By Dr Raja Muhammad Khan
In 1943, Beverly Nichols, the British author wrote about Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, that, “Jinnah is the most important man in Asia because he can sway the battle this way or that way as he chooses. His 100 million Muslims will march to the left, to the right, to the front, to the rear at his binding.” In fact, a visionary leader is considered to be an asset for a nation. Though aspects like military powers, sound economies and large land areas does matter. However, the great nations of the world were not great, because they had strong militaries; strong economies and huge land mass, but because; its leaders had a vision, where to take its nation in the future and its people have values with a defined goal to pursue. Since a nation is nothing more than a collection of people living within a set of physical borders, thus, we can measure the greatness of a nation in the same way. However, this would be the physical account of a nation only, not moral values, norms, determination and the future course of action; the hallucination. A visionary leader with a strong nation behind can influence the international system with ideas, values and agendas for the international society. In the history of mankind, such an approach was adopted by all great leaders and great nations/empires.
In the international relations, the concept of Nation State emerged with the Peace Treaty of Westphalia-1648, though there existed nations and empires prior to this historical milestone of recent history of humanity. It was in deed, a series of peace treaties that ended thirty years war (1618-1648) in the Holy Roman Empire and eighty years war (1568-1648) between Spain and Dutch Republic. The European logic of emergence of nation state system after Westphalia is that, it was only after this peace treaty that, nations recognized the right of sovereignty of each other. This might have been true to this middle level civilization, but the historians differ with the concept. They consider this as the modified concept and indeed, a peace treaty for the European nations, which ended their differences after the Westphalia.
Whereas, the Westphalian followers have their own logics, the Muslim scholars consider establishment of Madina State after Hijrah (622 AD), as the most civilized and balanced state system, taking into considerations all aspects of a modern state. It was a most dignified state, established by the most respectful personality of the world history, the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him). The Charter of Medina or the Constitution of Median as it is known was a formal agreement between Muslims and all significant tribes of Medina, namely; Jews, Christians and pagans. This Constitution ended the inter-tribal wars between two main tribes of Medina; Aws (Aus) and Khazraj. The Constitution of Media instituted a number of rights and responsibilities for all communities; the Jewish, Muslims, Christians and pagan. The Westphalia constituted in 1648, can best be said to be a replication of the Character of Madina or the Madina Constitution.
The Character of Madina indeed, gave the idea of a geographical nation state for humankind for the first time in the history. This written constitution provided the Madanian society with the concept of devolution of powers, which later became the practical foundation of democracy. It provided moderate and balanced aptitude towards all communities living in the society with the idea of geographical boundaries, which included all faiths and cultures together in a single nation. The rule of law emerged out of this constitution. It gave the concept of respecting the local customary laws of all tribes and religions living in the society. It guarantees protection of human rights, women rights, social rights, cultural rights, religious freedom, and rights of minorities living in the state. This written constitution declares Madina as a state of peace and security, free from every kind of violence and terrorism. This all was done under the great leadership of the Holy Prophet (Peace be upon him), indeed, the greatest leader of the world. The Madina State model provides an un-parallel system for the international community today. It indeed, provides a unparalleled solution for the human sufferings on any account; religious, ethnic, territorial or any other consideration.
Under the leadership of Quaid-a-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Pakistan was created under the concept of such a charter, where it was to become an experimental base to promote value and norms, housing all; communities, religions, casts and creeds without any discrimination. Unfortunately, the nation lost this great personality, a year after the independence; thus, there started the sufferance of nation, at the hands of selfish and thickheaded leaders, who could not see beyond their personal interests. The first setback, the nation suffered was in the form of East Pakistan, now Bangladesh. Thereafter, the nation could not recover; rather there has been a downfall with each passing day. Neither could the nation have a visionary leader, nor, it could maintain its traditional values. The incompetence of the leaders paved way for the none-state actors; indeed, the terrorists and detractors to take over and project a negative image of the nation, currently we are toed with.
Indeed, over the years, our national leaders and those at the helm of affairs, have started ignoring the core values and tend to remain oblivious of public opinion about their conduct. They violate the basic rules and resort to shortcuts to advance their personal interests. Sometimes their conduct is revealed through their abusive nature as they fearlessly defy laws and frequently indulge in corrupt practices. It appears as if the very meanings of success and triumphed accomplishment have been distorted and misconduct through which the rights of others are shamelessly usurped, have been allowed to function as morbid obsessions of society. Should this be a character of national leadership to involve itself in money laundering and extortion? How can one expect that elected leaders of the country would indulge themselves in smuggling of weapons, explosive and ammunition? The case of 19000 containers, which went missing from the Karachi port, is serious issue, which needs to be investigated thoroughly and defaulters must be dealt as per the law of land. There should be no excuse for those having their properties and business outside the state and ruling too. They do not pay taxes for their factories, agricultural lands and businesses inside the country. While ruling they play havoc with poor people of the country by imposing unprecedented taxes and through price hikes. It appears that Pakistan was made for few families, indeed, dynasties to rule and loot it too, in a series of turns; one after the other. There is a great need for the Pakistani leadership to stop corrupt practices and looting the state’s resources. They should educate themselves to behave with dignity and respect. Until the leaders correct themselves, the others would not do that. The top down model would help the people to eradicate the evils and behave with courage and honour.
It is therefore desired that, national leadership should re-evaluate its role and character towards their national responsibilities and international obligations. National leadership need to set personnel examples for not promoting the corrupt practices and compromises on issues of national interests. At the global level, the national leadership should conduct itself in a dignified manner, rather in a humiliating manner, for petty gains of promotion of trade and commerce. While dealing with neighbours, Pakistani leadership should be upright and straightforward, rather having a remorseful attitude. While the society and those elect such a leadership are equally responsible for this mess, there are responsibilities of the academia, scholars, writers and particularly media to develop such narratives, which emphasize the political leadership and all others to follow the traditional Pakistani values and norms, while setting personnel examples. Corrupt practices must not be allowed to remain in vogue and all out / sincere efforts be made to eliminate corruption. Evils of society must be highlighted in their real perspective with complete social abhorrence while criminals are brought to justice. National cause and honour must be observed as supreme / sacred and while interacting with domestic masses and or foreign dignitaries efforts must be made to enhance Pakistan’s esteem as a respectable nation. Abusive allegations levelled by foreigners like Indians, Afghans and their western partners must be responded with strong assertions using decent and decorous language. Civilized nations use prudence in their considered rebuttals and refutations. We must make all out efforts to normalize relationship with India, but there is a definite need that, national pride and dignity should not be compromised at any cost.
In summary, to be a dignified nation, our leaders must behave in a dignified manner both; domestically as well as globally. Indeed, dignified leaders symbolize dignified nations.