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Musharraf: Pakistan’s Ataturk?

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    Musharraf: Pakistan’s Ataturk?

    While I am not arguing that Pakistan should become an Attaturk-style secular state I do believe that we have to decide what kind of political set-up we want for Pakistan? At present we have a constitutional mix neither fully secular nor theocratic, and this has caused a great deal of ideological and political chaos in the last 12 years. And it has greatly contributed to the economic, social and political problems that plague our country today and a resolution of this question should make policy-making and implementation much easier.

    Should Pakistan be an essentially (though not totally) a secular state along the lines envisaged by our founder Quaid-e-Azam or the type of theocratic Islamic state favoured by the Jamait-e-Islami? I personally feel Pakistan should follow Malaysias example, officially secular, where religion is kept separate from politics, but where Islam is given primacy in all sections of society - cultural, economic and social?

    Musharraf: Pakistans Ataturk?


    Pakistans chief executive has promised national elections in two years, but is trying to institutionalize the militarys role in government at the same time. Doing so may preserve Pakistans stability in the long run but will provoke a violent backlash from Islamic fundamentalists in the meantime.


    At an Oct. 10 press conference, Chief Executive Gen. Pervez Musharraf promised the people of Pakistan, and the world, that national and provincial elections would be held before the end of 2002, three years after a bloodless coup brought him to power. These elections would follow the local-level balloting scheduled to begin in December.

    But Pakistans military may be politically active for years to come. A supreme court ruling earlier this year gave Musharraf the authority to change Pakistan's constitution. A day before the press conference, Musharrafs Information and Media Development Minister Javed Jabbar told The Nation, a Lahore daily, the government may amend the constitution to create a permanent political role for the Pakistani military. Jabbar argued traditional cleavages between the military and civilian politicians were appropriate in theory, but didnt work in practice.

    Politics are nothing new for Pakistans military, which has controlled the government on three separate occasions. The amendment would legalize and institutionalize the militarys political involvement much like the current government structure of Turkey.

    Musharraf spent seven years in Turkey during his childhood and is known to admire Mustapha Kemal Ataturk, the military hero and founder of modern Turkey. Both modern Pakistan and Ataturk-era Turkey were threatened by economic collapse, internal strife and Islamic fundamentalism. Musharraf may not go so far as to declare a secular state Pakistan is officially an Islamic republic but he is leaning in that direction.

    Ataturk used the military as an engine of change, and the military continues to guide government policy through the National Security Council. Direct intervention as a last resort generally has been accepted by the populace, but has been utilized on only four occasions and for relatively short periods of time.

    Musharrafs plan is ambitious, but not impossible. The international community frowns upon the political power of Turkeys military but accepts it. Likewise, neither the British Commonwealth nor the United States has praised Musharrafs takeover, but both have maintained open dialogues and Pakistan is close to securing an aid deal with the International Monetary Fund. The United States and Europe arent likely to praise Musharrafs plan, but they wont cut him off.

    The real problem is internal, where greater military influence will directly threaten the Islamic fundamentalist parties. Fundamentalists, such as Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam, not only stand to lose political power; they could very well be ground into the dirt. Islamic radicals are a threat to social stability and economic growth, and Musharraf will likely choose to emulate the Turkish model and remove them from the political equation.

    The lines are being drawn for a showdown between the military and the fundamentalists. Both will attempt to entice the masses into their camp. The Islamists can rally popular support, but some analysts estimate that the hard core faithful only make up 5 percent of the population. The military is one of the most popular institutions in Pakistan people handed out candy in the streets after Musharraf took power last October but its popularity has sagged along with the economy.

    It is unlikely either the military or the Islamists will garner enough public support to make the other back down. In time, the debate will turn fierce the fundamentalists will foment violent protests and mass demonstrations, while the military tries to arrest and suppress the ringleaders.

    Ataturk had more than a decade to change Turkey; Musharraf has given himself two years. If he can hamstring the fundamentalists, Musharraf will have removed one of the major obstacles to Pakistans economic growth. But doing so is difficult, and previous military leaders have failed at the same task. Things will get worse before they get better.

    How long we can rely on these puppets who come and go whether it be Nawaz, BB or Musharraf?


      Fred Flinstone I know you are new to Gupshup but what does that have to with the question I asked?


        malaysia is a good role model to follow.


          May I start with a few questions?

          What is theocratic Islamic state favored by the Jamait-e-Islami?
          Are we looking at the theocratic part keeping Jamats record in mind, or does that mean theocratic in general? In which case what would that be, a Muslim state where Sharia law is implemented? Or NSs version, dont remember what he called that?

          What does officially secular mean?
          Why do we need to keep religion out of politics?
          What does Islam say about politics?
          How much Islam do we have in Pak constitution today?
          Does Islam complicate politics and our lives?
          If say Islam is strictly kept out of the political system how can it be given primacy in society etc?
          Wouldnt we be charged for being biased then just like India?
          Waise since we dont have that many different religions, how come being secular is such an important option? So as the number of non-Muslims are not that impressive, how can being secular or semi secular effect our hmmm say economy?

          Do we have other options?

          PS. Reason for asking all these questions is that secular is a popular term these days, some countries benefit from it cuz they need it, while for others its just another term, as there might not be any significant need for it.


            Just what do you guys know about malaysia to be calling it a good model to follow?Grow up!!Their political sturcture is not how it may seem from outside and neither is social!.There are several lessons to be learnt from malaysia but political or ideological identity is not one of them.We have enough examples from our own history to come to a decision about that.And I think we already have.
            I think sabah raises some very good points.Why would we need secularism?no reason at all.


              Ahmed, Malaysia is the best example for pakistan to follow, all the leading political people on this board agree to that.
              If you don't agree, well read the topic in Pakistan affairs by Mr.Xtreme about malaysia.
              That should clear up all the misconception about the great muslim country of Malaysia.

              You can't fix stupid. So might as well troll them!


                best example for pakistan to follow but in what field? in every field?Even I said that we could learn a lot from them.But how much?
                Please tell me the title of that thread by mr.extreme on malaysia.I'll be happy to read it.I'll comment more about this after doing that.



                  In short response to Sabah:

                  I think if the label "Islamic Republic of Pakistan" needs to have any meaning, then:

                  1. The theoratic state should follow the Sharia
                  2. Followers of all religions will live as permitted/allowed in Islam.
                  3. All non-muslims will be equal citizens of the nation and enjoy the favors of the nation equally.

                  Officially secular means that religion is not a factor in government policy/decisions. Shias, Sunnis, Ahmadis, Christians, Jews, Hindus, etc. are citizens of the nation. Any religious quarrels will be decided according to the social/civil/criminal laws of the land.

                  Keeping religion out of politics: In what context? Politics, in itself, connotates a secular state. Islam, itself, is a code-of-conduct, and as such, has politics as part of itself.

                  Historically, when applied to the letter, Islam is the only religion whish has experienced people of different religions leading the Islamic nations' institutions. History is full of examples. The improper knowledge of Islam and the behavior of its followers, as a result of it, complicates matters. The recent blasphemy incidents in Lahore? where the court had declared the defendants innocents

                  I don't see how a religion can be given priority over others in a secular society. It would be bigotry for a country to claim, then, that they are secular. Bigotry is one of the gravest crimes in Islam.


                    "If Musharaff fails, a great Islamic revolution will come in Pakistan."

                    Yeah ok.

                    I think, after 53 years of being a democratic republic, and looting of our country by corrupt leaders. Its time we should give a chance to Islam. Not the Islam that Talibans are following or any other extremist version of Islam. Islam that is in Quran and Sunnah(sheriah).

                    *V~V~V*He came, He saw, He conquered*V~V~V*


                      Originally posted by The Watcher:

                      I think, after 53 years of being a democratic republic, and looting of our country by corrupt leaders. Its time we should give a chance to Islam. Not the Islam that Talibans are following or any other extremist version of Islam. Islam that is in Quran and Sunnah(sheriah).
                      Watcher....are you saying that for last for 53 year our country law was non-Islamic, our leaders were non-Muslim and our constitution was a non-islamic ??

                      Personally I think Islam is nothing to do with our country problems since from first day we have muslim leaders and we have so many political and religious parties saying that they will implement the shariah.

                      The bottom line is our political and religious leaders are corrupt and what need is honest hard working people on every level, not just high level. After all it is ordinary peoples who actually run the offices in govt.
                      We need a total overhaul of the our entire system and correct the mistakes and laws put in place by corrupt politicians or religious leaders, only then we can have true islamic state and then we do not need a separate law for shriah, because everyone of us will be following shariah and Quran.


                        My point is for the last 53 years we had corrupt leaders: That means literally "corrupt" They were Muslim and said they would do such thing as implement Sheriah, but due to the fact that they were corrupt - None implemented the Sheriah.

                        If every Muslim - Well maybe if not every Muslim, just the one who are rich - If they all give zakat, I gurrantee you there would be NO poor Islamic state in Muslim world today. We need to give Islam a chance and watch its wonders.

                        *V~V~V*He came, He saw, He conquered*V~V~V*


                          If Musharraf follows a secular route like Malaysia I don't think that shuts off forever the ambition for a truely Islamic state in Pakistan. We have to thoruoghly cleanse our political system first, sort out or social problems, and have a healthy economy, as well as majority literacy. When this has been achieved the people of Pakistan should be allowed to vote for an Islamic state.

                          Since 1947 successive Pakistani politicians have implemented their own idea of Islamic Pakistan - Iskander Mirza, Zulfikar Bhutto, Zia ul Haq and Nawaz Sharif. All were interested in preserving their own political power and used "Islamic state", "Sharia laws" slogans to strenghten their political base.

                          We can not trust corrupt, greedy and power hungry politicians to make Pakistan an Islamic state - just look at NS's attempt in his dying days.

                          Only a thoroughly cleansed polity can start to plan for an Islamic state, and in the interim - 10 to 20 years we must have a semi-Secular state like Malaysia.


                            If 53 years haven't been enough for Pakistan to produce viable leaders what will? What is the basis for us to assume honest leaders will arise from that land? The present regime is looking promising but the influence of the far right is a very deep at the same time. If Musharaf "survives" his term it would truly be awsome but then what? The country has a very small gene pool from which the "leaders" have risen up. I, for myself, while being hopeful, am not very optimistic.


                              You make good points about what our current needs are in pakistan,i.e. literacy,economy,social cohesion and also that we cannot trust politicians to do that or trust them with islam etc.But then you make absolutely no sense in the conclusion.
                              A semi-secular state for 15-20 years??Where exactly did this idea come into it?WHY do we need this??What's wrong with the current system?have you even read sabah's post?
                              In the end malik,in the light of your own post do you really think we can afford to get into an ideological debate at this stage in our nation's life and that on top of all the other problems?