Contemporary Sovereignty and Pakistan

Topics: Pakistan, Ayub Khan, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Pages: 5 (1691 words) Published: October 4, 2011
Contemporary Sovereignty and Pakistan

1. General. Pakistan because of its turbulent past and it’s mindboggling array of internal and external challenges has confronted all sorts of sovereignty issues in its short existence. A partition that raised many problems; the Kashmir conflict; the search for security through alliances and the antecedent issues of sovereignty, the inability to forge strong national institutions that led to separation of East Pakistan; poor internal governance and corruption that has virtually destroyed the social contract between the state and the people, which is the basis of internal sovereignty; And now the latest pressures from the support to the US led war in Afghanistan, that has raised a chorus of voices decrying lost sovereignty. Pakistan is a classic case study for contemporary sovereignty. In this part of the presentation, we will discuss the two major dimensions of sovereignty i.e internal sovereignty and the external sovereignty in Pakistan’s contemporary environment, in light of the theoretical framework of the concept of sovereignty. 2.Internal Sovereignty. In the context of internal sovereignty, following issues will be examined:- a.The concept of sovereignty in Pakistan is based on the religious interpretations which leave room for dissent and discord. b.Sovereignty has not flowed to the people, nor the institutions and systems fully developed to safeguard it. c.Internal Sovereignty weak, exerting a negative pull on the external sovereignty dimensions. 3.The concept of Sovereignty in Pakistan. The preamble of 1973 Constitution of Pakistan, derived from the Objectives Resolution defines Sovereignty as “Whereas sovereignty over the entire Universe belongs to Almighty Allah alone, and the authority to be exercised by the people of Pakistan within the limits prescribed by Him is a sacred trust”) 4.The statement that sovereignty belongs to Allah has its roots in Islamic Concept of Sovereignty. Prominent Muslim thinkers Al Farabi Ibn e Sina and Ibn e Rushd, Ibn e Khaldun , all carried forward the idea that the ideal Muslim state was the one governed by the Holy Prophet, and after the departure of the Holy Prophet, the Caliph may exercise these functions. Al Marwadi’s further refined this concept declaring that Muslim Sovereignty would only be legal anywhere if it was sanctioned by the Abbasid Caliph. In Muslim India, commencing with Muhammad Bin Qasim’s conquest of Sind in 711 AD to Bahadur Shah Zafar in 1857, Muslim rulers generally opted for this cosmetic link with the Caliphate to legitimize their rule, although many of them rarely had any Islamic leanings or special interest to enforce Sharia. Pakistan, the latest manifestation of Islamic rule in the Sub Continent, draws its ideological inspiration from these lineages. 5.The controversy.There are two main related to the Objectives resolution. First is that of interpretation and second is political exploitation. a.Interpretation. There are differing opinions on what an Islamic Republic should look like. The sheer emotive and religious nature of the concept, leads to divisiveness and radical interpretations. This is at the heart of today’s identity crisis, as Pakistan means different things for different people. At one end are those who want to see a rigid theocracy and at the other are those who subscribe to the ideals of a progressive and modern Islamic state. b.Exploitation. As different politicians from Bhutto to Zia looked to bolster their waning support in the public, they looked towards appeasing the vocal religious parties. Resultantly from a preamble it became an operative part of the constitution in 1985, during the peak of General Zia’s islamization drive. Any move towards Islamization, even sham , becomes the next benchmark, which is then not allowed to be challenged or revisited by the vocal religious parties. Resultantly Pakistan has become much more conservative in official outlook with the passage of...
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