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Victory of religious control

By Saad Hafiz:

The unequal battle between the depleting ranks of secularists and the growing band of Islamists in Pakistan is all but over. The dream of a progressive, democratic and pluralistic society is in tatters. It appears that secularists could only take comfort from one speech by Mr Jinnah, which lent support to a secular society, while Islamists could count on decades of constitutional accommodation and appeasement.

The Islamist camp has also been boosted by the democratic and military leaders who have used Islam for political gains. Their contribution to the development of an obscurantist and sectarian society is no less than that of the orthodox clerics. Liaquat Ali Khan, the first prime minister of Pakistan, considered among the secularists, sponsored the Objectives Resolution under the pressure of the clerics. This happened immediately after the passing of Mr Jinnah, who had laid down secular guidelines in his speech to the Constituent Assembly. In the following decades, there was a conflict between the secularists and the clerics. This conflict made the task of constitution making difficult, particularly since the Bengalis wanted to keep some secular clauses like joint electorates. Under their influence, a compromise constitution did come up in 1956.

In line with the Objectives Resolution, the preamble to the 1956 constitution spoke of Allah as having “sovereignty over the entire universe”. It spoke of authority exercised by the people of Pakistan as being within the limits “prescribed by Him as a sacred trust”. The preamble spoke of all laws of Pakistan conforming to the Koran and the Sunnah. Muslim scholars had been urging that all legislation be null and void that contravened, in letter or spirit, Islamic law as laid down in the Koran. They had been urging that the powers of government be derived from, circumscribed by, and exercised within the limits of Islamic Sharia law alone.

In 1962, martial law was replaced by a second constitution, with the preamble to the 1956 constitution remaining in place to appease the Islamists. The 1962 Constitution introduced two Islamic institutions, namely the Advisory Council of Islamic Ideology and Islamic Research Institute. The alienation of the Bengalis and the corruption of the generally secular General Ayub’s regime brought another martial law headed by General Yahya Khan, who ordered general elections in the country, which resulted in the total defeat of the fundamentalist parties. Balochistan and the Frontier provinces backed the secular parties. It was under their influence that Pakistan got a somewhat balanced 1973 Constitution with cosmetic and vague Islamic content. Mr Bhutto under pressure from the Islamists soon started to tinker with it. His end came at the hands of the very obscurantist elements that he tried to appease.

General Zia took over after deposing Mr Bhutto. In a self-serving referendum, the people of Pakistan were asked to endorse “the process initiated by General Muhammad Ziaul-Haq, the President of Pakistan, for bringing the laws of Pakistan in conformity with the injunctions of Islam as laid down in the Holy Quran and Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) and for the preservation of the Islamic ideology of Pakistan, for the continuation and consolidation of that process, and for the smooth and orderly transfer of power to the elected representatives of the people.” General Zia, through a rush of ordinances, also changed the basic laws of the state. Hudood and blasphemy ordinances changed the political culture of the country. Pakistan was on its way of becoming a theocracy.

Benazir Bhutto and Mian Nawaz Sharif who came after Zia did little to reverse the tide of fundamentalism and the exploitation of Islam for personal benefit continued. In fact, the emergence of the Taliban and profusion of the fundamentalist elements were the landmarks of their rule. When General Musharraf took over, he started projecting a secular and liberal image for himself by praising Kemal Ataturk. The orthodox clerics reacted against it and the concessions on relaxing the blasphemy law were quietly shelved.

The imposition of one vision of the ‘good’ on others who may not share it is almost complete. This is indeed antithetical to the notion of a democratic system that protects individual and minority rights. The main fault of organised religion is the reliance on violence rather than on the trust in its own truths. Secularism is not a renunciation of religion, but is a recognition that violence and state-sponsored force should not be the mechanism to spread any ideology. Religious control will inevitably lead to despotism, not democracy, because it privileges power over reason. This should have been reason enough for opposing the efforts of Islamists to enter and seek to seize control of the state and the political marketplace. However, a clear unified lobby who are strong proponents of religious domination, and who provoke attacks on those who value their own autonomy and political choice, are in the driver’s seat. On the other side, there is just a silent populace that has lost its nerve through decades of internal harassment by the ruling forces aligning themselves with the fundamentalists. This one-sided struggle assures victory for those elements that want to ram through their agenda of religious control of state and society.

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213 Responses to "Victory of religious control"

  1. AKB Pakistan Mozilla Firefox Windows says:



    Gunman kills mother, then 26 in Conn. grade school before turning gun on himself
    NEWTOWN, Conn. — This time, the shooter killed 27 people, including his elementary-schoolteacher mother, her principal and 20 children, most of them kindergartners. Then the shooter killed himself.

    Friday morning’s massacre in Newtown, Conn. — the second-deadliest shooting event in U.S. history — took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School, where more than 600 children from kindergarten through fourth grade spend their days. About 9:30 a.m., the day was interrupted by a burst of sound on the school intercom: screams.


  2. AKB Pakistan Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    @ Dronacharya

    You asked ”IF USA is evil, as proclaimed 24×7, why do Muslims world-vide line up before US Embassies/Consulates begging for a US Visa ?” —-the answer is so simple! Muslims want to go there to make money (carrying a lot of money with them to spend there as well and most of them being high professionals) or to seek quarter from crimes that they have committed at home!!
    For this reason you will find Mirjai Headquarters and Altaf Hussain O MQM in London! You should blame the Americans for giving them the visas …rather than question the Muslims!

  3. AKB Pakistan Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    @ Mirjai heretics

    As admitted by your Mirja Ghulla and you ”a religion is DEAD without a prophet”. Right. Now that Mirja Ghulla of Qadian has long been to hell your so called religion is also dead. Carve out a new frofet now to revive your cult or take me,and pre-empting their leave to say that, Rex, tajinder, KC or even YLH or RR as one!!

  4. HistoryBuff United States Safari iPad says:

    Continue this way, very convincing, and it will also help heal Pakistan!

  5. Rex Minor Germany Google Chrome Windows says:


    You are now thinking loudly and taking the role of a spoiler. Why this ad why that; how and why was the beginning of the padagogy. There is nothing in the words of God for his advantage but for the benefits of humans. One can not make optimum use of a Porsche unless one follows one to one the constructors instruction manual. You have a question about any of the commandments? Be happy with what you have and thank God for what you do not have. You want to live in a country which depends on the brain drain from other countries but does not provide protection for innocents in kindergarten and schools. You want your children to grow up in a country which is the biggest supplier of weaponry in the world and therefore encourages conflicts and regional wars. No thanks! The future belongs to the land of avatars and the chinese civilisation. Islam is the ultimate remedy for the salvation of mankind since christianity and Judaism is gradualy falling prey to demonism.

    Rex Minor

  6. MilesToGo United States Safari Mac OS says:

    Islam is the religion chosen by Allah himself. He can’t be wrong.

  7. gautam United Arab Emirates Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    A key suspect in the 2007 Samjhauta Express blast, which killed 68 people and mostly Pakistanis, was arrested from Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh on Friday night.

    The arrest came in the midst of Pakistan Interior Minister Rehman Malik’s ongoing visit to India.

    The suspect, Rajendra Chaudhary alias Samandar Das, allegedly planted bombs in two coaches of the Samjhauta Express along with Kamal Chauhan, who is already under arrest.

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    19:23 India embarrassed by Samjhauta blast probe? Police have secured a transit remand for Mr Das and will produce him tomorrow at the Panchkula courts near Chandigarh, where the Samjhauta Express case is being heard.

    On February 18, 2007, two blasts had ripped through coaches of the Samjhauta Express near Panipat, when the train was heading from Delhi to Lahore.

    The blast is alleged to have been carried out by Hindu right-wing extremists. The National Investigation Agency, which probes terrorism cases, has chargesheeted six people, including Swami Aseemanand and Sadhvi Pragya Thakur.

    For NDTV Updates,
    Story first published: December 15, 2012 20:48 ISTTags: Rehman Malik, Samjhauta Express blast

  8. Rex Minor Germany Google Chrome Windows says:

    Fellows; It is not the function of the democraticaly elected Govt. to enforce one or other religion on its people who elected the political leadership of the Govt., nor is it the function of the clergy, the theologists to control the administration or its judiciary and military arm of the Nation. However the constitution of Pakistan, which guides successive administrtations as well as the judiciary must reflect the VALUES of Islam. A refrendum is required to establish the constitution of the so named Islamic republic of Pakistan!!

    A modern country with modern laws(sharia in arabic) and not the 7th century regulations which were designed with sincerety and practicality for 7th century people but fall short of the specifications for 21st century population. To go on this path needs the reforms in education and a compulsary 10 years schooling and apprenticeship for every citizen in an appropriate trade. Pakistan military has more than many NCO’s an the knowledge to take over the task of teachers in schools. Unless Pakistan unergoes a cultural revolution, its divisive society is not likely to recover from the decadent. This task is for than a generation and cannot be realised during a legislation period.

    Rex Minor

  9. Milestogo United States Safari iPhone says:

    Lets start by learning Arabic so that we may read Quran and understand divine sharia laws. Any Pakistani who does not know Arabic shall be punished by 30 lashes in public.

  10. Rex Minor Germany Google Chrome Windows says:

    Not lashes, but additional lessons in the Madrassa!

    Rex Minor

  11. MilesToGo United States Safari Mac OS says:

    Allah likes lashes.

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