Editorial in Crescent International (September 16-30, 1984) on the significance of the MI seminar on ‘What Future for Pakistan?’, London, 16-18 August, 1984. Reprinted in Issues in the Islamic movement, vol. 5, 1984-85 (1404-05), pp. 61-63.
Editorial: A world seminar on Pakistan
The world seminar held in London recently to answer the question What Future for Pakistan? was an event of great significance. It was an emphatic and impressive demonstration of the fact that all Muslims are brothers to each other (the Qur’an), and not a people divided into ‘nationalities’, as prescribed by the west and maintained by the present crop of secular regimes in the Muslim world.
An impressive array of ulama, scholars, students and active members of the Islamic movement from all parts of the world sat together for three days to consider the future of one part of the Ummah. Even more significant was the fact that not one of the Muslim nation-States, not even the Islamic State of Iran, was represented at the seminar. No one with short term interests to defend or promote was invited. The seminar and its deliberations were totally free of the influence of such people as officials, diplomats, generals, colonels, presidential advisors, and politicians of any ilk. The Zia regime in Pakistan and the Pakistan embassy in London were greatly embarrassed that a seminar to consider the future of Pakistan could be held right under their noses without their being able to participate, prevent participation, or influence proceedings.
The seminar predictably declared that the Zia regime was ‘void of legitimacy’. But more significant was the seminar’s unanimous condemnation of the regime’s policies of ‘Islamization’. The regime‘s policies of Islamization, said the seminar ‘are calculated to deceive the people, to bring Islam into disrepute, and to divert the people’s attention from the oppressive nature of the regime’. This is the position that we in the Crescent International have taken regarding all ‘Islamization’ programmes of all such regimes as those in the Sudan. Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Egypt, Libya and so on. But unfortunately there still exists an influential body of opinion among some ‘Islamicists’, especially those of Ikhwan and Jama’at backgrounds, that holds the view that substantial parts of the Shari’ah can be implemented through such partial programmes of ‘Islamization’; hence their close collaboration with the regimes in the Sudan, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. Their influence must now be waning because, at the London seminar, not a single voice was heard in favour of their eclectic gradualism. This represents the failure of the enormous propaganda effort that these regimes have mounted in favour of their own approach to Islam.
The seminar took an equally forthright stand on the origin of Pakistan. It asserted that the Muslims of the subcontinent were right to demand and secure a separate State for themselves. in the same breath the seminar took a bold step to wean Pakistan away from its doubtful roots in secular nationalism. The seminar noted that the original ‘moral consensus’ of the Muslims of the subcontinent had been abandoned by the rulers of Pakistan. ‘This ruling group’, said the seminar, ‘has opened the country to exploitation and the wholesale importation of corruption from the west in a deliberate attempt to undermine the Islamic foundations of the society and the political culture of the people’. The seminar judged the westernized elite that has ruled the country since 1947 in no uncertain terms. This elite ‘has failed the country and its people in every respect and has also made the country subservient to the political, economic and strategic interests of the United States of America’.
It was inevitable that a seminar convened by the Muslim Institute would take a global view of the future of the State of Pakistan. The seminar declared that ‘the survival of the State of Pakistan is a vital interest of the Ummah as a whole’. A new ‘framework’ for the future of Pakistan was proposed. In this framework Pakistan now needs an ‘Islamic movement taking its inspiration from the Islamic Revolution in neighbouring Iran, leading to a similar Revolution in Pakistan and the establishment of an Islamic State in that country’. It called for the emergence of a muttaqi leadership leading a mass movement in Pakistan. At the same time the seminar said that the new Islamic movement must have a ‘global dimension’ and must undertake jihad ‘against the influence of kufr’ in that country and elsewhere.
In 1947 Pakistan was the first country to be created in the name of Islam. But the leaders of the Pakistan movement and the circumstances of its birth were entirely secular, colonial and western. In 1984 a seminar held in London has written a new scenario that will not only save the State of Pakistan but will also integrate it into a new world of Islam now in the making, insha’Allah.
Crescent International, September 16-30, 1984.