Note: This post reflects the author’s personal opinion and analysis. As such the post does not represent official policy of the LUBP.
With more than 30 million Shias, Pakistan has the second largest Shia Muslim population in the world after Iran (70 million) followed by India (28 million) and Iraq (26 million).
Thirty million Shia Muslims of Pakistan represent a very large population, much larger than most countries in the world.
Thanks to the Nazi style silence in Pakistani and international media, the world is completely oblivious to the genocide of Shia Muslims in Pakistan at the hands of Deobandi terrorist groups. (For detail, visit this databse: https://lubpak.net/archives/132675)
Since mid-1980s, more than 20,000 Shia Muslims, thousands of Sunni Sufis, Sunnis Barelvis, hundreds of Ahmadis, Christians and Hindus have been killed in Pakistan by Saudi-funded Deobandi takfiri militants (known as the Taliban TTP, Sipah-e-Sahaba ASWJ etc).
Pakistan today is not the Sate which was created in 1947 by its founding fathers not only ideologically but also geographically. In 1971, the majority of Pakistan (in terms of population), then East Pakistan and now Bangladesh, decided to separate from Pakistan, and the remainder land of Pakistan remains nothing more than a Deobandi and Salafi Wahhabi dominated state where large sections of the population, particularly from religious and ethnic minority backgrounds, remain persecuted and target killed. The dream of a homeland for Muslims where all Muslims and other ethnic and religious minority groups will be treated with equality and dignity is completely shattered.
Today, Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a State which has miserably failed to protect is citizens who are being killed by Takfiri Deobandi terrorists with and the State apparatus has filed to punish the prepetrators of violence.
Majority of Pakistani citizens of Sunni and other backgrounds remain criminally silent or indifferent. They are not doing anything to stop genocide of Shias and Sunni Sufis while a few Deobandi takfiri criminals freely kill and seek refuge in the mainstream population’s ranks. In fact, only 50 percent of Sunnis in Pakistan accept Shias as Muslims – Pew Survey.
Shia Muslims in Pakistan are currently experiencing something which may be described as pre-genocide. A major catastrophe is likely very soon and the State will not be able to control once a full blown civil war begins in Pakistan.
Thanks to generous Saudi funding and Paksitan army’s support to Deobanadi and Salafi Wahahbi clerics, outfits and institutions, peaceful Sunni Sufi and Barelvi popoulation of Pakistan is slowly but garadully converting into radicalized, violent Deobandi and Salafi takfiri terrorists. These Deobandi and other takfiri terrorists then freely kill Shia Muslims in particular but also Sunni Sufis, Ahmadis, Christians, Hindus, Sikhs etc.
State is not a lifeless entity. Army is the backbone of a State when it comes to protecting it, but they are at least indirectly involved in Shia genocide, by nurturing and protecting Jihadist-sectarian Deobandi militant groups. While Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states support and finance these terrorists, the logistics are channelled to Jihadi proxy militants through Pakistan army.
Sunnis are horribly entrapped in a communal mindset. They either remain silent on Shia genocide or try to justify it by blaming Shia faith and rituals. At times they also make an effort to present very few takfiri Deobandi terrorists as representative of Sunni population. Most Sunnis remain indifferent or silent to this genocide.
Shias are routinely harassed, abused and target killed.
Ahmadis are persecuted daily in the Sunni Republic of Pakistan, not even allowed to say Assalam-o-Alaikum.
When the collective society has left the victims alone, what else can we expect?
Pakistan army, judiciary and media are hand in glove with Takfiri terrorists. Ruling political government wants to complete its term at all cost, not bothered about Takfiri extremism, human rights and genocide.
Pakistan has failed to care for Shia Muslims. Shias are probably the only faith group, besides Ahmadis, who are not attacking the State despite their genocide.
If Gandhi or Luther King were alive today, they would envy and eulogize the non-violence of Pakistan’s Shias. Non-violent struggle has given 20,000 deadbodies so far to Pakistan’s Shias. No reprisal attack on army or State, none!
Right from Binori Town Karachi to Jamia Haqqania Akora Khattak to hundreds of Salafi and Deobandi madrassash in all parts of Pakistan, millions of Deobandi and Wahhabi madrassa students, their teachers, Jihadis, and families consider Shias as non-Muslims and Mullah Omar as their Ameer-ul-Momineen.
Such degree of operational space and immunity to Takfiri Deobandi militants suggests more than just state’s incompetence. It’s complicity and collusion.
“Where are the federal and provincial governments and the law-enforcing agencies when the genocide and bloodshed continued seeming unstoppable?”
“Before it becomes a pre-modern hell under Al Qaeda and its followers, it has to accomplish the task begun with the decimation of the Shia:” asks Khaled Ahmed
Shias of Pakistan refuse to be violent but they also refuse to be silent. They have shown they are the followers of Syeda Zainab (granddaughter of Prophet).
How can we expect Shias to love a country in which they are being butchered?
The social contract of 1947 between All India Muslim League and the people of Pakistan has been continuously violated by the State of Pakistan with Shias, Ahmadis, Sunni Barelvis, Christians, Hindus and other persecuted citizens of Pakistan.
Given the ongoing Shia Genocide and collective apathy in Pakistan, it seems that Sunnis and Shias are two different nations.
We are done with our Muslim Ummah brothers. A few are murderers, rest are silent spectators. Nazi style silence prevails in Pakistani society, parliament, political parties, academic institutions, religious seminaries, mosques, markets and other institutions of society.
In the absence of a secular Pakistan free of the Deobandi and Wahhabi dominance, Shias can legitimately demand a new homeland for themselves.
20-30 million Shias of Pakistan can justifiably demand a semi-autonomous province or State for themselves in which they could peacefully live and practice their faith.
Keep in mind Pakistan has at least 7-10 million Ahmadis, Christians, Hindus, 20-30 million Shias. It’s a huge population.
We propose Hussainistan, a new state for 30-40 million Shias, Ahmadis, Christians, Hindus and other minority groups. Our doors are also open for peaceful Sunni Sufi and Sunni Hanafi brothers who are not takfiri in their approach to Shia Muslims.
However, we don’t support any theocratic state whether Sunni, Salafi or Shia. Secular state is our only hope.
Within or without Pakistan, a secular state is the only hope for Pakistan’s Shias (and other persecuted groups). We need Hussainistan, in the name of Imam Hussain who gave his life for values of human rights and freedom.
Hussainistan will be a place in which people of all faiths and ethnicities will be equally valued, and free to practice their lifestyle and faith. Religion will be a private matter.
Of course, there are significant practical hurdles; most importantly Shias are 10-20% of population in almost every Pakistani city and area.
However, given the slow motion Shia Genocide, Pakistani Shias may be left with no other option. Massive human catastrophe is in waiting if a separate province or State is not created for Shias.
It will not be Shia theocratic or sectarian state but a humanist, multicultural state (Hussainistan) where everyone will be valued equally.
In such a state, religion and sects will be made a private matter; the state will be built on a scientific society.
Ahmadi Muslims will be equal to Sunni and Shia in status as well be Christians, Hindus and other communities. All citizens will be equal.
Text books, media, laws will be completely revised to make them equal and non-discriminatory. All hate material and hate ideological narratives will be removed.
Pakistan was manifestly a demand by All India Muslim League, a separate homeland for Muslims. The new province or State we theorize won’t be on the basis of religion alone. It will be on the basis of peace, tolerance and multiculturalism.
Pakistan’s premise was on Islam (Deobandi Wahhabi Islam now). The new province or state’s premise is peace, equality and multiculturalism.
Our bitter experience in Pakistan has forced us to adapt our own version of the Two-Nation Theory: That, the Wahhabi and Deobandi Takfiris (who currently dominate the Sunni sect) and other Pakistanis are two separate nations. In a nutshell, Sunnis and Shias are two different nations. Their value systems, approach towards world peace and violence, heroes and villains are different. These two nations can’t peacefully co-exist in one country. Therefore, Pakistan’s 30-40 million Shia, Ahmadi, Christian, Hindu etc deserve an independent state or semi-autonomous province where they can live in peace and practice their faith without any fear of reprisal or persecution. Eastern part of the Saraiki Waseb and Sindh province bordering India offers best hope for a new multicultural state. Shias and other minority groups should consider relocating to border areas near India. We hope that the United Nations, China, Russia and other world powers will intervene in due course in order to save Pakistan’s Shias, Ahmadis, Christians, Hindus etc from genocide.
Areas with significant Shia population in Pakistan: Gilgit-Baltistan, Parachinar, Quetta, Karachi, Lahore, Dera Ismail Khan, Layyah, Jhang etc.
Gilgit-Baltistan can declare independence from the Deobandi Wahhabi State of Pakistan with the help of the United Nations and China. India will have no objection to allowing Ladakh to be a part of the new Gilgit Baltistan State or to make them an open accessible region.
Kurram Agency will be better off with a much more tolerant Afghanistan instead of being surrounded by Saudi-sponsored Deobandi and Salafist militants in Tribal Areas. (remember PEW survey; 80% of Afghans consider Shiites as Muslims and only 50% in Pakistan consider Shias as Muslims.)
Shiites from Punjab, Sindh, other areas may find refuge in the new State in the eastern districts of the Saraiki Waseb and upper Sindh.
Shia Hazaras of Quetta may migrate back to Afghanistan where their own provinces and Kabul will be protected by the United Nations Peace Keeping Force as well as by the Afghan National Army.
We don’t support theocracy and organized religion. A secular, multicultural state for the persecuted is the only way out to save innocent lives. We need to save innocent lives. A new state seems to be the only hope to stop genocide.
Pakistan has failed; it was a deception. It was a Deobandi Wahhabi State in the name of Islam. In no other country in the Subcontinent, Shias, Ahmadis etc are facing persecution. It is the Deobandi-Wahhabi State which is evil.
Bangladesh neither derives its identity from religion, nor they have Objective resolution, 22 points, blasphemy law, anti-Ahmadi law etc. Hussainistan will follow the same model. It will be a secular, multicultural society.
We know that Pakhtuns and Balochs didn’t want to be part of Pakistan. Both Pakhtuns and Balochs were first attacked by none other than Jinnah and General Akbar Khan (Pakistan Army). Jinnah dismissed Dr Khan’s government in NWFP, and started military operation in Balochistan. They can choose their own path in due course.
Shias of D.I.Khan, Hangu, other areas are routinely attacked by Deobandi terrorists. Hundreds killed; many migrated, total community shattered. They may wish to migrate to Parachinar or to the Hussainistan (on border with India).
Escaping persecution is a noble tradition. Why sustain death and persecution on a permanent basis? Let Wahhabi-Deobandis rule the 80% of Pakistan. We only need our own 10-20% free area where their evil shadows are not found.
We hope that China, Iran, India, Russia, Western countries will play a role under the UN to save Pakistan’s target killed groups, help create Hussainistan.
Let’s hope moderate Sunnis, in addition to Ahmadis, Christians, Hindus etc too join the Hussainistan project. If not, we must save those who are currently facing genocide.
Our struggle will be ‘Non-Violent political struggle’; we don’t believe in doctrine of armed resistance.
Vision of Hussaianistan
Adapted from Allama Iqbal’s address to All India Muslim League’s Conference in Allahabad.
[] Ladies and Gentlemen, As a concerned Pakistani citizen I am worried about the well being of a large section of Pakistani population (comprising at least 30-40 million Shias, Christians, Hindus, Ahmadis and also some Sunnis, at the most critical moments in the history of Pakistan. I have no doubt that many of those reading these lines are women and men whose political experience is far more extensive than mine, and for whose knowledge of affairs I have the highest respect. It will, therefore, be presumptuous on my part to claim to guide any individual or group. I lead no party; I follow no leader. I have given the best part of my life to a careful study of Pakistani and regional political and societies, law, polity, culture and history. This constant contact with the people of diverse backgrounds, as it unfolds itself in time, has, I think, given me a kind of insight into Pakistan’s most pressing issues including the violation of its very premise and social contract assured by its founding fathers. It is in the light of this insight, whatever its value, that, I propose not to guide you in your decisions, but to attempt the humbler task of bringing clearly to your consciousness the need for a separate semi-autonomous or autonomous geographical region for Pakistan’s persecuted and target killed communities.
[] Islam and Nationalism
[[1a]] It cannot be denied that Islam, regarded as an ethical ideal plus a certain kind of polity – was the chief formative factor in the creation of Pakistan. Past 66 years since Pakistan’s creation in 1947 have shown that Islam or religion per se is not a sufficient reason to create a country or to bind a nation together. The independence of Bangladesh in 1971 and the situation of Balochistan and parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in 2012 are glaring examples. Most of you reading this pot are Muslims and, I suppose, anxious to remain true to the spirit and ideals of Islam. My sole desire, therefore, is to tell you frankly what I honestly believe to be the truth about the present situation. In this way alone it is possible for me to illuminate, according to my light, the avenues of your political action.
[] The Unity of a Pakistani Nation
[[2a]] What, then, is the problem and its implications? Is religion a public affair? Our experience in Pakistan has shown that Islam as a political ideal has met the same fate in the world of Islam as Christianity has already met in Europe. Therefore, the only way forward is to retain Islam as an ethical ideal and to reject it as a polity, in favor of national polities in which the religious attitude is not permitted to play any part. Given that the Pakistani State has allowed on a Takfiri path declaring difference classes of unequal citizens and unequal Muslims, this question becomes of special importance in Pakistan where the Sunni Deobandi-Salafi Muslims happen to be dominant. The proposition that religion is a private individual experience is therefore not surprising for any concerned Pakistani. In Europe the conception of Christianity as a monastic order, renouncing the world of matter and fixing its gaze entirely on the world of spirit, led, by a logical process of thought, to the view embodied in this proposition.
[[2b]] “Man,” says Renan, “is enslaved neither by his race, nor by his religion, nor by the course of rivers, nor by the direction of mountain ranges. A great aggregation of men, sane of mind and warm of heart, creates a moral consciousness which is called a nation.” Such a formation is quite possible, though it involves the long and arduous process of practically remaking men and furnishing them with a fresh emotional equipment. It might have been a fact in India if the teaching of Kabir and the Divine Faith of Akbar had seized the imagination of the masses of this country. Experience, however, shows that the various faiths and sects in Pakistan have shown no inclination to sink their respective individualities in a larger whole. Each group is intensely jealous of its collective existence. The formation of the kind of moral consciousness which constitutes the essence of a nation in Renan’s sense demands a price which the peoples of Pakistan are not prepared to pay.
[[2c]] The unity of a Pakistani nation (or whatever leftover of Pakistan we have since 1971), therefore, must be sought not in the negation, but in the mutual harmony and cooperation, of the many. True statesmanship cannot ignore facts, however unpleasant they may be. The only practical course is not to assume the existence of a state of things which does not exist, but to recognise facts as they are, and to exploit them to our greatest advantage. And it is on the discovery of Pakistani unity in this direction that the fate of Pakistan as well as of South Asia really depends. Part of Pakistani people have cultural affinities with nations of the east, and part with nations in the middle and west of Asia. If an effective principle of cooperation is discovered in Pakistan, it will bring peace and mutual goodwill to this ancient land which has suffered so long, more because of her situation in historic space than because of any inherent incapacity of her people. And it will at the same time solve the entire political problem of Asia.
[[2d]] It is, however, painful to observe that our attempts to discover such a principle of internal harmony have so far failed. Why have they failed? Perhaps we suspect each other’s intentions and inwardly aim at dominating each other. Perhaps, in the higher interests of mutual cooperation, we cannot afford to part with the monopolies which circumstances have placed in our hands, and [thus we] conceal our egoism under the cloak of nationalism, outwardly simulating a large-hearted patriotism, but inwardly as narrow-minded as a caste or tribe. Perhaps we are unwilling to recognise that each group has a right to free development according to its own cultural traditions. But whatever may be the causes of our failure, I still feel hopeful. Events seem to be tending in the direction of some sort of internal harmony. And as far as I have been able to read the Shia Muslim and other persecuted groups’ mind, I have no hesitation in declaring that if the principle that the Shia Muslim is entitled to full and free development on the lines of his own culture and tradition in his own Pakistan home-lands is recognized as the basis of a permanent communal settlement, he will be ready to stake his all for the freedom to live and practice his faith.
[[2e]] The principle that each group is entitled to its free development on its own lines is not inspired by any feeling of narrow communalism. There are communalisms and communalisms. A community which is inspired by feelings of ill-will towards other communities is low and ignoble. I entertain the highest respect for the customs, laws, religious and social institutions of other communities. Nay, it is my duty, according to the teaching of the Quran, even to defend their places of worship, if need be. Yet I love the communal group which is the source of my life and behaviour; and which has formed me what I am by giving me its religion, its literature, its thought, its culture, and thereby recreating its whole past as a living operative factor, in my present consciousness. Even the authors of the Nehru Report recognise the value of this higher aspect of communalism. While discussing the separation of Sind they say, “To say from the larger viewpoint of nationalism that no communal provinces should be created, is, in a way, equivalent to saying from the still wider international viewpoint that there should be no separate nations. Both these statements have a measure of truth in them. But the staunchest internationalist recognises that without the fullest national autonomy it is extraordinarily difficult to create the international State. So also without the fullest cultural autonomy – and communalism in its better aspect is culture – it will be difficult to create a harmonious nation.”
[] Shia Muslims’ and other persecuted groups’ Pakistan Within Pakistan
[[3a]] Communalism in its higher aspect, then, is indispensable to the formation of a harmonious whole in a country like Pakistan. The units of Pakistani society are not territorial as in European countries. Pakistan is a country of human groups belonging to different races, speaking different languages, and professing different religions. Their behaviour is not at all determined by a common race-consciousness or even by a common religion or sect. Even the Muslims do not form a homogeneous group. The principle of European democracy cannot be applied to Pakistan without recognising the fact of communal groups. The Shia Muslim demand for the creation of a Shia Muslim Pakistan within Pakistan is, therefore, perfectly justified. I support the noble ideal of a harmonious whole which, instead of stifling the respective individualities of its component wholes, affords them chances of fully working out the possibilities that may be latent in them. And I have no doubt that all Shias and other persecuted communities will emphatically endorse the Shia Muslim and other persecuted gruops demands for a semi-autonomous province.
[[3b]] Personally, I would like to see the creation of a new Province between India and Pakistan, in the Saraiki speaking areas, towards the Eastern border of Pakistan. The migration of 30-35 million Shias, Ahmadis, Christians from Lahore, Rawalpindi, Peshawar, Karachi, Quetta, Jhang, D.I.Khan, Hangu, Layyah, Rabwah, Faisalabad etc can result into a new province where such communities will constitute a definite majority; such districts may be amalgamated into a single State. Self-government within the Pakistani federation, or without the Pakistani federation, the formation of a consolidated Shia Muslim State appears to me to be the final destiny, at least of parts of current Pakistan. The idea need not alarm the Sunni population or the Pakistani State. Pakistan is the second largest Muslim country in the world and it can continue with its current trajectory of Saudi-led Takfirsim or dominance of Deobandi-Salafi ideology if it wishes to. The creation of a new Shia multicultural state will eventually solve the problem of Takfiri violence, Takfirims etc in Pakistan. It will intensify the Shias and other persecuted groups sense of responsibility and deepen their patriotic feeling.
[[3c]] Thus, possessing full opportunity of development within the body politic of Pakistan, the Shia multicultural province may be the only way forward. Nor should the Hindus, Sunnis, Ahmadis, Christians fear that the creation of autonomous Shia Muslim states will mean the introduction of a kind of religious rule in such states. The truth is that Islam is not a Church. It is a State conceived as a contractual organism long before Rousseau ever thought of such a thing, and animated by an ethical ideal which regards man not as an earth-rooted creature, defined by this or that portion of the earth, but as a spiritual being understood in terms of a social mechanism, and possessing rights and duties as a living factor in that mechanism. I therefore demand the formation of a consolidated Shia Muslim multicultural State in the best interests of Pakistan and the new State.
[] Federal States
[[4a]] Thus it is clear that in view of Pakistan’s infinite variety in climates, races, languages, creeds and social systems, the creation of autonomous States, based on the unity of language, race, history, religion and identity of economic interests, is the only possible way to secure a stable constitutional structure in Pakistan. It may invovle the abolition of the National Assembly as a popular assembly, and makes it an assembly of the representatives of federal States. I demand a redistribution of territory on the lines which I have indicated. I venture to suggest that the redistribution must fulfill two conditions. It must precede the introduction of the new constitution, and must be so devised as to finally solve the communal problem. Proper redistribution will make the question of joint and separate electorates automatically disappear from the constitutional controversy of Pakistan. It is the present structure of the provinces that is largely responsible for this controversy.
[[4b]] Pakistan is a land of racial and religious variety. Add to this the general discrimination and target killing of Shia Muslims, you will begin to see clearly the meaning of our anxiety to have an autonomous state. In such a country and in such circumstances territorial electorates cannot secure adequate representation of all interests, and must inevitably lead to the creation of an oligarchy.
[] Federation As Understood in the Simon Report
[[5a]] No doubt, there is in Pakistan the principle of Federation, yet the evaluation of this principle is determined by considerations wholly different to those which determine its value in the eyes of Shia Muslims. The Shia Muslims demand federation because it is pre-eminently a solution of Pakistan’s most difficult problem, i.e. the sectarian and takfirism problem.
[[5b]] To my mind a unitary form of government is simply unthinkable in Pakistan. What is called “residuary powers” must be left entirely to self-governing States, the Central Federal State exercising only those powers which are expressly vested in it by the free consent of federal States. I would never advise the Shia Muslims of Pakistan to agree to a system, which virtually negatives the principle of true federation, or fails to recognise them as a distinct political entity. However, we cannot afford to give [an] overwhelming majority to the Sunnis in an All-Pakistan Federal Assembly.
[[6a]] It appears to me that the Sunni-Shia differences regarding the ultimate form of the Central Government may be cleverly exploited by the current rulers who see in the scheme prospects of better security for their despotic rule.
[[6b]] The best course, I think, would have been to start with a Pakistani Federation only. A federal scheme born of an unholy union between democracy and despotism cannot but keep Pakistan in the same vicious circle of a unitary Central Government. Such a unitary form may be of the greatest advantage to the federal government, to the majority community in Pakistan; it can be of no advantage to Shia Muslims, unless they get majority rights in at least Eastern part of the Sariaki Waseb provinces with full residuary powers, and one-third share of seats in the total House of the Federal Assembly. In so far as the attainment of sovereign powers by the Pakistani provinces is concerned, the position is unassailable. The questions is not one of [the] Shia Muslim share in a Pakistan Assembly, but one which relates to representation of Shia Muslims in an the Federal Assembly. Our demand for 33 per cent must now be taken as a demand for the same proportion in the Federal Assembly.
[] The Problem of Defence
[[7a]] The control and direction of the defence army must rest in the hands of agents of the Federal Government.” Now, does it [not] necessarily follow from this that further progress towards the realisation of responsible government in Pakistan is barred until the work of defence can be adequately discharged without the help of Pakistani officers and troops? As things are, there is a block on the line of constitutional advance. Further to fortify thee argument they emphasize the fact of competing religions and rival races of widely different capacity, and try to make the problem look insoluble by remarking that “the obvious fact that Pakistan is not, in the ordinary and natural sense, a single nation.”
[[7b]] However, in federated Pakistan, as I understand federation, the problem will have only one aspect, i.e. external defence. However, given that both Pakistan and India will be guarantors and protectors of the new State, no big army will be needed.
[] The Alternative
[[8a]] I have thus tried briefly to indicate the way in which the Shia Muslims of Pakistan ought, in my opinion, to look at the two most important constitutional problems of Pakistan. A redistribution of Pakistan, calculated to secure a permanent solution of the communal problem, is the main demand of the Shia Muslims of Pakistan. If, however, the Shia Muslim demand of a territorial solution of the communal problem is ignored, then I support, as emphatically as possible, the Shia all Shia activits and groups in Pakistan and also internationally. The Shia Muslims of Pakistan cannot agree to any constitutional changes which affect their majority rights, or [which] fail to guarantee them 33 percent representation in any Central Legislature. There were two pitfalls into which Shia Muslim political leaders may fall. The first is the false view of Pakistani nationalism which deprived the Shia Muslims of chances of acquiring any political power in Pakistan. The second is the narrow-visioned sacrifice of Islamic solidarity, in the interests of what may be called Punjab ruralism, resulting in a proposal which virtually gives the Punjab Sunni-Deobandi-Wahhabi Muslims to a position of majority. It is the duty of the League to condemn both the Pact and the proposal.
[[8c]] Nor can the Shia Muslims agree to any such changes which fail to create at least one separate province in upper Sindh, lower Punjab.
[[8d]] As to the Kurram Agency, particularly Parachinar, it is painful to note that the Pakistan government has practically denied that the people of this province have any right to reform. Political reform is light, not fire; and to light every human being is entitled, whether he happens to live in a powder house or a coal mine. Brave, shrewd, and determined to suffer for his legitimate aspirations, the Afghan is sure to resent any attempt to deprive him of opportunities of full self-development. What has recently happened in that unfortunate province is the result of a step-motherly treatment shown to the people since the introduction of the principle of self-government in the rest of Pakistan. Indeed the Afghan is, by instinct, more fitted for democratic institutions than any other people in Pakistan.
To force keep a homegenous Pakistan, or to apply to its principles and laws, is unwittingly to prepare her for a civil war. As far as I can see, there will be no peace in the country until the various peoples that constitute Pakistan are given opportunities of free self-development on modern lines without abruptly breaking with their past.
No Shia Muslim politician should be sensitive to the taunt embodied in that propaganda word – communalism or sectarianism – expressly devised to exploit, and to mislead people into assuming a state of things which does not really exist in Pakistan. Great interests are at stake. We are 20-25 millions, and far more homogeneous than any other people in Pakistan. Indeed the Shia Muslims are the only Pakistani people who can fitly be described as a nation in the modern sense of the word.
[[9a]] It is hardly necessary for me to add that the sole test of the success of our delegates is the extent to which they are able to get the non-Shia Muslim minorities to agree to our demands. If these demands are not agreed to, then a question of a very great and far-reaching importance will arise for the community. Then will arrive the moment for independent and concerted political action by the Shia Muslims of Pakistan. If you are at all serious about your ideals and aspirations, you must be ready for such an action. Our leading men have done a good deal of political thinking, and their thought has certainly made us, more or less, sensitive to the forces which are now shaping the destinies of peoples in and outside Pakistan. But, I ask, has this thinking prepared us for the kind of action demanded by the situation which may arise in the near future?
[[9b]] Let me tell you frankly that, at the present moment, the Shia Muslims of Pakistan are suffering from two evils. The first is the want of personalities. The Shia community had failed to produce leaders. By leaders I mean men who, by Divine gift or experience, possess a keen perception of the spirit and destiny of Islam, along with an equally keen perception of the trend of modern history. Such men are really the driving forces of a people, but they are God’s gift and cannot be made to order.
[[9c]] The second evil from which the Shia Muslims are suffering is that the community is fast losing what is called the herd instinct. This [loss] makes it possible for individuals and groups to start independent careers without contributing to the general thought and activity of the community. We are doing today in the domain of politics what we have been doing for centuries in the domain of religion. But sectional bickerings in religion do not do much harm to our solidarity. They at least indicate an interest in what makes the sole principle of our structure as a people. Moreover, the principle is so broadly conceived that it is almost impossible for a group to become rebellious to the extent of wholly detaching itself from the general body of Islam. But diversity in political action, at a moment when concerted action is needed in the best interests of the very life of our people, may prove fatal.
[[9d]] How shall we, then, remedy these two evils? The remedy of the first evil is not in our hands. As to the second evil, I think it is possible to discover a remedy. I have got definite views on the subject; but I think it is proper to postpone their expression till the apprehended situation actually arises. In case it does arise, leading Shia Muslims of all shades of opinion will have to meet together, not to pass resolutions, but finally to determine the Shia Muslim attitude and to show the path to tangible achievement. In this address I mention this alternative only because I wish that you may keep it in mind and give some serious thought to it in the meantime.
[] The Conclusion
[[10a]] Gentlemen, I have finished. In conclusion I cannot but impress upon you that the present crisis in the history of Pakistan demands complete organisation and unity of will and purpose in the Shia Muslim community, both in your own interest as a community, and in the interest of Pakistan as a whole. We have a duty towards Asia, especially South Asia. And since 30-35 millions of Shia Muslims along with other persecuted communities in a single country constitute a very large population, we must feel very confident and proud. Our duty towards our own community and the region cannot be loyally performed without an organised will fixed on a definite purpose. In your own interest, as a political entity among other political entities, such an equipment is an absolute necessity.
[[10b]] Our disorganised condition has already confused political issues vital to the life of the community. I am not hopeless of an intercommunal understanding, but I cannot conceal from you the feeling that in the near future our community may be called upon to adopt an independent line of action to cope with the present crisis. And an independent line of political action, in such a crisis, is possible only to a determined people, possessing a will focalised by a single purpose. Is it possible for you to achieve the organic wholeness of a unified will? Yes, it is. Rise above sectional interests and private ambitions, and learn to determine the value of your individual and collective action, however directed on material ends, in the light of the ideal which you are supposed to represent. Pass from matter to spirit. Matter is diversity; spirit is light, life and unity.
(Based on Dr. Muhammad Iqbal’s Presidential Address to the 25th Session of the All-India Muslim League on 29 December 1930, at Allahabad, India.)