New Trend Magazine (www.newtrendmag.org) (410-435-5000) (P.O. Box 356, Kingsville, MD 21087)

PAKISTAN in TRANSITION: From Subservience towards Struggle
by Kaukab Siddique, Ph.D

"A person who supports an oppressor and provides him succor when he knows that he is an oppressor is definitely expelled from the fold of Islam." (Prophet Muhammad, pbuh, Hadith narrated by Aus ibn Shurajil, r.a., recorded in Mishkat)

"O Allah! Surely I honor the rights of two weakened sections of people, the orphan and the woman." (Prophet Muhammad, pbuh, Hadith narrated by Khuwailid ibn Umru, recorded in Nasai's Sunan.)

"I am opposed to nationalism as it is understood in Europe, not because, if it is allowed to develop in India, it is likely to bring less material gain to Muslims. I am opposed to it because I see in it the germs of atheistic materialism, which I look upon as the greatest danger to modern humanity. Patriotism is a perfectly natural virtue and has a place in the moral life of man. Yet that which really matters is a man's faith, his culture, his historical tradition. These are the things which in my eyes are worth living for and dying for, and not the piece of earth with which the spirit of man happens to be temporarily associated." [Allama Iqbal, during his address as president of the All-India Muslim Conference held at Lahore, March 21, 1932. See Thoughts and Reflections of Iqbal, p.196-97)

"Pakistan is still not free. Previously it was Britain's colony. Now it has become America's colony." (Sajjad Ali Shah, former Chief Justice of Pakistan, speaking at a seminar on human rights in Karachi, Reported in daily Nawai Waqt of August 11, 2002)

Two forces are at work in Pakistan today: the westernized elites and the Islamic middle classes. The westernized elites are well entrenched in the military, the bureaucracy, the police, the landed gentry and their relatives and hangers on. The Islamic groups greatly outnumber the westernized rulers but the Islamic organizations, though numerous, are cut off from each other owing to sectarian, dogmatic and other reasons. They could sweep away the rulers but are usually busy in trying to put each other down; hence they are ineffective.

THE MAJORITY of PAKISTANIS are neither westernized nor actively Islamic. These are the masses, conventionally religious but ridden with superstition and ignorance. From the westernizers, they learn the ways of European corruption and some of them become savagely corrupted. From the mosques, they learn Islam but often the preachers who reach the masses are themselves unclear about Islam.

The wealth of the nation is largely absorbed by a FAT MILITARY ESTABLISHMENT which is yet to win a battle against India in the last 37 years. Whatever remains of the wealth is squandered by the bureaucracy, police and landlords/industrialists. As a result, most Pakistanis lack the basic requirements of life deemed essential in Islam. Here are some facts about the appalling denial of the economic rights of the people by the secularized rulers:
1. Out of an approximate population of 145,000,000 people, 51,000,000 live in the lowermost levels of extreme poverty.
2. 77,000,000 (57%) do not have clean drinking water.
3. 50% of the people live in ONE ROOM "homes."
4. 16,000,000 live in "kutchi abadis" (shacks and lean-to's) which lack ALL facilities of civilized living and health, with general outbreaks of disease.
5. There are only 864 government run hospitals for the total population of 145 million
6. In rural areas there are a mere 542 health centers and 5147 basic health units. (67% of the people live in the rural areas.)
7. The total number of doctors is a staggeringly low 93,576.
8. Of these, post graduate doctors are 13,176, dentists 4,380, midwives 21,304 and nurses 24,810.
9. Infant mortality at birth is 103 in every 1000.
10. About 42% of the population is younger than 15, 19% are 15-24 years old, 35% are 25-64 years and 4% are 65 and above.
[Source: Research report issued by the labor wing of Pakistan Peoples' Party, published in Nawai Waqt daily, Lahore, on July 7, 2002]
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These facts obviously indicate the failure of Pakistan to fulfil the aspirations of its people in any significant degree. The country has been exploited, looted and almost destroyed by its rulers. The rich live in luxury and obscene opulence. The poor simply want to survive. The military establishment has sucked the life blood of Pakistan. The fat officers live in towns built in American style, separated from the grinding misery of the general population by well-built roads and security patrols.

What keeps this terribly mismanaged and exploited nation going? As every politician knows, it is the basic faith, decency and innocence of the people coming from their roots in Islam and their love for Muhammad Mustafa (pbuh). Without that cement, Pakistan would disintegrate at great speed.

WHAT SHOULD BE DONE?
Under the present conditions, nothing can be done other than humanitarian projects and a few industrial and investment projects here and there.
THE ONLY WAY THE SITUATION CAN BE CHANGED IS THROUGH AN ISLAMIC REVOLUTION which would break the power of the ruling elites. However, this too is not possible at the present time owing to the disunity of religious movements and the sectarianism which keeps them busy fighting each other.

A RAY OF HOPE:
In recent years new developments have taken place in Pakistan which, if they continue for another few years, could transform the country. These are the result of external factors, such as the oppression of the Kashmiri people by India and the assault on Afghanistan by America. The new movements place JIHAD as the primary factor in their program. They encourage social reform, respect for and a steady rate of participation by women in the struggle. Though LASHKARE TAIBA among the Ahle Hadith and Jaishe Muhammad among the Hanafis are the most prominent with considerable constituencies, there are numerous smaller decentralized groups.
The peaceful political Islamic movements, JAMAATE ISLAMI and Jamiatul Ulema Islam have also shown very considerable new dynamism and activism in their recent development. Both support Jihad in Kashmir and Afghanistan to a lesser or greater degree. Tarjumanul Qur'an, the Islamic journal founded by Maulana Maudoodi, has been publishing very refreshing articles in support of women's rights, often in the face of opposition from JI's conservative constituency.
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SUGGESTIONS FOR the JIHAD/ISLAMIC MOVEMENTS:

1. Study the plans and strategies of the enemies of Islam in an objective and scientific way.
2. Work for the UNITY of ALL MUSLIMS on a platform of anti-Brahmin, anti-Zionist, anti-Imperialist front. In this matter of unity, ALL INTERNAL DIFFERENCES SHOULD BE FORGOTTEN.
3. Create forums and communication links between mosques and Islamic organizations to create tolerance of opposing schools of thought.
4. Medical facilities, preventive health projects should be part of all jihad activity.
5. SAFEGUARD THE RESPECT AND HONOR of MUSLIM WOMEN. Men should not be permitted to oppress women. Teach Sura Noor to each Muslim so that innocent women are never accused of sin on the basis of speculation and insinuation.
6. Unite to overthrow the westernized power structure and to distribute its wealth among the masses as ordained by the Qur'an.
7. BRING ABOUT UNITY OF SINCERE WESTERN EDUCATED MUSLIMS with TRADITIONAL ULEMA. They should benefit from each other's learning.
8. Spend money to help people know and meet other Pakistanis in a friendly atmosphere to help diminish provincialism and tribalism.
9. Work with strategic concepts: For instance, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kashmir should be one country loosely confederated with Bangladesh.
10. Pakistanis around the world should help Islamic movements so that the wealth of the Muslim world, in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Kuwait should be channeled to reduce poverty in Pakistan and to attract physicians and scientists back from the Pakistani diaspora.
11. Put an end to internal racism and tribalism. Remember that Prophet Muhammad's (pbuh) line of genealogy comes from an African woman, Hajira, r.a., through Ismail, pbuh. Strike blows at racism so that affinities can be created with the Dalit people of India to break the power of Brahmin imperialism.
12. The Pakistani armed forces should be put on permanent alert on the frontier with India. If they cannot fight, cut their fat. Create the awareness of the army's need to prove that it can fight. The army must not be working to serve the enemies of Islam along the Afghan border. Why not send a few units to Iraq which is about to be invaded? Let the generals show that they are not parasites. How long will Pakistanis continue to honor fighting men who are yet to prove that they are not cowards?
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2002-08-14 Wed 07:05ct