Where did Jinnah’s Pakistan go?
On August 11, 1947, certain words echoed in the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan with much emphasis.
“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.”
These words were proudly stated by none other than the founding father of our nation, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah.
After 66 years of struggle, sacrifices and long-fought battles to procure democracy in Jinnah’s Pakistan, we stand at a point where we have become helpless against terror-minded individuals, with their army of a few thousand fanatics, who wish to enforce their version of religion on our society.
In today’s realist world, their version of Shariah stands far from the Constitution of Madina and Islam. Shariah does not permit or justify the murder and torture of a human being, nor does it authorise attacks on any place of worship, any individual or sect based on their religious belief.
In theory, religion is regarded by the common people as true, and by their rulers as a tool used to benefit a self-serving desire. While democracy allows you to have freedom of religion, conservatism enforces a religion upon you. Although I am not a religious scholar, but from whatever knowledge I have, I am aware that Islam in itself contains 73 sects, of which only one will enter paradise on the Day of Judgment.
Of those 73 sects, whose version of Shariah will we impose in Jinnah’s Pakistan?
The Shariah that does not allow a child like Malala Yousufzai to go to school and speak her mind, or the one that sides with the death of a child such as Aitzaz Hasan, who sacrificed his life while preventing a suicide bomber from entering his school of 2,000 students?
What Shariah allows you to murder 23 FC personnel and proudly display their bodies with the head separated from the torso, amidst a loudly playing extremist anthem in the background?
As much as we can appreciate the efforts of the current government and all the political parties to achieve peace, the manner in which these actions are being orchestrated and pursued are rather disappointing and a cause of concern. The nation witnessed an extensive ten-month long period of negotiations which never actually took off, along with a meaningless Karachi Operation which has entered its nine month period without producing any significant results, after an extensive tale of custodial torture and extra judicial killings.
Recent incidents of terror have further dented hopes of peace. With Jinnah International Airport located in nation’s metropolis engulfed in flames, with rounds of gunfire that came in sporadic bursts lasting more than five hours. Given that Karachi has been under operation for the past nine months; such presence of militants and their ability to manoeuvre around the city with explosives and arms is a significant cause of concern. These actions served as a major blow to Pakistan’s endless effort to attract foreign investors to revive its economy. Once again, what Shariah allows you murder 27 innocent citizens who lost their lives in the line of duty?
Similarly, on the same day another tragedy occurred in border town of Taftan, in which caravan of 210 passengers carrying pilgrims of Pakistani origin were subjected to casualties when a suicide bomber went into the hotel hosting Shia pilgrims. This resulted in the death of 30 individuals, including women and children. Once again, I do not recall a single form of Shariah that permits you to attack or justify murder of pilgrims belonging to any religion.
But in Jinnah’s Pakistan, militants and their apologists use their distorted version of religion to justify such barbaric actions.
In his address to the constituent assembly, Jinnah went on to state,
“You will no doubt agree with me that the first duty of a government is to maintain law and order, so that the life, property and religious beliefs of its subjects are fully protected by the state.”
The true spirit and essence upon which this nation was founded has been long lost and divulged into corruption, thirst, hunger for power and politics of revenge. Where did Jinnah’s Pakistan go?
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.