By Farooq Hameed Khan
Pakistan celebrates its 64th birthday this 14th August amidst extremely difficult times, faced with grave threats both internal and external, to its security and integrity. From fighting militancy in FATA and Khyber Pakhtun Khwa, to countering foreign sponsored insurgency in Balochistan and bringing peace to the killing battle fields of Karachi, the nation struggles to overcome these challenges with courage and determination.
The Quaid’s love and hope in Karachi’s future is evident from the speech he made at the civic reception at Karachi Municipal Corporation on 25th August 1948:
“Let us strive to make this beautiful town a great metropolis, a centre of trade, industry and commerce and a seat of learning and culture. Karachi has the distinction of being the only town of importance where, during these times of communal disturbances, people have kept their heads cool and lived amicably and I hope will continue to do so. I visualize a great future for Karachi, it always had immense potentialities”.
Can Pakistanis ever forgive themselves for the death and destruction brought about in Karachi , the city which is the birth and final resting place of Mr Muhammad Ali Jinnah. Karachi, once the city of peace and lights has been plunged into one of intolerance and darkness. Are the present PPP led democratic/coalition governments both in Islamabad and Karachi not blame worthy for failing to enforce the writ of the state and letting Karachi become hostage to the vested interests of political parties and their militant groups, gangsters and mafias ?
The Quaid believed in a strong and efficient civil service. In his address to the gazetted government officers in Chittagong on 25th March 1948, the Quaid-e Azam gave the following advice:
“You have to do your duty as servants. You are not concerned with this political party and that political party; that is not your business. It is up to you now to act as servants of the people even at the risk of any Minister or Ministry trying to interfere with you in the discharge of your duties as civil servants. I hope it will not be so but even if some of you have to suffer as a victim.”
Unfortunately Pakistan’s civil service has undergone a progressive degeneration since independence. Gone are the days of the sixties and seventies when highly upright and honest civil servants were respected for their professionalism and would refuse to dance to the tunes of their political/ military masters. With the true concept of a pure civil service overtaken by the anti people system of ‘red tapism’ and ‘ bureaucracy’, the problems of the common people have not being addressed in the spirit of the Quaid’s advice.
Recent cases of investigation of mega corruption scams have proved however that honest government officers are still to be found, who are not willing to compromise on principles even at the cost of becoming victims of the high handedness of the rulers. Institutions like the National School for Public Policy including the Civil Service Academy that groom and train civil servants must consider it a national duty to restore the true essence and spirit of the civil service as envisioned by the Father of the Nation.
Could Quaid-e Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah have visualized the breakup of the Muslim League as we witness today. It pains Pakistanis to see the current fragmented condition of Muslim League which under the leadership of Jinnah spearheaded the freedom struggle for the creation of a separate Muslim homeland on the basis of the Two Nation Theory.
Broken up into more than half a dozen factions, the Pakistan Muslim League( A to Z) of today presents a dismal picture dominated by vested interests, power play, distrust and disunity, in total negation of the Quaid-e Azam’s grand principles of ‘UNITY, FAITH AND DISCIPLINE’ .
A strong and cohesive Muslim League can lead the country out of the current state of despair, poverty and economic hardships. The PML-N leader Mr Nawaz Sharif, being the head of largest Muslim League faction must show political sagacity, wisdom and large heartedness to unite the Muslim league so that the masses can see hope in the country’s future.
One cannot but commend the persistent and sincere efforts of Mr Majid Nizami, Chairman Nazaria Pakistan Trust, who has worked tirelessly for the unification of the Pakistan Muslim League and has still not given up hope in this respect. A united Muslim league can reclaim Jinnah’s Pakistan if it reestablishes its political strength in all the provinces and upholds and implements the guiding principles of the Founder of the Nation.
In his historic speech to the first Constituent Assembly of Pakistan on 11th August 1947, the Quaid- Azam identified the first duty of the government as the maintenance of law and order. He defined his second priority in the following words :
“One of the biggest curses from which India is suffering, I do not say that other countries are free from it, but I think our condition is much worse, is bribery and corruption. That really is a poison. We must put it down with an iron hand.”
Sadly for Pakistan these wise words of the Quaid have not been heeded in the past 63 years. Corruption has become a disease infecting every aspect of our political, social and economic activity. As the 34th most corrupt nation of the world, corruption has permeated in all segments of Pakistani society and is easily the country’s most formidable challenge. Corruption breeds social injustice and poverty and destroys the society’s cohesion and stability. The country’s major public sector organizations like Pakistan Railways, PIA, Pakistan Steel Mills are on the verge of collapse due to corruption, financial mismanagement and nepotism.
The Quaid’s dream of a corruption free Pakistan can be realized if the country’s political leadership becomes a role model of integrity and selfless devotion to the cause of serving the masses. Our leadership, in particular the ruling elite must strengthen the institutions of accountability and give all round and wholehearted support in implementing the verdicts related to the major corruption scams under review by the higher judiciary.
The Quaid always advocated Pakistani nationalism. In a speech during public meeting in Dhaka on 21 March 1948, Muhammad Ali Jinnah stated,“ You belong to a Nation now, you have now carved out a territory, Provincialism has been one of the curse and so is sectionalism-Shia, Sunni etc”
Pakistanis should foil any designs to disfigure and fragment Jinnah’s Pakistan in the garb of breaking up Punjab and other provinces on linguistic lines for short term political gains and probably at the behest of foreign powers. This appears to be the next phase of the grand conspiracy to further weaken Pakistan, create hatred and divide the nation on linguistic/ethnic lines that may prove dangerous for the unity and integrity of Pakistan.
Under the inspiring leadership of Mr Majid Nizami and many dedicated veterans and workers of the Freedom Movement, the Nazaria-i-Pakistan Trust (NPT) remains committed to the ideology of Pakistan as enunciated in the teachings of Allama Muhammad Iqbal and Quaid –e- Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. The NPT has not only preserved and kept alive but infused a new vigour in safeguarding the spirit of the 1947 Freedom Movement and Two Nation Theory.
The NPT’s vision is to make Pakistan a modern, Islamic, ideological, welfare democratic state. With an ever increasing Army of thousands of dedicated workers and volunteers countrywide, the NPT has heralded an ideological revolution specially amongst the youth by organizing lectures, educational programs, workshops and summer schools to project the aims and objectives of Pakistan Movement and the establishment of a social order in Pakistan as envisioned by Allama Muhammad Iqbal and Quaid-e- Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah.
The Quaid-e Azam stood for democracy, rule of law, social justice, tolerance, and corruption free society. Pakistan’s strength and future lies in true democracy, that delivers prosperity and happiness to its people. We must show faith in the Pakistani nation that has displayed remarkable resilience and come out safely through many storms and crisis in the past.
The political leadership must rise to lead the nation and steer the country’s ship out of the turbulent seas. If only we could adhere to the Quaid’s saying, “Pakistan is destined to play its magnificent role year after year as we go on, provided we serve Pakistan honestly, earnestly and selflessly”. Jinnah’s Pakistan must be saved.