Can Pakistan Be A Secular State?
Pakistan, the only atomic state of Muslim world, is globally the fifth most populated country with 95-98% population being Muslims. The official name of the country is Islamic Republic of Pakistan with Islam as the state religion. The country came into being on 14th August 1947, after a long bloody struggle of the Muslims of Sub-continent who wanted to create a state based on the principles of Islam and where Muslims of the Sub-continent could freely practice their religion. So the basic objective of the creation of Pakistan was to have an Islamic state where Muslims could live peacefully however over the past few years a question about the possibility of secularism in the country is circulated among the political analysts of the country. The debate of Secularism in Pakistan got momentum especially in 2015, when the then Chief Justice of Pakistan, Nasir-ul-Mulk while hearing petitions that challenges the procedure of appointment of superior courts judges under 18th amendment and the establishment of military courts for terrorists’ trials under 21st Amendment asked for the possibility of replacement of Article 2 of the constitution. Since then a burning debate over the question “Can Pakistan be a secular state?” is going on in the country.
Can Pakistan Be A Secular State?
To answer this question we have to analyze it from all perspectives.
Negation Of Two Nations Theory
If Pakistan’s government or people of Pakistan try to move towards secularism in the country, it would be in one or another way negation of Two Nations Theory which had formed the basis of Pakistan’s movement. In this case the legal basis of Pakistan’s demand and her existence would be vanished. If Muslims of Pakistan have no problem with secularism in the country then why did they created a separate Muslim state? They could live with Hindus in United Hindustan.
Betrayal With Martyrs Of Pakistan’s Movement
Such an act would be a betrayal with the martyrs of Pakistan’s freedom movement. It would mean as if millions of fighter of the freedom movement at the time of creation of Pakistan shed their blood for nothing. In real terms movement towards secularism in Pakistan would be like disrespecting the martyr of freedom movement.
State’s Religion As Per Objective Resolution
The objective resolution of 1949 that was adopted by the first Constituent Assembly of Pakistan on 12 March 1949 had demanded that Islam would be the state religion of Pakistan, which was unanimously supported by all Muslim members of the assembly. This shows that the early framers of Pakistan too wanted the country to be a religious and an Islamic state.
Threat To Integrity
Pakistan has a multi-ethnic population with distinguished cultural values and customs. In case of secularism there are high chances that some ethnic groups of the country such as Pakhtoons and Balochs, who have strict social and cultural values, may get up against such decision of the government.
Experience Of Other Muslim Countries
Before moving towards secularism in the country it is necessary that a thorough analysis of the social, political and economic situation of those Muslim states who are secular should be conducted. Mustafa Kamal Ataturk turned Turkey to a secular state and for more than 95 years the country remained a secular state but today we see that most of the political leaders such as Tayyab Eradogan and Turkish public want to turn the country back to Islamism.
The supporters of secularism in the country often quote that most of the prominent Muslim scholars of the Sub-continent were against the creation of Pakistan. They actually quote one part of their view. Most Muslim scholars of that time were of the view that a separate Islamic state should not be formed because according to them whole India is the land of Muslims and one day Muslims would regain their power and would acquire control of the country but if they were alive today, they would admire the idea of creation of Pakistan especially because of the ongoing communal riots in India and India occupied Kashmir.