By Dr Mahboob A. Khawaja
Pakistan is fast becoming a deadly theatre of the absurd, people and the nation trading-in collective consciousness of unknown hatred, ethnic flare-ups, flourishing greed of money to kill and be happy and political vindictiveness. On September 22, another outrageous attack at a church – a place to worship God in Peshawar killing 85 or so innocent citizens of the minority Christian community. Few weeks earlier, 10 international hiker tourists were kidnapped and massacred in the K-2 mountainous region. Few months earlier, Muslims of Shia minority were repeatedly bombed in Quetta. The mourners kept the dead bodies burial on display for days as a token of protest asking for military to safeguard their lives from in-house terrorism. There is no rational sense to make out of these cruel developments. The global image of Pakistan and its political governance is under scrutiny. The scope of cruelty and viciousness is enlarged every day as every day becomes a killing day of the innocent. Are there any responsible people in the political governance who should be held accountable for the security of the nation? For a decade, Pakistan has endured senseless killings of the civilian population. Do the Muslim people of Pakistan have any collective consciousness still intact to realize that killing of one innocent person is equal to the killing of the whole of the mankind? For what reason are these killings carried out and tolerated by the political leaders? Is Pakistan governed by politicians with no consciousness of the global reactions to their incompetence, foolishness and self-defeating criminal practices? For more than a decade, Pakistan is engulfed with a culture of deadly events, under corrupt and gangster dominated politics, society is embracing kidnapping, threats of violence, deaths of civilians, destruction of the habitat and lost sense of public security, diminishing trades and commerce, businesses, authoritarian trends in governance and sharp indifference to the sacred values of tolerance, respect for varied ethnic diversity and co-existence in One Nation framework. There is no political, moral or religious justification for the on-going killings. These appear to be inhuman and desperate acts of psychopaths and cruel minds that plan to undermine the interests and the present and the future of the nation. If the sectarian violence is allowed to become a trend as appears to be the case, it will dismantle the capacity of Pakistan to cope with a sustainable future. If there any concerned and intelligent Pakistani politicians they should learn from history. Colin Wilson (A Criminal History of Mankind, 1984) explains how the Roman Empire declined once its sadistic and egomaniac leaders full of the sensation of power behaved like children, the Roman civilization collapsed into chaos, ruins and dark ages:
“The Romans were slipping into violence by a process of self-justification, and once a nation or an individual has started down this particular slope, it is impossible to apply breaks the Roman people were too unimaginative and short sighted to realize that, once murder has been justified on grounds of expediency, it can become a habit, then a disease.”
Pakistan politics does not seem to offer any rational outlook as being part of the 21st century knowledge-based age of reason and accountability. Those in the realm of power, are never open to listening and learning. The leaders are self-centered, ignorant and highly selfish to grab power and leave no room for change and reformation of the political process. For almost half of a century Pakistani nation remained victim of its own folly to live under the dark shadows of institutionalized corruption, crime-riddled political parties and its henchmen. Undoubtedly, Pakistan continues to be governed by the wrong people, with wrong thinking and doing the wrong things. Nawaz Sharif was twice dismissed as PM on corruption charges and tried by General Musaharf on terrorism related events in 1999. Sharif and his collaborators do not enjoy any moral and intellectual leadership qualities to lead the nation. Sharif was groomed by the military Generals. In all probabilities, these new rulers have nothing new and positive for the future of Pakistan. The solution must come out of the NEW THINKING and NEW VISIONS of the young people and new generation of Pakistani scholars and intellectuals who are able to THINK independently and out of the box curtailment. Pakistan’s secluded political powerhouses are not the places where public dreams come true and of national triumph and happiness. There are no honest and credible politicians in Pakistani system of governance except those with known criminal profiles and involvements in global money-laundering and criminal syndicates. The masses enjoin a terrible sense of helplessness while self-made leaders come and go ditching the nation into unpayable foreign debts and dictums and political ruins for long time to come.
While the originality of Islam and its teachings and practices offer no extremism or terrorism of any kind against other human beings, the media reports allege that Taliban groups of Islamic extremists plan and attack the visible minorities and their places of worship and even the common people of Pakistan. To a rational thinker, there can be no grounds of expediency to justify such attacks on human life and habitats of the citizens of the country. All the minority groups and their places of worship are sacred to the interest and security of the nation. There can be no distinction or expediency to let them down when such challenges occur across the society. All of the citizens regardless of their faith and individual identities must be protected by law and order governance of the country. The believers in Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Mohammad (peace be upon all of them) all worship God and according to Islamic teaching, are part of the Islamic values and history. How dare the Talaban or any other group to attack the places of worship? Do the Talabn follow anew precept of Islam? There are too many discrepancies in laws and practices in this country. Pakistani Taliban, if in reality there is such a political entity is reported to have claimed many such killings against the minorities and other political parties. KhyberPakthunwaProvince is governed by the party of Imran Khan’s Tehrek -e -Insaf. Strange as is, if Imran Khan is unable to usher a new era of reformed politics and systematic accountable governance that must protect human dignity and the minorities in that province. These dreadful killings do not set the stage for a reformed politics envisaging a better and promising future for the nation. How strange that corrupt politicians should engage the Taliban in peace talks and expect the nation to accept their untimely and flawed gesture of peace. Peace cannot be one-sided. Pakistani politicians and some of the military Generals are notorious for their incompetence, lack of proactive imagination, treachery to national interests and shameful practices of unethical behaviors, nepotism and violation of the national interests. It was clearly demonstrated when the American marines came in to kill Osama bin Laden and the case of Raymond Davis who killed two Pakistanis but was freed by the direct intervention of Zardari and General Kiyani. The Taliban and many affiliated groups are funded and supported by foreign interests and Pakistani Generals and politicians know it too well. For too long, Pakistan’s ruling elite owes allegiance and loyalty to their foreign Masters in Washington and London. One of President Obama’s advisors Bruce Riedel (on Afghanistan, the Middle East and terrorism) recently described the Pakistani rulers (both civilian and military) as dubious character who deceive the nation and make money by trading-in their interests. No wonder, why Pakistani masses are paying with pains under the darkness of “terrorism” and “extremism” imposed by the rulers. Bruce Riedel, One of Obama’s advisors on Pakistan and the War on Terrorism (“Battle for the Soul of Pakistan” 1/4/2013, Brookings Institute and Centre for Middle East Policy) calls it “2013 could be a transformative year for the country, indeed it will be the battle for the soul of Pakistan.”
The June election was supposed to usher a new beginning of change and reformation (“islaha’) for the nation. Instead, Nawaz Sharif has simply replaced another well known thug and criminal Asif Ali Zardari with prolonged dead-ended conscientious history of governance by the Bhutto family. Would a Change come out of the nowhere or would it pop-out of the dead conscious and bodies of the few? Pakistani politics is a hub of backdoor intrigues, perpetuated ignorance, political conspiracies of the few to commit crimes and pave the ways to maintain the powerhouses of the traditionally known feudal lords dating back to British Raj- the modern warlords. Other progressive nations make good out of their new educated and intelligent generation’s ideas , intellect and ideals but not the Pakistani nation. The phenomenon of change is hated and feared by the Pakistani old system of political governance.
Change cannot and will not come out of the nowhere except through men of new ideas, new visionary leadership of integrity and public movement for change. For almost two decades, Pakistan’s capacity for change has been badly fractured and its moral, intellectual and political consciousness and values derailed and undermined by the few. There are three major contending forces escalating conflicts to degenerate the future and cripple the freedom and integrity of Pakistan:
(1) the Generals, who have ruled the country for almost four decades and are not willing to relinquish their own strategic- political powerhouse, militarization of the nation;
(2) Feudal landlords transformed politicians, the systematic by-products of the military Generals are the selected few families – Bhutoos- Zardaris, Sharifs and Chaudris of Gujarat acting as accomplice to support the military-based indoctrination as and when required for all seasons;
(3) People, the besieged masses of Pakistan – the net participatory victims and reactionaries to all of the tragedies for over fifty years.
Politicians pretend to label Pakistan as an Islamic State. But there is no Islam in the governance of the political system; it is a shame and an insult to the educated new and conscientious generations and THINKING people of Pakistan. Islam does not coerce or violate the rights of the minorities but has an obligation to protect them in all spheres of life. If Pakistan had Islam leadership, would they be complacent in the killing of their own citizens? No contemporary politician thinks of Pakistan and its original foundation, its national interests or the interests of the people- the logical legitimacy factor to the embodiment of Islamic Pakistan. More than forty years of time and opportunities have been stolen from the precious lifeline of the nation of Muslim Pakistan; yet, nobody was ever charged with crime nor punished for their treachery and monstrous actions against the freedom and integrity of Pakistan. Leaders create leaders but there were none since the military took over the reigns time and again, stupid and unthinking people will come to occupy the highest offices, negating the very essence of Islamic principles and moral values of the society. Pakistan embodies multiple self-inflicted tragedies unknown in modern history. Power politics in Pakistan has become an outcome of institutionalized corruption, conspiracies, killings, and treachery to the national interests. The Generals, Politicians and Assemblies are all the by-products of this flourishing business.
The nation continues to be governed by uneducated, indicted criminals and insane people who have no sense of time, intellect and history. Pakistan is fast drowning in its own dreadful act of indifference, faltering security and sickening history of killings to support the foreign agendas of war and strategic priorities. You NEED intelligent and morally and intellectually capable leaders, not Bhuttos, not Zardaris, not Sharifs but educated people of new generation with an inward eye not to politicking but to safeguard the security and freedom of the nation and to transform the sadistic present into a promising future for all. To Change and reform the political governance, Pakistani nation must THINK critically and see the MIRROR for the past misconceptions and errors of judgment and to pursue political activism to bring the new-age educated and intelligent people into political leadership role who could think right, share new visions and plan and implement new and creative ideas for political change to safeguard the national interest, freedom of the nation and its future. The rulers hold the absolute power in Pakistan. There is no democracy, no political accountability and there is no political system based on any known legitimacy. Do the politicians need a high power jolt to change the course of history-making for the people of Pakistan? If so, such a powerful jolt could come from the determination, proactive vision and organization of the will of the people against the killings of the innocent people, protection of freedom and the national capacity-building for a sustainable future.