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January 4, 2015

‘Muslim elite played pivotal role in creation of Pakistan’


January 4, 2015

A review of the late socialist thinker Hamza Alavi’s book ‘Takhleeq-e-Pakistan’, comprising five of his historic essays, was held recently at the Karachi Youth Support Network’s office in Clifton under the aegis of the Readers Club.
Dr Riaz Sheikh, Dean of Social Sciences at the Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology, who translated Alavi’s essays into Urdu, read out and explained portions of the book dealing with the underlying causes of the genesis of Pakistan, the role of the Khilafat Movement, the embedding of America’s tentacles in the body politic of Pakistan and other issues.
Tracing the origin of Pakistan’s “special” relationship with the US, Alavi, as narrated by Dr Sheikh, contends that Pakistan’s fate was sealed in 1951 after the signing of the military cooperation agreements with America.
According to Alavi, for the initial years of her existence, Pakistan tried to maintain a neutral foreign policy.
However, the United Kingdom Labour Government, headed by the then prime minister Clement Attlee, did not look upon Pakistan with favour, holding that in Pakistan feudals were calling the tune and felt that Pakistan was an elitist state.
The Labourites, Alavi holds, were more favourably inclined towards India, as India had banished feudalism and had ushered in a more egalitarian setup.
This, Alavi says, put Pakistan in a fix and it created a dilemma for Pakistan as to where to turn for her security.
So, in 1949, Pakistan was forced to carry out a review of her foreign policy and the US capitalised on Pakistan’s dilemma; and beginning 1951, Pakistan was pushed into the lap of the US.
What motivated this, Alavi opines, was the then Iranian prime minister Mohammad Mossadegh’s nationalisation of foreign oil companies.
So the US thought it fit to appoint a policeman for the region which, he says, the US conveniently found in Pakistan.
Alavi says the Tudeh (Masses) Party of

Iran was riding atop a crest of popularity, and the US prepared Pakistan and Turkey to intervene in case of a communist coup in Iran.
Hence, the Regional Cooperation for Development (RCD) encompassing Iran, Pakistan and Turkey was formed.
Alavi opines that the US decided to give generous armed assistance, because posting an unarmed US soldier overseas would cost the US $5,900 while arming a Pakistani soldier to protect her overseas interests would cost only $744.
Another watershed year, Alavi says, was 1979, when the US propaganda machine had trumpeted the “Soviet ambitions of making it to the warm waters of the Indian Ocean and the Communist threat” that further sucked Pakistan into the vortex of the US global military setup.
Alavi emphasises, however, that Pakistan’s fate was sealed when in 1951 it became the client state of the US.
Delving further back into history, according to Dr Sheikh, Alavi contends that the Muslim elite played the most pivotal role in the creation of Pakistan.
This elite, he contends, could not have been expected to bring about land reform or ameliorating the lot of the depressed Muslims, as they were totally detached from them. He contends that Pakistan was goaded into encouraging the formation of the Taliban.
Dr Riaz said Muslims in the Muslim minority provinces were apprehensive on account of the shifting state of affairs, so they leaned toward backing the demand for an independent Muslim state, adding that the conditions were different for Muslims in the Muslim majority provinces, where the Muslim League could hardly gather any support.

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