The true narrative of Pakistan
was advocated by the Muslim League leadership and others associated with it in
the first decade of independence. They acknowledged the relevance of Islam to
nation and state building because they had advocated a new nationalism as
alternate to the Congress-led, secular-one nation nationalism by invoking Islam
as a mark of their national identity and an instrument of political
mobilization. This narrative assigned the highest preference to representative
governance, constitutionalism, the rule of law and equal citizenship. The true
grand narrative placed the highest premium on monolithic and state-security
dominated nationalism with the slogan of one religion, one Quran, one state, one
nation and one national language.
We can identify various scenarios of the present and future of Pakistan in the
statements of political leaders and writings of intellectuals and analysts.
1. The true grand narrative
2. The regionalist scenario
3. The Islamist vision
4. The Jihadi Pakistan
5. Islamic-sectarian Pakistan
6. New Pakistan
7. Jinnah’s Pakistan.
The original grand narrative of Pakistan was advocated by the Muslim League
leadership and others associated with it in the first decade of independence.
The grand narrative of monolithic top-directed state system was questioned by
political elite with strong roots in provinces.
There is a common trend to interpret Quaid-i-Azam’s statements according to the
need of the speaker, and his statements and words are given new meanings in
order to support one’s point of view in the contemporary political discourse. If
Jinnah has used the word “Islam” or the “Quranic principles” or the “Sharia”, no
effort is made to understand the context of his comments and what he actually
meant, given his intellectual and legal orientations. Rather, the person
invoking Jinnah interprets his words or statements in a manner that strengthens
his current political agenda.
Neither Jinnah nor the Muslim League resolutions in the pre-independence period
argued that a separate state was needed because Islam was in danger in British
India or Islam would be obliterated in united independent India. Jinnah talked
of the concern and anxieties of the Muslims.
The narrative of the present and future of Pakistan and its attendant slogans
were evolved by conservative and orthodox Islamic circles, especially Islamic
parties and groups that wanted to assign a central role to Islamic teachings and
principles in governance and societal affairs.
The notion of “Jinnah’s Pakistan” overlaps with the original grand narrative.
The major focus is on the political discourse of Quaid-i-Azam and the
resolutions of the Muslim League in the pre-independence period. Both projected
the establishment of Pakistan as a homeland for the Muslims of British India in
order to protect and advance their socio-cultural identity, rights and
The advocated worldly political, social and economic demands of the Muslims in
his famous “Fourteen Points”, his discourse on constitutional issues after his
return to India in 1934 and the speeches made at the Lahore session of the
Muslim League (March 1940). Subsequently he focused on protection and
advancement of the political future of the Muslims of British India.
Pakistan’s conservation lies in implementing Jinnah’s vision of Pakistan in
letter and spirit.
Suicide is un-Islamic, but this obscure extremist narrative has made it Islamic
on the non-Islamic basis that since the suicide bombers die in the cause of
Islam, they go straight to jannat. They the killing of innocent people
in suicide bombings on the self-serving fatwa that good Muslims among the
victims would go straight to jannat and the not-so-good Muslims, naturally,
straight to hell.In order to roll back the gains made by the extremist narrative
so far, and save Pakistan from imminent chaos, we need to develop an equally
forceful counter-narrative. And this counter-narrative needs to be articulated
from a political platform by politicians of known integrity and credibility.
One such method is to isolate the extremists by appealing directly to their
supporters and potential supporters with a counter-narrative, offering them a
life free from hunger, disease and ignorance; a life free from insecurity; and a
corruption-free society where everyone is equal before law. It is, no doubt, a
‘Islam is a religion of peace. Therefore, the people who carry out terrorist
acts, especially those targeting places of worship and academic institutions,
can’t be Muslims. Such dastardly acts are the handiwork of foreign forces, which
are inimical to Islam and Pakistan for being the sole Muslim nuclear power
Besides, in a country where Islam is already the state religion and where the
population is predominantly Muslim, what danger does Islam face to warrant such
tactics as being employed by the Taliban. If such an assumption is conceded,
state and society will have to condone any offence committed in the name of
religion – be it the killing of non-Muslims and members of other sects, setting
on fire places of worship or attacking education institutions for being
nurseries of a liberal, progressive Pakistan.There is a need to go beyond
slogans and adopt definite measures to improve the quality of life for the
common people. Other visions and narratives of Pakistan will lose their
attraction only if Pakistan is genuinely transformed on the basis of the
principles enunciated by Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah.
They are being treated as concrete subjects, but what about the existence of
You need to step upon their ideology. This ideology not only abides in the
remote dens of faraway hills, but exist everywhere all around us. One has only
to make a round of a school, college, seminary or office, to come upon many who
sympathize with their views.
This is ideological propaganda and some have been carried away by it. Producing
a robust counter-narrative at the national and international levels, which
unmasks this groundless ideology for what it is.