Ayesha Siddiqa in her June 6 column in The Express Tribune made a very interesting comparison between Pakistan and Israel: both were supposedly formed on the basis of religion, both are national security states with illegal nukes and are internationally isolated. The comparison is favourable to neither. There are minor differences, however.
Pakistan has a constitution which says it is a religious state. Israel doesn’t have a constitution, so its legal status is undecided. But were the two demanded in the name of religion? It is not certain.
The only document that lays out the nature of the Israeli state is proclamation of Madinat Yisrael of 1948. (State in Hebrew is madina!) This is the proclamation about the foundation of the state. It speaks of Israel as a homeland of all Jews. It says the values of the state of Israel will be based on the teachings of the Hebrew Prophets.
The Proclamation of Independence, read over the radio by Prime Minister Ben Gurion in 1948, is controversial in Israel. But the truth is that secular Israelis would not sign it if it contained the name of God. Prime Minister Ben Gurion, whose secularism and left-leaning thinking prevented the rightwing “observing” Jews from coming to power till 1977, did not allow the word ‘God’ in the Proclamation.
“Non-observing” Jews founded Israel while the orthodox Jews opposed it. A constitution would have clearly defined the ideology of Israel, but no agreement exists so far on such a constitution.
In the case of Pakistan, partially “observing” but non-clerical Muslims founded the state. A majority of the clerical parties rejected Pakistan just as most orthodox Jews were to reject the Herzl-Gurion enterprise called Israel.
Like Ben Gurion, Jinnah did not want a religious state. When he spoke about the nature of the state on 11 Aug 1948 three days before its actual coming into being, he described it as a secular state. After his death in 1948, his successors thought of defining the state in Islamic terms.
In the case of Israel, this did not happen. The Labour “socialists” dominated Israel till 1977. Ben Gurion hated Menachim Begin, the founder of right-wing Likud. If he had had his way, Israel would not have continued to occupy the lands it conquered in 1967.
One can say that Israel is still secular because of its 40 per cent Ashkenazi European-Jewish population. Judaism has a sharia abandoned by the European Jews in the 17th century. When it came, Islam did not follow the Pauline-Christian rejection of the Sharia. The Mishnaic-Talmudic “parallel” authority is comparable to the authority of Hadith.
Pakistan wrote up its Objectives Resolution in 1949 after Jinnah’s death. It mentioned God in it, which later became Allah. It allowed the non-Muslim minorities to practise their religion “freely”, but when the resolution appeared inside the constitution in 1985, “freely” disappeared from the text without due notification. (It has been reinstated by the 18th amendment in 2010.)
Like Pakistan, Israel also treats its minorities badly. Mullahs in Pakistan and rabbis in Israel wield power, because of ideology in the case of Pakistan, and proportional representation in the case of Israel. Unlike Pakistan, Israel invited “all Jews of the world” to Israel.
Quite brainlessly, it was proclaimed that Pakistan was made up of letters indicating the regions contained in it. It contained Kashmir but not East Bengal. The first it never got and the second it lost in 1971.
Israel too was named all wrong. The name of the Jewish state under the prophet-king David was Judea. Israel in the Bible was in fact a renegade state destroyed for its evil in 722 BC. In rabbinic translation, the name Israel means wrestling with God. In Arabic too if you write “sara’” with “suad” instead of “seen”, it means wrestling.
Published in the Express Tribune, June 13th, 2010.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
M. Salim - poignant and thought provoking!
Tarique - Well,I cant understand the fact that Pakistan Assembly littered with feudal and elite liberal class easily allowed to pass the Objective Resolution.(we know well how far Mr.Liaquat Ali and his Begum were religious!!!).Why the most staunch opponent of Pakistan, religious parties were successful exerting their influence so easily?.Then Our military joined hands with Mullahs in bleeding Indians in Kashmir using and abusing religious parties.And now see the irony that this has become such a monster that new breed of fanatical religious group does not acknowledge political religious parties that always proclaimed to bring Islami Inqalab (we have seen JUI and Jamat-e-Islami were both targeted)
Gary - Just so you know, “MEDINA” is State in Hebrew – not “Madina”.
Syed Nadir El Edroos - Great article! Thank you for the insight! It helps that we recognize other nations for there diversity, rather than broadly stereotyping a country. After all, we get incensed when the rest of the world treats us Pakistani’s the same way.
Saalik Siddikki - Very informative and interesting piece of work by Mr. Khaled Ahmed as it should have been. The point about Israel’s being a secular State is arguable. But I would like to make a brief comment about “Like Pakistan, Israel also treats its minorities badly.”
I assume that Mr. Khaled hurriedly concluded his article, for a person of his journalistic stature could not ignore the reality that like Israel it is not the State of Pakistan that treats minorities badly. On the contrary, the whole Israeli government machinery is involved and engaged in its misdemeanor against Palestinian people.
I do not have to go into details about how the minorities of Pakistan are enjoying their freedom. They hold high positions in business, media, show-biz, military, government departments and even judiciary. There are no restriction on their getting education or learning and practicing any skills. Even there have never been any blockades on them. You can find them in any localities of the society according to their social status i.e. in lower middle class, middle class and upper class as well.
Yes, it is true that some religious quarters do express their stern attitude towards certain minorities and their myopic vision is not merely focused on minorities. They also do not spare, in their hatred-filled speeches and writings, moderate and liberal Muslims.
So, in my humble opinion, the writer, being a seasoned and one of the top analysts, has not done justice to his analytical acumen in comparing this aspect of the two countries.
I am sanguine Mr. Khaled Ahmed would dig deep in his insight to thoroughly re-write his version of understanding on this subject.
Rest of the article deserves to be perused minutely by the students of modern world history.
Anwar Ahmad - Mr. Saalik writes:
like Israel it is not the State of Pakistan that treats minorities badly.
What would you call Ordinance XX inducting Sections 295 & 298 in PPC? Isn’t it Pakistan’s law? Dozens have been killed, thousands have landed in Jails; many have lost their homes, businesses and property because of these draconian laws.Pakistan as a state IS treating its minorities worse than any other country. Do you know how many Hindus have left Pakistan because they found it convvenient to cross border to save their lives and women? Please read HRCP’s report and you’ll know where we stand today.
Saalik Siddikki - @Tarique – Regardless of their claims, no political-religious party can ever hold the flag of revolution in Pakistan for so many reasons. First, their shortsighted vision of a true leadership. They have hot-speakers and crowd-pullers, but not thinkers in their ranks. Second, none of these parties represent the majority of even their own sects. Third and most apparent reason is their misconceptions about politics and Islam.
They are adversely divided on basic Islamic ideology. The parties you have referred to are well-known to have had negative stance during the movement for creation of Pakistan.
Lastly, I would like to pinpoint a contradiction in your opinion. You wrote “Then Our military joined hands with Mullahs in bleeding Indians in Kashmir using and abusing religious parties.” and “(we have seen JUI and Jamat-e-Islami were both targeted).”
It was initially Jama’at-e-Islami that sent Mujahideen to help or train Kashmiri freedom fighters (though some factions of other religious parties undertook to replace them). I am personally aware of this fact. I do not understand then just who targeted them?
And those you have labelled as Mullahs are entirely a different breed of practitioners of Islam who were created out of nowhere by agencies and JUI, with the help of Pentagon and CIA, during the USSR invasion of Afghanistan. How could have they targeted JUI?
God protect and save this country from these fanatic parasites!
Ali - “Ayesha Siddiqa in her June 6 column in The Express Tribune made a very interesting comparison between Pakistan and Israel: both were supposedly formed on the basis of religion, both are national security states with illegal nukes and are internationally isolated”
Is Pakistan internationally isolated? Ayesha Siddiqa is enormously wrong.
maham irfan - calling pakistan and israil alike will be just as justified as calling
– licoln and kenedy
– shakespeare and wali shah
– diana and georgina cavendish
they may be alike but (thankfully) are not identical!