Dark Clouds over Pakistan
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Issue Net Edition | Date : 03 Mar , 2011

Pakistan is changing fast and unfortunately becoming increasingly insane and intolerant. Some political scientists say that it is because the ruling elites of Pakistan have misgovernment the country so much that it was inevitable that the power would shift in the Pakistani society. Most of the jihadi or fundamentalist elements are the children of the peasants all over the country. The feudal denied education in normal schools to these peasants, their children thus being forced to go to madrassas and emerge as semi-literates. In fact, these experts do not agree that jihadi culture is accepted by the poor and deprived people. They stress that it is those semi-literates emerging from the lower middle classes and peasants who join the ranks of the jihadis as they are otherwise incapable and ill-trained to find jobs or do business.

Kayani said recently: “Pakistan was founded by our forefathers in the name of Islam and we should work to strengthen the country and make committed efforts to achieve the goal of turning it into a true Islamic state

And over a period of time, these jihadis and their leaders have emerged powerful, helped considerably by the Al Qaida and the Taliban in the neighbouring Pakistan. So much so that they have almost driven away the feudal lords, their previous exploiters, from the areas of their strength. This phenomenon is nearly complete in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), Frontier Province and has well begun in southern parts of Punjab, Pakistan’s largest province. Unless adequate remedial measures are undertaken and good governance is delivered, it is a matter of time before rest of the country falls under the complete control of the jihadis, who are increasingly seen as instruments against exploitation.

Unfortunately, however, the ruling establishment seems to be under the belief that in stead of ending the exploitation, thereby cutting the roots of jihadists, it is better to co-opt their leaders in the system. And the way to do that is to take recourse to Islam. But what is worse, this course is not being adopted by politicians alone, cutting across all the parties, depending on vote banks as they are. The judiciary and the armed forces are also in the race. In one of his judgments recently, Pakistan’s Chief Justice reportedly asked. “Should we accept if tomorrow Parliament declares secularism, and not Islam, as the state policy?”. Another judge joined him in asking, “Will it be called a rightful exercise of authority if tomorrow parliament amends Article 2 of the constitution which states that Islam will be the state religion?”.

Similarly, the Army Chief General Parvez Kayani said recently: “Pakistan was founded by our forefathers in the name of Islam and we should work to strengthen the country and make committed efforts to achieve the goal of turning it into a true Islamic state…..our faith, resolve and pride in our religion and in our country is an asset, which is further reinforced after each terrorist incident”. If this is not open support to Islamic terrorism and the consequent fundamentalism, what else is?

In the ultimate analysis, thus, Pakistan in 2011 is not the Pakistan of 1947. It was created as “a state for Muslims”. Now it has virtually become an “Islamic state”. This is a dangerous development for South Asia, which since time immemorial has been a land of pluralism, giving rise to many faiths and religions, including Sufism that guided the Muslims of the subcontinent.

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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

Prakash Nanda

is a journalist and editorial consultant for Indian Defence Review. He is also the author of “Rediscovering Asia: Evolution of India’s Look-East Policy.”

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