No Trains to Pakistan
The "Train to Pakistan" was one of those memorable brief novels written in the fleeting haste of the bloody India-Pakistan partition war set in the 1950's. It was a time when the subcontinent was psychologically ripped into 2 eternally contentious halves after collateral damage of approximately 6 Million lives all swearing by various deities.
The hordes of Muslims who hurriedly crossed over to Pakistan did so mostly for the sake of their religion. Shortly after Pakistan got its name, its founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah in his first presidential addressed to the nation slipped the following quote through amidst the celebrations: -
"You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place or 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 the State".
Half a century ago; actually, not too long ago, Pakistan did have a Center. They were mostly subcontinenters brought up with a British education and more westward leaning. The Radical streak entered the system with the unlawful entry of General Zia Ul Haq and his troupe in the 70's. From then on, his legion of radicals and hard-line generals began to smudge the existing fine print in the cultural establishment. Slowly the base of tolerance began to erode. Blasphemy laws draconian in nature were laid down.
Over the years the state of Kashmir became a central issue to Pakistani politics. This illegitimate intifada against India was supported to largely on a clandestine basis by the ISI (Pakistans Intelligence Agency). This gifted the generals unquestionable power and leverage in the political establishment. They could depose governments at their own whims and fancies.
At the turn of the century, 9/11 happened, and then suddenly Pakistan found itself at the epi-center of America's fight against terrorism. Ordinary Pakistani's had to contend with a military ruler and his regime gunning down their own home-bred extremists in their own backyard, so that Uncle Sam and his children could tuck themselves to sleep miles away. Obviously this did not win America any brownie points with normal Pakistani's.Continued on the next page