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Wednesday September 28, 2022

Pakistan as a leading state of Muslim Ummah

August 14, 2022

Pakistan is celebrating its diamond jubilee this independence day. Since the very conception of Pakistan, even during the independence movement, Pakistan has been a strong proponent of Muslim solidarity and the idea of one Muslim Ummah. These goals are visible in the country’s policy framework during the past 75 years. The celebration of 75 years of Pakistan is the celebration of a leader, a voice and a sense of security that the Muslim world found with the country’s creation. The history of Pakistan is laden with examples of its people coming forward to help their brethren in faith; whether it be by accepting refugees and providing aid, or with the creation of a platform to raise voices and providing those in need with a sense of security connected to the country’s superior defence forces and arsenal.

Pakistan was created on the ideology of Islam, as a homeland for Muslims. Affirming its ideology every day and honouring the pledge of the Muslim Ummah, the nation uses its voice for oppressed Muslims around the globe. Pakistan has a steadfast stance on the Palestine issue and reiterates it every time Palestinians are confronted with a new wave of Israeli atrocities. Pakistan has a principled stance of not recognising Israel as an independent nation until the Palestine issue is resolved as per the two-state formula. In May 2021, Pakistan urged the UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) on behalf of the OIC (Organisation of Islamic Cooperation) to call a special session for Palestine. This session would go on to investigate the violations of human rights surrounding the conflict. The same resolve is shown by Pakistan in Kashmir where some 100 million Muslims are subjected to humiliation and violations of basic rights by India. In 2021, Pakistan co-sponsored a resolution for the right of self-determination of the people of Kashmir that would assist them in their struggle against their oppressors. Pakistan, with its strong and continuous voice, is a ray of hope for these people in distress. Representatives from Palestine, Kashmir and Rohingya have been seen praising Pakistan for the support it extends to their countries.

The support Pakistan extends to its brothers in faith is not only abstract in nature. Whenever there has been a call for help, the country and its people have sprung to action. In the 1979 Afghan War, Pakistan opened its borders for the fleeing Afghanis; men or women, children or the elderly, all were admitted without prejudice. Moreover, they weren’t only restrained to the camps - which is the norm in many other countries - but given opportunities to earn and provide for their families so that their self-respect remained preserved. People came out in large numbers to donate clothes, toiletries, food, etc. to charities. During this time, Pakistan adopted the example of Muhajireen and Ansars as a state-level policy. Continuing this spirit, the refugees of the Bosnian conflict in the 1990s were also welcomed with open arms and cheerful hearts; a small refugee village was established in Mansehra for them. Having a world class army, Pakistan never hesitates in assisting the militarily of other Muslim states in times of crisis. In 1979, when the Holy Kaaba was being held hostage, Pakistan sent its army for help on the request of the Saudi Kingdom.

The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (formerly Organisation of Islamic Conference) was established in Rabat, in 1969. Pakistan is its second largest member and one of the most vocal countries. Alongside Saudi Arabia and Morocco, Pakistan understood the importance of a platform to safeguard the economic, political and social interests of all Muslims. In times of crisis a message of solidarity is given through the platform. In 1974, Pakistan conducted the second summit of the OIC in Lahore. Recently, the 48th session of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the OIC was held in Islamabad. The thematic focus was on the unity of the Muslim Ummah, as well as justice and development in the Muslim world.

While listing Pakistan’s contributions to the Islamic world, its efforts against Islamophobia cannot be left unmentioned. Pakistan has always been vocal about religious discrimination and hate against Muslims across the world, be it the Rohingya genocide, or racial attacks in the West. After the September 11 attacks, Pakistan used soft force to relay its message. Movies, documentaries and talks were held to press upon the world the gravity of this issue.

In 2020, during the 47th session of the OIC, Paksitan, along with Turkey, moved the council to adopt a resolution to observe March 15 as the "International Day to Combat Islamophobia." However, this day was only officially declared and observed in 2022, on the anniversary of the 2021 Christchurch attacks. It was Pakistan that introduced the notion once again, and the UN finally designated it.

In 1998, Pakistan became the first Muslim country to be nuclear-armed and this event was celebrated across the Muslim world. The crumbling Muslim world was fighting with many issues, internal and external, at that time. The earliest waves of Islamophobia were rising, and Muslims were on the run. The situation had become even worse after the September 11 attacks. In such a scenario, the news of an Islamic country acquiring the ultimate weapon of war brought forth a sigh of relief. It provided the divided and weak Muslim nation with a sense of security and a pride. However, the weapon itself was not considered the biggest help; it was the psychological aspect linked with it that carried a huge momentum for Muslims. Even now, it still carries an honour for all the Muslim world.

Not only this, Pakistan also proves to be a role model in various ventures otherwise thought as ‘too bold’ or ‘un-Islamic’ to fathom. It was the first Muslim country to have a female Prime Minister, the first Muslim country to allow women in combat jobs and the first country to constitutionalise the rights of women in inheritance, the right to divorce, etc.

Despite facing political and economic setbacks and disadvantages due to these principled stances, Pakistan’s resolve never tatters. The country is losing an important economic partner in arms trade by not recognising Israel, yet Pakistan remains firm on its ideological ground; the plight of their Palestinian brothers bars them from trading with Israel. The same can be said in the case of Kashmir. The joys and sorrows of Pakistan have always been with those of its Muslims brethren.

The diamond jubilee celebrations of Pakistan are a moment of joy for the entire Muslim world. Formed as the "laboratory where we could experiment the principles of Islam", in the words of Quaid-i-Azam, Pakistan has stood tall on its promise and has worked on the junctures of Islamic ideology. Even though Pakistan itself is grappled with issues and is unable to enjoy a peaceful internal situation, it has been on the front to help the Muslims around the globe in whatever capacity it can. The country emulsifies the true Islamic spirit of helping others with any strength one can. This also steers us to the conclusion that we, the people of Pakistan, must strengthen the basic pillars of the nation as that will contribute to the overall morale of the Ummah. The added responsibility and the sense of security others feel because of us must encourage us to work even harder to fulfil the charge our ideology demands from us to the best of our capabilities.

-The writer is an undergraduate student of QAU, Islamabad, working as an intern at Army Institute of Military History. She can be reached at zainabafzal205@gmail.com

Comments

    zeeshan khan commented a month ago

    MashaAllah.

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