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Citizen Voices Politics

Pakistan’s Bermuda Triangle

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Pakistan’s first Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan was not a religious man and most members of the first constituent assembly were members of the country’s secular elite. Same as India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and his cabinet members.

Similarly, secular elite in a newly born Pakistan assumed that they would continue to lead the country while they rallied the people on the basis of Islamic ideology. Pakistan had inherited the “religious sections” of the British intelligence service in India, which had been created to influence different religious communities during the colonial rule. The religious sections had often manipulated these groups to ward off pressures for Indian independence.

Anti-Ahmadi riots of 1953 orchestrated to oust Zafarullah ended up haunting us for decades

However, after the independence, Pakistani intelligence agencies hoped to use the same tactic against perceived and real threats to the state (mostly delusional). The religious organizations were small in number and stigmatized by their pre-independence opposition to the idea of Pakistan, but they could make statements that secular officials could not. Particularly appealing was the prospect of using theologians to create an impression of pressure from below for policies that did not otherwise capture the imagination of people. The prime example is, the anti-Ahmadi riots in 1953, and the plan was “violent street protesters would call for the resignation of Pakistan’s first foreign minister” Sir Zafarulla Khan, who was an Ahmadi, and bring down the federal government.

This was the testing case for the disease which haunted Pakistan not less than a cancer. Some call this the ‘Bermuda Triangle’ of Pakistan, and the people of Pakistan are the victims since its inception.

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Army called in

Pakistan’s establishment, religious factions led by people like Maulana Mawdudi and opportunist leaders like the then Punjab chief minister, Mumtaz Daulatana, who hoped to benefit from the fall of the central government and expected to become prime minister. The riots could not be calibrated, however, and law and order collapsed and the army was called in to control the situation through a declaration of martial law in Lahore, March 1953.

This ‘Combo’ defines the state of Pakistan since 1950’s, and how they plan the course of politics staying behind the curtains.

Pakistan should have army and mosques, not vice versa

Now, the bigger question is why Pakistan is in ‘failed’ states club. The answer is clear.

Apparently, it’s time to move forward and demand a secular state and domination of civil-supremacy as per Jinnah’s and Liaqat Ali Khan’s vision.

This is neither a revolution nor a dream but the realization that we need to refine Pakistan from all its errors and make amends for our past misadventures. Pakistan should definitely have an army, and mosques too, but it shouldn’t be vice versa.


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Naya Daur