I’ve always felt that what we were taught (and keep bleating about) as ‘Pakistan Ideology’ has been like a stone around our collective neck.
A stone that keeps pulling us down, so much so that today, we as a nation are in danger of vanishing from the radar of engaging states.
Through hectic and rigorous intellectual exercises and projects, nation states construct ideologies to base and justify their existence on. Such projects are mostly built through narratives that are a mixture of historical facts and myths.
However, the more clever ideologies in this respect consciously leave vast grey areas within their constructs that can be flexed and used to help adjust the ideologies to the ever-changing political and economic dynamics in the international arena.
The best way to do this is usually through a democratic consensus achieved between the state and society.
All that has become obsolete (in the ideology of the nation state) or is hampering the nation to constructively engage with the dynamic forces of economics and politics within and outside the nation is shed away (if not entirely shredded).
It is then replaced with a rationally refreshed ideological view of the nation state’s existence in the changing world.
Those nation states that have failed to do so are facing growing international isolation. They are also suffering deep political and social fissures within their own societies. Their state and the keepers of their national ideology are asking their people to engage with a highly mutable economic and political scenario but at the same time forcing them to continue carrying the heavy, restrictive baggage of an ideology stuffed with dogma.
Introverted ideological dogma is drastically incompatible with extroverted and pragmatic international mutability.
That is why the tension between the two poles is resulting in a kind of widespread social and ideological neurosis in countries like Iran, North Korea and Pakistan; and perhaps in Saudi Arabia and Israel as well, the two countries that may not seem as isolated (or as anti-West) as the first three but are suffering from equally rigid ideological tendencies.
Anti-West (especially anti-US) sentiments have almost taken the shape of a collective form of obsessive-compulsive neurosis in countries facing imminent international isolation and ideological introversion.
Who made who?
When we look at the salient features of what has been propagated (through various state initiatives, history text books and the media) as ‘Pakistan ideology’ over the decades, the following assertions stand out:
• The idea of a separate Muslim state (Pakistan) emerged to counter a possible post-colonial domination of the Hindu culture and politics in the region. • Pakistan also came into existence to blunt historical conspiracies by the Hindus to absorb Islam and Muslims into their own belief system. • The Muslims of Pakistan are a nation in the modern sense of the word. The basis of their nationhood is neither racial, linguistic nor ethnic; rather they are a nation because they belong to the same faith, Islam. • Pakistanis may share a common history with the peoples of other faiths of the region (especially Hindu), but their faith is more importantly rooted in the history of Islam beyond the sub-continent. • Since Pakistan came into being to assert the fact that Muslims and Hindus are two different nations, Pakistan should be a state where the Muslims should have an opportunity to live according to their faith and creed based on principles and laws of Islam. • As a Muslim ideological state it is also the duty of the Pakistani state to defend the interests of other Muslim states and countries. • Pakistan’s ideological and geographic borders are such that various anti-Islam forces are constantly conspiring against the Pakistani state from within and outside Pakistan. • Pakistan needs a thorough security apparatus to fend off such forces. • Such forces constitute countries driven by Hindus, Christians, Jewish/Zionist, secular and Communist doctrines (from the outside), as well as groups and individuals propagating distinct ethnic nationalisms (from within). • Though Pakistan does not recognise sectarian divisions between Islamic sects, it remains to be a Sunni majority country where Islamic laws based on historical legislative narratives of Sunni Islam have every right to take precedence. • It is the duty of the Pakistani state to promote Islamic laws and practices in the society so the society can be prepared to collectively embrace without hesitation the emergence of an Islamic state run on the principals of the Shariah. • Pakistan does not discriminate against non-Sunni Islamic sects and minority religions, but Sunni Islam (constructed on the modernist Islamic thoughts of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan and Muhammad Iqbal as well as on the Islamic scholarship emerging from friendly Arab countries, especially Saudi Arabia), will rightfully dominate in the social, cultural, religious and political policies of the state.