“YOU MAY BELONG TO ANY RELIGION OR CASTE OR CREED THAT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE BUSINESS OF THE STATE.” – JINNAH
By Mazhar Khan Jadoon
First published in The News on Sunday, August 29, 2010
The News on Sunday: How do you view secularism as having evolved in the particular case of India where the kings did not run their empires on the clergy’s instructions but according to political exigencies?
Mubarak Ali: Secularism has been in evolution since medieval times and if you go back to the ancient Ashoka period in India, you will find the ruling pattern to be entirely secular. It was a requirement for all the empires in India, including the Mughal Empire, to be secular and tolerant towards different religions under their rule. Ghauris, Mughals, Durranis and all other emperors had to opt for a secular approach to keep their vast dynasties intact. Clergy was not allowed to interfere in state matters and all the decisions were taken according to practical political exigencies. Allauddin Khilji was one of the great rulers of India who did tremendous welfare work for his people. Once he asked the Qazi whether his acts were according to Shariah or not. The Qazi said no. Khilji told Qazi, “I am illiterate and I don’t know whether my acts are according to Shariah or not, but what I am sure of is that I work for the betterment of my people.”
TNS: Does secularism have any place in Muslim history?
MA: Yes. Almost all the rulers in Muslim history applied the model of secularism during their rule. During the Abbasid period, ulema were not allowed to interfere in the political affairs of state and the caliph was not allowed to meddle in religious affairs. The Abbasid came to power with the help of Iranians who wanted the caliph to remain secular while the clergy at that time wanted the caliph to adhere to Islamic laws and impose Shariah. The conflict was resolved with the signing of a pact regarding state and religion being separate. Great historian Ziauddin Burney, in his book Fatwa-e-Jahandari, also emphasises that state and religion should be kept separate.
Continue reading “Jinnah became irrelevant after Objectives Resolution” : Interview with Mubarak Ali
A strong case can be made against the Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) leader for fomenting aggression and religious persecution under the country’s laws regarding hate speech and incitement to violence.
The street power and political clout wielded by Pakistan’s religious right have resulted in the state and society being held hostage by extremist elements. The latter stop at nothing to further their agenda of inciting hatred, divisiveness and violence. The latest example is that of the Jamaat-i-Islami chief, Syed Munawwar Hasan, who during a sermon in Lahore on Friday threatened a fresh movement against the Ahmadi community if it “did not accept their minority status” and the government kept silent about “their blasphemous and unconstitutional activities”.
Continue reading Hate speech – Dawn Editorial
by Khalid Hashmani, McLean, Virginia
This is one of the rare times that I saw a video of Pakistan’s President Asif Zardari giving a public speech. I was kind of impressed with his style and delivery.
http://www.youtube. com/watch? v=97Ap6beRKxc& feature=related
In my view, his decision to give this speech in Punjabi, one of the national languages of Pakistan, was a quite shrewd. There was an aspect of humility and irony when he said that he learnt Punjabi in a Lahore jail and other jails in Punjab. I also liked his focus of on the poor of Pakistan – farmers, workers, and others from deprived areas. He rightfully pointed out that the importance Kashmir to Pakistan also lies in the fact that water that flows in Pakistani rivers originates in Kashmir. It makes a lot of sense to look at Kashmir and water as one issue. This may open up other possibilities of a negotiated settlement between Pakistan and India on the two issues.
One aspect of his speech that disappointed me greatly was his reference that he traveled to many foreign countries and has secured 700 millions in loans to build several dams in Pakistan. He talked about 5-6 dams that will create fertile lands (obviously implying that more water will be siphoned away in Punjab) around the new dams. He promised those newly created fertile lands to the poor people of the areas where the dams will be built. This statement amounted promising more share of water to Punjab when the lower riparian land throughout Sindh and particularly down stream from the Kotri barrage lies barren. Further, tmangrove forests in the delta area where the Indus River meets Arabian Seas are fast disappearing. In believe that PPP will not be able deliver on such promises as Sindhis are in no mood to loose even loose one drop of water being diverted from Sindh in the times when terrible poverty prevails in the rural areas of Sindh.
I hope PPP leadership will realize that giving more water to Punjab is far from being a balancing act but rather amounts to creating further distance between PPP and the people of Sindh.
“The White House website has the following note: The State Department has been busy translating the President’s speech, click here to find links to translated transcripts, and later versions of the video with translated captions as they come in. Languages will include Arabic, Chinese, Dari, French, Hebrew, Hindi, Indonesian, Malay, Pashto, Persian, Punjabi, Russian, Turkish, and Urdu.”