Retrospective look: No hope of real change in Pakistan, says US academic

Ainslie Embree looks back at the vision Jinnah had for the nation


Rana Tanveer September 17, 2014
Retrospective look: No hope of real change in Pakistan, says US academic

NEW YORK: Pakistan has become a “very troubled state”, in contradiction to the dreams of its founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah, it was stated at a lecture “Pakistan and the Burden of Islam” held at Columbia University on Tuesday.

Professor Emeritus at Columbia University Ainslie Embree, editor in chief of the Encyclopedia of Asian History (1989), remarked that Pakistan has become the state that Jinnah never spoke of.

During the first constituent assembly in August 1947, Jinnah reiterated that the state had nothing to do with any citizen’s religion. However, contrary to his vision, minorities are not safe in Pakistan, Embree said, with Ahmadis and Christians mainly targeted among the minority groups.

In the last 30 years, it has often been said that Pakistan is ‘on the brink of disaster’ and is a failed state, Embree said. However, comparisons between Pakistan and states like India are unfair as Pakistan “has a mission to become a fully Islamic state”, he said. He argued that while Muslim rulers tried to protect Islamic culture, they did not focus on Muslim unity.

Embree argued that Pakistani people want a ruler who uses his power to spread Islam. “This is the tension that exists in Pakistan,” he said. At this point, there was laughter in the hall, which was filled to capacity. Embree said there is no hope of real change in Pakistan and only a revolution on the basis of Islam can come to Pakistan.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 17th, 2014.

COMMENTS (45)

kazmi | 9 years ago | Reply

@pankaj: No I'm saying where there are flaws, there are unprecedented good things as well. It is a good idea to know your weak areas, but to say that those drawbacks are there because the people want this state to be a 'religious' state or something is just contradictory to the facts. People want this state to be run by qualified people who have expertise in the relevant fields.

The initial point was that there are great things in this country too, charity being one of them. So where the state fails to provide service, people play their part and help the community, if you don't believe me ask anyone else and they'll tell you how the culture of giving exists in Pakistan.

Tax is one thing, government still manages to tax the people (through indirect taxation), so that isn't even the point really. Yes there is corruption, there is corruption in many countries but in the past ten years we have seen a dramatic increase in the flow of information (in Pakistan), which is why it is becoming harder and harder for the officials to do corruption, here is where i think this problem will gradually fade away.

So I think it is time that Indians and Pakistanis also grow up and not dwell in these existential arguments and accept each other's existence and not portray each other as the biggest problem. As a Pakistani I don't think India is our biggest problem, can Indians say the same?

pankaj | 9 years ago | Reply

@kazmi: so you actually proving this analysis. by saying that your system is so bad that corrupts run it and no one can do anything! Dictatorship has failed in pak and so has the democracy! I am looking at facts leaving conclusion on you.

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