web 2.0

The Jinn of Ideology

Popular Myths

By: Hakim Hazik

It is a popular myth that Pakistan is an ideological state. This is a translation of ‘Nazria e Pakistan’. This is usually taken to mean that Pakistan was created so that the Sharia law can be implemented and that would solve all our problems and return us to the pristine glories of early Islamic Empire. This is a false and a dangerous notion and has already caused untold damage. The ‘Ideology of Pakistan’ is a mortal threat to the existence of Pakistan.

Nazria e Pakistan was formulated after the creation of Pakistan:

The original formulation was the ‘Two Nation Theory’, presented and propagated by the Muslim League. The premise was that the Muslims of India differ from the Hindus sufficiently in their history, culture and language preferences to form a separate, independent nation. This theory has its own internal contradictions especially now that the ‘Indian Muslim Nation’ is itself divided into three nations in Pakistan, India and Bangladesh. However this is another discussion and I will leave it for another time.

The Nazria e Pakistan or the ideology of Pakistan was a term coined by Jamaat e Islami after the partition of India. It was meant to suggest that as Pakistan was created in the name of Islam, it would be appropriate to make Islam the national ideology and call Pakistan an ideological state. It is interesting to note that during the Pakistan movement, Jamaat was opposed to the idea of Pakistan, on the basis that it was based on ‘Muslim Nationalism’ and is therefore anti Islamic.

Maududi, the father of the Ideology of Pakistan:

Maududi called the formulation ‘Muslim Nationalism’ a contradiction in terms. He compared it to the term ‘Vegetarian Butcher’ and compared ‘Quaid e Azam’ to ‘Kafir e Azam’ for preaching such an unholy, anti-Islamic philosophy. He was of the opinion that the Islamic teachings were opposed to nationalism, as Islam was a universal philosophy and broke the barriers of race, geography, birth and nation, so that all Muslims were able to transcend these limitations and belong to a universal whole called Ummah.  There was no room for a nation state in Islam.  Nationalism was idolatry. He was worried that Islamic injunctions would be violated with impunity in the prospective nation state of Pakistan.

His solution to the political deadlock was for the Muslims to return to the fundamentals of Islam. If the did that, they would impress the non-Muslims so much from their personal example that the whole of India would turn to Islam and thus become Pakistan.

After the partition, Maududi rolled up his party headquarters in Pathankot and migrated to Lahore to campaign for Islamisaton of Pakistan.

He was the father of Nazria e Pakistan, as Jinnah was the father of Do Qaumi Nazria.

Interestingly, Jamaat came to be very closely associated with the Pakistani establishment, especially the Pakistan army. Its allied paramilitary organizations supported the Pakistan army in opposition to the national freedom movement of Bangladesh. It is also been the vanguard of Jihad in Afghanistan and Kashmir. In Afghanistan however, the civil war led to the Taliban becoming the favourites of the ISI, in preference to Hekmatyar. Jamaat’s Kashmiri leadership is strongly supportive of merger with Pakistan.

The Danger to Pakistan:

Unfortunately the Punjabi dominated army has used the ‘Ideology of Pakistan’ to suppress the expression of democratic rights of other populations. The effete drunkard General Yahiya used this fig leaf for the naked military aggression against the Awami League, who had won all but two of the parliamentary seats from East Pakistan. He disallowed a large number of winning Awami League candidates on the basis that they were opposed to Islam and Ideology of Pakistan. The genocidal army action was carried out in the name of this Ideology. The ideology of Pakistan led to the breakup of Pakistan.

Pakistan does not need an ideology:

Pakistan has a diverse population. An overwhelming majority are Muslims. However, there is a great variation in people’s understanding and practice of Islam. Possibly 10 to 20 per cent of Muslims are Shias, whose religious law differs significantly from the other communities. Any attempt to impose the religious law on unwilling populations will necessarily lead to discord and violent resistance. All non Muslims citizens of Pakistan deserve and expect equal rights in the national constitution. Ideology is a ready instrument in the hands of autocratic rulers and tin pot dictators with which they try to hoodwink the people and prolong their control. 

Pakistan can not the bear the burden of being an ideological state. It can barely carry the burden of being a state.

Jinn out of the bottle:

Once the genie of ideology is out of the bottle, it is not easy to put it back in. The civil war in the North West and suicide attacks in cities is just one aspect of the problem. The other aspect is the invasion and decimation of the civil society. Slamming of doors in face of people’s aspirations. Asphyxiation of creative expression. Mistrust of intellectuals. Death of innovation.

We need a state that is responsive to the needs and aspirations of all its citizens; which takes into account the varying preferences of lifestyles, regional identities, ethnic affiliations, languages and cultures of its people; which guarantees rule of law, fundamental human rights, security, freedom and equality for all its citizens, regardless of creed or religion.


I would therefore argue that it is historically inaccurate to suggest that Pakistan is an ideological state. The strongest protagonists of this point of view are those who opposed Pakistan because they thought it was NOT going to be an ideological state. Ideology brings little gain to the society. On the other hand, it excludes large sections of society who do not conform to the ideology or have a differing point of view.

A state needs to serve its people, respond to their needs and treat them equally. It should not be beholden to some extraterritorial or metaphysical allegiance.

More articles by Hakim Hazik



Add comment