Justice Markandey Katju-
In a speech delivered recently at the International Institute of Strategic Studies, London, the Pakistan army chief Gen Qamar Jawed Bajwa, uttered a pious platitude that Pakistan was doing its best to wipe out terrorism.
This statement came a day after the Financial Action Task Force ( FATF ), in a plenary meeting held in Orlando, USA, directed Pakistan to swiftly complete its action plan to curb terror financing by October or face consequences.
In my opinion Gen Bajwa’s statement was only a grandiose pontification and dissimulation made in the light of the severe economic crisis Pakistan is facing. Having gone with a begging bowl to the IMF, Pakistan does not want cuts in the financial aid it is getting from foreign countries which would make its economy collapse.
I submit that Pakistan was born, has always been, and will always remain a terrorist state. It was created on the basis of the bogus two nation theory which its main propagandist Mohammed Ali Jinnah relentlessly pursued ( see my articles ‘ The Truth about Pakistan ‘and ‘The Truth about Partition ‘ online ). Jinnah’s hypocrisy becomes evident from the fact that at a time when large scale communal massacres were taking place, which was obviously not unknown to him, he pompously declared in his speech on 11th August 1947 ” You are free, free to go to your temples, mosques, churches etc “, as if a man or woman being butchered is free to do so.
As I have explained in my article ‘What is India’ ( see online ), India is broadly a country of immigrants, like North America. That is why it has so much diversity, so many religions, castes, languages, ethnic and regional groups etc. Whichever group of immigrants came here ( and they have been coming to India for thousands of years, mainly from the North West ) brought their own culture, religion, language etc. So in view of its tremendous diversity the only policy which can keep India united is secularism and giving equal respect to everyone, and treating all its inhabitants as first rate citizens. This was the policy of ‘suleh-e-kul’ of the great Emperor Akbar who gave equal respect to all, and that is why the Mughal Empire lasted so long, with its people enjoying prosperity.
Pakistan was created as an Islamic State in 1947. Its Constitution calls it ‘The Islamic Republic of Pakistan’. Article 2 of its Constitution says that the state religion of Pakistan is Islam, and Article 31 says that it is the duty of the country to ‘ foster the Islamic way of life ‘.
This makes Pakistan a terrorist state, in two ways.
Firstly, non Muslims ( and these are now only a few percent of the population left after the exodus at the time of Partition ) automatically become second rate citizens, like the Jews under Nazi rule, who are often terrorized in various ways, e.g. by physical attacks on them ( e.g. the killing of the Sikh Charanjeet Singh in Peshawar ), blasphemy laws, forced conversion of minor girls, etc–all of which have been a regular feature since the creation of Pakistan. Asiya Bibi’s case is a recent example.
Ahmadis, who are only about 5 million of the total population of over 200 million in Pakistan, are treated in a particularly barbaric manner ( see my article ‘ Barbaric persecution of Ahmadis in Pakistan ‘ on rabwah.net ). By the Second Constitutional Amendment of 1974 ( made at the instance of ZA Bhutto, who was then Prime Minister and portraying himself to be a champion of the underdogs ), Ahmadis ware declared as non Muslims as they allegedly do not regard Prophet Muhammad as the last Prophet. Thereafter, in 1984 Gen Zia-ul-Haq got the anti-Ahmadi laws passed prohibiting Ahmadis from ‘ posing to be Muslims ‘ and prescribing a 3 year jail sentence for the offence. Thus, Ahmadis are prohibited from publicly reading the Quran, offering namaz, calling azaan or calling their place of worship a mosque. When they apply for a passport they must state that the founder of their sect, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, was an imposter.
But if Ahmadis say that Muhammad was not the last Prophet ( something they deny ) are they cutting off anyone’s head, are they chopping off anyone’s limbs ? The Kerala High Court in Shahabuddin Imbichi Koya Thongal vs K.P.Ahmad Koya, AIR 1971 Ker 206 held that Ahmadis are Muslims. Even if the majority of Muslims think otherwise, should Ahmadis be persecuted ? Thousands have been brutally killed or physically attacked and persecuted and humiliated in several ways. Even after Imran Khan took oath as Prime Minister an Ahmadi place of worship in Ghaseetpura, Faisalabad, was attacked and set on fire.
Blasphemy laws ( particularly section 295C Pakistan Penal Code, which prescribes a mandatory death sentence for insulting the Prophet ) are often used to persecute Hindus, Christians and other minorities. Usually the charge is false, as held by the Pakistan Supreme Court in Asiya Bibi’s case, and is often designed to grab the accused’s property or wreak some personal vendetta. Is this not terrorism ? Once a charge of blasphemy is made to the police it is next to impossible for the accused to survive in Pakistan. Usually he/she is murdered even before any conviction. Often even his lawyer is murdered. Both Asiya Bibi and her lawyer had to flee from Pakistan. Salman Taseer, the then Governor of Punjab, and Shahbaz Bhatti, Pakistan Minorities Minister were murdered for sympathising with Asiya Bibi. Mashal Khan, a student, was murdered because he was thought to have posted something blasphemous online.
During his election campaign which brought him to power in July 2018, Prime Minister Imran Khan shamelessly backed the anti-blasphemy laws and took support of religious bigots and fanatics like the Tehreek-e-Labaik, and later he sacked from his Economic Advisory Council the eminent economist Atif Mian just because he was an Ahmadi.
Secondly, though Pakistan was declared an Islamic State, which Islam does it recognise ? In theory Islam is one, but in practice there are Shias and Sunnis, and various sects like Deobandis, Barelvis, Ismailis etc. These often attack one other with guns and bombs. Barelvis recognise dargahs, which are shrines built on graves of Sufi saints, whereas most Deobandis regard visiting dargahs as worship of graves and therefore idol worship, which is prohibited by Islam. Dargahs in Pakistan are often bombed.
Terrorism cannot mean only building terrorist camps and sending terrorists across the border for attacks on Indian soil. Internal terrorism, that is terrorising a section of one’s own people is also terrorism. But to stop that Pakistan must declare itself a secular state and stop atrocities on its minorities. That is impossible for it would be an end to Pakistan and its reunification with India ( see indianreunificationassociation.co.in ). The Pakistan army, which is the real ruler of Pakistan and is rabidly anti-Indian, would never permit that.
Gen. Bajwa’s statement in London, therefore, was just cant and casuistry.
[Justice Markandey Katju is former Judge, Supreme Court of India and former Chairman, Press Council of India. The views expressed are his own]