When chickens come home to roost | Pakistan Today

When chickens come home to roost

The gospel of radicalisation is contained in the very preamble to the constitution

 

 “Curses are like young chickens. They always come home to roost.”

Robert Southey

The Objectives Resolution was passed by the first constituent assembly of Pakistan on March 12, 1949, barely six months after the death of the Quaid.

Taking part in the discussion leading up to its passage, the leader of the opposition Chandra Chattopadhyaya made an impassioned plea against its adoption by the constituent assembly. He said: “The state religion is a dangerous principle. Previous instances are sufficient to warn us not to repeat the blunder. We know people were burnt alive in the name of religion. Therefore, my conception is that the sovereignty must rest with the people and not with anybody else…The words “equal rights as enunciated by Islam” are — I do not use any other word — a camouflage. It is only a hoax to us, the non-Muslims. There cannot be equal rights as enunciated by Islam. It goes without saying that, by introducing the religious question, the differences between the majority and the minority are being perpetuated, for how long, nobody knows”.

The perceived inequality has now been perpetuated for over sixty-five years and the venom and incense of its application have only increased with the passage of time with no one among the ruling hierarchies having the moral courage to stand up and speak for Pakistan rather than for one community to the exclusion of others. The promised equality among all religions has been bruised and bloodied in every boulevard, every street, every nook and corner of the country, but the leaders and people alike have opted not to protest its lethal effects.

The gospel of radicalisation was injected in the very foundations of the new state. The Jihad project that was launched during the fledgling years of the country only accentuated with time when Pakistan was pushed into fighting a holy war against the infidels, and it never recovered from its gruesome impact. The ill-advised involvement in Afghanistan also introduced Pakistan to the deadly drugs and arms culture and the consequent narrative of extremism and violence which today grips every nook and corner, every home, every mosque, every seminary of the country. The baby that was nurtured with consummate care to advance the strategic interests of the state has assumed the shape of a multi-faced hydra which is consuming it incessantly

Because of the Objectives Resolution being made a substantive part of the document and to have effect accordingly, the constitution is riddled with fundamental contradictions. For example, article 25 of the constitution states that “all citizens are equal before law and are entitled to equal protection of law” while article 2 of the same constitution states that “Islam shall be the state religion”. This is as serious a case of internal conflict as any can be: when one religion is proclaimed as the state religion (to the exclusion of all others), how can those who follow religions other than Islam be equal citizens of the state? It is a candid case of the state looking upon its people wearing bi-coloured glasses with one colour dedicated to the Muslims and the other meant for the followers of all other faiths. The malady is further compounded by denying the right to followers of other religions to become the head of the state or the government which is in conflict with the proclamation of equality as contained in the constitution.

In his address to the same constituent assembly on August 11, 1947, Quaid-e-Azam had stated unambiguously his concept of equality among all citizens of the state of Pakistan. He talked about it at three different places during the course of his speech. Stressing on the absolute religious freedom of each citizen of the country, he said: “You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place or worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed — that has nothing to do with the business of the State”.

Dilating on the non-discriminatory character of the state, he said: “We are starting in the days where there is no discrimination, no distinction between one community and another, no discrimination between one caste or creed and another. We are starting with this fundamental principle: that we are all citizens, and equal citizens, of one State”.

So deeply are the tentacles of extremism and radicalisation dug in that one is afraid even of talking about the gory phenomenon. The state has been virtually taken over by the vile and wicked merchants of religion who don’t understand even a word of what they are preaching. The malaise has spread at an alarming pace which has an inherent and potent commercial aspect. According to a recent news report, the government has admitted for the first time that 80 seminaries received over Rs. 300 million from international donors during 2013-14. This, in turn, is spent on promoting the fundamentalist mindset and fanning sectarian hatred which has been one of the principal causes of bloodshed in the country

Chartering a course for progress for the yet-to-be-born state, he said: “If you change your past and work together in a spirit that everyone of you, no matter to what community he belongs, no matter what relations he had with you in the past, no matter what is his colour, caste, or creed, is first, second, and last a citizen of this State with equal rights, privileges, and obligations, there will be no end to the progress you will make”.

It is improbable to ponder that, within a period of six months after his death, all that he promised to his people regarding the new-born country was rubbished wholesomely and, in its place, the edifice of a grossly discriminatory, theocratic state was raised. And, also, why is it that Liaquat Ali Khan was not able to do in his life-time what he did immediately after his death? There are some who claim that he tried to, but failed. It is said that he carried the draft of the Objectives Resolution to the Quaid in Ziarat who had gone extremely frail and was lying in bed. Having glanced through it, he literally hurled it away for Liaquat Ali Khan to follow it. Could that have anything to do with the way the Quaid was left to die by the roadside when he got back to Karachi?

The gospel of radicalisation was injected in the very foundations of the new state. The Jihad project that was launched during the fledgling years of the country only accentuated with time when Pakistan was pushed into fighting a holy war against the infidels, and it never recovered from its gruesome impact. The ill-advised involvement in Afghanistan also introduced Pakistan to the deadly drugs and arms culture and the consequent narrative of extremism and violence which today grips every nook and corner, every home, every mosque, every seminary of the country. The baby that was nurtured with consummate care to advance the strategic interests of the state has assumed the shape of a multi-faced hydra which is consuming it incessantly. The state that was on the up back in the fifties and the sixties and was referred to as a role model for the entire developing world has been bleeding profusely and is now virtually on the verge of haemorrhaging.

Hypocrisy is the other essential ingredient of the Sharifs’ style of governance. Their avowed commitment to eliminate terrorism from the country ala National Action Plan (NAP) suffers from the same sick duplicity. Their political contacts with the proscribed organisations are well-known and their unwillingness to sever these is also no secret. Consequently, their agreement to follow the GHQ’s command in the war against terror is not even worth the paper on which it may have been scribbled. The wilful confusion that is being generated on various fronts to stall any forward movement in the war against terror and the unmistakable waning of resolve in this regard are clear indications that the rulers never meant what they were so dutifully parroting in the beginning

So deeply are the tentacles of extremism and radicalisation dug in that one is afraid even of talking about the gory phenomenon. The state has been virtually taken over by the vile and wicked merchants of religion who don’t understand even a word of what they are preaching. The malaise has spread at an alarming pace which has an inherent and potent commercial aspect. According to a recent news report, the government has admitted for the first time that 80 seminaries received over Rs300 million from international donors during 2013-14. This, in turn, is spent on promoting the fundamentalist mindset and fanning sectarian hatred which has been one of the principal causes of bloodshed in the country. The reported amount is just a miniscule of the funds that most of the seminaries receive from domestic and foreign sources which the government has so far failed to plug.

The gospel of radicalisation in the constitution is vigorously promoted through pursuing the gospel of deceit in governance which has been systematically reduced to mastering the art of how convincingly you can lie and how effectively you can camouflage it behind the polemical edifice that you erect. Governor Sarwar’s parting comments not only provide a credible testimony, but constitute a virtual indictment of the Sharifs’ mode of governance where land mafias and qabza groups have been rendered more powerful than the governor. Governor Sarwar conceded that he had not been able to solve people’s problems saying that cruelty and injustice are on the rise adding to the national woes. Rape, loot and plunder are on the up with the justice system having virtually liquidated. On the political front, he said that President Obama’s decision not to visit Pakistan reflected a failure of the government’s foreign policy.

The violence syndrome in Pakistan is a classic case of the chickens having come home to roost. If terror is to be eliminated from the country, we have to get back to the basics and proceed with eliminating the gospel of radicalisation from the constitution and annul all the subsequent discriminatory laws which were enacted under one guise or the other and which endangered the survival of people belonging to various faiths as citizens of the state with ‘equal rights, privileges and obligations’. Nothing less will do

Governor Sarwar is no member of the PTI or an associate of the PPP. He was the Sharifs’ chosen one who, on their insistence, forfeited his British nationality to assume the gubernatorial post in Punjab. Having been used to working in the House of Commons, the Sharifs’ personalised and family-centred style of governance must have shocked him rudely and he was quick to express his disenchantment on numerous counts and occasions. That did not deter the rulers from pursuing a despotic course that can only wreak destruction for the country where everything is confined to the prime minister’s person and where senior functionaries of the government don’t even have the powers to take the routine decisions to facilitate the working in their respective institutions. That is why there is such a paralysis in the annals of governance with everyone blaming everyone else for repeated debacles that are occurring with rapid frequency ranging from petrol going extinct to a virtual national blackout.

Hypocrisy is the other essential ingredient of the Sharifs’ style of governance. Their avowed commitment to eliminate terrorism from the country ala National Action Plan (NAP) suffers from the same sick duplicity. Their political contacts with the proscribed organisations are well-known and their unwillingness to sever these is also no secret. Consequently, their agreement to follow the GHQ’s command in the war against terror is not even worth the paper on which it may have been scribbled. The wilful confusion that is being generated on various fronts to stall any forward movement in the war against terror and the unmistakable waning of resolve in this regard are clear indications that the rulers never meant what they were so dutifully parroting in the beginning. The routine was only to save their citadels of power in the aftermath of the deadly bludgeoning of the Army Public School in Peshawar.

The violence syndrome in Pakistan is a classic case of the chickens having come home to roost. If terror is to be eliminated from the country, we have to get back to the basics and proceed with eliminating the gospel of radicalisation from the constitution and annul all the subsequent discriminatory laws which were enacted under one guise or the other and which endangered the survival of people belonging to various faiths as citizens of the state with ‘equal rights, privileges and obligations’. Nothing less will do.

The writer is a political analyst and the Executive Director of the Regional Peace Institute. He can be reached at: [email protected]; Twitter: @RaoofHasan.



3 Comments

  1. abdul ghani said:

    please shorten your articles.or give five line summary by the end.u r loosing ur rfeadership for this reason.

Comments are closed.

Top