Dynamics of national integration in Pakistan | By Dr Muhammad Khan


Dynamics of national integration in Pakistan

SECURING the fundamental rights of every human being is universally recognized as the most significant element of national integration and harmony of any nation.

Upon attainment of fundamental rights, there are obligations of the fundamental duties, the individuals and communities need to undertake and ensure within the ambit of their respective states.

In a way; there is a relationship of give and take, rights and obligations and their justified implementation at the level of nation state as well as internationally.

The other elements of national integration include the transparent and identical justice system, exercise of free will in the form of democracy, a common national cause in the form of ideology and established leadership having unquestionable character traits.

Most of these elements are part of the UN Charter and various conventions and covenants, internationally accepted by all nation states.

The anarchic nature of the international system obliges the nation states to have their own system to ensure their sovereignty and integrity which is the essence of Westphalia.

National integration is the process of achieving harmony, devising a common identity and a national consciousness among the masses and constituent units of a state.

It is a psychological and educational process for the development of a common feeling of unity, solidarity and cohesion.

To achieve national integration, factors like political affiliation, religion, language, culture, tribe, caste and ethnicity though play a significant role, yet need harnessing under a single factor – nationalism.

The creation of Pakistan, though propelled by ideological factor, yet Pakistan has people from other religions, who lived in harmony with the Muslim for decades now.

Indeed, people from all political parties, religions, castes, creeds and different ethnic backgrounds have worked together for a cohesive society and a harmonious state.

Indeed, after its independence in 1947, there has never been a crisis, based on religions or ideologies, though isolated incidents did take place occasionally, which at times were given religious dimension.

The ethnicity at times and indeed misuse of religion by non-state actors did create problems for the state and society of Pakistan.

This misconstrued ideology, indeed, the negative usage of religion is being done by TTP and many other so-called religious elements for promoting their brand of Islam.

This usage is against the essence of Islam and the ideology of Pakistan. Whereas, Islam promotes peace, harmony, mutual respect and sacred nature of the life of every human being, these militants do exactly the opposite.

The self-centredness of the political parties and their petty gains are a new example of creating disharmony.

Many factors serve as the base line for the promotion of national integration. Looking at the history of Pakistan and the concept of Two-Nation Theory there is a lot to learn and practice in contemporary Pakistani society.

It was Urdu as a language, which became the identity of the Muslims in united India. In 1867, the Urdu-Hindi Dispute appeared as the first indicator, which gave Muslims a realization for their future.

The ambassadors of Hindu-Muslim unity like; Sir Syed Ahmed Khan was compelled to think differently.

The language later united the Muslim under the banner of ideology and Muslims of India got united to have a mother land based on their sacred belief.

Political parties are the product of Pakistan hence should not conspire to divide the masses for the sake of their political outfit and interest of few families.

There is a massive misuse of social media by the workers and leaders of various political parties who constantly provoke the opponents for petty political gains at the cost of national gains and common national interest.

The national and private media, both electronic and print, must realise their responsibility towards promotion of national integration.

Except PTV, the private media channels have generally been found lacking in the promotion of national cause and national integration.

There is a strong need that PAMRA should allocate special and dedicated hours in each media house for the promotion of national integration through nationally motivated narratives and programmes.

The media is indeed the most significant pillar, which can promote the national cause and harmony.

The best way forward for the promotion of national harmony and integration is through Good Governance, indeed, the essence of all.

For decades now, the Pakistani State and society has suffered because of the poor governance and ill management both at the federal and provincial level.

The issues like timely provision of justice, education facilities and health facilities are most important to be addressed on priority.

Through good governance, these crucial aspects can be addressed to end the social unrest, prevailing in Pakistani society.

There is a strong need that the ruling class should adopt the people’s centric approach, rather than using the government authority for their personal gains or to benefit their political parties.

A merit based system achieved through competence and justice would greatly help in overcoming the polarization.

Owing to many domestic and external conspiracies, today, there is a strong need for a harmonious and integrated society in Pakistan.

Apart from the ruling class, the media, academia, the intellectual class, civil society and the political and religious leaders must play towards national integration and harmony of Pakistani society.

Political and religious leadership of Pakistan must stop polarization of society for their personal and petty party gains.

Let’s create an environment where people have stakes over the state and its institutions and state and its institutions give a good deliverance to people.

All is possible once there is national integration and cohesion among the people of Pakistan.

— The writer is Professor of Politics and IR at International Islamic University, Islamabad.


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