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Ayesha Jalal on Jinnah’s Pakistan and other issues

Quoted from here

If you’re talking about Pakistan as it stands today — Pakistan with its bouts of unreasonableness, its treatment of minorities, the killing of minorities, the blasphemy laws, a whole succession of things — it’s clearly not the Pakistan that the founder of Pakistan imagined. The founder of Pakistan was first and foremost a constitutional lawyer, who believed in the supremacy of the law — something that has never somehow caught the imagination of Pakistanis. They may talk about it, but there is no law. Each man is a law unto himself. Whoever can grab it, that’s it. So that’s a fundamental departure. Second, when Jinnah spoke of Pakistan as a Muslim state, he envisioned a democratic, enlightened Pakistan. So what I’m saying is that there are many levels at which this country departs from Jinnah’s ideals. But the most interesting thing I’ve discovered is that by the same token, everyone or most people do hark back to Jinnah’s Pakistan. So while they have moved away from Jinnah’s Pakistan as an ideal, it remains as a main point of discussion. That is something hopeful, I think…

Pakistan’s problems go back to the moment of its creation. But there’s no denying that changes in the strategic situation post the Soviet invasion [Christmas eve, 1979] were a watershed. The military regime was not simply ridding the region of the Soviet presence, but was using that threat to Pakistan’s existence to solidify its own rule within Pakistan. The Soviet invasion came as a great boost to General Zia’s regime. It brought him lots of greenbacks. It was a period of prosperity. And it was a decisive step not only because of the uses made of militant Islam to allow the war against the Soviets, but also because the infusion of US dollars (matched dollar for dollar by Saudi money) resulted in a scenario where the society was up for sale. It was a transformative process. It saw the further entrenchment of the military’s role in Pakistan. It resulted in a further fragmentation and polarization of civil society. There is no question that a three-decade-long policy has taken a very heavy toll on Pakistan: the arms and drugs economy, the weapons that made their way into Pakistan — they didn’t all go to Afghanistan; a lot of money came to Pakistan as well. That is where the qualitative changes take place… The 80s are crucial in Pakistan’s history, and I think in global history.

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12 Responses to "Ayesha Jalal on Jinnah’s Pakistan and other issues"

  1. wonderer India Safari Mac OS says:

    I would suggest you also listen to unusually frank views of Ayesha Jalal in following Audio file:

  2. Jinnah’s Pakistan! George Washington’s America! These are all frivilous phrases with no linkage to reality. Without the solid masses backing that caused a movement, Mr. Jinnah and Mr. Washington, for that matter, would have been just another persons with no name in the history of the world. So, to start with that it was Jinnah’s mistake or recent Dow Jones dipping is Washington’s mistake, well, the lesser be commented the better. Muslims of undivided India in 30′s were feeling the pinch of being sideliners as a second generation of the subcontinent while Hindus capturing all key positions of official setup, business and finance. Jinnah was wise enough to evaluate the situation and communicated to the deprived Muslims – they responded big time. There is no two opinions about the greatness of Gandhi and Nehru. To combat their political strategies and force the world hear Muslims’ voice, that is something out of ordinary, and even the staunch opposite forces accept this. Ignorning the merits and only enforcing demerits turns a good article into a biased one and “personal opinion” (not binding on others).

    About the military ambitious history in Pakistan, I totally agree with the writer. It is stupidity to blame West that they supported these ambitious generals (nine soldiers out of ten are born fool – George Bernard Shaw), we the Pakistanis as a whole have to be blamed for digesting this poison without any hue and cry. Nevertheless, Jinnah is nowhere in this sordid post-Pakistan story.

  3. [...] Ayesha Jalal on Jinnah’s Pakistan and other issues [...]

  4. observ Germany Internet Explorer Windows says:

    If any pakistani can devlop a post-Jinnah intelligence and statesmanship then he will be able to do something good for us ALL.

    If islam is the millstone around your neck then let it come out of islam. But it won’t and it can’t.

    Some will keep praising the millstone around their neck as a divine ornament as they go down under into more morass and lies.

    Jinnah with his opportunist megalomnia, his contradictions and cynicisms will never be able to do anything good for any of us. He is dead so let us just ignore him and get down to some real realistic thinking.

    Pakistan will have done a lot of damage to mankind before it is destroyed by the pakistanis themselves.

  5. Tilsim United Kingdom Internet Explorer Windows says:

    What is Jinnah’s Pakistan? It means different things to different people. It is not a settled thing. I don’t see any hope in going back to ‘Jinnah’s Pakistan’ and the Pakistanis who talk about this are not facing the reality of this country as it stands. I think we can all understand that to live successfully as a nation, the rule of law, respect for diversity (religous or ethnic) and equality of treatment by all citizens are essential components. Can we not simply inculcate these values into our populace?

    The mullahs negate respect for diversity and equality of treatment between citizens. They have different ideas about the law and it’s sources. These facts should be enough for our intellectuals and leaders to negate the mullah’s political importance in the eyes of the populace. We have a crisis of leadership because there are distorted values across society. Who can fix this other than ourselves by raising awareness?

  6. observe Germany Internet Explorer Windows says:

    tilsim writes:

    “The mullahs negate respect for diversity and equality of treatment between citizens. They have different ideas about the law and it’s sources.”

    Don’t blame the mullah in order to exonerate islam. The mullah does what islam instigates him to do. Does islam treat all humans equally? What about the differences in treatment of momins, ahl-al-kitab, dhimmis, kafirs and murtads? Your trick is to try to protect islam by putting blame on some select muslims whom you earmark for despisement. Some will be fooled by this trick.

  7. swapnavasavdutta United States Internet Explorer Windows says:

    Can so many mullahs be wrong all the time?

  8. Maestro United States Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    [’s clearly not the Pakistan that the founder of Pakistan imagined...]

    May be not… but it’s clearly the Pakistan common Pakis themselves wanted… Common abdul was not looking for a secular state, he wasn’t marching and rioting in favor of a secular state – he was looking and rooting for an islamic state – and that’s exactly what he has now…

    Does it matter want Jhinnah wanted?…

  9. Tilsim United Kingdom Internet Explorer Windows says:

    @ Maestro
    “he was looking and rooting for an islamic state – and that’s exactly what he has now…”

    This may or may not be true. The common abdul in Pakistan in Karachi is different in his views to the common abdul in Gujranwala to the common abdul in Quetta or Parachinar.

    However up and down the country, the common abdul knows that whatever he has at the moment is not working. There are some leaders who say -it’s not Islamic enough – turn up the dial. There are a few others who say – look where all this Islamism has got us – we need to move away from political Islam. The common abdul will veer towards any solution that makes his life better because what he has now is crushing him.

    If the common abdul understands how his problems occur, he won’t care about whether the solution comes in an Islam bottle or a non-Islam bottle. He will be interested to judge how these various poles will provide the solution. He will make mistakes and may even pick the wrong solution initially.

    If the common abdul becomes aware that he is responsible for this current plight by blaming others and not pushing back, he just might stand up to be counted. Nothing will change for the common abdul until he stands up.

    Pakistan’s common abdul will then define what he wants Pakistan to be by chosing his leaders. It won’t be the Nazaria e Pakistan crowd or drawing room intellectuals.

    Jinnah’s Pakistan (whatever that abstract idea might be) is irrelevant to the plight of common abdul.

  10. hiob Germany Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    to tilsim

    The common pakistani has to be given a solution in an islamic bottle. Even if the actual content is (or has to be) totally unislamic. The pretense that everything good comes from islam and islam only is necessary for his debilitated psyche. That is the depravity of the society which rules over him.

    If there are floods in Pakistan and help coms from USA or some other non-muslim society, then this help has to be labeled “islamic” or distributed through some agency with an arabic name by persons wearing salwar-kamiz-roundcap. Another nation which performs similarly is Pakistan’s great “benefactor and friend” North Korea. Dishonesty, arrogance, conceit and false sense of honor are the real “friends” of Pakistan.

  11. Pankaj India Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    @ TILSIM and Hiob

    Since you are TALKING of Bottles I want To TALK about COFFINS
    May I REMIND ALL readers That In the AIR BLUE CRASH in Pakistan ;On The coffin of the The LONE Hindu person who died ; the Word KAFFIR was written in Bold Letters

    How worse and Low can it get for the OTHERS in Pakistan

  12. Tilsim United Kingdom Internet Explorer Windows says:

    If the solution comes packaged in an apparently Islamic bottle, it still has to address the issues. I am not aware that the common Özgür in Turkey is complaining at the moment because his or her elected leaders come packaged in an Islamic bottle. They appear to be doing enough to keep the common person voting them in again and again. If Turkey’s economic performance or security had deteriorated, it’s unlikely that they would be successful. It’s the same for India and the BJP. BJP was voted out because it’s shining India slogan rang hollow to the plight of common babita.

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