Too many cooks spoil the broth. Such was the case of Pakistan, when leaders set sails to invent nationalism. They ignored that Pakistan movement was inclusive of Ahmadis, Christians and Dalit Hindus of East Pakistan who walked the talk for a classless inclusive nation based on rights of minorities (Muslims were largest religious minority). Unfortunately, within a year Pakistan became the exclusive domain of Muslims. For many religious parties, the concept of Ummah outweighs nationalism. The drift is explained below.

Though history ascribes the concept of Pan Islamism to Jamal Ud Din Afghani, there were factors besides this that led to evolution of an exclusive Muslim political thought in the sub-continent. Afghani’s impact on Egypt was far more than generally known. Hassan al-Banna the founder of Muslim Brotherhood was a disciple of Afghani School and mentor of Sayyid Qutb, the spiritual father of Ayman al-Zawahiri. Despite eing a declared nonviolent movement, the Muslim Brotherhood was an out rightly trans-border militant organisation with sleeper cells. It is only in the 80s that the organisation began to emerge as more inclusive and tolerant.

In contrast, the evolution of Jamaat-e-Islami though espousing a similar ideology was radical in its approach towards Jews and Christians.

According to Ayesha Jalal, “The Jamaat-i-Islami and the Muslim Brotherhood have been historically linked ideologically and have also had comparable social bases of support… If you add to this some broad similarities of context, most notably state authoritarianism, then the links between the two organisations become even more understandable.” Ahmad Rashid maintains that Jamaat-e-Islami branched out of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Indeed, Maulana Maududi, the founder of Jamaat-e-Islami in 1941, was influenced by Brotherhood. In turn Maulana Maududi’s writings influenced Brotherhood and its leaders. Both reciprocate each other.  After World War II, both were the favourites of US administration and CIA for their fiercely anti-communist sentiments. Jamaat emerged as a party of puritan Islamic ideology and a favoured partner. If readers recall, Congress enjoyed good relations with the communist bloc, they would realise the importance of Jamaat to US global designs.

Brotherhood despite a socialite agenda was fiercely opposed to Nasser who led a socialist bloc sponsored by Soviet Union. Both emerged as conjoined twins after Soviet Union occupied Afghanistan to spearhead the mock Afghan Jihad sponsored by USA, KSA and ISI. With the emergence of Saudi Arabia as a major broker for USA in Middle East and Pakistan, both lost favour mainly due to their Pan Islamic agenda that actually threatens Arab Kingdoms; some explanation for the coup against Morsi in Egypt and execution of JI leaders in Bangladesh?

The history of Jamiat Ul Ulema-e-Hind is different. It was close to Congress. However in 1945, a faction led by Maulana Shabbir Ahmed Usmani branched off in favour of All India Muslim League to become Jamiat Ul Ulema-e-Islam Pakistan. The fact that Shabbir Ahmed Usmani, proposed the Objectives Resolution of 1949, places it impeccably in Pakistan’s constitutional history. It played second fiddle to JI through the 50s till 80s. The Soviet occupation of Afghanistan propelled both factions of JUI to centre stage mainly due to vast network of religious schools that provided recruits for Afghan War. Most anti Shia sectarian parties’ and Sunni Jihadist groups are also affiliated to this ideology. Being close to Wahhabism, this group receives external funding from Middle East Kingdoms. Most of these groups are armed.

Deobandis/Wahabi and Salafis are more favoured by Arab kingdoms led by Saudi Arabia.

Muslim religious factions were introduced into politics by Mahatma Gandhi during the ‘Khilafat Movement’. The only opposition came from All India Muslim League. League therefore was desperate to evolve a counter narrative based on religion to subvert the Mullah-Congress alliance. They also needed a counter narrative to Savarkar’s ideology of Hinduvta. Post Iqbal, the League lacked a philosopher/scholar who could place such a narrative in place. The vacuum was filled by educated pro-Islamist leaguers and revisionists like Khawaja Nazimuddin, Liaqat Ali and Ishtiaq Hussain Qureshi. In search of inventive nationalism, linkages were found in JUI and JI. The Objective Resolution gave primacy to religion but remains incomplete due to many sectarian interpretations. The attitudes created by this resolution led to killing of Hindus in East Pakistan. Both JUI and JI pressed the Constituent Assembly to frame the new constitution within an Islamic perspective.

Exploiting the disarray in political parties and annihilation of League, JI emerged as the main spokesman for religion. In 1953, Majlis-e-Ahrar, a vociferously anti-Pakistan Islamic party during pre-partition days and an erstwhile ally of Gandhi with support from JI launched attacks on Ahmadis who had unequivocally supported Pakistan movement. Under pressure from the religious right and Saudi Arabia (a new found ally) the PPP government declared Ahmadis non-Muslims in 1974. Zia disfranchised all religious minorities in the separate electorate.

Very few Pakistanis would know that the beginning of Kashmir revolution was only possible due to active involvement of Faiz Ahmad Faiz and Mian Iftikharuddin, two progressive leftist colleagues of Qaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. The movement also had support of Kashmiri Hindus and Sikhs. Soon with an alliance between the revisionist thinkers and Maududi, it took the name of a Jihad. Once the military actively joined politics it appropriated this symbolism for indoctrination and justification of Kashmir policy. Left leaning Faiz and Iftikhar became traitors.

Political expediencies, use of religion for legitimacy, and international geo-politics converged like a supernova when Soviet Union occupied Afghanistan. Jamaat-e-Islami emerged as the most favoured political party of General Zia ul Haq. Both factions of JUI joined due to their recruiting grounds in KPK and Balochistan. Iranian Revolution and emergence of Shia militant groups in Pakistan prompted the rise of Sunni sectarian parties (linked to Deobandis) that attacked Shia Groups and also joined ranks in Afghanistan and Kashmir. Movement of these groups to other parts of the world mainly Bosnia and Chechnya meant it was free for all. Pakistan was no more in control of the monsters it had bred and as predicted was poised to fight them with blood.

General Musharraf’s tenure lacked foresight.  He ran the country lie a firefighter with his politics of duplicity. He created MMA; a monster to disfranchise mainstream political parties. The decision fatale culminated in the politics of beheadings. Though the military did affect a paradigm shift in Zarb-e-Azb, Pakistan’s political dispensation shows no inclination to reverse the damage. Each actor that matters is linked to some layer that in turn is linked somewhere. Pakistan is bartering its sovereignty.

To be continued………