Opinion: The Constitution of Pakistan; Nationhood and Islam


Pakistan-Constitution-300x295By Ayesha Akhter

Ever since the advent of Muslims in the subcontinent through Bab ul Islam Sindh, around 1300 years ago, they have acquired their own separate outlook of life in terms of culture, traditions and norms thus establishing a nation, distinct from those already residing the land, from the onset.Muslims throughout the history have waged a sustained struggled to maintain this distinctiveness. Despite of many attempts of playing on the religious beliefs and concepts of Muslims, they have successfully upheld their discrete identity due to the efforts of reformers like Mujaddad Alf Sani, Shah Wali Ullah and many others eminent ones.

Lately the 1937 elections were a major setback and the Muslims finally came to know that Hindus of the subcontinent will never be treating them amicably and the efforts to assimilate Hindus and Muslims as a nation are futile because of the fact that their roots, culture, norms and traditions are completely different from each other. In the presidential address of the annual session held at Allahabad in 1930, Allama Iqbal, clearly stated about the demand of a separate homeland for Muslims in the following words:

As far as I have been able to read the Muslim mind, I have no hesitation in declaring that, if the principle that the Indian Muslims is entitled to full and free development, on the lines of their own Indian homeland, is recognized as the basis of permanent communal settlement, he will be able to stake all for the freedom of India. The Muslim demand for the creation of a Muslim India within India is therefore perfectly justified.

Under the leadership of Quaid e Azam and Allama Iqbal and many other eminent Muslim leaders, Muslims demanded for a separate homeland in unequivocal terms. Pakistan resolution that was passed on 23rd of March 1940 further paved way and proved as a landmark in the history of Muslim freedom struggle expressing their unflinching efforts for the achievement of a homeland as a single nation which was motivated by their Islamic faith.

Pakistan an ideological state which was conceived as an Islamic state under the dynamic leadership of Quaid e Azam on 14th August 1947. One of the most important tasks after the conception of the state was formulating a constitution and the father of nation has clearly mentioned about the nature of the constitution in following words:

The constitution of Pakistan has yet to be framed by the Pakistan Constituent Assembly. 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 principle of Islam. Today, they are as applicable in actual life as they were 1,300 years ago. Islam and its idealism have taught us democracy. It has taught equality of man, justice and fairplay to everybody. We are the inheritors of these glorious traditions and are fully alive to our responsibilities and obligations as framers of the future constitution of Pakistan. (Broadcast talk to the people of the United States of America on Pakistan recorded February, 1948.)

Despite of the fact that the Quaid envisioned Pakistan to be a democratic state, he called it an Islamic state in unequivocal term and stressed upon the equality and justice to be exercised in the newborn state. The constitution of Pakistan that has been designed on Islamic lines as has been unambiguously mentioned by the father of the nation, clearly states Pakistan to be an Islamic republic where the sovereign authority is rested with Allah subhanhuwataala, while the power to rule the state has been delegated by Allah as a sacred trust. Democracy, freedom, equality, tolerance and social justice are to be exercise in the state as enunciated by the Islamic principles. The constitution clearly states equal rights for the minorities and to enable Muslim to fashion their lives according to the teachings of Quran and Sunnah. The vision of Quaid that how he wanted Pakistan The newly acquired homeland to be is explicitly mentioned by him several times:

We do not demand Pakistan simply to have a piece of land but we want a laboratory where we could experiment on Islamic principles.(In 1946, Quaid-e-Azam Islamia College Peshawar)

In his message to the frontier Muslim Students Federation on 18th June 1948, he said:Pakistan not only means freedom and independence but Muslims ideology, which has to be preserved which has come to us as a precious gift and treasure and which we hope, others will share with us.

Beside setting clear lines about how the state will functioning as a state, the constitution clearly has stresses upon the fact that the state will be Islamic in nature, where Muslim will be able to model their lives according to the Islamic injunctions. According to Quaid, Pakistan is not just a piece of land to acquire freedom, but it has to be the state which is purely based upon Islamic ideology. Jinnah despite of calling it a democratic state has never hesitated to call it as Islamic nation, establishing that this piece of land wasnt acquired on the linguistic, ethnic or cultural basis rather it was the land that was purely acquired by the Muslims.

You have to stand guard over the development and maintenance of Islamic democracy, Islamic social justice and the equality of manhood in your own native soil. With faith, discipline and selfless devotion to duty, there is nothing worthwhile that you cannot achieve. (Address to the officers and men of the 5th Heavy Ack Ack and 6th Light Ack Ack Regiments in Malir, Karachi February 21, 1948)

There is no place of secularism or any liberal ideology in the constitution of Pakistan. It has to be a land whose emblem is La Illa ha illallah Muhammadur Rasool Ullah, a land that denotes Muslims, a land that denotes their identity, a land where the shariah is implemented in its true essence, a land which stands tall among others as a single nation uniting others as well, a land which is the gift from Jinnah to the Muslims to ordain their lives according to Islam. A land where irrespective of whatever you are, you are known as Muslim. A land where the rights of minorities are fully safeguarded; a land where you are not Pathan, Punjabi, Sindhi or Baloch rather you are a Pakistani; a land, where the binding force of the people is Islam.

What relationships knits the Muslims into one whole, which is the formidable rock on which the Muslim edifice has been erected, which is the sheet anchor providing base to the Muslim Millat, the relationship, the sheet anchor and the rock is Holy Quran. (Address At Islamia College Peshawar)

Ayesha Akhtaris a doctor in making, she is also a researcher and have in depth knowledge of Islamic creeds. She tweets @a4ambitious and can also be reached through her blogDoctoricious.wordpress.com


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Discussion1 Comment

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    Here in the states, we suhlod pass a constitutional amendment specifically banning Sharia. I know we already have the first amendment, but we need to make clear just how unacceptable something is that sanctions things like, religious discrimination, slavery, and wife beating. Every free society suhlod do the same. I think a made this suggestion before, but repeating it won’t hurt.

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