The ‘Golden Mien’
Will Tahreek Minhaj-ul-Quran get Pakistan on the middle path?
DR. JAVID IQBAL
Whatever shape the political overtones of Tahreek Minhaj-ul-Quran take in Pakistan, the ‘Tahreek’ [movement] of revival of Quranic path has already made a worldwide impact over last three decades. The movement was founded in Lahore, Pakistan in 1981. Founded by Allama Tahir-ul-Qadri, it symbolizes middle path…the path of moderation - the ‘Golden Mien’. Mien is taken to mean appearance, demeanor, bearing, and manner. Golden Mien is what Pakistan desperately needs, as the nation is torn apart by extremist tendencies.
Tahreek Minhaj-ul-Quran has preferred to concentrate on socio-cultural reforms, besides propagating the true spirit of Islam. The mechanism of operation remains the educative process, the ideal medium of propagation. The movement has never refrained from political expressions while staying mostly away from political activism. Pro-active role is the recent preference with the Chief of Tahreek—Tahir-ul-Qadri taking the Pakistani nation by storm by announcing a plan of action. The diverse political groupings otherwise in contention are combining to combat Allama Tahir-ul-Qadri’s agenda. In combination, they might hold him in his stride, negating his campaign. The question remains…will such a proposition change the disastrous state of polity in Pakistan, where the feudal, the moneyed, the religious hierarchy of ‘Peer Gharanas’ continue to hold sway to the detriment of average Pakistani?
In fact, a retrospective view of pre-partition days in undivided Punjab lays bare the fact that that the feudal-Hindu, Muslim and Sikh had a working political combination—the Unionist Party. It was Hindu, Muslim and Sikh ‘Itehad’ [unity] of the feudal to rob the dispossessed rural poor---the serfs and in the process checkmate the political aspirations of enlightened urban middle class. Liaquat Ali Khan unable to make headway in Punjab proposed dual membership. The feudal could retain his hold of secular ‘Unionist Party’ and at the same time get on to separatist Muslim combine ‘Muslim League’. The old devoted leaguers of Iqbalian hue [associates of Allama Iqbal] were thus relegated to background.
Liaquat scheme of re-orientation and reorganization of Punjab was put into operation in 1938 Muslim League Calcutta session. In the re-organized Punjab Muslim League, out of 35 members in the executive, 25 were Unionist feudal lords headed by Sir Sikander Hayat Khan—Chief Minister of Punjab. Believe it or not, Allama Iqbal—called Hakim-ul-Ummat numbered 26—noted in ‘Last Two Years of Iqbal’ by Ashiq Hussein Batalvi. As Batalvi and other associates of Iqbal reached Lahore Railway Station—Shahdara on 21st April, 1938 to report the development to Allama Iqbal, they heard the hawker crying, “Allama Iqbal is dead”. As providence had it, he did not live to see the day of Muslim League being taken over by the feudal elements in secular garb.
The feudal element though showing impressive performance in electoral politics was nevertheless scared of Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s growing popularity. Plus gathering support for Pakistan. Liaquat’s compulsion was to pocket undoubted rural clout of the feudal hierarchy. Iqbal’s associates as is evident from academic notes on the period had an inkling of what the entry of feudal elements would entail. And going by the results since the creation of Pakistan, they were not wrong. The feudal element virtually squeezed Pakistan of it precious resources.
During 1980’s with the introduction of industrial lobby in Pakistani polity, a new element came up. The element was introduced by Zia-ul-Haq in order to contain the feudal element. The feudal element had marked presence not only in politico-bureaucratic complex but in army too. The industrial lobby was headed by one of the largest industrial grouping in Pakistan…Itefaq Group of Industries. The grouping took over the gasping Muslim League. The move was meant to contend Pakistan Peoples Party [PPP]. Apparently a party in socialist garb, its socialism was meant to bring the public sector into play in industrial development, and hold back the private sector. However socialism was put on hold in the agricultural sector. The party had strong feudal element in it, with Bhutto’s in lead. Bhutto’s had large land holdings in rural Sind. The industrial lobby had Nawaz Sharief in lead. Over the years, this element became apart of establishment.
As Afghan conflict widened—waxing and waning in phases, an additional element of extremism was introduced leading to sectarian conflicts and increasing militancy. The established order in the meantime continued the musical chair game with civilian fake democratic order and army rule changing hands. Corruption eating into vitals of state continued unabated, with militancy leading to perilous law and order situation.
Pakistan needs reforms, all embracing reforms, reforms on a missive scale. Tahreek Minhaj-ul-Quran with large doses of moderation might provide the needed penance—provided it is provided the needed room to operate. It is to be seen whether and how long, if at all the establishment decides to cooperate…the stakes are heavy, involving the very existence of Pakistan as a viable state.
Yaar Zinda Sohbat Baqi (Reunion is subordinate to survival)
Lastupdate on : Tue, 22 Jan 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 22 Jan 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 23 Jan 2013 00:00:00 IST
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