Pakistan’s current conditions are far from encouraging, as the government struggles to combat extremism and continues to fall short of addressing the needs of the common man. Citizens can even be forgiven for embracing revolutionary doctrine in hopes of changing the fortunes of the nation. However, when hyper-nationalism aligns itself with ignorance of history, we are led to an ideology that is flawed, distorted but most importantly tried and tested. Zaid Hamid has persistently advocated for the dissolution of the elected government in favor of a caretaker government selected by the Supreme Court with the military’s backing.
A brief analysis of our nation’s history shows Zaid Hamid’s philosophy to be far from revolutionary. General Ayub Khan held the same values when he (along with Iskander Mirza in 1958) dismissed the elected government, dissolved the constitution (with the blessing of the corrupt judiciary) and established the infamous “basic democracies” system. This political structure’s shining moments included a vicious election campaign against Fatimah Jinnah and the eventual disintegration of East Pakistan. Zaid Hamid’s caretaker government in all likelihood would only prolong military rule, reduce political participation amongst the people and corrupt a judiciary that is currently redeeming itself from its past sins.
Zaid Hamid also wants the Supreme Court to handpick “Good Muslims” that would satisfy Article 62/63 of the Constitution. The judicial system did address this proposal in the Punjab Disturbances Report of 1954:
“The sublime faith called Islam will live even if our leaders are not there to enforce it. It lives in the individual, in his soul and outlook, in all his relations with God and men, from the cradle to the grave, and our politicians should understand that if Divine commands cannot make or keep a man a Musalman, their statutes will not.”- Justice Munir
The judiciary refrained from endorsing a theory of a Nation-State that catered around subjective Islamic morals and standards. It is no coincidence that a military ruler was responsible for invoking such subjective morals into the constitution. The judiciary and the military cannot work synonymously over stretched periods of time, as General Musharraf’s demise in 2008 showed. The military has been unable to select a lawmaking branch that has satisfied the people’s needs over a stretched period of time (Basic Democracies and the Majlis-e-Shoora).
Zaid Hamid desperately seeks the creation of a political structure that established itself long before any organic political order developed in Pakistan. Allowing such an order to establish itself yet again would eliminate any lingering hope of sustained democracy in Pakistan.