A Pakistani Mindset?

The stereo type positional mind-set in the average Pakistani:

If you are not a liberal then you are an extremist supporter, aligned with the military, work with the establishment, foment terrorism as a way of life, believe only in the Ummah, hate democracy and are India centric.

If you are liberal, then you are secularist, blasphemer, Indian lover, Army hater, promote democracy at the cost of the State, and are a sell-out, unpatriotic and a disloyal character.

Every argument gravitates to first establishing the credentials of the opponent and after having reduced one to one or the other categories, we go to town on him/her on a personal note, forgetting what the argument was about. We have no middle ground; our winning an argument is to first bring into question our opponents values by lumping him as a liberal or an extremist. Our method to this madness is to score points more than proffer suggestions that contribute towards nation building, State functioning or good governance. Our sense of loyalty defends even the wrongs of those that we support and belittle even what we know to be right argued by our opponents just because he is an opponent. Societies in the developed world are not made of such stuff, their conclusions are based on reason and rationality; they are open to suggestions and change their opinion if confronted with logic and sense.

So here is my take on balance, common sense and sensibility:

I believe India is an enemy State and will remain so till we do not address the core issues. India does whatever it can to destabilize Pakistan and gets away with it. We will reciprocate. In the event India and Pakistan can sit on a table and politically resolve their problems, I would support it but the current environment does not point to any such direction.

I don’t think religion has any business in politics, Pakistan was never an outcome of any religious movement, no religious party contributed to the establishment of the State. Quaid e Azam’s Pakistan is the only Pakistan that we need to promote; ‘Go to your temples, go to your churches, go to your mosques, you are no longer Hindus, Christians or Muslims in the political sense……..’

Militancy in Pakistan must be addressed as it should be elsewhere but we are not the only one’s responsible for militancy in the region. A regional conference should establish respective responsibilities, Pakistan does not have to take unilateral action to suit others. Terror can only be dealt with equitable terror, one cannot expose society to external violence helplessly.

Afghanistan is not Pakistan’s responsibility. The Taliban will be in power sooner or later; that is an Afghan matter. We must take safeguards along the Border to ensure that Taliban ideology remains in Taliban territory. Afghanistan can easily be contained and its influence in our domestic affairs minimized as far as possible.

Society must be taught to mind its own business and allow others to breathe. What one wears, eats or drinks is no one else’s business as long as it remains within norms of general society and even then it cannot be addressed through social moral policing by individuals.

Education must be promoted and should be based on truth, honesty and awareness, not be confused with literacy. Skills need to be taught to the majority of the population through polytechnic institutions to specialize in basic skills. We lack standards in almost everything.

Holding corrupt/incompetent people accountable is a part of democracy and causes institutional strength it in no-ways indicates an anti-democratic attitude.

Despite international facts and figures, I do not believe our economy is doing well. A 4 % growth rate is not in keepings with our needs or with the neighborhood we live in. We are going to be left behind. Our exports have fallen drastically, our major contribution to the budget is through expat remittances, our greatest liability is debt servicing while our needs indicate a sustained growth over 7 %. To me this is not sustainable, I am concerned but many do not agree with me.

CPEC, is an opportunity, I feel we are mishandling it. Lack of transparency is causing questionable contracts all over. This will result in high tariffs, huge interest on loans taken and a Chinese control of our energy, garbage, stock exchange, airports, steel mill and much more. CPEC is a Chinese need as much as it is ours, we do not need to sell the project to them; it will sell itself. Too many vested interests is likely to spoil this opportunity for generations to come.

Now is it possible to discuss matters within these values or am I wrong in my assertions? My word is neither the last word nor necessarily correct but I would love someone to correct me with substance and not rhetoric, with reason and not emotion.

7 COMMENTS

  1. Just one disagreement. I am unable to understand why Quaid’s statement ‘Go to your temples, go to your churches, go to your mosques, you are no longer Hindus, Christians or Muslims in the political sense……..’ is considered secular or unislamic? Is it not exactly in accordance with islam? Was anyone in Prophet’s SAW time barred from following their religion within the Islamic state?

  2. “I don’t think religion has any business in politics, Pakistan was never an outcome of any religious movement, no religious party contributed to the establishment of the State. Quaid e Azam’s Pakistan is the only Pakistan that we need to promote; ‘Go to your temples, go to your churches, go to your mosques, you are no longer Hindus, Christians or Muslims in the political sense……..’”.

    This doesn’t sound like an academic argument, but rather a diatribe by a General who is tired with the extreme Khavarij, takfiri mindset he was tasked to destroy in the area his forces were to operate.

    General Sahb, Pakistan WAS an outcome of a RELIGIOUS movement. All the various denominations of the Muslims of British controlled India banded together decisively other than the congressi Deobandis and the sickular retards.

    Among the non Islamist groups in Pakistan (some ignorant, some traitors) this is a common tirade to say that the creation of Pakistan opposed by religios parties.

    Facts:

    1. The core of the Shia clergy supported the movement.
    2. The sunni barelvis, Naqshbandis etc all supported the movement. They were lead primarily by Sufi Naqshbandi Sheikh Peer Jamaat Ali Shah (ra).
    3. Jamaat e Islami initially opposed Pakistan’s creation, BUT later on joined it.
    4. Ahle Hadith who followed the line of thinking of the likes of Shah Waliullah (ra) suppported Pakistan too.

    The only real ‘muslim’ group which opposed Pakistan’s creation was the Deobandi clergy. Their two top scholars on the hidayat of Rasullulah (SAWAW), Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi and Maulana Shabbir Ahmad Othmani resigned from Deoband and joined the Pakistan movement. Maulana Shabir’s JUI was then hijacked by Fazlu Rehman’s father.

    Dear General, the men who you and those under you annihilated in FATA and KPK who belonged to TTP and their ilk were Deobandi terrorists with some foriegn Salafis, NOT Shias, Barelvis or Ahle Hadith etc.

    Pakistan’s ideological foundation rests on 2 men at the end of the day: Baba Iqbal (ra), and Baba Jinnah (ra).

    Let’s see what Allama (the man who changed Muhammad Ali Jinnah to Qaid e Azam has to say about the seperation of religion from politics):

    Jalal-E-Padshahi Ho K Jamhoori Tamasha Ho
    Juda Ho Deen Siasat Se To Reh Jati Hai Changaizi

    Statecraft divorced from Faith to reign of terror leads,
    Though it be a monarch’s rule or Commoners’ Show.

    To really know what Pakistan needs as a model for governance please see this clip, and do read the description for the video as well:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UGRDYLnSuUg

    Have a nice day 🙂 .

  3. A mostly very good article by a distinguished soldier. However, as Diwan pointed out, Quaid-e-Azam’s statement on religious freedom is not the same as “leaving religion out of politics”. You are confusing sectarianism (or religious intolerance) with religion. Quaid-e-Azam led a movement that was founded on Allama Iqbal’s vision, which had an Islamic revivalism very much at its centre. Many of early Pak movement people, such as Bahadur Yarjung, were strong proponents of politics being based on Islam. This is not the same thing as sectarianism: as Diwan remarks, Prophet Muhammad SAW did not bar people from following their religion and Jews, Christians etc existed under Muslim rule. We needn’t confine religion to a single party, such as Jamaat-Islami, it is the cornerstone of the Pakistani ideology and it should not be confused with sectarianism. Secularism (which I know this article didn’t explicitly advocate) is a post-Protestant concept that has little relevance or use in any Muslim country, and has often been at the centre of problems in the Muslim world. And especially in a multiethnic state as Pakistan, Islam is paramount. We mustn’t overlook the centrality of Islam to the Pakistani movement as outlined by Iqbal, nor Pakistan’s own heavy dependence on Islam. Just because extremists abuse it doesn’t mean we dispense with it based on a Jinnah quote that is in no way a rebuttal to Islam’s role in the public sphere.

    I also disagree with “confining ideology to Afghanistan”. It is true that Afghanistan has a very conservative Islamic populace in general; that doesn’t mean we cannot mutually coexist with them. In fact, an independent Afghanistan government free of foreign dependency (whether that is the current government, or the Taliban movement, or anything else we will have to see) and Pakistan’s government have little choice but to coexist. Both are in a bad neighbourhood, with India, Russia and its satellite states, and even Iran either hostile or unreliable at best. Recently Pakistan has tried to woo Russia, but we can’t count on that; Russia, like US, will always side with India in a tight spot, and history has shown us this. Nor can we put all our eggs in the Chinese basket; China has historically done only what is necessary to compete with India, but it would not go out of the way to save Pakistan, as happened in 1971. We can be friendly with China without becoming completely dependent.

    That apart, a good article and I appreciate Tariq Khan’s willingness to move above mere rhetoric and slogans and try to find a viable solution.

    • In addition to what I have written in my previous comment, please also note that when it came to the behavior of state towards its citizen in Islamic rule or under Prophet SAW everyone was consider equal, that is they seize to exist as Muslims, Hindus or Jews etc., and all state services were equal for everyone. The Caliph was called in as respondent in a case filed by a non-muslim and decision was based on the principles of justice.

      General Saab, I must say that you must be a way more learned person in comparison to me, thus I would like you to meditate on two foods for thoughts:
      1) if you reverse engineer any good that exists in the world and trace back to its roots, you will figure out that all the roots meet at one door and that is of Prophet SAW may it be through Quran or Hadees.
      2) All the liberties that are demanded by the our Pakistani secular groups are already covered in Islam. Or I might put it as I feel Islam is way more secular as compared to our Secular groups.

      So rather than taking Islam out of politics, I just request or even beg that the efforts should be made to make better, more research oriented and based on modern scientifically guided Islamic education more accessible to people.

      • I would say that Islam has the benefits of secularism without its drawbacks. We shouldn’t let the abuses (chiefly sectarian, by different schools versus each other or by different sects versus each other) detract from the very real Islamic character of Pakistan’s ideology, which as was mentioned was THE focal point of Allama Iqbal’s philosophy.

    • I also wanted to add: the wall with Afghanistan has another risk which is to play into the hands of Pashtun separatists such as ANP. They have never had any significant power among the Pashtuns (contrary to their rhetoric which presumes that Pashtuns are agitating for “independence” from Pakistan), but one reason this has also worked is Pakistan’s “hands-off” approach to the Durand Line. There is much talk about this border from both Afghanistan & Pakistan but the fact is it is an extremely porous border anyway, which means that Pashtuns from both sides can move, visit family, trade, etc.; in short, it’s a non-issue. By making a wall here under the guise of combating terrorism (which can be countered in many other ways, including ending the support to US forces which buttresses the Kabul government), you remove this convenience and make it easier for even patriotic Pashtuns to get swayed by the arguments of ANP and their ilk. It is a very, very shortsighted move. The sectarianism of TTP and such groups has much more to do with international politics than “ideology crossing borders”, which is a silly concept anyway in this day and age.

  4. Sir, I do not understand at all that why this post paints Pakistani nation as black and white.Some shades of grey are missed here and they must be shown as well.Those masses which you have mentioned truly exists but do not represent Pakistani awam completely.Second, that so called democracy is also not to be considered as a high standard, well structured way of governance etc.According to Plato’s five regime democracy is fourth and if degenerated (Definitely yes!) then into tyranny. Ofcourse, it may have some pros but in our case cons are more.A nation with low literacy rate and where landlords,wadera and sardars acting as monarch are the ones with authority and power: Where is democracy? Then expect tyranny. Infact,Pakistani system looks more like tyranny than democracy.We call Pakistan as “Islamic Republic” and we use the infrastructure of tyranny sugarcoated as democracy.Sir, we have juxtaposed two quite different concepts and created a tyrannical system.

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