Clash Of Ideologies
August 26, 2010 Leave a comment
Since the time Pakistan has gained independence, it’s sometimes with the bottom part on top and sometimes the top part on bottom. The clash of ideologies is a chief ingredient in country’s social and political structure. The usual debates in the country, pointing mainly towards the major tier of clash of ideologies, are that of secularism, conservatism, democracy and dictatorship.
Despite that Pakistan is said to be an “Islamic” country having the official name “Islamic” Republic of Pakistan, the current and major lot of national and ethnical political parties along with the ruling party are left-wingers.
Pakistan was meant to be a democratic Islamic state. As the Jinnah said before the Sibi Darbar in 1948:
“Let us lay the foundations of our democracy on the basis of truly Islamic ideals and principles. Our Almighty has taught us that our decisions in the affairs of the state shall be guided by discussion and consultations.”
Moreover, in a press statement on 31 July, 1947, Jinnah addressed to the Tribal Areas. He said:
“The Government of Pakistan has no desire whatsoever to interfere in any way with the traditional independence of the Tribal Areas. On the contrary, we feel as a Muslim State, we can always rely on the active support and sympathy of the tribes.”
At the conclusion of this statement, Jinnah chose to use the term ‘Islamic State’:
“In the end, I would appeal to all the different elements in the Frontier Province and in the Tribal Areas to forget past disputes and differences and join hands with the Government of Pakistan in setting up a truly democratic Islamic State.”
Since the first Martial Law by Ayub Khan, many rulers came and became a history – all with their unique set of incoherent ideologies. Mixture of civilian and military rule continued. However, Pakistan remained a testing laboratory for every ruler or dictator who would play with its original ideology and would manipulate it according to the so-called needs – mostly based on the de facto “doctrine of necessity” and the de facto “national interest”. The people of Pakistan, at the same time, have always paved a way for those new ideologies to get emerge each time they get bored or tired with the previous one.
The last one to come up with a new ideology was veteran president General Pervez Musharraf. He introduced “Enlightened Moderation” and attempted to promote it in Pakistan during his 9 years tenure of dictatorship. Musharraf has always quoted the example of Turkey and the Turkish revolutionary statesman Kemal Ataturk who gave Turkey a new ideology of secularism after the Ottoman Empire, which was said to be an Islamic Caliphate, was abolished.
Let’s come back to the favorite country of Musharraf as if in examples, the Turkey, where he once lived as a boy. The idea of military’s unaccountable power, in other words the sense of dictatorship while making decisions on his own, was once again swept up by Turkey. In Turkey, the military and establishment is said to be secular. Four times since 1960, the military, which views itself as the guardian of Turkey’s secular tradition, has overthrown civilian governments. And none of the plotter of the coup was punished until the AK party came into power. The military influence in politics was then diminished because of the strong civilian government lead by Turkish premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan. This goes for Musharraf – as well for those striving hard to keep country democratic and for those who endorse coup – again:
Few months back, that is in February, the court of Islamic-oriented government of Turkey has jailed seven senior military officers – including four admirals, an army general and two staff colonels. The officers, some of them are now retired, are charged with plotting in 2003 to topple the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Having said that Musharraf can follow the examples of Turkey in order to adopt secularism, the current government of Pakistan should now take a literal serious step in trying Musharraf just as the Turkey prosecuted and punished the servicemen who plotted to overthrow the Turkish government. Unfortunately, what we have seen so far is that the present civilian government of Pakistan has never took any step to try any of those servicemen who even executed the coup, most recent Pervez Musharraf, and gave country the worst times it has ever seen.
What is the constitution of Pakistan for military dictators? Aren’t they the one who take oath on the name of Allah for they shall abide by the constitution? If oath-taking and fulfilling it has become so marginal and unholy, why do we still continue with the tradition of oath-taking ceremonies and the likes of it? Should not Pakistan cut the Gordian knot instead of making mockery of a constitution and oath by appending a new fresh clause to the constitution, which should state: “any breaching of the constitution under the pretext of ‘national interest’ and ‘doctrine of necessity’ shall not be considered treason. Military shall be allowed to practice the coup when needed.”
Who was Jinnah? Anyone remember him? To the armed forces, this man’s message was quite clear and well-defined briefly. On August 14th 1947, he addressed the armed forces of nascent Pakistan, saying:
“Do not forget that the armed forces are the servants of the people and you do not make national policy; it is we, the civilians, who decide these issues and it is your duty to carry out these tasks with which you are entrusted.”
Jinnah left this message not only to the armed forces but also to the people of Pakistan. With this literacy rate and that poverty rate it is difficult for Pakistan to be democratic are the crippled rhetoric we have been listening for ages now. Not too far to go to seek an example. A country that lies on the east of Pakistan, truly our archenemy likewise, has the poverty rate bigger than Pakistan and literacy rate not as good that it cannot afford a single Martial Law.
Most recently, the MQM has vehemently announced that it will welcome the Martial Law by the “Patriotic Generals.” Well, endorsing to put Pakistan again under a new militarily based ideological test will really help Pakistan? When will this civilian-military ideological game show going to end? When will the civilians – including the political parties – are going to understand the fact that they are also worthy of ruling Pakistan? Only if they do it – ruling – with sincerity, keeping the principled politics its aim, and understand that we civilians do matter to the country, then Pakistan can avert the unwarranted and uncalled for military interventions, besides its influence, in the politics.
While we have good examples of other countries – like Turkey – to follow, and political guidelines and principles of Jinnah likewise, we are stick to our self-nurtured habits of creating our own unparalleled examples. And so, no wonder if we fall each time to the lowest regression because Pakistan remains to date a testing laboratory where each day and in each regime we experiment new lamentable things.