By Dr. Haider Mehdi

Tomb of Usman Ali Hajveri, M A Jinnah, Dr Iqbal, Mirza Ghalib and Faiz

With the growing war rhetoric against Iran by Israel and the US, it would be interesting to imagine a hypothetical situation: Data Ganj Bakhsh, patron saint of Lahore, Quaid-e-Azam, father of the Nation, Allama Iqbal, nationalist political-philosopher poet, Ghalib, the soul of Urdu poetry, Faiz and Ahmed Fraz, each the heartbeat of people’s aspirations, and Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, founder of the Pakistan People’s Party, all sitting together in Pak Tea House, Lahore, having afternoon tea while discussing contemporary geo-political dynamics and the fate of human civilization in the 21st century.

Precisely at that very moment in the hypothetical situation, the Zardari-Gillani incumbent government in Islamabad announces that this administration has decided to support the US-Israel-Nato launched military invasion of Iran that has just begun. The Prime Minister, in his usual endless oratory, explains the rationale behind this decision: “The present global political stability and the balance of power in the region need to be protected. Pakistan is the historical ally of the US and is committed to safeguarding American global political interests and its security concerns. Pakistan’s friends in the Middle East are also supportive of the US-Israeli-Nato military action; justifiably, the US along with all of its allies cannot let nuclear proliferation take place. Iran’s nuclear ambition is a threat to world peace. Pakistan is a responsible state and cannot put the entire international community at risk from nuclear terrorism. The present global political status-quo must be preserved in the interest of humanity’s future.  Pakistan has only one policy option and that is to morally and politically support the on-going military invasion against Iran. Pakistan will fulfill its obligation to the world community: Pakistan Zindabad.”

Mind it, this is a purely hypothetical scenario. What would one think that the spiritual-political elders of the nation who have gathered in the Pak Tea House would say about the Zardari-Gallani government’s decision? Indeed, a collective response of our elders would be one of terrible shock, a betrayal of our very national genesis and an utter disillusionment in Pakistan’s contemporary role in international politics. But their individual responses would be far more reflective of our failure in political nationhood, the ailing polity that we have become, and the permanent submissive role to the US-West that this nation has assumed in the management and conduct of its foreign policy.

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I assume, hypothetically again, that our elders would react in the following manner to Zardari-Gillani’s decision to support military invasion against Iran: Data Ganj Baksh would say that Iran is the mother of our civilization (spiritual-linguistic) and this decision reflects the ultimate degradation of the national spiritual bankruptcy of our ruling elite – it is against the fundamentals of our national existence and people’s sentiments – the decision must be quickly reversed. Quaid-e-Azam would say that we (as a nation) are once again at the starting point of struggle against colonialism, foreign occupation and the US-West’s neo-imperialism covertly (under the disguise of so-called democracy) supported by Pakistan’s ruling elite. The Quaid will ask the nation to rise up against the present political dispensation and free themselves from this yoke of national oppression – to the Quaid this would be another political movement (massive mobilization of people) for the national dignity, sovereignty and independence of Pakistan.

Iqbal, Ghalib, Faiz and Fraz would lament the degeneration of our ruling elites political-moral consciousness and the indignity that is being imposed on this nation. God knows how many verses of sorrow, sadness, betrayal and at the loss of our national innocence would fill the air with Noor Jehan and Mehdi Hassan joining the chorus grieving the demise of a nation that was built on a vision of a spiritual-humanitarian ideals dedicated to an ideology of peace, brotherhood and co-existence of a community of nations sharing a common history and political thought.

But the most important reaction would come from Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. ZAB would immediately order Pakistan’s armed forces to join the Iranian armed forces for a joint counter-attack military strategic operation against the incoming invasion. Pakistani pilots would fly the skies protecting Iranian air space and the ground forces would assist the Iranians in stopping the violation of its territory. But the most powerful response from ZAB would come in political-diplomatic terms. ZAB would warn the invaders that unless the invasion is terminated at once, Pakistan would administer massive damage by lethal force to the US-Israeli forces and their allies, in whatever form it might take, to safeguard its neighbor’s territorial and political integrity and national sovereignty.

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At this point, it might be interesting to mention the anticipated PML(N) reaction to the US-West’s military aggression against Iran and the Zardari-Gillani’s decision to support it. The PML(N) Central Committee would announce that its party’s reaction to the prevailing international political situation would come after the PML(N) Quaid (Mian Nawaz Sharif) returned from London after his periodical trips there. How truly amazing!

Had ZAB been alive, the on-going US-Israeli war mongering against Iran would not have taken place to begin with. ZAB (with all his political faults and misgivings) was a global-political visionary. He understood the importance of national dignity and sovereignty.  He conducted Pakistan’s foreign policy with an eye on the evolving international political dynamics and politically-intellectually appreciated the need for a regional power bloc in the Middle East to consolidate Islamic nations solidarity to counter the US-Israeli-West’s global hegemony. ZAB understood that the threat of western neo-imperialism ever-increases if not diplomatically and politically countered at the level of an international forum. ZAB believed that such a politically active forum could be structured and promoted by a commonality of purpose and solidarity amongst all Muslim nations. Indeed, ZAB argued that all Islamic nations and their people had suffered and endured Western oppression and colonialism; he saw a common thread of this historical experience as a binding element in a brave new world of Islamic nations solidarity.

It was not an emotional, religious or faith-driven vision of a new global political era of Islamic power as a stabilizing force in the balance of power equation in an emerging post-independence world. It was a rational approach to conducting international diplomacy and global politics. It was a doctrine that was based on national integrity, equality of nations, independence and sovereignty, self-reliance and self-respect – way in the opposite direction of the existing status-quo between the powerful US-Western nations and the subservient Third World countries – and their ruling elite who could not survive a moment of their political life without the foreign backing of their imperialist masters.

But national dignity and independence come at a cost.

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Our national tragedy is that the entire political leadership of our country is without vision – nor have they the intellectual-political ability to understand what ZAB had offered as a new global political order.

How could the nation anticipate an imaginative or inspirational leadership that owes its existence to a foreign-brokered NRO?  The ignominious and humiliating compromises of the present political ruling elite are all too obvious to expect that the incumbent regime would espouse a doctrine that is fundamentally contrary to their self-interests.

If an invasion comes against the Iranians, Pakistan’s ruling elite would stand by their “Masters”! Beggars have no choices!

National political renaissance in Pakistan can only come with a revolutionary change in its political culture and its entire political leadership!

Didn’t Imran Khan say that?…!

ZAB would have advised the same to the PPP “Jialas”!

Wake up before it’s too late!

The writer is an academic, political analyst and conflict-resolution expert. He besides other publications, is a regular contributor to Opinion Maker.