FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Real Winners in Pakistan

by B. R. GOWANI

Undoubtedly, Pakistan is now a “democracy”, that is, the Western style democracy where the elections are held, people vote, and the people losing power accepts it without much fuss. 

One corrupt leader and party is being replaced by another corrupt leader and party. But there is a difference. The incoming party had the blessings of the Taliban, that is, they refrained from hurting their candidates. The same treatment was not accorded to the outgoing party-it was openly threated with violence. Due to this, the PPP (Pakistan Peoples Party) suffered a loss of seats and candidates. The Karachi based MQM (Muttahida Quomi Movement), and ANP (Awami National Party) were the other parties who suffered because of Taliban.

All the three parties are secular.

Secularism

The term “secularism” was coined by George Jacob Holyoake (1817-1906). Secular politics means that politicians don’t use religion in politics. Secularism can be applied to other things too, including our daily life-that is, not invoking God, gods, and goddesses, or scriptures, and other religious things during our interactions.

Mohamamad Ali Jinnah (1876-1948), the creator of Pakistan, started his political career as a secularist and a moderate who wanted to be a “Muslim Gokhale”. Gopal Krishna Gokhale (1866-1915), one of the senior leaders of the Indian National Congress Party, was considered a mentor by Jinnah. Gokhale praised Jinnah thus: “He has true stuff in him and that freedom from all sectarian prejudice which will make him the best ambassador of Hindu-Muslim unity.”

But Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (1869-1948) was not so kind to Jinnah during their first encounter. Jinnah welcomed M. K. Gandhi wholeheartedly in 1915 in a welcoming ceremony arranged by the Gujar Sabha. How did Gandhi thanked him? By reminding Jinnah and all those present over there about Jinnah’s religion, “glad to find a Mahomedan not only belonging to his own region’s Sabha, but chairing it“.

Jinnah was born in a Muslim family but was not a practicing Muslim. From his lifestyle, his dressing, his looks, his name (he preferred and used his name as “M. A. Jinnah”), his consumption of alcohol, and his language (that is, he preferred to use English language), he could be mistaken for either a South Asian, an Arab, a Latin American, or a Southern European.

Jinnah was absolutely against mixing politics with religion and he tried his best to do that for a long time; but then he failed to do so against Gandhi’s mixing of religion with politics. Then he himself used religion and created Pakistan in the name of Islam but he remained a secularist till his death. Later in his political life, he used Islamic vocabulary, Indian Muslim clothing, and tried to attend prayers, but he never turned a communalist. In 1943, he had asked the reporters not to bring up the issue of Sunni, Shia, or Ahmadi Muslims. He emphasized that his party, the Indian Muslim League, was open to all , including the Ahmadis.

Contrary to popular presentation of Jinnah as a soldier of Islam, he remained a secularist who had just used Islam as a tool. If he was a soldier of Islam he wouldn’t have tried till the mid 1940′s for the unity of India. He would have grabbed, as soon as possible, whatever little territory he would have been able to get from the British to create Pakistan to spread Islam and jihad.

Pakistan’s first cabinet had Joginder Nath Mandal (a low caste Hindu) as a Law Minister and Chaudhry Sir Muhammad Zafarullah Khan (an Ahmadi Muslim) as a Foreign Minister.

Election results 

The Indian Subcontinent is made up of many nations. The outcome of the recent election in Pakistan has made that too obvious. Each nation for itself and God for herself. The Punjabis in the province of Punjab voted for a Punjabi Nawaz Sharif. Sindhi Asif Ali Zardari’s PPP is now restricted to the province of Sindh. Pashtun Imran Khan’s PTI (Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf) party won in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. (Dawn for details.)

Relations with India 

Sharif’s victory has gotten a good response in India. Sharif, who wants improved relations with India, has asked the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to attend his inauguration.

In the Province of Sindh, the two major parties (PPP and MQM) who wants better relations with India should try to pursue on their own to do so by increasing trade and other such initiatives.

Real winners 

Right now, obviously Sharif, who has been prime minister twice before, is the winner. But then the Taliban and the other Islamic militants who who were careful with his and Imran Khan’s parties are the winners too. And it can stay that way, provided, Sharif introduces more Islamic laws making the Taliban and Islamists happy but making people’s life more miserable. The chances are that it will be like that, unless Sharif has the courage and the power to go after the Taliban and the Islamists.

B. R. Gowani can be reached at brgowani@hotmail.com

B. R. Gowani can be reached at brgowani@hotmail.com

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

August 30, 2016
Russell Mokhiber
Matt Funiciello and the Giant Sucking Sound Coming Off Lake Champlain
Mike Whitney
Three Cheers for Kaepernick: Is Sitting During the National Anthem an Acceptable Form of Protest?
Alice Bach
Sorrow and Grace in Palestine
Richard Moser
Transformative Movement Culture and the Inside/Outside Strategy: Do We Want to Win the Argument or Build the Movement?
Nozomi Hayase
Pathology, Incorporated: the Facade of American Democracy
Jan Oberg
How Did the West Survive a Much Stronger Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact?
Linda Gunter
The Racism of the Nagasaki and Hiroshima Bombings
David Swanson
Fredric Jameson’s War Machine
Dmitry Kolesnik
In Ukraine: Independence From the People
Omar Kassem
Turkey Breaks Out in Jarablus, as, Fear and Loathing Grip Europe.
George Wuerthner
A Birthday Gift to the National Parks: the Maine Woods National Monument
Logan Glitterbomb
Indigenous Property Rights and the Dakota Access Pipeline
National Lawyers Guild
Solidarity with Standing Rock Sioux Tribe against Dakota Access Pipeline
August 29, 2016
Eric Draitser
Hillary and the Clinton Foundation: Exemplars of America’s Political Rot
Patrick Timmons
Dildos on Campus, Gun in the Library: the New York Times and the Texas Gun War
Jack Rasmus
Bernie Sanders ‘OR’ Revolution: a Statement or a Question?
Richard Moser
Strategic Choreography and Inside/Outside Organizers
Nigel Clarke
President Obama’s “Now Watch This Drive” Moment
Robert Fisk
Iraq’s Willing Executioners
Wahid Azal
The Banality of Evil and the Ivory Tower Masterminds of the 1953 Coup d’Etat in Iran
Farzana Versey
Romancing the Activist
Frances Madeson
Meet the Geronimos: Apache Leader’s Descendants Talk About Living With the Legacy
Nauman Sadiq
The War on Terror and the Carter Doctrine
Lawrence Wittner
Does the Democratic Party Have a Progressive Platform–and Does It Matter?
Marjorie Cohn
Death to the Death Penalty in California
Winslow Myers
Asking the Right Questions
Rivera Sun
The Sane Candidate: Which Representatives Will End the Endless Wars?
Linn Washington Jr.
Philadelphia District Attorney Hammered for Hypocrisy
Binoy Kampmark
Banning Burkinis: the Politics of Beachwear
Weekend Edition
August 26, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Louisa Willcox
The Unbearable Killing of Yellowstone’s Grizzlies: 2015 Shatters Records for Bear Deaths
Paul Buhle
In the Shadow of the CIA: Liberalism’s Big Embarrassing Moment
Rob Urie
Crisis and Opportunity
Charles Pierson
Wedding Crashers Who Kill
Richard Moser
What is the Inside/Outside Strategy?
Dirk Bezemer – Michael Hudson
Finance is Not the Economy
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Bernie’s Used Cars
Margaret Kimberley
Hillary and Colin: the War Criminal Charade
Patrick Cockburn
Turkey’s Foray into Syria: a Gamble in a Very Dangerous Game
Ishmael Reed
Birther Tries to Flim Flam Blacks  
Brian Terrell
What Makes a Hate Group?
Andrew Levine
How Donald Trump Can Still be a Hero: Force the Guardians of the Duopoly to Open Up the Debates
Howard Lisnoff
Trouble in Political Paradise
Terry Tempest Williams
Will Our National Parks Survive the Next 100 Years?
Ben Debney
The Swimsuit that Overthrew the State
Ashley Smith
Anti-imperialism and the Syrian Revolution
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail