Author: Tarik Jan
Publisher: Institute of Policy Studies
About the Book: Secularizing Pakistan, which the constitution proclaims as an Islamic republic (i.e., article 2-A), is a troubling notion even when it is stirred by a marginal section of our society. The Institute of Policy Studies took the initiative of bringing the two sides of the divide together on the subject and offered them the chance to talk with each other in an environment of free inquiry and open discussion. Perhaps it was for the first time that liberals, conservatives, and Islamists sat together and shared their view with each other. They were not supposed to sing the same song but the fact that they were willing at all to sing their own songs is a landmark achievement for democracy in our country. For that, IPS, as well as the speakers who dared to cross the barbed-wire fence, can take the credit. ‘Pakistan between Secularism and Islam: Ideology, Issues and Conflict’ is based on that historic dialogue. The first edition of the book appeared in 1998 however its themes continue to rage in the print, electronic and social media. If the leftists discard these themes, they will invalidate their existence, and if the Islamists fail to respond to them, they will jeopardize the ideological foundation of the state. Such is the dialectic of the situation. In a sharply polarized seminar, where ideological moorings could have inclined the speakers to make ossified, politically correct speeches and not tell the truth, the casualty could have been the truth and thus our humanity. Though, even when the presenters tried unconsciously to be discreet for a certain effect, the truth wriggled itself out. From this count, perhaps this book is the first authentic voice of the two camps.
About the Author: Tarik Jan is senior research fellow at IPS. He has authored several books including critically acclaimed The Life and Times of Rasul Allah – Universalizing the Abrahamic Tradition. He has also translated and edited Sayyid Mawdudi’s Islam and the Secular Mind, The Four Key Concepts of the Qur’an.