Dr Mahboob A Khwaja
Imagine, Pakistani people still celebrate the March 23, 1940 – the people’s day of ‘Pakistan Resolution’ to have an independent State carved out of the British Empire of India. The Lahore Resolution of the Muslim League unanimously demanded a separate homeland for the Muslim majority living in the Indian sub-continent, democratic rights, and freedom to establish and practice Islam as a system of life and to be a progressive country in the global community of independent nations. The legacy of Pakistan’s formative history is full of moral, political and intellectual dishonesty to the aims and ultimate purposes of the originality of Pakistan Resolution overwhelmingly passed by democratic norms at its best.
Today’s Pakistan appears in a complete disconnect to the wishes and priorities of the masses. Politically, it is not just appalling but full of swindles and perversion to the idea and ideals of an independent state. Its political freedom and rights of the people who sacrificed all they had for the new nation. The nation experienced four military coups and continuous authoritarian dictatorships for over forty years.
When martial laws govern a nation, it eradicate its values and principles of civic governance and freedom to think and to manage their own affairs. Democracy, freedom, law and order and social justice have succumbed to be words without meaning. There are distinctively visible moral and intellectual disparities and contrasts between the political powerhouses and those being governed by the “no system.” Does the Pakistani nation foresee light at the end of dark tunnel? After 75 years of the Pakistan Resolution and more than 69 years of the national freedom, Pakistanis suffer the tyranny of political mismanagement, institutionalised corruption and missing systems of national politics and political accountability.
Large segment of the Pakistani nation know well how the so called political leaders have stolen time and opportunities for political correctness and looted the natural and financial resources to enrich their foreign bank accounts in Europe and America as most continued to flourish without any accountability.
The system of politics is the by-product of the military authoritarianism. The neo-colonial rulers seem to be obsessed with individualistic absolutism and strong elements of indifference toward the aspirations of the people for change and freedom from the authoritarian oppression manifested by the cooperation of some of the Western military powers and increasing sadistic policies to use force to dispel the demands of change and political reformation throughout the subjugated nation.
Ruined agriculture cannot be restored nor lands ploughed by tanks and guns and criminal leaders. Educated people educate others, and build public institutions, not the armed forces, Bhuttos, Zardari, Musharaf or Sharif brothers. None had leadership traits but were conspirators to grab power and rule the nation at will. Nobody visits a country marred by violence, terrorism, military coups and lost sense of nationhood. Traders and private investors run economic markets; but nobody invests where military dictators and political thieves control the lifelines of a nation.
Whether you like it or not, look at today’s Pakistan where the ruling elite and the masses seem to be living in two different time zones, without meeting of minds, necessities for survival and priorities for security. American led war on terrorism is killing Pakistanis and large scale daily civilian bloodbaths speak their own language of the political cruelty of the so called leaders. With Bhuttos, Musaharf, Zardari and Sharif, Pakistan lost its genuine standing in global affairs, its respect and integrity. There are widening gulfs amongst the rulers and the ruled. For over 50 years, Pakistan has not witnessed a single occasion of peaceful transfer of power. For so long, Pakistani nation has not produced a single credible leader to lead the nation for change and a promising future. To meet this challenge, Pakistan needs a morally and intellectually enriched leader of new vision and change for the future.
If Allama Iqbal, Chaudry Rehmat Ali, Quaid-e- Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah and Liaquat Ali were alive today, most likely they would have refused to be identified as part of the current Pakistani political culture. The major paradoxes of Pakistan’s history illustrate that its time for change, opportunities for development and resources for progress were stolen by its own egomaniac and insane rulers. If the Pakistani nation had produced new-age, educated and honest leadership, the nation would have been on the course of being a progressive nation and respected by the global community of nations.
The solution must come from the living and thinking hubs of the new generation of educated, honest and proactive Pakistanis to facilitate hope and promise for a better future. The essence of time would demand prompt collective thinking and action for change and reformation process of the corrupt political governance, not a space for neutrality, confrontational argument, unthinking and inaction. This should be the agenda and resolve of the Pakistan Day Resolution- March 23.
— The writer specialises in global security, peace and conflict resolution.