Reclaiming identity of the unidentified

Ansh Chowdhary
A prominent Pakistani academician Waheed-uz-Zaman once remarked, “If the Arabs, the Turks, the Iranians, God forbid, give up Islam, the Arabs yet remain Arabs, the Turks remain Turks, the Iranians remain Iranians, but what do we remain if we give up Islam?” This very statement espouses the fundamental plank over which the entire Pakistan, as an ideology rest. It contravenes the essential ideals which Jinnah wanted to imbibe in the newly formed nation in 1947. It takes a cue that Islam coupled with a militant anti-Indian stance can vehemently buttress the claim of Pakistan to come out of this identity crisis. The same reason, perhaps, gave way to the military rule in the nation while democratic processes suffered a major backlash. Their military profile intertwined with the deep state has sought to redefine the contours of engagement both domestically as well as externally, especially with India. It is because of this stand that Pakistani state failed to curb the malaise of terrorism and fell prey to this Frankenstein’s monster, whereby they started to use terrorism as a state policy, which engulfed both India as well as Pakistan.
Pakistan claims itself to be a successor of the Mughals and Delhi Sultans, for whom the British represented a formidable western power hell bent to destroy their religion and culture. It isn’t an exaggeration to say that India was always a nation, but what about Pakistan and the rationale for its formation. Was Islam as an identity sturdy enough to keep the Pakistan going. The answer is a clear No. They weren’t able to keep track with their former Bengali brethren in the far east, which we call as Bangladesh today. This inferiority complex has made Pakistanis to look for the plausible explanations which suit their demand for the creation of Muslim nation. Their inherent belief that Hindus and Muslims are two civilizational antagonistic poles, rendered this idea to gain a wide traction, glossing over the fact that more Muslims stayed over in India after Partition than to move to a communal Pakistan.
This misplaced sense of history, therefore, has given birth to fallacious historical facts which are being taught in Pakistani schools and colleges. Pakistani historian KKAziz describes Pakistani textbooks as being replete with historical errors and suggests that their mandatory study amounted to the teaching of ‘prescribed myths’.
As per Aziz, Pakistani students are made to believe that that “Pakistan was a fortress of Islam”; “the advent of Islam reformed Hindu society” etc. This deformed hubris that the politicians and military leaders in Pakistan harboured alike, has engendered lawlessness, to the extent that all the major conspirators of Mumbai Attack still roam freely there, with many of them being on the Most wanted list of UN. Pakistan has repeatedly undertaken a bogus legal proceeding to incarcerate people like Laqhvi, Hafiz Saeed only to release them later, once the FATF supervisory umbrage dissipates. This has rendered the nation to the whims and fancies of some Jihadis, who hold a sway over their entire politico-administrative machinery, regardless of the person holding the reins of the ultimate citadel in Islamabad.
This state is run from behind the curtains by a motley crowd of Pakistani Army and ISI, who have left no stone unturned to destabilize Kashmir and Punjab ever since its inception. Their incessant support to Khalistanis and Jihadis is, in reality, a state sponsored act, buttressed by their dubious claims of possessing a large cache of nuclear weapons meant to outwit India’s cold start doctrine, knowing very well the futility of a full-blown war. The military holds the command and control of every major issue. Civilian government is largely unkempt and, more of, has a just ceremonial presence.It’s the parity that the Pakistani deep state wants to establish with India: economically as well as militarily,which has dwindled their fortunes. Their economy is in shambles and their military, though formidable, reeks of complacency.
Kashmir, which the Pakistan claims as its jugular vein, is still unresolved. Despite the 3 wars that both the nations have fought over it, nothing substantial has emerged and the Pakistan has repeatedly asked for a third-party mediation despite the Simla Agreement. Muzzling of press,Human Rights violations, Gender based exploitations and attacks on Minority Community are the ways to quell popular dissent in Pakistan. The insurgency in their own backyard i.e., Baluchistan, callous indifference towards Pashtuns, stripping Ahmadis of their rights etc. have torn asunder the broad faultlines that are prevailing in this nation.
This elicits a response from the wider geopolitical community as to what has halted them from soliciting response from Pakistan regarding its anti terror operations. The common Pakistanis have been misled since last so many years regarding their relationship with India. This has put forth a question before us: If Muslim identity is a problem, then why India and Afghanistan have relatively cordial and stable relations? It’s because of the rudderless leadership of Pakistan which has seldom gone beyond the Anti Indianism stance in their discourses, in elections or otherwise. On the contrary, the Afghans have their own independent existence, an identity to flaunt, along with an open diplomatic process and people to people contacts with India, unlike the former. This has necessitated for Pakistan to obfuscate history, culture and religion in a sense that they can establish something called “Pakistani”, apart from suits, while distancing from the overshadowing Indian cult, which many in India still consider eternal epitomized by the idea of Akhand Bharat.
It’s in this sense that we should analyze Pakistan’s forbidding notoriety vis a vis India than to look for the possible political or geopolitical reasons,which, perhaps, are secondary most of the time. Notwithstanding the same on-off relationship with the Pakistan that India usually cultivates, its essential for India to bite the bullet so as to move forward and to really douse the fires of this “Bar e Sagher”. I, for one, believe that once Pakistan comes to terms with its futile attempts to achieve parity with India, there’s a strong possibility that peace can be restored across the line of control. We should expect nothing much in the meantime.