Pakistan : Transformation through Islamization

Col. CM Ramakrishnan (Retd.)

Pakistan today & the World

The precarious and unviable conditions of security and economic bankruptcy facing the state of Pakistan, with its broken Democracy, limping governance systems, violence in the streets, and utter disregard of the rights of non-Muslims are there for all to see. It has evolved into an aggressive and unstable state, unhinged by an ideology that openly promotes terrorism and presents a threat to humanity with its cavalier approach towards the production and use of nuclear weapons.

This downward spiral commenced in 1947 and continues today. The current terrible situation in Pakistan is the result of the actions by many actors, elites and common citizens who were guided initially, and later, driven by ideas and interpretations of a few philosophers of what an ideal Islamic state should be.

The two-Nation Theory

The state of Pakistan based on the two-Nation Theory, conceived and developed by members of the Muslim League under the leadership and guidance of Mohammad Ali Jinnah, an England educated Gujarati Shia lawyer (later converted to Sunni) took hold of the imagination of many Muslims, and aided by the outgoing British rulers, became a reality in 1947.

The state of Pakistan, sought for in the name of Islam, especially for Muslims, was formed in August 1947, as a geographical entity, with a legal and legitimate government acknowledged under international Laws, with sovereignty over its territorial limits. It was carved out of the Dominion of India, ruled then by the British, in the Indian subcontinent.

The evolution of Pakistan since 1947 has been on a plane and trajectory different from the rest of the subcontinent, which became India i.e., Bharat and Bangladesh; Bharat and Bangladesh are working Democracies with economic growth.

Pakistan as a laboratory of an Islamic state

Jinnah said Pakistan was a laboratory. He was right, for Pakistan was to follow the dictates of Quran, which did not delineate the concept of a Westphalian state as defined, understood, adapted and practiced post 1648.

This precondition to strictly adhere to the Quran and Hadiths (with more than one interpretation by scholars) had to be adapted to a system of governance based on an inheritance of colonial administration from the British, following their departure in 1947. To add to the confusion were the novel concepts of Democracy, spirit of scientific enquiry, equality, fairness and justice, etc.

There is no doubt that the rulers of Pakistan had to contend with diverse pulls and pressures, of religion, cosmopolitanism, international laws and real politick. Pressure groups pressing for social justice, rule of law, economic equality had also to be dealt with by those in power.

Many options on the path to wed Islam to Democracy were available; some were tried for a short time and discarded. Over seven decades Pakistan has deliberately chosen and travelled on the path towards complete Islamization of the state of Pakistan and its society. The journey towards total Islamization of Pakistan, its state, institutions, and society are yet incomplete.

The Pakistani Path to Islamization

Pakistan is slowly but surely moving forward towards complete Islamization of society in the territory of Pakistan. There have been 3 Constituent Assemblies in Pakistan producing 2 Constitutions in 1957 and 1973. Of course, its Constitutions have been suspended more than once and Martial law declared by the Pakistani army chiefs in the past.

Maulana Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi (1903–1979) & Political Islam in Pakistan

The march towards total Islamization of Pakistani state and society cannot be understood without a study of Maulana Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi, his concepts of Political Islam, and the influence of the cadre based political party formed by him in 1941,viz Jamaat-e-Islami (Islamic Society). He was a prolific writer and speaker.

Maulana Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi introduced ideas, and his support to the Pakistani state and its leaders like Liaquat Ali Khan, and Ayub Khan, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, set the shape and narrative that have reduced Pakistan to its current unenviable situation today. [The contributions and support from various quarters including the Muslim world like Saudi Arabia, friends and allies in USA and Europe should not be underestimated.] He wrote many parts of the script and even acted as a player in the Islamization of Pakistan.

Islamization of the Constitution of Pakistan, state and citizens

Pakistan promulgated its first Constitution in 1956 (abrogated in a military coup in 1958). The second Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan was promulgated on 14th August 1973.

However, the seeds of the move towards an Islamic ideological state had already been sown when the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan passed the ‘Objective Resolution’ in March 1949, [Maududi only fully entered the country’s politics after Jinnah’s demise and after the passage of the March 1949 Objectives Resolution which resolved to evolve Pakistan as an Islamic Republic. Critics of the Resolution see the document as a ‘political stunt’ by Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan to appease the religious parties] “Which was a curious mix of theology and political science”. [‘Pakistan Between Mosque and Military’ by Husain Haqqani pp 17] It linked the Constitution under drafting to “Democracy, freedom, equality, and social justice ‘as enunciated by Islam’, opening the door for future controversies about what Islam required of state”. [Ibid 17]

“After the Objectives Resolution, there was no turning back from Pakistan’s status as an Islamic Ideological state.” [Ibid pp19]

“Discrimination and oppression are built into the Constitutional, legal, and institutional framework. This is compounded enormously by an enveloping and state-supported culture of religious bigotry, religious polarisation, and extremism, propagated through governmental, educational, and dominant social institutions.” []

Various issues in Pakistan were addressed by successive rulers, the elite, based on the interpretations of Quran and Hadith as was convenient and suitable at that point of time.

Discrimination and oppression against non-Muslims and women is the norm.

What is worse, the proliferation of terrorist organisations in Pakistan, many of them (over 50) including Lashkar e Tayyaba, JeM, TTP, Labbaik, JUD, etc. raised, trained, funded and used in terrorist operations by the Pakistani army and its dreaded ISI against its neighbours – India, Afghanistan, Iran.

Afghan Taliban is the brainchild of Pakistan. Possibility of extremist militant organisation like Tehrik e Taliban Pakistan located and operating from Afghanistan taking over large swathes of territory is a direct and distinct possibility today. TTP and many other terrorist organisations like JeM exist today within Pakistan, who believe in the imposition of Sharia laws as being most essential. These organisations have popular appeal and support.

Pakistan possesses not only nuclear weapons of magnitude but also Tactical Nuclear Weapons, which are easily transportable. Pakistani Presidents, Prime Ministers, in the Government of Pakistan and army chiefs have no hesitation in threatening the world with the use of atomic weapons and calls for Jihad. This coupled with the jingoist approach of Pakistani army poses a major threat to entire humanity.

The most obnoxious interpretations of the sayings in Quran and Hadiths have been consistently and wilfully drilled into young minds from early school days along with incessant propaganda against non-Muslims and non-Islamic countries.

The motto of the Pakistani army to openly call for and display its Jihadi approach was the outcome of the combination of poisonous minds like that of Gen. Zia Ul Haq, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, and Maududi. Today, there are over 50,000 Madrassas in Pakistan that turn out Jihadis by the thousands every year.

It is for the Pakistanis to introspect and decide where their path of Islamization is taking them. Is it possible for Pakistan to slow down and halt the downward spiral to chaos and self-destruction ?

In the meantime, every country in the world needs to take note of the dangers that the State of Pakistan with its jingoistic and unbridled military and terrorist organisations pose, not only for its neighbours, but to entire humanity.

– Col. CM Ramakrishnan (Retd.)
(Courtesy :

(Col. Rama served in the Indian Army for 33 years. He participated in the wars of 1965 and 1971. He has been engaged in social activism, and mentoring under-privileged children of migrants in New Delhi.)

 Every country in the world needs to take note of the dangers that Pakistan with its jingoistic military poses to humanity !