The Pan-Islamism problem for Pakistan

Imran Khan, elected as Prime Minister of Pakistan in July 2018, made countering Islamophobia and demanding respect for Islam's prophet one of his main, if not the main national and international priority. As a consequence, since September 2020, there is a Pakistan/France case about these religious issues. It is largely ignored in France, while tensions are very high in Pakistan.
Imran Khan, elected as Prime Minister of Pakistan in July 2018, made countering Islamophobia and demanding respect for Islam’s prophet one of his main, if not the main national and international priority. As a consequence, since September 2020, there is a Pakistan/France case about these religious issues. It is largely ignored in France, while tensions are very high in Pakistan. Many French political analysts would like to work on this, but lack the accurate information and cultural understanding needed to address it.
The following article, emphasizing the "Ummah" dimension could be of great help. It comes from a Twitter thread, dated April 22, 2021.  It was kept without any modification except for this introduction, the images, the headlines and the notes. It is published with the agreement of its author, ★ℍ @_hilaI, a Pakistani citizen and Muslim.
ℍ @_hilaI on Twitter

The following article, emphasizing the « Ummah » dimension could be of great help. It comes from a Twitter thread, dated April 22, 2021. It was kept without any modification except for this introduction, the images, the headlines and the notes. It is published with the agreement of its author, ℍ @_hilaI, a Pakistani citizen and Muslim.

There are vast differences in opinion, culture, security needs, inequality, etc. between bordering countries, let alone the entire Muslim world.

The lay Muslim’s desires for political Islam beyond borders and Islam as a foreign policy tool have transformed into geopolitical and societal problems for Pakistan. Pan-Islamism [note: political ideology advocating the unity of Muslims under one Islamic country or state – often a caliphate] is causing great harm to Pakistan. Islam should (and would) go beyond borders as a unifying force of shared beliefs and morals, including with non-Muslims. This spiritual/moral connection is sensible/ « Ummah » enough.

The contiguous Ummah [note: Muslim community] west to east goes from Morocco to Pakistan. I am Pakistani, my best friend is Moroccan – we have a deep spiritual and moral connection. Yet, we understand the vast difference of the two countries in most things and have different opinions on many things. Values overlap over many identities. Value others as human beings – as Islam mandates:

« …We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise (each other))… »

Ummah, Pan-Islamism, Pakistan
Ummah (green)

There are vast differences in opinion, culture, security needs, inequality, etc. between bordering countries, let alone the entire Muslim world. There are sectarian issues (e.g Shia/Sunni) and even disagreements between Sunnis. Iran used « Ummah »/ Pan-Islam to get support from Pakistanis/Afghans, while recruiting their Shias to use in IRGC [note: Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp] proxies. Same Iran won’t recruit Iranians via « Islam » for use in proxies. See how Iran regime treats its own Muslims too.

Another neighbour, Afghanistan has unrivalled racism problems against fellow Muslims (especially minorities and Pakistani Punjabis). Yet some Pakistanis chase Islamic unification with them. Nobody in Afghanistan wants that, not even Afghan Taliban. No security need supports this.

Pakistan can’t even win the support of IoJK [note: Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir] anymore, despite fighting tooth and nail for them. Bangladesh became independent. They can’t get Pashtuns in Afghanistan onside and only recently got back control of their own Waziristan [note:tribal areas] and Balochistan. There is little use talking pro political Ummah if you can barely keep your own country together. Why would Bosnia and Malaysia want to cooperate with Pakistan? Has Pakistan got some financial power or oil?

Pakistanis are worrying about Pan-Islamism when they can’t even look after their own people and give them basic resources, like water and education. 

Spiritual ambitions overlook the tangible reality of people’s diverse needs. Punjab, with its many rivers and flat land is lush and food secure, but barren and mountainous Balochistan has severe water issues. Even in the same country, people have massive difference in needs.

AkbariSarai !!!
Punjab, AkbariSarai: Photo Imran Sohail Flickr
DAM BALOCHISTAN
Balochistan: Photo Syed M.Rafiq Flickr

Pakistanis are worrying about Pan-Islamism when they can’t even look after their own people and give them basic resources, like water and  education. 

This lack of resources and geopolitical needs are the reasons why Muslim countries are at odds. Muslims could make concessions for each other, but even in a more ideal world there are economic implications of « sharing »/making concessions hastily that will affect and disrupt people. People in one province/country may not want to give up resources for genuine reasons.

Even within one country, people’s survival instinct and desire for safety, resources goes (rightfully) far above desire for « Ummah » with faraway people.

This is why there is strife in Balochistan, Waziristan and why there was in Bangladesh. Pakistan must focus on its own progression and people should drop these ideas of Pan Islam and grow their country’s economy, and improve Pakistan’s security situation. Pakistan should give its people freedom and safety – traits of a great country.

Ask: « would Bosnians or Kosovans want to unify with you? » What benefit would they get? Send poor Pakistanis from Tharparkar [note: Thar desert] to Bosnia and then see how they get treated. If you’ve ever been on Muslim Twitter [note: author means tweets by Muslim users], you’ll know how they’ll get treated.

There are too many appalling issues in Pakistan for 16-25 year olds to be trying to unite the Ummah. Worry about getting a job and showing some loyalty in your own homes/friendships before you ask for some with Bosnia and Bangladesh.

Pakistan is poor, incapable of changing anything worldwide, but is lecturing a country like France on blasphemy and causing huge issues for itself unnecessarily.

Economic development and integration, can improve Pakistan’s frontier regions and will massively improve the lives of Muslims. Muslim (human) welfare starts at home, with people you can actually help and have a duty to. A strong Pakistan is good for all Muslims: Pakistan’s military is powerful and is a land with great geopolitical value. A strong Pakistan can help Muslims diplomatically and maybe even militarily  – but in this moment is unable.

Pakistan is poor, incapable of changing anything worldwide, but is lecturing a country like France on blasphemy and causing huge issues for itself unnecessarily. Even Iran sidesteps making such crazy decisions. So that is political « Ummah. »

Nobody from Palestine, Turkey, Bangladesh, Uyghurs, etc. are going to save Pakistan from India or any other perceived enemies. You should realise that everybody else puts their interests ahead of yours.

Pakistanis must let go of the idea that they are responsible for changing the world for Islam, because it is not their responsibility. Instead, this desire is making Pakistan disliked even in the Muslim world, by interfering with everybody else’s business.

This same mentality of getting involved in other people’s affairs, e.g. TLP [note: Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan, far right Islamist party] and France, shows that Pakistanis have misguided and unrealistic ambitions. They need to take the focus off Muslim unity, let alone France and put their focus and attention on Pakistan.

Pan Islamism and religious extremism of any type not only directly causes harm to Pakistan and Islam’s reputation, but distracts Pakistanis from what is important: their people’s happiness and prosperity.

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Publié par Bernard Grua

Graduated from Paris "Institut d'Etudes Politiques", financial auditor, photographer, founder and spokesperson of the worldwide movement which opposed to the delivery of Mitral invasion vessels to Putin's Russia, contributor to French and foreign media for culture, heritage and geopolitics.

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