Will the “Nazuk Mor” in Pakistan ever come to an end?

As long as the ideological underpinnings of the establishment continue to be unchallenged, Pakistan’s nazuk mor will continue to function as an endless roundabout.

The 14th of April, 1919. The light dawned on India to reveal horrendous wounds and mutilations caused by an act of savagery the likes of which she had only sometimes seen in the past. More than 1,500 unarmed citizens had assembled at the Jalianwala Bagh in Amritsar the day before to take part in the cultural celebrations of Vaisakhi. However, they were confronted by the uncontrolled anger of the Raj, which resulted to their deaths.

Even those with the hardest hearts were angered by the British military’s callous disregard for the lives of its soldiers. Even Winston Churchill, for whom murdering innocent people was just another day at the office, hesitated before attaching his name to the atrocity that was the Amritsar Massacre.

General Reginald Dyer, the commander who was in charge of the situation during the violent episode, was summoned to appear in front of the Hunter Commission around seven and a half months after the occurrence. This is an excerpt from his terrifying tale, which goes like follows:

“I shot, and I continued to shoot until the throng dispersed, and I believe that this is the least quantity of gunfire that would achieve the essential moral and general impact that it was my obligation to accomplish if I was to defend my conduct. It was no longer a matter of simply dispersing the throng; rather, it was a question of having a sufficient moral impact from a military point of view not just on those who were there, but more specifically, across the all of the Punjab. There is no room for debate over the appropriate level of harshness.

Even after a century has passed, it is intriguing to think about the potential danger that less than a few thousand unarmed demonstrators posed to the all-powerful British Empire, prompting Dyer to feel obligated to resort to such extreme measures. Even more intriguing is the fact that, according to Dyer, the gathering’s bodily components were not even remotely the focus of the violence’s intended goal.

According to legal historian Nasser Hussain, the link between legal and extralegal violence used to regularly breakdown in colonies in order to construct a constant state of emergency. This was done in order to control the situation. This odd scenario would occur at the behest of an innate feeling of paranoia within the highest echelons of the Raj. These individuals worried that public opposition may evolve into an open rebellion against the Crown as it did in 1857, so exposing the fragility at the core of colonial tyranny.

An intricate substructure of historical and cultural violence, which was methodically designed and carried out over the course of a century, served to bolster the political frameworks upon which the Raj was built. As anti-colonial sentiment reached its zenith throughout the subcontinent, the underlying beliefs that the Empire relied on to carry out its social and economic plunders started to crumble. In light of this, as Dyer approached the gates of the Jallianwala Bagh that evening, he intended not only to protect the governmental authority of the Raj, but also, in his own words, the “moral” and intellectual writ of the Empire as well.

Errors perpetuated over the years

To overlook the forest for the trees and write off the concerns of the disgraced general as a one-time business venture by a colonizing dictatorship anxious to maintain a waning empire is to miss the point entirely. Independence from British authority in post-colonial Pakistan, for example, did not significantly contribute to the dismantling of the colonial mechanisms of government. Not only did the newly formed nation-state retain the railway networks and elegant stone structures of the former Empire, but it also acquired the latter’s paranoid behaviors.

The spectacle of a khaki-clad general speaking straight into a television camera and uttering the foreboding words, “Mulk ek nazuk mor se guzar raha hai” (The country is going through a tough turn), is one that strikes a little bit too close to home for every Pakistani. After the nazuk mor has been implemented, a state of emergency will take effect, and during this time, the military will be given unprecedented privileges. On Pakistan’s “nazuk mor,” the state can do no wrong, whether it be conducting large-scale operations throughout cities or establishing military tribunals for civilians, whether it be making enormous cutbacks in the yearly budget or monitoring speech on social media. After all, in times of extreme difficulty, it is sometimes necessary to resort to extreme means.

As we stand here in the aftermath of the demonstrations on May 9, we are able to plainly follow the ideological elements of Dyer’s activities that evening as they play out in real time. One of Pakistan’s major political parties is still mainly ineffective as of the time of this writing. Scores of its followers are now awaiting trials in military tribunals — See: Can the military administer justice? — while a significant portion of its senior leadership is currently facing a multitude of court proceedings (which seem to magically disappear once the accused announce their resignations from the party). The harassment of journalists and activists by persons who remain anonymous is a spectacle that appears all too often on the feeds of social media platforms. It would seem that the nation has gone back in time to a period that was best articulated by Faiz Ahmed Faiz during his detention in Hyderabad in 1951:

I pay my respects to the hallowed grounds of your country, which I hold dear.

In this strange setting, a longstanding custom has developed, which states that no one should walk with their head held high.

In order to avoid seeming to be walking in adoration of you, one must walk with their heads down and their bodies crouching.

Just under two months ago, things were very different from how they are now. The assault that the leader of the PTI was launching against the established military was starting to cause casualties. Imran Khan’s fiery populist rhetoric, coupled with his dominance of social media and strong political footprint in the establishment’s legacy stronghold in Punjab, had carved an obvious split in what was hitherto the country’s most organized institution. Imran Khan was formerly the face of the same-page mantra.

It seemed as if the establishment had no clue how to cope with the danger posed by Imran, as they were forced into awkward news conferences and unexpected disclosures. As a result, they stumbled and mumbled their way into a defensive stance, which was something they hadn’t done maybe since Benazir Bhutto’s stunning election win in 1988. Optimists within the group saw the former prime minister’s attack on those in power as some sort of ground-breaking exposé, and some even speculated that it may be the beginning of a revolution. It didn’t take the military very long to show them that they were mistaken.

In a lecture that he delivered in December 2022 at the Pakistan Naval Academy in Karachi, Chief of Army Staff General Asim Munir dusted over an old playbook and stated:

“Pakistan is now going through one of the most important junctures in her history, and in order for the country to successfully navigate the problems of both the economy and terrorism, there has to be the creation of a national consensus by all of the relevant players.”

As soon as the story of the ‘nazuk mor’ was brought into play, the PTI’s political domination was exposed as nothing more than a house of cards that was just ready to fall apart.

But the issue that really needs answering is this: how did the PTI’s narrative fall apart so stunningly and so suddenly? If one were to simply attribute it to Imran’s political miscalculations (which, it must be said, were quite a few), one would be operating under the same misconceptions as the PTI chief himself, namely, that the influence of the establishment in Pakistan is purely and entirely political and, as a result, can be reduced through political action alone. The PPP of the 1980s, the MQM of the 1990s, and the PML-N of the early 2000s would all enthusiastically testify to the fact that the PTI is not the first political party in Pakistan’s cyclical history to follow this line of thought and then fail as a result of it. It is hardly likely to come as a surprise to the French Philosopher Louis Althusser, who proposed:

“No class can maintain state power for a long length of time without simultaneously asserting its hegemony over and through the ideological apparatuses of the state,”

To a large extent comparable to its European forerunner, Pakistan’s military establishment is likewise a fundamentally ideological business. To reaffirm its significance in the political landscape of Pakistan, the establishment routinely invokes the cliché of a constant ‘nazuk mor,’ which translates to “never-ending war.”

What the head of the PTI did not take into account was the fact that it is impossible to mitigate the political role of the military without first addressing the ideological foundations that maintain such a role in the first place. This is a key example of the fallacy of fundamental engagement. It would be the same of trying to cure a patient who had been diagnosed with malaria by giving them a handkerchief to wipe their night sweats with.

The stories told by two people from Pakistan

However, even if we were to admit that the deep state is, at its core, an ideological apparatus, this still does not explain how success in the intellectual sphere translates into policy infrastructure in the actual world.

An comprehensive judicial and legislative architecture, ranging from the Doctrine of Necessity to the Criminal Law Amendment Bill 2020, which made it illegal to “ridicule the Armed Forces intentionally,” secures the military’s hegemony in the country’s political arena. This legislation criminalized “intentional mocking of the Armed Forces.” To unravel the mystery of this conundrum, one has to review the history of the ten years that came before Pakistan.

Jinnah had an extremely chilly winter in 1937. It was an exceptionally cold winter. The results of the provincial elections were very embarrassing for the All India Muslim League, since the party was unable to win a single seat in any of the provinces. The Congress party, on the other hand, was victorious in general elections, taking 711 of a total of 1,585 seats, and went on to create eight provincial administrations.

As it turned out, the Muslim League had made a significant error in assessing the political landscape of the subcontinent. Even in regions where Muslims made up a small percentage of the population, the party was able to maintain a significant following among the Muslim voters. However, much to Jinnah’s dismay, the Congress and the Muslim League did not win the popular vote in the provinces of the West that had a predominantly Muslim population. These provinces were located in the West.

This was primarily owing to the fact that Jinnah’s rhetoric failed to make much of an impact among the regions that had a predominantly Muslim population. His assessment of Hindu tyranny was met with a level of nonchalance that could not have been higher. This was particularly true when considering the fact that the danger of Hindu dominance would be scoffed at as heretical in regions where Muslims enjoyed majority status. In Muslim-minority areas, where the potential of Hindu dominance was perceived to be far more tangible, Jinnah’s charm had greater sway than it did in Muslim-majority provinces.

Regional Muslim groups in Punjab, such as the Unionist Party, which were mostly headed by feudal landowners and zamindars, raked in tremendous poll numbers. These parties won a majority of the seats in the provincial legislature. These landlords and zamindars, who were believed to be members of one of the warrior races, served as essential gears in the machine that was the Raj. They would utilize their economic hegemony to win their constituencies, which gave birth to the notion of electables, which is a party-hopping constituency dealer, which continues to impact Pakistani politics to this day. When limited elections were conducted, they were of utmost significance to the Raj because they would use it to their advantage to win their seats.

If Jinnah wanted to use support in provinces with a Muslim majority to leverage support in provinces with a Muslim minority to obtain more concessions for Muslims in provinces where they were in the minority, the support of these landowners was vitally essential.

Therefore, after 1937, there was a significant change in the political language of the leadership of the Muslim League. Jinnah became aware that there was wealth on the streets during the Great Game, which was a conflict between the British and Russian empires. In a brilliant move that essentially won him Pakistan, he turned his sights on the socialist sections that were inside the Congress. In a speech that he gave in 1941 to the Aligarh Muslim University, he issued the following warning:

“The Communist Party is yet another party that has been highly active as of late,” Their messaging is deceptive, and I strongly advise you not to give in to what they have to offer. Their rhetoric is both a snare and a trap for those who believe it. What is it that you are looking for exactly? This discussion about socialism, communism, national socialism, and any other form of the word “ism” is completely inappropriate.

Jinnah saw himself as an imperial anti-hero in contrast to Nehru’s socialist leanings, and he blamed the socialist factions within the Congress of contributing to the emergence of Hitlerism. This accusation is somewhat counterfactual.

“The Congress is fighting for independence and to build a communist and socialist government… This is something that has been continually drilled into the heads of the younger generation.” Refer to the predicament of Europe if you have the notion that you would be able to bring down the government of the United Kingdom, the zamindars, and the capitalists in a single blow. The socialism and communism that existed before to Hitler’s rise to power in Germany served as the inspiration for his ideology. In Italy, fascism accomplished the same thing.”

The newly discovered imperialist rhetoric of Jinnah was a political masterstroke that accomplished the equivalent of slaying two birds with one stone. The British, who were looking to safeguard their own geopolitical interests in the event of a Soviet expansion into Asia, saw in him a more favorable horse to bet on than they did in Nehru because of his propensity toward Western models of capitalism and his proclivity to join a prospective Commonwealth of Nations. Nehru, on the other hand, was more inclined to support socialist policies. According to Lieutenant-General Sir Franis Tuker, who holds the position of General Officer Commander-in-Chief of the Eastern Command:

“There was thus a lot of merit to be argued for the establishment of a new Muslim authority that was backed by the science of Britain. If such a force were to be created, and if we were able to orient the Muslim strip that stretches from North Africa to the Islamia Desert, Persia, Afghanistan, and all the way up to the Himalayas, upon a Muslim authority in Northern India, then there is a possibility that it would be possible to prevent the filtering of Russia towards the Persian Gulf.

As a result, Jinnah’s imperialist rhetoric successfully connected the partition of India with the geopolitical tactics pursued by Britain in a post-colonial international order. Consequently.

However, it was capable of far more than that. The Unionist Party, which had a political footprint that was mostly regional, regarded Jinnah as a valuable political investment to shelter itself from a united India, where the socialist inclinations of the Congress would deprive its landowning members of their lands. The Unionist Party considered Jinnah as a desirable political investment to shield itself from a unified India. Large groups of feudal lords, vying for economic survival, poured their weight behind Jinnah’s push for Pakistan, which culminated in a major electoral win for the Muslim League in 1946. Jinnah’s effort ultimately led to the creation of Pakistan.

In a meeting that I had with the historian Dr. Akbar Zaidi, he linked this shift in vocabulary not just to a political sleight of hand, but also to the Quaid’s ideological subscriptions: “Jinnah tended to look at Muslim concerns from an economic point of view. His greatest worry was with what he called the “salariat” (salaried) classes of Muslims, who he believed would give in to majoritarianism and would not be able to retain their economic predominance in a post-colonial India.

Therefore, when Pakistan at long last attained its status as a country, it did so on the backs of India’s most prosperous citizens. Because Partition enabled them to solidify their influence like never before, Pakistan’s new feudal elite leveraged an unprecedented amount of political currency, and any remaining expectations of substantial economic change faded into a distant dream.

When the events of 1947 were ultimately brought to fruition, what was established was not one but two Pakistans: one for the people, who to this day face gut-wrenching poverty; and one for a small few, who have managed to keep an extravagant amount of the country’s resources. Both of these Pakistans exist to this day.

Jinnah did, in fact, establish a committee in 1945 to explore the issue of mass land ownership, despite the fact that the younger echelons of the Muslim League tried to convince him not to. The pretend agricultural reform committee of the Muslim League, which Mumtaz Daultana (another Oxford-educated heir to large holdings) presided over, determined that landlords held eighty percent of the land in Sindh and more than fifty percent of the land in Punjab.

However, after the League’s overwhelming victory in 1946, Jinnah’s interest in land reforms waned, and the subject was never brought up again. When his newly formed committee portrayed landlordism as “benevolent and in the best interests of the peasant,” he maintained his cool demeanor and said nothing. The opposition to any kind of institutional change ultimately reached its logical zenith in 1989, when the Federal Shariat Court determined that land reform was “unIslamic.”

The (Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research) estimates that just 5 percent of agricultural families in Pakistan now possess roughly two-thirds of the farmland in Pakistan.

Due to the country’s incapacity to successfully undertake fundamental economic change, feudal elites rose to the top of the country’s political class. In 1951, over seventy percent of the members of the Second Constituent Assembly were of feudal descent. These feudal classes, which have now gone into marriages of convenience with the deep state, are now at the top of every major political party and are the driving force behind practically all policy change. It is common practice for them to utilize their children’s seats in the country’s Parliament to get significant tax breaks on income and land revenue for themselves. This practice is considered to be nepotistic.

The establishment works to maintain both an external and an internal political atmosphere that is amenable to the continuation of the feudal elite’s position of power. In spite of the fact that international financial institutions are responsible for maintaining the artificial buoyancy of the country’s economy, there is no such thing as a free lunch in the field of geoeconomics. The state makes advantage of its strategic importance to function as a guard for Western imperialist powers in order to provide support for the economic system on which the elite construct their havelis. The reckless extravagance of the state’s national elite is what drives the state to support global capital by prostituting its territory for the strategic goals of the global north. This is how the state facilitates global capital.

In addition to this, the state is responsible for the control of internal dissent, using harsh measures to suppress any and all demands for fundamental change. Alternative economic views are stifled, continuing a practice that began in 1954, when the Communist Party of Pakistan (CPP) was one of the first political parties in the nation to be outlawed and became one of the first political parties in the world to be outlawed. The assassination in prison of Hassan Nasir, a leader of the Communist Party of Pakistan (CPP), in the year 1960 and the judicial assassination of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, a socialist prime minister who nationalized enormous amounts of companies and lands, in the year 1979 are both examples of a systematic effort to eradicate alternative economic ideologies.

In exchange for this generosity, the elite of the nation use their constitutional authority and vast political imprint at the grassroots to establish a praetorian legislative architecture that almost guarantees the military’s control in the political realm. They don’t owe their allegiance to the people in their constituency or to the political ideals that they say they support, even though they live at the center of the democracy in this country.

Therefore, when draconian bills such as the recent Official Secrets Act Amendment Bill 2023 — a death knell for due process in the country — are bulldozed through the Lower House in the wee hours of the night by a party that decried izzat for the vote just a couple of years ago, it should hardly be considered a surprising development in the Parliament’s long and tragic history of bending its knee to undemocratic powers.

We are captives of the here and now.

However, if Pakistan’s quest for the World Cup had been based only on economic considerations, it would not have prompted the kind of social mobilization that it achieved. Jinnah was well aware of the need of incorporating an intellectual framework into his political platform in order to build long-term support among his constituents. And despite the fact that Sir Syed’s infamous Two-Nation Theory had been floating around Aligarh’s book stalls, libraries, and study circles for some time, it didn’t make its way into the streets as an independent idea until the rhetoric of the incredibly charismatic and dangerously articulate barrister in Jinnah picked it up. In a letter that he sent to Gandhi on September 17, 1944, he outlined the concept in a way that was as logical as it was succinct:

“We continue to uphold and maintain that Hindus and Muslims are two significant countries according to any definition or criteria of what constitutes a country. We are a nation of one hundred million people, and in addition to that, we are a nation with our own distinct culture and civilisation, Language & literature, art and architecture, names and nomenclature, a sense of value and proportion, legal rules and moral standards, customs and the calendar, history and tradition, all of these are important aspects of a culture. aptitudes and ambitions; to put it succinctly, we have our own distinctive outlook on life and of life. We are a country according to all of the canons of international law.

The Two-Nation Theory, on the other hand, presented a picture of historical events that was only partially true. This was the source of the difficulty.

Long before the British ever set foot on the subcontinent, Muslims and Hindus of the area had a common political lineage. Collectively, they identified as belonging to something that was known as “Hindustan.” This occurred before the British ever set foot on the subcontinent. Manan Ahmed, a medieval historian, describes Hindustan in his book The Loss of Hindustan: The Invention of India as a location of territorial integrity that included the whole subcontinent and that varied populations of different religions, castes, and creeds dwelt in tranquility from AD1000 to AD1900. Hindustan existed during the time period of AD1000 to AD1900.

The arrival of the British. It was vital that opaque interpretations of history be produced in order to cohere with European post-enlightenment concepts of reason in order for Europeans to successfully control a people whom they did not completely comprehend. The majority of the written material from indigenous historical records was rewritten, altered, and omitted from colonial archives. The result was a representation of the subcontinent in which Muslims were portrayed as intruders and outsiders. Prior to the arrival of Muslims, the subcontinent was inhabited by “timeless, history-less Hindus,” and it was seen as a country of primitive people who without any political or social agency. The concept of “Hindustan” eventually died out, and in its place, a religiously distinct India was created. The Two-Nation Theory was first thought of within the context of this India.

The rhetoric that fueled the Pakistan Movement was fundamentally structured around the idea that Muslims are distinct from Hindus; nevertheless, this discourse never truly succeeded in detecting the pulse of the subcontinent. Within this narrative, the campaign for independence from British colonialism became unimportant, and it was replaced with a more teleological — that is, something that acts as a function of its aim as opposed to its cause — Pakistan “freedom movement.” It was no longer the British imperialists who played the role of the enemy in this country’s magnificent struggle to independence; rather, it was the Hindus, who are the ones from whom it is believed that the Muslims of India achieved their political freedom.

Today’s Pakistani students are seldom aware of the significant role that Gandhi, Nehru, Gokhale, Patel, and Bose played in achieving freedom for 300 million colonized Indians. The legacies of revolutionaries such as Bhagat Singh (who fought the last struggle of his life in Lahore), Udham Singh, Rani Lakshmibai, and Sukhdev Thapar have been removed from national curriculum in a methodical manner.

Check out: Is the Taj Mahal Located in Pakistan?

Because of this perversion of history, a whole population became disconnected from the development of their own historical traditions. Memories of colonial oppression were obliterated, and in their stead, fictitious battle lines were erected where none had previously been present in history. And the post-colonial Pakistani, whose memory of the colonial project had been thoroughly obliterated, was to become ready for the state project forevermore. This was to be the case in Pakistan.

As a result, nobody seems to blink an eye when members of the country’s feudal elite and the military establishment engage in a “partnership” that is reminiscent of the vice-regal democratic system that the Raj put in place after 1857.

And when sitting Member of the National Assembly Ali Wazir is imprisoned for more than two years on accusations that are scarcely worth the paper they are written on, nobody seems to draw comparisons with the problematic relationship that the Raj had with its own dissidents.

And when the PTI is methodically disassembled in order to build the Istehkaam-e-Pakistan and the PTI-P in an attempt to undermine Imran Khan’s political imprint in Punjab and KP, nobody seems to recall that the Raj relied on kingmakers in order to offer some appearance of democracy to an India that was crippled by exploitation.

However, basing one’s national identity on such erroneous conceptions of being and belonging was certain to give birth to more of a conundrum than merely one about knowledge. It gave rise to a conflict that would never end, which essentially cemented the military’s prominence in Pakistan’s political arena.

The endless conflict

It was important for the Two-Nation Theory to materialize as a formidable nation-building instrument as quickly as possible in order to legitimize a division that resulted in the deaths of millions of people. From the very beginning, the thesis saw Pakistan and India as being in a direct ideological competition with one another.

This ideological war did not take long to devolve into a geopolitical competition, which would be a defining aspect of the ‘national interest’ of the country for decades to come. Resolving the Kashmir conflict has been at the center of Pakistan’s foreign policy for a very long time, sometimes at the cost of the country’s overall socioeconomic development. This has included everything from gaining strategic depth against India through a Taliban-led Afghanistan to cultivating a friendship with China in order to neutralize Indian strength in the subcontinent.

According to an analysis conducted by Pakistan’s former Chief of Army Staff Mirza Aslam Baig, Pakistan has been forced to take measures to safeguard its own existence in the face of a persistent danger presented to it by a nation that is far larger in terms of population, area, and the amount of money it spends on its military. Even inside the ranks of the military services, there are those people who hold this attitude but do not support it. According to Air Marshal Asghar Khan, for example, who is credited with organizing and training the Pakistan Air Force, all four military engagements that Pakistan has had with India have been caused by Pakistani adventurism and ambition. This is a statement that was made by Air Marshal Asghar Khan.

Another challenge that the nation had to surmount was coming to terms with the fact that the Pakistan Movement had its roots in a region that was not even close to the territory that would one day become Pakistan. The newly formed nation-state of Pakistan was required to take part in an extensive nation-building effort in order to establish its legitimacy in the eyes of the population it was then responsible for governing.

Jinnah himself held out hope that in due time, the cultural and linguistic “angularities” of Pakistaniat would eventually converge into a single overarching narrative. On August 11, 1947, while serving as president of Pakistan, Jinnah made the following assertions in his presidential speech to the first Constituent Assembly:

“All of these angularities of the majority and minority populations, the Hindu community and the Muslim community will dissolve over the course of time,” he stated. “This is something that will happen.” “This is because even within the Muslim community, you have Pathans, Punjabis, Shias, Sunnis, and others, and within the Hindu community, you have Brahmins, Vashnavas, Khatris, as well as Bengalese, Madrasis, and so on.”

Dr. Zaidi documented his issues with Jinnah’s expectations as follows: “The solution to handle these ‘angularities’ would have been to establish several administrative units in Pakistan, where different provinces are opened up into different units depending on the linguistic, economic, and ethnic demography of the population in those provinces.” Even after 76 years, we are still looking at colonial administrative entities, and we assume that this is God-given. This is the difficulty that we face even now.

In March of 1948, Jinnah’s lieutenant, Liaquat Ali Khan, said that “We must eliminate this provincialism for all times to come.” Liaquat Ali Khan’s words reflected the thoughts expressed by Jinnah.

It is not a coincidence that two years into the country’s first fight with martial control, General Ayub Khan considered it essential to replace ‘history’ with ‘Pakistan studies,’ which was an implied attempt to indoctrinate a varied populace into a homogeneous Pakistani identity. In his book “The Murder of History,” KK Aziz examines every Pakistan studies textbook and points out the ways in which it gets historical facts wrong, distorts them, or overstates them.

According to Dr. Zaidi, “the history of Pakistan and a history of Pakistan’s people and their land become two contradictory narratives.” He was also quick to bring out the absurdity that still plagues the nation to this day, saying, “It is paradoxical that Muslim nationalism, headed by Mr. Jinnah, obtained statehood based on her minority status.” This is a contradiction that still plagues the nation to this day. However, its own minority, regardless of whether they are of a national, ethnic, or religious background, are still subject to severe repression.

However, it has come to light that suppression does not, in and of itself, provide an escape from unwelcome facts. In the early years of the nation’s existence, it was plagued by acts of violence that were motivated by sectarian, linguistic, and ethnic tensions. It seems that the crises in Balochistan and KP are becoming worse by the day, and Sindh is not faring much better in this regard. On a regular basis, atrocious crimes are committed against religious minorities, while the state makes very little or no effort to condemn these atrocities. The state seems to have ensnared itself in a Gordian knot of internal disorder, one that necessitates large amounts of political concessions to be made to the military. This chaos stems from separatist conflicts as well as terror organisations.

The establishment in Pakistan maintains its monopoly on the mass production of both traitors and patriots despite the country’s ongoing state of war. All of these individuals, from dictatorial prime rulers such as Bhutto to quirky poets such as Jalib, from journalists such as Hamid Mir to civic activists such as Asma Jahangir, have found themselves in the position of having to fight the same tired labels, which include “RAW-funded,” “pro-Indian,” and “communist.”

Even Fatima Jinnah, who is known as the “Mother of the Nation,” was labeled as pro-Indian at the time that she fought against Ayub’s oppressive rule in the 1960s. These designations often only stick around for as long as it is politically useful to do so.

No, Pakistan. Neither.

However, there are certain demons that just cannot be cast out. When Pakistan lost its Eastern wing in 1971, the country also lost something that was fundamental and metaphysical to the notion that underpinned her founding. After decades of economic and political exploitation at the hands of her Western counterpart, Bengal severed ties with her in a contentious divorce that resulted in the deaths of thousands of people. The ghazal that Faiz wrote in 1974 is the one that captures the gloomy melancholy that pervaded the room the best.

After innumerable acts of hospitality, we find ourselves alienated.

How many get-togethers are required before we can call ourselves familiar with one another?

When will we finally get to see the fields in full bloom, free from any blemishes?

How many storms will be necessary to remove the blood stains from the ground?

Her Muslim compatriots in the West gazed on in unwavering astonishment as the flag of Bangladesh raised amidst applause in Dhaka. The Two-Nation Theory has finally met its end.

The military was made to feel absolutely ashamed as a result of its capitulation to India. More than 90,000 of her citizens and military people were taken as prisoners of war by the Indians, and Gen. Yahya Khan, the architect of the big secession, was compelled to make a dishonorable escape from the halls of power. Both of these events led to the fall of Pakistan. Bhutto took control of the government at a time when the establishment was on the brink of falling apart for the first time since Ayub’s declaration of martial rule in 1958.

Bhutto was unrivaled in the field of politics during her frenetic rule that lasted for 6.5 years. He was a contradiction in terms: democratic but autocratic, popular yet spiteful. He was a mystery. The Pakistani state, on the other hand, has maintained its India-centric orientation during this whole time. Bhutto, rather than looking inwards at the decades-long blunders that led to the establishment of Bangladesh, supported the age-old idea that a credible defense against an adversarial India was essential to Pakistan’s existence. This doctrine states that Pakistan must have a credible defense in order to survive.

His rule was characterized by the oppression of the Ahmeddiya community, the victimization of political opponents, the war-torn and insurgent state of Balochistan, one fraudulent election, and a political standstill with the Pakistan National Alliance (PNA) that paralyzed the country. His autocracy provided the demoralized military, a slumbering beast that he believed he could subdue, with the means to continue existing. Bhutto, it would subsequently turn out, was the one who was responsible for threading the rope that would ultimately be used to hang him.

Zia inherited a profoundly unstable Pakistan, both because the Two-Nation Theory was under assault and because the political atmosphere was in disarray. Zia needed to come up with a plan in order to ensure the political predominance and popularity of the military administration after he deposed an elected prime minister who had widespread support.

Therefore, more than any previous ruler of Pakistan, he attempted to resurrect the Two-Nation Theory, not just as an intellectual concern in respect to India, but also as an ideological endeavor in its own right. He did this more than any other Pakistani dictator.

This marked the beginning of Zia’s controversial Islamization programme, which included the intellectual and cultural indoctrination of the military as an Islamic combat force with offensive capabilities to cope with a Hindu India. Zia al-Faqih used the doctrines of Maududi, the father of political Islam, in order to pursue his goal of constructing a transformational country and state. A well-known historian by the name of Tariq Ali asserts that “It was General Zia who founded a ‘Naya Pakistan.'” This version is a fake.”

In Zia’s Pakistan, being Muslim was no longer only a symbol of one’s nationalism; rather, it was also a marker of one’s religious beliefs. The connection that had previously existed between the military and the economic aristocracy was strengthened by the addition of a third, more powerful element, which was the religious clergy. The purpose of this was to fulfill the role of an intellectual watchdog on the praetorian influence of Pakistan’s armed forces in the country’s domestic political arena. The clerics assure a subliminal appreciation and devotion for the military by cultivating an understanding of Islam that praises jihad, conquest, military strength, and pan-Islamic supremacy. If Pakistan is a stronghold for Islam, then Pakistan’s armed forces are the courageous watchmen who guard it.

Carol Christine Fair, a political scientist, asserts that “Articles in Pakistan’s professional military journals also utilize Islam to support public desire for everlasting war with India and the army’s continuous domination over Pakistan’s internal and foreign affairs.” Fair came to this conclusion after reading “Articles in Pakistan’s professional military periodicals also exploit Islam to feed popular thirst for perpetual war with India,” according to one of the cited articles. 

 The military has a regular tendency to generate support by characterizing its foe, who is often Hindu India or its “agents,” as nonbelievers and framing the fight largely in religious grounds.

As a result of this, the conflict with India is portrayed as a jihad against nonbelievers who provide an ongoing danger to Islam as a whole. In the minds of the Pakistani people, the enemy’s importance goes beyond their physical manifestations and takes on a possibly intellectual form as the endless war in Pakistan continues.

Within the framework of this story, the military takes on the role of protector, not only of the physical boundaries of the nation, but also of its intellectual frontiers. The country’s nazuk mor takes on an additional facet with the addition of a fifth-generation conflict, the existence of which has been disputed by a large number of political scientists.

Within the context of this discussion, the adversary is no longer someone who will storm our homes armed with flaming firearms and deafening drumming sound effects. It’s possible that nobody even noticed them. The adversary is closing in with alternative concepts of change, which pose a danger to prehistoric concepts that are now in use. As a result, when the state fails to satisfy the material demands of its population, the people are distracted with cultural fears in order to repress alternative ideas, vindicate political opponents, and perpetuate the status quo of distortion and manipulation.

The one and only exit

Pakistan’s nazuk mor will continue to function as a never-ending roundabout as long as the ideological roots of the system are not called into question. An event that took place in the early 1980s at a Sindhi rally provides the clearest illustration of the one and only way out of the impasse.

Following the announcement of the decision to kill Bhutto, the situation in rural Sindh became very violent. In order to suppress the subsequent protests, the Zia dictatorship enlisted the assistance of paramilitary police groups. The officers had been instructed to ridicule the Sindhi demonstrators and call into doubt their allegiance to Pakistan by continuously yelling things like “Your Bhutto’s mother was Hindu!”The remark, which was usually always something along the lines of “She had converted to Islam,” was a well-known truth that was, of course, already common knowledge. However, this approach was consistent with the ideological boundaries that Zia’s dictatorship had established. Being Muslim or Hindu ought not to have had any influence on how Pakistani Bhutto or his followers behaved.

Consequently, a Sindhi peasant lady responded in an innocent manner when a police officer repeated the alleged insult in front of her at one of these demonstrations. She said, “Was our Prophet’s mother a Muslim?” There was complete and total quiet. The police officer was astounded by what he saw. He was completely speechless.

The answers to these dialectical questions will lead to genuine transformation.

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