Through my researches about the history of Pakistan, its literature and the ideas which led to its creation, I have come upon a rather curious pattern. It is the recurrence of "peak moments" precisely every twentieth year (with one slight exception).
The gathering of Muslim community represnetatives from all over India at Aligarh in 1886 was the first of its kind in Islam since the days of the early caliphs. Strangely, something similar has been happening since then – every twentieth year with a slight change in 1947:
- 1886, Foundation of Muslim Educational Conference
- 1906, Foundation of All-India Muslim League
- 1926, General Elections on the basis of separate electorates
- 1946, General Elections on the question of Pakistan
- 1967, Birth of PPP and popularity of 6 Points
- 1987, General discontent with General Zia
- 2007, Lawyers' Movement
Why does it happen, and can it help us in a better understanding of our history (and of ourselves)?For those unfamiliar with these events, here is a brief recap:
- The representative gathering at Aligarh in 1886 founded the Muslim Educational Conference. A gathering like that – or perhaps even surpassing it – happened exactly twenty years later in Dacca in 1906 where the All-India Muslim League was founded. The demand for separate electorates was put forward, which we were able to exercise exactly twenty years later in the general elections held in 1926. Precisely two decades after that we had the winter elections of 1945-46 in which Pakistan was voted for.
- Since the birth of Pakistan a year later, i.e. in 1947, these cycles may be counted from the year in which Pakistan was created. Twenty years later, in 1967, Pakistan People’s Party was founded in West Pakistan and Sheikh Mujibur Rehman’s Six Points gained acceptance in the Eastern wing. It may be noted that general elections which had never been conducted since the birth of Pakistan, were conducted as a result of this popular uprising – and we find this to be the case again twenty years later.
- In 1987, the end of the Afghan War being in sight, the bomb blast in Karachi, the re-emergence of political parties in the municipal elections through the backdoor, the political liaisons of Benazir Bhutto and the increasing discontent with the non-party democracy introduced by General Ziaul Haq made the need for fresh mandate felt most widely felt among all segments of the Pakistani society (and not only among those who were opposed to the rule of General Ziaul Haque or Islamic reforms). Elections on party basis happened the next year – whether through Divine intervention or human design is a question which doesn’t concern us here.
- Adding twenty to 1987 brings us to 2007 – need we say anything about this last year?
Why does it happen, and can it help us in a better understanding of our history (and of ourselves)?