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Thread: Pakistan’s quest for national identity

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    Military Professional Ray's Avatar
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    Pakistan’s quest for national identity

    VIEW: Pakistan’s quest for national identity —Ahmad Faruqui

    Pakistan can only proceed forward by taking concrete and irreversible steps to change the strategic culture of Pakistan and making it a modern and secular democratic state. There is no reason to chase the impossible dream of creating an Islamic state. Any such move will merely prove divisive

    Almost 60 years after its independence, scholars continue to debate Pakistan’s national identity. But what Pakistanis make of it is more important. My conversations with scores of Pakistanis during the past few years have revealed not one but four definitions of national identity. These are: a state for the Muslims of South Asia, an Islamic state, a secular democratic state, and a garrison state.

    There is no consensus over the vision of the founding fathers. Some say the founding fathers wanted Pakistan to be a democratic state while others say they wanted an Islamic state. Jinnah’s early death in 1948, followed by the murder of his chief lieutenant, Nawabzada Liaquat Ali Khan, in 1951 ensured that the vision of the founders died with them.

    It did not help that in due course of time, a cunning man seized the mantle of power. A former civil servant turned Governor-General, Ghulam Muhammad, deposed the democratically elected prime minister, Khwaja Nazimuddin, in 1953. This act was carried out in concert with the army chief, General Ayub Khan. It was a coup in all but name.

    The Cold War took centre-stage internationally that year, as Dwight Eisenhower moved into the White House and made John Foster Dulles his Secretary of State. In August 1953, the CIA carried out a coup in Iran, deposing a democratically elected premier and replacing him with the Shah. In 1954, Pakistan began to receive large amounts of US military aid and signed the SEATO treaty to stop communist advances in Southeast Asia. In 1955, it signed the Baghdad Pact (later CENTO) directed at containing the Soviet Union.

    These moves strengthened the Pakistani military at the expense of other institutions and facilitated Ayub’s coup in 1958.
    Pakistan signed a mutual defence agreement with the US in 1959. Three more coups would occur in the next four decades. Each coup-maker ended up serving American interests — Yahya provided Nixon an opening to China, Zia confronted the Soviets in Afghanistan and now Musharraf is fighting Al Qaeda.

    This procession of coups has fragmented Pakistan’s national identity, giving it all the confusion of a man having a mid-life crisis. In some ways, nations are like people. As Newsweek commented recently, they have ‘bodies and spirits, sinews and desires’.

    Let us examine the four visions of national identity more closely.

    The first vision is based on the two-nation theory of statehood. At the time of Partition, 400 million people lived in India of whom 100 million were Muslims. After Partition, two-thirds of the Muslims based themselves in Pakistan, making it the world’s largest Muslim state. Today, this vision is a historical relic, since there are about twice as many Muslims in India and Bangladesh combined as there are in Pakistan.

    The second vision is that of an Islamic state. During his 11-year rule, Zia sought to create this state without success. The irresolvable problem is that there are multiple interpretations of what an Islamic state is.Whichever brand of Islam comes to power, it seeks to impose its vision over the rest. Indeed, there is nothing to prevent radical groups from taking over and imposing a Taliban-style rule or a Tehran-style theocracy. Clearly, neither outcome would be desirable.

    The third vision is that of a secular democratic state. Elected leaders would form all national policies, defence and foreign policy, as well as economic, financial, social and political. The government would reflect the will of the people. This vision has been implemented at various times with limited success. It has failed largely because a strong military has not allowed elected civilians to evolve independent defence and foreign policies.

    The fourth vision is that of a stratocracy, a state run by the military. This vision survives because weak politicians give the army the perfect excuse to overthrow the civilian system under the Law of Necessity propounded by Hans Kelsen. This line of thinking has even made inroads among the educated middle class, which is convinced that without the stick of the military, the nation degenerates into anarchy.

    Thus, the men on horseback are welcomed as a blessing when they come galloping out of the barracks to restore law and order. For decades, their war cry was that the country was in danger of being invaded by the big external enemy on the east. Now, they want to protect it from internal extremists — who are in many ways the military’s own brainchild.

    It is time that Pakistanis gave up their grand historical ambitions and learned to live with a more realistic vision and a simpler dream. The first two visions are not feasible and need to be discarded. The fourth vision should also meet a similar fate since it leads nowhere. The major threat to Pakistan’s national security comes from a strategic culture based on intolerance. The process of debate and free competition of ideas that revitalises and reinvents identity in democratic countries is absent.

    Pakistan can only proceed forward by adopting the third vision, taking concrete and irreversible steps to change the strategic culture of Pakistan and making it a modern and secular democratic state. There is no reason to chase the impossible dream of creating an Islamic state. Any such move will merely prove divisive, as was amply demonstrated during the Zia years.

    A lot depends on what happens in 2007, when Pakistan turns 60 and holds general elections. Those elections should allow for the rule of law by pushing forward the development of civilian institutions. But this can only happen if Washington, which has supported the Pakistani military’s frequent interventions in politics, insists that the elections restore sovereignty to the parliament, exclude the military from politics and grant full independence to the judiciary.

    The army should ensure that fair elections are held and return to the barracks. It should stop intervening politically under any conditions. If elected leaders pursue bad policies, they can and should be removed through parliamentary processes. If they break the law, they should be prosecuted in courts, not removed by a coup. Strong and incorrupt civilian leaders will not emerge under the shadow of military strongmen.

    Military rule, by masking weaknesses in governance, stifles the growth and development of civilian institutions. This cure is worse than the disease. Moreover, by its recurrence, it perpetuates the notion that Pakistan is a collection of warring tribes that are held together by force.

    Dr Ahmad Faruqui is director of research at the American Institute of International Studies and can be reached at Faruqui@pacbell.net
    http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default...4-9-2005_pg3_6
    A concise history of Pakistan in its quest for national identity.

    It is worth noting the skullduggerey of individuals that has prevented Pakistan from stabilising and proving to be a vibrant state which it has the potentiol to achieve.

    This article indicates the selfish motive of most of the leaders for self aggrandisation rather than caring for their Motherland.

    Secularism is worth giving a try to military assisted and directed deomcracy.

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    They used to think that they were Arabs until they realized that Arabs treated them like cab drivers, so now they think that they are Chinese, they get Chinese sounding names and engage in creating countless Kashmir threads and repost the same things over and over again, its pathetic.

    cough cough Hong Kong cough cough

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    also oneman whatever, the guy who posts the chinese threads that noone responds to.

    Talk about Pakistani inferiority complex.

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    Real Madrid CF Senior Contributor indianguy4u's Avatar
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    Pakistanis have a gr8 & most unique identity which is Army own the country rather than other way round.
    Hala Madrid!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by indianguy4u
    Pakistanis have a gr8 & most unique identity which is Army own the country rather than other way round.

    Are you talking about the pakistani army or Chinese army?

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    Real Madrid CF Senior Contributor indianguy4u's Avatar
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    Well commies own china, so who left out PURELAND .
    Hala Madrid!!

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    hahaha, one thing for sure is that oneman and hongkong will not reply to this thread.

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    Banned Hongkongfuey's Avatar
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    Actuallu i havent read the article. Will do when i have time. But this bit of fictitious nonsense caught my eye almost immediately

    The first vision is based on the two-nation theory of statehood. At the time of Partition, 400 million people lived in India of whom 100 million were Muslims. After Partition, two-thirds of the Muslims based themselves in Pakistan, making it the world’s largest Muslim state. Today, this vision is a historical relic, since there are about twice as many Muslims in India and Bangladesh combined as there are in Pakistan.
    After partition Pakistan comprised of West Pakistan (modern day Pakistan) and East Pakistan (modern day Bangladesh). Today Pakistan has 150 million Muslim, Bangladesh has about another 150 million Muslims and India has about 200 million Muslims. So 3/5ths or 60% of Muslims still live in the former West and East Pakistan. What the author is trying to prove here is a mystery, like much of the rest of it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hongkongfuey
    Actuallu i havent read the article. Will do when i have time. But this bit of fictitious nonsense caught my eye almost immediately



    After partition Pakistan comprised of West Pakistan (modern day Pakistan) and East Pakistan (modern day Bangladesh). Today Pakistan has 150 million Muslim, Bangladesh has about another 150 million Muslims and India has about 200 million Muslims. So 3/5ths or 60% of Muslims still live in the former West and East Pakistan. What the author is trying to prove here is a mystery, like much of the rest of it.

    Err if there are 180-200M Muslims in India + 150M Muslims in balgladesh, the total comes to 350, assuming a 160M Muslim pop in pakistan, that makes around 2x as many Muslims living in India and Bangladesh combined than in Pakistan which is what your quote says. I dont think that it is a relevant point for the author himself but it is micky mouse math, something madrassahs do not teach.

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    Banned Hongkongfuey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sameer
    Err if there are 180-200M Muslims in India + 150M Muslims in balgladesh, the total comes to 350, assuming a 160M Muslim pop in pakistan, that makes around 2x as many Muslims living in India and Bangladesh combined than in Pakistan which is what your quote says. I dont think that it is a relevant point for the author himself but it is micky mouse math, something madrassahs do not teach.
    Alright, let me phrase it so you can understand

    1946, subcontinent = British India

    1948, subcontinent = India & West Pakistan & East Pakistan

    1971, subcontinent = India & West Pakistan & Bangladesh

    Now look at the quote

    At the time of Partition, 400 million people lived in India of whom 100 million were Muslims. After Partition, two-thirds of the Muslims based themselves in Pakistan, making it the world’s largest Muslim state. Today, this vision is a historical relic, since there are about twice as many Muslims in India and Bangladesh combined as there are in Pakistan.
    Let me help translate for you. The white part of the quote says that two-thirds of the Muslims in the subcontinent lived in Pakistan (that is West and East Pakistan). Then the red quote compares post-1971 Pakistan (excluding East Pakistan or Bangladesh as it was renamed to) with pre-1971 Pakistan (which included East Pakistan or Bangladesh. Do you think such a comparison is fair to make?

    Bangladesh could not have come about without the two nation statehood concept. It was through this that Bangladesh came into existence. But you cannot compare pre-1971 Pakistan with post-1971 as the author as done. It'smanipulation, like what i suspect most of that article is.

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    Banned Vaman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hongkongfuey
    Alright, let me phrase it so you can understand


    Let me help translate for you. The white part of the quote says that two-thirds of the Muslims in the subcontinent lived in Pakistan (that is West and East Pakistan). Then the red quote compares post-1971 Pakistan (excluding East Pakistan or Bangladesh as it was renamed to) with pre-1971 Pakistan (which included East Pakistan or Bangladesh. Do you think such a comparison is fair to make?
    Yes.
    If the two nation theory held true, there wouldnt have been a Bangladeshi state. There would have been one muslim state instead of one for the muslim bengalis and another for the muslim punjabis.
    If the TNT presumed that nationhood defined only by religion would succeed, clearly the formation of Bangladesh proved that it didnt hold any water. Obviously a number of other things are important than just religion.
    Its a fair comparison.

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    Military Professional Ray's Avatar
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    The article is from a Pakistani newspaper, written by a Pakistani.

    I wonder what could be his reason to be manipulative as is being suggested by Hongkong; that too the whole article!

    One does not have to be manipulative to give options (vision as the author puts it) that faces Pakistan.

    Options in no way can be termed as manipulation! One may, however, not agree with the options, but manipulation?

    The two nation theory did produce one Moslem nation after independence. However, owing to the Punjabi arrogance that overtook the Moslem nation dream based on ummah, the Bengalis decided to call it a day and rightly so.

    In this context, Major Amin's article that appeared in the defencejournal of Pakistan honestly indicates that other sub nationalities of Pakistan too are fed up to the gills with this Punjabi uber alles (above all) attitude.

    The break up of Pakistan into Pakistan and Bangladesh does indicate not only that the two nation theory is bogus, but also that the concept of ummah is hoary!

    Human nature always rises predominant over the narrow confines and issues of unscientific rigidity in religion.
    Last edited by Ray; 07 Sep 05, at 06:16.

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    Banned Hongkongfuey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vaman
    Yes.
    If the two nation theory held true, there wouldnt have been a Bangladeshi state. There would have been one muslim state instead of one for the muslim bengalis and another for the muslim punjabis.
    If the TNT presumed that nationhood defined only by religion would succeed, clearly the formation of Bangladesh proved that it didnt hold any water. Obviously a number of other things are important than just religion.
    Its a fair comparison.
    I didnt think you'd get the point of the unequal comparison. Read it again, because i'm not explaining it to you again.

    The two nation theory did actually hold true in the overall sense, like it or not. Bengalis voted to be part of Pakistan. Given the choice of the two, Bengalis wanted to be part of Pakistan. The two nation theory was more accurate than a one nation theory. But with hindsight a three-nation theory would have been best. The propaganda of the Awami League helped convince the Bengali population they were being short changed by the West Pakistani government. This does not mean the two nation theory was wrong.
    Last edited by Hongkongfuey; 07 Sep 05, at 07:38.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ray
    The article is from a Pakistani newspaper, written by a Pakistani.

    I wonder what could be his reason to be manipulative as is being suggested by Hongkong; that too the whole article!

    One does not have to be manipulative to give options (vision as the author puts it) that faces Pakistan.

    Options in no way can be termed as manipulation! One may, however, not agree with the options, but manipulation?

    The two nation theory did produce one Moslem nation after independence. However, owing to the Punjabi arrogance that overtook the Moslem nation dream based on ummah, the Bengalis decided to call it a day and rightly so.

    In this context, Major Amin's article that appeared in the defencejournal of Pakistan honestly indicates that other sub nationalities of Pakistan too are fed up to the gills with this Punjabi uber alles (above all) attitude.

    The break up of Pakistan into Pakistan and Bangladesh does indicate not only that the two nation theory is bogus, but also that the concept of ummah is hoary!

    Human nature always rises predominant over the narrow confines and issues of unscientific rigidity in religion.
    The breakup of Pakistan in 1971 was basically due the belief they were being socioeconomically disadvantaged by the West Pakistan government. That does not mean the two nation theory was wrong. Had the Bengalis been made to feel that they were not disadvantaged, politically and economically, then they would have accepted Pakistan. But that cannot be proven.

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    Tamizhanban Senior Contributor Jay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hongkongfuey
    The breakup of Pakistan in 1971 was basically due the belief they were being socioeconomically disadvantaged by the West Pakistan government. That does not mean the two nation theory was wrong. Had the Bengalis been made to feel that they were not disadvantaged, politically and economically, then they would have accepted Pakistan. But that cannot be proven.
    Well, Bengalis thot that they have nothing in common with Pakistanis, regardless of whether they bolong to the same ummah or not. Which brings us back to two nation theory.
    A grain of wheat eclipsed the sun of Adam !!

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