Friday, October 15, 2004

Pakistan: Is the idea of Pakistan dead?

[ No state in the world was made by total consensus. Some elements remain opposed to it and will be assimilated into the larger consensus only gradually. Not having an ummah does not harm the nation-state. Jihad was wrong because it was privatised and has come to an end. That will not harm the state either. Why should Pakistan come to an end in 2007? Dr Israr Ahmad speaks like a prophet but may not be proved right like a prophet. He said the Taliban were the army of the Mehdi and he was proved wrong when Muqtada Al Sadr produced his Mehdi army in Iraq. Nothing happened. No one holds him to his flights of fancy. ]

Is the idea of Pakistan dead?
Khaled Ahmed

The purpose of Pakistan will be determined by a number of factors outside Pakistan’s control, but will depend on how Pakistan adapts to these factors. The purpose of the Third World state is to survive. It is only when it comes to the quality of this survival that the Third World’s paucity of intellectual resource becomes apparent

It is a sign of the crisis of the state that fewer and fewer people agree on the ‘idea of Pakistan’. No one is willing to recognise and accept what Pakistan has become, not even those who are responsible for this evolution of the state. Those who have Islamised it are not happy because they think Islamisation has not happened to the full. Those who had not agreed with the kind of ideology imposed on the country think that the purpose of Pakistan has not been realised. No one believes that states make mistakes and that, by learning from them, arrive at ‘the idea of the state’.

Famous cleric of Lahore Dr Israr Ahmad stated in Khabrain (August 5, 2004) that the idea of Pakistan was dead and that after two and a half years Pakistan would be no more. He said there was no Islamic jihad in Kashmir and there was no such thing as Muslim ummah. He said Pakistan would break up into eight pieces and Balochistan would be the only piece that would be economically viable. He said Pakistan was not made by Punjabis but by Sindhis. In the NWFP, there was Sarhadi Gandhi and the Baloch wanted no part of Pakistan.

No state in the world was made by total consensus. Some elements remain opposed to it and will be assimilated into the larger consensus only gradually. Not having an ummah does not harm the nation-state. Jihad was wrong because it was privatised and has come to an end. That will not harm the state either. Why should Pakistan come to an end in 2007? Dr Israr Ahmad speaks like a prophet but may not be proved right like a prophet. He said the Taliban were the army of the Mehdi and he was proved wrong when Muqtada Al Sadr produced his Mehdi army in Iraq. Nothing happened. No one holds him to his flights of fancy.

Quoted in Nawa-e-Waqt (August 6, 2004) Justice (Retd) Javid Iqbal said that the objectives of Pakistan had been lost and new generations were given nothing. Periodically army took over the country, created new political elements then destroyed them. The media was gagged and those who gave Pakistan its nuclear programme were persecuted. He said the clergy was not interpreting Islam right and was obsessed with usury while the economic order in modern times had become highly developed. There was a need to convert Pakistan into an Islamic welfare modern state but there was nothing but despair in Pakistan. He said national language Urdu was being ignored in English-medium schools.

Dr Javid Iqbal may be put off by misdirection quite common in the Third World. That Pakistan fell into the Third World category is no surprise. Muslims could have converted a much better endowed state into this category. What was the purpose of Pakistan? It is folly to try and make that too clear. The cleric will plump for Khilafat-e-Rashida and the socialist will fall for a welfare state. Dr Javid Iqbal’s idea of the welfare state is passé. Army’s paramountcy cannot be removed without altering the nature of Pakistan’s anti-India nationalism. The purpose of Pakistan will be determined by a number of factors outside Pakistan’s control, but will depend on how Pakistan adapts to these factors. The purpose of the Third World state is to survive. It is only when it comes to the quality of this survival that the Third World’s paucity of intellectual resource becomes apparent.

Columnist Hamid Mir wrote in Jang (August 3, 2004) that the attack on [then] finance minister Shaukat Aziz was owned up by Egyptian terrorist organisation Khaled Islambouli Brigade on behalf of Al Qaeda but the latter had not announced that it was indeed connected with the Brigade. Similarly Hafz al-Misri Brigade in Spain had claimed that its attack on the trains in Spain was linked to Al Qaeda but Al Qaeda had not dissociated from the attack. Thus both Khaled Islambouli Brigade and Hafs al-Misri Brigade will be considered parts of Al Qaeda as long as the latter did not publicly dissociate itself from them.

In connection with the attempt on the prime minister’s life, the ISI caught Qari Saifullah Akhtar of Harkat Jihad Islami from Dubai. He was an old graduate of Banuri Masjid. He was also close to Al Qaeda. The Egyptian connection links him to Aiman al-Zawahiri who is now in charge.

According to daily Pakistan (August 3, 2004) nine Arab princes were to start their hunting season in Pakistan from November and that special areas had been allotted to them by the government so that they can hunt freely without interruption till January next year. Sheikh Hammad was given Bahawalnagar, Shaikh Hamdan Bahawalpur, the Abu Dhabi crown prince Rajanpur, Sheikh Ziyad Jhang, Sheikh Zayd Rahimyar Khan, Prince Naif Layyah. According to the authorities the areas were set aside because they needed the economic uplift that will be provided by the Arab royalty.

The rise of Sipah Sahaba was owed to the money that seeped into its seminaries in South Punjab from the Arab guests. Once the money appeared, the seminaries opened like mushrooms.

Writing in Jang (August 5, 2004) columnist Nazir Naji stated that Al Qaeda’s biggest asset were the people of Pakistan who hated America to the man. In these circumstances if President Musharraf takes off the uniform it would lead to chaos which will further favour Al Qaeda. If he does not the country will become unstable which again will go in favour of Al Qaeda.

This is an insight that the mainstream political parties must take to heart if they think that after Musharraf they will inherit the mantle of power.

Ex-ISI chief Hameed Gul stated in Nawa-e-Waqt (August 5, 2004) that America, India and Israel were dead set against the deep-sea port of Gwadar. He said in Balochistan people who asked for their rights were dubbed traitors. He said army should at once be taken out of Balochistan. He feared that RAW and Mossad could benefit from the situation there.

If that angle is accepted it must embarrass the anti-American Baloch nationalists who oppose the Gwadar Port as a cat’s paw of American imperialism.

Writing in Jang (August 6, 2004) Irshad Haqqani stated that General Musharraf had told editors after 9/11 that the Americans had asked for three things from Pakistan which it was willing to give, but there was a line drawn on how far Pakistan could go in doing what America wanted. Irshad Haqqani, without saying what was too much, complained that Musharraf had gone too far in doing what the Americans wanted. He said it was the public impression that he had gone too far.

The American press thinks Musharraf is not sincere and is secretly going against the American policy. Mr Haqqani’s advice will impose on him the obligation of finding ways and means of opposing the American policy in the region. That will remove one pillar of the strategy of staying in power in Pakistan. After him will come a ruler whom we will advise not to go too much against the policy of the United States! And so it goes on.

According to Khabrain (August 6, 2004) a former staff officer to ex-NAB chief General Amjad, Hassan Abbas had written a book titled Allah, Army and America. He was currently teaching at Harvard Law School, Boston. He revealed that air chief Hakimullah was involved in the conspiracy that killed General Zia in 1988.

This is uncanny but should be read together with a recent statement, also made from the US, by a daughter of General Zia, that some air force officers killed him. One should read this together with reports that Zia’s pilots had acted suspiciously. One of them had asked his mother to pray for him because it was his last flight! *

Daily Times 15/10/2004