Pakistan has been passing through chaotic times for quite some time. It was forced to cede some power to the Taliban and promulgated Shariat law in SWAT region. And a few days later, innocent Sri Lankan cricket players barely escaped being massacred in Lahore. The Times of India front page article of 11th March suggests that Taliban is knocking at the door of Peshawar.
It is very intriguing that Pakistan which was created for people of Islam to live in peace has had a tumultuous history of chaos and terror right from its inception. It is estimated that in a population of 160 million there are 40 million firearms and 4 million drug users.
On the other hand, India which is a melting pot of all religions under the sun, basks in peace and brotherhood, relatively speaking.
Why is Pakistan which was founded on the basis of one religion, as a refuge for Muslims, going through such bleeding and pain?
Jinnah wanted all religions to flourish in his country. However, a few months after his death, vested political interests implemented their own agenda. The Basic Principle of the Constitution (Objective Resolution 1949) adopted in 1952 stated that the Quran and Sunnah were to be the sources of all laws in Pakistan, that it would be an Islamic Republic and only a Muslim could be the Head of state.
The Soviet intervention in Afghanistan in 1979 was a god sent opportunity for President Zia and the US for different reasons. The US wanted to create a Vietnam for the Soviets in Afghanistan. Zia seized the opportunity to further the cause of Islam and fight against the communist infidels. With the Inter-Services Intelligence Agency (ISI) as its active collaborator, the CIA equipped the Afghan dissidents known as Mujahideen with billions of dollars of cash, weapons and explosives.
Meanwhile, thousands of young Madrassa students, known as the Taliban (Students), were recruited from Afghan refugee camps, brainwashed in Pakistani madrassas, trained and equipped by the ISI and were sent to Kabul.
These students are also sent to Kashmir or other parts of India to spread the Jihad. Some of them are now turning against their own government as suicide bombers or assassins.
On the social front, the government in NWFP in 2002 adopted the agenda of the Talibans and banned co-education, movies and videos, put women inside Burqa, and doled out harsh Islamic justice to the poor.
Meanwhile, the Pakistani ruling establishment and the military have become myopic, failing to see the wanton destruction of the country from within. Instead, they try feverishly to catch up with India in their army, air force and navy strength.
The fast moving and frightening events in our neighboring country offer very powerful insights and lessons for all of us and our country.
The Pakistanis and the Americans are now discovering to their horror that the Frankenstein they created in Pakistan and Afghanistan is now coming to haunt them. May be, poetic justice is catching up.
Minorities in a nation contribute tremendously to the internal gelling, enrichment and understanding among citizens. M.J Akbar wrote in his Sunday “Siege Within” column in the Times of India,
“A minority is the yeast that enables the national flour to rise.”
Flourishing nations in different parts of the world resonate with this truth.
The events in Pakistan should serve as a huge warning to all us to be weary of those who seek votes or divide people along religion lines. They have demonstrated time and again that such elements wreck the unity and peace in the country and their extremism has spawned many a terrorist.
The vision of founding fathers and leaders makes enormous difference to the destinies of nations. Vision based on human potential, aspirations and endeavor, goes to create prosperous nations while those based on past fears and limitations pave the way for failed states. We in India are lucky that we had visionaries like Gandhi and Nehru who only saw harmony in myriad cultures, religions and languages co-existing together.
In another article which appeared in the Times of India on March 8, M.J Akbar writes,
Every Indian Muslim should offer a special, public prayer of thanks to the Almighty Allah for His extraordinary benevolence – for the mercy He had shown by preventing us from ending up in Pakistan in 1947.
May our national flour continue to rise and rise.
Image credit: Meanest Indian