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December 22nd, 2013

‘Jinnah, Bhutto and the legacy of intolerance’

An article under the above title appeared in the Daily Times of Pakistan on 22 December 2013 (click link to read).

It says:

"Bhutto’s 1973 constitution made Pakistan an oxymoronic Islamic republic where sovereignty belonged to Allah and, in turn, to Allah’s laws. He also declared the Ahmedis as non-Muslims, proudly calling it the “solution to a 90-year-old problem”, and adopted a pan-Islamic vision in which he viewed himself as the leader of the Islamic world. By the end of the 1970s, Pakistan was two for two, in terms of ‘secular’ leaders who defined Muslims as one nation, and also two for two, in terms of ‘secular’ leaders who manifested archetypal religious intolerance."

"The demand to excommunicate the Shia community is the natural corollary of the verdict against the Ahmedis, … since Bhutto politicised the process of takfir (apostasy), religious sects are now well and truly under the takfiri guillotine."

The article draws a parallel between Mr Jinnah's creation of a separate state for Muslims in the name of religion and Z.A. Bhutto declaring Ahmadis as non-Muslims, since he considers both acts as going against religious co-existence. But Mr Jinnah was defending the interests of a minority, i.e. Muslims of India, which was fearing oppression by the majority in a united India, while Z.A. Bhutto sided with an overwhelming majority to oppress a minority. Whether Mr Jinnah was right or wrong, for him to argue for Muslim rights in the face of the Hindu majority, was at least an act of great courage. Bhutto's action required no courage as he had a great majority behind him.

Also, Mr Jinnah actually believed in the cause he was promoting, i.e., the partition of India. Z.A. Bhutto did not believe in the cause of the Ulama and the Islamic parties, and supported their demands cynically to win popularity for himself.

Also, I may add the obvious fact that Bhutto was under massive pressure to declare Ahmadis as non-Muslim and faced almost no opposition in doing this. Mr Jinnah was not under any pressure from other quarters to demand Muslim rights; he made the demands because he himself wanted to have them fulfilled, and unlike Bhutto he faced intense opposition from the Congress and the British government. Mr Jinnah led the demands he was making, whereas Bhutto followed the demands that others made.

Mr Jinnah fought his opponents and won a substantial victory over them. Bhutto thought it best to surrender to his opponents and adopt their demands.

One Response to “‘Jinnah, Bhutto and the legacy of intolerance’”

  1. December 24th, 2013 at 5:37 am
    From Rashid Jahangiri:

    After Shia Who Are Next?

    In the days following declaring non-Muslim Ahmadis in 1974, our Sunni neighbor said to his Shia wife, next will be turn of Shia to be declared non-Muslim. Personally i wonder how Ismailis (Agha Khanis) escaped, before Shia turn came. May be perhaps they have done major philanthropic projects in Pakistan, such as Agha Khan University, in Karachi. But i think such projects too have lost their significance in eyes of Mullah-Mafia in Pakistan.

    Anyways, after Shia it will be turn of Beralvis to be declared non-Muslim in Pakistan. As Urdu saying goes: Aagay Aagay Dakhiay Hota Hay Kia (Wait and see what more has to come). When that time comes Pakistan of Jinnah should be renamed as Kafiristan of Jinnah.

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