Pervez Hoodbhoy on Re-Imagining Pakistan

Posted on December 31, 2006
Filed Under >Adil Najam, >Bilal Zuberi, >Pervez Hoodbhoy, About ATP, People, Society
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Bilal Zuberi and Adil Najam

It is the end of the year – a good time to reflect on the past and imagine the future. One could make an argument that, here at ATP, we do try to do that all year.

From one of our earliest posts on ‘Imagining Pakistan’ to our many disucssions on Jinnah and his image of Pakistan (here, here, here, here, here and here) the question of what Pakistan we want to see in the future has been central to ATP discussions. At its cores, this question is also behind current ATP Poll on the key events of 2006 and their impact on Pakistan’s future. In reality, what would have most impact on Pakistan in 2007 is the way in which our society will learn, adopt and change itself in light of the events of the past.

It is in this context that we wanted to share some of ideas presented by Prof. Pervez Hoodbhoy during his commencement speech at the the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture in Karachi. Many of you would have seen this already, it has been featured in a number of Pakistani blogs, including here. However, we have waited to the end of the year to highlight this because this is a time when many begin pondering on what has been and what will be in the future. Hopefully, this can generate a broader conversation of what our ‘three wishes’ might be.

It is indeed a pleasure to see the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture emerge as a thriving educational institution. I remember my first visit here around 1994 when it had barely come into existence. The Nusserwanjee Building in Kharadar had just been pulled apart and transported brick-by-brick to this site. Over the years it was patiently put together again, and this innovative experiment has now born fruit. To those who will graduate today from the School, I extend my congratulations. You are ready to set sail into the big, wide world as artists, designers and architects. Many of you will doubtless become rich and famous, and I hope all of you do.

But, as a general fact, the success of individuals does not always lead to the betterment of the larger milieu in which they live and breathe. Improving the state of society is a far more difficult and complex matter, and it involves much more than just increasing the consumption of material goods and services. Societies change when people change their ways of thinking. It is on this that we shall reflect upon today.

To help us along, let’s imagine a film like ‘Jinnah’. You die and fly off to the arrival gate in heaven where an angel of the immigration department screens newcomers from Pakistan. Admission these days is even tougher than getting a Green Card to America. You have to show proofs of good deeds, argue your case, and fill out an admission form. One section of the form asks you to specify three attitudinal traits that you want fellow Pakistanis, presently on earth, to have. As part of divine fairness, all previous entries are electronically stored and publicly available and so you learn that Mr. Jinnah, as the first Pakistani, had answered – as you might guess – Faith, Unity, Discipline This slogan was in all the books you had studied in school, and was emblazoned even on monuments and hillsides across the country. Since copying won’t get you anywhere in heaven, you obviously cannot repeat this.

What would your three choices be? As you consider your answer, I’ll tell you mine.

First, I wish for minds that can deal with the complex nature of truth. Without minds engaged on this issue there cannot be a capacity for good judgment. And, without good judgment a nation will blunder from one mistake on to the next. Now, truth is a fundamental but very subtle concept. The problem is that things are usually not totally true or totally false. Still, some things are very true and others are very false. For example it is very true that I will be killed if I stand on the tracks in front of a speeding train. And it is very false that the earth rests on the horns of a bull. But these are quite easily established; separating true and false is often extremely difficult.

Take art, architecture, music, poetry, or sculpture. They are so absolutely necessary that we cannot conceive of a satisfying or civilized existence without them. But there is no true or false in any of them, just shades of gray. Harold Pinter, the British dramatist who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2005, emphasizes this in his acceptance speech:

The real truth is that there never is any such thing as one truth to be found in dramatic art. There are many. These truths challenge each other, recoil from each other, reflect each other, ignore each other, tease each other, are blind to each other. Sometimes you feel you have the truth of a moment in your hand, then it slips through your fingers and is lost.

Pinter says it so well. Who wants to read a book or see a drama about absolute heroes and total villains? Or perfect beauty and total ugliness? These extremities do not engage our mind or sensitivities.

Truth in art is a subtle matter, and I am not a philosopher. At one level it appears to me that truth in art is really about preferences. Is it a truth that Ghalib was a better poet than Mir? Or that Mehdi Hasan is the greatest ghazal singer on the subcontinent? Is the renaissance neoclassical art of Raphael and others more true to life than the modern art forms that superseded it? Or that modern machine-driven architectural geometries are superior to buildings designed with columns, arches, and gargoyles of classical architecture? Surely, these are matters of taste.

At another level there is a question of honesty and truth that relates squarely to your profession: should someone, as a commercial artist, design a great advertisement for a bad product? Of course, some people will hold very strong opinions on these issues because, perhaps as a consequence of their education and socialization, they have accepted a certain point of view and acquired certain tastes. Fortunately, most will accept – even if grudgingly – that truth in art is unknowable. There are no hard distinctions between what is real and what is unreal, or between what is true and what is false. In effect, a thing can be both true and false. And here I will go happily along with post-modernists even though on other matters there is much that I disagree with them about.

But what about truth in matters of religion? Religion occupies a far larger domain of our national existence than art, literature, and the rest. Here there are still stronger opinions and people shy away from discussions on this everywhere. This is because there is usually a total conviction of where the truth lies. Every religion is convinced of its correctness and of the incorrectness of others. My deeply religious Catholic friend at MIT – with whom I shared a room during my freshman year – would kneel by his bed every night to pray for my salvation because he felt that, as a Muslim, I was destined to hell. His truth was different from mine, but he was such a sweet person, and so genuinely disturbed by what he saw as my ultimate fate, that I simply did not have the heart to tell him that his prayers were quite unnecessary.

We could, of course, avoid talking about religion and I could stop just here. But it is a fact that religion determines what large numbers of Pakistanis live for, and what they will die for, and – all too often – what they will kill for. So we cannot afford to avoid the subject when the stakes are as high as they are today. The choice is between conversation and violence.

So let us be bold and examine religion at its three different levels.

At one level religion is inspirational and emotional. Marmaduke Pickthal, who first translated the Holy Quran into English, wrote that the melody of its verses could move men to tears. Abdus Salam, transfixed by the symmetry of Lahore’s Badshahi Mosque, said that it inspired him to think of the famous SU(2)xU(1) symmetry that revolutionised the world of particle physics.

At a second level lies the metaphysics of religion. This relates to the particular beliefs of a religion, including such issues as monotheism and polytheism, death and reincarnation, heaven and hell, prophets and holy men, sacrifices and rituals, etc. At both these levels, the absoluteness of a particular truth is obvious to the believer, but not necessarily to those outside the faith. Nevertheless, he or she is happy to achieve a sense of purpose in an otherwise purposeless universe. Of course, the particular beliefs held to be true – as in art and aesthetics – depend upon the individual’s family background, education, and socialization into the wider community.

There is a third level: religions are prescriptive. You must do this, but not do that. Some prescriptions are very sensible. But several are understood very differently by different groups belonging to the same overall faith. Some differences are relatively harmless, such as exactly when you may break your fast, when to celebrate Eid, and whether your hands are to be folded or held down while praying. But other differences are deeply divisive and the source of bitter conflict: How much of her face must a Muslim woman cover? None, all, or half-way in between? If a man declares three times to his wife ‘I divorce you’ adequate grounds from an Islamic point of view for a divorce? Or, to take another example, against whom and in what manner is the Quranic injunction for jihad to be followed? This question has pitted Muslim against Muslim in bitter disputation. Is it okay to set off a car bomb in Baghdad and, if so, in which neighborhood? Are suicide bombings un-Islamic? Was the 911 attack on America a crime by standards of Islamic morality? Is Osama bin Laden a good Muslim, or perhaps not one at all?

There are religious authorities on both sides of these divides. I do not wish to take sides on these issues here, but the very fact that there is serious disagreement even among believers of the same faith – not to speak of faiths hostile to each other – means that there cannot be only one single truth in religion. At best there is a plurality of truths, as in the case of art and literature. Some truths are more true, or less true, than others.

And what about science? Are its truths absolute? At the risk of appearing evasive, and of having to disappoint some friends, I have to tell you that my answer is both yes and no.

The good news is that, at the level of epistemology, truth in science is ultimately knowable. Post-modernists are up the creek if they think that all scientific knowledge is relative. A scientific fact has to pass rigorous tests before it is accepted. This means that different scientists in different laboratories at different times must be able to observe the same phenomenon. The nationality, sex, religion, or ethnic affiliation of the scientist is irrelevant. This is why scientists form an international community. Precisely because their differences can be resolved on the basis of experiment, observation, and mathematical argumentation, they don’t kill each other or condemn other scientists as heretics worthy of execution. I have yet to hear of a scientist equivalent of Salman Rushdie.

But there are questions that science will never be able to address. Nor is science a monolithic body of doctrine. The great scientist and visionary, Freeman Dyson, reminds us that:

Science is a culture, constantly growing and changing. The science of today has broken out of the molds of classical nineteenth century science, just as the paintings of Pablo Picasso and Jackson Pollock broke out of the molds of nineteenth century art. Science has as many competing styles as painting or poetry.

Well, the objectivity of scientific knowledge was the good news. The bad news is that the world’s scientists are also responsible for some of the greatest crimes against humanity. They make nuclear bombs, germ weapons, polluting factories, and serve the narrow interests of their national, religious, or ethnic groups. As individuals they are no more enlightened than anybody else. Some brilliant scientists that I have known are mere morons when it comes to matters of society or of human relations. So, scientists will not save the world – or even Pakistan.

Who will? Only those capable of nuanced, balanced, critical thought can – and they don’t have to be scientists. We can put our hopes only on those who realize the provisional nature of truth, and who do not claim a monopoly on wisdom. The dogmatist, who thinks he has a divinely provided blueprint to reform society, will only get us into deeper trouble. So this is why my first wish was for Pakistanis who can think.

This is not a hopeless wish. Students here should think back into what they were like before they came to this School, and how they changed because their teachers encouraged them to ask questions. You learned that good questions lead to good answers that, in turn, generate more questions and ideas. Those ideas helped you move forward. So, be critical, be thoughtful, and don’t be satisfied until you are thoroughly convinced.

But I must move on because I still have two more wishes to make.

My second wish is for many more Pakistanis who accept diversity as a virtue. So I am not asking for unity, but acceptance of our differences. Lets face it, we’re all different. The four provinces of Pakistan have different histories, class and societal structures, climates, and natural resources. Within the provinces there live Sunnis, Shias, Bohris, Ismailis, Ahmadis, Zikris, Hindus, Christians, and Parsis. Then there are tribal and caste divisions which are far too numerous to mention. Add to this all the different languages and customs as well as different modes of worship, rituals, and holy figures. Given this enormous diversity, liberals – who are rather good people in general – often talk of the need for tolerance. But I don’t like this at all. Tolerance merely says that you are nice enough to put up with a bad thing. Instead, let us accept and even celebrate the differences!

Nations are built when diversity is accepted, just as communities are built when individuals can be themselves and yet work for and with each other. If we want unity in the face of diversity, then the majority must stop trying to force itself upon the minorities. Most crucially, the state must stop acting on behalf of the majority. It is imperative that all Pakistanis be declared equal citizens in every way. The Constitution of Pakistan does not accept this. It must be changed to reflect this.

For sixty years we have feared diversity and insisted on unity. But Pakistan paid a very heavy price because our leaders could not understand that a heterogeneous population can live together only if differences are respected. The imposition of Urdu upon Bengal in 1948 was a tragic mistake, and the first of a sequence of missteps that led up to 1971. We have not learned the lesson even now, and the public anger today in Balochistan and Sind against Punjab stands as unfortunate proof. After the 80-year old Nawab Akbar Bugti was murdered by the Pakistan military, no Punjabi – even if he strongly disagrees with the actions of the military – feels safe in Balochistan. To my mind this is a terrible thing and undermines the very concept of Pakistanis being one nation.

Accepting diversity is something that we all learn, to a greater or lesser extent. I ask students to look at their classmates who come from different backgrounds. Here, as elsewhere you have different economic, ethnic, and religious backgrounds. But probably most of you have learned to work together. You acquired a set of values that allows you to work together, appreciate merit and honesty, and see the individual for his or her merit. Surely education is really about acquiring these values – not just learning technical skills.

And now for my final wish.

My third, and last, wish is that Pakistanis learn to value and nurture creativity. Creativity is a difficult concept to define but roughly I mean originality, unusualness, or ingenuity in something. If nurtured from an early age in children, it leads to great writers, poets, musicians, engineers, scientists, and builders of modern industries and institutions. No one can dispute that creativity is a good thing. But how come Pakistanis – with some important exceptions – have done so poorly on the world stage? Why are there only a dozen or two internationally known Pakistani inventors, scientists, writers, etc for a nation of 165 million people?

The poor performance comes because our society is not willing to pay the price for having creativity. Individuals are creative only when they are not subject to oppressive social control, when the intellectual space in which they can function is large enough, and when they have a sufficient degree of personal autonomy. It is therefore axiomatic that creativity runs counter to tradition and coercion. Authoritarian societies don’t want the lid to be taken off because who knows what can happen after that?

There cannot be creativity in a society where students learn like parrots, where the teacher is an unchallengeable authoritarian figure ‘jo aap kay baap ki tara hai’. Except at a few leading universities, the written word – even if it is in a physics textbook – is slavishly followed. The students in our public universities are just overgrown children, including the ones who are in their mid- or late twenties. In fact they prefer to be called girls and boys, not women and men. For recreation they do not read books but walk aimlessly in bazaars and waste time in pointless chatter. Most have never read a single classical novel, either in Urdu or English. In my department – the best physics department in the country – their only contribution to what you see around is the huge birthday or ‘mangni’ greeting cards displayed on bulletin boards. Teachers insult them, throw them out of class, and encourage deference and servility.

Wrongly, the cornerstone of our education is itaat (obedience), which is the very negation of creativity. It is to challenge itaat that Faiz Ahmad Faiz wrote:

ab sadeeon kay iqrar-e-itaat ko badalnay
lazim hai keh inkar ka firman koi utarey

I am done with my three wishes. May that inkar ka firman come sooner rather than later.

At this point I don’t know whether I will get past the Pearly Gates or not. The first Pakistani to get through was, we are told, the originator of the call for Faith, Unity, Discipline. What I’ve put down on my form is quite the opposite, as you will have surely noted. But Pakistan is no longer what it was in 1947. Different situations in different historical epochs call for different solutions. So I’m still hopeful about my application for admission.

Now, of course, there must be many applications pending in heaven and it will be a while before I know how mine went. But meanwhile, there are lots of urgent things that you and I must seriously work upon.

First, we need to bring economic justice to Pakistan. This requires that it possess the working machinery of a welfare state. Economic justice is not the same as flinging coins at beggars. Rather, it requires organizational infrastructure that, at the very least, provides employment but also rewards according to ability and hard work. Incomes should be neither exorbitantly high nor miserably low. To be sure, ‘high’ and ‘low’ are not easily quantifiable, but an inner moral sense informs us that something is desperately wrong when rich Pakistanis fly off to vacation in Dubai while a mother commits suicide because she cannot feed her children.

Second, we must fight to give Pakistan’s women the freedom which is their birthright. In much of rural Pakistan a woman is likely to be spat upon, beaten, or killed for being friendly to a man or even showing to him her face. Newspaper readers expect – and get – a steady daily diet of stories about women raped, mutilated, or strangled to death by their fathers, husbands, and brothers. Energetic proselytizers like Farhat Hashmi have made deep inroads even into the urban middle and upper classes. Their emphasis is on covering women’s faces, putting women back into the home and kitchen, and destroying ideas of women’s equality with men. The culture of suppressing women and excluding them from public life is spreading like wildfire. As our collective piety increases, the horrific daily crimes against women become still less worthy of comment or discussion.

Third, and last, we have to wake people up and get them politically engaged again. Young people have tuned into mindless FM entertainment and tuned out of participation in social causes. University campuses are empty of discussion and debate, and movements against manifest social and political injustice bring forth only handfuls of committed individuals. Millions demonstrated in the streets of London, Rome, Washington, and New York against the criminal American invasion of Iraq. But in Pakistan – where the anger was still deeper -  the response was invisible. We have become cynical and think that nothing can be done. Today the military rules an apathetic nation.

This apathy must go, and can go. Last year’s earthquake galvanized people across the country. It broke the myth that we have stopped caring for each other. I have never seen Pakistanis give so whole-heartedly of their money, time, effort, and energy. Ordinary people, students, shop-keepers, businessmen – just about everybody pitched into the huge relief effort.

So we can change for the better. We can be like other nations on this planet. We can make responsible choices for who should govern us. We can bring justice to our people. We can be a decent civilized, peaceful, well-informed, educated people. Its only a question of trying and getting our act together. That is the task before all of us, young and old.

72 Comments on “Pervez Hoodbhoy on Re-Imagining Pakistan”

  1. A. says:
    December 31st, 2006 3:26 pm

    Sincere thanks for putting this up in full – we’re lucky to still have people like Dr Hoodbhoy around who will take the time to eloquently analyse the many facets of Pakistan’s current travails and show us how an educated person & experienced teacher views the confusing jumble of events around us today. My own grounding in “itaat” to elders and teachers makes me at least thankful to have his point of view to consider as I ponder the very questions he’s raised in this speech for myself!

    Also, thank you for this blog/website. It has displayed courageous integrity and given a venue to pakistanis of all walks who think alike, but imagine they are alone in thinking, perceiving and feeling as they do. May we have the integrity to materialise this community if we all ever run into each other & may it bear sweet fruit for Pakistan.

  2. December 31st, 2006 3:43 pm

    While there can be no qualms with Dr. Hoodbhoy’s vision, one wonders why, despite the fact that Hoodbhoy’s own articles on Jinnah himself show Jinnah in a secular and rationalist light, the good doctor assumes that Jinnah’s ideology may be in conflict with the principles Hoodbhoy advocates…

    Unity in Diversity, Faith (Yaqeen-e-muhkam) in yourself and in Truth and with Discipline you can channel your Creativity.

    If any thing, the ideas of Mr. Mahomed Ali Jinnah, barrister and upholder of constitutional freedoms and liberty of man, are extremely necessary for truth diversity and creativity to flourish in Pakistan.

  3. Moeen Bhatti says:
    December 31st, 2006 5:58 pm

    I have heard this man few times on the TV and I really like him. Thanks for this classic post. Its not an easy task to say “kalmia Haq” in a “Jahil Land”; and I wonder how do such people survive in a country like Pakistan. But it is very clear, Pakistan still has pearls like him that she should cherish, honor and respect.

  4. Akbar says:
    January 1st, 2007 10:45 am

    I do not think that these ideas need to be projected as the opposite of Faith, Unity and Discipline. It gets attention that way but in some ways it takes away from teh really powerful message. I think his point about truth and reason (point one) is very stronga nd it takes courage to say that. He is right we have turned faith in dogma, and unity into imposing only one ‘type’ of Pakistaniness, and our education system is hurting creativity. His prescriptions are right ones and we shodul alsl think about them.

    In addition to his wishes, mine include true democracy and better relations with all our neighbors.

  5. Owais Mughal says:
    December 31st, 2006 11:31 pm

    Adil and Bilal nice post. The wish that hit home for me in this article was: “A wish for many more Pakistanis to accept diversity as a virtue. I am not asking for unity, but acceptance of our differences.”

  6. shirazi says:
    January 1st, 2007 4:24 am

    Very meaningful post to start the year.

  7. Asif Alam says:
    January 1st, 2007 1:06 pm

    reposting comments by Aisha Sarwari that was posted on AOPP’s pakeditor forum about Dr. Hoodbhoy’s article..

    - Asif Alam

    Re: [pakeditor] Re-Imagine Pakistan – Should We?

    I have commented on the article when it appeared on Chowk. Needless to say I found it disturbing on may counts. Since I am now in Pakistan, my role from the California resident, always on the defensive when it comes to Pakistan, has changed. Now I am part of a system in Pakistan, oblivious to the outside world, and in a much more airy position to criticize the things that are wrong in the country. The hassles, the logistical disasters as well as the fundamental issues with the state.

    Yet at no point do I agree with the article’s structure. It lacks clarity. Either we are facing the issues because of MA Jinnah or we are not. If such a claim is made then Mr. Hoodbhoy should state why. This article is flawed because it asks for a revision of Jinnah’s Pakistan and then goes on to state what Pakistan ought to be, with the original argument tossed aside like a forgotten coat.

    Yes, students should demonstrate creativity, yes there should be freedom and tolerance of religion, yes there should be a focus on the philosophy of science on debunking myths on guard against powers that manipulate…etc

    Wasn’t it Jinnah who practically implemented a methodology of winning a state out of people who were unwilling to “accept diversity as a virtue?” Its rather simplistic to do an Ought-to piece on something without realizing that the re-imagination being asked for is utterly unnecessary.

    When we fail to have a holistic historical perspective on things we imagine things that are really not there, and if there are, we construct a myopic view of things.

    One needs not reduce Jinnah to a man who partitioned India and created Pakistan. Any objective view needs to recount the consistent role he played before the Pakistan demand as well.

    ‘Jinnah’s legislative career prior to his taking up the Muslim separatist case was marked by secular Indian nationalism and his desire to see India as a great and free nation of the world, inspired by constitutionalism and democracy. Jinnah stood for universal education, women’s rights, equality of Indians irrespective of religion, caste, creed or gender and against obscurantism of all forms. It is this part of his career that can not only help to bridge the gap of distrust between Pakistan and India, but can also inspire liberals in the nation that he founded to work for a modern, democratic and pluralistic Pakistan in line with Jinnah’s ideas of constitutionalism and democracy.’

    A very important new book that brings to the forefront the role of Jinnah in this phase is Stanly Wolpert’s Shameful Flight.

    A greater speech would be to outline the principles that Jinnah stood for in this time. Questioning his principles and then leaving the question unanswered is not only vague, its the epitome of the confusion that many of our “great” minds today promote.

    Aisha Sarwari

  8. Daktar says:
    January 1st, 2007 3:17 pm

    It seems to me that we may be missing the point here. As I read it, the main point here is not about Jinnah at all, it is about us. This is about the futrue not the past. He seems to be saying what many of us always say, that the ‘Unity, Faith, Discipline’ ideals have become only slogans and have been turned into what they were not.

    We have turned faith into religion, unity into homogeniety, and discipline into straight-jacketing. To do what Pervez Hoodhbhoy is saying will not reduce the vision of Jinnah, it will realize the vision of Jinnah.

  9. Ibrahim says:
    January 1st, 2007 4:35 pm

    Salamalikum,

    As always he’s unclear and vague. His arguments lack depth and are quite superficial. People accuse “Mullahs” for injecting religion in every discussion. There was no need for him to talk about religion in such a setting because it adds no value to his argument. If he’s going to talk about Islam, he has to provide more practical and concrete discussion rather than making these lofty, highly vague and irrelevant arguments. If I try to make any sense of this part of his discussion, I’ll say that he’s trying to encourage young adults to inject creativity in everything, including religion. He wants people to be liberal in doing their own Ijtihaad concerning Islam. And, I think that’s absolutely the wrong message he’s conveying.

  10. January 1st, 2007 4:53 pm

    [quote post="487"]I’ll say that he’s trying to encourage young adults to inject creativity in everything, including religion. He wants people to be liberal in doing their own Ijtihaad concerning Islam[/quote]

    I got that feeling too but then he said this which denies such a concept:

    [quote post="487"]Given this enormous diversity, liberals – who are rather good people in general – often talk of the need for tolerance. But I don’t like this at all. Tolerance merely says that you are nice enough to put up with a bad thing. Instead, let us accept and even celebrate the differences![/quote]

    his speech is art, there r many truths behind it :)
    and it cannot be a right-wrong, good-bad, black-white, left-right message but as he said a gray scale of ideas, choose your shade!

  11. Ibrahim says:
    January 1st, 2007 5:27 pm

    [quote post="487"]I got that feeling too but then he said this which denies such a concept:[/quote]
    After reading what yyou referred to of his speech, I think it does say that be liberal in doing your own Ijtihaad concerning Islam. In fact, the part of speech that you’re referring to goes beyond that. To me, he’s saying that it’s not enough to be tolerant. Rather, we should also AGREE with other views/religions. And, this is going way beyond Ijtihaad.[quote post="487"]his speech is art, there r many truths behind it [/quote][quote post="487"]and it cannot be a right-wrong, good-bad, black-white, left-right message but as he said a gray scale of ideas, choose your shade! [/quote]
    As I said, he’s very vague and superficial and his arguments are not practical/concrete.

  12. bhupinder says:
    January 1st, 2007 7:42 pm

    I particularly liked this statement in the speech:
    “but Pakistan is no longer what it was in 1947. Different situations in different historical epochs call for different solutions.”

    This I think is true for any country particularly in South Asia. This is another speech, like that of Mohamad Ali Jinnah’s on the even of Pakistan’s independence, that is rather universal. Practically every point that he makes, especially that of economic justice, atrocities against women and the call to youth to engage politically, is very much relevant to at least India as well, if not all of South Asia.

    Thanks for posting the speech !

  13. Akif Nizam says:
    January 1st, 2007 11:59 pm

    [quote post="487"]As always he’s unclear and vague[/quote]

    …duh. Lesser things have gotten people killed in Pakistan by the vanguards of Islam. I think for Dr. Hoodbhoy to even bring up ideas such as these for discussion is a herioc venture.

  14. January 2nd, 2007 1:32 am

    Though I disagree with Dr.Parvez most of the time but yes its always intresting to read/listen him on different topics, whether it’s about religion or science.

    As far as what’s his religious point of view, one should this wiki entry and you can see his name with few other “liberals” like Jawed Ghamdi,Amina Wadood Irshad Manji,Ghulam pervez[the founder of Pervezi Cult] etc.

    [quote post="487"]I think for Dr. Hoodbhoy to even bring up ideas such as these for discussion is a herioc venture.[/quote]

    so what have you learnt from this lecture? would you bother to elaborate in simple language to readers?

  15. Haneef Sadiq says:
    January 2nd, 2007 12:18 pm

    The message is an important one. I think Jinnah would himself agree with what Hoodbhoy is saying. he makes us think hard about what Jinnah’s message really was. What did he really mean by Faith, Unity and Discipline. I think this vision is much more in line with what Jinnah really meant than what these words have been made to mean. Thanks for posting this. I hope every young Pakistani gets to read this.

  16. Siraj Waheeduddin says:
    January 3rd, 2007 5:30 am

    I read the discussions at various parts of this website and am fascinated. I wonder if our differences are really so deep as these disucssions present and we are really so divided on everything. If we are then I think as a nation we may be in even more trouble than I had thought. Or is it that we are just do not know how to talk politely. By the way, thanks to the editorial team for a very nice and lively website. I am becoming addicted to it. Happy to see the younger generation doing such good work.

  17. January 2nd, 2007 2:50 am

    One line in the article that seems to have caught attention of some [Yasser Latif
    Hamdani
    , Quote of Aisha Sarwari] is:
    What I’ve put down on my form is quite the opposite, as you will have surely noted.
    I feel this one line is there not in its literal sense. The line is basically asking us to reflect. You know, compare and contrast is one way to critically analyze any argument.
    Some others also feel that what Dr. Hoodbhoy has said is vague and not concrete [Quote of Aisha Sarwari, Ibrahim]. I think we need to read his first wish more closely. As he said “The problem is that things are usually not totally true or totally false.â€

  18. Owais Mughal says:
    January 2nd, 2007 4:09 am

    Junaid, this is off topic but how are you able to put Urdu text in your message. I would like to learn. thx.

  19. Ali Mohsin says:
    January 2nd, 2007 6:19 am

    All credits for putting up the post…
    So truely stated abt our generation:”The students in our public universities are just overgrown children” and “For recreation they do walk aimlessly in bazaars”. Add watching Hindi movies to the list.

  20. Junaid Siddiqui says:
    January 2nd, 2007 9:42 am

    [quote comment="23356"]Junaid, this is off topic but how are you able to put Urdu text in your message. I would like to learn. thx.[/quote]

    Urdu typing is possible in Windows XP and Windows 2000. To make it short let me guide you to Jang Searchable site. Instructions for setting up Windows XP or Windows 2000 for Urdu are here. The default keyboard layout is a bit difficult to use so you may also want to install Phonetic Keyboard layoutdownloadable from the same page.

    Those who do not have extended font set with Urdu characters will not be able to read the Urdu text and that is why I have also typed the shair (شعر) in Roman Urdu. BBC Urdu has an installation file that updates all regular fonts with Urdu characters. Please note that you need to use UTF-8 character set for Urdu. Luckily ATP site is already configured for UTF-8.

  21. Ahsan says:
    January 2nd, 2007 9:44 am

    We have a tendency to stay on the extremes. For us a Hero can be only Good and a Villain can be only Bad. The hero will save the world and the villain will destroy it. In our hero worship we go far enough to attach the necessary qualities that he may not have otherwise. Our modern day Hero Dr. A. Q. Khan is not only the greatest Scientist, but also a great humanitarian and the most generous person.. It can not be imagined that a person like him can ever think of selling the secret information concerning the Nuclear Bomb for his personal benefit.
    We consider our national hero Allama Iqbal as the greatest poet and even the greatest philosopher. We can not imagine that his philosophical thoughts might have originated from some Italian or German thinkers.
    The same is true about the Founder of the state of Pakistan Mr. Muhammad Ali Jinnah. His standing as a Democrat can not be doubted or challenged. But his statement in 1948 at Dhaka that Urdu and only Urdu will be the national language of Pakistan can not be considered to be democratic.
    India and Pakistan two independent states were established at the same time in 1947. India became a Democratic State where all the power of the government were in the hands of the then Prime Minister (Jawaharlal Nehru ) and Sir Henry Lord Mountbaton became the figure head of the state with the title of the Governor General. This democracy still exists as established 59 years ago.
    In Pakistan the situation was completely opposite. Here Mr. Jinnah became the Governor General with all royal powers of the old Viceroy and the then Prime Minister Liaqat Ali Khan and the parliament remained subservient to the authority of the Governor General. Till his end the Governor General ruled the country as a single authority. This non-democratic one-man rule still persists in the Indus Valley Pakistan.
    All this does not devalue the hero status of the founder of Pakistan but even he has and is capable to commit some mistake. We should look an individual as a Human Being. To err is Human. If Mr. Hoodbhoy finds some fault with Mr. Jinnah, he has every right to do so.

    Ahsan

  22. Akif Nizam says:
    January 2nd, 2007 11:10 am

    [quote post="487"]so what have you learnt from this lecture? [/quote]

    The lecture wasn’t directly towards me. It was directed towards a graduating class of young Pakistanis ready to take on the practical world.

    I think the underlying message of the lecture is to encourage the students to think for themselves and to develop an analytical mindset to deal with all aspects of their lives. He is, as some others have pointed out, telling them to think like adults and not to look for prescriptions from “above”.

  23. Akif Nizam says:
    January 2nd, 2007 12:36 pm

    [quote post="487"]one should this wiki entry and you can see his name with few other “liberalsâ€

  24. Ibrahim says:
    January 2nd, 2007 1:26 pm

    Salamalikum,
    [quote post="487"]Lesser things have gotten people killed in Pakistan by the vanguards of Islam. [/quote]
    I disagree but may be. Still, it doesn’t detract us from the fact that he’s quite vague and unclear, which was the point I was making.[quote post="487"]The problem is that things are usually not totally true or totally false[/quote]
    Ok, this is true if you’re talking about almost anything–you can make your own philosophical conundrum. But, as I pointed out before, if Hoodbhoy or anyone else is going to talk about Islam then he should be clear-cut, especially when talking about such foundational aspects. Introducing gray areas like what he tries to do is a disservice to his mostly Muslim audience and isn’t correct. The basics of this religion have been revealed in absolute, definite terms so Hoodbhoy shouldn’t inject creativity into straightforward understanding of this religion.

  25. Akif Nizam says:
    January 2nd, 2007 3:36 pm

    [quote post="487"] he’s quite vague and unclear[/quote]

    Ibrahim, liberal thought by its nature is vague because it treats you like an adult and trusts that you are able to make judgements on your own. Dr. Hoodbhoy is not telling his “subjects” what to do; that’s what conservatives do. He is simply asking them to always try and look at things from different perspectives. Keep in mind that these are art students and it’s essential for them to look at things differently.

    Your take on religion is obviously quite different than that of Mr. Hoodbhoy or mine. While I appreciate your absolute beliefs, it’s quite ridiculous to ask others (“Hoodbhoy or anyone else”) to accept them per se. The only people who don’t see grey are those who put away their own grey matters on the shelf.

  26. Ibrahim says:
    January 2nd, 2007 5:00 pm

    Salamalikum,
    [quote post="487"]liberal thought by its nature is vague because it treats you like an adult and trusts that you are able to make judgements on your own[/quote]
    You don’t have to tell me. I’ve read enough to know how vague such arguments are. A sound liberal view can be quite concrete and specific. The reason arguments like that of Hoodbhoy are vague is that they want to say one thing while trying to mask it with another. So, they’ve to go in a roundabout way to make their point.[quote post="487"]that’s what conservatives do[/quote]
    Again, be clear. “Conservatives” mean different things. I’m specifically talking about Islam and not introducing grey areas in Islam. If you are saying that Muslims scholars don’t introduce “creativity” and grey areas, then yes that’s true, and they’re quite right because of the reasons I mentioned earlier.

    Also, don’t fancy yourself if you think Musharraf and his regime is not dictating Pakistanis about what’s right and what’s wrong? If he wanted people to look at all sides as you proclaim liberals do, then why didn’t he have an actual debate involving real scholars (i.e. Mufti Taqi Usmani, etc.) about the haqooq-e-niswaan bill? Why did he decide the old ordinance was wrong and decided to change it? Now, I hope you don’t tell me that Mush is not a liberal!
    [quote post="487"]The only people who don’t see grey are those who put away their own grey matters on the shelf[/quote]
    Again, using hazzy sentences. Be clear. What are you saying? Please inform us with your thoughts on my “grey matters” that I’ve “put on shelf” because of which I “don’t see grey”.

  27. Akif Nizam says:
    January 2nd, 2007 6:00 pm

    Ibrahim, everything you say stem from your belief system which I do not share. Whatever I say or anyone else says is irrelevant to you anyway because you already know what’s right and what’s wrong (unlike us infidels). You already know which Muftis are right and which are wrong. You already know which dictator is for Islam and which is against Islam.

    You are right, no one needs to introduce any grey areas in Islam. Otherwise, it’s possible that different sects may emerge and start to fight each other, even declare war on each other; who knows, maybe they will start celebrating Eid on different days or even reading Namaz differently. I can even imagine drive by shootings, people killing each others religious leaders and blowing up each others masjids and majlises. Should such a unforseen situation arise, it is possible that our enviable position in the world may be threatened and we may not be looked upon with the sheer admiration which we enjoy today.

    You are right; we must never allow a stinking liberal to suggest that we should accept and celebrate each others differences and to offer radical ideas such as “the choice is between conversation and violence”. Never, I say !!!

  28. Ibrahim says:
    January 3rd, 2007 12:04 am

    Salamalikum,

    Akif, you might want to read my comments again. I was cautious about what I was saying. I said not to introduce grey areas in “foundational aspects”. The differences between different school of thoughts or sects are not “basic”, and I wish we could be so concern about the religion that we could discuss what way of praying salat is closest to Rasoolullah’s (saw) way. So, the differences you point out concern religious practices and beliefs that are within Islam. What we usually discuss on this forum is, unfortunately, much more basic: how much part should religion play in our lives and what aspects should it be involved in? People who have differences or discuss differences about “reading Namaz”, etc. don’t need to discuss the question above. So, don’t mix up the introduction of grey areas I’m talking about with faqhi usuls and rules. If you think faqhi masaail (faqhi differences) come under the same grey areas that I’m talking about, then please request Dr. Najam to write a post about a faqhi masla and we can all discuss that. Ok?

    [quote post="487"](unlike us infidels)[/quote]
    Secondly, please don’t put words in my mouth. These are dangerous and finta-creating words. This statement of yours makes it sound like I’ve called you or implied that you or others are infidels. And, don’t try to create a controversy where it doesn’t belong. It’s most definitely in YOUR HEAD that you think that people like me think of you as infidels. Although many others have used words like “Mullah”, “fundos”, etc. to refer to me I don’t think I or someone with similar views have called anyone an infidel. Please don’t impose a “title” on yourself and then later say that people are name-calling.

  29. January 3rd, 2007 12:13 am

    [quote post="487"]The lecture wasn’t directly towards me. It was directed towards a graduating class of young Pakistanis ready to take on the practical world.[/quote]

    But that was you who claimed something as :

    [quote post="487"]I think for Dr. Hoodbhoy to even bring up ideas such as these for discussion is a herioc venture.[/quote]

    then you said:

    [quote post="487"]I think the underlying message of the lecture is to encourage the students to think for themselves and to develop an analytical mindset to deal with all aspects of their lives.I think the underlying message of the lecture is to encourage the students to think for themselves and to develop an analytical mindset to deal with all aspects of their lives.[/quote]

    Really? did hoodbhoy wanted to say this?[a simple thing]? i think we do hear such things by common men as well. How did it make you to think that it was a “Heroic Venture” by Hoodbhoy?

    you yourself don’t know what does he want to say :>

  30. January 3rd, 2007 12:16 am

    [quote post="487"]someone makes an entry on Wikipedia and mentions my name on the same page as Hitler; by your calculus, that makes me = Hitler ?[/quote]

    Do you know why did I mention that Link? do you even know how does wiki work?

  31. Khalid R Hasan says:
    January 3rd, 2007 2:03 am

    “Now, I hope you don’t tell me that Mush is not a liberal!”

    Yes, I will say he’s not a “liberal”. It is not possible for me to describe as a liberal someone who came to power through a military coup and who retains power because he is the Army Chief. He may have a different mindset from his predecessors on some issues, but please don’t call him a liberal.

  32. January 3rd, 2007 4:31 am

    Ahsan,

    For one thing… the issue was with Unity, Faith and Discipline being opposite of any of the ideas mentioned above… they are not.

    However, your post was wrought with Historical inaccuracies… Lord Dickie Mountbatten becomes “Sir Henry” according to you …

    I have studied this issue of “governor general” vs. “prime minister” issue in detail. For one thing, under the Government of India Act 1935 read with schedule 9 of the Independence of India Act 1947, the executive power lay with the Governor General. Secondly are you suggesting that all presidential forms of government are “undemocratic”? Unless you can show what exact clauses of the interim constitution he violated, to my mind Jinnah ruled as a constitutional governor general and the powers of persuasion exercised by him were exercised by him in his capacity as the Quaid-e-Azam… which was an authority he derived not from the gun but the people.
    This claim: the Parliament remained subservient to the Governor General is again ridiculous and not historically backed.

    My guess is that the Pakistan Army deliberately tries to promote your point of view to legitimise its own rule…
    Ironic that in India, Jawaharlal Nehru for 17 years ruled absolutely and his party was virtually ruling India like One Party state. – he was even succeeded by his daughter and the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty remains a factor in Indian politics … but that didn’t give the Indian Army the reason to subvert civilian rule. The fact that Jinnah chose the constitutional position of Governor General instead of the constitutional position of Prime Minister may be cited as evidence of his alleged preference for presidential democracy … but nothing else.

    One must not regurgitate theories without confirming them first.

  33. Kashif says:
    January 3rd, 2007 5:22 am

    PH is a self proclaimed intellectual who wants Pakistan to dump it’s nuclear capabilities and sit in lap of india… shame on him.

  34. January 3rd, 2007 5:32 am

    [quote post="487"]But, as I pointed out before, if Hoodbhoy or anyone else is going to talk about Islam then he should be clear-cut, especially when talking about such foundational aspects. Introducing gray areas like what he tries to do is a disservice to his mostly Muslim audience and isn’t correct. The basics of this religion have been revealed in absolute, definite terms so Hoodbhoy shouldn’t inject creativity into straightforward understanding of this religion.[/quote]

    Dr. Hoodbhoy usually presents secular thoughts but I could not find in the speech any mention of how basics of Islam should be interpreted. He has though talked about bigotry. The point that you have raised is also addressed when Hoodbhoy said, “Still, some things are very true and others are very falseâ€

  35. January 3rd, 2007 5:59 am

    I must admit that comment by Ahsan and then reply by Hamdani was an intresting piece. I am like a 3rd party at this moment but would be intresting to see where it ends.

    See I do appreciate my oponents ;)

    Kashif: *nods*

    I do like Hoodbhoy due to his science stuff but I must say that like any other ordinary pakistani, the scientist couldn’t produce something which is better for ordinary Pakistanis. I am sure that MIT graduate would be respected more and by masses if he serves humanity rather keep writing about Pakistani nuclear program.

    BTW, one should visit Chowk and read his article to go thru comments =)

  36. Samdani says:
    January 3rd, 2007 7:21 am

    [quote comment="23558"]PH is a self proclaimed intellectual who wants Pakistan to dump it’s nuclear capabilities and sit in lap of india… shame on him.[/quote]

    I also do not agree with PH on many things, including his nuclear stand, but I find this view disturbing.

    First, he is not ‘self proclaimed’, he is world renowned. This has nothing to do with whether people agree with him or not. Its about whether he is widely acknowledged as an intellectual, and he is. ‘Self proclaimed’ would be someone who calls himself an intellectual even when no one else does. I do not know of his having called himself one.

    Second, whatever you think of his views on nuclear weapons I know of NO instance where he has suggested that in any way that Pakistan should “sit in India’s lap.” That is a slur on his patriotism and a cheap shot. Just because one has a differnet view does not mean that we should villify them.

    I hope this website also does not turn into a mud-slinging discussion board for name calling and sloganeering instead of intelligent discussion.

  37. January 3rd, 2007 7:48 am

    Adnan,

    It should not be about opponents and allies. I have always backed up my comments with proper references.

    As a lawyer and a student of the Pakistan movement, I have studied the Government of India Act 1935 and Independence of India Act 1947 on this issue and several commentaries thereon. No constitutional scholar nor serious academic- be it Ayesha Jalal or Alan MacGrath (destruction of Pakistan’s democracy)- has actually seconded this theory that Ahsan has presented above. Khalid B. Sayeed in his book “Formative Phase” has discussed this at length and laid in front of us all points of view… but his final conclusion is very close to mine. This theory was in my view forwarded by Ayub’s pet “intellectuals” in the 1960s to give legitimacy to his military rule.

    The real reason why Pakistan has been unable to sustain representative rule has more to do with Punjab’s status as a “regulated” province for recruitment purposes in British times… which is why institutions that sustain democracy were always weaker in Punjab, Sindh, NWFP and Balochistan… NWFP wasn’t even a province till 1931 and Balochistan became a province after the creation of Pakistan… and it is also well known that Pakistan inherited a disproportionately large military force owing to Punjab and NWFP’s martial tradition… Muslims formed the largest single group in the British Indian Army.

    Countries like the US have experienced very strong presidencies (like Lincoln and FDR) who had much stronger powers than Jinnah did as the Governor General… but they’ve never experienced military rule. Even India was defacto a one party state under Nehru who was more or less a constitutional dictator. The essential difference is that FDR, Lincoln, Jinnah and Nehru were all popular CIVILIAN politicians who derived their popularity and hence prestige from the people. Elected Constitutional rule is never an impediment to democracy.

  38. Akif Nizam says:
    January 3rd, 2007 10:32 am

    Ibrahim, to clarify it for everyone, you did not call me an infidel; that’s the term of endearment my mother used to call me by. So it just slipped out of sheer nostalgia. May God bless her soul.

    Secondly, when did PH get into all that detail about challenging the foundations of Islam? He mainly brought up religion to stress tolerance and acceptance for the greater good of Pakistan and Islam.

    The problem with the muslim mindset is that everytime someone talks about muslims in a critical manner, it is percieved immediately as an attack on the very basis of Islam. The Ibrahims of the world want all speech about religion to come packaged with verbose disclaimers that the criticism is not to be taken as a criticism of Islam and that the writer does not intend to offend anyone’s sensibilities. Such is the height of their insecurity !

  39. Ahsan says:
    January 3rd, 2007 11:12 am

    Yasser Latif

    [quote comment="23552"]For one thing… the issue was with Unity, Faith and Discipline being opposite of any of the ideas mentioned above… they are not.[/quote]

    I thought that the whole content of a post could be discussed. It appears that you have chosen Unity, Faith and Discipline and you have already reached to the conclusion that different opposite ideas are actually NOT. I congratulate you for your UNITY

    [quote comment="23552"]However, your post waswrought with Historical inaccuracies… Lord Dickie Mountbatten becomes “Sir Henry” according to you …[/quote]

    For Mountbaton, I made a mostake. It is indeed Dickie. My oppologies.

    [quote comment="23552"] I have studied this issue of “governor general” vs. “prime minister” issue in detail.

    For one thing, under the Government of India Act 1935 read with schedule 9 of the Independence of India Act 1947, the executive power lay with the Governor General. Secondly are you suggesting that all presidential forms of government are “undemocratic”? Unless you can show what exact clauses of the interim constitution he violated, to my mind Jinnah ruled as a constitutional governor general and the powers of persuasion exercised by him were exercised by him in his capacity as the Quaid-e-Azam… which was an authority he derived not from the gun but the people.
    This claim: the Parliament remained subservient to the Governor General is again ridiculous and not historically backed.[/quote]

    I did not refer to 1935 India Act in my post but in spite of this Act India became a democratic state where all the executive powers were in the hands of elected representative of the parliament and the Prime Minister. One may call it an unconstitutional situation but it can not be denied that India became a democratic state in 1947.

    Whereas in Pakistan Mr. Jinnah chose to become the Governor General with all the prerogative attached to this title. Since GG governs with all the executive power in his hands, how the parliament and the Prime Minister can be independent to govern the state? One may call this state to be Constitutional but certainly not Democratic.

    To give a democratic touch to the State of Pakistan you transform the GG into the President and get him elected by a popular vote of the people. This kind of election is only sentimental it is not a political act and it does not make the person a democratically elected Presicent of the country.

    You will be perhaps surprised but I know what is the Deocratic Presidential System. I will simply take the example of France. In France the most popular person is Abbé Pierre. He is so popular that now he keeps himself out of the list. This year the most popular person was Zidan (footballer). None of these humanitarians becomes the President of France. It is Jacques Chirac who was elected last time. This year there will be another crook (h or she!). It is not the coice of heart (love) but that of reason (political).

    In your hero worship you are trying to add something to your hero that in your opinion is necessary for his greatness. I assure you that without the title of the Democratic President he remains a great person. Even the great personalities should be entitled to make some mistakes.

    [quote comment="23552"]My guess is that the Pakistan Army deliberately tries to promote your point of view to legitimise its own rule…
    [/quote]

    I consider your guess cheap, vulgar and an insult to my integrity. Any person who grabs power by uncontitutional means is a Dictator. Not only that, any authority that maintains himself in power by force (Musharraf), through religion (Iranian Ayatullahs) or fradulous democratic means (Mubarak) is not better than a dictator. I have given only a few examples.

    I have given you my opinion. If you still consider me an ISI agent, I will talk to my handler! Cheers

    Hey Adnan. Are you still giggling in some corner?
    Why some friendly exchange of ideas should make us opponents? (or shoul I say enemies!)

    Ahsan

  40. Owais Mughal says:
    January 3rd, 2007 11:47 am

    off topic: Thankyou Junaid for your tutorial on Urdu font.

  41. Ehtesham says:
    January 3rd, 2007 1:27 pm

    So glad to hear that hoodhbhoy does not believe in ‘intelligent design’ which is the most unintelligent fo ideas. I think the only people who believe in it are Dick Gheney adn George Bush. But, then, God speaks to them!

    MY freid, NO serious scientist believes in that stuff, it is the invention of right wing fundamentalist Christian groups in the US.

    Everyone, please don’t quote Wikipedia or websites to me (anyone, even me, can post on those things whatever they want!). If you want an ‘intelligent’ discussion quote from intelligent sources, such as refereed academic journals, established scientific publications, peer-reviewed books from credible publishers. Please!

  42. January 3rd, 2007 12:43 pm

    YLH: by oponents doesn’t mean enemies here. Despite of 360 degrees differences in opinions, I don’t consider anyone enemy here neither have any bad feelings about the person[if someone else consider me a foe then good for me, I am not getting harmed=) ]. Anyways I better quit this OT rant.

    [quote post="487"]Hey Adnan. Are you still giggling in some corner?[/quote]

    No, I am grinning.

    [quote post="487"]Why some friendly exchange of ideas should make us opponents? (or shoul I say enemies!)[/quote]

    I was talking about me vs others rather you vs hamdani. what was cooking in your mind?

  43. January 3rd, 2007 12:52 pm

    [quote post="487"]I know of NO instance where he has suggested that in any way that Pakistan should “sit in India’s lap.â€

  44. Wasiq Ali says:
    January 3rd, 2007 2:35 pm

    Pervez Hoodbhoy is absolutely right in calling for a re-imagining of Pakistan. A few years ago, I heard Husain Haqqani say the same thing at a seminar at University of Michigan. The context of his remarks was Salman Rushdie’s comment in ‘Shame’ that if nations are imaginary communities (as Benedict Anderson describes in his book with the same title) then Pakistan is insufficiently imagined.

    Haqqani addressed Rushdie (who was present at the seminar) that for too long people have criticized the insufficient imagining of Pakistan without helping to re-imagine it. The attacks on Pakistan’s original insufficient imagining have helped create a sense of insecurity among Pakistanis, which helps the country’s military. Only recently, a poll showed that 6 out of 10 Pakistanis feel comfortable with military rule.

    Where Husain Haqqani’s argument expands on Hoodbhoy’s analysis is especially important for readers of this blog. Haqqani points out that national imaginings are a political process and require political action and leadership. He points to his own controversial life and says that with all his mistakes and ups and downs, he has always been engaged in the political process. Engagement with politics means you can be wrong some of the time but you can also rectify your erroneous views on the political stage.

    Unfortunately, many educated and professional Pakistanis look down on politics per se. We have smart bloggers and creative and bold scientists (like Hoodbhoy) but in the end the change has to manifest itself in the political realm, too, for which we need political activists and organizers.

    If the re-imagining of Pakistan is not accompanied with a political component –including leadership, compromise, organization and mobilization — we will remain limited to being idealistic intellectuals, unable to effect real change except on the margins.

    Politics and politicians, by definition, are controversial and imperfect. But is not nationhood and statehood all about politics?

  45. Pervaiz Munir Alvi says:
    January 3rd, 2007 3:30 pm

    “Despite of 360 degrees differences in opinions, I don’t consider anyone enemy here neither have any bad feelings about the person”——-Adnan Siddiqi.

    Having travelled 360 degrees myself many times, I found there standing no body else but myself. Nope. No enemy. No friend. Just myself, talking to myself. It is probably Dr. Pervez Hoodbhoy who is standing in a corner watching all of us and laughing at us. Lighten up my friends.

  46. Ibrahim says:
    January 3rd, 2007 4:33 pm

    Salamalikum,

    [quote post="487"]Dr. Hoodbhoy usually presents secular thoughts but I could not find in the speech any mention of how basics of Islam should be interpreted. He has though talked about bigotry. The point that you have raised is also addressed when Hoodbhoy said, “Still, some things are very true and others are very falseâ€

  47. Akif Nizam says:
    January 3rd, 2007 4:56 pm

    Ibrahim, you started off by saying the PH is being vague but throughout the discussion, you yourself could not be any more vague. Your entire discourse is littered with vague phrases like “obvious things”, “foundational aspects”, “basics of religion”, “fighi masails”. Can you tell me one specific change that PH has suggested that goes against the grain of your version of Islam? You say he wants to challenge the obvious and the basic things about Islam; what are those obvious things?

  48. Daktar says:
    January 3rd, 2007 10:22 pm

    Dear Wasiq, I do not disagree with you argument but do have a problem in invoking Hussain Haqqani in the same plane as Pervaiz Hoodbhoy. Integrity and consistency of arguments do count and unfortauntely on that Hussain Haqqani does not cut it (ex-JTI, ex-PML(N), ex-PPP, current Military-basher and Bush-supporter). Seems to have changed his views a bit too often to be believable. Hoodbhoy, whether you agree with him or not, has been consistent and insistent on his principles and stands.

  49. Wasiq Ali says:
    January 3rd, 2007 11:43 pm

    I have read and heard the argument made by Daktar in relation to some people far too many times but I believe in the dictum “Focus on the idea, not the man.”

    In any case,I have been reading Husain Haqqani’s column in the Friday times and the Nation since 1995 or 96 and I have found a consistency in his arguments. From what I know, he is an ex-Jamaati but he has been with PPP since BB’s second term (did it begin in 1992 or 1993?).

    For me ten-twelve years is a long time to establish a level of consistency though as I said, to me consistency is over-rated.

    I do not know anyone in South Asian politics who has not changed political affiliations over a lifetime. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto started with Ayub Khan’s Muslim League and ended up leading PPP. Asghar Khan was in Justice Party, Democratic Party and Tehrike-e-Istiqlal. Even Quaid-e-Azam was in Home Rule League, Congress and then Muslim League.

    Many of India’s political leaders started out in Congress and now belong to many different parties, after having been in Janata Party in 1977. Ronald Reagan started out as a Democrat and ended up a Republican. Churchill was a Conservative, then a Liberal and finally a Conservative again.

    My point is, we need to go beyond this consistency theme that we use only selectively against people we don’t like. I feel Pakistanis tend to judge people who have been in the political arena too harshly.

    Clearly those who make omelettes break eggs whereas it is easy for those who only comment to maintain an aura of consistency because no one can always check everything they have said and written in the past. Does anyone remember Pervaiz Hoodbhoy’s article in Dawn right after the 1999 coup asking Musharraf and the military to clean up Pakistan’s mess without involving any civilians?)

    That said, I do not want my comments to take us away from the main topic of discussion. I admire Pervaiz Hoodbhoy and generally support what he has said in the original post.

    Please let us focus on the topic and ignore any individuals cited by me or anyone else.

  50. Akram says:
    January 4th, 2007 5:55 pm

    I have tried to carefully read through the comments (which can be difficult becasue there seem to be a few different conversations going on here). It seems to me that in our quibbles about references and the agitation caused by namecalling, we may be losing focus on the most important point: which comes from Pervaiz’s lecture as well as some early comments.

    The interesting question to me is whether we see Jinnah as a SUPER-MAN or as an ordinary many who despite his flaws (and he woudl be first to accept he had many) acheved extra-ordinary success.

    For too long we have viewed and been taught to view him as a super-man. Therefore we start viewing him as a rigid persona who can only do good and whose every word is the absolute truth (much in the tone of religious discussions). Once you do this, the problem is that you immediately start a battle on what did Jinnah really mean and want for Paksiatn. Because whatever it was must be teh only real goal for all Paksitanis. Then, as you woudl expect, every side in every argument tries to co-opt Jinnah, because once they can prove him to be on their ‘side’ then they automatically win. Hence, you see different governments projecting different images of Jinnah depending mostly on what their own goals were.

    My own guess is that Jinnah would himself not have wanted to be seen as a super-man, he would have wanted us to think for ourselves rather than seek the ultimate ‘guidance’ from him and his actions. Of course, his thoughts and actions are relevant, but for how long can we use him as the cause of everything good or bad around us.

    The real interesting question is that if Jinnah was to talk to Pervez Hoodbhoy what would be Jinnah’s 3 wishes TODAY. Would he oppose the virtues of (a) truth, (b) diversity and tolerance, and (c) creative thinking, I think not.

  51. January 4th, 2007 1:55 am

    Ahsan,

    You clearly missed the entire point. Since you haven’t produced a single citation that proved Jinnah’s actions were unconstitutional. It is not about Jinnah being great or not… it is about backing up your comments.

    Now some more information that you need to update since you seem to have read some article or line and have not made an effort to understand the underlying issues. Government of India Act 1935 was Pakistan’s interim constitution till 1956(as well as India’s till 1950)… which is why by not referring to it, you have shown us that you are arguing about.

    Your point about the French republic is irrelevant, because Jinnah was in the government for 13 months (even though the constitution he prepared and which is behind lock and key was very similar to the French 4th Republic). Even India’s constitution was not made untill 1950. The point I have been trying to make – which has evaded you- is that Jinnah acted in letter and spirit of the then enforced constitution of Pakistan. Furthermore he was in the position of the Governor General, because the majority party which had the mandate through 1946 Elections had nominated him for the post and King had acceded. It was purely form… the Governor General of Pakistan was de facto elected president since the Dominions of India and Pakistan were essentially different from Dominions of Australia and Canada in so much as that they could become republics through the act of their own parliaments.

    Furthermore… FYI… Lord Mountbatten exercised the very same powers in India under GOIA 1935 as Jinnah .. and even more so. Lord Mountbatten was also the head of the boundary commission force and he made a mockery of international law when he invaded Kashmir. The reasons why India became a democracy and Pakistan did not… are very different… and I have touched upon them in my post addressed to Adnan.

    I strongly suggest you include GOIA 1935 and IOIA 1947 in your reading.

  52. January 4th, 2007 2:10 am

    Adnan,

    Ahmad Faraz, a liberal and democrat of much greater credibility than the good professor, once commented on the antics of our self proclaimed Indo-phile peace lovers:

    “I always wanted peace with India, but I did not want Pakistan to roll over and play dead.”

    That pretty much expresses the sentiment of many people including me.

  53. Ahsan says:
    January 4th, 2007 4:50 pm

    Mr. Know All

    Following is your concluding remark in your earlier post from which the last part “before you opine…” has been deleted in your new version.

    [quote comment="23771"] I strongly suggest you include GOIA 1935 and IOIA 1947 in your reading before you opine on a subject that frankly, and I mean no insult, know nothing about.[/quote]

    I have no objection to your full statement and I do accept my ignorence in many subgects. But even an idiot (me!) has a right to have an opinion and has a freedon to express it. Others are free to accept or reject it.

    My statement is: “India and Pakistan two independent states were established at the same time in 1947. India became a Democratic State where all the power of the government were in the hands of the then Prime Minister (Jawaharlal Nehru ).In Pakistan the situation was completely opposite. Here Mr. Jinnah became the Governor General with all royal powers of the old Viceroy.” The Governnor General was enshrined with executive powers by the throne and not by the people. So such a regime can not be called democratic unless you change the definition of “demokratia” to something else.

    Any statement can be true or false on the basis of argument and reason. In my above statement I have given the reason that “Mr. Jinnah’s executive powers were not due to a popular democratic election by the people”. This statement does not need any back up citation because any citation in favour will not enhance the authenticity of the argument. To prove the statement wrong one has simply to prove that Mr. Jinnah was a democratically elected Governor General and not appointed by the throne.
    In your effort first you claimed that he was elected by the heart of the people and then you come with the idea of the “de facto” elected president. This makes him legal and constitution GG, (which I have already accepted in my initial post), but it does not make him a democratic head of the state and the regime of the 13 months of the period of Mr. Jinnah as GG remain undemocratic. Since you have clearly failed to refute my point of view my statement stands valid even if I do not give you any citaion to back up my argument.

    This idea of giving citation to back up the argument is very particular to your profession. But a gudge does not give his verdict in favour or against on the basis of the citation; it is only based on the argument of the lawyer. A GOOD lawyer can win his case without any citation if presents solid arguments.

    Any way, I am not pleading a case in front of a judge (you). I have simply given my opinion. Any person is free to agree or not to agree.

    But I can not help you in your futile effort of transforming Jinnah to super-Jinnah and God to super-God. For me Jinnah is Jinnah with all his faults and God is God without any fault.

    Ahsan

  54. Ibrahim says:
    January 4th, 2007 6:28 pm

    Salamalikum,
    [quote post="487"]religions are prescriptive[/quote]
    [quote post="487"]means that there cannot be only one single truth in religion.[/quote]
    Akif, I wish Hoodbhoy meant differences in faqhi masail from all this. But, no! What’s he saying? That Islam shouldn’t be prescriptive? Yes, that’s exactly what he’s saying. Later on, he talks about valid differences but I don’t think by mentioning them he is talking about faqhi masail such as niqaab limit, shia/sunni, etc. He wants to use them to turn Islam into a personal thing that one can modify it according to a person’s satisfactions. Akif, read my earlier comments. I already said that Hoodbhoy is not giving a specific shariat example; rather, he’s going even more basic. He wants Islam to be analyzed so as to make it open-ended with broad limits and non-prescriptive. This is what I meant by “basics” and fiqhi masail. Of course, whatever I say you’ll make it sound like it’s vague. But, why don’t you take Hoodbhoy’s article/speech and my comments to a neutral person and let him/her decide who’s quite vague. Even people who somewhat agreed with Hoodbhoy have said that he’s sometimes vague on this post.

  55. Moeen Bhatti says:
    January 4th, 2007 9:51 pm

    We should not forget that an intellectual never gives you concerete solutions….he/she would talk what you call “vague” but it basically hits your neurons and asks you to THINK…I believe thats what Hoodbhoy has done in this speech….don’t expect an intellectual to say that 2 plus 2 is 4….

  56. January 5th, 2007 12:54 am

    Ahsan,

    Are you suggesting that the Head of State and Chief Executive in a parliamentary form of government – say the Indian president or Prime Minister for example- indirectly elected- are not the democratic head of state and/or government? What powers the head of state and/or Government exercises is an entirely different matter, for which we must consult Government of India Act 1935- the then Interim constitution of Pakistan.

    Jinnah became the governor general of Pakistan, because his party, which formed the majority in the newly cosntituted Pakistan Assembly through 1946 elections, nominated him to the King… just like Nehru became the Prime Minister of India, because his Party – the Congress- nominated him to this position by virtue of their majority in the Indian Assembly. Like Nehru, Jinnah was also a member of the Pakistan Constituent Assembly and its first president … while Liaqat Ali Khan was the majority leader. The issue then is simply of the office of Prime Minister and President. Since you are quite naive about this stuff, it would help you to know that in the British system of Parliamentary democracy, there is no separation of Executive and Legislative branches

    The King -in the case of Governor General- was bound by the decision of the successor authority i.e. Pakistan and its future government. Infact, Jinnah, who had announced his retirement from politics in June 1947, was Muslim League’s second choice, since first choice Nawab of Bhopal was not availble. Jinnah only became the GG to thwart off Mountbatten’s ambition of becoming the common Governor General and thank God for that.

    Once again you have evaded the issue completely. You put a theory that I questioned and asked you to back it up with actual references to the then interim constitution and the position of the Governor General of an independent dominion within the commonwealth created under a special act of British parliament. Instead you are giving me a lecture about Jinnah not being a superman etc etc. He was not but how does that take away the onus from you to prove what you said above.

  57. January 5th, 2007 1:52 am

    PS: It is hoped that Ahsan will refrain from condescending remarks like “Mr. Know all” etc.

  58. Ahsan says:
    January 5th, 2007 11:47 am

    Mr. Hamdani

    [quote comment="23990"]PS: It is hoped that Ahsan will refrain from condescending remarks like “Mr. Know all” etc.[/quote]

    It was neither condescending nor malicious; I simply accepted my lack of knowledge and your superiority in this field. I hope you have no objection if I address you as Mr. Hamdani?

    My earlier statement is simple and stateforwrd. To make it simpler I will say that in India, in 1947, the regime was democratic where as in Pakistan it was entirely opposite. In the first case Governor (GG) was only a figure , in the second he was supreme. In one case parliament was sovereign, in the other case it is not. If we say that in Pakistan also there was a democratic regime, then my simple mind does not understand how a thing can be equal or identical to its opposite?
    There is only one possibility that one is the image of the other in a mirror. The problem is that image in the mirror is virtual!
    I know that you have tried to explain this dilemma through your definition of presidential democracy, popular election by heart, de facto president … I am sure other readers have grasped all the fine points of your reasoning but with my limited knowledge and dumb mind I remain out of your reach. I will request you not to waste any more time to give me further explanation. Thanks for your effort.

    Ahsan

  59. Ahsan says:
    January 5th, 2007 11:54 am

    Adnan,
    Now you can laugh. My mind is cooking no more, it has gone dumb.
    Ahsan

  60. Akif Nizam says:
    January 5th, 2007 11:59 am

    [quote post="487"]What’s he saying? That Islam shouldn’t be prescriptive?[/quote]

    Ibrahim, prescriptions is all religions really are. They are all one-stop-shops; one-remedy-cures. I don’t think that religions can help being prescriptive. I didn’t find anywhere where PH said what Islam can or cannot say.

    Let’s cut to the chase. You and I know perfectly well where PH is coming from. He knows that him and his entire community is two maulanas in the National Assembly away from being declared non-muslims and listed on the passport as such. He is asking for broader interpretation of Islam and acceptance of other ideas partly out of an instinct for self-survival; because he has grown up in a cultural ghetto and the rapid radicalization of the Pakistani society concerns him for the sake of his future generations. What’s so subversive about that ?

  61. January 6th, 2007 7:46 am

    Dear Ahsan,

    As usual your comment makes absolutely no sense. Two governments formed through the same elections under the same constitutions with exactly the same powers for the governor general and the prime minister, you choose to describe one as “democratic” and the other as “undemocratic”.

    When I ask you cite examples of this, you say in India parliament was supreme and GG was ceremonial as opposed to Pakistan (do some research and let us know- how and where this was done), because Mountbatten actually had and exercised much greater influence as well as power than Jinnah did in Pakistan. You don’t want to cite what provisions were different in Pakistan and India and how exactly you intend to back up your claim that GG in Pakistan was not democratic.

    Instead you keep confusing yourself by ditching one argument and moving on to the other.

    Answer this:

    1. Why was Jinnah the Governor General of Pakistan?

    a. Because the King wanted him to?

    b. Because he siezed power at the head of some invisible army.

    c. Because his party- with the majority in the PCA- nominated him.

    In my opinion the answer is C. Hence he was as elected to the office of Governor General of Pakistan as Mountbatten and Nehru were to their respective offices of GG and PM of India. You then said that he was not Democratic because he was supreme and parliament was not. I asked you whether strong Executive authority is in contradiction to democracy…

    How was parliament not supreme. Cite examples both from the parliament’s actions and Jinnah’s actions. If you can’t then admit that you just heard a fancy theory and without bothering to check, you chose to regurgitate it here. So don’t give me mirror this and mirror that.. I am asking direct and simple questions. Have the decency not to mock others’ intelligence.

  62. January 6th, 2007 7:55 am

    And I see the word “de facto” has caused you so much consternation.

    In form and legally de jure Great Britain is a Protestant monarchy. It is however de facto mother of all secular democracies.

    de facto always has more legal force than merely de jure.

    All presidents and prime ministers in parliamentary democracies- regardless of what executive authority they enjoy- are indirectly/de facto elected leaders. The Queen for example can nominate anyone as the Prime Minister, but she always nominates the leader of the parliamentary majority. So the Prime Minister is by law the Prime Minister because Queen is pleased to make him the Prime Minister… but in reality he is the elected leader of his country.

  63. B.I. says:
    January 6th, 2007 8:52 pm

    I agree with Mr. Ahsan and others that we have to learn to accept the Quaid as a man, a great man but a man. With all his faults. Maybe then we will be able to get some real lessons from his life. Otherwise all we will have is slogans and pointless arguing; which we have enough of already!

  64. Ahsan says:
    January 7th, 2007 11:34 am

    [quote comment="24207"]

    (1) All presidents and prime ministers in parliamentary democracies- regardless of what executive authority they enjoy- are indirectly/de facto elected leaders.

    (2) The Queen for example can nominate anyone as the Prime Minister, but she always nominates the leader of the parliamentary majority. So the Prime Minister is by law the Prime Minister because Queen is pleased to make him the Prime Minister… but in reality he is the elected leader of his country.[/quote]

    Dear Hamdani,

    I have already requested you not to waste your precious time to explain to me the type of government during 1947-1948 in Pakistan. Now you have taken the task of explaing the term “de facto”. You define it in your first statement as above and in the second statement you are giving a back-up citatation.
    A simple logic will require that your citation (2) contains your main statement (1) which is not true in your case. (2) is a particular case of what the Queen does in England whereas your main statement (1) is for “All presidents and prime ministers…”. Simple logic is that All contains many Parts but a Part can not contain All.

    Moreover, your statement concerning All presidents and Prime Ministers as “de factos” does not hold in democratic systems. In the presidential system the president is directly elected by the people as in France whereas in USA it is the state electoral vote which carries the victory. But the State Electoral vote is also the expression of the population of each state. The USA president is not nominated by any Queen nor by any “de facto” president. The American President as well as the French president are directly elected by the people. These two examples should suffice to convince you that your statement (1) does not hold; also that your back up citation is useless.
    Cheers.
    Ahsan

  65. Shahnaz Khan says:
    January 7th, 2007 10:01 pm

    I am posting below, excerpts from Jinnah’s speech on August 11, 1947 to the first constituent assembly of Pakistan. I think it very clealry lays out Jinnah’s vision for Pakistan. May be this should be our starting point. Do we disagree with this vision? And if so where and how? What is is our alternate vision?

    May be many people will disagree with me but I believe that all children in Pakistan should be asked to memorize it, recite it before going to bed every night and make a pledge to work towards making it come true.

    “Dealing with our first function in this Assembly, I cannot make any well-considered pronouncement at this moment, but I shall say a few things as they occur to me. The first and the foremost thing that I would like to emphasize is this: remember that you are now a sovereign legislative body and you have got all the powers. It, therefore, places on you the gravest responsibility as to how you should take your decisions. The first observation that I would like to make is this: 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 second thing that occurs to me is this: One of the biggest curses from which India is suffering – I do not say that other countries are free from it, but, I think our condition is much worse – is bribery and corruption. That really is a poison. We must put that down with an iron hand and I hope that you will take adequate measures as soon as it is possible for this Assembly to do so. Black-marketing is another curse. Well, I know that blackmarketeers are frequently caught and punished. Judicial sentences are passed or sometimes fines only are imposed. Now you have to tackle this monster, which today is a colossal crime against society, in our distressed conditions, when we constantly face shortage of food and other essential commodities of life. A citizen who does black-marketing commits, I think, a greater crime than the biggest and most grievous of crimes. These blackmarketeers are really knowing, intelligent and ordinarily responsible people, and when they indulge in black-marketing, I think they ought to be very severely punished, because the entire system of control and regulation of foodstuffs and essential commodities, and cause wholesale starvation and want and even death. The next thing that strikes me is this: Here again it is a legacy which has been passed on to us. Along with many other things, good and bad, has arrived this great evil, the evil of nepotism and jobbery. I want to make it quite clear that I shall never tolerate any kind of jobbery, nepotism or any any influence directly of indirectly brought to bear upon me. Whenever I will find that such a practice is in vogue or is continuing anywhere, low or high, I shall certainly not countenance it. I know there are people who do not quite agree with the division of India and the partition of the Punjab and Bengal. Much has been said against it, but now that it has been accepted, it is the duty of everyone of us to loyally abide by it and honourably act according to the agreement which is now final and binding on all. But you must remember, as I have said, that this mighty revolution that has taken place is unprecedented. One can quite understand the feeling that exists between the two communities wherever one community is in majority and the other is in minority. But the question is, whether it was possible or practicable to act otherwise than what has been done, A division had to take place. On both sides, in Hindustan and Pakistan, there are sections of people who may not agree with it, who may not like it, but in my judgement there was no other solution and I am sure future history will record is verdict in favour of it. And what is more, it will be proved by actual experience as we go on that was the only solution of India’s constitutional problem. Any idea of a united India could never have worked and in my judgement it would have led us to terrific disaster. Maybe that view is correct; maybe it is not; that remains to be seen. All the same, in this division it was impossible to avoid the question of minorities being in one Dominion or the other. Now that was unavoidable. There is no other solution. Now what shall we do? Now, it we want to make this great State of Pakistan happy and prosperous, we should wholly and solely concentrate on the well-being of the people, and especially of the masses and the poor. If you will work in co-operation, forgetting the past, burying the hatchet, you are bound to succeed. 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 on end to the progress you will make. I cannot emphasize it too much. We should begin to work in that spirit and in course of time all these angularities of the majority and minority communities, the Hindu community and the Muslim community, because even as regards Muslims you have Pathans, Punjabis, Shias, Sunnis and so on, and among the Hindus you have Brahmins, Vashnavas, Khatris, also Bengalis, Madrasis and so on, will vanish. Indeed if you ask me, this has been the biggest hindrance in the way of India to attain the freedom and independence and but for this we would have been free people long long ago. No power can hold another nation, and specially a nation of 400 million souls in subjection; nobody could have conquered you, and even if it had happened, nobody could have continued its hold on you for any length of time, but for this. Therefore, we must learn a lesson from this. 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. As you know, history shows that in England, conditions, some time ago, were much worse than those prevailing in India today. The Roman Catholics and the Protestants persecuted each other. Even now there are some States in existence where there are discriminations made and bars imposed against a particular class. Thank God, we are not starting in those days. 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. The people of England in course of time had to face the realities of the situation and had to discharge the responsibilities and burdens placed upon them by the government of their country and they went through that fire step by step. Today, you might say with justice that Roman Catholics and Protestants do not exist; what exists now is that every man is a citizen, an equal citizen of Great Britain and they are all members of the Nation. Now I think we should keep that in front of us as our ideal and you will find that in course of time Hindus would cease to be Hindus and Muslims would cease to be Muslims, not in the religious sense, because that is the personal faith of each individual, but in the political sense as citizens of the State. Well, gentlemen, I do not wish to take up any more of your time and thank you again for the honour you have done to me. I shall always be guided by the principles of justice and fairplay without any, as is put in the political language, prejudice or ill-will, in other words, partiality or favouritism. My guiding principle will be justice and complete impartiality, and I am sure that with your support and co-operation, I can look forward to Pakistan becoming one of the greatest nations.”

    M.A. Jinnah

  66. January 8th, 2007 1:33 am

    Dear Ahsan,

    I wonder if you are tying yourself up in knots deliberately or are you just doing it because you are bored.

    American system is not parliamentary democracy mind you… I wrote a complete post above, which you deliberately chose to ignore.

    The problem here is that you claimed that despite the fact that Governments of India and Pakistan both were formed by the same election of 1946 and with the same constitution – Government of India Act 1935 and where GG and PM held exactly the same powers, somehow Pakistani government 1947-1948 was “undemocratic”.

    I have shown you that both GG and PM only held their respective offices at the pleasure of the majorities of their assemblies.

    I have asked you a simple question- why don’t you quote exactly what actions of the Pakistan Government under Jinnah were “undemocratic” and/or unconstitutional as per the government of India act 1935.

    You have failed to cite one such action and/or clause… and yet you continue to waste my time and yours. Just accept that you don’t have any real basis. Now I know you recently took logic 101… but see that you have failed to apply it in part of in parts or the sum of all parts in toto.

    Once again I reiterate- Produce atleast one example to back up your assertion or stop wasting everyone’s time.

  67. Ahsan says:
    January 8th, 2007 11:05 am

    Dear Mr. Hamdani

    [quote comment="25381"]American system is not parliamentary democracy mind you… I wrote a complete post above, which you deliberately chose to ignore.[/quote]

    I am glad that you have realised that there is a presidential democrcy as well. You know also that in this system either there is no Prime Minister (USA) or he is appointed by the president (France). This Prime Minister can be a non-elected person (de Villepin in France). In this case the president is de facto elected president but the other is not.

    In the parliamentary democracy Prime Minister himself is elected member of the parliament. In this system the president is not elected by the people. He may be chosen by the two houses combined or he/she can be a hereditary king/queen having the responsibility of a figure head. So you see the president in parliamentry system is only a figure head. He does not represent the people but the state. I hope you realise that in one system the president is de facto elected president and in other system it is the Prime Minister. The two are not de facto elected, at the same time in a given system of democracy. So I hope you will realise that your statement:

    [quote comment="25158"] All presidents and prime ministers in parliamentary democracies- regardless of what executive authority they enjoy- are indirectly/de facto elected leaders.[/quote]

    is fallacious.

    I rely on your intelligence to comprehend the simple logic. If need be take some help from your friends. There is no need to waste more time on the subject.

    Ahsan

  68. January 9th, 2007 9:22 am

    Did I read in the comments above that Intelligent Design should be a branch of Science? How and where did this branch of science emerge? I doubt those who brought it up here had even heard of such a thing before Bush government took control in the US.

    Just so you know: “The scientific community views intelligent design as unscientific, as pseudoscience or as junk science. The U.S. National Academy of Sciences has stated that intelligent design “and other claims of supernatural intervention in the origin of life” are not science because they cannot be tested by experiment, do not generate any predictions, and propose no new hypotheses of their own.”

    Sources:
    (1)National Academy of Sciences, 1999 Science and Creationism: A View from the National Academy of Sciences, Second Edition.
    (2) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intelligent_design#_note-15

  69. January 9th, 2007 9:33 am

    Dear Ahsan,

    No need to be condescending just because you are unable to argue logically or produce any points to back up your assertions. Using your logic, if at all we can call it that, are you saying that the President in a parliamentary system is not elected but is an undemocratic ruler? For example according to you the President of Bangladesh or the President of India are actually not democratically elected to their offices? Or perhaps the Governor Generals of Canada, New Zealand and Australia are arbitrarily “imposed” on these countries by the Queen despite their status as self governing dominions? Is this what you are saying ?

    And if this is not your position, then you can see how majority party nominating the head of state is election in purest and simplest form? That Presidents of India and Bangladesh, and Governor Generals of Australia, Canada and New Zealand are in their positions because the ruling parties in those countries at some point nominated them and got them elected… right?

    So there is no real way you can argue that a constitutional governor general like Jinnah, holding his office because his party was the majority party in the PCA, was not democratically elected. Hence it follows that if Jinnah was the elected Governor General of the Dominion of Pakistan under the Government of India Act 1935, then in order for you to prove him to be “undemocratic”, you’d have to prove that he violated the GOIA 1935, which is what you have failed to do and deliberately evaded.

    So we are standing exactly where we started. Produce the exact provisions of the Government of India Act of 1935 allegedly violated by the constitutional Governor General of Pakistan, holding that office by virtue of his party’s majority in the constituent assembly.

    Unless you produce the said constitutional provisions, your point was invalid ab initio and you are wasting your time as well as mine.

  70. January 10th, 2007 12:48 am

    [quote post="487"]Did I read in the comments above that Intelligent Design should be a branch of Science?[/quote]

    [Offtopic]

    Bilal, it was ONLY me who brought it up. Why don’t you address me directly?

    Nowhere I put my opinion that ID should be science or not. What I clearly said that HE doesn’t believe it that it’s science or not.

    It doesn’t matter I had heard before Bush era or not but all I know that christian zealots don’t even consider EVOLUTION a scientific theory while many others believe that Evolution is science and for me both ID and Evolution are fictitious theories. I wonder whether you ever heard about These guys who claim that Rael is a prophet who got a messge that someone on other planet created us? They are in Pakistan as well[virtually] and I had contacted these guys long time back to understand the crap they are promoting and every raelian representative[Not Me] was promoting the theory as a scientific discovery.
    [/Offtopic]

    anyways, I have no intention to respond you further[here] on this topic as I am enjoying read stuff given by hamdani and ahsan. It’s better that we discuss on topics thing or let them continue their discussion-thanks

  71. Disciple says:
    March 2nd, 2007 2:15 pm
  72. mazhar butt says:
    March 3rd, 2007 7:50 am

    There is NO need to re_imagine Pakistan; it has already been re-imagined in 1971.

    The need of the day is to DO WHAT YOU SAY,,,,,,,,mere criticism and intellectual flirtation are not the solution to the problem

Have Your Say (Bol, magar piyar say)