Pakistan, in itself is an idea. The basis of its formation is widely established on the idea of having an independent nation-state for the Muslims of the Subcontinent. However, understanding the ideology of Pakistan is something that needs a deeper thought process. If studied generally it will hold a different meaning and if its origins are traced back even before the Mughal Empire, it will entirely have a different meaning. Before we analyze the ideology of Pakistan, we first need to look at what are it and its significance.
Different philosophers have attached various meanings to ideology but the most relatable to all is that ideology is a different form of those comprehensive patterns of moral beliefs about man, society, and the universe in relation to man and society. Ideology is often understood as a way of thinking about the cultural and social programme of a political movement launched to emancipate a suppressed group from the exploitation of a more dominant social class.
Pakistan’s ideology completely fits this definition. During the Mughal era, the Muslims of the Subcontinent were the most dominant class from centuries and practised authority over the entire region. The Muslims were used to having control over power until the Mughal Empire gave way to Britain. It was only then, that a Muslim ideology began to be thought of. Since Hindus became dominant under British rule, Muslims were neglected in all political and social participation. It is difficult to accept failure and weakness when one has had power.
We must have the moral courage to declare that religion cannot be the basis for creating a nation-state. Once we have established this basic premise, we must not let anyone– whether an elected representative or a religious extremist– use religion to exploit those honest, hardworking Pakistanis who are only seeking a square meal, some security of life and property, a decent education, healthcare and a little hope for the future. We must insist that religion is a matter of one’s belief and faith and there can be no restriction on practicing it in the private realm, but we must separate it from the affairs of the state
Hence, the ideology for Muslims then was based on the concept of the two-nation theory. It was based on Muslims being a separate nation from Hindus, having their own culture, civilization, customs, literature, religion and the way of life. They cannot be merged into any other nation because their philosophy of life is based on Islam. Therefore, a movement for rights and equal representation began. The thought of a separate state was not the initial ideology of Muslims. They simply focused on getting equal representation. For a long time, Muslims fought for equal representation and equal rights as the second largest group. The ideology at this time was to give significance to the religion that was followed. Many activists started motivating Muslims to fight for their their position in society. Allama Iqbal wrote poetry to bring enthusiasm in the Muslims to realize how weak they had become.
When they failed to revive the Muslim image and identity and it became difficult for them to protect their culture and civilization, the ideology shifted from equal representation to a separate homeland where Muslims can practice their religion freely, based on Islamic democracy in which God will be the sovereign. The struggle was dreadful but finally a separate home for Muslims was formed; Pakistan.
Up until the formation of Pakistan, the ideology was based on the rule of religion and the famous slogan Pakistan ka matlab kiya, La ilaha illallah became the core of the freedom movement. However, after the formation of Pakistan, there was a shift. The ideology which first was the core idea now became the idea of Pakistan which needed to be protected.
The major shift in Pakistan’s ideology was not to practice the same ideology anymore but to protect the state from the evil. By creation of a new state based on distrust and hatred, Partition actually created two warring states from Day One. This intense animosity between the two countries has remained the single most important factor in the formulation of Pakistan’s foreign policy. Internally, every leader in Pakistan has cynically invoked the spectre of India and milked the cow of national security whenever faced with domestic unrest and disaffection. The distrust of India gives immense clout to the Army. Pakistan, independent, should have been free from all the previous suppression but it still largely is insecure and under pressure of the threat from India. Half the country was lost and the remaining is insecure. Soon there may be nothing left to defend.
Ideology is often understood as a way of thinking about the cultural and social programme of a political movement launched to emancipate a suppressed group from the exploitation of a more dominant social class
Twenty-four years after Partition the same saga was repeated in 1971. Once again, thousands killed, raped or maimed. Only this time it was the blood of Muslims shed by other Muslims. This does not fit well at all in the “Two-Nation Theory”. Where was the mother of all bonding, Islam? Unless, of course, you say that East Pakistan and West Pakistan were two nations! More likely, years of exploitation by the West Wing gave the Bengalis a broken heart that no bond could keep together and no balm could heal. Reminding of the fact, later formed, but they are still doing better with their nation than Pakistan is.
From 1971, the country is ripping apart and the glue of Islam is coming unstuck. The Baloch are demanding a separate province. Parts of Pakistan are not in the control of the state. The demand for an autonomous Sindh is picking up steam. All these people are Muslims, not Hindus or Sikh. Everybody today owns Pakistan in their own way. Jinnah in his first speech stated that Pakistan is a secular state. If so, why form Pakistan? Religious groups say Pakistan is a an Islamic state and follows Islamic principles whereas, we still ignore modern education or the rights of women and promote sectarianism.
So ideology is a lost concept for Pakistan. Its uniqueness initially has slowly lost its relevance and due consideration in the world and within. We left our fellow Muslims back in India, lost many of them in the journey where only some managed to settle. Then again history repeated itself with east and West Pakistan and we lost another significant part. Moving forward we have been creating unrest and intolerance within our society. All of this done by ourselves and we blame that why the world considers us the enemy.
We must have the moral courage to declare that religion cannot be the basis for creating a nation-state. Once we have established this basic premise, we must not let anyone– whether an elected representative or a religious extremist– use religion to exploit those honest, hardworking Pakistanis who are only seeking a square meal, some security of life and property, a decent education, healthcare and a little hope for the future. We must insist that religion is a matter of one’s belief and faith and there can be no restriction on practicing it in the private realm, but we must separate it from the affairs of the state.