Pakistan came into being on August 14, 1947, despite incessant opposition by Indian National Congress and her allies. At its birth Pakistan was faced with apparently insurmountable problems. The immediate worries were rehabilitation of millions of refugees and restoration of industrial and agricultural infra-structure. The national exchequer was empty. India refused to transfer Pakistan’s share in financial.
Pakistan overcame insurmountable problems of influx of 1947 refugees, skimpy finances and myriad other problems to emerge as a viable entity. We welcomed refugees, while India is all set to drive out 4.7 million Rohingya refugees from its eastern state of Assam.
Fanatic Hindus in Indian National Congress thought that Pakistan would, at best, be a still-born baby. But, Pakistan was able to survive all hurdles. It proved its viability despite severe politico-economic jolts.
Despite lapse of over 70 years, India still has to reconcile with Pakistan, as a reality.
When Jinnah left India on August 7, 1947, Vallabhai Patel said, ‘The poison had been removed from the body of India’. But, the Quaid said, ‘The past has been buried and let us start afresh as two independent sovereign States’.
Even Nehru, an outwardly liberal leader, regarded creation of Pakistan as a blunder. His rancour against Pakistan reached crescendo in his remarks ‘I shall not have that carbuncle on my back’. These remarks have been quoted by D. H. Bhutani in his book, The Future of Pakistan (page 14).
Nehru’s followers continued their anti-Pakistan efforts in the post-Partition period.
Liberal Jinnah versus Hardliner India
Rashtryaya Swayem Sevak Sangh (RSS) is the religious wing of ruling political party Bharatya Janata Party. It exploits issue of beef eating by minorities. India however is the biggest exporter of beef (through Dua Corporation). Yet, mobs of Hindu vigilantes (gau raksshik, cow guards) lynch beef eaters. They worship cow-urine (gau mooter) and cow dung (gau gobre). RSS is increasing its influence and outreach to the world.
Rashtryaya Swayem Sevak Sangh (BJP’s militant wing) held a conclave (Sep. 16-18, 2018) in New Delhi. It was attended by over a thousand intellectuals from all walks of life. Change in RSS’s outlook is understandable. It has grown phenomenally during the past five decades. Its swayamsewaks now hold the top four constitutional posts of India’s president, vice president, prime Minister and Lok Sabha (house of people) speaker. They occupy 20 Raj Bhawans. Eighteen of them are chief ministers. Half the Union Cabinet comprises RSS members. The political initiation of over 1,000 members of legislative assemblies and 250 members of parliament has been through the RSS. About a million
Indians daily attend over 55,000 shakhas (lectures) across the country. Its 500-odd frontal organizations manage colleges, schools, media, hospitals, and tribal and Dalit non-governmental organisations. Ten thousand full-time pracharaks (preachers) are active in politics, culture and
Various think tanks at home and abroad.
`Liberals; were stunned when chief minister Yogi Adityanath of India’s Uttar Pradesh state equated cows with human beings (Tribune , July 25, 2018). They expressed similar reaction when Justice Mahesh Chandra Sharma of Rajasthan High Court told reporters (May 31, 2018) `All doctors are frauds and we could have all been cured of diseases with nothing more than cow’s milk.’ He `urged the Centre to declare cow as India’s national animal and recommended life imprisonment for cow slaughter’. Scientists must have smiled at his assertion that `cow inhales and exhales oxygen’, and `a peacock is a lifelong celibate like Krishna’.
At the conclave a Muslim wing of the RSS distributed a pamphlet echoing Sharma’s sentiments. The RSS’s rising influence among all strata of Indian society cannot be ignored. Huffington Post dated August 3, 2017 published a detailed report on benefits of cow-and-dung recipes like: (a) A cow-dung-and-urine beauty soap could stall ageing. Krishna looked like a 12 year old as he used such soap. (b) Cow dung and urine (gao mutra and gau gober) could prevent radiation when used to construct a bunker or rubbed on a mobile phone. This compound can defuse even an atomic bomb. (c) Pregnant women should have cow dung-urine derivatives for normal delivery.
India’s prestigious `Institute of Technology has received about 50 proposals from top research institutions across the country to explore benefits of panchgavya (mixture of cow urine, cow dung, milk, ghee and curd). India’s Union Ministry of Science and Technology has constituted a 19-member panel to conduct a detailed research on cow derivatives and their benefits.
The portents are that the RSS would have a critical role in influencing 2019 general elections.
Rising Hindutva influence does not portend well for minorities in India, otherwise a constitunally `secular’ republic.
On December 6, 1992, Hindu fanatics demolished Babri masjid. There is no evidence about Babur constructing a mosque in Ayodhya after demolishing a Ramjanmabhoomi temple. All sources are mute, be it Babur’s memoir Baburnama, Humayunnama by Babur’s daughter Gulbadan Begum, Abul Fazal’s Ain-i-Akbari or Tuzk-e-Jahangiri. The first reference to Babri appears in a travel account by Jesuit priest Joseph Tiefenthaler in 1768. The inscriptions, inside the mosque, often quoted in books on Ayodhya or Babur, were fake. They were fixed in the mosque 280 years after its supposed construction in 1528.
Babur did visit Gwalior temples. But, neither he, nor his commander Mir Baqi (distinct from Baqi on masjid inscriptions), ever visited Ayodhia. Mir Baqi of the Baburnama was never governor of Ayodhya.
The dispute is about property. The claim that god (Ram) was born there is fictitious. Indian Court ignored the fact that the Muslims have been in current possession of the disputed site since times immemorial. No claim by Hindus during Moghal or British raj? Shankaracharya’s Nyas originally owned only one acre of land, the rest of the land (additional 42 acres of so-called undisputed land) was given to it on lease by Kalyan Singh government in 1992 to develop a Ram Katha Kunj (park).
Threat of anti-minority riots
When Gujarat chief minister, Narendra Modi demanded a nation-wide ban on cow slaughter (Hindu, November 21, 2005). His demand was bolstered by India’s Supreme Court’s judgment (October 26, 2005) that reversed a 36-year-old ruling, and upheld the constitutional validity of a Gujarat law imposing the ban on slaughtering of bulls, and bullocks.
The fanatics often exploit issue of beef eating to kill minorities. There were anti-Muslim riots in 1707 and 1714, after the death of Moghul emperor Aurangzeb. More anti-Muslim riots took place in Kashmir (1719), Delhi (1729), and Bombay (1786). In Benares (1809), bloody anti-Muslim riots were due to a mosque allegedly having been built by Aurangzeb atop a temple (quasi-Babri-Masjid issue). When the Muslim functionaries were unfairly downgraded, riots took place at different places in Uttar Pradesh (Koil 1820, Moradabad 1833, Shahjahanpur 1837, and Alahabad 1837-52).
The riots in the 1990s were due to Advani’s Rath Yatra (chariot procession), resulting in death of over 200 people mostly Muslims. In January 1993, over 3000 Muslims were killed in Bombay by Shiv Sena in collusion with the police.
Efforts have been made in the past to ferret out causes of communal riots in India. Past inquiry reports into major riots (Delhi 1984, Bhagalpur 1989 and Ayodhya 1992) lament poor governance in preventing or controlling the riots, and prosecuting the rioters. Those having academic interest in details may refer to analysis by V. N. Rai, N. C. Saxena, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch/Asia, besides reports of the Commissions of Inquiry into Disturbance at Bhiwandi (1970), Tellicherry (1971), and Jamshedpur (1979). For further insights, one may look into reports of seminars, titled “State Protected Lawlessness from Ayodhya to Bombay” and Communal Riots and the Role of Law Enforcement Agencies”, convened at Bombay by Iqbal A. Ansari and Dr Asghar Ali (founder secretary general of Minorities’ Council of India).
It appears that the past studies are post-mortem reports. They do not try to determine statistical correlation between cause (economic, political or communal), issues and places of riots to formulate a testable hypothesis about probable causes and venues of riots in future. Lack of futuristic orientation or reliable data may have been fetters to the researchers’ feet.
In the past, fanatic Hindus has started riots to snatch or destroy well-to-do Muslims’ properties. The economic motive behind starting the riots is the foremost in Hindus’ minds. Let us look into the past trend of riots, and the issues on which they were started.
Hindutva. Anti-Muslim violence in India has risen pari passu with upsurge in Hindutva. The leading politicians side with the Hindu extremists for myopic electoral gains. Even Congress leaders have been distributing tridents on plea that their party’s policy is no bar on it. In 1991, India’s thent home minister undertook Rath Yatra (chariot journey) from a Hindu temple in Gujarat to Ram Janam Bhoomi (birth place of Hindu god Ram). That symbolic journey engendered Hindutva upsurge, which resulted in destruction of Babri Masjid in 1992. Subsequently, the BJP, then a marginal group with only two seats in Indian parliament witnessed the party’s cataclysmic rise into a ruling party, as of now.
Hindutva influence has permeated not only into the bureaucracy but also in armed forces, security agencies as also the judiciary. Hindutva influence on Indian armed forces became manifest in the national elections of 1991 when India’s top 25 ex-military officers joined the BJP. Stephen P Cohen in “The Indian Army” says that India’s three wars with Pakistan contributed to the communalisation of her armed forces, as exemplified by an Indian general’s characterisation of Indo-Pakistan wars as ‘communal riots with armour’. In the 1990s, India’s top 25 generals joined the BJP.
To preclude police brutality who acts in unison with mobsters, Khushwant Singh suggested in 1969 drafting a substantial number of Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Anglo-Indians and Parsis into the Indian police forces. Police force of Punjab and Haryana should be non-Sikh, and that of Kashmir being non-Muslim, so on.
Battle cries used in the army are Ha Har Maahadev (Shivaji’s slogan), Bajrang Bali ki Jai, Bol Javala Man ki Jai. Hindu mobs attacking the Muslims also use the same slogans. How could the army jawans control the mob chanting the same slogans?
The Ayodhya case judges ordered excavation of the site in disregard of res judicata principles. Possession is nine-point ownership. Existence of Babri Masjid for centuries debars the Hindus from invoking their right to ownership of the site under Limitation Act, enshrining the principle `equity helps the vigilant, not the indolent’.
Professor M. Mohanty of Delhi University is of the view that”Increasing intolerance among the Hindu fundamentalist organisations, which pose a grave threat to democracy, are an indication of the rise of fascist forces in India. Professor Kanti Bajpai of Jawaharlal Nehru University agreed, “The rise of right –wing politics in India is far more advanced and violent than in Austria”.
The Economist: World in 2003 (page 77) states, ‘…nothing so pleases as burning of a few Muslims, the prospects of war with Pakistan and revenge for Muslim invasion of India many centuries ago’.
Gujarat state has lifted the ban on government employees’ becoming members of RSS. Uttar Pradesh state’s legislature has placed restrictions on building and use of places of worship. After approval of the parliamentary committee, Savarkar’s portrait has been hung in Indian parliament. Savarkar thus stands resurrected as a hero of the freedom movement. Savarkar wanted India for the Hindus only.
The riots in the 1990s (e.g. destruction of Babri Masjid in 1992) are markedly different from those in pre-1990s period (e.g., 1948 Hyderabad riots against takeover by India). The pre-1990s pogroms affected mainly slum-dwelling poor Muslims. But, the riots in 1990s hit poor and rich Muslims alike. The stimulating motive was to pauperize the affluent Muslims by looting away their life-long earnings. The affluent and influential Hindus no longer tried to play the role of mediators (unlike the case of previous riots in some industrial cities).
In the Hyderabad riots of 1990, Indian cricketer Azharuddin was attacked in his hometown. During January 1993, Mrs Rahi Masum Raza, wife of script-writer of TV-series Mahabharata fled uptown Bombay for refuge in Bhendi Bazar. In 1991, Muslim professors of Delhi University ran away from their houses to seek safety elsewhere. There are countless other instances of harassment of Muslim prodigies like Dilip Kumar, Saira Bano, Shabana Azmi, Farah Khan, and Ali Sardar Jaafri (poet with Padma Shri award) who was asked by the police to prove his nationality.
From the recent trends, it is obvious that future riots are more likely to take place in localities where the Muslims are economically competitive and affluent. Muslim-owned industrial and business establishments will be the targets.
In fact, Nehru had foreseen this changing pattern of riots, as reflected in his letter September, 1954 to a chief minister (Nehru’s letters to Chief Ministers, Vol. IV, edited by G Parthasarthy, New Delhi Oxford University Press, Delhi). He wrote: “There is also a new motive which previous to the partition was not present. This is the lure of property. In the pre-partition days, whatever communal trouble took place, no one ever thought of driving out the other party from their houses or shops. No one ever thought of profiting by any such action. Now this element has come in and is thought that if the Muslims in a particular area are frightened and made to leave, that property would naturally come to the Hindus”.
Nehru’s observation is borne out by Jabalpur riots in 1961 which aimed at hounding out the Muslim bidi (mini-cigarette) magnate from the local market. Bhiwandi (Maharashtra) riots of 1970 and 1984 were aimed at dispossessing the Muslim of their control of power loom industry. Moradabad riots of 1980 were outcome of jealousy against prosperity of Muslim brassware artisans. Riots of 1984 in Andhra Pradesh destroyed $ 10000 worth of Muslim businesses.
Riots usually take place in urban areas, particularly in industrial cities, like Bombay, Bhewandi, Baroda, Surat , Kanpur, Moradabad, Meerut, Delhi, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad and Bhopal. Refugee or Bengali migrants dominated areas are particularly riot prone.
They occur usually at places where Muslims are numerically and economically competitive and do not reconcile with an inferior status. No riots take place in areas with thin downtrodden Muslim population, resigned to subjugated fate because of perceived vulnerability, e.g. in coastal areas of Andhra Pradesh, or in the hill districts of Uttar Pradesh.
Issues Triggering Riots. Cow slaughter (actually, if not politicized, it is a non-issue). Hindu extremists desire to enforce a uniform civil code ostensible under Articles 44 and 48 of the Indian Constitution, but actually in violation of Articles 14 (no religious discrimination), 16 (equal opportunities for minorities), 26 to 28 (minorities freedom to manage their own religious affairs), 30 (maintaining minorities educational institutions), 345, 347, 350, 350-A (rights of linguistic minorities). Loud music and Bhajan singing before mosques. Non-traditional routes of processions. Reservation of jobs, and seats in educational institutions. Elopement of Hindu girls with Muslim boys. Characterisation of one by the other community as Malichh and Kafir. Routes of Religious processions. Conversions from one religion to another. Singing or playing Vande Matram aloud before mosques. The de facto status of Urdu especially in Uttar Pradesh. Muslim Personal Law and Uniform Civil Code. Suspicions about Muslims loyalty to India. One could visualise from the past trends where the future riots would take place, and on what issues.
Joint Indo-Pak defence
He hoped India and Pakistan would live in peace after Partition. In his Will and Testament
He bequeathed a part of his fortune to educational institutions in Aligarh, Bombay and Delhi. He never changed his will as he hoped to visit India again.
Lord Ismay, Chief of Staff to the Viceroy recorded an interview with the Quaid. Excerpt: ‘Mr. Jinnah said with the greatest earnestness that once Partition has been decided upon, everyone would know exactly all troubles would cease, and they would live happily ever after where they were’.
Ayesha Jalal in his paper Why Jinnah Matters (Meleeha Lodhi, edited papers, `Pakistan: Beyond the Crisis State, pp. 33-34 ) recalls `Just before his own death, Jinnah proposed a joint defence with India as the Cold War started to shape the world and the two power blocs began to form. Jinnah was still thinking as a South Asian nationalist. … Had Jinnah’s vision prevailed _and found an echo in India, we would have seen a very different South Asia. ..there would have been no crippling defence expenditures. There would have been no reason to join one or other camp of the Cold War. There would have been open borders, free trade and regular visiting between the two countries…. a more humane sub-continent might have emerged … In 1971, when Pakistan was broken in two, its critics jubilantly cried, `Jinnah’s Pakistan is dead’. They were wrong. Jinnah’s Pakistan will be alive as long as …’.
Evolution of Pakistan idea
Lahore Resolution to Pakistan resolution
How the Lahore resolution, as it was called on March 23, 1940, became the Pakistan Resolution? The original resolution of 1940 mentions states, not one state of Pakistan. But, Congress party’s criticism, as also Gandhi’s virulently critical letters to the Quaid, forced the Muslim nation to convert the Lahore resolution into Pakistan resolution. The resolution passed on April 19, 1946 at the Delhi convention, clarified doubts about the word ‘states’ in original Lahore Resolution. It stated, “The zone comprising Bengal and Assam in the North-East and the Punjab, Frontier Province, Sindh and Baluchistan in the north-west of India, namely Pakistan Zones, where Muslims are in a dominant majority, be constituted into a sovereign independent State and an unequivocal understanding be given to implement the establishment of Pakistan without delay? True, the Pakistan resolution was not over-night exploit of a single figure.
It was Allama lqbal who convinced the Quaid of the futility of the idea of continued Hindu-Muslim amity. On June 21, 1937, Allama Iqbal wrote to the Quaid, “In these circumstances, it is obvious that the only way to a peaceful India is a redistribution of the country on the lines of racial, religious and linguistic affinities.” The Muslim leaders only wanted that after departure of the British rulers, The rights of Muslims ‘community’ should not be usurped by the brutal Hindu majority. On March 2, 1941, the Quaid said, “It is as clear as daylight that we are not a minority. We are a nation and nation must have a territory. A nation does not live in the air. It lives on the land and it must govern land’.
The Quaid said at Minto Park on March 22, 1940, “Musalmans are not a minority as it is generally understood. Musalmans are a nation according to any definition of a nation and they must have their homelands, their territory and their state’. On October 27, 1945, the Quaid said at Ahmedabad, “Pakistan is the question of life and death for us. I shall live and die for Pakistan.” “The moon of Pakistan is shining and we shall reach it” (Dawn, October 28, 1945). “We must get Pakistan at any cost. For it we live and for it we will die.” (November 24, 1945, Mardan). “Without Pakistan, there is only death for Muslims.” (February 24, 1946, Calcutta).Creation of Pakistan is a miracle. Hindus’ paranoid hatred converted the Lahore resolution into the Pakistan resolution.n Pakistan Day: What was Jinnah’s idea of independent state for S. Asian Muslims?
Members of the Muslim League were told they could not hope to share power with the Congress unless they submitted to its discipline and became its stooges. There was naturally a rapid, revolutionary change in the outlook of the Muslim League. In 1938, under Mr. Jinnah’s leadership, it formally repudiated the federal scheme of the Government of India Act 1935, and began to consider other constitutional possibilities. In 1939 it declared that Muslim India was ‘irrevocably opposed’ to any federal objective; and in March 1940 was passed at Lahore a resolution, demanding the partition of India and the formation of the Muslim majority zones of the north-west and north-east into an independent sovereign state. Thus, ostensibly, the Muslim League, under Mr. Jinnah’s leadership, had accepted as its goal the chimerical, impracticable scheme of students led by Ch. Rehmat Ali, which the League spokesman had disliked a few years earlier.
The Lahore Resolution was interpreted differently by advocates of Pakistan, but the fact is Pakistan was to be a completely independent sovereign (federal) state. It came into being on 14 August, 1947, with Mr. Jinnah as its first Governor-General and the first president of its Constituent Assembly. The first observation he made in the Assembly was: “You will, no doubt, agree with me that the first duty of a government is to maintain law and order, so that the life, property and religious belief of its subjects are fully protected by the state…I think we should keep that in front of us as our ideal, and you’ll find that in course of time Hindus would cease to be Hindus and Muslims would cease to be Muslims, not in the religious sense, because that’s the personal faith of each individual, but in the political sense as citizens of the state…You’re free to go to your temples, you’re free to go to your mosques or to any place of worship, you may belong to any religion or caste or creed—that has nothing to do with business of the state…If we want to make this great state of Pakistan happy and prosperous we should wholly and solely concentrate on the well-being of the people, especially of the masses and the poor.”
It was culmination of the series of event; and movements that converged into the idea of Pakistan: Muhammad bin Qasim established the first Muslim state in the Sub-Continent in 712-715 AD. Shahab-ud-Din Ghouri wrote to Prithvi Raj in 1192 AD that the latter should cede the MusIim-majority areas of the Punjab, NWFP and Sindh to him or be prepared for a war at Tarain battlefield (page 101, tareekh-e-farishta). After Qasim, Qutub-ud-Din Aibak and the Moghul established their rule in India. There were 76 Muslim rulers who ruled over India for about 690 years. Since early 1870s, there were several movements, which asserted ‘Muslim nationhood’. They covered a broad spectrum of Muslim religious, educational, cultural and political life Aligarh Movement (1870s), the Mohammedan Educational Conference, the Urdu Defence Association (1900), the demand for separate electorates, the foundation of the Muslim League, the Muslim university movement (1910), the pan-Islamic movements beginning with Italy’s raid on Tripoli (1911) and ending with the Khilafat movement (1918-24), and the Kanpur Mosque agitation (1913).
From Sir Syed Ahmed Khan to the Quaid-i-Azam, all the Muslim leaders kept striving for Hindu-Muslim amity. The Quaid began his political career by attending Congress meeting, for the first time on July 28, 1904, Thereafter he struggled for about three decades for the rights of Muslim whom he regarded as a ‘minority’, rather than a nation.
Towards the end of 1930, Allama lqbal used the word ‘community’ for the Muslim population in his address at Allahabad. It was only Chaudhry Rehmat Ali, who used the word ‘nation’ for Muslims in his pamphlet ‘Now or Never (1932)’. Intolerance of Hindus forced Muslims to realise that their rights would be trampled under Hindu Raj. Lucknow Pact (1916) was acknowledged as pillar of Hindu-Muslim friendship. However, Nehru, at the behest of the fanatic Hindus, shattered the spirit of peaceful coexistence by formulating his Nehru Report (1928).
Jaswant Singh had, in his book, Jinnah: India, Partition, and Independence made the revelation that Jinnah shelved the idea of independent Pakistan by putting his signatures to the Cabinet Mission’s recommendations. The Quaid even accepted the recommendations of the Cabinet Mission. This Mission envisaged keeping India undivided for ten years. The constituent assemblies were to consider the question of division after 10 years. When Congress refused to accept the recommendations of the Cabinet Mission, the British government decided to divide India.
Jinnah’s state of mind is reflected in Shorish Kashmiri’s revelation on page 509 of his book bu-e-gul nala-e-dil dud-e-charagh-e-mahfil (Matbuat-e-Chatan, 1988, Lahore). He quotes the Quaid having said `What is Muslim League? I, and my typewriter’. At another place Shorish quotes Quaid as having said `meri thaili main saarey sikkey khotey hain’ (all the coins in my pouch are base).
A democracy, not a theocracy
Doubtless, the Quaid visualised Pakistan to be a democracy, not a theocracy. In a broadcast addressed to the people of the USA (February 1948), he said, ‘In any case Pakistan is not going to be a theocratic State to be ruled by priests with a divine mission. We have many non-Muslims _Hindus, Christians, and Parsees _ but they are all Pakistanis. They will enjoy the same rights and privileges as any other citizen and will play their rightful part in the affairs of Pakistan’ (Maleeha Lodhi (ed.), Pakistan: Beyond the Crisis State) When an over-ebullient admirer addressed him as `Maulana Jinnah’, he snubbed him. Jinnah retorted, ‘I am not a Maulana, just plain Mr. Jinnah’. About minorities, the Quaid often reminded Muslim zealots ‘Our own history and our and our Prophet(PBUH) have given the clearest proof that non-Muslims have been treated not only justly and fairly but generously. He added, ‘I am going to constitute myself the Protector-general of the Hindu minority in Pakistan’. He joined Christmas celebrations in December 1947 as a guest. In his first seven-member Cabinet, he included a Hindu.
Till his last breath, the Quaid remained an ardent supporter of rights of minorities as equal citizens of Pakistan. Our ministers and other dignitaries shun rituals and customs of minorities. But, the Quaid participated in Christmas celebrations in December 1947 as a guest of the Christian community. He declared: ‘I am going to constitute myself the Protector General of Hindu minority in Pakistan’.
One member of his post-partition cabinet was a Hindu. A Jewish scholar, Mohammad Asad, who embraced Islam, held important positions in post-partition period in Pakistan. Many ‘religious’ scholars copy from his works copiously.
Majority of Pakistanis wish to see Pakistan emerge as a moderate economically viable power. Their attitudes mirror-image the Quaid’s vision. He wanted Pakistan to be a liberal and democratic Muslim state, not a theocracy, plagued by sectarian violence. The following extracts from the Quaid’s speeches and statements as Governor General of Pakistan reflect his vision: “You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques, or to any other place of worship in this state of Pakistan…you may belong to any religion, caste or creed that has nothing to do with the business of the State…We are starting in the days when there is no discrimination, no distinction between one community and another, no discrimination between one caste or creed or another. We are starting with this fundamental principle that we are all citizens and equal citizens of the one State”.
The Quaid visualised that `in course of time Hindus would cease to be Hindus and Muslims would cease to be Muslims, not in the religious sense, because that is the personal faith of each individual, but in the political sense as citizens of the State”. A. K. Brohi, in his The Fundamental Law of Pakistan, argues that Pakistan is an Islamic state, but not a theocracy.
Jinnah’s address to the Constituent Assembly on August 11, 1947, also, epitomises his vision.
The 1954 Justice Munir Kayani Commission ‘Report on the Anti-Ahmedi Riots of Punjab in 1953’, inter alia, elucidates Jinnah’s vision of an Islamic State. The Munir report makes a poignant observation. “Most important of the parties who are clamouring for enforcement of the three (anti-Ahmedi) demands on religious grounds, were all against the idea of an Islamic state. Even Maulana Abul Ala Maudoodi of Jama’at-i-Islamic was of the view that the form of government in the new Muslim state, if it ever came into existence, could only be secular. Everybody … agreed that Ahrar was a subversive force.” The report concludes: “…if Ahrar had been treated as a law and order question without any political considerations, one District Magistrate and one Superintendent of Police could have dealt with them.”
We mix religion with politics at various levels and forums. Our Constitution has a long list of Islamic rights. But they are circumscribed the proviso that they are not enforceable through courts. Our law of evidence lays down conditions to qualify as a competent witness. But, a proviso makes any witness acceptable if a competent one is not available.
Islam protects the rights of people from all walks of life, weak and strong, including parents, children, relatives of the poor, spouses, minorities, and prisoners. For instance, Islam gives: right to protect life (Quran 17:33), to protect own and others’ properties (2:188), to protect female modesty (4:24), privacy, own and others’ (24:27), one’s faith, even if it be other than Islam (2:256, 6:109), right of expression (29:46, 4:148), of holding function (3:104), to oppose corruption (5:33), receive education (2:129), justice (2:129), and equality (49:13).
Likewise Islam outlines duties of its followers like the duty to follow the instruction (4:59), abide by the law (7:85, 2:229), maintain peace (25:63), protect life (15:32), to follow persons (2:83), obey parents (17:23-24 31:14), duty to be fair in dealings (55:9, 4:10).
He believed in Islamic principles and democracy and advocated the cause of Pakistan and its masses. The use of the Islamic idiom was not limited to confrontational situations involving India but extended to domestic reconstruction policy. Thus, on February 4, 1948, he told a Sibi audience that he, in wanting to give Balochs a voice in the administration of their province, had been moved by his commitment to the Islamic principles of democracy.
God had taught Muslims that they should settle the affairs of the state through mutual discussion and consultation. “It is my belief that our salvation lies in solving the golden rules of conduct set for us by our great law giver, the Prophet of Islam. Let’s lay the foundations of our democracy on the basis of truly Islamic ideal and principles.” The architect of Pakistan had a dream; he visualized a welfare state. He had conceived Pakistan based on foundations of social justice and Islamic socialism which stress equality and brotherhood of man. Like Allama Iqbal, he was concerned with the problem of poverty and backwardness among Muslims for the eradication of which they looked, on the one hand, to the urges of dynamism, struggle and creativity in Islam and, on the other, to the Islamic principle of distributive justice.
Pakistan needs to change the status quo. A report in Pakistan Economist Intelligence Unit notes “Change is hindered not least because the status quo suits the wealthy landowners who dominate the sector, as well as federal and provincial parliaments. Large landowners own 40 per cent of the arable land and control most of the irrigation system. Yet assessments by independent agencies, including the World Bank, show them to be less productive than smallholders. They are also poor taxpayers, heavy borrowers and bad debtors”.
Our major problem is structural. The economy rests on a narrow production base, heavily dependent on the fallible cotton crop and the low-value-added textile industry; irrigation supplies are erratic (deficiency or floods), and soil erosion and salinity widespread. Low productivity in agriculture can only be reversed through the implementation of serious land reforms (opposed by feudal aristocracy). The opulent wealth in the upper strata of our society need to be ferreted out, and cut to size through radical land reforms and wealth taxation.
Stanley Wolpert paid tributes to the Quaid in following words, “Few individual significantly alter the course of history. Few still modify the map of the world. Hardly anyone could be credited with creating a nation State. Muhammad All Jinnah did all three”.
Mr. Jinnah’s speech at the 30th session of the Muslim League during the freedom struggle reflected his vision. “It will be a people’s government. I should like to give a warning to the landlords and capitalists who have flourished at our expense by a system which is so vicious, which is so wicked and which makes them so selfish that it is difficult to reason with them. The exploitation of the masses has gone into their blood. They’ve forgotten the lesson of Islam. Greed and selfishness have made these people subordinate to the interests of others in order to fatten themselves…If they’re wise they’ll have to adjust themselves to the new modern conditions of life. If they don’t, God help them; we shall not help them.”
Aside from Post –Partition Muneer Report on Ahmedi Riots, Moghal-period religious scholars were muckrakers. Aurangzeb’s chief justice, who died in 1675, left behind a fortune of one lac ashrafi (precious coins) and cash of Rs five lac, besides a lot of gold and jewellery (Mubarik Ali, barr-e-saghir main mussulman muashrey ka almia [The trajedy of Muslim Society in the Sub-Coontinent]. page75). Soofis (dervishes) were ruling clique’s touts. They lived in Hindu-majority areas. And never made a genuine effort to spread Islam in non-Muslim communities. Only one non-Muslim embraced Islam at the hands of Nizamuddin Aulya during his life-time (Mubarik Ali, page 45 ibid.). Through their edicts (fatawa), Maulana Abul Kalam Azad and Maulana Abdul Bari Farangi Mahal exhorted others to migrate from India (darul harab) to Afghanistan. But, they themselves stayed back in India (Mubarik Ali, page 105 ibid.).
The Mughal and Sultanate rule was neither equitable nor Islamic but dynastic. Jehangir hanged the light-man who happened to have slept during the night. Not merit, but proper connection and pedigree was the Palladian which determined key appointments to the moghul durbar(Moghul court). Mubarik Ali caustically observes the history of the sub-continent would have been different if Muslim communities had aligned with the jat, sikh and other non-Muslims (Mubarik Ali, pages 16, 58, 64 ibid.).
Should India and Pakistan toujours remain at daggers drawn?Jinnah’s vision should be a beacon of light to both India and Pakistan-democracy, equality, peace and welfare of the masses.
Kartarpur may be the first drop of rain
On November 09th, 2019, Pakistan and India opened the first-ever visa-free corridor between the two countries to facilitate the pilgrimage of Sikhs – a minority community in both India and Pakistan but with major chunk of its populace settled in India – to their second holiest site located in Katarpur, a border village in Pakistan’s Punjab province.
Inaugurated on the respective sides by the Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan, the4.1 km long corridor –connecting Dera Baba Nanak Shrine in India with Gurudwara Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan – will enable more than5,000 devotees to visit the holy shrine everyday and is widely being regarded as the first drop of rain in the decade’s long history of the desiccated and conflictual relationship between the two neighbours.
An occurrence such momentous that it effectively exalted Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan as the most beloved figurefor Sikhs, besides actuating Prime Minister Narendra Modi to issue a rare and extraordinary message of gratitude towards his Pakistani counterpart, despite the contextual reality that later has been drawing parallels between the Indian PM and Nazi leader Hitler after the Indian government’s draconian venture in the disputed region of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) steeped the relations between the two countries to an unprecedented low.
The trudge to this landmark breakthrough was as arduous and bumpy as it could have been between the two nations that share a 07 decades-long history of the antagonism. Although, the demand of Sikhs to be granted access to the revered shrine – located just a few kilometers away from the Redcliff Line – is as old as the two antagonist nations, interminable strains in the relationship between the two countries proved to be an impediment in the way of this few kilometers of journey across the border.
Even as Pakistan extended the olive branch and Indian politician Navjot Singh Sihdu – who attended PM Khan’s oath-taking ceremony in August last year – was apprised by Pakistani COAS about his country’s readiness to open the “corridor of peace”, cynicism and suspicion from Indian side were axiomatic. Sidhu was barraged with denunciation back home for embracing Pakistan’s top military official, while the sciolists in Indian political and strategic community tried to conjecture about the “covert designs” behind Pakistan’s apparently benevolent move. Indisputably, India was not left with any other choice except for accepting the Pakistani offer as responding otherwise could have infuriated its 22 million-strong Sikh minority. Though the Modi government hesitatingly expressed its consent for the construction of the corridor, it didn’t respond positively to the successive dialogue offers made by PM Khan.
To add to the complexity was the hyper-nationalistic and anti-Pakistan narrative adopted by PM Modi during his recent election campaign after he had fallen short of delivering on his previous election promises as regards transforming the Indian economy and improving people’s lives. As if Pakistan bashing was not enough to garner votes, Modi went as far as to push the two countries almost to the brink of a nuclear exchange in February 2019 when in response to an attack– purported to be a false-flag – at Indian security forces in restive Kashmir, he ordered Indian Air Force (IAF) to bomb targets inside mainland Pakistan, provoking a daring response from Pakistan Air Force (PAF) the next day resulting in the downing of an IAF jet and arrest of an Indian pilot by Pakistani forces, who was returned few days later.
Nevertheless, the perilous brinkmanship worked spectacularly for Modi and his right-wing BJP secured an overwhelming majority in the lower house of parliament, full credit to the shrewd manipulation of mainstream and social media– which abetted the regime’s efforts to cunningly overshadow the embarrassment of aircraft downing and capture of pilot with the celebrations of “punishing Pakistan”.
After winning elections, Modi further upped the ante in the disputed J&K and after imposing an all-out communication clampdown and enacting a security blanket over the valley of Kashmir – the state’s only Muslim majority region – unilaterally repealed the region’s decades-old semi-autonomous status.
Predictably, it evoked a strong response from Pakistan which downgraded diplomatic ties with India, cut-off trade and expelled the Indian High Commissioner while refusing to send his own to New Delhi. Then followed a long diplomatic scrimmage between the two countries with Pakistan trying to rally the support of international community against the tyrannical Indian moves in the occupied valley and India responding with counter moves aimed at hurting Pakistan diplomatically and economically, besides propagating the deceitful mantra of “all is well” for Kashmir.
Notwithstanding the reignited tensions, when Pakistan decided to move ahead with the opening of the corridor as per schedule, it was regarded as a bold diplomatic move. Though it would have earn the country appreciation abroad, a severe backlash from the opposition at home was very much on the cards and at a time when leader of a right-wing political party Maulana Fazal-ur-Rehman was holding a sit-in in Islamabad with his thousands of zealot supporters demanding Khan’s resignation, the risk of domestic backlash had increased manifold.
Nevertheless, Khan’s government with the undisguised support of country’s powerful military moved ahead with the decision despite criticism from opposition politicians like Maulana Fazal-ur-Rehman and Bilawal Bhutto Zardari – whose left-wing Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) frequently champions religious freedom and interfaith harmony but didn’t miss the opportune moment to ensure the “obligatory” political point-scoring.
Although, Pakistan has made a landmark move despite soaring regional tensions and domestic pressure and opening of the border corridor can be rightfully considered as the first drop of rain after decades of desiccation, the chances that a rainstorm may follow which can convert the roads into the river, remain ever more slim and the major impediment is the simmering volcano; the dispute of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) – a sticking point mentioned by Khan in his speech on the day of the inauguration of corridor.
For more than seven decades the outstanding issue of J&K has been instigating hostilities between the two now nuclear-armed neighbors and recent unilateral actions by India – which violate numerous United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolutions and various bilateral accords with Pakistan – have just added to the fire and fury. Essentially, Modi’s regime’s recent actions in J&K has taken the matters to a point of no-return and the chances of Pakistan making any further peace overtures towards India or responding to any – though highly unlikely – Indian peace initiative, are slightest.
The pessimism around talks has already been echoed by Khan when he made it abundantly clear that until Indian government ends its oppressive clampdown in the valley of Kashmir and restores pre-August 5th, 2019 status of disputed J&K – an even distant possibility – negotiations remains out of question.
Even though, there is a remote possibility that Khan’s government – which has almost lost its initially built momentum against India over Kashmir and seems to be more concerned with other domestic and regional issues – will even subtly try to normalize the relationship with India, yet a slight nuance of any such move is likely to evoke strong backlash from country’s religious right as well as the political opposition. And given the virtual reality that supporting Kashmir cause is regarded as a symbol of nationalism in Pakistan, and country’s powerful military establishment and Khan are already facing accusations of striking a deal on Kashmir, it is even unlikely that Pakistan will venture on taking any further risk of making up with India, only to spark a general enragement.
India under Modi is undergoing a massive transformation and into the 6th consecutive year of BJP’s rule, the country’s fundamental secular outlook is under threat. In 1947, while Pakistan was being founded as a country for Muslims, India’s founding fathers envisioned a secular outlook for the culturally, religiously and ethnically diverse country. Seven decades below the line, Modi regime – despite publically pledging to safeguard India’s secular constitution – has embraced a fundamentally opposite course.
Rise of far-right may be a global phenomenon but India presents the most extreme and violent version of this imminent menace – a reality axiomatic by the rising religious intolerance, especially against Muslims; increased and generally overlooked incidents of mob-violence against minorities; cow vigilantes– which represent a militant brand of Hindu nationalism – patrolling the streets of India to impose their own version of “law” under state’s patronage; a sudden rise in the incidents of hate speech by the leaders of ruling party without facing any admonishment; the taming of Indian media to ally with government’s jingoistic policies and religiously incendiary rhetoric; various democratic and constitutional institutions conceding to the majoritarian impulse rather than adhering to constitution; ever reducing political space for dissent and opposition parties; and the recently introduced Citizenship Amendment Bill, which exclusively discriminates against Muslims.
These alarming trends clearly point out that Modi regime – in pursuance of Hindu supremacist Hindutva ideology – is steadfastly navigating the world’s largest democracy into the abyss of Fascism. Arguably, given the emerging trends in Indian society, Khan’s analogy between Modi and Hitler was not that erroneous and many Indian politicians and commentators have also expressed concerns that the early signs of Fascism are already obvious in Indian society.
Narendra Modi – who came to power with an alluring economic reform and development agenda – is now totally reliant on anti-Muslim divisive politics and to a tragic consorting, the democratic and constitutional institutions of the country – which were to place a hindrance in the way of this majoritarian brand of politics – seem to be accomplices. With no institutional and social hindrance to the Hindutva –a brand of politics kept at bay for many decades – this divisive menace is now finally engulfing India’s political and social landscape and ultimately threatens the internal cohesion of diverse Indian society.
Given the ideological and historical context, Kashmir presented a test-case for the protagonists of Hindutva. The state of J&K – a Muslim majority region that acceded to Hindu majority India –was cherished as asymbol of India’s secular identity. However, Modi’s government’s revocation of region’s special status – which is fundamentally aimed at paving the way for introducing massive demographic changes in the region converting Muslims into a minority, essentially following the Israeli model in the West Bank –will not only help the regime in crushing the self-determination sentiments in the valley but will also be a major milestone achievement en route to transforming India into a Hindu state.
Ironically, Muslims living in India are not the only prey of rising Hindu Fascism and expansionist Hindutva have regional and global implications. Being a homeland to the successors of those “outsiders” who ruled the Hindu majority India for more than 850 years, Pakistan becomes the major nuisance for the Hindu supremacists currently in-charge in India. February 2019 nuclear brinkmanship by Modi regime; uninterruptedPakistan bashing by Indian media; adaptation of a well-choreographed anti-Pakistan narrative during elections campaigns by Indian politicians; vigorous Indian attempts to get Pakistan blacklisted by FATF; and continuous fomentation of subversive activities by Indian intelligence inside Pakistan point out that Pakistan’s long-held apprehensions about India plotting to weaken the country’s federation to ultimately subsume its tumbling parts, were not misplaced.
In fact, weakening Pakistan internally, disintegrating it and ultimately subsume its parts will be a step forward in the way of realization of the “Greater India” dream of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS),the organization regarded as the ideological patron of ruling BJP and the major proponent of Hindu supremacist, majoritarian and expansionist Hindutva ideology with current Indian PM and most of the leaders of BJP as its life-long members.
To put the things in a nutshell, the opening of the Kartarpur corridor may be a sanguine gesture by Pakistan but India doesn’t seem to be even interested in some reciprocity. The issue of J&K – which has become further complicated due to India’s overassertive and intransigent attitude – presents an immediate stumbling block in the way of this “first drop of rain” being followed by a “downpour”– which can turn the dry and desiccated road into a river.
In the long-run, as the Modi government pursues the Hindutva policies and continues on a path to hurt Pakistan internally, economically and globally, chances of any further optimistic gesture from either side become even remote. And given the aforementioned immediate and long-term hurdles and the virtual reality that relations between the two countries have gone such desiccated that only continuous down pouring turning the roads into the rivers can provide the required panacea, Kartarpur corridor is likely to be proved as yet another noteworthy but futile confidence-building measure (CBM), without any significant headway towards long-lasting peace in the region.
Lebanon and Sri Lanka: An Extraordinary Relationship and a Bright Future
Since the Silk Road, Arabs turned to Asian countries, and this was the reason for the spread of Arab civilization in many Asian countries. The Arab merchants headed towards Sri Lanka because of its geographical position. This island was a point of rest and cultural interaction between Sri Lankans and Arabs, and this is an important reason for the presence of Muslims in Sri Lanka.
The Sri Lankan-Lebanese relationship is long established. In the common history of these two countries, there are many good events. It is important to note that Sri Lanka is a peaceful country that has always been friendly to Lebanon at all times. In 1990, the relations between Lebanon and Sri Lanka became official after the establishment of diplomatic exchange. Sri Lanka’s first ambassador to Lebanon was appointed in 1997 and the diplomatic mission began in 1998. Prior to that, the Sri Lankan ambassador was appointed to Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Lebanon.
Sri Lanka’s foreign policy is based on the principle of friendship with all and hostility to no one, which has made this country a special place for Lebanese diplomacy. Sri Lanka traditionally follows a non-aligned foreign policy and does not take sides with major powers. Sri Lanka also has good relations with ASEAN countries, South Asian countries and major powers such as China, the United States and Russia, which has strengthened its internal peace.
Political and economic interest requires any country with ties to Sri Lanka to engage peacefully and diplomatically, because power and superiority with this island will have a negative effect. Sri Lanka is an active member of the United Nations and founding member of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), member of the Commonwealth of Nations, South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Colombo Plan.
The estimated number of Sri Lankan citizens in Lebanon is between 80,000 and 90,000, most of them workers. There is also a Sri Lankan battalion active in the peacekeeping force in Lebanon. The main task of the Sri Lankan battalion is to ensure security of Force Headquarters compound where all command elements, branches and all key personnel including the Force Commander / Head of the Mission are accompanied. These tasks also include; applying all FB measures in accordance with the alert status established by UNIFIL Force Commander, providing updated information and assesses the FP situation in their respective areas as requested by the Force Protection Working Group.
During the visit of Minister of Foreign Affairs Vasantha Senanayake to Lebanon, he expressed his country’s desire to develop bilateral relations with Lebanon and joint support in international forums. During that visit, the state minister considered that the Sri Lankan state is interested in direct flights between the two countries in order to encourage tourism and communication, and called on the Lebanese state to open an embassy in Colombo. He said that Sri Lanka’s participation in UNIFIL reflects the goodwill of the Sri Lankan state towards Lebanon for the security and safety of the people.
Trade relations between Lebanon and Sri Lanka are thriving and are developing considerably year after year. Lebanon can import a lot of goods from Sri Lanka especially since this country is rich in natural resources such as rubber products, garments, gem, jewelry, spices, fisheries products, fruits, pharmaceuticals, coconut charcoal, pearls and precious stones. Many Lebanese products can be exported to Sri Lanka such as Dairy products, marble tiles, cosmetics, construction machineries, agricultural and hospital equipment.
The bilateral relationship between Lebanon and Sri Lanka is a good example of active and peaceful diplomacy. The actual history of that relationship dates back to time and in 1990 it was formalized through diplomatic representation. Many generations of Sri Lankans have come to know a lot about Lebanese culture because they were brought up in Lebanon; those can be considered honorary citizens.
You will hear from every Lebanese who visited Sri Lanka amazing words about the beauty of this island and the goodness of its people. The Lebanese should welcome every Sri Lankan in Lebanon and treat them in a respectful and humane manner, whatever their job or social position.
Who wields “authority” in Pakistan? Need for maintaining separation of powers
The provincial government has decided to go to Supreme Court against Peshawar High Court’s judgment on the BRT. The court has directed the Federal Investigation Agency to probe the project. The bench, headed by Chief Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth was irked by a number of bloomers: (a) “Visionless” concentration of Asian Development Bank (ADB) loans in just one project without an in-depth feasibility study. (b) Cost increase from Rs49.453 billion in 2017 to Rs66.437 billion in 2018, of which Rs53.320 was take in the form of a loan from the ADB. (c) The “per kilometer cost of the BRT being exorbitantly high Rs2.427 billion. (d) Over-paid non-managerial staff. (e) Provision of expensive vehicles to secretary transport, director general of the Peshawar Development Authority (PDA) and commissioner Peshawar by consulting firm, Calsons and Maqbool, backlisted by the Punjab government, yet taken on board for the BRT in Peshawar. (e) Nexus between Pervez Khattak, the incumbent defense minister, the Director General, PDA, Azam Khan, principal secretary to the prime minister.
Our courts are submerged in plethora of cases with a political tinge. This trend is fatal for democracy. Let us not forget what Justice Muneer said shortly before pronouncing his verdict on Dosso case: ‘when politics enters the portals of Justice, democracy, its cherished inmate, walks out by the backdoor’. It was a court that fixed price of sugar, bottled water and even mobile-phone service. They decided privatization issue and mining rights. Unable to oust prime minister through no-confidence, politicos got the job done by courts.
It is time we refresh French jurist Jean Bodin’s dictum, majesta est summa in civas ac subditoes legibusque salute potestas, that is ‘highest power over citizens and subjects unrestrained by law’(Jo.Bodini Andegavensis, De Republica Libri Sex.BkI, ch.I, p.78 (Lyon and Paris, 1686).. Bodin explained power resides with whosoever has ‘power to coerce’ (praetorians included). It does not reside with electorate, parliament, judiciary or even constitution.
Bodin did not believe in separation of powers. Yet, our Constitution is based on separation of powers. Do we want to follow Bodin and repose all powers in a single authority, maybe judiciary?
Potestas, power in Bodin’s definition signifies auctoritas, authority, a power based upon positive law, de jure not merely de facto as potestas is used itn the Roman Lex de Imperio, or in the famous phrase of the Justinian’s Institutesin reference to it, omne suum, i.e., populi imperium et potestas’. An alternative meaning is auctoritas,authority, potential, a power de facto instead of de jure, actual might rather than lawful authority. The highest de factor power may be different from the one whose claims are the highest de jure [dummy prime ministers and presidents in some countries]. In Bodin’s view there can be but one sovereign, supreme, single and undivided;. If so, the potestas is the highest in actual might_ potentissima; with the highest authority. The sovereign is the person who is obeyed. `But we may obey one armed with the pistol as well as one armed with a warrant” (C. H. McIlwain, Economica,No. 18 (Nov., 1926), pp. 253). What matter is authority not wisdom!
In golden word of our Constitution, `sovereignty’ belongs to Allah, Almighty’ but `authority’, subject to divine supervision is to be exercised by elected representative.
Fortunately, our judiciary is reluctant to become sovereign authority. That’s why it referred army chief’s extension case to legislature. Let us recall observations of Pakistan’s Chief Justice during the course of his opening address for the judicial year 2019-2020.
He `warned of the dangers of an accountability process which seemed to place political expediency above the dictates of law. He felt that unless this trend was checked the process of accountability would lose all credibility’. Then, `he talked about the marginalisation of political parties and the dangers this may entail for a country based on constitutional democracy’. He abhorred `growing censorship of the media and how such practices could become a threat to democracy’. He pointed out that `constitutionally guaranteed rights of citizens must never be sacrificed at the altar of short-term gains’. To move forward, the CJP suggested that `all stakeholders, politicos, judiciary, military, media, civil society, sit together and resolve the problems which, if left unattended, could lead to disaster’.
Unfortunately, the common man is listless to the tug of war between various stakeholders. Aristotle thinks a citizen indifferent to state affairs is like an animal. It is alarming. French thinker, Montesquieu, likewise said in the 18th century `the tyranny of a Prince in an oligarchy is not as dangerous to the public welfare as the apathy of a citizen in a democracy.’ A corrupt government is a gift of an indifferent electorate. Unless citizens slumber, no-one can dare make underhand money in any project.
In the Azam Swati case, our chief justice succinctly remarked that governments come and go but the state and the people remain. Irked by the chief justice’s suo moto notice, the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf government’s information minister said what use was a government that could not suspend an IGP (later retracted or modified).
There is a Latin quip quis custodiet ipsos custodies?, who will guard the guardians? The phrase epitomises Socrates’ search for guardians who can hold power to account. Power corrupts and absolute power tends to corrupt absolutely. On-elected institutions include judiciary, civil service, police, banking institutions, and public sector undertakings.
The malaise of governmental power manifests itself in fake accounts, billions in benami (nameless) or unclaimed accounts, loans without collateral (bad debts), and politically-influenced appointments.
Theoretically, the people hold ‘power’ to account. But the ‘people’ are an amorphous lot without a legal identity like an institution, except as ‘voter’ during elections.
Could a CJP open a tuition centre during evening hours to teach what ‘power’, ‘government’, ‘state’ or ‘people’ are?
Accountability of elites and mafias: William A. Welsh says, `The rise of democracy has signaled the decline of elites’ Leaders and Elites, p.1) But, a bitter lesson of history is that demokratia (power of the people) had always been an ideal. History reminds no system, not even ochlocracy (mobocracy) could ever bulldoze governing elites. Delhi Sultanate, the Moghul, and the Englishman ruled through hand-picked elites. The `equal citizen’ as enshrined in golden words of our constitution remained a myth. Even American democracy is run by a handful of specialised people. The majority of the population is a silent spectator, a `bewildered herd’ (Chomsky).
Because of their influence, many political philosophers, including Plato, Aristotle and Tacitus studied nature of societies and the elites that they popped up. Many modern thinkers like Moska, Michel, Marx, Pareto and C Wright Mill, also tried to make head or tail of the elites.
Demokratia (power of the people) could never equalise citizens. However, all democracies envisioned `opportunities for political participation to larger proportions of the population’, and across-the-board accountability. Democracy is a progressive effort to equalise citizens before law, rather than legalising elites and mafias. The dilly-dallying in passing an across-the-board accountability law is not understood. The law should provide for accountability (under Law of Tort) for negligence or neglect by professionals (judges, lawyers, teachers, media persons, and their ilk).
Granting exemptions to certain elites amounts to converting them into sacrosanct mafias. Let there be a single omnipotent body to try all individuals and elites alike.
A peep through hlidskjalf (telescope): If god Odin peeps through his hlidskjalf to have a panoramic glance at Pakistan’s society (its ordinary and influential people and lackadaisical institutions, at dagger’s drawn), what would he notice? Inertia, incompetence, and siege mentality, all around! What solution for this psychopathology? Change of attitudes and a cooperative relationship between individuals and organisations. Not viewing civilians as bloody ones and Khakis as dunces. But how to revamp attitudes? Draw psychological profiles of individuals and organisations. Are they `normal’? ‘Rueful child visible to naked eyes in `Pakistan founding party wala’ and `Naya Pakistan wala` chiefs.
At least the selection and training institutions should review efficacy of their Thematic Apperception Tests. This test claims to decipher underlying motives, concerns, and their inner window on social world. Why scoundrels at large like `sab she pehley Pakistan’ wala remained undetected. He hid in washroom to avoid (d)ragging (read Musharraf’s auto-biography). Try to detect flaws in attitudes like `halo effect’, `projection’, `blame shifting’, `victim blaming’, `bullying’ and` transference’. May apply even Rorschach Ink Blot Test, Children’s Apperception Test and other tests in store.
Unless siege mentality is cured we would continue to witness `defence mechanism’ attitudes (fearful court judgments, discriminatory education and healthcare, and stratified shelter and housing). In short, fossilization of mafias (scuttling participatory democracy) in all realms of life.
Conclusion: Elected representatives (power) are under the delusion that they are superior to all unelected institutions. But the representatives should exercise their authority under Allah’s
Authority within bounds of our constitution.
The courts are guards over brute power and authority of the guardians (government). In so doing the courts are ‘quite untouchable by the legislature or the executive in the performance of its duty’ (Harilal Kania, India’s first chief justice).The chief justice of Pakistan alone cannot be the guardsman of the constitution. Unlike Western judges, he does not have lifelong tenure. The bureaucracy, banks and accountability institutions should also preserve their autonomy tooth and nail.
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