Pakistan should be controlled by people’s interest not Army or ideology”; suggests Pervez Hoodbhoy

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KARACHI: Indicating that the military pulls the strings of Pakistan’s establishment, a top scientist of the country has stressed on the need of the nation to be based on the interests of people and not on any ideology.

“What we need is a Pakistan that is built upon the common interests of the people, which includes Baloch, Sindhis, Pathans and Punjabis. This is not a country that was made for the armed forces of Pakistan,” Pervez Hoodbhoy said here.

The nuclear physicist made the comments in Karachi during a literary fest, Adab Festival. ‘”This is a country that was made for its people. We do not need any ideology for Pakistan. Countries can survive without ideologies,” he said at the literary fest recently.

Citing examples of countries not following any particular kind of ideology, the physicist said that Bangladesh, which was then East Pakistan before 1971, highlighted that the economy is faring better than Pakistan.

“Holland does not have any ideology nor does Japan. Look at Bangladesh, who were our poor cousins, they are doing so much better than we are. Their foreign exchanges are four times than ours. Their quality of life index is so much better. Why? They do not have an ideology and we do,” Hoodbhoy said.

He also said that the Pakistani government should work for the betterment of the people for the country to “thrive”.

“We must find our way out of this morass. The way out is by becoming a normal country. Normal countries do not have ideologies. They simply work for the benefit of their citizens. Those countries not just survive, they thrive. we should thrive,” Hoodbhoy asserted.

He blamed disharmony in his country and freedom movement in Balochistan as the reason for the controversial arrest of Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) chief Manzoor Pashteen. “If Muslims could have lived in peace together, we would not have separatist movements in Balochistan. You would not have Manzoor Pashteen arrested and all the PTM leadership (would not have been) arrested today,” Hoodbhoy said.

He termed his country’s founder Mohammed Ali Jinnah as a ‘confused’ man, who had no idea and vision for the nation he founded as Pakistan. “Jinnah, who we hold in such great regard, is the founder of Pakistan. But he never was able to put down what that Pakistan was to be. He never wrote a single research paper, he never wrote an essay. He gave a lot of speeches which are different times said very differently,” Hoodbhoy said.

The nuclear scientist elucidated his statement with historical evidence, quoting an excerpt made by Jinnah at the Bar Council at Karachi in 1948. “In 1948, while addressing the Bar Council at Karachi, he said that this (Pakistan) will be a land where Islamic law will be applied. He (Jinnah) did not have an idea of Pakistan…When he was asked in 1945 that what will Pakistan be, he (Jinnah) said we have plenty of time. When we achieve Pakistan, we will see what is going to be,” Hoodbhoy said.

He continued, “There was nothing about how you would get rid of the jagidaris. There was absolutely no mention at all that Pakistan would be a federation or a non-federation. There’s nothing on that. How would Pakistan survive in a world where science and technology makes one country strong. We have no plans for that. So, Pakistan was born in a state of confusion.”

Speaking at the fest, he went on to poke holes in the two-nation theory, terming it as “nonsense” and admitted that Pakistan “mistreated” and “exploited” Bengalis.

“We have not been honest with ourselves in the last 73 years. We are not being honest now. Pakistan is in a state of confusion because it was born in a state of confusion. The basis of Pakistan as articulated by Muhammad Ali Jinnah was that there only two nations that live on this subcontinent. They are mutually hostile, they cannot ever live in peace. That was the first part. The second part is Muslims formed a nation,” Hoodbhoy said.

“…This is completely nonsensical. If Muslims formed a nation that could live at peace with every part of that nation, we would not have Bangladesh. We mistreated Bengalis. We thought of them as lesser people. We exploited them and we massacred them,” he said.

Hoodbhoy outlined that the confusion should have ended in 1971 when the two-nation theory “went into the Bay of Bengal”.

“We should have got rid of the two-nation theory then. It makes absolutely no sense today. It is nonsense today,” he said while taking a jibe at the ruling establishment, challenging it to arrest him.

His latest comments assume significance as thousands of PTM activists and supporters held peaceful rallies in Loralai district in Balochistan and Karachi demanding the release of Pashteen.

Twenty-seven-year-old founder of PTM, Pashteen was arrested last month along with nine other members of the organisation and sent to 14-day judicial remand by the magistrate on the charges of sedition.

His arrest drew tens of thousands to rally across cities around Pakistan and worldwide, accusing the government and the Army of human rights abuses. It even drew criticism from European Foundation for South Asia Studies (EFSAS) — a European think-tank — who noted in its commentary that the arrest has engendered shock and dismay across Pakistan, as also internationally.

Videos shared on social media under the hashtag ‘Pashtun Long March to Loralai’ showed a large number of protesters participating in the rallies. (ANI)