When I went to Pakistan, on a two-week visit in July, I found, people glued to their televisions watching the terror at the Red Mosque (known as Lal Masjid). A more than week-long battle between the so-called inhabitants and the liberators of the Red Mosque left more than 100 people dead and many more severely wounded. The bloody drama ended following a sequence of suicide bombings in public places in both urban and rural areas of Pakistan including the capital, Islamabad, by anonymous terrorists.
While the nation was watching the Red Mosque, senior home-based and exiled Pakistani politicians were busy at luncheons and dinners in London, finalising deals aimed at overthrowing Present General Pervez Musharraf and his companions.
The horrific images of the dead and dying in the hands of their loved ones terrified me. Watching bloody and terrifying images of lethal attacks are routine in Pakistan now. Each day bloodshed shatters the entire nation.
Unfortunately, in the last 60 years Pakistan has gone backwards. First, the decades’ long undemocratic and autocratic rule which led to the country splitting, in 1971, when people of former East Pakistan decided to be a separate nation and created Bangladesh. The fall of East Pakistan further divided the people in the remaining West Pakistan, which is composed of four provinces - Sind, Punjab, Baluchistan and North-West Frontier Province (NWFP). The unjust feudalistic and bureaucratic system created more divisions among the provinces. To understand the present politically unstable situation in Pakistan, one has to look back at the ill-fated history of Pakistan after it was created.
Historical facts show the India Muslim League failed to obtain the support of the majority of Muslims in the Muslim-majority provinces in United India up until 1946. In the general election of 1937 the Muslim League could not achieve the complete support of Muslim voters in the Muslim-majority provinces.
In Sind, Punjab, Baluchistan and NWFP, where the landlord culture had ruled for centuries, the Muslim League could not obtain a mandate from the masses because the landlords did not declare their support for it.
When the creation of Pakistan was close to being a reality, far-sighted landlords started shaking hands with Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, to hopefully ensure the survival of their tribal-based power. After realising the situation, big landlords like Mumtaz Daulatana and Nawab Mamdot changed the horses and joined the Muslim League.
After the fateful Indian general election of 1946, most of the feudal classes became part of the Muslim League and when Pakistan was founded, in 1947, the landlords became the frontline leaders.
Since then the feudal culture is the main dominion of the country through a monarchical-style rule by the big landlords’ families.
Another dilemma in Pakistan is the religious-cum-political leaders or Mullahs, who from the very beginning were against the ideology of Pakistan and condemned it. These figureheads control the majority of the population, most of whom are underprivileged and from undeveloped, tribal areas, in the name of religion.
Most of these religious leaders are from the same family or parties who declared Jinnah an ingrate (Kafir) and the agent of the (then) British rulers. But when Pakistan came into existence, these anti-Pakistanis who declared themselves the so-called wardens of Islam, opted to make Pakistan their home. The country which was the symbol of struggle for the social rights of the Muslims from the Muslim-majority states was claimed by them as the country to save Islam.
The truth is that the struggle for Pakistan was never to rescue Islam from obscurity. Islam has been a flourishing religion on the Indian subcontinent for centuries. With about 150 million Muslims out of one billion people, Islam is the religion of the largest minority in India. Therefore, the future of Islam had never been in danger on the subcontinent.
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