Rebuttal to a Mullah of Another Kind

By Yasser Latif Hamdani

I am not a Marxist of any kind. Far from it. However I have the greatest respect for Marx and his singular contribution to humanity. I also respect Lenin and the architects of the Bolshevik Revolution.

The greatest legacy Marxism bestowed upon humanity was the principle of dialectical analysis. It does not go for the simplest definition and certainly does not accept Occam’s Razor as a valid answer. Consequently, Marxism has produced the kind of historical analysis that can hold its own without any ideological pretensions. The hallmark of this analysis is intellectual honesty. When translated into action of the activist kind, this becomes an honesty of purpose. This is why regardless of what nation state to one belongs, the patriotism of a true Marxist-Leninist will never be suspect. You will never find a Faiz or a Jalib or a Sibt-e-Hassan betraying their homeland or their people. The story of this group’s contribution to Pakistan’s history starting right from the Pakistan movement is one of self less sacrifice without recognition or reward.

Unfortunately, however, it seems that there is a breed of Marxists – Trotskyites mostly it seems – who have broken completely from tradition. Tariq Ali is one (I am preparing a whole series of articles on his fallacies). This- their inability to deploy dialectical marxist techniques, makes them ready for business, handy tools in the hands of those smart Western Capitalists who exploit them as they please. This is why Trotskyites are well received in the capitalist west. Gifted writers like Orwell have written allegories like Animal Farm and 1984 justifying the Trotskyite point of view.

Yet this is not what I want to waste this space writing about. I have not been much for sectarian debates really. My concern is with a particular cabal of self styled Marxist (Trotskyite) intellectuals who have left no stone unturned to oppose the people of Pakistan and their legitimate interests. While most of Pakistani left (and indeed even some Trotskyite groups like Labour Party etc) walked hand in hand with the people during the Lawyers’ Movement, these special kind of intellectuals were firmly in bed with Comrades Musharraf, Zardari and Taseerm who planning on how to crush the people’s long march. When the people won and the Chief Justice was restored through what was probably the largest secular movement for human rights in the last decade, these protectors of Zardarist people’s revolution, these comrades of Yusuf Raza Gillani – the progressive marxist PPP prime minister and one of South Punjab’s largest landowners- and these champions of the socialist governor of Punjab who also owns one of the largest media and technology groups in that province, started singing a new mantra- the Chief Justice is not progressive. And when Indian courts gave the momentous decision on homosexuality, a genius many of you are familiar with wrote:

Justice Murlidharan, has not received any “Harvard Medal of Freedom” unlike our honourable Chief Justice, but his decision is truly revolutionary. Our great chief justice despite having received “Harvard Medal of Freedom” has not written a single decision which could bring freedom to Pakistani Ahmedis, homosexuals, Dalits [Musalli of Punjab] or Balochs

Let us forget that our Chief Justice is bound by the constitution given by PPP and the second amendment to that constitution – passed at the behest of our very own Nehruvian Socialist Mr. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto- which made Ahmedis non-Muslim. What? It was not the Muslim League or any other such party that did that. Infact the reactionary and communalist prime minister of the Muslim League, Nazimuddin refused to acquiesce to the Islamist demands and thereby lost his premiership. Not so for the flamboyant Nehru-like third world hero. While Nehru had his Somnath and Shaikh Abdullah moments, Bhutto gave us the Pakistani constitution which closes all doors on positive progress. That takes care of the Ahmadis, Musalis (whose quota was canceled by Bhutto government I believe) and homosexuals. As for the Baloch, the PPP government bombed the hell out of them in the 1970s.

The genius goes on to write:

While writing this decision Justice Murlidharn quoted Jawaherlal Nehru’s vision of equality and secularism which he put forward in “objective resolution” of 1946. One “objective resolution” was passed in Pakistan too by Muhammed Ali Jinnah’s prime minister “Nawabzada” Liaqat Ali Khan, in which state of Pakistan was for ever declared subservient to Quran and Sunnah

Ofcourse the fact that Jinnah’s Prime Minister did not dare even bring it up when Jinnah was alive is inconvenient to the genius’ over all push. But the truth is that Objectives Resolution – even with its reference to enabling Muslims to live their lives according to the Quran and Sunnah- was not a substantive document and was not enforceable in a court of law. Nor did it make the state of Pakistan subservient to Quran and Sunnah. That happened through the great socialist constitution of 1973, but we shall come to it in a minute.

Suffice to say that while the honorable Indian Justice Murlidharn found it expedient to quote Jawaharlal Nehru’s vision, if and when Pakistani judges decide to live up to Jinnah’s vision of a secular and egalitarian Pakistan, they will find much more to echo in Jinnah than Indian judges do so in Nehru. But this is a debate that has gone on for a while.

A true Marxist scholar would instead analyze why Muslim-majority states – in the post colonial phase- have all been seduced in varying degrees by religious revival. A true Marxist would find causes of Indian acceptance of secularism in the nature of its majority’s cultural life. This would require an analysis of the lopsided economic and political development within these communities and the resultant dischord between the two contending bourgeoisie classes. Ascribing India’s success to Nehru or Pakistan’s failure to Jinnah (who unlike Nehru died within 13 months) is not analysis of any kind. It is hogwash presented as analysis. It is also the kind of analysis in vogue amongst nationalist myth-makers.

The genius writes further:

Well done Aitzaz Ahsan , Tahirah Abdullah Civil Society and Jinnah worshiping secular clowns who marched with Jamate Islami and PML-N. Those who became hysteric on Governor Taseer’s take over. Crying for “good governance” of Shahbaz Sharif.

As you can imagine the “Jinnah worshiping secular clowns” is a reference to me. One can almost feel the pain and feeling of overpowering jealousy in which this part was written. While the Secular clowns like me were rejoicing and the vanguard of Zardarist Revolution were peeing in their pants but we came to their rescue. Immediately on restoration of the Chief Justice, Aitzaz Ahsan, Tahira Abdullah, Civil Society and the Jinnah worshiping secular clowns like me all went home thus outflanking the Jamaat-e-Islami and Hameed Gul types. Where is the “opportunistic” Aitzaz now?Has he used his great victory to de-stabilize Zardari or enrich himself? Has any of the others? We did it for the people and for Pakistan.

Not that we marched with the goons of the Jamaat-e-Islami- atleast this Jinnah-worshipping secular clown did not- but what about Nehru and Gandhi and all those other progressive and liberal freedom fighters who marched arm in arm with the forerunners of the Taliban in the name of Indian independence? And what of the president’s late wife- the martyred Benazir Bhutto – who sat in the government with them and presided over the fertilization and germination of the Taliban?

One clown i encountered on blogosphere was declaring Shahbaz Sharif “greatest administrator” of Punjab since Maharaja Ranjeet Singh

Once again this is me. Despite the fact that I’ve always opposed the Sharif brothers, no one can deny that Shahbaz Sharif is a good administrator.

One man populist-authoritarian” model of governance as “good governance”. They also consider “bureaucratization” and “centralization” key to “good governance”. In the age of de-centralization and de-regulation , distribution of responsibility and power this man restored the British Colonial model of administration.

Here it would be too cruel to point out that this might as well describe Jawarharlal Nehru. In fact the key point which sowed the seeds of partition was the refusal of Congress to accept provincial domain over residuary powers. But for 17 years Nehru ruled India with an iron fist. And while both Pakistan and India were forced to bring their provinces in line, it was Nehru who argued for and retained section 93 of the Government of India Act – something which Jinnah – who is often accused by the author in question of having authoritarian tendencies for his treatment of NWFP’s Khan ministry- had gotten abrogated. Jawaharlal Nehru ruled India like a Mughal Emperor imprisoning at will even his closest friends and loyal toadies like Shaikh Abdullah, sometimes a philosopher, sometimes a statesman, always a tyrant. He was the strongest Prime Minister in the history of South Asia and the most autocratic inhabitant of the throne of Delhi since Aurangzeb Alamgir. According to one commentator from India, Nehru knew the only way to run India was like the British. No wonder consummate aristocrat- first in the line of many aristocratic “socialists” that this subcontinent has had to bear- Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, son of Sir Motilal Nehru of the Order of the British Empire, liked to think of himself as the last Englishman to rule India (this after criticizing day in and day out the very self made and middle class Jinnah for being a “Bond Street” gentleman). Of course this would be far too inconvenient to discuss lest someone point out the obvious about Nehru.

So let us come then to mere mortals- Comrade Zardari and the Party whose revolution the author in question so jealously guards. Now those who have read what I have had to say know that I am a big proponent of the municipal government, provincial autonomy and decentralization. Of course this would not be obvious to someone who is just making an argument for sophistry. It is now known that PPP’s government has no plans of allowing the local government system to continue. These socialist democrats of Bhutto-Zardari order would rather prefer rule of district commissioner. It is true that Shahbaz Sharif and his brother suffer from the same illness but then no “Jinnah-worshiping secular clown” ever had the brief for the Sharif brothers. Can we spell hypocrisy?

He then goes on to quote a story about the Punjab government under Sharif being involved with the Khatm-e-Nabuwat group- a KKK-style lynch mob active against Ahmadis. Ironically though he forgets to mention that he stole the story from this very same “Jinnah-worshiping Secular clown” who he now condemns for having compared Shahbaz Sharif to Ranjit Singh, if only in one aspect. He also forgets (at the cost of being repetitive) to mention that there is no legal recourse against such an action unfortunately thanks to great socialist constitution of 1973 prepared by the grand Marxist party i.e. Pakistan People’s Party which has decreed in a very progressive fashion that Quran and Sunnah are supreme in Pakistan (no it wasn’t the Objectives Resolution that did that – in a very legal sense it was the Constitution of 1973) or the second amendment which declared that Ahmadis were non-Muslim.

Intellectual dishonesty cannot and should not be passed off as ‘left politics”. Young Marxists, leftists and socialists must not be taken in by horrible simplifications in the name of Marx. The left has a distinct and important role to play in Pakistan. We would like to see stronger communist and socialist parties which can keep the right in check. These parties have always been organic to this land. Faiz was, Jalib was, Major Ishaq was, Hassan Nasir was. Lal Band is. It means that they would have to choose the people every time the people come into conflict with the entrenched forces of status quo.

And finally, Pakistan’s only hope lies in faithfully following the vision of its founding father Mahomed Ali Jinnah, who wanted a strong, secular, democratic and federal Pakistan based on rule of law and equality of all citizens and where religion was a personal matter and all choices were personal so long as these choices did not infringe on others’ personal matters and choices. It is this Pakistan that we fought for when we – the Jinnah-worshiping secular clowns- marched for in that glorious Ides of March which brought down tyranny like never in history. In due course of time we shall succeed in achieving Jinnah’s Pakistan.

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