In 1940 the All India Muslim League led by Muhammad Ali Jinnah articulated the seminal ideology of a separate homeland for the Muslims of Hindustan. Jinnah was a visionary who foresaw the dichotomy between two major religious groups living in the sub-continent and felt the need to protect the rights of the Muslim minority through a mass movement. In modern-day history, Pakistan was the first country that came into existence on the basis of the ideology of a common faith. Following the adoption of the Pakistan resolution, there was a massive display of commitment, struggle and sacrifice by the Muslims of the sub-continent to achieve their cherished goal of a separate homeland.
The struggle for independence from the British saw Hindus working for a unified independent state, but Muslim population did not want to live under a Hindu-dominated rule. Despite initially subscribing to the secular ideology of Congress, Jinnah gradually realized that Muslims in the subcontinent would be marginalized as a minority and deprived of economic and social opportunities under Hindu governance. The ideology of Pakistan was to ensure a safe homeland for Muslims where they could practice their religion without any fear and would not be sidelined as a religious and political underclass. Despite being fiercely protective of the rights of Muslims, Jinnah did not envision a theocracy. Quaid-e-Azam preached tolerance and encouraged inclusivity of all religious minorities in Pakistan. This cannot go without quoting the Quaid who in this regard said, “You are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place of worship in this state of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed; that has nothing to do with the business of State.”
Pakistan was a product of the tireless dedication and struggle of Muslims of pre-partition India. However, hostile lobbies operating undercover in Pakistan are involved in disseminating propaganda against the State of Pakistan, its founding principle and challenging and Jinnah’s vision of a separate homeland for Muslims. There are tell-tale evidences of links between cross-border disinformation setups and local anti-state lobbies working under the garb of left-liberalism.
Modern-day combat is no longer limited to physical conflict. In this day and age of the internet, it is hybrid warfare that employs subtle, intangible weapons to weaken the ideological construct of a nation. One such attempt was unearthed back in 2020 when the Brussels-based EU DisinfoLab uncovered a vast network of 265 coordinated fake local media outlets in 65 countries running Indian disinformation campaign maligning Pakistan, as well as multiple dubious think tanks and NGOs. This network was active in Brussels and Geneva in producing and amplifying content designed to tarnish Pakistan’s image globally.
Lately in the name of promoting cultural diversity some groups are trying to undermine the integrity of the nation. Attempts are being made to fan ethno-nationalism to question the coordinates of Pakistani nationhood. Some argue that this nation is an amalgamation of various cultural groups that hold nothing in common. Such notions challenge the underlying unity of the nation and instigate notions of ethnic division and rivalry.
Pakistan flaunts a rich cultural diversity and has various sects of the dominant religion Islam living peacefully together. The rising tide of anti-Muslim extremism in India in recent years proves Jinnah’s two-nation theory right.
The Hindu fascist ideology of the BJP government has brought testing times for Muslims across India. Most states in India observe a ban on meat-eating. False accusations have led to barbaric lynching of Muslims. Indian Muslims, who are suffering at the hands of Hindutva ganga have no one to turn to, as law enforcement bodies too are filled with hardcore RSS members who trace their roots to the Nazis.
The life of a common Muslim in India is becoming increasingly difficult with every passing day, where recurring attacks on Muslim symbols and practices have become a common part of the larger Hindu far-right agenda of imposing majoritarian values on minorities. Similarly, the recent Hijab ban in educational institutes in Karnataka, India reflects the intolerant mindset of the Hindu population. In the light of such circumstances, Jinnah’s vision to protect the rights of Muslims by carving out a separate homeland stands vindicated. Pakistan is a safe home not only for Muslims but other religious minorities too.
The Indian media under BJP’s rule is working aggressively to instigate Islamophobia amongst the general public. The so called ‘enlightened’ class in Pakistan, instead of taking notice of the repression and atrocities against minorities in India, is busy propagating the theme of ethno-nationalism here and fanning provincialism in the name of democracy and free speech. This is a sly attempt to undermine national unity which is the agenda of our enemies. These negative forces which are active both in the conventional and social media need to be watched and exposed in order to save our young generation from their toxic influence.