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Western and Islamic democracy

The word “democracy” — a Greek word in origin, is composed of Demo or the people and “Cracy” rule, or meaning rule of people, it started in city states of Greece. A lame tradition of Democracy was practiced in Rome where it got mixed up with Emperorship and had a zigzag course. Otherwise in Europe worst authoritarian rule remained entrenched till the French revolution or the 18th Century where the theory of Divine Rights of Kings was propounded. It developed after the French Revolution or after the 18th century primarily in England and also in France but naturally under the hallow of different cultural backgrounds Democracy as is now practiced evolved in England and the British parliament is called the mother of all parliaments. In England also it had a chequered development, passing through various evolutions.

Among Muslims we had our own concept of rule of the people. We were not without the concept of a rule of the people for the people and in early history of Islam, and this principle or idea was basic to Muslim political thought and jurisprudence. The Rule of the Caliphs was an illustration of what is the duty of the rulers towards the ruled. Hazrat Umar’s saying that even if someone in Iraq suffered on the Day of Judgment he will be answerable for the sufferings of that being illustrate this idea.

There is one difference in Western system and Islamic. The word Sharia meant rule of the law. In Islam there are two rights, of Allah and of the people – the later are so sacrosanct that it is said that God may forgive transgressions against His rights but even he will not forgive violations of rights of Human beings. So in Islam no rule autocratic or now the prevalent one, Democratic, can violate Rights and obligations of the Human beings. The words Human Rights now so much used by the West have been borrowed from Islam. In fact Human Rights has much limited scope in the West than in Islam.

This is the dividing line in Islamic concept of political rule. No law can deny any human being his rights. The exact word is “Huquq El Ibad” not Huquq el Muslimeen, that is its application is not limited to Muslims only. Theoretically in Western concept democracy can pass any law by majority. But as Bertrand Russell said even parliaments have limitations such as, he said, if all the parliaments of the world passed a law that from tomorrow the Sun should rise from the West it would not obey the command of all the parliaments of the world.

Under Pakistani concepts there is a distinct line dividing the nation and ethnicity. The Nation is one brotherhood and ethnic groups in it are merely identities, on the basis of the substance of the Quranic words that human beings are divided into tribes so that they can be recognized as such The idea of a nation in which tribes and ethnities merge is an old idea of Islamic polity as well. In modern context the world has such large political power groups that in it small units are impractical with huge entities like EU, America, China, India etc In any case taking ethnicity to absurd limits of creating bits of states is suicidal. This is a mirage of a creating a separate state. It would mean becoming a satellite of a bigger power with a myth of independence and surely poverty stricken deserts and infertile areas cannot ever get an independent state. It is cheating oneself and one’s followers. Identity of interests and commonality of mutual benefits among like minded and persons of common social system in broad terms ensures progress. Look at Pakistan What were those areas before Pakistan and now? Take any old records and compare their economic and social systems.

Any body who proposes it is subverting the basic Confederation is a big leap towards eventual disappearance of Pakistan, it is a prescription for slow death and eventually breaking the one-ness of the Pakistani people. It presumes that we are NOT one people, but separate nations, put together by, the direction Any way, no confederations exist in the world.. I quote the acknowledged authority on International Law, L Oppenheim in his book “ International Law in seventh edition at page 165, para 88, says: and I quote “ History has shown that the Confederated States represent an organization which in the long run gives very little satisfaction. It is for this reason that three Confederated States of modern times namely, the United States of America, the German and the Swiss Confederation turned into unions of Federal States. The last in existence, the major Republic of Central America, which comprised of the three full sovereign states of Hadoras, Nicaragua and San Salvador, and was established in 1895, came to an end in 1898.”

I will reminded here of the Quid’s warning “if you think yourself as Punjabis, Pathans, Balochis instead of Pakistanis first, Pakistan will disintegrate” I also recall what the famous lawyer A K Brohi at one time wrote in Magazine Impact “Minus Islam Pakistan will fall into the lap of Indian history.” I should like to add that Pakistan is an ideology tied to a land and a land tied to an ideology. One minus the other cannot exist. That is the landmass of Pakistan is not a nation minus that ideology on which it was created. Pakistan is not a geographic entity without its Muslim identity.

By Dr Samiullah Koreshi:


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