Islamization of Pakistan: A Critical Review of Zafar Iqbal's Book
Zafar Iqbal, a Pakistani politician, author, public speaker, and intellectual, is currently the chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party. He has written several books on various topics, including Islam, politics, education, and culture. One of his most controversial books is Islamization of Pakistan, which was published in 1998 and is available online for free download.
In this book, Iqbal argues that Pakistan was created as an Islamic state based on the vision of Muhammad Iqbal, the poet-philosopher who is considered the spiritual father of Pakistan. He claims that Pakistan's founding fathers wanted to establish a modern Islamic democracy that would be a model for the Muslim world. He criticizes the secular and westernized elites who have dominated Pakistan's politics and society since its inception and accuses them of betraying the Islamic ideals of Pakistan. He also blames the British colonial legacy, the Indian hostility, and the American interference for Pakistan's problems.
Iqbal advocates for a radical transformation of Pakistan's political, economic, social, and educational systems according to Islamic principles. He calls for the implementation of Sharia law, the revival of Islamic culture and values, the promotion of Islamic education and science, and the strengthening of Pakistan's defense and foreign policy. He believes that Islamization is the only way to solve Pakistan's crises and to fulfill its destiny as a leader of the Muslim ummah.
However, Iqbal's book has been widely criticized by many scholars, journalists, activists, and politicians who have challenged his historical, religious, cultural, and political arguments. They have pointed out the factual errors, logical fallacies, ideological biases, and political agendas that undermine his thesis. They have also questioned his interpretation of Iqbal's poetry and philosophy, his understanding of Islam and Sharia, his vision of democracy and human rights, and his assessment of Pakistan's realities and challenges.
Some of the main criticisms of Iqbal's book are:
He ignores the diversity and pluralism of Pakistan's society and history and imposes a monolithic and homogenous view of Islam and Pakistan.
He misrepresents the role and views of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, who was a secular nationalist and a constitutionalist who wanted a democratic and inclusive Pakistan.
He overlooks the contradictions and conflicts between Iqbal's poetry and philosophy and his political actions and affiliations. He also neglects Iqbal's critique of Islamic orthodoxy and conservatism and his appreciation of western civilization and modernity.
He fails to provide a clear and coherent definition of Islamization and how it can be implemented in a complex and diverse society like Pakistan. He also does not address the practical challenges and consequences of Islamization for Pakistan's economy, security, stability, and relations with other countries.
He disregards the rights and interests of religious minorities, women, ethnic groups, regional provinces, civil society, media, judiciary, and other stakeholders who are essential for a democratic and pluralistic Pakistan.
In conclusion, Iqbal's book is a polemical and ideological work that does not offer a realistic or constructive solution for Pakistan's problems. It is based on a selective and distorted reading of history, religion, culture, and politics that serves his personal and political interests. It is also a dangerous and divisive work that can fuel sectarianism, extremism, violence, intolerance, and isolationism in Pakistan. Therefore, it should be read with caution and criticism by anyone who is interested in understanding Pakistan's past, present, and future. 248dff8e21