Dr SHIREEN M MAZARI examines the difference in what we pratice and what we preach.
Living a lie
At the root of most of our real and imagined problems lies the fact that we have been living a lie since the death of Jinnah, thanks to our ruling elite. That has impacted on our perceptions and problems over the years as one lie after another was generated, both on the domestic and external fronts. The impact of living a lie can be felt across the board now, reflecting an insecure and fear-ridden mindset that is unable to take bold, innovative policy measures.
One of the most damaging lies we have been living, especially since the Zia dictatorship is the selective denial of Jinnah's legacy. In the theocrat's efforts to make
At a time when the government is trying to restructure the polity, recalling Jinnah's vision in its entirety, and not in distorted selectivity, is critical if we are to rise above the malaise of polarisation and sectarianism that has pervaded our civil society today. Because we have allowed ourselves the luxury of oblivion on Jinnah, those with vested interests are now clamouring to get their notion of
Yet, Jinnah's address to the Constituent Assembly on August 11, 1947 is as clear an enunciation of the foundation of
"You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other places of worship in this state of
In other words, politically there was going to be no distinction or discrimination between any citizen because of his/her caste, creed or colour. Politically, all citizens were equal - a point Jinnah elaborated upon in the same speech:
"... you will find that in course of time Hindus would cease to be Hindus and Muslims would cease to be Muslims, not in the religious sense, because that is the personal faith of each individual, but in the political sense as citizens of the State."
There was no "grey zone" on this count for Jinnah and there must not be one now for the present leadership. Too much hatred has stacked up because of a denial of resoluteness on this count. When the state creates political laws, including electoral laws, where citizens are discriminated against on the basis of their religion then that is a substantive move away from the Quaid's vision of
So why is the vision of Jinnah so critical even today? Because it is the basis for our nation's existence. The Muslims of India followed Jinnah to independence and the very foundations of the state must not be allowed to be destroyed. It is time we really examined whether Jinnah's
"Mr Jinnah: You are asking me a question that is absurd. I do not know what a theocratic state means.
"A correspondent suggested that a theocratic state meant a state where only people of a particular religion, for example Muslims, could be full citizens and non-Muslims would not be full citizens.
"Mr Jinnah: Then it seems to me that what I have already said is like throwing water on duck's back. (Laughter) For goodness sake, get out of your head the nonsense that is being talked about. What this theocratic state means I do not understand.
"Another correspondent suggested that the questioner meant a state run by Maulanas.
"Mr Jinnah: What about the Government run by Pundits in
Mr Jinnah went on, I am afraid you have not studied Islam. We learned democracy thirteen centuries ago."
So Jinnah acknowledges the underlying supremacy of Islam within the ideal of
In his introduction to Volume II of the First Series of Jinnah Papers, the editor, Z H Zaidi, states that Jinnah clearly felt that the government of the new state of
According to Zaidi, "Jinnah vehemently disclaimed that the future State of Pakistan would be a 'theocracy'; far from it! He in fact declared that there was no room for theocracy, i.e. rule by religious divines. In his public speeches and statements, Jinnah did not leave a shred of doubt that the new State would not be run by an obscurantist religious leadership."
For Jinnah modern democracy was, according to Zaidi, "in essence a rediscovery of the old democratic tradition of Islam. ..."
One reason why we are able to be selective about Jinnah's legacy is because we are living another critical lie in the form of constant distortions of our history. Whenever governments change, so does the country's recorded history. Worse still, we as a nation have been extremely selective about owning up to our pre-1947 historical and cultural heritage. Being unable to come to term with all the varied influences of our past, we have been unable to come to term with the realities of the Pakistani state and its ruling elite over the decades. Every government seeks to rewrite the history books. And national traumas are glossed over - see what you can find on 1971 and the crisis in
But that was a major historical turning point. Our ruling elite cannot even tolerate the realities relating to past governments and political leaders - so the history books are constantly rewritten and our children grow up on lies. Lies breed an insecure nation - for confidence comes from being able to face the truth, no matter how unpleasant for in that confrontation we learn our lessons. Which is why it is not surprising to find mistakes continuously repeated by us as a nation.
Today we continue to be burdened by the habitual deception and lies that are the endemic to our ruling elite. There is a lack of courage to concede errors - be they historical or present in context. That is why we are easy prey for our enemies who are able to exaggerate our defeats and undermine our victories. Take the case of
Shireen Mazari joins PTI
Friday, November 28, 2008
ISLAMABAD: Defence analyst Dr Shireen Mazari on Thursday joined Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI).
PTI Chairman Imran Khan made Mazari the party’s Central Executive Committee (CEC) member and head of its Foreign Committee.
He said in a statement that Mazari had in-depth knowledge, analytical mind and longing for independent policy, which was completely in line with the PTI vision. staff report
Here is a picture of some of our "leaders" who are adding lies and confusion to Jinnah's Pakistan:
Here is some evidence of how Dr. Shireen Mazari lives her own 'truths'.