When the foundation for Pakistan was solidified with the passing of the Lahore Resolution in 1940, the Muslims in the Indian Subcontinent were (righteously) led to believe that Pakistan would be a separate homeland where they could freely exercise Deen (Islam as a way of life).
Pakistan was seen as a homeland for all Muslims irrespective of their sectarian denominations/schools of jurisprudence. What was common among them all was the belief in 5 pillars of Islam:
1. Shahadat (Oneness of Allah, that He is Alone, He has no partners/associates and belief in Prophet Muhammad peace and blessings be upon him as the last and final Messenger of Allah)
2. Salaat (5 obligatory prayers)
3. Zakaat (giving money to the deserving and needy while ensuring their self-respect and dignity)
4. Sawm (fasting during the holy month of Ramzan)
5. Hajj (pilgrimage to Makkah at least once in a lifetime)
Besides Muslims, several non-Muslims, prominent among them the Christian community, supported the vision of Pakistan because they too were well cognizant of the Hindu Brahmin elite which believes in the dreaded caste system and considers all others except itself as worthless ants. Parsis (Zoroastrians), a few Hindu denominations and some Sikhs also opted for Pakistan. To say that none of the non-Muslims were familiar with Pakistan’s vision and its intended goals (homeland for Muslims) is a blatant lie oft repeated by historians who have a knack for bashing Islam and trying to secularize Pakistan by quoting weak, mostly disputed sources of information.
When Pakistan came into geographical being on the eve of August 14, 1947 (27 Ramzan), the Muslims chanted praise for Allah and expressed their uncontrollable happiness and excitement on this blessed gift. Indeed, the State of Pakistan is a divine gift from The Almighty. But what Muslims were unaware of was the heavy price they had to pay to earn this newfound freedom: almost 600,000 (six hundred thousand) men, women, children and elders were butchered at the hands of radical Hindus and several misguided Sikhs.
Widespread violence and panic ensued, followed by sabotage of migrant trains, loot and plunder of migrants’ wealth and property, destruction of historical relics and blasphemy of Islamic holy books and other scriptures. The five rivers of Punjab (Ravi, Beas, Sutlet, Jhelum and Chenab) were flowing red with blood, mutilated bodies were scattered across the vast expanse that now separated Pakistan on the west and India on the east. Trains filled with migrants stuffed in cabins would pass thousands of kilometres and reach their destination in the form of smoking coffins with burned bodies; rarely one or two fortunate survivors made it alive by sheer luck. Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah showed exemplary strength, composure and courage in the midst of this horrendous genocide at the hands of India’s Brahmin elite.
Delivering his first address to the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan on August 11, 1947, Quaid-e-Azam made a statement which has to this day been grossly exploited and misinterpreted by secularist intellectuals in Pakistan. The speech, which talks of equality and fraternity, is actually made in light of equal rights as enshrined in the golden principles of Shariah exclusively for non-Muslims. This was also a remark directed towards the Hindu Brahmin elite in India which did not even consider all their Hindu associates with equality, adhering rigidly instead to the notorious caste system. Analyst Riaz Haq beautifully compares the August 11 speech to the Meesaq-e-Madina (Charter of Madina) presented by the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) and shows how both the Quaid-e-Azam’s speech and the spirit of the Meesaq-e-Madina actually complement and reinforce each other, instead of being in conflict.
Quaid-e-Azam himself on several occasions had proclaimed Islam as the foundation of Pakistan’s creation with The Quran and Sunnah as sources from which laws would be derived. He was however, against theocracy because he was well aware of the dangers which a mullah-cracy would pose not only to the state’s well-being, but to the average minds of Muslims as well.
Addressing a press conference on October 11, 1947 at Karachi, Quaid-e-Azam said that, “The establishment of Pakistan for which we have been striving for the last ten years is, by the grace of God, an established fact today; but the creation of a state of our own was means not the end in itself. The idea was that we should have a state in which we could live and breathe as free men and in which we could develop according to our own lights and culture and where principles of Islamic social justice could find free play“. On one occasion, a Muslim man holding a copy of The Quran asked him which laws would govern Pakistan; Quaid-e-Azam simply pointed towards it (The Quran) and said that the laws (for the country) were given in the book in his hands.
The genesis of Quaid-e-Azam’s vision was based on Islam as the uniting factor against the curse of ethnic rivalry, provincialism and factional differences. Echoing the thoughts propounded by Allama Dr. Muhammad Iqbal, who envisioned the State of Pakistan, Quaid-e-Azam was of the view that it was only Islam and its politico-socio-economic-legal system which can hold the nascent Pakistani nation together and create a society in which religious minorities would be given complete freedom to practice their beliefs and, unlike in India, they would be accorded special status. S.M. Burke, who authored Oxford Press’ anthology on Quaid-e-Azam’s speeches, also remarked with regards to the August 11 speech by saying, “it becomes quite clear that (Jinnah) was recommending generous treatment to non-Muslims not as a commendable secular principle but as a mandatory Islamic injunction” (Source: ‘The Jinnah Anthology’ by Liaquat H. Merchant, p. 17).
Objectives Resolution: Allahs’ Name Plate on Pakistan
The Objectives Resolution (called “Qaraardad-e-Maqaasid” in Urdu) was a landmark bill tabled in the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan on March 7, 1949 by Liaquat Ali Khan, the first Prime Minister of Pakistan. As the most critical legislation ever made in the history of the country, this resolution was passed on March 12, 1949 and laid down objectives or the foundation/framework on which future constitutions of Pakistan were to be formulated. It had the right amalgamation of Islam and selected principles of modern Western democracy. It can rightfully be asserted that in a way, formulation of the Objectives Resolution was the first (and so far only) ijtihad (interpretation of religion in the current age) in Pakistan.
Notable clauses mentioned in the Objectives Resolution are presented below along with my personal commentary for an in-depth understanding:
1. Sovereignty over the entire universe belongs to Almighty Allah alone; the authority which He has delegated to the State of Pakistan, through its people for being exercise within the limits prescribed by Him is a sacred trust;
Comment: This opening clause is derived from the spirit of Surah Al-Baqarah, Ayat 107 in The Quran (translation by Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan): “Know you not that it is Allah to Whom belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth? And besides Allah you have neither any Wali (protector or guardian) nor any helper“. Allah created Mankind (men and women) are His khalifas (vicegerents). A vicegerent, naturally, has certain powers given to him by his/her ruler. In the case of Muslims, Allah has granted them the authority to implement the Commandments of Allah; it is interesting to note that this authority was delegated to the State of Pakistan through its people i.e. through the tens and millions of men, women, children and elders who supported Pakistan’s creation and migrated in Allah’s Name for His Law to be implemented in the land. The use of words “within the limits prescribed by Him” point towards the hudood (limitations) mentioned in The Quran and Sunnah (Shariah). The clause says this special authority is “a sacred trust” i.e. the right to rule and practice divine limitations is a responsibility of massive proportions and consequences upon whoever assumes charge as the leader of Pakistan at any given point in time.
2. Wherein the principles of democracy, freedom, equality, tolerance and social justice as enunciated by Islam shall be fully observed;
Comment: Note that this clause does not propose the system of democracy altogether, let alone Western democracy as a whole. Instead, it says “principles” of democracy i.e. fraternity, liberty and personal dignity which are the fundamental rights of every citizen of the state. The principles of democracy, freedom, equality and tolerance and social justice (without discrimination between the powerful and powerless, privileged and less privileged) will be observed which have been “enunciated by Islam“. This can be further clarified that ‘Islam’ does not imply that bigoted mullahs will be delegated to derive these laws; on the contrary, these will ideally be extracted by a committee comprising of enlightened, peace-loving scholars of Islam from various sects who will use The Quran as the ultimate criterion to differentiate the do’s and dont’s. Ijtihad will, once again, be the core mechanism adopted by the committee.
3. Wherein the Muslims shall be enabled to order their lives in the individual and collective spheres in accordance with the teachings and requirements of Islam as set out in the Holy Quran and the Sunnah;
Comment: This is the primary reason why Muslims in India migrated to the newly-carved State of Pakistan in the first place. They wanted to lead their lives in a congenial Islamic atmosphere without fear of oppression or subjugation by British imperialists or the Brahmin elite. The clause says that The Holy Quran and the Sunnah (two undisputed sources of Islamic law) will be consulted for guidance, not books of fiqh (jurisprudence) which are interpretations by a select community (sect) of Muslims.
4. Wherein adequate provision shall be made for the (religious) minorities to freely profess and practice their religions and develop their cultures;
Comment: This is the gist of Quaid-e-Azam’s August 11, 1947 speech when viewed in the context of the Meesaq-e-Madina; this clause reinforces the fact that Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Hindus, Parsis, etc together form part of one nation i.e. Pakistan. Non-Muslims have been given the complete freedom to profess (openly exclaim) and practice their religions and, most interestingly, their cultures as well (for example, the Kalash are a minority with their own culture).
5. Wherein the territories now included in or in accession with Pakistan and such other territories as may hereafter be included in or accede to Pakistan shall form a Federation wherein the units will be autonomous with such boundaries and limitations on their powers and authority as may be prescribed;
Comment: This clause empowers the Federation (then Karachi and presently Islamabad) as the centre of government (focal point of authority) among the existing provinces (Punjab, KP, Sindh, Balochistan) and territories in accession with Pakistan (Azad Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan). Interestingly, the clause also makes mention of any future territories which may accede to Pakistan (such as Hyderabad Deccan, occupied Jammu & Kashmir, etc). Autonomy will be given to these provinces/units but it is also worth noting that complete provincial independence which would result in friction with the Federation (as witnessed in the present times) has not been mandated. Rewind to last year from the passing of this resolution i.e. 1948 during which, on several occasions, Quaid-e-Azam had warned of the curse of provincialism.
6. Wherein shall be guaranteed fundamental rights including equality of status, of opportunity and before law, social, economic and political justice, and freedom of thought, expression, belief, faith, worship and association, subject to law and public morality;
Comment: The politico-socio-economic-legal rights and status of equality mentioned above will be ensured, as mentioned in points (2) and (3) above i.e. in light of The Quran and Sunnah. Citizens of the state will have the right to express their thoughts, beliefs and associations while being mindful of the law and public morality i.e. freedom but with responsibility to maintain public order and stability.
7. Wherein adequate provisions shall be made to safeguard the legitimate interests of minorities and backward and depressed classes;
Comment: This clause assures minorities’ religious and cultural freedom, which also includes social freedom (family laws, etc) in accordance with their respective faith systems. The statement on backward and depressed clauses warrants special attention as it pertains to Dalits in Pakistan and also Ahmadis (who have controversial/questionable beliefs but which nonetheless do not permit any individual to commit violence against them; only the State of Pakistan through the judiciary has the right to look into alleged cases of blasphemy by members of this community). Backward and depressed classes could refer to people in FATA (tribal areas) and Balochistan who have been deprived of basic civil rights because of criminal negligence by the civilian apparatus.
Liaquat Ali Khan said that the Objectives Resolution was “the most important occasion in the life of this country (Pakistan)“. Unfortunately, this landmark resolution which declares Allah as the one and only Ruler of the Universe has been given secondary status in every succeeding constitution of Pakistan. In an ideal and pragmatic situation keeping in view the vision of Pakistan’s forefathers and the thousands of people who sacrificed their lives for it, Objectives Resolution should have been declared supreme (superior to all other constitution preamables/clauses).
The hypocrisy exhibited by both civilian rulers and military dictators after Liaquat Ali Khan’s unfortunate assassination is too much to be recounted in a single book, let alone an article. To speak in a straightforward manner, we have placed Allah (Lord of the Universe) on the backseat. Is this not collective blasphemy?
“Pakistan is a nation of jingoists and hypocrites who believe they are superior and infallible”, said an elder to this author recently. “They are living in a fool’s paradise. This country will not prosper or rise to new heights until and unless the Objectives Resolution is declared supreme. The only reason Allah has spared us destruction is Allah’s Name Plate on our country and its ideology… the Objectives Resolution is Allah’s Name Plate. We have written His Name and acknowledged His All-Powerful, sole dominion over the Universe but not believed in it. We have not embedded this belief fully in our hearts and minds”.
The Rise of Pakistan
The year 2015 has brought with it several feathers in Pakistan’s cap. Signing of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), full membership of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), facilitating the Murree Peace Process between Afghan Taliban and the Unity Government in Kabul (with presence of the US and China) are some of the key achievements Pakistan has made. Also, Operation Zarb-e-Azb against terrorists has entered its final, decisive phase.
All these successes and others, if any, will be short-lived until and unless the Objectives Resolution is accorded primary constitutional/legal status. This will, of course, face severe opposition from the existing judicial setup in the country which is frankly a rotten version of centuries-old Anglo-Saxon law.
It is worth noting that in August 1947, the Quaid-e-Azam had established the Department of Islamic Reconstruction (DIR) in Lahore. He remarked that DIR would “help our community to reconstruct its life on Islamic values” (speaking with reference to Allama Dr. Muhammad Iqbal’s ‘Reconstruction of the Religious Thought in Islam’). Asad, who was an Austrian Jew originally named Leopold Weiss and who later embraced Islam, was entrusted by Quaid-e-Azam as the DIR’s first Director. A detailed, fascinating and rare account of this historical event can be read here.
After Quaid-e-Azam’s sudden demise, the only true legislation ever made and passed in Pakistan was the Objectives Resolution. Its complete, true-to-spirit implementation will automatically pave the way forward to revive the DIR and develop means of facilitating Pakistan’s rise, not in groups alone but most importantly through strengthening/reform of state institutions.
Allah’s Name Plate (Objectives Resolution) is acting like a shield against the myriad of internal/external threats facing Pakistan. The armed forces, as the only disciplined and stable institution in the country, is not without its share of corrupt elements also. However, the breath of fresh air injected by Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif and DG ISI Lt Gen Rizwan Akhtar in putting an end to past practices by their predecessors and sincerely pushing forward for national, regional and world peace are commendable. One hopes this trend continues with leaps and bounds.
Having said so, the armed forces also are not fully capable of protecting Pakistan. The existence of Objectives Resolution has by default protected Pakistan despite the breakup of East Pakistan into Bangladesh. Extremism and terrorism have destroyed the social fabric and economy in Pakistan and yet, miraculously, this country has remained intact. In an earlier post, I discussed in detail how Pakistan has defied odds by being a very resilient country. Is the army running the economy? No. Is the army teaching students across the country? No. It is Allah’s Name Plate, which we are highly ungrateful to and unmindful of.
The Rise of Pakistan is directly linked to the declaration of Objectives Resolution as the supreme law of the land. Allah is Great, His creations owe their existence to him. Politicians, bureaucrats, judges, Generals, businessmen, academics, intellectuals, journalists, etc all were created by Him. The day we accept Allah is Great and is the King of Kings (Alone), that is when hypocrisy will wipe out from our national psyche and the dark clouds over Pakistan will vanish.
Once the Objectives Resolution is declared most superior law in Pakistan, a vast cleanup in the economy (end to riba (‘interest’), money laundering, etc), bureaucracy (end to red-tapism, corruption, nepotism, etc), military (promotions on favoritism rather than merit, corruption, real estate businesses, etc), education (Western modes of education in schools and, on the other hand, extremist education in madrassas, etc) and politics (corruption, anti-state activities, crime, terrorism, etc) can be truly realized.
Islam was, is and will always remain the raison d’être of Pakistan’s creation; all other reasons are of secondary importance. Indeed, Pakistan’s significance is only with regards to Islam. The biggest dilemma which this country faces is the useless debates over Pakistan’s identity and purpose of creation. Did the thousands of martyrs give their lives for the cause of secularism? Were migrant females’ sanctity violated so that Pakistan’s economy can operate on riba (interest)? Did elders get beheaded so that Pakistanis would rely on foreign investors to provide them sustenance, instead of working hard and having faith on Allah?
Narrating false tales of a bright future is a sin in itself. We must accept we have wronged our own selves. We must accept that we like chest-thumping for Islam but in our lives, we are hypocrites of the highest order. We must accept we have committed mistakes and blunders in the past. We must accept that we continue to use Allah’s Name Plate as a tool of convenience when required and then brush it aside when we don’t see any further immediate benefit from it. We must accept that de jure we are Muslims but de facto we are self-centred hypocrites. We engage in double dealings not only with fellow humans but with Allah Himself (nauzubillah).
To realize a Rising Pakistan, we will have to ensure supremacy of the Objectives Resolution. Any other means to achieve long-lasting progress and development will be futile, yielding nothing but severe disappointment.
image credit: bigstockphoto.com