Position Paper – MI seminar on ‘What Future for Pakistan?’ (1984)

Position paper prepared by the Drafting Committee and presented to the seminar on ‘What Future for Pakistan?’, London, 16-18 August, 1984. Published in Crescent International, September 1-15, 1984. Reprinted in Issues in the Islamic movement, vol. 5, 1984-85 (1404-05), pp. 56-60.

Position Paper – Muslim Institute World Seminar on ‘What Future for Pakistan?’, August 1984.

1.   The Creation of Pakistan

This seminar takes the view that the Muslims of the subcontinent were right to desire a separate State for themselves. This desire found expression in the ambiguously drafted Lahore Resolution of the Muslim League in 1940. The Muslim League’s acceptance of the idea of a separate State for the Muslims of British India was belated, half-hearted and uncertain. The result was that the Muslim League’s demand for Pakistan was ill-defined and lacked precision. This led to the fiasco of the Cabinet Mission Plan, the acceptance of a partition plan that was drafted to the great disadvantage of the Muslim cause, the blind acceptance of the ‘Radcliffe Award’ of the Boundary Commission, and finally the loss of the State of Jammu and Kashmir.

Despite all this, the Pakistan movement mobilized the Muslim masses of the subcontinent as they had never been mobilized before.

For the Muslim masses the demand for Pakistan expressed the deepest emotions of their political culture and consciousness, whose roots are embedded in their memory of the Prophet’s State of Medina and that of the Khulafa-e Rashideen. In this sense the Pakistan movement was an ‘lslamic movement’, though led by a secular political party of the westernized Muslims of British India. Pakistan thus became the first State ever to be created by the popular demand of the Muslim masses in the name of Islam.

2.   The Leadership of Mr M. A. Jinnah

Mr M. A. Jinnah was clearly the most outstanding Muslim figure on the political scene in the final years of the British raj in India. He was a man of integrity and a politician who, between 1940 and 1947, led the Muslim League with great skill, dignity and popular acclaim. Without his leadership Pakistan might never have come into being. The Muslims of the subcontinent rightly called him the Quaid-e Azam.

3.   Nationalism and Pakistan

Nationalism is a political philosophy developed in Europe as a secular alternative to the influence of Christianity. The European powers also introduced nationalism to their colonies. Throughout their long history of political dominance in many parts of Asia, Africa and Europe, Muslims never used nationalism as a political identity or popular emotion. The European powers used nationalism to stir popular resentment among the Arabs against the ‘colonial’ rule of the Turks in their drive to break up the Uthmaniyyah ‘Empire’ and to destroy the khilafah. In both aims they succeeded. As subsequent events have shown, nationalism has in fact destroyed both Turks and Arabs, and has obscured the political identity of the Muslims.

Nationalism was introduced to the subcontinent by the British rulers through the Indian National Congress, founded by an Englishman in 1885. At first only Hindus were attracted to Indian nationalism. The expression of the separate political identity and aspirations of the Muslims of the subcontinent in terms of ‘Muslim natlonalism’ was necessary because the secular leadership of the Muslim League could not express the separate identity of the Muslims or the subcontinent in terms of Islam. The use of nationalism for the formulation of the demand for Pakistan as an expression of the Islamic political culture of the Muslim masses of the subcontinent contained within it the seeds of Pakistan’s own destruction. This has been demonstrated by the rise of Bengali nationalism in East Pakistan and the dismemberment of Pakistan as created in 1947. Similar tensions are found today in the remaining ‘minority provinces’ of Pakistan.

For the survival of Pakistan it is necessary that the people of Pakistan abandon nationalism and assert their identity in Islam as an integral part of the Ummah. This committee notes that two recent world seminars held in London and attended by ulama and other scholars representing all schools of thought in Islam have described territorial nationalism as kufr and shirk.

4.   Politics in Pakistan

Politics in Pakistan has always been secular and devoid of moral content. The Muslim League in India had been a political grouping of the Muslim upper classes since its formation in 1906. Between 1940 and 1947 it represented the political emotions and aspirations of the Muslim masses of the subcontinent as well. Pakistan had no sooner come into being then the Muslim League abandoned the Muslim masses and once again represented only the upper classes, now the ruling classes, especially the feudal lords and other powerful urban interests. The rivalries for power within the ruling class led to the destruction and fragmentation of the Muslim League and to the mushrooming of political parties. None of the political parties has secured a popular base among the Muslim masses of Pakistan.

The Muslim officers serving in the civil service of British India, or in the British Indian Army, played little or no part in the Pakistan movement. After Pakistan was created, however, these officers emerged as a powerful political group in the new State. The fragmentation of secular politics has led to the takeover of the new State by military officers and the civil service. These officers, trained in the colonial tradition of ‘good government’, a euphemism for oppression in the name of ‘law and order’. have gone on to inflict tyranny on the people of Pakistan on a scale previously unknown.

The basic problem of political legitimacy remains unresolved. The political and administrative structures of the State remain ‘colonial’ in style and content. None of the political, economic and social problems of the people of Pakistan has been solved. The total incompetence of the politicians, the career officers and the ruling classes, all belonging to a westernized elite, has created new and even more intractable problems for the people of Pakistan.

The dismemberment of the State of Pakistan in 1971 was a direct result of rivalries within the ruling groups of the westernized elite who had no commitment to the moral consensus of the Pakistan movement between 1940 and 1947. The rulers of Pakistan have systematically destroyed the moral consensus that was the foundation of the State of Pakistan. The two most outstanding examples of this are the closing of the doors of Pakistan on the Muslims of India and the refusal of the rulers of Pakistan to accept those in East Pakistan who, after 1971, wished to live in Pakistan.

In foreign policy the westernized elite that has ruled over Pakistan has sought security in subservience to the west, especially the United States of America. At first the US used Pakistan in its Cold War confrontation with the Soviet Union, subsequently leaving Pakistan at the mercy of India. The rulers of Pakistan did not want to involve the Muslim masses of Pakistan either in the government of Pakistan or in the defence of Pakistan. Their preference for a small, professional army, equipped by the United States, has failed to deter repeated invasions by a vastly superior India. In the 1971 crisis, which was largely engineered by political groups within Pakistan, the west actually helped and encouraged India to invade and set up Bangladesh

The present regime continues to follow the same two traditional prongs of domestic and foreign policy: oppression of the Muslim masses at home and subservience to the United States of America.

5.   The future of Pakistan

Pakistan, clearly, has no future as a secular nation-state. Its existence is threatened by both internal and external factors. Internally the loss of the great moral consensus that achieved Pakistan has left the country weaker, morally exhausted, and uncertain of its future.

However, in the world of Islam as a whole there has been a powerful reassertion of the political role of Islam. The Islamic Revolution in neighbouring Iran has overcome problems of internal repression and foreign domination. The era of separate, regional and ‘national’ Islamic ‘parties’ and ‘movements’ is over. A global Islamic movement capable of defeating secular regimes is now taking shape.

Despite the monumental failures of the westernized ruling classes in Pakistan, their political parties and various regimes the people of Pakistan remain firmly committed to Islam. The Muslim masses of Pakistan, together with the ulama, are capable of bringing about an Islamic Revolution as total and powerful as that of Iran. The State of Pakistan and its people are an integral part of the Ummah, and their future is of concern to all Muslims everywhere. The defence of Pakistan is a shared responsibility of the Ummah.

An Islamic Revolution in Pakistan, following the example set in Iran, is the only destiny that can save the State of Pakistan from further disintegration. An Islamic Revolution in Pakistan will give the State and its people a new and more profound moral consensus; it will rid the country of the post-colonial structures of government, capitalist and feudal exploitation, all traces of foreign domination and western induced corruption and moral degradation. Above all, an Islamic Revolution in Pakistan will lead to the setting up of an Islamic State following the example of the State established in Medina by the Prophet, upon whom be peace.

That this can be done in today’s conditions despite the opposition of the global power of kufr has been demonstrated conclusively in Iran. The invincibility of the mobilized power of the Muslim masses was first demonstrated in the Pakistan movement itself. When the power of the Muslim masses of Pakistan is again mobilized, this time under a muttaqi leadership, the outcome will be the emergence of a new invigorated society that shall transform itself from its present state of rampant corruption to taqwa. The new Islamic State, born of an Islamic Revolution, will be able to defeat and expel all the domestic and foreign enemies of Islam.

Crescent International, September 1-15, 1984.