Two-Nation Theory Converts into Islamic Ideology - II
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Issue Book Excerpt: Reassessing Pakistan | Date : 14 Jun , 2011

Demand for Nizam-i-Mustafa: In the elections in 1970, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party had emerged as the single largest party in West Pakistan. Bhutto had denounced the Tashkent Agreement (January 1966) entered into between India and Pakistan, to end the Indo-Pak war, and had resigned from his Foreign Minister’s job in Ayub Khan’s cabinet. Bhutto had vowed several times during his election campaigns to fight for a thousand years with India. His anti-Indianism and his social slogan of Roti, Kapda and Makan’ (bread, clothing and shelter) were the secret of his success in the elections.

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After his assumption of power in the residual Pakistan (December 1971), Bhutto’s hold on power started slipping away as the people’s disenchantment started growing over his failure to redeem his promises of economic progress and social uplift and his preference for personalised rule over development of durable institutions. The religious groups mounted an assault on him and his governance, calling for the introduction of ‘Nizam-i-Mustafa’, (administration of the Prophet). Though not Islamic by temperament, Bhutto sought to buy peace with the orthodox groups through concessions. Qadianis were finally declared non-Muslims by law. Friday was made into a weekly holiday. Orthodox groups were allowed to get a foothold in the educational system.

Under the 1981 directives from the University Grants Commission for the rewriting of history books, the students were to be educated to accept without reservation, Pakistan as an Islamised state and Islam as its ideology.

General Zia-ul-Haq’s military coup of 1977 ended the socialist experiment of Bhutto and introduced an era during which the political philosophy of Islamic orthodoxy was to make momentous advances. In seeking legitimacy for his rule, Zia leaned more and more towards values and interpretation of Islamic tenets. Religious groups, particularly the JI, saw this as an opportunity to penetrate into the power structure of the state through which they could influence the polity even more. Each served the most intense need of the other and together they brought more obscurantism into Pakistan than had ever existed before. Growth of obscurantism of course, ensured that the two-nation theory would remain in place and relations with India could not change for the better. Their collaboration distanced modernity from Pakistan and. led to an environment, which hampered the return of democracy to Pakistan post Zia.

Rewriting of History

Zia started with a missionary zeal and left no one in doubt that he considered Islamisation of Pakistan society as his paramount duty. Objectives of education were fundamentally altered and the history of Pakistan rewritten so that new doctrines could be imbibed from a tender age and the citizen grew with a proper ideological identity. Secular and liberal values were to be eliminated and substituted with Islamic ones. Under the 1981 directives from the University Grants Commission for the rewriting of history books, the students were to be educated to accept without reservation, Pakistan as an Islamised state and Islam as its ideology.

The Hindu was described as forever conspiring to seek domination. The interests of both the religious orthodox and the military were served by suitably linking such images with India.

The themes of the rewritten history textbooks were then generally the following:

  1. The ‘ideology of Pakistan’ both as a historical force which motivated the movement for Pakistan as well as its raison­de-etre.
  2. The depiction of Jinnah as a man of orthodox religious views who sought the creation of a thepcratic state.
  3. A move to establish the Ullema as the genuine heroes of the Pakistan Movement.
  4. An emphasis on ritualistic Islam, together with a rejection of liberal interpretations of the religion and generation of communal antagonism.”9

The ‘ideology of Pakistan’, still without a definition in any official document, thus came to be invested with the status of national dogma. Jinnah had never used this phrase. The words had been used for the first time in 1951 in the manifesto of JI, which had also clarified that efforts to include secularism or any other foreign ideology as tantamount to hitting at the roots of Pakistan. Recognition of the phrase was not merely an index of the influence of the JI with the establishment; it also signified to what extent Islam was considered essential for the preservation of the prevailing state order.

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The views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions or policies of the Indian Defence Review.

About the Author

Anand K Verma

Former Chief of R&AW and author of Reassessing Pakistan.

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