The emergence of Pakistan as a state on ideological basis under the indomitable leadership of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah was indeed an epoch making event. He not only won independence for the Muslims of the sub-continent but also gave them the vision about the path Pakistan had to traverse as a state to earn its rightful place in the comity of nations. He epitomised his vision in a broadcast talk on Pakistan to the people of United States in February 1948 in these words: “The constitution of Pakistan has yet to be framed. I do not know what the ultimate shape of this constitution is going to be, but I am sure that it will be of a democratic type embodying the essential principles of Islam. Islam and its idealism have taught us democracy. It has taught equality of men, justice and fair play to everybody. In any case Pakistan is not going to be a theocratic state, to be ruled by priests with divine mission. We have many non-Muslims, Hindus, Christians and Parsis but they are all Pakistanis. They will enjoy the same rights and privileges as any other citizen and will play their rightful part in the affairs of Pakistan”.

His statement also provided the best exposition of the Ideology of Pakistan. He wanted Pakistan to be a democratic and progressive Islamic entity deriving inspiration from the essential principles of Islam as enshrined in the Quran, the only authentic source of Islamic teachings. But unfortunately that was never to be. The teachings of the Quran failed to find expression in the governance and education system of the country. This disconnect with the teachings of Quran is the root-cause of all the ills and challenges confronting the country, including terrorism, religious extremism and the curse of sectarianism eating into the national fiber. The anti-Islam forces taking advantage of the situation have been misinterpreting the teachings of the Holy Quran to mislead the people by exploiting their ignorance of the real spirit and message of Quran. They have developed dogmas which they are trying to enforce on the people through violence and the barrel of the gun which is not only posing existentialist threat to the integrity of the country but also creating irreversible fissures among different segments of the society.

The fight against terrorism and other fissiparous ideologies as preached by these groups could not be won only through military muscle. It also needs to be supplemented and neutralized through a counter-narrative based on the teachings of Quran and the essential principles of Islam. In this regard, It is really heartening to note that the government in recognition of this imperative has taken a very commendable step of launching Sautul Quran (Voice of Quran) Radio Channel through Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation. It was co-inaugurated on 14th of Ramadan by the Minister for Information Pervez Rashid and Minister for Planning and Development Professor Ahsan Iqbal, who was actually the brain behind the project. Initially this 16-hour daily programme of recitation of verses from the Holy Quran and their translation will be broadcast from six stations including all provincial capitals and two other cities. By the end of the current financial year 14 more stations will be added to the network. The audio streaming of the programme will also be available to Pakistani diaspora in the foreign countries.

The launching of the channel is a very significant event in the prevailing circumstances and the debilitating challenges facing the country. Surprisingly our media has not taken notice of the development the way it should have been. Media represents the society which makes it the fourth pillar of the state. It owes it to the society to make relentless efforts to strengthen ideological moorings of the state and to discourage propagation of philosophies inimical to and opposed to the teachings of the Quran. It needs to supplement the efforts of the government in this regard. Now that the government has taken a lead in re-establishing the connection between the people and Quran, it is also the duty of the media to contribute its bit to this national and religious duty.

Islam is a religion of peace and brother hood. It abhors bloodshed, discord, dissension and sedition within the state and society. It enjoins its followers to live in peace with each other and rejects division of Muslims in different sects. It forbids the taking up arms against the state by armed groups and declaration of Jihad by any entity other than the state. Suicide bombings and attacks on religious places of other sects and minorities vitiate against the teachings of Islam and Quran. These concepts need to be properly propagated among the masses strictly in accordance with the parameters and the contextual relevance. The society really needs to go back to the drawing board to rediscover its ideological moorings, and there is no better way to do it than re-learning the true spirit of Quran and its teachings. The comprehension of Islam and Quran the way it has been desired and prescribed by the creator of the Universe is the only answer to all the woes that we as a nation are afflicted with.

Islam, contrary to the perceptions of its detractors, is not an archaic philosophy out of sync with the modern realities of life. It is a complete code of life prescribed by God for its creatures and would remain relevant till the end of the world. Its basic principles provide a very strong foundation for the march into modernity and progressive thinking. The institution of ‘Ijtehad’ in Islam is an unmistakable catalyst to progressive transformation of the society while maintaining unbreakable connection with the basic principles of Islam. The media has a pivotal role in creating an awareness of Quranic teachings among the masses and in nullifying the propaganda of the external forces against Islam.