We work in pro-establishment think tanks which publish and reinforce the Deep State’s views and policies on Afghanistan, Kashmir, Taliban and Jihadis. We blame Zia.
We criticize “incompetent and corrupt” elected leaders, undermine democratic governments, become a part of the ISI-sponsored caretaker governments. We blame Zia.
We remain silent or, worse, misrepresent the ongoing State-sponsored Shia genocide in Pakistan (21,000 killed) by dishonestly giving it Hazara ethnic or Sunni-Shia sectarian colour. We blame Zia.
We misrepresent Pakistani state-sponsored Shia genocide in false neutral terms (proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran). We blame Zia.
We condemn Shia genocide by ASWJ-LeJ-Taliban and drone attacks on ASWJ-LeJ-Taliban hideouts in the same breath. We blame Zia.
We never visit victims of the ongoing Ahmadi persecution, those whose graves and mosques are being desecrated and ordinary citizens being target killed, to offer our sympathies and support. We blame Zia.
We present and promote Hamid Mir, Najam Sethi and other pro-establishment media persons as anti-ISI heroes and icons of journalism. We blame Zia.
We keep serving corporate interests of private media houses whose policies and agendas remain shaped by programme ratings and loyalties to the military establishment. We blame Zia.
We enjoy sumptuous dinners and high-teas at five star hotels, US-funded social media events, flatter government ministers and other officials, discuss virtues of Marxism and socialism, while ignoring bans on websites of Shias and Ahmadis. We blame Zia.
Our progressive, Marxist heroes right from Faiz Ahmed Faiz to Laal Khan and Tariq Ali remain conveniently silent on excesses against Ahmadis, Shias, Sunni Barelvis etc, while crying buckets on Palestine, Vietnam, Iraq etc. We blame Zia.
Our icons of freedom and socialism, Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Sajjad Zaheer etc join hands with an army general (General AKbar) whose hands are soaked in blood of innocent Balochs, Pashtuns, Kashmiris. We blame Zia.
We support General Zia in the PNA movement and march with General Hamid Gul and Jamaat-e-Islami in the Lawyers’ Movement: two establishment supported movements that furthered the cause of religious extremists. We blame Zia.
We write on events in France, Israel, Spain, Bangladesh etc, but completely wipe out Mastung, Therhi, Salarzai and Babusar. We blame Zia.
The left has always been a marginal actor on Pakistan’s national scene. While this bald truth must be told, in no way do I wish to belittle the enormous sacrifices made by numerous progressive individuals, as well as small groups. They unionized industrial and railway workers, helped peasants organize against powerful landlords, inspired Pakistan’s minority provinces to demand their rights, set standards of writing and journalism, etc. But the Left has never had a national presence and, even at its peak during the 1970s, could not muster even a fraction of the street power of the Islamic or mainstream parties…. Go to a left-wing rally and the standard chants are: down with religious extremism, down with the Army, down with American imperialism, down with the drones. This position of “downing” everyone and everything is laudably pure and pious. But it scarcely helps us answer the question: who shall protect Pakistan’s population from religious militants, stop the daily dynamiting of girls’ schools and colleges, prevent human bombers from exploding themselves in mosques and markets, and end the slaughter of Shiites? The notion that protection can come from “mobilizing the working class” is laughable. The demonstrations in Pakistan against the U.S. invasion of Iraq were miniscule compared to those in Europe and America. It is irresponsible to think that somehow the fierce onslaught of an army of fascistic holy warriors can be stopped by two dozen earnest people holding colorful placards…. It is also false that the Taliban constitute an ethnic “Pakhtun movement,” as some prominent left-wingers argue. This serves only as an excuse for tolerating their barbarities. Most Taliban victims have been other Pakhtuns. If the Taliban is a Pakhtun movement then what about the Punjabi Taliban, who are as ethnically different from Pakhtuns as chalk from cheese? The Pakhtun and Punjabi Taliban share an ideological commitment — and that is precisely what Talibanism is all about….The Baluch, Sindhis, Siraikis, Baltis, and many other ethnic groups have legitimate complaints against the arrogant center in Islamabad. They certainly deserve support from progressive people. But ethnic groups sometimes look through a very narrow, parochial lens that should not be condoned. After all, the vision of the Left is for a society where economic justice for all is the goal. A person’s ethnic origins, religion and nationality are mere products of circumstance. There is no need to glorify any one of these — at least from a left perspective…Let me state the bald truth: Pakistan needs reform not revolution. The Left needs to know that there is not a chance in a million of capturing state power in the foreseeable future. In fact, the only ones who can even conceivably bring about a revolution are the Islamists. And their revolution is to be dreaded because they will wipe out every little gain made in sixty years. Therefore the Left must pick its fights, and not try to fight everyone at the same time…Instead of chasing demons, Pakistan’s leftists need to reaffirm their allegiance to what truly matters: the ideals of economic justice, secularism, universalistic ideas of human rights, good governance, women’s rights, and rationality in human affairs. Washington must be firmly resisted, but only when it seeks to drag Pakistan away from these goals. It is futile to frame the debate in pro- or anti-America terms; the key point is to be pro-people. The Left has a hugely important role to play in setting the moral compass. Only then will it matter to Pakistan.
We try to suppress and ban those voices which question our selective morality and safe-topic activism. We blame Zia.
We remain deeply prejudiced against Ahmadis, Sunni Barelvis, Shias etc. We blame Zia.
We provide free airtime to Ludhianvi, Aurangzeb Farooqi, Tahir Ashrafi and other Shia-phobes, Ahmadi-phobes. We promote them as prophets of peace and progressive clerics, we propose to expand anti-blasphemy law to implicate Shias in blasphemy against Sahaba. We blame Zia.
We keep spreading hate discourses against Shias in the guise of leftist ideology. We blame Zia.
We ridicule Muslim world’s first female elected PM as Daughter of the West, only a few days before her murder by those terrorists who we describe as legitimate reaction to US imperialism. We blame Zia.
We enable further Shia genocide by promoting voices of ethno-centric ISI-touts in Quetta to obfuscate Shia genocide. We blame Zia.
We thrive on elitist Punjabi-Muhajir networks excluding or misappropriating voices of ethnic and religious minority groups. We blame Zia.
We crack racist jokes against Pashtuns, Sikhs, Hindus etc. We blame Zia.
We equate Pashtuns with Taliban and Baloch nationalists with RAW and CIA. We blame Zia.
We continue to ignore the dead Baloch intellectuals and nationalists abducted and killed by Pakistan army. We blame Zia.
Our Pakistan starts at Islamabad’s Faisal Mosque and ends up at Karachi’s Quaid-e-Azam’s mausoleum via Lahore’s Minar-e-Pakistan. We blame Zia.
We exploit victims of acid attack for personal promotion and glory. We blame Zia.
We refuse to honour those Pashtuns, Shias, Barelvis, Ahmadis, Christians, Hindus etc, who are laying down their lives to save us from Zia’s children. We blame Zia.
We remain engaged in commercially profitable NGOs and jobs, remaining selectively silent on urgent humanitarian issues, while chanting mantras of liberalism and Marxism. We blame Zia.
We keep digging deeper into history while refusing to write on most brutal massacres which are happening right now in front of our eyes. We blame Zia.
We consider Ahmadis, Shias and Barelvis as deviant sects. We blame Zia.
We remain racist and ethnofascist to the core. We blame Zia.
We blame Zia for everything we could have done right, but did not do because we are either morally compromised or coward. We blame Zia.
As LUBP explained in a previous post “This too was Pakistan“, Zia (and to a lesser extent Bhutto) is used as a convenient scapegoat to explain Pakistan’s current woes. This mindset ignores the fact that the rot of Pakistan had started right from its very foundations and genesis in 1947.
In his article in Express Tribune, Aaker Patel too touches on the same topic.
This is typical and Zia tends to pick up the blame for conditions in Pakistan’s society.
But the fact is that the Hudood laws remain on the books. Pakistan Studies and Islamiat also remain in textbooks.
Why? The answer is that Ziaul Haq gave Pakistan what it wanted.
Liaquat Ali Khan and the Muslim League gifted Pakistan the Objectives Resolution, committing to align law with Sharia. Ayub Khan wrote the law restricting non-Muslims from becoming president. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto stopped non-Muslims from becoming prime minister. His law on Ahmadis need not be referred to other than to remind readers that it was both democratic and unanimous. All elected and unelected Pakistani leaders have generally moved in the direction that Zia also did. But he did it less hypocritically than others.
Zia may be disliked by English editorial writers but 10 lakh people came to Zia’s funeral, wrote his deputy, General Khalid Mahmud Arif, showing his popularity.
Zia reminds me of Aurangzeb. Zia had his rival Bhutto executed judicially for the murder of a complainant’s father, exactly like Aurangzeb did away with Murad Baksh.
The slogan for the emperor was “Alamgir, zinda pir“. Zia was “mard-e-momin, mard-e-haq“.
Both men had a false modesty, made much of being reluctant to wield power (see Aurangzeb’s letters to Shah Jahan), and had a general dislike of Shias. Newsweek in its obituary said Zia was “incorruptible”. Another similarity.
His court chronicler Saqi Must’ad Khan said Aurangzeb’s bedtime reading was Imam Ghazali. Zia read Maudoodi and not much else. General Arif says Zia “could not get down to reading bureaucratic situation reports and files”.
The big similarity is of course the laws they introduced. Jaziya, the penalty for being born Hindu, went after Aurangzeb died because the Syed brothers of Barha were not bigots. The laws of Zia will remain longer.
The words ‘silent majority’ are often used when Pakistanis writing in English refer to Zia’s laws or their fallout, such as the shooting of Salmaan Taseer.
The truth is that the laws that remain on the book unchanged through dictatorial and democratic governments are there because they are popular.
There is no silent majority in Pakistan, only a minority that doesn’t grasp reality.
The Quaid-e-Azam and Ziaul Haq were two leaders who knew what Muslims wanted and gave it to them.
Pakistani (fake) liberals and leftists exaggerate General Zia’s contribution to the mess Pakistani State is currently in without acknowledging the fact that they themselves continue to contribute to the problems of the nation while taking good care of their own socio-economic interests or by remaining inactive and silent.
The trajectory of Pakistani society and politics has progressed logically from what Jinnah founded, Liaquat initiated, and several others contributed to. General Zia was indeed a prominent marker or milestone in that journey. Pakistan will keep travelling down the road of never ending Islamisation and purification. What else could be expected from a nation whose very name is racist, Pakistan, as if all others are na-pak i.e., impure. Non-Muslims and non-Sunnis really have no place in Jinnah’s and Zia’s Pakistan.
Zia has long died but no one has dared to touch upon any of the discriminatory traditions and laws he, his predecessors and his successors introduced in Pakistan. Pakistan was created on communal basis and had to be put on a trajectory which has led it to its current state. Any entity which is created on hate, begets hate.
Jinnah pushed a boulder down from the top of the cliff. Zia simply cleared the impediments for the rolling stone. Since, the stone gathered speed because of the act of Zia, everybody blames him. But, the founder as well as the very foundations remain unquestioned.
Pro-establishment fake liberals and leftists will come and go. Zia’s legacy will remain, which also happens to be Jinnah’s legacy.
General Zia-ul-Haq is a convenient cover up to hide or justify all what was done to Pakistan by his predecessors and successors. And of course himself. This is not to suggest that Genera Zia was not vicious or should not be criticised. Indeed his adverse effects on Pakistani society and legacy of hypocrisy and intolerance must be exposed and confronted. However, confining criticism to Zia alone while eulogizing or remaining silent on Jinnah, Liaquat, Musharraf, Kayani etc betrays selective morality and scapegoat mentality.
Zia is a poster child, a powerful excuse for our perpetual failures, apathy, silence and inaction on current miseries and current perpetrators and sponsors of intolerance and violence.
Viva la fake liberals and leftists.
Note: This post is based on LUBP’s previous post “This too was Pakistan“, my own Tweets in the last few days and some comments on Aaker Patel’s article in Express Tribune.