By Mahboob A. Khawaja, Ph.D.
Pakistan stuffed in a box by its foreign creditors and political masters looks desperate for political change. But the authoritarian rulers of over 40 years left Pakistan incapacitated to change on its own. New THINKING and New VISION is the need of the time. Ignorance originating from individualistic absolutism governs the Muslim nation disconnected with its roots of Islamic thoughts, values and culture. Pakistani rulers are devoid of political imagination and have no sense of the present or the future to comprehend. The fatal deficiency in their mind, soul and character reflects insensitivity, indifference and literal mindedness to the interests of the people. The corrupt politicians see the people as digits and numbers to be used in elections and not as active participants to build the democratic system of governance. Reflecting on the current affairs, it is crystal clear that Pakistan is being governed by the wrong people, with wrong thinking and doing the wrong actions. The THINKING people of the nation must initiate planned steps and organize collective ideas and ideals to safeguard the integrity and future of Pakistan. The priorities must be focused on developing a new system of economic and political governance by disconnecting the interdependence on foreign debts and dictates. The nation is at its critical and painful juncture of very survival. Under the circumstances, what is there to celebrate? The symbolic Pakistan Day celebrations will remain devoid of much needed change and reformation aim of the institutionalized corrupt system of governance. Pakistan is in desperate need of a New Political System befitting to its people and values to ensure a viable future.
For long, the Western intelligencia framed Pakistan as a “failed state” – a beggar nation merely surviving on foreign aid and unpayable 60 billion IMF debts. Most Western politicians view Pakistani rulers as hired puppets flourishing by trading their individual interests for national interests. Recently, the Foreign Policy magazine ran focused coverage on “Pakistan as the most dangerous place on earth.” Theses assertions were outcome of planned scheme of things to question the integrity of Pakistan as an independent Muslim nation. The embodying scenarios and contentions explain how internal conflicts, denial of services to the common citizens, legitimacy of the government, measures against corruption, poor management of the nation’s resources and affairs are counted as dyfunction factors to assert the conclusion. Conscientious Pakistanis should have taken serious notice of these challenging indicators and how they will affect the governance and futuristic development of a nation; certainly, the military regime of General Musharaf at the time and now the PPP Zardari in power would reject these claims. Undoubtedly, the deprived masses appear tense and uncertain of a promising future. The US policy has articulated the “Islamic terrorism” phenomenon originating from Pakistani soil and have enlarged its scope to make unchallenged drone attacks on the Pakistani civilians in the tribal belts killing almost few thousands civilians so far. If this would have happened in the US, American president would have launched many retaliatory wars against the intruders. Pakistani politicians are complacent in killing their own masses to maintain the politics of power and foreign influence.
General Musharaf, the then self-styled president was bribed and bought to make common Pakistanis look like as “terrorist” , the image America and Britain wanted to carve out for the Muslim nation. He was rewarded and lives in $1.4 million mansion in London under 24 hours British security protection. The Pakistani masses bleeding hearts and neglected talents could only hold demonstrations and strikes against the present Zaradri regime that does not represent the will of the people. If you want to analyze the progress and history under broader perspectives, most pages will go blank for the chapter on Pakistan. Intellectual and moral data ceases to exist because there was no moral or intellectual leadership to generate such vital information. Comparatively, India could gather data and considerable insights to illustrate its own contemporary progress and ancient history-though mostly developed by Muslim rulers and Islamic civilization. What freedom meant to India, is not the same to Pakistan. India enjoyed continued political leadership, whereas, Pakistanis with Jinnah’s death, lost what could have been their ideological foundation and viable political values. Secular India developed parliamentary system of government, short and long range planning models for public institutions, sustainable economic and industrial infrastructures, educational development and strong armed forces. It can celebrate what it has achieved so far. Painful as is to find rational space to have celebration for the Pakistan Day-March 23. After more than six decades of freedom from the British colonial rule, almost 50 years were stolen by the military Generals, who could not think right nor act as Muslim Generals in the interest of Pakistani nation. The ordinary folks are still looking for recognition of basic human needs, rights, equality, security and justice. There are full time high life privileges for the affluent class but nothing for the ordinary citizens except demonstrations, social and intellectual deprivation and lost sense of identity. How would the nation reconnect itself to the forgotten purpose and meaning of the Lahore Resolution of March 1940 for an independent Pakistan?
The Lahore Resolution (March 23, 1940) of the Muslim League unanimously demanded a separate homeland for the Muslim majority living in the Indian sub-continent, democratic rights, and freedom to establish and practice Islam as a system of life and to be progressive country in a global community of independent nations. None of it reflects from the half leftover Pakistan after India invaded the eastern part in 1970, and carved up Bangladesh, out of what was called East Pakistan. Defeated Generals should have learned a lesson to be shameful and accountable to the nation. Not so, they became the rulers of the militarily weak nation for long time to come. While this historical drama was in progress in concert with the then military dictators and accomplice politicians, the friendly US diplomats were describing Pakistan as “ drowning dog.” They knew well what was happening, not the common Pakistanis. After almost forty years, what has changed, if any? Nothing at all. Few years back, the Washington Post displayed its own freewill journalistic caricature- depicting General Musharaf as “dog” – a friend of America and active collaborator in its “War on Terrorism” – in reality, a new form of crusade against Islam and practicing Muslims across the globe. President Bush and General Musharaf worked hard to convince the humanity that the war on terrorism is real. Muslims opposing the war are called “foreigners”, “terrorists” and “insurgents”, while Americans are described as advisors. Deception is known to be the art of diplomacy and war. Most Western intellectuals with living conscious, would tell forthright,” it is a lie”, and “this war is a fraud.” Not to the Pakistani Generals and Mr. Zardari, it is a means of survival, and a reason to afloat their combined powerhouse. The masses and the national ideology have no role to play in this paradigm. Zardari gang and the Generals appear immune from any accountability. Those daring to challenge the absurdity of the military sponsored governance, often become ‘insurgents’ and undesirable ‘foreigners’ in their own homeland. No wonder, who is truly Pakistani, the colonial based institution of the Generals, the known thugs like Zardari or the freedom loving masses who demanded, strived and created the free homeland?
America and British policy planners are happy, their plans and strategies are effectively in place to break up the integrity of Pakistan. Conflict-making and conflict keeping is the order in Baluchistan and the Northwest Frontier provinces and the adjacent tribal belts of north-south Waziristan. The foreign strategic planners contend that the Baluchis and Pakhtoons as minorities in Pakistan. India will be keen to see more dismemberment of Pakistan. In recent months, the BBC broadcast several bogus interviews with political activists and so called specialists on Pakistan. These planned efforts are aimed at to fuel the provincial insurgency and conflicts and disintegration of the Muslim nation. American drone attacks and the war in Afghanistan have made things worst for the security of Pakistan. After Ms Bhutto, Sharif, General Musharaf, and now Zaradri is the best hope for futuristic hegemonic rule both of the US and India. Therefore, to appease the friendly nations, the ruling elite must celebrate Pakistan Day to forge relationship with the ideology of Muslim homeland. They are stranger to the essence of the Pakistan Day. To an educated Pakistani, it may be an insult to watch the military parade on Pakistan Day while the nation experiences daily bloodbaths and terrorism. What good the military has done for the common citizens? History tells us, there was no military factor involved, and it was the help of God and will of the people contributing to the emergence of Pakistan Movement and the birth of a free Islamic nation.
What has been destroyed systematically by the stupid Generals and the wicked politicians, cannot be recovered on its own. Educated Pakistanis used to describe the fertile lands of Sind and the Five Rivers-Punjab, “our culture is agriculture.” Not any more, once home grown foods like sugar, wheat and other commodities are now imported from abroad. What went wrong with the fertile lands of Pakistan? The Al-Qura’an (Surah Al-Furqhan), mentions, how the deeds of the people affect the environmental growth and natural productivity of human development. Ignorance to the Divine message and man-made corruption spoils the fertility of land and creative energies of humanity. A fact most often unknown to agricultural scientists. Recently, an American scholar remarked on President Bush led bogus war on Iraq: “we know the enemy, he is in us”, so do most Pakistanis. The military rule has stolen more than forty years of lifetime of the country. The nation’s agriculture lifeline has been endangered by the official neglect and corrupt practices of urbanization. Economy makes no headways under the continued IMF debts of $64 billion dollars, being unable to pay the annual interest without additional borrowing. No national productivity except on bureaucratic papers, political institutions dismantled, only dummy Parliament and the Senate are in session to float the PPP thieves and deceive the masses. To rationalize the irrational, Zardari makes references to the dead Bhuttos. How could dead people be a hope for the future of Pakistan? Would the Pakistani history offer any honorable reference to thugs and criminals?
China and India are the emerging new economic powers of Asia. Nobody wants to invest in a society governed by the military dictators and criminals like Zardari, Rahman Malik and Gilani as they have neither relevance nor value in the contemporary global affairs. India with the blessing of the Western powers, have plans for “dissecting” Pakistan, and ‘slicing’ it into half in its preparation of the war games. Ironically, most will agree, this is not the time and age for the secular military Generals to run a culturally sensitive, Islamic value-based nation of Pakistan. Those fellow Pakistanis with living conscience and Thinking Power, must contemplate, how the corrupt politicians and their accomplice military Generals, devoid of reason and intellectual foresights, could possibly help to reform and rebuild the nation? If agreeable, what are the practical solutions and a way out of the accumulated insecurity and instability? Another military coup? No. Obviously, that is going to create more problems than resolve any peacefully. With political institutions dismantled by the Generals, the nation does not seem to have the intellectual capacity to come out of the problematic box and see beyond for its sustainable future and protective measures for its integrity. Understandably, when people are governed and victimized by ignorant and insane politicians, they lose sense of rational thinking about the self and the environment and become void of productivity. This appears to be a clear burden on human conscience prevalent throughout the Pakistani culture.
Where corruption is housed, ignorance and stupidity overrun the human conscience. People and nation fail to THINK of positive thoughts and actions to change the filthy environment – fair becomes foul, foul is fair- a cultural decadence like the Western industrialized societies. Pakistani society appears to be locked-in a corruption-led system of governance for decades and becoming more and more crippled to opt out of the cancerous sickness. Leaders create leaders. The Generals, Bhuttos, Sharifs and Zardari are not the leaders but bootlickers of the West and by-products of the neo-colonial military rule. The British system produced subservient subjects, not visionary leaders for the Muslim nation. Those so-called self-appointed leaders who have been living on stolen wealth and borrowed time, how could they offer any proactive leadership vision for change, reformation and nation-building? There is nothing to celebrate except a time to reflect at our own wrong thinking and incapacitated state of the national affairs, so helpless that instead of being active reformers, most have succumbed to be pacifist spectators. Pakistan needs change but there is no systematic mechanism to foresee or visualize a democratic plan for political change and future-building. Some 30 years earlier, I asked late General Zia ul-Haq, what would our history say, why the succeeding generations of Muslims failed to produce leaders like Salahuddin, Allama Iqbal, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, Qutb, Al-Mushraqi, and Mowdoodi? He replied without attempting to answer the focal question. Contemporary history finds no respectable place for the oppressive military rulers and wicked politicians in nation building.
Ruined agriculture cannot be restored nor lands ploughed by tanks and guns and criminal leaders. Educated people educate others, and build public institutions, not the army. Traders and private investors run economic markets; nobody invests where military dictators and political thieves control the country. Whether you like it or not, look at today’s Pakistan where the ruling elite and the masses seem to be living in two different time zones, without meeting of minds, necessities for survival and priorities for security. America led war on terrorism is killing Pakistanis and large scale daily civilian blood baths speak their own language of the political cruelty of the so called leaders. Tanks, guns and bullets produce nothing, they destroy all living things. With Zardari, Pakistan is losing its respect and integrity. Shame to their common sense if India will talk on Kashmir. Shame to Pakistani Generals and their level of intelligence if they expect politically strong Indian leadership to have a genuine dialogue on the settlement of Kashmir. Pakistan under Zardari is operating from a position of political weakness, not strength to search for a peaceful resolution of Kashmir. There is an overwhelming sense of political insecurity. Will you celebrate the Pakistan’s 71 years of democratic demand for an independent homeland? It will be reasonable to ask for the legal trial and accountability of General Musharaf, Sharif, Zardari, and so many others who have stolen the future prospects of a democratic Pakistan. The educated and visionary Pakistanis particularly those living abroad and non-partisan would need to work hard for change and reformation of the corrupt political governance. If they hope that Zardari or Sharif or the Generals will change, it is mere a hope without a hope as FOOL never learns nor admits evil mistakes. In his Total Truth Sciences, Jon Roland lists few characteristics of the fools:
- A fool is anyone who refuses to abandon evil even when
- A fool is anyone who's conduct does not change even after
experiencing the painful consequences of their foolish actions
- A fool is anyone who considers any pursuit of
understanding to be wasted effort.
- A fool is always at the center of strive and contention.
- A fool refuses to admit his mistakes even when his pain is
the obvious result of his actions.
If Allama Iqbal, Quaid-e- Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah or Liaqaut Ali were alive today, most likely they would have refused to be identified as part of the Pakistani political culture. The major paradoxes of Pakistan’s history illustrate that its time for change, opportunities for development and resources for progress were stolen by its own egomaniac and insane rulers. To undo the darkened past and reshape the present, Pakistan urgently NEEDS educated, visionary and proactive leadership and public institutions to rebuild its essential capacity to safeguard its integrity, survival and future as a Muslim Nation moving forward to pursue change and social and economic development infrastructures for the deprived people. The Generals, Bhuttos, Sharif, and Zardari are part of the problem, not a remedy for the future. The solution must come from the THINKING people of the new generation of educated, honest and proactive Pakistanis to facilitate HOPE and PROMISE for a sustainable political future of the beleaguered nation. The essence of time would demand prompt collective action for change and reformation process of the corrupt political governance, not a space for neutrality, confrontational argument and inaction. This should be the agenda and resolve of the Pakistan Day- a Day of freedom from captivity of the few ignorant and absurd rulers.