Dr Ejaz Hussain
The writer is a visiting scholar at Institute of International Studies, UC Berkeley.
Mohammad bin Qasim’s conquest of Sindh often finds its way into school and college textbooks, which talk at length about its impact on the spread of Islam across South Asia. It, thus, seemed natural to demand a separate country in the name of Islam in 1947. Soon after gaining independence, Pakistan became Islamic with the passage of the Objectives Resolution in 1949. Its first constitution also declared the country as the Islamic Republic.
However, the secular-minded General Ayub Khan tried to play with fire by repealing the “Islamic” centrality and identity in the 1962 constitution. Realising the error of his ways, he soon repented and ensured the Islamic spirit not only in the constitution but also in the Family Laws that his Islamic regime promulgated. Similarly, despite being liberal and a self-declared socialist, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was a true Muslim. He not only preserved the Islamic nature and character of the 1973 constitution but also favoured Islam and the Muslims in Pakistan by declaring the Ahmedis non-Muslims. Bhutto also declared Friday as the official holiday, another Islamic move, which was undone by liberal and pro-US military dictator, Pervez Musharraf, and prohibited alcoholic drinks and gambling.
Indeed, Ameer-ul-Momeneen (Commander of the Faithful), General Zia ul Haq, a great Muslim warrior, took further legal and constitutional measures to fill the loopholes, and put Pakistan on the path of Islam where the government servants were forced to keep the beard and offer prayers. PIA hostesses and PTV female news reporters also wore dupatta to cover their heads and chest so that no satanic idea could spoil the righteous males of our morally uplifted society. During his Islamic tenure, Pakistan became the first ever Islamic state to covertly possess the Islamic Bomb. After the great martyrdom of Haq, his successor, Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, carried his Islamic legacy forward. His two, rather short-lived, governments, during the 1990s, highlight his brotherly Islamic ties with Saudi Arabia and even the Saudi-financed organisations such as the Sipha-e-Sahaba.
Following his footsteps, Sharif also succeeded in getting the parliamentary consent to become Ameer-ul-Momeneen. However, before this could materialise, a secular and westerly-enlightened Pervez Musharraf toppled his government in an un-Islamic manner. Musharraf was not a good Muslim as he sold Pakistan’s honour to the US, which bombed Islamic Afghanistan and droned on the Islamic Pakistan. He also targeted Islamic organisations whose students were at the forefront of the Afghan Jihad. However, before the pro-US general could inflict further damages, fortunately, the Pakistan army got a great leader with a humble background; General Kiani. He was an absolute gentleman who gradually pulled Pakistan out of the unIslamic alliances and, by the grace of God, he restored our honour.
Pakistan was, indeed, lucky enough to find another great Islamic leader in General Raheel Sharif. He consolidated the gains of his predecessor by launching Operation Zarb-e-Azb against forces bent upon destroying the country’s Islamic fabric. Being charged with the love for the Ummah, Raheel also reluctantly accepted the charge of a 39-member Islamic Alliance against terrorism. This alliance is headquartered in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia — the purest of the Islamic lands. At the moment, Iraq, Syria and Iran are not a part of this Islamic NATO. However, General Sharif would definitely convince the Saudis and the Iranians to embrace each other and fight against the kafirs together. Pakistan is, indeed, blessed by Allah as its leaders are now leading the Islamic world. It is, thus, a religious obligation of every Muslim living particularly in Pakistan to not only stop criticising our General but also pray for his safety and longevity. The longer he serves the Islamic Alliance, the better it would fare for Pakistan and the Ummah.
While disagreeing with much of the mentioned stuff one reads in our official textbooks, let me present some contrasting facts. According to any basic text of geography and International Relations, Pakistan is not located in the Middle East but South Asia. It borders with India, not Saudi Arabia. Indeed, it also borders with Shia Iran. Also, Saudi Arabia’s official name neither contains the word “Islamic” nor officially follows the Hanafi school of jurisprudence as is largely the case in Pakistan. From Morocco to Indonesia, all countries including Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are postcolonial nation-states where the monarchy, mullah and the military reign supreme.
Indubitably, Pakistan has entered into this Saudi Arabia-led Sunni bloc to fight against the Iran-led Shia bloc. Pakistani military leadership could also have joined it to counterbalance India while overlooking its sectarian fault lines. There are around 20 percent Shias compared with 78 percent Sunnis out of which roughly three to five percent are purely Malaki/Shafi. If Iran and Saudi Arabia fight further in Syria, Yemen and Iraq, would there not be its spillovers inside Pakistan, where both Shia and Sunni seminaries and militant groups are connected with their ideological and financial masters? Would Pakistan, already engulfed in sectarian terrorism, be able to play at multiple fronts and win over? I am pessimistic and I believe that Pakistan must stay away from this Middle Eastern power struggle, which seems regional in character but is global in nature.
Courtesy Daily Times