Mirza Shahnawaz Agha
IN an archipelago of some 200 Nation States, all as islands of sorts, the policy for defensive coexistence has to be indestructible and secular. What is implied here is that a Nation State has to have global efficacy to make it indestructible and economic validity to keep it secularly independent. This wish list in a world of inter-dependence is thought seeking, for an able plan. It is certainly not an impossible realm to grope into, on the contrary it is an essential pre-requisite to being a Nation State, should one ponder. Nation States with lazy and planted leaderships often retain a status quo of stagnation or regress otherwise ‘all people are like all people and all times are like all times and the world is his who dares to conquer it!’ – an old English saying.
‘Indestructibility’ is as a consequence of ‘need’. Is the Nation State, a requirement for the rest of the like, or is it some doormat that anyone can mount, trample, seize to possess or do away with because it is a burden on all else. Is it obstructing the growth, efficacy, economic interest of another, are some other reasons for the survival or demise of a Nation State. ‘Need’, yet again, is brought about by the uniqueness for the existence of a Nation State. Uniqueness is fundamental because it also serves as the best quid pro quo in the defence of existence. Similarly we have economic validity that gives a Nation State its secular independence. Economic policy of a country, as a consuming buyer or a seller of any essential, therefore, guarantees independence and secular survival.
The most powerful tool in the analysis above is therefore people’s power with the absolute independent right to enterprise. All factors of production like land, labour and capital should be cast in stone for process and holdings free of political or bureaucratic leveraging whatsoever. There has to be an even playing field across the board for all citizens and institutions of the State. One cannot afford the usurpation and deterrence of enterprise by placing it in the hands of a corrupt bureaucracy or worst politicians who can fiddle with the law to profit out of the said factors of production. One must never forget that enterprise is intellectual property. Labour and capital both are sensitive and their flight to legally safer heaven is incumbent where they are even remotely threatened. Nation States that are not as blessed as Pakistan, that has uniqueness embedded from inception in its ideology, often develop a uniqueness to survive, rise and progress. What uniqueness does is plant the Nation State in a place of rigidity in the community of nations as a non-compromise able, non-alterable reality that they have to adjust with for the sake of co-existence. The population of the country is the biggest line of defence as they become impossible to annihilate.
This is the primary case for reviewing the foundation and structure of an absent foreign policy for us Pakistanis, seventy years post event. What do we have and what is required is the case in study. The world has survived and still is, with exotic doctrines, in view of others, like capitalism, communism, socialism, monarchies, dictatorships the like. The ideal Islamic model based on a judiciously democratic order is still to be found and established and we should lead the way. It is not a tough sale, as it allows wholesome peoples participation, tolerance, freedom for the exercise of free will and equitable equality in intra foreign relations. It warrants aggression free defence and supports people the world over against any and all acts of oppression. The only fly in the ointment is the requirement of a preferential economic treatment to all those who qualify as part of the Ummah. They who qualify naturally become allies, for economic fortification and more, become defence partners. Unilaterally enforced fate acompli!
The steps to be taken are at home. The bed for planting the doctrine has to be prepared first and that requires the redefinition of political constituencies that can support direct democracy at grass root levels. This redefinition has to be protected from political captivity, which in effect means fiscal empowerment of the population backed by compulsive literacy. The people in essence should be able to exercise their right of franchise and hold elected representatives accountable. With this primary step taken the country can turn to liberalizing the laws on enterprise development and can unilaterally free the country for tax free investments, and duty free imports and exports to and from countries and entities that are owned by brothers in faith. I am well aware of the consequences and resistance to Pan Islamism, but that whenever and wherever attempted, was without a narrative and reality on the ground to show for material justice and true peoples power. There is no arsenal invented by man yet that can subdue the determination of a people that choose to steer their own ship in the manner of their choosing. Barring the clergy let our concerned jurist and defence personal, sociologist and economist draw these architectural plans as pre-requisite to our foreign policy.
— The writer is an entrepreneur and author based in Karachi.
Mirza Shahnawaz Agha