یہ داغ داغ اُجالا یہ شب گزیدہ سحر
وہ انتظار تھا جس کا یہ وہ سحر تو نہیں
Today marks Pakistan’s 73rd independence anniversary. During all these years of governance by military leadership and democratic figures, Pakistan has lost the true meaning of an independent pluralistic state that Jinnah had wished for. The distorted history of subcontinent gives noteworthy indicators about Jinnah’s secularistic ideology, how he wanted to build a state based on inclusive and impartial government with compassionate leadership. Jinnah envisaged a liberal democratic welfare Islamic state. He had practiced the advocacy of liberty, fraternity, justice and democratic constitutionalism that offers protection to minorities as well. Jinnah had gotten approval from the Muslim League’s Core Committee for the flag of Pakistan to have white colour in it that represents non-Muslims as an integral members of the state. But, now the land we are living in is contrary to what it could have been if it had applied Jinnah’s secular principles. After a comparative analysis of the fabric of Jinnah’s Secular State and Imran Khan’s Riyasat-e-Madina we can evaluate what do we really need as a nation, a theoretic state of Imran Khan or democratic welfare state of Jinnah?!
Imran Khan had been extra vocal to change the state into Riyasat-e-Madina. He envisions Pakistan’s framework to be constructed on the postulates of Islamic ideology within the political arena of transparent judiciary, credos of democracy that ensures the aphorism of law above all and deconstruction of political power which produces corrupt leadership and bureaucracy. What his vision is and how the political machinery under his premiership is working, is poles apart. Had the current system of governance been established on Jinnah’s ideology Pakistan might have been a safer place for minorities, a land for dissent voices, a tolerant harmonious society which had no place for extremism.
Jinnah said, “Think a hundred times before you take a decision, but once that decision is taken, stand by it as one man” Besides being a great cricketer the another quality for which Prime Minister Imran Khan is famous for, is taking a u-turn after making decisions for the affairs of the state. Imran Khan stated that his cabinet would never have a large number of people as its a burden on the national treasure of Pakistan. Currently, his cabinet has more than 40 members. Lets not forget his fancy promises that he made in his container speeches. Imran Khan said he wouldn’t go to IMF to seek financial assistance, he would prefer suicide rather than economic aid. In 2019 he not only had financial assistance but also the Government appointed the finance team on the recommendation of IMF. He mentioned that he will never go for aid to the countries that Pakistan had friendly relations with, but now we see him getting aid from China and Saudi Arab. Before siting on the chair of premiership Imran Khan promised he will never get protocol. Now, he is not only using 6 luxury vehicle but all other protocols as well.Lets not forget his stance on NRO as well. Imran Khan said he would not tolerate corrupt politicians in his government. However, ministers of provincial and federal cabinets are facing NAB cases including Pervaiz Khattak, Aleem Khan and Zulfi Bukhari. Furthermore, he said there wouldn’t be any political interference in bureaucracy, but DPO Pakpatan’s transfer, IG Punjab and Islamabad’s transfers clearly shows IK’s U-turn.
Imran Khan before taking the oath informed media that he would not travel abroad during first three months. However, Imran Khan has made at least five foreign trips, including two to Saudi Arabia and one each to China, Malaysia and United Arab Emirates.
Jinnah had always wanted to see the women of his nation as a rising force in every field of life. He said,
“ No nation can rise to the height of glory unless your women are side by side with you. We are victims of evil customs. It is a crime against humanity that our women are shut up within the four walls of the houses as prisoners. There is no sanction anywhere for the deplorable condition in which our women have to live.” Currently in Pakistan 17 % women legislators have entry into politics in national and provincial assemblies. Over 5 million primary school-age children in Pakistan are out of school, most of them girls. Human Rights Watch research found girls miss school for reasons including, lack of schools, costs associated with studying, child marriage, harmful child labor, and gender discrimination. Early marriage remains a serious problem, with 21% of girls in Pakistan marrying before the age of 18, and 3% marrying before age 15. Female labor force participation rate is 21.92%. There’s no initiative taken by the government.
While Jinnah wanted to uplift the status of women, he also wanted to protect and honour them, and consider them as a strong entity. He said, “There are two powers in the world; one is the sword and the other is the pen. There is a great competition and rivalry between the two. There is a third power stronger than both, that of the women.” According to the 2019 Women, Peace and Security Index, Pakistan ranks 164th out of 166 when it comes to women’s safety and protection. According to a survey conducted on 1000 women in Punjab, 35% of the women admitted in the hospitals reported being beaten by their husbands. The survey reported that on an average, at least two women were burned every day in domestic violence incidents and approximately 70 to 90% of women experience spousal abuse. The World Economic Forum ranked Pakistan 151 out of 153 countries in its 2020 Global Gender Gap Index Report. Violence against women, including rape, domestic abuse and harassment, remains a major issue in Pakistan, according to human rights watchdogs. Merely introducing laws for women would do nothing if the state doesn’t implement it.
One of the composing components of a secular state is civil supremacy. Being a wise architect of a secular state Jinnah added this element as well. He said, “Do not forget that the armed forces are the servants of the people. You do not make national policy; it is we, the civilians, who decide these issues and it is your duty to carry out these tasks with which you are entrusted.” Imran Khan’s Riyasat-e-Madina could have never built if he had applied this rule.
Jinnah’s principles of secularism to build a state free from religious outfits was a way to eradicate the amalgamation of religion into politics which is harmful for a homogeneous society where people of different faiths and sects live in harmony. He clearly mentioned, ‘In any case Pakistan is not going to be a theocratic State to be ruled by priests [mullahs] with a divine mission. We have many non-Muslims _Hindus, Christians, and Parsis, but they are all Pakistanis. They will enjoy the same rights and privileges as any other citizen and will play their rightful part in the affairs of Pakistan” His wonderful words are expunged in the dynamics of power politics. The Pakistan penal code continues to treat posing as Muslims by Ahmadiyya as a criminal offence. They were excluded from participating in the 2018 parliamentary elections: to vote, Ahmadiyya are required to declare they are not Muslims, which many see as a renunciation of their faith. In Imran Khan’s Riyasat-e-Madina the government appointed Atif Mian, a prominent academic belonging to the Ahmadiyya community, as economic adviser but immediately asked him to step down when the Islamist groups objected to his appointment because of his religion. And, in Jinnah’s secular state Sir Zafarullah Khan, a Qadiyani, was appointed as Pakistan’s first Foreign Minister and Jogindar Nath Mandal, a Hindu, as a Law Minister.
Blasphemy laws, mullah leadership, extremist ideologies are those religious cards that the primer ship plays to satisfy the hunger of power mongers without having a thought about the state.
This disastrous act of giving the fate of the nation in the hands of intolerant masses is killing Jinnah’s idea of a multi religious state. Religious fanaticism, Forced conversions, forced marriages of minor hindu girls and their sexual and physical abuse is a result of giving power in the hands of those who see everything within the sphere of religious knots. Lets remember his prominent words, “You are free; you are free to go to your temples. You are free to go to your mosques or to any other places of worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion, caste or creed—that has nothing to do with the business of the state.” Are the minorities of our country free to go to their temples? Here the speculative argument that rises is, in accordance to the proportion to the population of minorities are there a good number of temples in our country that are constructed for Hindu Community? Well, the total number of Hindus in Pakistan is 8 million, and the number of temples is 20. In the recent days how the construction of a temple in Islamabad which is a city of 3000 muslims, ignited the new religious debate is an example of religious bigotry. Moreover, in Imran Khan’s Riyasat-e- Madina, mosques of Ahmadiyya community are burned down, people of Shia sect are labelled as Kafir, Christians are degraded, people are lynched and massacred in the name of blasphemy.
When the deplorable situation of the country pinches people to raise their voice and ink their words against marginalisation, racial segregation, patriarchal patterns of the society, and errands of the government they get tags of being anti-state, rebel and sometimes liberal. Jinnah gave another basic principle of a democratic state by saying, “This is your government. It is quite different from its predecessors. Therefore, appreciate when a good thing is done. Certainly criticise fearlessly, when a wrong thing is done. I welcome criticism, but it must be honest and constructive.” Unfortunately the mainstream media is hijacked by the political authorities of the state, fortunately social media is free but being critical there might cost one’s life! Abduction of journalists, activists, critiques of the state, banning channels, restricting tv content is a way to end the fashion of speculation and criticism, that has made the society retrogressive.
Jinnah’s secular state had religious tolerance, women empowerment, interfaith harmony, cultural hegemony, multi-linguistic identities, civil supremacy, and modernist theories with permissive ideological landscape. But in Imran Khan’s Riyasat-e-Madina we have, religious bigotry, sectarianism, apartheid, marginalisation, institutionalised misogyny, casteism, abductions, forced conversions, theocracy, and political exploitation.