by Syed Foaad Hassan
Quaid-e-Azam in his March 1940 presidential address said “It is extremely difficult to appreciate why our Hindu friends fail to understand the real nature of Islam and Hinduism. They are not religious in the strict sense of the word, but are, in fact, different and distinct social orders; and it is only a dream that the Hindus and Muslims can ever evolve a common nationality. This misconception of one Indian Nation has troubles and will lead India to destruction if we fail to revise our notions in time. The Hindus and Muslims belong to two different religious philosophies, social customs, literatures. They neither intermarry nor inter-dine together and, indeed, they belong to two different civilizations which are based mainly on conflicting ideas and conceptions. Their aspect on life are different. It is quite clear that Hindus and Muslims derive their inspiration from different sources of history. They have different epics, different heroes, and different episodes. Very often the hero of one is a foe of the other and, likewise, their victories and defeats overlap. To yoke together two such nations under a single state, one as a numerical minority and the other as a majority, must lead to growing discontent and final destruction of any fabric that may be so built for the government of such a state.”
The statement raises a serious question; how many states do we need to accommodate different nations, respectively? My focus will be on the piece of land we now call Islamic Republic of Pakistan, or so-called Al-Bakistan. Initially, it was just “Pakistan” where Jinnah tried his best to unite us under one flag and one language for all four provinces. Within a few years, we felt something seriously lacking in the system, Islam. Thus, we officially became the Islamic Republic of Pakistan in 1956.
So what change did it bring to us gradually? We started marching towards polarization. In 1971, we lost East Pakistan. Hundreds of thousands of people including women and children were killed in this battle. In 1974, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan started tightening noose on different religious denominations declaring them infidels and minorities, such as the Ahmadiyya community. Later, until 1980s, a complete ban was imposed on religious practices of these groups; such as praying in public, building Mosques and even saying “Assalam-o-Alaikum”. Currently, an 82-year old doctor from Ahmadiyya community is serving prison in Lahore on charges of publically reciting the holy Quran. Thus, Pakistan becomes the only Islamic state where you can get jailed for practicing your religion.
First we made them infidels because they were not on right path according to majority of us, alright, they were not on right path but now they might get on our definition of the right path if they read the holy book. However, they are jailed for doing so in public.
Time passed on and the Soviet Union marched towards Afghanistan. We helped our brotherly country, the USA, and along with the help of Saudi Arabia — for which we call ourselves Al-Bakistanis, Al-Bunjabis and have vehicles bearing red number plates in Arabic fonts.
We created the Taliban. Yes, Pakistan Army trained them and opened a network of religious seminaries across Pakistan and Afghanistan. These seminaries were funded by the CIA and Saudi Arabia. The purpose was so to fight against the Soviets in Afghanistan. In doing so, we totally forgot who we are and what we are doing with our country and its people. We made monsters out of that proxy war which we still use. We created Lashkar-e-Taiba, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Jaish-e Muhammad and Sipah-e-Muhammad out of them. Later, these organizations were used for political purposes. Thus, a campaign of sectarian killings unleashed in the country. Some say the sectarian killings were funded by some Saudi and Iranian organizations as well.
Then, off course, we had to use force in Kashmir to thwart India. Thus, we used the same organizations and are continuing to do so. This situation has led to us face the wrath of sectarianism and radicalization. Every Pakistani hates India and non-Muslims. The sense of hatred is inculcated in us through textbooks where the past is glorified with stories such as of Ghaznavi who attacked India 17 times for the sake of “Islam”. These textbooks, however, do not mention that the attack was meant for jewels, the gold in Somnath Temple and other valuables.
Today, the situation is such that Punjabis can’t travel to Baluchistan, people belonging to the Hunza valley and Hazara are being brutally killed in Baluchistan and Kohistan, miscreants who are involved openly confess these killings and reiterate their resolve over media.
First month of the new year saw over 25 terrorist attacks in the country. Still, some segments in the government believe that the terrorists are stake holders, and thus, there is a need to hold dialogue. When the Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud was killed, Pakistani Interior Minister got surprisingly furious. He moved a resolution in National Assembly and held two-hour long press conference to condemn the killing of the Taliban chief. So was the reaction of some political and religious parties, such as the PTI and JI. The JI went as far as calling him “Shaheed”. However, all of these parties and ministers remained silent when Aitzaz Hassan, a ninth grade student who gallantly stopped a suicide bomber from entering his school and got killed saving the lives of hundreds of kids in the schools.
It is the height of embarrassment to see our Pakistanis refusing to bury their relatives and demanding justice. However, this is not the first time. The terrorists victimize the Hazara community. The situation is tantamount to the one during the partition. When Muslims were migrating from India, and Hindus and Sikhs would set ablaze their trains. People from the northern areas, Hazara and Punjabis are being killed in buses after checking their ID cards.
Today, the situation in our country is not much different than it was before 1947. What is stopping all these minorities and victims of terrorism and religious extremism to demand a separate homeland where they can freely practice there rituals and live freely without any discrimination of caste, creed or religion. I believe they have to migrate towards Pakistan because right now they are not living in Pakistan but in the Islamic Republic of Al-Bakistan and some are in Al-Bunjab as well. I must conclude the discussion on a quote by Nelson Mandela “No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”
Syed Foaad Hassan is Lahore-based Journalist, Writer and Publicist & currently associated with Lowe & Partners Worldwide, MS in Media Studies from Beaconhouse National University Lahore