Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Pakistan’s Main Problems are Religious Fanaticism and Petty Leadership

May 29, 2018

By Saeed Qureshi

My heart bleeds for my countrymen living in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. I am confounded why they have to suffer so much. The country is in a state of complete paralysis. The people are caught up in a trance of bewilderment as if they are bewitched or are under the spell of evil spirits. The life in Pakistan for the teeming majority is miserable.

There are six main political parties in Pakistan. Besides there are at least 24 smaller regional, clannish, religio-political groups, denominations, the sects and sub sects. Also, there are countless groups and conglomerations of religious healers, saints and spiritual mediums known as Peers and Faqirs (spiritual healers), the grave worshippers and custodians of mausoleums of the bygone holy individuals. All these obscurantist groups have kept the people frightened by way of faith or wrath of God and their role as trouble shooters.

For quite some time there is a nauseating rigmarole and competition between the politicians to filthy jargon and dub their political opponents with dirtiest expletives. Their abusive language consists of such words as dishonest, the looters of national exchequer, the morally bankrupt, the hoarders and earners of ill-gotten money, the thugs, the politically and morally incompetent and so on. This despicable duel continues unabated.

Instead that the politicians should respect each and focus on issues and reforms that they would unfurl if come to power, they are trying to excel in browbeating each by branding and proving each other as thugs, thieves and criminals. This is the brand of ignoble political culture that is brewing to contest the 2018 national elections.

I wonder if God would allow all these faith peddlers to be true and his advocates. Pakistan has become a hostage of religious groups, bands. The people are their followers and hostages by fear or enticement of paradise in the hereafter. Main and majority religions curb and oppose minority religions.

No one thinks that Islam is one faith and its division into various sects and sections is to go away from the simple teaching and beliefs of Islam. People don’t understand that God can be approached directly as he is nearer than their jugular veins. The political parties use all these regional and religious groups for winning the elections.

Pakistan is not in Africa yet the life is no better than that far-flung continent that was used by the human traffickers to provide raw manpower for old America. Africa has remained steeped in pathetic quagmire of ignorance, humiliation and degradation.

Pakistan a state carved out of the Indian subcontinent for the Muslims to live a peaceful life is receding into a cesspool of sufferings for its people. It is a society where hunger, grinding poverty, spiraling insecurity, and aberrations of unemployment, pollution, crimes, civic mess, sex crimes and injustice, stalk the land. For seven decades of its existence it has remained caught up in an unremitting and swelling decline. One wonders why this country has remained in the reverse gear of progress. Whatever hope and modest livable conditions the people initially had are shrinking.

I do not have enough endurance in me to see the heart wrenching scenes of people aimlessly wandering in the streets with the agony and stress writ large on their faces because of the nightmarish power outrages and interminable blackouts that invariably take place many times round the clock. It would be superfluous to enumerate the debilitating fallout of power breakdowns on the daily life, human mind, psychologies, moods, sensibilities and resistance of the people. A nation is turning paranoid with twin phobias: one about the uncertainty of electricity’s coming and the second about its going. Of late, I have seen on the television, crowds of the people sleeping in a state of anguish and helplessness in the open spaces, on the roads and pavements under a specter of looming insecurity. A nation is sleeping in unguarded places to beat the stifling suffocation, unbearable heat and humidity of the sizzling summer without caring for the bomb blasts, target killing, robbing at gun points and rape. Just imagine the degree of despondency that is breeding indifference to even one’s own life. I am talking about the human miseries and not the colossal commercial and industrial loss and its disastrous ramifications on the national economy.

The school children of the poor families starve and cannot have enough food to eat. They cannot find easy and safe transportation to reach their schools and colleges. The ramshackle, stuffy Suzuki vans and clumsy buses lacking proper seats, or such necessary comforts as heating or air-conditioning commute between destinations with passengers perched on top and on all sides. The young kids both boys and girls are exposed to falling off or sitting in the company of vile individuals.  The streets and roads are full of nauseating stench and pollution of animal refuse, the smoke emitting and shrieking vehicles, the overflowing sewers and open drains choked with filth and garbage. The ancient cities of Pompeii, Baghdad, and of Pharaoh’s eras were even much better in civic management than the cities of Pakistan.

The offices, the bazaars, the houses, the lanes and shopping centers and the space between sky and earth, remain covered with the thick layers of smoking that ward off oxygen and obstruct the breathing in a fresh and pure air. The young kids from the indigent families cannot afford education and therefore, have to work in workshops as apprentices, conductors in public transport and on similar menial jobs. The budding flowers of the nations remain vulnerable and easy target of molestation and abuse by their masters.

The residential religious seminaries present the worst scenarios. It is hard to believe that the students residing in these fortified relgious citadels would be safe from the abuse of their sturdy custodians. They survive on donated or begged food from the benign citizens. They lose the significance of moral dignity, propriety and inviolability of human body. When they grow up they themselves, in the footsteps of their molesters, continue that loathsome practice with the students under their morbid supervision.

Barring the costly bottled water, no water is safe for drinking in Pakistan. Most beverages are adulterated. Most food items are not pure. Can one imagine that in the water scarce areas of Pakistan, the humans and animals drink alike from the same highly polluted pond filled with rain water? No wonder they develop deadly and incurable diseases. The runaway children from starving families  roam and loiter in cities to be seduced or forcibly whisked away by hardened sex offenders or by the heartless criminal gangs or by those who would keep them in forced bonded labor. The women are targeted and raped with willful abandon. There is no recourse or remedy for them to seek justice. The police staffers catch the people sitting in public parks, take grafts forcibly or lock the citizens for no reason. The women in police custody or other law enforcement agencies seldom come unscathed from molestation and rape.

There is a one-page official form called FIR (the First Investigation Report) cannot be written unless the SHO (Station House Officer), commonly known as inspector gives consent and he agrees on a heavy graft or on the order of a dignitary. The process of justice from FIR to the final outcome takes countless twists and years making a mockery of the legal system. The judges, the magistrates, the lawyers, the touts in between are engaged in a vicious game of catching the justice system from the wrong side. The scale of corruption, bribery and financial scams is alarmingly widespread. The malfunctioning in every government department with corruption as the leading vice is no secret at all. The addiction of making illicit buck and exploiting the voiceless citizens is in the veins of every person in an authoritative position; be it a small clerk or a member of the parliament or even the president of Pakistan.

The dope and lethal drugs are easily a viable or provided by the vile individuals and parties making huge buck from such a prohibited occupation. So are the weapons and firearms for a price.

Literacy, education, Research, social decency, a tolerable civic life, and a civilized environment are all far cry in the chaotic and perennially troubled in the Islamic republic of Pakistan. The religious preachers keep their eyes closed on country’s deformities and real fiendish problems and keep pushing the people towards the age of barbarianism, orthodoxy and primitive life.

The privileged, the elitist and the aristocratic classes are above and immune from the sea of suffering of the common masses in Pakistan. With slick cars, the palatial mansions, the hand-folded army of the servants, high profile jobs, money minting lucrative business being at their disposal, these blood sucking segments in Pakistan are least bothered about the people teetering on the brink of colossal human tragedy and deprivation.

Let me take a break to compare this abysmal spectacle with the heathen and un-islamic societies where people enjoy abundant and unhindered civic and social peace. Let us take up the American society for instance. This comparison should in fact be deemed as a contrast. The first glaring hallmark is the order and discipline that runs in the arteries of those societies like the healthy blood in a human body. The law is equal and stringent and is for all the people. It would be invariably humane yet inviolable and operates within the limits set by the society and the constitution. There is no large-scale infringement of the law but if there is, the law ultimately prevails. Everyone from the president, to senators to congressmen to governors is exposed to a well-integrated and efficient network of oversight and accountability.

 The detractors may like to point out the social freedom that they call moral laxity as a stigma on the western societies. But in those societies, the choice to enjoy is left to one’s own discretion as a part of human freedom and is allowed to observe under very strict conditions. By comparison the vice is more rampant and beyond law in our societies than what one can observe for instance in the United States, in England, France, Austria and Germany. The violators are vulnerable to condign punishments. The pub, clubs and selling of liquor are prohibited near educational institutions. Smoking inside the dwellings, the offices and in public places is banned. There is no nepotism, no culture of graft here.

From getting a driving license, seeking a job, the construction of a house, to setting up of a factory, there are hard to bypass yet easy to follow regulations. If you qualify you will get the needful done readily. There is a kit of social security nuts ranging from the healthcare insurance to old age benefits, to free food, to unemployment allowance to pro bono (free) legal service. The rights and obligations in these societies go hand in hand. The utilities from supply of clean water to electricity, to drainage seldom malfunction. The services such as payments of bills, mail distribution, requesting emergency health or security help are dispensed safely and immaculately. For deserving students, both either by virtue of low income or academic excellence, there are funds available. The environmental purity is so jealously guarded that literally, not a blade of grass can grow or removed without the prior permission of the city government.

This is not to deride or belittle my own country in any manner. What I wish to drive home is that we can also transform our societies into people friendly and civically proficient with reasonable order and creation of safety nuts for the people. What is lacking is the intention or the awareness to do so.

So, let there be a revolution. Notwithstanding the moot question as to who will lead this revolution, the movement for change can be spearheaded and sustained by the upholders of the civil society, the conscientious yet valiant individuals, the NGOs, the educated, the intellectuals, the rebellious, the zealous, the students and the aspirants for the change. This diverse assemblage of proponents for change should mobilize the vast majority of underdogs like ordinary workers, the impoverished peasants, the victims of police and institutional injustices, the teachers and all those who want an egalitarian, welfare, civically proficient and a civil society.

They should come out of their homes and trigger an earth shaking upheaval for their rights to live as equal and honorable citizens. They should besiege, waylay, and chase the power wielders, the privileged thugs, the corrupt and immoral government functionaries. They should assail the houses and mansions of the rulers and decision makers, snatch their cars, houses and force them to open their coffers of wealth to be distributed among the needy public.

A people’s revolution is desperately called for: not like a socialist or communist revolution but a genuine grass-root and raucous shake-up that should compel the imperial and licentious minority ruling and privileged classes and religious exploiters to behave. It’s time for the people of Pakistan to shed their helplessness and raise a storm by snatching their rights to live a life brimming with, order, dignity, equality, freedom, justice, accountability, civic galore, and the radiance of a civil society. The oppressed classes should mobilize themselves for a society where molestation of a minor carries life imprisonment as in the United States of America, where justice is inexpensive and accessible and where worship of God is free for all faiths.



Friday, May 25, 2018

Hazrat Muhammad is The Only Prophet with Distinct Record

Note: This article is being reproduced on the eve of the month of Ramadan

May 25, 2018

By Saeed Qureshi

All the known religions and their founders of the past do not have clear-cut chronological facts and figures about their lives and missions. It is only the prophet of Islam Hazrat Muhammad(pbuh) who has the unsurpassed distinction of his life properly chronicled and recorded. All the phases encompassing his birth to his final departure from the transitory earthly abode have been meticulously and distinctly preserved.

The time periods and years relating to the ancient apostles starting from Adam to Solomon and afterwards are ambiguous and lack credibility. The years mentioned in the Bible are simply approximate that in a roundabout manner describe the periods in which these apostles of God existed. This assertion in no way negates their divinity or their being the messengers of God in various eras.

The Biblical or history-based religions are three i.e., Judaism, Christianity and Islam. From among the litany of the mythical religions, the Hinduism, Buddhism, Shinto, Taoism, Confucianism, stand on top. The ancient mythical religions and their dogmas come to be known from one generation to another by word of mouth or from writing on the stone tablets or columns. As such these religions suffered from distortions, exaggerations and a kind of mythical stuff that mostly are hard to believe.

The principal reason for such a lacuna was the absence of a workable or credible system for recording the chronological data and securing the utterances, sayings and sermons of the sages, saints and prophets of the bygone ages delivered to their respective communities. As such these religions belong to an age when the techniques of preserving the history of the world or religions were yet not discovered.

The New Testament was historically written by different authors at different times after the ascension of Jesus to heavens. The period of writing the New Testament is reckoned to be between 35 to 85 years after Jesus’ ascension. With regard to the contents of the Bible both in the old and the New Testament, there are grave variations in the editions published in various stages and times. The authors of the four gospels, Mathew, Johan, Luke and Mark differ with each other on a whole range of episodes and events concerning Jesus Christ. Jesus did not dictate his speeches, sermons and conversations, nor did these scribes had taken notes for securing his utterances and messages.

The myriad of different texts of the Bible and the variation in narration by authors bear the testimony that the gospels lacked the actual utterances of the Jesus. It could at best be described the life account of an apostle or prophet of God with broader spectrum of events but not in the actual sequence as he lived and delivered his divine discourses According to a research scholar on religions, Dr. Abdul Hye, there were 103 clear contractions in the Bible.

From the primitive manuscripts of the Bible to the latest one known as “King James Version” (KJV) compiled and published in 1611, a staggering number of fifty thousand grammatical and descriptive errors have been corrected or redrafted. The KJV has dropped 7 books that were part of the Bible for roughly almost three thousand years. The Protestants do not believe in these 7 discarded books. If such a hug number of books are excluded as apocrypha, then one can imagine how fictitious this stuff had been that was believed by the Christians for almost 16 hundred years.

As we all know that there are altogether 66 books that constitute the two parts of the Bible commonly known as the old and the New Testament. The Hebrew or the old treatment consists of 39 chapters or books and the New Testament comprises 27 chapters. These two sections were written by some 40 men in the course of 1600 years that is from 1513(B.C.E.) to 98(A.C.). There are only fables and narrations concerning kings, rulers, battles or the messages of the apostles covering several centuries written by a diversity of authors who were not even present during the occurrence of those incidents.

These writings are devoid of clear-cut chronological order. The Hindu religion does not have a founder, ‘definite creed, priestly hierarchy or governing agency” (Mankind’s Search for God) It historically starts from the writing of the Vedas some 900 years before the Jesus Christ (B.C.E.). The Vedas were later augmented and supplemented by Brahmanas, Upanishads and Puranas. It would be utterly impossible to justify or figure out if the 330 million gods in the Hindu mythology actually exist or not? It is also difficult to apportion definite periods or times during which these volumes were written and by whom these were written.

As for the founder of Buddhism there is no evidence or account of his life and religious doctrine that was scribed during his life time. All that we know about him are the canonical texts that have no historical evidence about their time of writings and their authors. There is a mention of the convening of council by 500 monks after the death of Buddha to deliberate about the authentic teachings of the master i.e., Siddhartha Gautama. As such the Buddhist canonical material as uttered from the mouth of Gautama was not recorded in his life time but was compiled much later by others.

The Shinto, Tao and Confucianism religions too are embodiments of obscurity and are unclear about the exact time and periods of their apostles. Taoism is believed to be founded by philosopher Lao-Tzu some six centuries before the Jesus Christ. Little is known about him except that after his retirement from the royal service he wrote a brief treatise of 5000 words at the request of some custom officer of those primitive times.

After writing the book he departed and was seen or heard no more. The researchers, however, are skeptical about this story. But one thing is quite clear that Lao-Tzu has been obscure and least known among the founders of religious or faith-based creeds. The gist of the Taoism is to “shun the society and return to the nature”

The life story of the great philosopher of the East Confucius is more elaborate as compared to Lao. Both these sages belonged to the same period of Chou dynasty; torn and weakened by a long period of wars and chaos. A part of the life account of Confucius looks to be more mythical than reality. He is described to be a great teacher. His lectures and sayings are saved in nine books by his disciples who travelled with him during his tours. This is one sage or the founder of creed and a moral code, whose writings are preserved but still not in a chronological format and without mention of any specific time periods.

Let us now turn our attention to the prophet of Islam. He is the most watched, observed, revered, adored and chronicled prophet in the history.  He was born in 570 and died in 632.In between this period his revelations sayings, commandment, decrees, decisions, tenets and events were recorded and memorized by those who observed and remained with him in praying, during hardships, in preaching, in battles, during the social interaction or in traveling.

As stated in the foregoing, the scriptures and holy books of the other leading religions such as Bible were written over a time frame of several centuries by other authors after the death of Jesus Christ. However, the holy book of the Muslims, Qur’an was preserved by prophet Muhammad himself for all the 23 years during which he was receiving the revelations. Since he himself was unlettered, his method of preserving the divine messages and directions were to recite them before the Muslim faithful, compatriots, family members and others who would commit these to their memory and keep it alive by repeated recitations. Later, these would be written on shoulder blades of camel or sheep, palm leaves, wood, parchments and dried skins. 

Apart from his revelations his social utterances, normal conversations, sermons and decisions are composed in the form of Hadith. Every period of his life starting from the childhood, to his upbringing, his adolescence, his youth, his marriages, his business tours, his meditations in the cave Hira and the divine mission to peach Islam are meticulously preserved, arranged and tabulated in a chronological order.

It was during the first Caliph Hazrat Abu Bakr's caliphate that Qur’an was collected from written and memorized sources and the task of their assembly in shape of a book was initiated. However, it was during the caliphate of the third caliph Hazrat Usman (Othman) that it was compiled in the form of a proper book.  A good number of copies of this original edition of Quran were made and sent to various destinations within the Muslim territories.

When Hazrat Usman was murdered in 656, he was reading the same edition of Qur’an that was compiled under his guidance and circulated to other places. The copy of that specific Qur’an is preserved in the Topkapi museum in Istanbul (Turkey) and in Tashkent (Uzbekistan). From that period to the present the Quran is the exact copy of that original edition formulated during the third caliph Hazrat Osman's period.

From his birth in 570 A. D., to his first marriage with Hazrat Khadija in 595, to his fist revelation in 610, preaching in public from 613 onwards, to sending of persecuted Muslims to Abyssinia in 615 are the events that are indelible facts of history. His crusades, his meeting during the Hajj with a batch of Medina pilgrims in 620 migrations from Mecca to Medina in 622, stay in Medina and the “Battle of Trenches in 627, conquering Mecca in 630, his demise in 632 AD, are various phases of his glorious life that were witnessed by countless Muslims and non-Muslims alike of those times and are clearly narrated in history with the dates and months and even timings.

When he passed away he was buried in the same room where he lived after migrating to Medina. The tomb erected on his grave stands from day one and is visited round the year by countless Muslims from all over the world. That is a continuous evidence of his presence till death in Medina and therefore is irrefutable.

The graves or tombs of other ancient prophets do not denote any period and did not survive in their in their original shape during the course time. The floods, natural disasters and ravages of invaders did not leave the original forms of their resting places in holy cities like Baghdad, Mosul, Basra and Cairo, among others Damascus. During his invasion of Baghdad in 1258, the Mongol invader Hilaku Khan demolished every building in Baghdad and inundated the city by diverting the river Euphrates to the city.

In contrast, the loving and caring way, the tomb of Hazrat Muhammad with its shining green minaret has been kept intact and well maintained for fourteen centuries speaks for the imperishable glory of a prophet who is as immortal after his death as he was held in extreme love and unbounded reverence by Muslims during his life time. As a model of personal piety and immaculate moral character, his life is shining like a diamond and serves ever as a beacon of divine light for the humanity.

The sustained revelations of the Muslims’ holy book Quran for 23 years and later its compilation done by prophet himself and later by his two successors also undeniably testify to the fact that it was not the work of latter-day scribes or writers. It is a truthful, genuine and authentic chronological production by prophet himself and by those who were witnesses to its being revealed, memorized, written and distributed.

Prophet Muhammad appeared as God’s messenger in an era that was not as primitive as compared to those eras of early messengers and apostles. The age of Prophet Muhammad was considerably advanced and developed. The time distance between Jesus Christ and Muhammad is 570 years. In between there was no prophet that could lay claim of prophet-hood. In these 570 years the world had progressed considerably.

The two main Biblical religions namely Judaism and Christianity are in fact the forerunners of Islam. Islam acknowledges and owns these religions as the precursors of Islam.  However, with the advent of Islam, the outdated, obsolete teachings or unwanted dogmas contained in those scriptures were edited, updated and refined by the founder of the Islam.

In fact, Islam, as the legend goes, starts from Prophet Adam and assumes the finality with the last prophet of Islam as declared by him in Mecca in 630 C.E, in his last sermon during the pilgrimage. On that occasion he declared before a mammoth assemblage of pilgrims that the religion Islam stood completed today.

The prophets and apostles mentioned in the Old Testament (the Hebrew Scriptures) and the New Testament (the Greek scriptures) are also the prophets of Islam. Yet the Prophet Muhammad enjoys the exclusive distinction of being the final messenger of God in the line of prophets that came before him from time to time.

It is therefore, foregone that the life of Prophet Muhammad is not mired in obscurity, mythical ambiguity and hollow projections. It has been candidly self–revealing, carefully and diligently chronicled by his colleagues, contemporary historians and by those who came in subsequent times. As such it is truthful and pristine.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Young Turks’ Revolution for Pakistan

May 19, 2018
By Saeed Qureshi

Pakistan is in the dire need of a group like legendary Young Turks who spearheaded and carried forward the reformist movement (1889-1908), paving way for Turkey to shape up as a modern, secular and liberal state. The Young Turks were progressive, modernist patriotic, liberal and democratic. They mounted a campaign against Abdul Hamid II, the Sultan and the Caliph of the decadent Ottoman Empire. The Young Turks’ movement served as a catalyst and a harbinger for the flowering of an intellectual and political life that threw up the secular revolution of Ata Turk, who laid the foundation of a modern Turkish state.
The Young Turks’ movement started secretly under the name of “Committee of Union and Progress” (CUP). It was conceived in the military college of Istanbul by the dissident young soldiers and gradually spread among other sections of Turkish society such as college students, writers, journalists, and artists. In 1908, the group succeeded in forcing Sultan Abdul Hamid II to restore the parliament, which he had suspended in 1878. The restoration of legislature is called the second constitutional era and is symbolized as the Young Turk Revolution that continued from 1908 until 1919.
Let us not forget that the religious dogmatism in Turkey in the closing chapter of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century was much more severe and radical than what one can see now in Pakistan. Turkey under the Ottoman Sultan or Caliph Abdul Hamid II suppressed all such endeavors by individuals and organizations that would be seen as promoting the western concepts of democracy, constitutionalism, liberalism and civil liberties, so much so that the press was placed under the brutal censorship. State coercion was lavishly used to suppress progressive trends expressed by word of mouth or literature.
Young Turks’ Movement brought about a change that was nothing short of a monumental socio-political revolution. The movement of Young Turks unfurled the beginning of a journey from an obscurantist religious empire towards a modern secular state. The founder of new Turkey, Mustafa Kamal Ata Turk who defeated the invasion forces and laid down the foundation of a modern Turkey with its hallmarks of nationalism and secularism, was a member of the Young Turks’ fraternity.
Having given a lengthy curtain raiser of the Young Turks’ revolution, let us now focus on the currently prevailing conditions in Pakistan that bear a great deal of resemblance in ideological aspects with those of Turkish Ottoman Caliphate. Although Pakistan doesn’t have an orthodox caliphate yet the religious political parties such as JUI, JUP, and JI, the religious clerics, religious militant entities such as, Tehrik Nifaze -Shariat Mohammedi, Jaish-e-Muhammad, Sipah-e- Sahaba and the latest Taliban Islamists are engaged in a mission to revive the pristine Islamic Caliphate system of governance. Already in Swat valley the Taliban’s Islamic Justice system has been enforced. It is foregone that the Islamic fundamentalist revivalists would not remain confined to these remote northern areas and at an opportune moment would march on to the rest of Pakistan.
While Sultan Abdul Hamid used the state police and power to suppress the proponents of a modern democratic system, in Pakistan these are the religious outfits that want to Islamize Pakistan. For this aim, they relentlessly use every means including the suicide bombing to instill fear, destabilize the society and force the government to accept their eventual Islamization of Pakistan as they have already done in Swat, Dir and Malakand. Their terrorist activities are also a response to the foreign military forces that are stationed in Afghanistan to hunt and liquidate Al-Qaida and Taliban militants.
The Pakistan’s political parties and leaders lack the courage and moral prowess and indeed a vision of a modern state to countervail these ferocious opponents of progress and the fierce road blockers to the creation of a modern state. Moreover, the leaders are rank opportunists and in order to cling to power, they would even go to any extent to compromise with forces inimical to Pakistan. The Pakistan’s establishment is using its army to fight the religious militancy in tribal regions to not save Pakistan from slipping into a theocracy. They are doing this at the behest of the foreign dictates and calls. On the whole, barring a tiny minority, the Pakistani leaders tend to be cronies and surrogates of foreign powers.
Religious extremism is the most alarming and biggest threat to the stability of Pakistan. The island of theocracy that the Islamic extremists want Pakistan to become is not going to work. The minority denominations would remain exposed to the religious vendetta and discrimination as has been witnessed in such regimes. The people of the present times would not like to revert to a mode of living that would rob them of their freedom of expression, freedom of movement and the liberty to lead their life the way they like. While the other Islamic parties do not oppose scientific inventions and modern technological devices, the Taliban consider the modern gadgets as un-islamic and destroy them as they had done in Afghanistan. The quick fix punishment system is an anti-thesis to the modern judicial system synthesized by the humanity over centuries of hard worked and social evolution. Pakistan stands the nightmare of being thrown into the mold of a religious state that has never been established even in the oppressive autocratic Islamic dynasties.
So logically, the war against the extremists is not only to save the hard-won independence but also to save Pakistan as a modern and progressive state. Islam and modernity have to blend for a viably functioning of a modern state. The example of Turkey offers a shining precedent to counter and combat the apostles and agents of doom, obscurantism and darkness with steadfastness, firmness and as a bounden responsibility. The compromise with the exponents of an Islamic creed that is essentially not Islamic is the least viable solution to the ideological chaos that looms large over the horizon of Pakistan. After all Indonesia, Malaysia and Turkey are also the Islamic countries. But they profess and practice a refined and reformed version of Islam that incorporates both the boons of modern technological advancements and religious obligations. Saudi Arabia, for one, despite being an orthodox religious state has sectarian peace.
Pakistan’s stability is at stake both from the religious radical militants and the corrupt political parties and leaders. Pakistan has been sinking into the abyss of socio-political chaos and instability, because our political leadership ignored the institutional build up, rule of law, supremacy of constitution, democracy and respect for popular will. These leaders have been thriving on the miseries of the people of Pakistan. The gulf between poor and rich, privileged and impoverished, haves and haves has been unremittingly widening. The abominable feudal system, the khanates, the Sardari serfdoms and strident civil and military bureaucracy was never serious to put Pakistan on a path that leads towards the destiny of the honorable nations. The judiciary with a few exceptions of principled individuals has been on auction and has served as hand maiden of the rulers. Woefully, a country with so much of land and manpower, strategic importance and abundant hidden natural resources is poor and fractured along ethnic, religious sectarian and regional lines.
It is in this worrisome situation that the role of Young Turks is of inevitable and paramount importance. The Young Turks will not come from the senior army hierarchy. They will emerge and born from the lower and middle ranks of the army. The civil society may be strong but in face of poverty, disempowerment of the masses, superstition, illiteracy and break down of labor union system, it cannot neutralize the baneful over-lordship of the religious and other pressure groups. The civil society activists can agitate but cannot dislodge and force the reactionary forces to retreat. It is the army that with its organization, discipline and weaponry can stage a revolution like that of Young Turks. That landmark revolution transformed the sick man of Europe with a rotten and stinking, moribund, theocratic empire, into a modern state that to this day is Islamic but not retrogressive and backward looking.
The young Turks of Pakistan army will be joined by the intellectuals, writers, media, intelligentsia, academics, engineers, scientists’. NGOs, and liberals, the upholders of the civil society and the votaries of a modern state. It must be understood that for the last 1400 years, the real Islamic state has never come into being. There is not the remotest possibility that it can happen now or in the future. The religious teachings and doctrines that collide with the imperatives of modern times will have to be amended or conformed in such a way that without undermining the spirit of the inherent philosophy of Islam these can be implemented. An orthodox Islam or its conservative teachings cannot be enforced as these have always been followed more in breach than in observance.
Our material considerations overweigh our subjective religious beliefs. Disregarding what Islam ordains, even the deeply religious bigots charge higher profits and care for their own interests than of others. The confusing and contradictory religious decrees from myriad Islamic theologians and sects make the believers practically observe only the perfunctory rituals than the rigid and hard to follow tenets.
From among over fifty Islamic states perhaps Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are the only two countries where a rigid conservative religious code is enforced. However, inside the four walls, all possible freedom in pursuit of happiness is exercised. In Saudi Arabia the American soldiers in their enclaves, drink and indulge in joyful activities. The Arab Sheikhs in their houses indulge in frivolous activities. Same is the case in Pakistan. Under the cover, from prostitution to gambling and drinking alcohol and all kinds of perfidies and religious violations occur uninhabited.
In Indonesia, Malaysia, Jordan, Syria, Tunisia, Morocco, and elsewhere the night clubs, pubs and bars thrive. The sex business too is permissible. The people go to beaches, take part in gambling and do horse racing. Very few ladies observe purdah. Concurrently, these countries pursue scientific and technological research, have modern educational institutions for males and females, women and men work together in offices and factories and travel in the same bus and sit together. There is no gender segregation in all these Islamic countries. It is alone in Pakistan that all venues and windows of modern learning and technological progress are decreed by the extremists as anti-Islamic. It is in Pakistan that women’s freedom is curtailed
No-where in the entire Islamic bloc, the schools of girls have been torched under the erroneous belief that educating females was un-islamic. In these countries, there is much emphasis on character building and attainment of knowledge than on growing beard and wearing particular robs falling to the feet. Yet our government strikes a deal with this freak breed of Islamists to allow them to impose a religious code that is neither human, nor Islamic, nor congruent with culture and needs and openness of modern civilized society.
The young Turks must suppress all obscurant tendencies that aim at keeping Pakistan as an island of ignorance, intellectual darkness and an abode of archaic medieval culture. The goals of Young Turks should be to turn Pakistan into a liberal, civilized and modern democratic state. They should enforce these goals with full might and ruthlessness. They must liquidate or sideline all those elements from political arena, business, bureaucracy, religion, and even army that support and stand for status quo and obscurantism. Accountability and transparent system in all domains of national life must be ensured even if it entails arrests and wiping out the reactionary elements. The Young Turks must stand by as gendarme to watch and oversee that the society and state of Pakistan are safely and surely embarked upon the course of a modern liberal state. In brief the church and the state should be separated.
Let us frankly admit that those people who urge or admonish others to practice Islam and become true Muslims are themselves not doing so. Most of the preachers and fellow Muslims are hypocritical and their conduct and beliefs militate against each other. They don’t’ practice what they exhort others to do. It means that religious fear is being used as a fashion and to look divine, chaste or pious before others. In our lives, barring our robotic beliefs and rituals; our conduct or living is conditioned by our needs and the dynamics of the society in which we live. The credulous humans who really believe that religion will bring peace are either too simple or do not want to come out of the fanciful yet bloated past. Peace has never been achieved between Sunnis and Shias so what chance does it stand for now.
So let us indulge in wishful thinking that like Turkey, Pakistan too will have “Young Turks” as the redeemers who, themselves, will be die-hard patriots, thoroughly honest, liberal visionaries, upright to the hilt and brutally uncompromising in making Pakistan a truly liberal, cosmopolitan, democratic, progressive modern state. They would reconstruct a Pakistan where public welfare will be the order of the day, constitution will be supreme, judiciary will be fair, legislature will be incorruptible and institutions will be efficient and geared for real nation building. They will build a Pakistan where equality, liberty, sectarian and ethnic harmony and rule of law would prevail; where the people would be free to pursue their beliefs without fear from the state and the overbearing religious sects. They will craft and reinvent a Pakistan where the privileged classes, Khans, landed gentry, aristocracy, elitist classes, feudal, Sardars and powerful mafias will be brought at par with the common citizens.
It would be a Pakistan where religious zealots and bigots would be marginalized both by force, via a cultural revolution and through blossoming of enlightenment and social awareness. It would be a Pakistan where religious tolerance will be an article of faith and where people would enjoy freedom of movement and expression. The Young Turks of Pakistan would ensure that the parents will not be killed for educating their daughters, the people not bombed for having difference of faith or opinion and where women will not be lashed for going out of their houses. For now, let us accept the stark reality that Pakistan is on the edge of a precipice. Young Turks’ revolution is the answer.