Mahboob A. Khawaja, Ph.D.
When an aggressor foresees the defeat coming, it resorts to massive killing and destruction of the habitats and tries to undo the “fear of unknown.” The recent killing of 24 Pakistani sleeping military men is the outcome of this American strategy working across Pakistan and Afghanistan. Late historian Professor Howard Zinn used to argue that “history is a weapon” that can not be ignored. This week in a CNN talk, famous American author David McCullough (author of Truman and John Adams) reminded the audience that history is a powerful reader and a weapon for change and development of a nation. How strange that most Pakistanis seem to have neglected the role of modern history in their search for change and adaptability to the future. Devoid of common sense and lessons of the living history, Pakistan is run by dead politicians who lack even self-consciousness –moral or intellectual identity, and whose record is full of crimes and corruption against the very people they claim to represent. The ruling Bhutto family-PPP now under Asif Zardari and his colleagues have infected the body politics of Pakistan with corruption and political tyranny, draining out all of the positive thinking and creative energies of the nation for change, development and for a promising future. Strangely and alarming appears to be the emotional outburst and mindless behavior of some hired agents of the Pakistani landscape to celebrate the day of Miss Bhutto who was killed in a political gathering. If there is any law and justice to protect the interests of the people of Pakistan, Zardari and his gang must be tried in a court of law for systematic and on-going corruption and killing of the population. In some instances, they were indicted but continue to rule the people. These political thugs and indicted criminals should not be allowed to hold offices of public responsibility. The besieged nation MUST see itself in the mirror and learn from the dead past, to change the future course of history and to articulate a new beginning – a new political system under the new educated generation of honest, intelligent and visionary leadership to strive for a promising future.
Pakistan is besieged between its ideology, its meaning and the encompassing corruption and wicked political governance. Alarming rates of domestic and foreign generated bloody conflicts –the “war on terrorism” have sucked up the resources of the poverty stricken nation for change and development goals. The military leaders and the politicians are ignorant of the consequences of such catastrophic engagements. The nation lives in great discord under corrupt political governance as it slipped away from its original roots of the ideological THINKING to encounter the emerging political challenges of the contemporary 21st century world. Islam, the real lifeline and identity of the Muslims, has been denied its rightful place in the working of institutions and governance of Pakistan. If Islam is not the point of reference for the Muslims, then what else would be relevant and rational to make sense for the existence of the nation?
When pretension and stingy greed give life to politically manipulated leadership, treachery and oppression become the rule of political governance in which people are seen as eggs and chickens, conveniently broken and slaughtered and politicians are akin to assume the above normal role play lacking legitimacy and accountability. Pakistani politics regrettably as is, a venture of intrigues, self-engineered conspiracies and dead roll calls to explain the history of this beleaguered nation. Feudal lords are the political masters, and Bhutto family with complacent army Generals, has been one of them to unfold a naïve and destructive chapter of the Pakistan’s political misfortunes. Mr. ZA Bhutto, the leader of the PPP, his daughter late Benazir Bhutto, two of her brothers, all are dead but they still ruling the country by imposter Zardari as the master of the ceremony. Alive or dead, Bhutto family has been at the centre of political intrigues and destructive consequences in Pakistan. How irrational and untrue it seems that dead people are leading the living masses of Pakistan?
Pakistan, a Muslim nation of living people is governed by physically, morally and politically dead people who cannot change the course of history nor make any difference to the present volatile politics carving a hopeless future. Islamically, dead are those who are forgetful of the memory of Allah, ignorant and arrogant people devoid of public accountability. The PPP regime under Zardari meets the set criterion requirements. The political elite sees its best interests in engaging with dead ideas and foreign strategies and buying time for good times at the expense of the nation toll of miseries and havoc social and political conditions. The overwhelming occupation of the dead minds and souls is to see how best they could exploit the common citizens or to get foreign monetary assistance to finance the self and bogus projects for change and economic development.
Of all the political and intellectual bankruptcy, unit recently, the ruling elite was preoccupied to investigate the killing of Miss Benazir Bhutto, the ex PM and twice dismissed on corruption charges and under investigation for 12-15 money laundering schemes along with her husband Asif Ali Zardari, the current self-made President and inheritor of her “suspected bogus will.” The Zardari regime invested $40 million to the dysfunctional UN to come up with a fact finding report on the killing of Miss Bhutto. One wonders, while country is experiencing a life and death economic situation with daily terrorist suicide bombings and civilian bloodsheds and non-productive economy and catastrophic social and political saga, should this been the top priority of the nation to conduct political surgery on the dead body of Miss Bhutto? What importance does Miss Bhutto has in relation to the political history, security, integrity and the future of Pakistan? What would come out of the dead bodies and graveyard? How would dead celebrities change the misfortune of the nation? There are plenty of Pakistanis with living conscience to question the absurdity of these politically manufactured delusions as dead politicians have nothing else to do to remedy the sufferings of the 180 million living human beings.
Mr. ZA Bhutto was ordered to be hanged by the Supreme Court on charges of killing a political opponent. By Pakistani standards, the trial
was open and non-partisan. He was never elected to be a leader in one Pakistan (comprising both of the East and West Pakistan) as it was Sheikh Mujib ur Rehman, leader of the National Awami Party with majority to assume the leadership but military intervention deprived him the role of a united Prime Minister as it was conspired by Bhutto and General Yayha Khan. Both were active complacent in the surrender of almost 100,000 Pakistani troops and killings of countless innocent civilians in the former East Pakistan enabling them to remain in power. ZA Bhutto did not die for Pakistan except for the self.
Did Miss Bhutto die for Islam? No
Did Miss Bhutto die for Pakistan? No
Did Miss Bhutto die for democracy and freedom of the captive nation? No
ZA Bhutto met his ambitions by conspiring to disintegrate Pakistan and surrender to India and got hanged for the political murder. Benazir Bhutto met her ambition by allegedly killing General Zia ul Haq with 12 other army Generals and 100 or so civilians in the 1988 plane crash and finally was gunned down at an election rally. Zardari has just scarified a black goat to warn off the evils but his future increasingly becoming short-lived and uncertain. It is rational to assume that dead people make no difference to the living creation of God. The PPP ruling elite finds it convenient to draw the legitimacy for political governance from the dead ZA Bhutto and dead Benazir Bhutto; otherwise, there is no rational political basis which could stand as reference point to Zardari. Facts are denied but pretension lives on that the Bhuttos were “shaheed”- martyrs- a political cliché to distort the facts of human life and history. To any realist observer of Pakistani affairs, it is becoming crystal clear that they are the wrong people, at wrong places and doing the wrong things. The so called American financed democracy has no relationship to the living masses across Pakistan. With 40 years of lost time and opportunities under the dictatorship of various army Generals, dismantled public institutions, devastated social and economic affairs, disjointed trades and commerce, political surge of terrorism, 12,900 civilians killed in 2009, and thousands in detention camps under the military control, and dead leadership, how could a nation be able to conduct business as usual?
Would the dead people re-emerge as visionary leaders for the future of the country? Not rationally, but Pakistani politics is not run by rational people with rational ideas and ideals for the interests of the common citizens. The junk history exhibits accumulative junk of several decades. Its inescapable consequences have brought Asif Zardari – a known thug and indicted criminal to the presidency. There could be hundreds and thousands of puppet Zardaris and Bhuttos affiliated with such an establishment. The nation has a serious problem of integrity and political credibility. The military dictators, Bhuttos, Zardari and Sharifs could never have come into politics unless the whole nation had lost the sense of PURPOSE and MEANING of its existence. Are there any concerned and proactive young people to safeguard the national interests of the present and future generations of Muslim Pakistan?
General Musharaf, Bhuttos, Zardaris and Sharifs are not the hope for the future but dead entries of the darkest part of the Pakistani history. They collaboratively articulated a culture of political exploitation and institutionalized corruption to transform Pakistan into a so called “failed state” and according to the US Foreign Policy magazine, “most dangerous place on earth.” They helped to bring religious terrorism into the Pakistani mainstream and victimized the nation. In the course of history, the consequences of this man made culture gave fertile impetus to reactionary public outbursts and emerging terrorism against the ruling regimes. None of them could have done alone but hundreds and thousands of other likeminded people must have been actively involved in pursuing the similar evil goals making Pakistan- “the most dangerous place on earth.”
Leaders do lead or they are imposters and stage puppets. The criterion requirements determine the role of leaders as standing for righteousness (haq), not for falsehood (batil). They cherish the collective interests and good of the masses and defy the obsession of egoistic self-interests and they are always open to listening, learning and capable of making navigational change, if the facts of life warrant such a change. Western democratic nations eagerly search and patronize new and creative talents and people with visionary leadership outlook and merits. This appears to be a rare commodity in Pakistani politics. To change the adverse historical trend, Pakistan is desperate for new, educated and intelligent proactive leadership to facilitate a sustainable future for the nation. In a knowledge-driven global age of rising expectations and public accountability, most developed societal politics would set criterion requirements and define standards of quality and specifications for performance in jobs/role-plays and in positions of greater public responsibility. Why are not there any written standards and defined criterion requirements for the positions of the President, Prime Ministers and Ministers and MP’s in Pakistan? Should the Constitution not define such salient features and characteristics of the vital office bearers? Is there any law and justice system in the country to protect the interests of the beleaguered masses? Are the leaders not supposed to provide intellectual security and sense of direction in crises, and a visionary picture of the future to the nation they claim to represent? Under what operational system, do thugs and indicted criminals get legitimacy and approval to hold public offices for which they do not even qualify?
180 millions living human beings continue to experience terrible social, economic and political consequences of the dead politics of Pakistan. Are there any THINKING people in the Pakistani society who worry about the future of the Muslim nation? Are there any concerned intellectuals and political activists who could take initiatives to plan and change the course of being a “failed state” unto a functional and sustainable Islamic Pakistan?
When an aggressor foresees the defeat coming, it resorts to massive killing and destruction of the habitats and tries to undo the “fear of unknown.” The recent killing of 24 Pakistani sleeping military men is the outcome of this American strategy working against Pakistan and Afghanistan. Historian late Professor Howard Zinn used to argue that “history is a weapon” that can not be ignored. This week in a CNN talk, famous American author David McCullough (author of Truman and John Adams) reminded the audience that history is a powerful reader and a weapon. How strange that most Pakistanis seem to have neglected the role of modern history in their search for change and adaptability to the future. Devoid of common sense and lessons of living history, Pakistan is run by dead politicians who lacked even self-consciousness and whose record is full of crimes and corruption against the very people they claim to represent. The ruling Bhutto family-PPP now under Asif Zardari and his colleagues have infected the body politics of Pakistan with corruption and political tyranny, draining out all of the positive thinking and creative energies of the nation for change, development and a promising future. Strangely alarming appears to be the emotional outburst and mindless behavior of some hired agents of the Pakistani landscape to celebrate the day of Miss Bhutto who was killed in a political gathering. The besieged nation MUST see itself in the mirror and learn from the dead past, to change the future course of history and to articulate a new beginning – a new political system under the new educated generation of honest, intelligent and visionary leadership to strive for a promising future.
History has a defined role and the present and future generations must give credence to these developments and learn to be aware of the future in waiting, and how best to make a navigational change to ensure independence and integrity of an Islamic Pakistan. Suppose in few decades if some of these characters were alive and you were to ask the Generals, Bhuttos, Zardaris and Sharifs, what went wrong with them? What made them to transgress against the poor masses of Pakistan? Why were they dismissed from the public offices? What compel them to sell the interests of Pakistan in return for cash US dollar payments or secret bank accounts in the Western world? What made them to act as cruel monsters to the interest of the Pakistani people? Why could they not change their wrong THINKING and WRONG behaviors? Surely, they will all claim innocence and blame others. But history sees the leaders by their actions, not by their claims.
A century earlier, Robert Briffault (The Making of Humanity), made a candid observation which amicably represents the contemporary Pakistani politics:
“The men who have most injured and oppressed humanity, who have most deeply sinned against it, were according to their standards and their conscience, good men; what was bad in them, what wrought moral evil and cruelty, treason to truth and progress, was not at all their intentions, in their purpose, in their personal character, but in their opinions.”