The tragedy of Pakistan’s ‘liberal’ intellectuals

Prof. Pervez Hoodbhoy, the well known Pakistani nuclear scientist, author, columnist, and human rights activist, in his book ‘Pakistan : Origins, Identity and Future’, and Saad Hafiz, the Pakistani analyst and commentator on politics, peace, and security issues, who wrote the article below, illustrate the tragedy of Pakistan’s ‘liberal’ intelligentsia.


In his book Prof Hoodbhoy writes that Pakistan’s military has developed like an octopus, with its tentacles firmly embedded in politics, economy, and society. It zealously guards Pakistan’s ideology crafted around the ideas that Pakistan and Islam are in danger, and that extreme centralization of power, militarization, is essential for survival of Pakistan. Yet the exorbitant and mind boggling cost of maintaining the militay has pushed Pakistan dangerously close to the precipice of economic disaster.

Prof Hoodbhoy admits that Pakistan’s Islamic state ideology, the parasitic military-civil-feudal elite, the rampaging mullahs, enforced religious homogeneity, and dogmatic thinking, are the primary obstacles to building a modern state. He suggests that for progress the failed two-nation theory should be replaced by a single nation theory, keeping religion out of politics, and embracing science and technology. He argues that if Pakistan is to survive and prosper, the two-nation theory will have to be abandoned in favor of a more inclusive identity.

Now what does all this imply ? Pakistan was created on the basis of the two nation theory, that Hindus and Muslims are two separate nations, and cannot live peacefully in a single state. To give up that theory, and to keep religion out of politics, logically means that the theory was bogus, the Partition of 1947 and creation of an Islamic state was a British swindle, and that India and Pakistan are one nation and must reunite under a secular government, as I have been propagating since long. This also logically means dismantling that fake, artificial state called Pakistan, and its reunification with India

But to express that logical conclusion invites a 10 year jail sentence under section 123A of Pakistan’s Penal Code, which states :

” Whoever, within or without Pakistan, with intent to influence, or knowing it to be likely that he will influence, any person or the whole or any section of the public, in a manner likely to be prejudicial to the safety or ideology of Pakistan or to endanger the sovereignty of Pakistan in respect of all or any of the territories lying within its borders, shall by words, spoken or written, or by signs or visible representation abuse Pakistan or, condemn the creation of Pakistan by virtue of the partition of India which was effected on the fifteenth day of August, 1947, or. advocate the curtailment or abolition of the sovereignty of Pakistan in respect of all or any of the territories lying within its borders, whether by amalgamation with the territories of neighbouring States or otherwise, shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment which may extend to ten years and shall also be liable to fine ”.

This poses a dilemma for Pakistan’s intellectuals, who surely would not like giving up their comfortable lives and spending long years in jail ( apart from facing a lynch mob and the fury of extremist Islamic groups like the Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed, Tehreek-e-Labbaik and Tehreek-e-Taliban ).

So intellectuals, like Pevez Hoodbhoy, will say everything truthful, but when it comes to drawing the logical conclusion from what they have said, they will chicken out and run for cover. This is the tragedy of Pakistan’s intellectuals. They will speak the truth, nothing but the truth, but dare not speak the whole truth. They dare not say that India and Pakistan are really one nation, sharing the same culture, a large number speaking the same language Hindustani ( called Hindi in India and Urdu in Pakistan ), and were one since Mughal times ( until they were artificially separated by that British swindle called Partition ), and must therefore reunite, like West and East Germany, or North and South Vietnam.

Saad Hafiz, another ‘intellectual’ in Pakistan, writes that there should be peace and friendly relations between India and Pakistan

He deliberately overlooks the fact that the very purpose of creating Pakistan was that there should be no peace but hostility betwen Hindus and Muslims, and so if there is peace and friendly relations between India and Pakistan, the very purpose of creating Pakistan as an Islamic state would be lost and undone, and it will inevitably reunite with India.


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