Pakistan we are told was created for Muslims in 1947. The chap credited for the creation of Pakistan, Mr Muhammad Ali Jinnah, was the grandson of a Hindu convert to a heterodox sect of Islam, not considered Muslim by mainstream Sunnis and Shias. We know he wasn’t an observant Muslim. Far be it for any of us to tell people how they should live their lives, or what group identities they should embody, given how we behave behind closed doors and the illusory nature of identity politics, but facts are facts.
In all likelihood Jinnah was a clandestine atheist, which gives some Pakistanis palpitations. We know he ate pork, drank gin and had to be told how to imitate Muslims in prayer. On one occasion, he walked into a Mosque with his shoes on, and had to be told by his Hindu peers from the Congress Party to take them off, “he was entering a Masjid,” they reprimanded.
Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Zoroastrians, even Atheists in India, remove their shoes when entering places of worship – this is a given in this part of the world out of respect for people’s beliefs. The women cover their heads, including Christians, when visiting places of worship. The fact that Jinnah had to be told to remove his shoes speaks volumes about the kind of person he was, with no sense of the deep offence caused by violating a sacred space.
There is no historical footage of Jinnah ever partaking in any ostensible religious act, and yet, this is the guy who would be credited for partitioning India to “save Muslims from Hindu domination”, causing the deaths of 1 million lives and the displacement of 15 million people, the greatest forced displacement in history, historians tell us. It is painful to read about the totally avoidable deaths, murders, rapes and abductions of women and children from both sides of the engineered communal divide. Exhausted by the gruelling marches to safety, women abandoned their babies on the wayside, too emaciated to mourn the inhumanity of an India now free of foreign masters and native clients.
For Pakistan’s ethnonationalists, partition was collateral damage for the necessity of Pakistan’s creation, which more than 70 years on, remains one of the most corrupt countries on earth according to Human Development Indices. In the first few months of 2022, Pakistan’s Military had Prime Minister Imran Khan deposed through a sham vote of ‘No Confidence’ in Parliament. International analysts believe it was the Military who brought Imran Khan to power, years earlier. This is the same military that has engineered the execution, imprisonment and forced exile of numerous politicians – adjudged corrupt by an institution adjudged corrupt by Human Rights Organisations.
Benazir Bhutto’s (d.2007) killers have never been brought to justice. Her father (d.1979) was executed by a Military Dictator, Zia ul Haq, claiming to champion Islam. Years later, Zia (d.1988) was blown up in a helicopter under mysterious circumstances. Zia has become a martyr to some religious Pakistanis, despite introducing “Hudood Ordinances” that made women prosecutable for rape under the pretext of having committed adultery consensually. Four male and morally upright Muslim witnesses were required to prove that the rape victims hadn’t been complicit in adultery when they plucked up the courage to name the perpetrators in a deeply patriarchal society!
Then again, this Dictator who came to power through a military coup, had Muslim intentions; “he was a rightious Muslim” – a sentiment the Military want to propagate to domestic audiences. Zia wanted to roll back the westernisation of Pakistan’s civil society by reintroducing a particularly draconian version of Sharia, protecting women from the sexualised perversion of westernised men in the same way Jinnah wanted to save Muslims from Hindu majoritarianism. If catch 22s are anything to go by, I guess Pakistan’s catch22s are the mother of catch-22s. The logic behind the raison d’etre of Pakistan is circular reasoning.
If you entertain the diatribes of the ethnonationalists, strategically deploying the Idol of Islam to retain power, colonial Britain is to blame for Pakistan’s inability to turn the corner, despite Britain vacating its prized colony – India (and not Pakistan) some 75 years ago. Ironically, Britain created Pakistan with the help of Jinnah, who was prepared to break from a collective Indian consciousness that wanted to rule India in the name of a shared Indian Identity, and not its sum parts. There was a quid pro quo and it had a lot to do with how the British Indian Army would be used after the British left India.
Nothing is Pakistan’s fault.
If it’s not Britain’s fault, it’s definitely America’s fault. If it’s not America’s fault, it’s India’s fault. If it’s not India’s fault, it’s the fault of Hindu Nationalists. If these identities are not sufficiently flayed and dehumanised, the patriots turn on the mass of “unremarkable Pakistanis”, adjudged village “illiterates”, who have no right to rule themselves in their own homelands like East Pakistanis because they’re just “ignorant and dumb” (I merely quote the prejudice verbatim). It’s their fault that Pakistan is not prospering, and not the unaccountable Pakistanis deciding the fate of subservient Pakistanis.
When foreign and domestic scapegoats fail to assuage the insecurities of a Pakistan that seems to be ungovernable, religious conservatives become the target, because, apparently, it’s their fault – “they’re just not progressive like secular Jinnah!”
The ethnonationalists call the founder of Pakistan the Quaid-e-Azam – the Great Leader, and they do this through the accoutrement of Islamic symbols with no sense of how cynical they appear when instrumentalising Islam, a beautiful religion in my mind like the wellspring it came from, notably, Christianity and Judaism. The Prophet’s selfless accomplishments are with us today by way of a single verse in the Quran which tells the Believers “stand firm for justice as witnesses to God, even against yourselves, your parents or relatives…”.
The Prophet’s most entrenched enemies came from his own tribe. Not only did they spread innuendo against him, they tried to murder him, bribe him, intimidate him, and eventually exile him from his own kinship network.
There was nothing tribal about the first genuine Muslims, who came from the most dispossessed quarters of society – women, children and slaves. The Prophet’s grandsons and descendants challenged the authority of their own tribal despots and were subsequently murdered by self-affirming Muslim potentates seeking temporal power, cyncially, in the name of the Prophet’s Tribe, the Qureish. The very people who murdered the Prophet’s family, went on to become Rulers of the Muslim World. It is this history that Pakistan’s ideologues celebrate when they connect Pakistan’s timeline with the Arab conquests of Sindh during the 8th century CE. The despots, Yazid and Hajjaj of Islamic history, have their modern counterparts in the likes of numerous dictatorships across the World.
Pakistan’s upwardly mobile Pakistanis have always tried to approximate to power, power being the operative word, and not religion or some other illusory sentiment they claim. And so, why should the ethnonationalists care when their version of Islam is a hoax to scam and rob a mass of pliable people, who are not accustomed to thinking about the ideas they worship? In fact, there are more descendants of the Prophet now in a single enclave of Lahore or Karachi than in the place of his birth, and this holds true for any number of other “noble” backgrounds. Adopting a surname is now evidence, first comes the surname and then comes the lineage tree, and eventually a persona of holiness.
It’s easy deceiving people who have never once been in the habit of questioning what they’re being told and which identities to hate. The lack of human capital is a curse for any society, especially a developing economy, but for Pakistanis, it is the death of reason. It’s nigh impossible scamming people who have an understanding of the world and all the deceit that’s perpetuated in the name of autocratic structures, dictatorships and authoritarian networks.
Pakistan is a bloated Military Dictatorship. It doesn’t take a genius to expose the identity of the people who run Pakistan. It has never been a genuine democracy, ever. It violates human rights with impunity, and has no sense of the rule of law – laws are arbitrary and bypassed at whim. Economically, it is one of the least productive countries on earth that doesn’t innovate anything that the world wants or needs – which is a remarkable testimony to how far it has fallen on the international wayside.
Its economy in 1947 was the same size as South Korea, but today, it is poorer than Bangladesh. Where Pakistan succeeds is in how it instrumentalises conflict, almost entirely for domestic purposes. Apparently, my words are the words of bigotry. When I proffer an indictment on a political project that is cynically identified with Islam, I will be castigated as some sort of western agent. If that slur doesn’t stick, I will be accused of being an Indian agent. If I’m not an Indian agent, I must have sympathies for India because I am of Indian “origin” (calling someone Indian is an insult for Pakistanis who are themselves of Indian descent). If it can’t be proven that I’m of Indian descent, I must be a Muslim degenerate, a sympathiser of Israel, an atheist, agonistic, devil worshipper! If none of these slurs stick, then I’m simply misguided in my assessment – the ethnonationalists think they’re being charitable.
The Convenient Charge of Bigotry; Silencing Dissent
And so, whatever any of us says, entirely backed up by historical facts, academic insights based on economic data of highly reputable bodies, is all going to be adjudged politically incorrect because we’re rubbishing an entire nation’s sensibilities with malevolent intentions. Pakistan’s right to exist, an artificial State gifted to Indian Muslims by the outgoing colonalists, must always be respected despite the State’s violent assault on native ethnic peoples pursuing self-determination claims in the name of Occupied Peoples, because Pakistan was built, allegedly, on the foundations of Islam at the aegis of an atheist, whose teenage bride was a Parsi, a close friend’s daughter, with whom Jinnah eloped – hardly, the characteristic behaviour of a trustworthy man. History has a knack of repeating itself, Jinnah’s daughter eloped with a non-Muslim and remained in India. Jinnah did not approve of the marriage.
To speak this truth is adjudged bigotry, prejudice and racism, cynically I add. I’m being hateful.
In Europe and North America, black and white activists are toppling the statues of slave owners who funded enormous endowments and charitable causes on the proceeds of the North Atlantic Slave Trade. Hand in hand, they march together, scale the statues and then beat them with their shoes. Others carry away the statues to throw them away in the nearby rivers. Across the World people are shouting slogans for genuine freedom, genuine equality and genuine democracy – fed up with the lack of political accountability in their own societies. The Arab Spring was one such seed that has since withered because of the resilience of authoritarianism courtesy of aligned interests that make for curious bedfellows, including those sitting in the West protecting their national interests from foreign dangers. The West accepts that it has been complicit in keeping the “Strongmen” in power – better the devil you know, than the one you don’t, but for how long is anyone’s guess? The Muslim World seems to be turning on itself; Syria, Libya, Yemen are no more – they are figments of the old borders.
Arab Muslims are doing most of the killings.
Everywhere in the Free World – the genuine Free World – there is a profound abhorrence of dictators and despots whatever their self-affirming group identities – usually headed by narcissistic men, and those who want to enslave people in the name of false narratives for personal vested interests. The way Islam is being instrumentalised by the most inhumane of dictators is one such false narrative, and it is seeing an exodus of Muslims out of the faith. Church leaders in the West can easily attest this claim. The leap from being given refuge in a genuinely democratic society to accepting Christianity is not a big one. It’s only natural to join the ranks of those who genuinely help you.
It is a curious fact to learn that the numbers of people abandoning Islam in the Muslim World is exponentially higher than the numbers of people converting to Islam, or practising it in the West. Islam in the West is a group identity for people trying to cement their boundaries around notions of belonging, lending opportunities to ambitious Muslim leaders, and converts, trying to placate the group identity, whilst personally getting ahead in life. Ordinary Muslims born into the faith have never benefited from the interventions of such well-wishers, they are continually forced onto the fringes of the mainstream society that has actually given them more social rights and more economic opportunities than their countries of origin.
The preachers, on the other hand, constantly assail the West, unperturbed by the irony of being allowed to spread such ahistorical humbug in Mosques receiving grants and charitable status from the “interests” they hate. Whilst Pakistanis are blowing up Churches, Hindu Temples and the Mosques of minority Muslims in places like Lahore, Karachi and Peshawar, British Pakistanis in the UK want to complain about Islamaphobia, a lucrative grievance that gives them, personally, a space on numerous media platforms – such are the mechanics of the Equality and Diversity Industry.
Of course, Islamaphobia is real, but so is the persecution of Muslims by Muslims, saying “Islam is a religion of peace” doesn’t automatically make Muslims peaceful. Entire careers are now being built on the back of inclusion policies, oddly in place like Birmingham and London. Ordinary Pakistanis still complain about being jobless, and not really fitting in, it’s apparently, the fault of racists!
Islam is the solution, the preachers tell them.
My words might seem harsh, offensive and politically incorrect, but they cannot compare to the deaths of millions of East Pakistanis murdered by Pakistan’s soldiers in the name of Muslim Unity claims in 1971. 200 to 400 thousand women were raped, but none of this matters for the ideological patriots of Pakistan because anything that impugns Pakistan’s god-like reputation is a lie like the lie that Bin Laden was found sheltering in Pakistan after he fled Afghanistan, supposedly protected by the Pakistan Military who couldn’t do anything when he was murdered in Pakistan and his corpse was buried at sea. In the space of a night, two apache helicopters carried an elite team of US marines into Pakistani military territory from neighbouring Afghanistan. What followed was a public relations disaster, an entire state’s defense infrastructure was exposed to the world in one swoop, such are the ironies of “corrupt interests” bullshiting their domestic audiences about their critical role to their country’s defences.
Bin Laden was a wanted man in the Arab and Western World. He was a bone fide terrorist because he encouraged his followers to detonate bombs in civilian areas of Saudi Arabia and Spain to effect a change in government policy. He became a valuable chess piece ready to be bartered by the Pakistan Military for foreign aid (for the sinceures of the military establishment).
There’s no doubt in my mind that the ISI would have double-crossed him with ease, using him to extract foreign aid “to help the poor people of Pakistan”, in whose name they justify their godlike rule. The Military has frequently humiliated Muslim hardliners on national TV, parading them in front of naive audiences looking for people to blame, even though they are the same interests empowering the ‘religious mobs’ when it suits them.
This is what they did with the Imam of the Red Mosque, Islamabad, whom they conveniently dubbed extremist – this is a guy who housed and fed some of the poorest kids from Azad Kashmir and neighbouring areas. Unfortunately for the Military, the Americans were all too aware of the military’s double-dealings with otherwise sincere radicals who think they are doing Gods work on earth.
So, what did the Pakistan Military do when they were exposed? They arrested the “informants”, accused of aiding the American Operation, despite having claimed to the entire world that they they were unaware of Bin Laden’s sanctuary in a million dollar (US) fortress-like home, one mile from a Pakistan Military Installation.
This is a big lie to discredit Pakistan, according to the ethnonationalists.
Malala Yusuf, a child activist, 15 years of age, was never shot in the head by clients of the Pakistan Military (the Taliban), that too was an elaborate conspiracy of the CIA, MI5, RAW and MOSSAD. She was never flown to Birmingham Queen Elizabeth Hospital, where she received lifesaving surgery, ending up at Oxford University to get a first class education denied to entire swathes of Pakistan, particularly, women. Her story is made up. Her father who used to work for the BBC as a translator, apparently engineered the whole saga to obtain asylum in the West. It was never about female education which equates to female emancipation, but an opportunity to live it large in the West. Having half your brain shot at to get asylum in the UK doesn’t seem like a strange idea to the ethnonationalists, but preaching that a girl of 15 was a CIA agent seems entirely credible to their votaries on Twitter and Facebook.
This is what the dissidents are up against.
Apparently, the Pakistan Army never received funds to find the Mastermind of 9/11, who, incidentally, took credit for the attacks with a deep sense of accomplishment in various writings and sermons in Arabic; but this too is a figment of people’s imagination, including those who understand Arabic. The Taliban are on record accusing Pakistan’s Military of stealing American and Saudi Aid that had been destined for the Afghan Mujahideen during the Soviet War, but this too is a lie, as is the lie that the Pakistan Military returned the Afghan Taliban to power according to western Intelligence Analysts.
Pakistan Army Lt General Asim Bajwa speaks to our Asia Correspondent Jonathan Miller about the Pakistan’s governments efforts to stamp out the growth of Taliban militants in its country.
The Baluch do not want independence from Pakistan – that’s a foreign conspiracy! Religious and sectarian minorities are not oppressed in Pakistan by the majority groupings – that’s a lie too. Ethnic Punjabis, who dominant the country because of their enormous numbers and penchant to consume other ethnic groups’ resources, are similarly not resented by increasing numbers of minorities in Sindh, Baluchistan, Khyber Pakhtunkwa and Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, and revealingly, Punjabis themselves! Dissidents of ethnic Punjabi backgrounds ashamed of Punjab’s embroilment with the Military Complex are all lying. Even the ethnic Muhajjir have joined the chorus of hatred against “Punjabis”, whom the Punjabis used to blame for everything wrong in Pakistan. These sentiments must never be expressed because it injures and hurts the sensibilities of a well-oiled and self-cohesive “ethnic group” called the Pakistanis, which has never existed.
An entire conversation about Pakistan’s duplicitous rule in any number of conflicts is silenced, to protect Pakistanis from bigotry, despite ordinary Pakistanis being the biggest victims of Pakistan – akin, perhaps, to how George Orwell framed his arguments in Animal Farm.
To say or do otherwise would undermine diversity oddly in countries like the UK. When I point this fact out, I will be accused of conjuring up fantasies like the claim that Ahmedis have been criminalised by their fellow ethnic Punjabis to not be able to say they are Muslims, officially. They must say they are Ahmedis and ethnic Punjabis, but not Muslims, because the State has told them they cannot identify as Muslims because it – the State – has taken it upon itself to adjudicate in theological matters, which in the case of the Ahmedis involves dogma around the finality of prophethood. The level of cynicism is simply lost on naive Pakistanis, who think Pakistan begins and ends with Islam.
There is, thus, no tick-box for Muslim Ahmedis in a nation ripped out of India for Indian Muslims at the behest of an Atheist, whom I remind my readers belonged to a line of recent converts to a heterodox sect of Islam from an occupational Hindu caste based in Gujarat. It was Jinnah’s grandfather, a fishmonger, who converted to a version of Islam outside the pale of Sunni and Shia Islam. In his own lifetime, Jinnah then converted to Twelver Shiism on the recommendation of peers. How can he represent Muslims, politically, they chided him, if the mainstream clergy did not consider him a Muslim, doctrinally? It is only a matter of time that Mister Jinnah will become Sayyid Jinnah, in much the same way his occupational caste is now being reported as Rajput (high caste) by many Pakistanis.
Contrary to newspaper articles about honour crimes against women, Pakistani women have the best rights of any nation on earth; for me to argue otherwise would mean I’m lying. Mothers, daughters and sisters are protected and cherished by their menfolk in Pakistan, a chivalrous and great nation with a deep sense of masculine honour, occasionally clubbing to death prospective divorcees from their male abusers outside courthouses, alone and frightened. The Punjab Police, a bastion of male pride and honour, at the time of such incidents, simply watched the stonings and decapitations.
Everything spoken bad about Pakistan is, however, a lie.
This is what the propagandists want to tell their squares consuming the cringeworthy lies they spread. The same Punjabis, who initiated the bloodshed of partition by murdering Sikh and Hindu Punjabis in Rawalpindi are now telling Azad Kashmiris that they’re not really Kashmiris like the real Kashmiris in India’s Occupied region because they’re ethnic Punjabis like the Pakistani Punjabis oppressing them. In the UK, these fraternal ethnic Pakistanis have managed to create an ethnic tick-box category for the largest segment of Azad Kashmiris suspiciously called “Mirpuri Pakistani” – spewing an equal amount of disinformation against Pro-Independence Kashmiris, trying to get their voice out to British Azad Kashmiris. The same fraternal Pakistanis want to separate Azad Kashmiris (Pakistani-Kashmiri) from Mirpuris (Mirpuri-Pakistani), who, incidentally, I remind my readers, are all Azad Kashmiris. They’re telling Mirpuris that they’re not really from Azad Kashmir, but Punjab, Pakistan.
I’m imagining all this when I expose the ethnic disinformation for what it really is.
Imagine the deceit in question? Indulge me for one moment, and consider the following observation. The same interests who truncated the Punjab on the basis of religion in 1947, and then forced Muslim East Pakistan to fight a war of independence against West Pakistan in 1971 and then lost are telling Azad Kashmiris that they’re all one united “ethnic unit” called “the Punjabis”, with mutual solidarity to the extent that the latter frequently problematises the former to exonerate itself from anything negatively associated with “rural mountain folk”, and this too in the UK of all places, where ethnic and religious minorities need to stick together with the very diversity tokens hating on them!
But, apparently, I’m lying when I point this out.
The same detractors have created fake accounts in the name of Azad Kashmiris, with terrible looking pictures and footage of the supposedly “Punjabi-looking Kashmiris” (they are a sight to behold) happily telling their Pakistani audiences that they are indeed the lowest denominator of village Punjabis, because they don’t speak the ethnic Kashur language, (which is no more privileged than Pahari), but a less respectable version of village-speak.
Pahar, Punjab, Pothwar are geographical ascriptions deliberately being conflated with languages and the divided State of Jammu & Kashmir to allow Pakistanis to own Azad Kashmir through spurious claims of shared language, shared ethnicity, and shared region, whilst stopping Azad Kashmiris from taking ownership of Jammu & Kashmir through International Law that empowers stateless nations to pursue self-determination claims, which in the case of divided Jammu & Kashmir, could be independence.
The Pahari language of Azad Kashmir is not Pothwari though. Pothwari is spoken in the Pothohar Plateau, which is located in Pakistan, this is exactly how geographical and regional ascriptions work. Mancunians are from Manchester; they don’t become a seperate ethnic group from the English, simply because someone has fabricated the idea that Mancunians came from Ireland, making them Irish. The Pahari Speaking Belt is located within Jammu & Kashmir, which is not situated in either the Pothohar Plateau, or the Punjab Plains of the Indo-Gangetic Plains. Pahari shares commonalities with sister-dialects in all directions, which is how languages have evolved since the Cognitive Revolution some 50000 years ago; the capacity to represent the world in symbols, attests to man’s abilities to engage in sophisticated thought, but Pakistan’s ethnonationalists think they’re being sophisticated when they engage in the most cringeworthy of political propaganda in the name of linguistic and religious unity.
They don’t seem to understand ironies.
They don’t realise that they’ve become the joke.
Every square mile of Azad Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan belongs to Jammu & Kashmir, and this is exactly what Pakistan preaches at the United Nations, and this is what India preaches at the United Nations. There are no fictitious dividends to the, supposedly, shared fraternity between Pakistan’s Punjabis and Azad Kashmiris. It is Punjabis who are demanding bribes from Azad Kashmiris at Islamabad Airport, Police Stations and Law Courts, and it is precisely because the latter are from Azad Kashmir that they are being discriminated in this way. That’s how the corrupt officers in Pakistan justify their behaviour.
The Psychology of Out-Group Persecution
There is a well-known psychology to how out-group minorities are oppressed by in-group majorities in the first place. Azad Kashmiris are seen as being different to Pakistanis not least because of the massive British component in that identity – 1 million Azad Kashmiris live in the UK. This has created enormous resentment from Pakistanis; western writers and academics use terms like “envy” and “jealousy” to describe interactions between the two groups.
But, we have naive and pliable Mirpuris in Azad Kashmir being paid by the ISI to create YouTube videos to undermine the Pro-Independence Movement in Jammu & Kashmir. You’ll see them with Pakistani flags, appearing in videos that seem rather curiously curated given the disconnect between those appearing in the videos and the actual messaging being spread.
The ethnonationalists have no sense that educated segments of the world have since moved on from the colonial claim that nations are invested in ethnicity and language, a patently flawed idea given that countries are really territories ruled by sovereign interests. Azad Kashmiris lack sovereignty in Azad Kashmir. No amount of ethnic or religious propaganda is going to stop Pakistan’s spiral into collapse because of what its own hands have earned. When Pakistan implodes, where exactly will these “ethnic Punjabis” seek shelter?
In the homes of the people demanding bribes from British Kashmiris at Islamabad Airport?
There are some Azad Kashmiris who do feel more Pakistani than the Pakistanis, but this is on account of originating from stigmatised backgrounds, what colonial ethnologists called ‘occupational or low castes’; what Pakistan’s higher castes call ‘Kammis’ and what India’s higher castes call ‘Shudr’ – all offensive and degrading terms for one fellow human beings. There is thus a level of overcompensation that one will not find amongst the old landed groups in Azad Kashmir, speaking truth to power against corrupt sinecures of the Pakistan State. The more sanguine are saying, “we reject Pakistan’s writ to rule us in our own homeland!” The less sanguine are using highly inflammatory language in private – it is only a matter of time, it will bubble into the public and international sphere. Pakistan is getting poorer, socially and economically polarised and less equal – the society is becoming more divided.
Without understanding this dynamic, British Azad Kashmiris, who have no sense that they’re being played, feel duty bound to claim fraternity with Pakistanis saying “there is no God but Allah” because the bond in question is, supposedly, a Muslim one. They lack a basic awareness of Muslim history, such is the curse of illiteracy amongst those who lack human capital to understand the pangs of history.
More Muslims have died at the hands of despotic Muslim leaders throughout the history of Islam including the Prophet’s family than at the hands of non-Muslims. Pakistan’s ethnonationalists have been mocking British Azad Kashmiris for decades because of their own enormous insecurities, they think they have one over British Azad Kashmiris because the latter “originate” from villages, whilst they “originate” from the dysfunctional cities of Pakistan, ever expanding shantytowns euphemistically called “cities”, where open sewers run for miles and miles, and poor people are treated like cattle amidst the decay of rot, desperation and human suffering.
Reactive hate is reactive. It takes two people to play this game. Someone has to initiate it.
Those Initiating Conflict Complaining about Reactive Hate
But apparently I’m being reactive when I use provocative language to make a point about the bullshit that parades itself as Muslim Unity – (I have Finkelstein’s definition of humbug in mind). Speaking truth to power has no currency in Pakistan, whilst the Pakistani diaspora wants to save Palestinians from Zionists – “really sinister people”, they tell themselves. They have no concern for millions of downtrodden Pakistanis, Algerians, Egyptians, Malaysians, Circassians, Rohinga, Nigerian Muslims, who have never elicited the concerns of the Muslim Ummah wherever it congregates to save Muslims, oddly living in the West, where they have the right to assemble and protest unlike the Muslim World!
But that claim is also a lie.
Tyrants closer to home bite back, and it’s easy shouting at unknown “Israeli” assailants in the streets of multicultural London, whilst wearing high-visibility vests. It’s difficult for Pakistanis to protest outside Pakistani embassies in the UK or North America; they’re scared of repercussions for their families in Pakistan – protest takes on a new meaning. The bravado fizzles away.
But they are Freedom Fighters for Palestine.
Of course, the country credited with the Bengal Genocide of 1971, which supports China’s cultural genocide of Turkic Uighur, and which has caused immeasurable problems for neighbouring Afghanistan can do no wrong. Before the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, Afghan society was moving in a different direction. After the Soviets were defeated in 1989, Afghanistan became a playground for the Pakistan Military, but none of this matters as attested facts. 3 Million ethnic Turkic speakers are currently being held against their will in concentration camps in Eastern Turkistan. China doesn’t even want the Uighur to call their homeland Eastern Turkistan, but, rather the Western Lands (Xinjiang – “an autonmous region in North Western China”, apparently). The now deposed Imran Khan felt the need to exonerate China to a chorus of mainland Pakistani cheers when being interviewed by Western reporters about China’s mistreatment of Muslims. He wanted to placate his support for Atheist Communists by supporting “India’s Muslim Kashmiris”, silent about Pakistan’s Pro-Independence Azad Kashmiris, ethnic Baluch, persecuted Christians and Hindus, the Pashtun, the Urdu speaking Muhajjir Movement, Atheist dissidents, and others. These groups have all been targeted by the Military Regime.
European nations can accept that Germany murdered Jews – holocaust denial is a criminal offence in Germany, but apparently Pakistan’s military propagandists know better than the Germans. The Holocaust like Covid19 is one big hoax like 9/11 – America is just lying about who attacked it, apparently, it attacked itself – a false flag operation, according to the Far Right White Supremacists producing the conspiracy theories! This is the type of messaging being spread across Pakistani Whatsapp and Facebook bubbles in the UK. Pakistan didn’t murder or rape anyone in East Pakistan, “mustaheel” as the Arabs say (impossible).” But using the word “Fascist” for “Hindu Nationalists”, whilst smoking a Hookah Pipe in a Shisha Lounge makes Pakistan’s ethnonationalists think they are comrades of democracy activists through some warped Muslim-HipHop dialectic, whilst they are some of the worst violators of human rights. They have no sense of the frames of reference they use, because democracy and human rights, like Islam, is a gimmick for the purpose of Identity Politics. The beauty of Islam as a resistence narrative against the Hajjah and Yazids of the Muslim World has morphed into something truly grotesque.
To conclude, Mr Jinnah loved his Saville Row Suits. He viewed progress in colonial terms, having acquired social and economic status on account of becoming a lawyer in the English Common Law tradition. He did well precisely because of western education – a product of European Colonialism. He had no desire to speak the native tongue of Gujarat. He would go on to tell the more educated Bengalis that they had to speak Urdu oddly in an English idiom unable to speak Urdu-Hindi himself. Like lots of citified Pakistanis and Indians from humble backgrounds he was upwardly-mobile, which is not a bad thing, except when it becomes pomposity, arrogance and insecurities, which is what it has become when the same bigots make fun of village Pakistanis and village Indians.
Having acquired western education, Jinnah was able to join a league of gentlemen fighting for Indian Independence, but when he realised he was being eclipsed by more prominent personalities in the Congress Party, he started to agitate against them. Jinnah discovered the ruse of Islam – a powerful device to deceive the naive, and India split into two and, afterwards, three unequal parts. Some historians have pointed out the flaws in his character. According to others, his threat of Pakistan took on a reality of its own because it merged with colonial Britain’s interests to keep the Russians at bay (the Great Game). Even historians who disagree with such propositions accept that Jinnah was not religiously devout, and most likely an atheist. I don’t think I’ve ever read from any professional historian that Pakistan was a good idea. I get the impression they think it was one big blunder.
But this is harsh stuff for the ethnonationalists in Pakistan.
Imagined Group Identities and Ironies in the Name of Inclusion Politics
In closing, the Muslim League, Jinnah’s political party, that wanted to create Pakistan in the name of Islam was encouraging Muslim soldiers to fight against Muslims in World War II. Azad Kashmiris have anecdotes that their grandfathers put their guns down when encountering Ottomans, for the first time, in what was then Mesopotamia, despite the fact they voluntarily joined the British Indian Army during World Wars I and II. They were a superstitious people and the idea they could somehow go to war with Ottomon Muslims, with an uncanny resemblance to them frightened them as the height of disloyalty to their own kind.
There’s a certain kind of honour, even when misplaced, of not being disloyal to one’s own, and this can mean lots of things to different people, but I hope to have shown that Pakistan’s ethnonationalists lack such sentiments. I also point out that fighting against Fascists was one of Britain’s greatest triumphs – something we should all be proud of, including those of us of immigrant backgrounds. We owe a debt of thanks to Churchill, who refused to appease Hitler, despite his entire cabinet pushing him in that direction. Churchill was a stubborn man, and his racist comments about Hindus may not necessarily endear him to Indian Hindus, he was influenced by a particular epoch that categorised humans according to their racial value, for Churchill Hindus were a “foul race”. He viewed Muslims differently, not least because of the enormous numbers of Muslims fighting in Britain’s colonial wars; this is a troubling history if only ideological Muslims are prepared to learn history from professional historians, and other academics. Facts are facts, and history cannot be rewritten, and it shouldn’t be reimagined because we want to repackage historical personalities or events.
And that’s the actual point I’m making, Pakistan’s nationalists don’t want a nuanced history. They want more of the same dishonesty. Today, Pakistan is trying to cosy up to Turkey’s Islamists, telling the Turks that Muslims in India supported the Ottoman Caliphate, which Ataturk – the Father of Turkey, abolished in 1922. Indian Muslims did support the Caliphate, but they weren’t part of the Pakistan Project that wants to claim that history, disingenuously. That history belongs to India – (the Khilafat Movement), and not Pakistan.
For one, the idea of Pakistan didn’t exist at the time of the Khilafat Movement. Secondly, the British Indian Army was heavily drawn from the British Punjab Province, the soldiers happily went to war against Ottomans and were involved in putting down native rebellions in British India. Sikh and Hindu soldiers would frequently fire on Indian crowds demanding home rule, because they were simply following military “orders”. Punjabi Muslim Soldiers would write back to their loved ones, “who are the Ottomans to us anyway?” British India used these letters for the purpose of propaganda, as the Muslim League encouraged Muslim soldiers to fight in Britain’s colonial wars against Ottoman Turkey. Members of the Congress Party refused enlistment of any Indian, whatever the background, and they were locked up. I find it interesting that in 2022, Indians, Britons, Israelis, Europeans, Pakistan’s Atheists, Liberals and other Secular elements, find the internment of Uighur Muslims by China utterly objectionable, whilst Pakistan’s “Muslim ethnonationalists” are silent about China. If the Idol of Islam was the defining fibre of Muslim Unity, the Uighurs would never have been abandoned by the Muslim World. Of course, Muslim Unity claims amount to bullshit; note, Finkelstein’s definition of humbug.
British Pakistanis love protesting for Palestine; where are their protests for Eastern Turkistan? I thought Islam was the common denominator in places like Birmingham and Luton for Muslim minorities? Why the silence on the Uighur?
When history is narrated honestly, it doesn’t care for a person’s imagined identity or group loyalties. Germany and Turkey were allies during World War II; the Mufti of Jerusalem paid tribute to Hitler in the mistaken belief that Nazi Germany would eventually win the war against the Allied Powers. A beard and a religious hat, and religious credentials do not justify unconscionable decisions because they are dressed up in religious attire. The Mufti sympathised with the Nazis of Germany because they were fighting against Britain, whom he blamed for the loss of Palestine. It didn’t matter to him that the Nazis were murdering Roma Gypsies, Slavs, Gays, the Disabled, Communists, whilst invading neighbouring countries under the pretext that they belonged to a Germanic Aryan nation (the Third Reich). The Nazis considered Arabs Semities – an inferior race, but this seemed lost on the Mufti of Palestinian and Arab descent. What mattered to him was the Nazi war against Jews, a common enemy in Palestine.
He seemed to have forgotten that it was Arabs who had rebelled against the Ottomon Rulers on the grounds that the Turks were not Arabs, and had no right to rule them. This particular nationalistic disease had its origin in Europe, but later spread to the rest of the world when the Colonialists decided to decommission their Empires by creating countries on the basis of shared language and ethnicity. Entire peoples were either separated or forced into illusory nation states, forced to speak in the common tongue of the State. It was on account of this priority that the Kurds became stateless, forced to navigate the borders of newly constituted Arab, Persian and Turkic speaking “Nations”. Britain and France prioritised an Arab identity over a Kurdish one, whilst splitting Arabic speaking peoples into various artificial “Arab” nation states.
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After a catastrophic war, a defeated Germany began to pay war reparations to Israel, ashamed of what it did to various ethnic groups in the name of race supremacy, which is why the Civilised World respects Germany today. Japan has similarly distanced itself from its own imperial past, and apologised to various ethnic and national groups it persecuted. Turkey, a country justifiably proud of its Ottomon heritage (despite unfounded attacks that the Ottomons were racist towards Arabs), refuses to even entertain the possibility that it was complicit in war crimes. It tells itself, “the deaths were caused by war, and not deliberate ethnic cleansing and genocide of Greeks and Armenians, who wanted to break away from the Ottoman Empire. Turks were fighting for their survival!”
Apparently, saying this in Turkey could get me into some bother. It’s not controversial to say Hitler destroyed Germany and Mussolini destroyed Italy in either of the two countries though. It’s not controversial saying in Latin America and Spain that Columbus and his sidekick Cortes, erased entire nations in the Americas for the glory of Spain’s King. At one point, the Conquistadores claimed to be doing Christ’s work in the Americas, only to be challenged by Jesuit priests who denounced the inhumanity being perpetrated against the native Indians. The Catholic Church has since apologised about its own involvement in the Slave Trade. It’s not controversial to say that America had Jim Crow Laws (racial segregation) and South Africa had an Apartheid System. Dissidents and activists in Europe, North and South America are still fighting the legacy of that past, but where does a Pakistan “that can do no wrong” fit into all this?
Canada and Australia have been offering reparations to the native populations they persecuted, offering formal apologies. Britain, one of the most understated of pioneering democratic countries on earth – (I can say with a straight face that Britain is a genuine democracy, if not a perfect one), is similarly coming to terms with its own past. These countries are at the forefront of fighting White Supremacy, Homophobia, Misogyny and Religious Intolerance. Defending minorities from majorities shouldn’t equate to empowering the intolerant within the minorities under misguided equality and diversity programs.
If it is indeed the case that I am misguided, why then are refugee Muslims seeking asylum in Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, bypassing geographically contiguous Muslim countries in all directions to reach Western Europe, North America and Australia, fleeing their ethnic and religious homelands?
Who exactly are they fleeing from, if not autocratic Muslims of the same ethnic backgrounds?
Moreover, why aren’t Muslims claiming asylum in Moscow and Beijing?
Muslims can practise their faith in Western Europe, which is what the Prophet of Islam wanted, before the creeping accretions of a legal enterprise called the Sharia. The earliest Muslim converts sought shelter in Africa when they were being persecuted by the Prophet’s tribe. The King who gave them refuge was a Christian, long before the Crusaders pillaged Muslim Lands. The Prophet prayed for him. It seems convenient for Islamist propagandists to constantly berate the Christian Crusaders, silent about Africa’s earliest Christian communities, who gave asylum to the first Muslims at a critical point in the fledgling community’s existence. If the African Ethiopian Christians hadn’t given the first Muslims shelter, there would be no Islam today.
But, I am simply imagining this documented history, because it’s too nuanced.
The Catholic Pope in Rome has offered a formal apology to Jews, a persecuted people in documented history, whatever the ongoing reprisals of Israel against the Occupied Palestinians, some of whom are Christians, which doesn’t make every Israeli, anti-Palestinian, or Palestinian, anti-Israeli. Palestinians want a state of their own, and not a piece of an Arab Homeland, which is what Israel’s ethnonationalists tell them – “You’re Arabs, go and live in one of the 20 or so Arab countries; Palestine is ours!”
Such arrogance is indeed contemptible.
Palestinians want to remain Palestinians, and not become the Jordanians or Syrians of contemporary times, despite being Arabs. This is akin to Azad Kashmiris refusing to form part of Pakistan (which used to be India), but wanting to return to Jammu & Kashmir, or having an independent Kashmir State (which formed part of a different Frontier Region). It comes as a shock to naive Pakistanis when they learn that their Islam-brandishing rulers secretly work with India’s BJP to stop independence for Kashmir, on both sides of the LOC.
Apparently, I’m lying when I point out that Pakistan has no sense of remorse or contrition for the deceit it spreads in the name of Islam and its Occupied Minorities that include Azad Kashmiris and the Baluch, the Pashtun, and even Christians, who are being exploited by a neopatrimonial elite. The same country that supports independence for “Indian Occupied Kashmir” to use its words – Maqbuza Kashmir, has criminalised independence for so-called “Free” or Azad Kashmir, deceitful acts that do not even register with Pakistanis accustomed to believing whatever lies the ethnonationalists tell them about their so-called “jugular vein”. Pakistan is the most dishonest advocate for Kashmir’s Independence, it has constricted Azad Kashmir’s veins, and if it ever took possession of India’s Kashmir, it would suck its blood dry.
Apparently, I’m using polarising language.
When Pakistan implodes, as it will most definitely in our lifetime, (it is more certain than ever), the critics will be exonerated. Muslim Indians warning about Pakistan’s creation in 1947 were proven right in 1971, when East Pakistan became Bangladesh. Lots of Indian Muslim intellectuals were against the creation of Pakistan, but their critiques have either vanished from history, or are being instrumentalised by Hindu Nationalists. During Bangladesh’s War of Liberation, Pakistani anchors and media personalities were laughing at the idea that East Pakistan would cede from West Pakistan. Indians had predicted that East Pakistan would leave West Pakistan, long before West Pakistan collapsed under the weight of an attempted genocide of East Pakistanis. There was no remorse or contrition even as reports of rapes reached ordinary West Pakistanis – everything that exposes Pakistan is a conspiracy.
The Bengalis eventually liberated themselves with the help of India; why didn’t India keep Bangladesh for itself when it captured Pakistani soldiers and showcased to the world their surrender?
But that too is a lie, as is the lie that this website (and others like it) will be actively removed from search engine results on Kashmir and Kashmiris.