By Justice Markandey Katju-
(Justice Markandey Katju is a former Judge, Supreme Court of India, and former Chairman, Press Council of India. The views expressed are his own)
Dr Akbar Ahmed is a highly respected former Pakistan High Commissioner to UK, and currently Professor of International Relations at the American University, School of International Service, Washington DC.
He recently gave an interview to Israr Kasana (you can watch it here), which prompted a response from me.
Here it is:
Dear Dr Akbar Ahmed,
I have seen your interview by Israr Kasana. Here is my brief response.
When I say that Pakistan is a fake country artificially created by that British swindle called Partition, and is bound to one day reunite with India under a secular government, many Pakistanis are outraged, and they start hurling abuses and invectives at me.
I say this, however, because I believe it to be true, not because I want to hurt anyone, and I give reasons for what I say. Partition was created on the basis of the bogus two-nation theory (that Hindus and Muslims are two separate nations). If someone is intellectually honest, they will admit this theory was bogus, and was in furtherance of the British divide-and-rule policy to incite hatred between Hindus and Muslims (see BN Pande’s speech ‘History in the service of imperialism‘).
It will be said that Partition was in 1947. My reply is: time is immaterial. West and East Germany were reunited in 1990 after 45 years of separation, and North and South Vietnam in 1975 after 30 years. When Mazzini spoke of Italian unification, he was called a dreamer, but his ‘dream’ became true thanks to Cavour and Garibaldi.
Why do I say that India and Pakistan are one country?
That is because we share the same culture, which revolves mainly around language, not religion, and most of us in India and Pakistan speak the same language – Hindustani, called Urdu in Pakistan and Hindi in India (in addition to Punjabi, Sindhi, Marathi, Gujarati, Kashmiri, Bangla, Pashto, etc). Pakistani culture is Indian culture, not Arab culture, as I have explained in this article (a related piece is here).
When the Pakistan cricket team was beaten by England in last year’s ICC T20 World Cup final, many Indians celebrated. I wrote that they are behaving like fools, because India and Pakistan are one country, and so a defeat for Pakistan is our defeat too. Indian and Pakistani soldiers who shoot at each other are fools, because they are shooting at their own countrymen.
What is Pakistan? It is Punjab, Sind, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP). These were all part of India from Mughal times.
Now, to my second point. Like you, I too support Imran Khan. I do not know him, have never met him, do not belong to his caste or religion, and do not expect anything from him. On many issues I disagree with him. But I support him because I believe him to be basically an honest man.
The toshakhana matter is trivial compared to the huge loot by the PDM leaders who siphoned off billions of dollars from Pakistan to foreign countries, where they bought and own huge assets, as the Panama Papers and other pieces of evidence disclosed.
Having said, it is necessary to clarify that the test of every political system and political activity is one, and only one: does it raise the standard of living of the masses? Does it give them better lives?
In that context, it is obvious that even if Imran Khan becomes the Prime Minister, nothing much will change in Pakistan’s situation. Massive poverty, unemployment, malnutrition, lack of proper healthcare and good education will continue as before, with at most some cosmetic and trivial changes.
Three, you seem to be hostile to a revolution, because millions are killed in it. In this connection I wish to ask you a simple question: if you have to choose between two options, either you being killed or miserable, or your children/grandchildren being killed or miserable, and there is no third option, what would you prefer?
I think most people will say let my children/grandchildren live and be happy, even if I perish.
Therefore, you must decide whether you wish to see the present state of affairs continue in Pakistan, with most people living horrible lives with massive poverty, unemployment, etc or a drastic change for the better, which can only come by a revolution, not by parliamentary elections, and in which many lives will have to be sacrificed to secure a brighter future.
You have a high opinion of Jinnah. I submit that both Gandhi and Jinnah were objectively British agents, as I have said in many articles, and were responsible for the tragedy of Partition in which half a million people were horribly killed, and millions displaced.
The truth about Jinnah is in this article. He was, up to the 1920s, secular and patriotic, but he later became highly communal and a shameless British agent.
I hasten to add that I do not advocate the RSS concept of Akhand Bharat, which stands for reunited India under Hindu domination. The Indian Reunification Association (IRA), of which I am the patron, advocates peaceful, voluntary reunification of India with no community dominating over any other, and led by secular, patriotic, modern-minded leaders determined to rapidly modernise and industrialise the country, and give our people a high standard of living and decent lives.