Tuesday, September 1, 2009

"What has Pakistan given..."

There is an official fan page of the great Urdu writer Ibne Safi (1928-1980) on Facebook. Responding to the Independence Day greetings, an Indian Muslim commented on its wall, “What positive change has been engineered by Pakistan in the Muslim world after its creation, except for providing cheap labor to the Gulf?” I was cool with saying that Pakistan has given Imran Series (Jasoosi Duniya was started while Ibne Safi was still in India), but that was not all according to Sabahat Ashraf, Pakistani analyst living in America and well-known in the blogosphere as IFaqeer ( see picture above and check his blog after this post).

He posted five comments (one was not enough), which are must-read. “I went a little overboard,” he admits. “But we need to have some of these discussions frankly, if we are going to heal the wounds of the ‘batwara’ and move ahead as an Ummah.” Given below are his comments compiled into a single text.

“You really want a list? Here's a start:

  • When Muslim countries – and the wider international community – have needed soldiers and manpower, Pakistan has stepped up; just a few: Jordan (Black September might have been evil, but it was done as a favor), Somalia (the first 24 UN casualties there were not US, but Pakistani – and they did a real peacekeeping job), you name it.
  • Several new countries – Muslims and non-Muslim – from the Gulf to Zimbabwe have had their armed forces organized and trained by Pakistanis till politicsand racism kicked in.
  • Pakistani economic experts have helped everyone – including, for example South Korea (Mahboobul Haque).
  • The Algerian delegation was literally smuggled onto the floor of the UN General Assembly to declare their independence. Especially in our earlier, less-problem-ridden days, Pakistan did a lot of things like this.
  • Hosting and helping form and lead the OIC. Yes, it has taken it's lead from the Saudis and Gen. Zia was a part of that process, but leadership started with Bhutto (despite all his faults).
  • From the Indian Muslim point of view, have you heard of the Liaquat-Nehru Pact?
  • From the Indian point of view, a lot of the burdens Pakistan has carried – border dispute with Afghanistan, the unresolved issue of FATA, the fanaticism fanned by the Afghan resistance to the Russian Empire's expansion, unresolved political issues in Balochistan, just for example would – if Pakistan had not come into existence – be issues India would have to deal with.

“And what has Pakistan gotten in return from the rest of the Muslim World:

  • Racism, and exploitation of our people for cheap labor?
  • Use of our society for experimentation with fanatic projects?
  • And ask an Indian Muslim: What have Indian Muslims given us? Condemnation? Spite? Condescension? Calling us illegitimate?

“Yes, we’re in a bad place right now, but are we getting any sympathy from other Muslims? Any help with dealing with the demons we’re wrestling? Take your reaction. You ask what we’ve given, and demand what we’re going to do about it. If you consider us part of a Muslim Ummah you are talking about, shouldn't your attitude be one of sympathy and trying to figure out how to help us in our difficult time?

“Funny thing is, Pakistanis always have a sympathetic attitude to the plight of Indian Muslims and try to think about how to help solve their problems and make life better for them. Ask yourself honestly: is that the attitude of Indian Muslims towards us? And I mean that individually, because I know some Indian Muslims are coming around.

“One last point: one of the demons we are wrestling with is that of religious fanaticism, and Indian Muslims often talk down to us on that issue – “Look what they’ve done to our beautiful religion…” Our societies – Pakistani and Indian Muslim – are not very different and my personal opinion is that you are just a generation behind us on that score but are in denial. The sooner you get off your high horse and deal with the issue, the better it will be for all of us.

Because funny thing is, Indian Muslims are one of the largest and, if you ask me, one of the most important communities in the world in this regard. You have it in you to help find a solution for this issue and make the world a better place for all of us: after all, it is Muslim India that gave us Iqbal and Azad and Jauhar – and, yes, Jinnah.”


  1. For the record:

    i) Isn't it ironic that Pakistan's quagmire started while helping out the Afghan's in their jihad (even if it was in US interests), whereas Afghanistan was the only country which did not recognize Pakistan after its independence.

    ii) A darkly amusing irony is that while Pakistan (in an individual's capacity or as a nation is yet disputed) was allegedly trying to help Iran and Libya go nuclear, they turned us in for their vested interests :) .. this one is such a beautiful example of our naivety that it makes me want to ask Iqbal about his views regarding:

    "Aik ho Muslim haram ki pasbani ke liay,
    Neel ke sahil se le kar tabakhak e kashukar"

    makes you wanna cry ... makes you wanna laugh...kinda like askin "you too Brutus?"

    ..also reminds me of that very filmy piece of poetry:

    "Hume to apno ne luta
    Gairon mein kahan dum tha
    Meri kashti dubi hi wahan
    jahan paani kam thaa....."

  2. I think the list can goes on. I am adding few points to it:

    • In addition to the peace keeping operations, Pakistan is the contributor of peace not only to Muslim Ummah but to the world. Pakistan is the eminent contributor to the world peace on behalf of Muslim Ummah.

    Former UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, on a visit to Pakistan, in 2001 praised Pakistan’s role by saying;

    ‘your soldiers have made the ultimate sacrifice in the service of world peace, and the United Nations. I salute this record of global idealism because I believe that it reflects a determination among the Pakistani people to serve the world.'(See article by Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad)

    • All major issues of the Muslim World have been voiced out strongly by Pakistan only at the international forums; Palestine, Kashmir, Bosnia and so on.

    • For Economic Development of Ummah, Pakistan laid the foundation of Economic Cooperation Organization with other brotherly countries.

    • Pakistan Armed forces one of he strongest forces in the world, always being the forefront to safeguard Ummah’s honor and dignity.

    During 1967 Arab-Israeli War, Six Days' War, Pakistan Air Force sent its pilots to many Arab nations. Pakistani pilots flew in the Air Forces of Jordan, Egypt and Iraq, recording 3 confirmed kills against the Israeli Air Force (including Mirages, Mystères and Vautours) without losing any of their own planes.(See Wikipedia -- PAF pilots in Six Days War )

    • One will not need to go far back in the history; it was December 2004 when Indonesia, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka were hit by Tsunami. Pakistan Army was among the first involved in relief activities and sent ships and helicopters to the friendly nations for the tsunami relief operation.

    • Pakistan has been representing Muslim Ummah in the most popular sports at the International level; Cricket, Squash, Billiard, Hockey etc. and is the existing Champion of T20 Cricket.

    • And one of the most important!!!

    Muslim World is proud of nuclear Pakistan, says Imam-e-Kaaba

    ISLAMABAD: Imam-e-Kaaba Sheikh Abdul Rehman Bin Abdul Aziz, on his visit to Pakistan June 2007, said, “Pakistan is a nuclear power and the entire Muslim world is proud of it.” (See Daily Times page)

    Do they need more to be revealed what has Pakistan given…??

  3. Salam,

    I continue to learn a lot about Iqbal from your blog. On this matter though the then brigadier zia's work in jordan makes me shake my head in disgust.

    Project Pakistan gave a lot of people hope. my grandfathers generation especially. It also killed a lot of my fathers generation and pushed a generation away from islamically orientated politics.

    Allahumma guide your servants to not soil the principles of your way with narrowminded bloodthirsty jahiliya.