these great men of India, its the day Pakistan will start returning from the abyss. I know this will never happen as that will mean sidelining of Jinnah, which will not be allowed by nationalist Pakistanis.

    I don’t see any way out. A Shia created Pakistan. Shias kept quiet when Ahmadis were targeted Pakistan. Shias kept quiet when Christian homes were being burnt. They kept quiet when knowing that Hindu Marriages couldn’t even be registered. Now its their turn. Why will and should things change now?

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  • saadi
    Sep 4, 2012 - 8:35AM

    Not this is called giving an opinion…!!!
    ryt on every point sir.
    we as a nation need to wake up n get united once n for all…

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  • Gary
    Sep 4, 2012 - 8:46AM

    @Aaa: Pakistan was created for muslims does not necessarily mean Pakistan was created for ONLY muslims.

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  • Dipak
    Sep 4, 2012 - 8:59AM

    No doubt, Jinnah was an honest man, but he also knew in the end, Pakistan was the biggest blunder of his life. After 65 years the country is still in stone age and only going down. Feel sorry for you guys.

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  • varuag
    Sep 4, 2012 - 9:06AM

    To take the author’s point forward we should also stop invoking holy books to justify/rationalize what we think is right or wrong. I think we are sane enough to distinguish between right or wrong without an old manual. The country’s constitutions are amendable and we have a judiciary to interpret the written constitution but for religion we are powerless to the written word :(

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  • kaalchakra
    Sep 4, 2012 - 9:25AM

    Dipak, I am glad you at long last acknowledged that other leaders were dishonest. Der aye durust aye.

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  • santhosh
    Sep 4, 2012 - 9:39AM

    Mr.Author, you said, “Jinnah said many things to many people and promised everything to everyone”. You also say he had integrity and dedication to the principles. Does not above the seem to be contradictory. You cannot spearhead a movement without knowing where it will lead. He did that. He played Islamic card for his own purposes and then tried to turn it upside down once it is acheived. No wonder it ended in failure. I can say that Jinnah is a secular man. But Why does he need to use religion for reaching his own goals. You split the country based on religion and then say in the new country that every religion can live in harmony. Is not the above seems to be wrong and does not it prove that proponent has some interests of his own in propogating that.

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  • Mirza
    Sep 4, 2012 - 9:48AM

    A timely and bold Op Ed and thanks for that. I think the use and abuse of religon is not going to stop in Pakistan. I hope I am wrong but I have no hope for any improvement.

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  • abida
    Sep 4, 2012 - 9:58AM

    @Dipak:
    Have india reached to mars if we r going down?65 is no age for a nation.starting everything from zero for a nation is a big thing.Pakistan was not a blunder it was and it is a great success over dishonest and maliciously clever other leadership of india.stop dreaming about destruction of my country.it will never happen inshaAllah.political instability is no reason to say a nation is goiing down.

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  • Parhakoo
    Sep 4, 2012 - 10:24AM

    Simply outstanding. Indeed you are on a roll and of late, I have observed that there is a certain feeling of restlessness that has crept in your articles urging action.

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  • Observer
    Sep 4, 2012 - 10:32AM

    A very articulate attempt by the author to change the narrative of Pakistan towards a more tolerant and pluralistic society. Unfortunately, it is all too late for that.

    “It is the homeland of 180 million people, each of whom has an opinion as to how this country should be run. It is their elected representatives who are supreme, not any one person.”

    True, but sadly over 80% support blasphemy and other anti-human punishments, full implementation of Sharia and the establishment of an Islamic Caliphate.

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  • Observer
    Sep 4, 2012 - 10:37AM

    @Al:
    Good thoughts, but before what you profess happens, most of the Pakistanis have to become apostates.

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  • Yuri Kondratyuk
    Sep 4, 2012 - 10:58AM

    Jinnah said all sorts of things to
    all sorts of people

    In contrast, Gandhi held to his principles and publicly acknowledged the way his methods evolved with his understanding of those principles.

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  • Dipak
    Sep 4, 2012 - 11:26AM

    @abida:
    Yes, 65 years is a long time for country with no signs of stability. Yes, India will soon send its spacecraft to mars. Pakistan can do a lot of progress in terms of power production and with it comes the prosperity and stability. But watch out, you Millitary, mullah and fuedals keep the country behind so they can leach the poor people and keep the country behind for themselves to loot. Good luck if you even find one solution.

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  • Gratgy
    Sep 4, 2012 - 11:28AM

    @abida
    political instability is no reason to say a nation is goiing down.

    So its just the political instability thats a problem in Pakistan. Everything else is just dandy

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  • wonderer
    Sep 4, 2012 - 11:32AM

    Wonderful ideas presented logically and cogently, but can they be put into practice? I have grave doubts.

    In my humble view we do not only need freedom of religion, but freedom from religion as well.

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  • Majid sheikh
    Sep 4, 2012 - 12:02PM

    I do not think Jinnah was an entirely honest politician. The way he agreed to the feudal demand of the Unionists not to have land reforms, the way he begged the Christians of Punjab to vote for Pakistan after the vote in the Punjab Assembly almost failed. We seem to forget Pakistan came about after three Christian votes balanced the vote and finally a Christian Speaker cast the deciding vote. We have become the opposite of what we were initially. Then we were lost. Now we are rabid. This is an undeniable fact of history.

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  • Jat
    Sep 4, 2012 - 1:29PM

    Using Gandhi ji’s name when discussing Jinnah or Nehru; well you can’t. Now please don’t ask me why.

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  • Jat
    Sep 4, 2012 - 1:31PM

    @abida: “stop dreaming about destruction of my country.it will never happen inshaAllah…”

    Already happened in 1971, were you sleeping or didnt care ? Same is the situation now, and it will happen again. Now go back to sleep.

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  • elementary
    Sep 4, 2012 - 1:52PM

    @BruteForce: I think you missed the point of whole article and instead felt it right as always to throw in your skewed analysis of prepartition leaders.
    What Author is saying is that we should adhere to principles like freedom of religions, tolerance and probity ,not because jinnah displayed them and advocated it but because they are good principles per se.He likens doing otherwise to putting the cart before the horse.
    You on the other hand want us to just shift our personality worship from Jinnah to Nehru or Gandhi because you perceive them to be less confusing.

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  • SM
    Sep 4, 2012 - 2:18PM

    Just wondering, what was the point of making Pakistan again?

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  • kaalchakra
    Sep 4, 2012 - 2:28PM

    Majid Sheikh

    The most important point in history is that Jinnah was honest and principled, and other leaders were “dishonest and maliciously clever” – as abida noted.

    Using that principle as the guide, you can see how Pakistan was inevitable. Even if the Great Quaid tried working with other leaders, he would have been wasting his time, as he unfortunately did.

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  • Azhar Ali
    Sep 4, 2012 - 3:30PM

    I have not read such a daring and insightful article in a long time. How can we , really, build whole edifice of our national life around just one person, however great he might have been. The author has made it crystal clear that unless we ourselves start believing in the right values, the crutches of glorious past will not take us far.

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  • International Observer
    Sep 4, 2012 - 3:30PM

    Jinnahs two nation theory was completely wrong. He thought hindus and muslims were two nations. fact is that bengalis and balochis were as different as chalk and cheese. Fact is that pakistan morphed itself to a sunni punjabi pakistan, a sunni sindhi pakistan. the rest dont matter.
    Being poor,illiterate and sectarian, are ingredients for a disaster in the offing.

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  • abida
    Sep 4, 2012 - 4:13PM

    @Jat:
    and where u were in 1947 when we took abig part?wake up

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  • Tony Singh
    Sep 4, 2012 - 4:13PM

    @abida:
    Seriously, is there anything left to be destroyed? You have already brainwahed your young generation. They cannot see anything but through prism of religion. If people cannot have free thought, then considered them as damaged goods.

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  • Afzaal Khan
    Sep 4, 2012 - 4:42PM

    The holier then thou attitude of indians is hilarious doodh aur shehad ki nehrain bhay raheen hain inke baharat mahaan main. LOL

    Indians here who calls pakistan a fail state, a client state and in every breath wants destructions of pak should really stop drinking thier state’s kool aid, Pak is vibrant we are mature enough to discuss all topics, even kashmir is discussed here for pro and con, try that in india one word against Kashmir being part of india you will be facing sedition charges anything that is agianst the heatful narrative thought in indian schools would land you in trouble.

    Pak atleast have always maintained dissenting voices and always have fought against state’s kool aid unlike the honey and milk state where streets are paved with gold aka india :p

    as for going to mars and moon as poet said

    behtar hai maah-o-mehar pay na daloo kamndain
    insaan ki khabar lo ke voh dam tor raha hai

    check ur poverty rates and state of toilets before thinking of moon :) Recommend

  • mrs ahmed
    Sep 4, 2012 - 4:49PM

    @Al:
    “Liberalism doesn’t mean absence of religion. It means freedom of religion and protection of all faiths.”
    I wish leaders of pakistan understand this very simple and truely islamic wisdom, the seed of intolerance was sowed in 1974 through anti ahmadiyya amendment in the constitution,declaring ahmedis “kafir”, brought detremination of faith in the domain of faith .I would yet to find any other example of this monumental absurdity, Iam amazed Bhutto aaagreeying to this is
    Here in the U.K , Prince Charlse has decided to assume the title of defender of FAITHS, when he takes the throne well this is what islam preaches who so ever is lucky to observe .
    Allah provides hidayat to whome He wishes.
    1974 was actually a tool to control.
    It is simply ridiculous that a person`s FAIHTH is determined by state and not left to ALLAH ALMIGHTY.Recommend

  • I am Sam
    Sep 4, 2012 - 4:56PM

    One cannot eat a Chicken Sandwich at KFC and complain that it does’nt taste like the beef patty burger at McDonalds. Chicken will always taste like chicken and beef will always taste like beef.

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  • Babloo
    Sep 4, 2012 - 4:59PM

    sir, You cannot do selective reading of history. If Mr Jinnah made 1 secular speech , he also made 100 communal speeches, denigrating Hindus and telling Muslims that they cannot live with Hindus. Recommend

  • Ammar
    Sep 4, 2012 - 5:07PM

    @sid:

    This was an extraordinary speech, right or wrong, it was constitutional vision of MA Jinnah. What you call previous crimes, was actually his struggle for the rights of a minority, and his speech tells that he was very clear in his mind that minorities rights should be protected in newly born state. This is how I see to it.

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  • Mehreen
    Sep 4, 2012 - 5:39PM

    “Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can save it; no constitution, no law, no court can even do much to help it”. its very true.here i want to quote a verse Qur’an says there is no compulsion in religion. when Islam itself saying this i do not think so we have to say anything. let other free let them exercise their religion.

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  • Sep 4, 2012 - 6:17PM

    “Even now all minorities including the Ahmedais, mohajirs, hindus and Christians migrate to India and don’t want to go back to Pakistan.”

    While Jinnah’s famous speech is constantly cited by liberals, what is forgotten is that when he spoke massive sectarian rioting was happening in the streets and he said nothing about that. Without punishment for such rioters freedom of religion becomes the mere tolerance of the crowd – which isn’t freedom of religion at all.

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  • Babloo
    Sep 4, 2012 - 6:28PM

    Why use Qoran or any religious text, to justify what’s right or wrong ? Don’t we all have a conscience ? What if Quran said there is compulsion in religion ? What would you have done then , that’s not being done already ?

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  • Salim
    Sep 4, 2012 - 7:26PM

    @sid: Jinnah wanted to retire in his Bombay villa. Recommend

  • Zalmai
    Sep 4, 2012 - 7:50PM

    The New World Order has been taking shape since 1991 and this whirlwind has swept through Iraq, Kuwait, Afghanistan, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Somalia, Bahrain and Syria and Pakistan is also in its path. Former colonial powers are reconfiguring their old colonies to suit their interests and there is nothing we can do about it.

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  • gp65
    Sep 4, 2012 - 8:59PM

    @Babloo: “sir, You cannot do selective reading of history. If Mr Jinnah made 1 secular speech , he also made 100 communal speeches, denigrating Hindus and telling Muslims that they cannot live with Hindus.”

    I normally find your comments very thoughtful and insightful. It is off target here though. Feisal is not making any point about Jinnah – as to whether he is secular or not.He is saying what I had mentioned earlier in Farahnaz Ipsiani’s OpED on this subject. That it is impossible to determine what type of country Jinnah wanted and it should not matter anyway. If equality for people of all faith and freedom to worship for all is sought, that has to be because it is the right thing NOT because that is what Jinnah sought. Surely you cannot have any argument with that?

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  • Sep 4, 2012 - 9:54PM

    As a nation we have to correct our narrative. It is high time to get rid of extremists.We should make tremendous efforts to get the country out from the sway of fundamentalists. This mindset has already caused a huge loss to this beautiful country.

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  • observer
    Sep 4, 2012 - 10:28PM

    The abyss stares back

    Invitingly, Lovingly, Enticingly.

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  • PiroShah
    Sep 4, 2012 - 10:51PM

    Nobody in the comments called the author, Indian agent on payroll of RAW or CIA. This itself is a big sign of change. Winds of change are blowing in Pakistan, my friends…

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  • PiroShah
    Sep 4, 2012 - 11:01PM

    As an Indian, I get surprised when liberals like Hasan Nisar also quote from Quran and tell people of lead a life as preached by the prophet. I have never seen any Indian commentator on Indian television quoting from Gita or Vedas or telling us Indians to lead a life like Ram did.

    I feel If you do like this, you are kind of alienating minorities. This is the reason on Indian television you never see any religious references in political discussions.

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  • gp65
    Sep 5, 2012 - 1:51AM

    @PiroShah: “As an Indian, I get surprised when liberals like Hasan Nisar also quote from Quran and tell people of lead a life as preached by the prophet.”

    WEll expressing his own belief system is one thing. But there was a program where he said very matter-of-factly in passing that he was perplexed about how any reasonably sane person could indulge in butt parasti. I was shocked at his ignorance and condescension.

    Forget a liberal left wing person, if any political analyst on Indian TV made such an insensitive comment towards the belief systems of religious minorities in India they would be looking for a new job pretty quickly.

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  • straightup
    Sep 5, 2012 - 5:57PM

    @Yuri Kondratyuk: Where did Gandhi come from in this discourse. Indians need to get their own selves together. A huge pile of contradiction they are. Let us go thru our transition peacefully. what good are you doing to anyone anyway? Sleaze in the name of culture. ya are a copycat-please-the-US-hypocrite nation.Recommend

  • PiroShah
    Sep 5, 2012 - 6:00PM

    @gp65: True. I remember that instance where he said that. I also remember while talking of Mughal kings, he made a side comment demeaning secular ideology of Akbar saying something like ‘Akbar, in his pursuit of granting freedom of religion to all his subjects, did some absurd things.’ I think what Hasan Nisar meant was that encouraging idolatry was something that he shouldn’t have done. That was disturbing.Recommend

  • PiroShah
    Sep 5, 2012 - 6:09PM

    @straightup: ..and what about you Pakistanis. Don’t you borrow everything from Arabs. Talking of sleaze, you need to check what regular Pakistanis search on the internet. What you term as sleaze is so popular in your country that your TV channels always cry about how it ruined your entertainment industry.
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  • Sid
    Sep 5, 2012 - 6:48PM

    Firstly, Am an indian.

    Indians on the forum need to understand that the article actually talks about a narrative of the people of the nation as against that which is rooted in the desires of one man.

    The article does not critisize or justify Jinnah.

    My opinion is that he (and Nehru on our side) were just what they were: politicians who craved power.

    Also to all my indian friends,

    Instead of critisizing Pakistan and predicting its doom..it would be good if we just keenly observe the events in Pakistan. There is a lot for us to learn if we want to not get into a situation like theirs.
    Today's events in Pakistan will be critical history lessons of tomorrow, we must observer, note, learn and remember.
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  • Rajeev Nidumolu
    Sep 5, 2012 - 7:40PM

    Whatever Jinnah was he was for sure not secular either in personal life or political life . He might have started as a secular politician but then he switched to being a politician with narrow communal interest.
    Jinnah as a secular politician was favored successor by Gopalkrishna Gokhale the liberal Congress leader . He was swept away when Gandhi the mass movement leader came from South Africa and made Jinnah irrelevant politically. He had to move to Britain till he found a new constituency of Indian Muslim and was encouraged by Liaquat Ali Khan and others.
    His relationship with his sole daughter broke down because she decided to marry a Parsi Zoroastrian man instead of Muslim. The estrangement lasted till the end of his life.
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  • gp65
    Sep 5, 2012 - 8:12PM

    @straightup: “Sleaze in the name of culture. ya are a copycat-please-the-US-hypocrite nation.”

    Please review history. It is ot India that signed SEATO and Cento. It wasn’t India that allowed itself to be used in the Afghan jihad in lieu of a few dollars. It isn’t India that has been taking billions of dollars by pretending to be an US ally in the WoT.

    Now about sleaze in the name of culture. We have a very diverse culture (2 forms of classical music, 7 forms of classical dances, yoga, very diverse cuisines, a very robust movie industry, a very strong tradition of folk music and folk dance in many of the Indian languages). The fact that you are just familiar with the sleaze (undoubtedly there is some of that) s a reflection on your tastes.

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  • Vikram
    Sep 6, 2012 - 7:27AM

    @Mehreen: Qur’an says there is no compulsion in religion

    What does that really mean? Any one and all can answer.

    What is the function of (Islamic) religious police?

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  • syed hassan
    Sep 6, 2012 - 11:31AM

    Jiye….Faisal Naqvi…..You struck…I use to read ET and find myself in better country though living in Pakistan. I believe Pakistan’s society, an intellectual bankrupt but people like faisal, saroop, Hoodbouy and others pop up with magneficient writings to scrap my conviction. I wish ET would have be Roznama Jang or Nawa e Waqt.

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