A detailed report on the Pakistan seminar – Muslimedia

Article published by Muslimedia (September 1984) and reprinted in Issues in the Islamic movement, vol. 5, 1984-85 (1404-05), pp. 70-75.

A new moral consensus for the future of Pakistan

For the first time in the history of Pakistan, a large number of ulama, scholars and active Islamic workers from all parts of the Ummah met to consider the question of Pakistan’s future. The world seminar, organised by the Muslim Institute in London (August 16-18), endorsed the view that the future of Pakistan was not the concern of the people of Pakistan alone, but of the entire Ummah.

The participants of the seminar agreed that an Islamic Revolution in Pakistan is the only destiny that can save the country from further disintegration, and that it will give the State and its people a new and more profound moral consensus. It will also 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.

The seminar reaffirmed that the Muslims of the subcontinent were right to demand and secure a separate State for themselves at the end of the British raj in India. The Pakistan movement mobilized the Muslim masses of the subcontinent as they had never been mobilized before. Although the demand for Pakistan expressed the deepest emotions of political culture and consciousness of the Muslim masses, the westernized elite used it simply to secure their privileged positions. Speaker after speaker attributed the problems and failures in Pakistan to this westernized elite.

The call for a new moral consensus to save Pakistan from further disintegration was made forcefully by Dr Kalim Siddiqui, director of the Muslim Institute. He took the leaders of the Muslim League to task for the imposition of secular politics on Pakistan, and for having no concept of State based on Islam. Even political parties operating under the banner of Islam, such as the Jama’at-e Islami, succumbing to secular politics, tried to present an admixture of Islam and nationalism.

Dr Siddiqui argued that the State and people of Pakistan are an integral part of the Ummah and that their future is of concern to all Muslims everywhere. This view won powerful endorsement from the seminar participants. Dr Ahmed Muhammad Kani of Sudan summed up the mood when he explained that, since its birth, Pakistan had been a great source of inspiration for the people of Sudan, Nigeria and many other countries because it was created in the name of Islam and was looked upon as a leader in the Muslim world for the establishment of an Islamic State. But this view has eroded because Pakistan is now considered a mere cog in the wheel of imperialism.

Dr Siddiqui pointed out, that for the Muslim masses, 1947 was ‘a turning point in history when history failed to turn’. Yet the creation of Pakistan was right because it was the unanimous will of the Muslims of the subcontinent. In a bold and forthright manner, he underlined Pakistan’s current dilemma. By accepting the dismemberment of the country in 1971 and by refusing to let the Muslims in the former East Pakistan live in Pakistan, the secular rulers of Pakistan have abandoned the moral basis for the creation of Pakistan. But Dr Siddiqui emphasized that Pakistan can still be saved and must be saved because it represents a clear divide between Islam and kufr.

A new moral consensus is the only basis on which the State of Pakistan can be saved from further disintegration. The new moral consensus has to be arrived at by the Muslim masses in Pakistan under the leadership of the ulama. Defined in terms of an achievable set of goals, the new moral consensus must state clearly that:

1.   the people of Pakistan wish to abandon nationalism, which is a form of shirk and kufr;

2.   the people of Pakistan wish to rid the country of the postcolonial structures of government, mercenary armed forces, the oppressive bureaucracy, the capitalist and feudal systems, and all traces of western control, culture and civilization from all walks of life;

3.   the people of Pakistan do not wish to be led by the western-educated elite, which has led the country into foreign domination and subservience of the worst kind;

4.   the people of Pakistan recognize that their brothers in Iran, led by the ulama, have achieved a glorious Islamic Revolution and that an Islamic State has been established in Iran which has defeated kufr in all its forms and has transformed a corrupt society into a muttaqi society;

5.   the people of Pakistan call upon their ulama to establish close contact with the ulama of Iran and with them to lead the Ummah in Pakistan to a similar Islamic Revolution;

6.   the people of Pakistan wish their country to be totally liberated from foreign, alien and western influences, especially and most specifically from American control and manipulation, just as Iran has been liberated;

7.   the people of Pakistan are willing to wage jihad against all internal and external enemies of Islam and they are prepared to offer as many shuhada as may be necessary to achieve total victory over kufr;

8.   the people of Pakistan are convinced that as Muslims it is their duty to seek a common destiny in Islam within a global Islamic movement of the Ummah;

9.   the people of Pakistan wish the State of Pakistan to be converted into an Islamic State through an Islamic Revolution;

10.   the people of Pakistan wish to re-dedicate themselves to the service of Allah and His Prophet, upon whom be peace, and they seek Allah’s forgiveness for their sins and divergences into the kufr of nationalism, capitalism and feudalism and into the ways of kufr under the influence of western politics, economics, culture and civilization.

In a departure from the usual procedure for such seminars, Dr Siddiqui’s paper was immediately opened for discussion, led by Dr Ghayasuddin, Assistant Director of the Muslim Institute. He described Dr Siddiqui’s paper as the manifesto of the Ummah for the establishment of a universal Islamic State on the model of Medina. He stated that the Sunnah formed the model for the Islamic Revolution that will lead to such a State. Such a model included the mobilization of the masses under a muttaqi leadership, confrontation with and defeat of kufr, the establishment of an Islamic State and its defence. A lively discussion followed from which the following points emerged:

1.   that the present ruling elite belongs to that class of Muslims who welcomed the British in India;

2.   that Mr Mohammad Ali Jinnah was a leader of integrity and great political skills who led the Muslims with dignity and confidence. But the leadership of the Muslim League as a whole knew little about setting up an Islamic State;

3.   that the role of the westernized elite in Pakistan, and indeed throughout the Muslim world, has been to make their societies completely subservient to western ideas. Only an Islamic movement under a muttaqi leadership can lead to a complete overhaul in the society’s structure.

Shaikh As’ad al-Tamimi, the former Imam of al-Aqsa Mosque, left no one in any doubt about nationalism being a form of kufr. He also made a strong plea for the learning of the Arabic language by all Muslims because it is the language of Islam and the Qur’an. Dr Yaqub Zaki took the westernized elite to task for manipulating the loosely defined commitment to Islam to further their own ambitions in the new State of Pakistan.

Shahab Naqvi’s paper in Urdu dealt with the fear generated among the ruling elite in Pakistan because of the Islamic Revolution in Iran. This has led to a massive propaganda campaign against the Islamic Revolution as well as a contrived drive for ‘Islamization’ to win favour with the masses. But Islamization is designed to prevent the emergence of an Islamic system in Pakistan. The next speaker dealt with the role and failure of the Jama’at-e Islami despite the great impact made by the writings of its founder, Maulana Maudoodi, throughout the Muslim world. Amanullah Shadezai traced the Jama’at’s failure to its decision to abandon the path of Revolution and opt for the electoral process. Tied to Arab (particularly Saudi) pursestrings, the Jama’at has become the greatest obstacle in the path of an islamic Revolution

The second day’s sessions (Friday) dealt with more specific topics: the feudal order in Pakistan, foreign relations and the military, and de-Islamization in Pakistan. Asaf Hussein, analysing the feudal order in Pakistan, traced the proprietorship of feudal lords to British coloniaiism in India, which created this class from among those who betrayed the Muslims and served British colonial interests. The successive land ‘reforms’, which were merely window dressing, tightened the landlords’ grip on the land and tenants. US-aided farm-mechanization programmes led to the eviction of five tenant families for every tractor that was bought. Bhutto started the process of international migration of Pakistani labour to ward off internal agitation. Despite the land ‘reforms’, 30 percent of the rural population earns less than one rupee (10 cents) per day.

The potential of Pakistan as a natural ally of the Islamic Revolution in Iran and the fear it has evoked in the minds of the enemies of Islam was the subject of Murtaza Pooya’s paper. He explained that today Islam meant not only anti-Soviet but also anti-USA. This fear was fuelling US manipulations to drive Pakistan away from the Muslim world. It also led to India and Israel becoming the main props of US hegemony against Muslim aspirations. The Muslim masses of Pakistan will have to make great sacrifices in the service of Islam while the regimes in Pakistan will continue to be manipulated by external powers unless replaced by a new leadership based on taqwa. Maulana Sulaiman Tahir expressed similar sentiments about waging jihad against the forces of kufr. He lamented the role of the ulama, who did not support the creation of Pakistan, thus allowing Pakistan to fall into the hands of a secular elite. Now Islam was tyrannized in Pakistan and the Muslims were tyrannized in India.

Zafar Bangash dealt with the history of the military and its role in seeking legitimacy in Pakistani politics. Although its history predated Pakistan, the military played no part in its creation. Even after Pakistan came into being, the military continued to operate as a colonial power. It consumed an ever-larger share of the country’s resources. The military has adopted various guises to justify its control and manipulation of politics in Pakistan. It has also sought external props, notably US patronage, to remain in power. The current policy of Islamization is part of this campaign to seek legitimacy and prolong its existence.

Professor Zahid Husain Mirza’s paper was on the creation and survival of Pakistan. He reminded the gathering that the Muslims of India had fought two enemies, the British and the Hindus, at the creation of Pakistan. Though Quaid-e Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah was committed to the idea of an Islamic State, the Muslim League was not. Hence Pakistan emerged as a secular Muslim State. He lamented the Pakistani ulama’s becoming a part of secular politics. They keep the people divided and engaged in trivial matters.

Maulana Abdul Khaliq Sehryani Baloch said that, in order to change the existing situation, the ulama must lead a movement of unity and goodwill and inculcate a proper understanding of Islam in the people to prepare them for jihad against kufr.

Maulana Moazzam Ali Alvi described Pakistan today as a chronic case of corruption, especially in its political system, and emphasized that only the establishment of the institution of Khilafat-i Rashida can cure the society.

Muhammad Sharif Baq’a highlighted the role of Allama Muhammad Iqbal in activating the political culture of Islam among the Muslims of the subcontinent, which led to the demand for Pakistan. In Iqbal’s view, he said, Islam and slavery to kufr were incompatible.

When Al-Haj Siraj ud-Daulah, from Bangladesh, made a brief speech in the concluding session, he perhaps echoed the sentiments of all participants. He said that it seems as if Pakistan was made for the army. The army first broke Pakistan and new rules the people in Pakistan and Bangladesh. The people of Pakistan must produce a counter- army to get rid of this mercenary army. That cannot happen until we dedicate ourselves to Islam and prepare for shahadah.

Muslimedia, September 1984.