The social fabric of Pakistan has been drastically revamped during Zia’s rule that has polarized the society in the name of ideological differences and intensified the drive for forced Islamization
The structures of human association are primarily determined by ideas rather than by material forces and the interests of these purposive actors are determined by their identity not given by nature. Identity shapes and conditions the interests of a particular community or ethnicity. The construction of a particular identity includes its organization, institutionalization and mobilization. Identities help individuals in defining their political and social organization that compete for its influence which determines entire political discourse.
Construction of identity involves exploitation of widely acclaimed symbols. These symbols may be religious, cultural or social. Processes are defined in a particular frame of mind to give them a particular context and meanings. Context then renders meaning to any particular event in which it is placed. Judgment is made on relativism and there is no objective reality in this regard but subjective interpretation of a particular eventuality which sets a collective mentality. Interaction with the material and non material structures sets a tone for an identity which reinvents itself by indigenizing itself into local cultures. The political and social behavior of an individual is then defined in these perceived limitations.
Identity construction in subcontinent is a very complex and intricate process that involves religious, cultural and political imperatives long with the process of modernization that was initiated by British Raj by setting up modern institutions. This process affected the polity in multiple ways. At one hand it resulted in the construction of identities and on other hand it surged the communal competition which made this relationship antagonistic and oppositional in its character.
More or less the pattern of this identity politics is same everywhere depending upon fabric of a particular polity but the operationalization of this pattern differs with diverging socio-economic, socio-cultural and socio-political imperatives. The most striking factor is the orientation of majoritarianism. The identity or community that dominates in numerical strength dictates the political and social spectrum of that polity. Interests are defined in the language of majority and minorities are pampered for real political interests where they are supposed not to challenge the preponderance of dominant political discourse and are impelled to make compromises.
The politics of identity in India and Pakistan is totally a modern phenomenon that cannot be defined completely in religious terms but the majoritarian frame of rule ordains the decision making process. In both Pakistan and India this rule of majority is conditioned with ideological drive but the apparent circumstances for minorities in Pakistan are worse rather deteriorating which have recently been corroborated by reported events of forceful conversions and forced migrations of Hindus from Pakistan. This trend is not specified for Hindus only but Christians and minority sects from Muslims are also under the hammer.
The social fabric of Pakistan has been drastically revamped during Zia’s rule that has polarized the society in the name of ideological differences and intensified the drive for forced Islamization. The abettors and strategic assets of that time have resulted into a collective mindset of intolerance that is making life impossible for minorities in Pakistan. The decertified religious forces that are largely deregulated and unchannelized as well are worsening this entire imbroglio. All this degenerative pattern of rule is benefitting the venial and casuistic elements in the society whose applied manifestation is the kidnaps for ransom and intimidating the minorities.
The Sindh’s polity with its feudal outlook and traditional outfit offers a best portray of majoritarianism whose victims are Hindus. The forced kidnaps, the forced conversions and assault on their religio-cultutal traditions are menace for their identity. This all is even utterly antipodal to the teachings of Islam. The extension of this parochialism is the aftermath of botched state’s administrative machinery that has given space to religious forces operating in their own way.
Before this conundrum of migration we have had experienced the brutal and atrocious acts in Gojra where Christians minorities were persecuted. Target killings of Hazaras in Baluchistan, the Shia persecution at large all over in Pakistan are not only sounding a doomsday for accommodative and moderate voices but brewing a wrath and resentment in these communities. The very spirit of protection of minorities as stated by constitution has been miserably violated and state is a dumb spectator.
The shoddy rule of law and condoning of law enforcement agencies and wide negligence of the incumbent government have made the society sitting on keg powder. This leverage to the pseudo-islamists in imposing their own version of Islam is not only problematic at social level for the masses but also running a parallel system that is unconstitutional and unethical. The stringency of the issue has not been perceived rightly by state authorities who labeled as a conspiracy to malign Pakistan but there is no doubt in the fact that contemporaneously minorities in Pakistan are totally insecure, vulnerable and submissive that is due to dictative frame of majority’s rule.
Minorities must be given their due space and role in state’s spectrum which has been pledged by the constitution of Pakistan. Ideological fanaticism must be rooted out and state’s abetment to the decertified religious forces and banned outfits must be given an end call. Minorities must be allowed to carry on with complete religious freedom and their security needs to be ensured. Commencing a debate about Jinnah’s faith and lip services to Rimshah Masseh will not change the consolidated anti-minorities pattern of rule which is unable to guarantee safety and security to the minorities. Need of the time is to reinterpret and reinvent the culture of majoritarianism.