Every nation, past or present, is known by its national ideology. It serves as the raison d’etre and mark of identity for it. Catholicism, Protestantism, socialism, fascism and race can be identified as the ideologies of different nations of West and East. In our neighborhood, Bharat official opted for “Secularism” as its national ideology with a view to make it a cementing force for a society internally divided on the basis of class, caste, creed, race, and geographic diversities. The latest upsurge of Hindutva is nothing but their recourse to Brahmanic or Aryan Chauvinism. In search for national identity the sprawling expanse of northern India, better to say Aryaverta, has been frantically looking since independence for an opportunity to revive its Brahmanic past and find a way out of secularism. The main impediment for such a revival has been the phenomenon of Indo-Islamic civilization, which eventually crystallized in the form of Pakistan. Unlike the Hindus of India or Christians of the West, the Muslim were blessed by a comprehensive code of conduct duly sanctioned by their religion. Whether posing as secular, liberal, socialist or communist, in view of his material and worldly considerations, a Muslim cannot renounce openly his faith because he knows that he would then be practically outcast and deprived of privileges he is entitled to get as a member of the Muslim society. Islam’s message and mission is universal, and transcends the barriers of time, race and geography. A Muslim blessed by the religion of truth becomes at once member of the global Muslim community (Ummah). This is the reason of its popular appeal, phenomenal growth and expansion over a vast expanse of landscape ranging from Arabian Peninsula, to the West, South and East Asia, to Europe and virtually to every nook and corner of the globe, in spite of the enormity of the problems in its way, including armed conflicts waged by the opposing forces to block its way.

Pakistan’s birth was one of the greatest miracles of the 20th century. In spite of a well-organized opposition and extremely adverse circumstances, the Muslim leadership successfully led the Muslims of India’s march for independent homeland. Islam as national ideology of the new homeland was explained and elaborated by the Poet Laureate of Islam Allama Muhammad Iqbal and the Father of Nation Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. It served as beacon of light to illumine the pitch darkness surrounding the Muslim masses and they rose to achieve their goal even by scarifying millions of lives. Immediately after independence, Quaid-e-Azam expressed his determination of making Islam the future Constitution of Pakistan: “Islamic Principles today are as applicable to life as they were 1,300 years ago… Islam and its idealism have taught Democracy. Islam has taught equality, justice, and fairplay to everybody. What reason is there for anyone to fear democracy, equality, freedom on the highest standard of Integrity and on the basis of fairplay and Justice for everybody. … Let us make it (Islam) the future Constitution of Pakistan. We shall make it and we will show it to the world.” (Address to the Bar Association, Karachi, 25 January 1948).

The national leadership thus identified the parameters of Pakistan’s national ideology. It was the ideology for which the battle for Pakistan was fought and won. The next most important move was to give formal shape to the national ideology, which was done by adopting the Objectives Resolution during the Fifth Session of the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan on March 7 1949. Now forming part of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan as its Preamble, the Resolution stands out as the anchor sheet of the Constitution. To conclude, let me reproduce the following extremely significant excerpts from the address of the first Prime Minister of Pakistan Shaheed-e-Millat Liaquat Ali Khan which he delivered on the Assembly floor as mover of the Resolution: “When we use the word democracy in the Islamic sense, it pervades all aspects of our life; it relates to our system of Government and to our society with equal validity, because one of the greatest contributions of Islam has been the idea of the equality of all men. .. Similarly, we have a great record in tolerance, for under no system of Government, even in the Middle Ages, have the minorities received the same consideration and freedom as they did in Muslim countries, When Christian dissentients and Muslims were being tortured and driven out of their homes, when they were being hunted as animals and burnt as criminals—even criminals have never been burnt in Islamic society —- Islam provided a haven for all who were persecuted and who fled from tyranny. It is a well-known fact of history that, when anti-Semitism turned the Jews out of many a European country, it was the Ottoman Empire which gave them shelter. … The next clause of the Resolution lays down that Muslims shall be enabled to order their lives in the individual and collective spheres in accord with the teachings and requirements of Islam as set out in the Holy Qur’ān and the Sunnah”. With regard to the minorities’ rights, the Quaid-i-Millat said: “In our desire to- build up an Islamic society we have not ignored the rights of the non-Muslims. Indeed, it would have been un-Islamic to do so, and we would have been guilty of transgressing the dictates of our Religion if we had tried to impinge upon the freedom of the minorities.”

The writer is a freelance columnist.