National narrative through Paigham-i-Pakistan

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Dr Muhammad Khan

IN July 1942, an American press representative asked Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, “whether the Muslims were a nation or not”. The Quaid said, “We are a nation with our own distinctive culture and civilization, language and literature, art…” Unfortunately, after attaining the status of an independent state in the form of Pakistan and early death of founding father, there remained a crisis of national integration in Pakistan, which has severely affected its political stability, social integration and economic stability. In the absence of a national unity and integration there remained challenges for the national security of Pakistan. In a way, there is a direct relationship between national unity (national integration) and national security. Over the years, the extremism and terrorism erupted in the traditionally peaceful society of Pakistan which caused lot of human and economic losses. This all happened in the absence of a true national Pakistani narrative.
It had become extremely essential for the Pakistan to have a Pakistani narrative which counters the trends of extremism and terrorism from society. With the nomenclature of ‘Paigham-i-Pakistan’ a counter terrorism and counter extremism a narrative (Fatwa) was unveiled by the scholars of almost all religious schools of thoughts in Pakistan. The narrative is nothing new, but a reiteration of the essence of Islam, which rejects the very basis of extremism, radicalization and terrorism. On January 16, 2018, this narrative was formally launched at Aiwan-i-Sadar, Islamabad in a very formal ceremony. The ceremony was attended by prominent scholars from all religious groups, people from academia, international community representatives, ambassadors of some friendly countries, the political leadership of Pakistan and above all the symbol of unity, the President of Pakistan. The ground work on the Paigham-i-Pakistan Fatwa was done by International Islamic University (IIU), Islamabad. This took over 8-10 months of progressive debate and seminars, participated by wider community of the religious scholars, media people and academicians.
President Mamnoon Hussai while addressing the ceremony said that, launch of this national counter-terrorism narrative is manifestation of the fact that, Pakistani nation is extremely serious to get rid of the menace of extremism and terrorism from Pakistani society. He said, “I believe that this decree, prepared in the light of true teachings of Islam, will transform their hearts and pave the way for their salvation in the hereinafter.” Highlighting the true teaching of this great religion, President also said that, ‘ extremism, bloodshed and suicide-bombing were categorized as spreading evil on earth (Fasaad-fil-Ard), which has no place in the religion, thus stands prohibited and unjustified.’
Indeed, the Constitution of Pakistan is in line with the teaching of Holy Quran and the Sunnah of Holy Prophet (PBUH). If we follow the constitution of Pakistan in true later and spirit, all evils in the implementation of rule of business and obstacles in the implementation of true teaching will be removed. “It is our foremost responsibility that we must hold this foundation (Constitution). It is the base which will provide us the strength to achieve a dignified place amongst the comity of nations and enable us to meet the challenges at national level.”
Being the worst sufferers of the terrorism, the people of Pakistan have unanimously rejected the narratives of all terrorist organizations, since they are against Islam and humanity. The word Islam itself denotes peace and Holy Quran ‘teaches love and compassion for every human being’ irrespective of their religion. Indeed, Islam denounces terrorism and the violent and intolerant beliefs. Truly the radicalization, the extremism and the terrorism is not the agenda of Muslims and Islam. Then, why Muslims are blamed for promoting and undertaking this menace of terrorism? A simple answer is that, all major terrorist attacks were either done by Muslims and most of the terrorism is found in Islamic world, therefore they get the discredit.
But, nobody has ever tried to unearth the motives behind promotion of; radicalization, extremism and terrorism in Muslim world. This has not been done even by the affected class; the Muslim scholars. There is a need for the farsightedness among the Muslim world, the ruling elites can remove the basic anomalies and disparities, found among the masses of the Muslim world. Addressing the socio-economic deprivations would create the element of trust among the ruling class and the deprived masses. A good governance calls for a better care of the masses in all respect. This is the essence of Islam and humanity. Let’s have a positive usage of Islam as a religion as per its essence. The essence of Islam is education as mention above. The current anti Islam narratives of terrorists, while taking cover of Islam have created a scare among the youth. Let’s promote the education for discarding the narratives of terrorists as well as of those forces, conspiring against education, the religion and the state of Pakistan.
Paigham-i-Pakistan is not only a new narrative for the youth of Pakistan, but it is indeed a reminder to everyone that, we were betrayed by a class of people in the name Islam. But, the truth is that, the promoters of that form of Islam know nothing about the Islam and its true teachings. Pakistan was created as a modern and progressive nation, based on the ideology of Islam. Islam is a religion of peace, tranquillity, harmony and interfaith tolerance. The Fatwa, ‘Paigham-i-Pakistan’ “will provide a platform for national unity… So that in the 21st century, we can make Pakistan a distinguished country, an Asian tiger, and bring the Quaid’s dream to fruition.”
— The writer, Professor of Politics and International Relations, is based in Islamabad.

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