In conversation with Quaid-i-Azam

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Shahidullah Shahid
IT was quite fruitful discussion held with the leader of
the nation Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad AIi Jinnah last
week. Despite his repeated denials, I successfully managed to enter into discourse with him for an hour. He was very disappointed on the current deteriorating socio-politico and economic situation of Pakistan. He shed tears on this sorry state of affairs and expressed serious concern about Pakistan’s poor international image with regard to governance, diplomacy, terrorism, political and economic stability. Surprisingly, he asked me a few questions which are: Why have you forgotten my message of unity, faith and discipline? Why does Pakistan lag behind in many spheres of life? Had I left this legacy? Why has my Pakistan been hijacked by a few political dynasties? Why is corruption still the burning question of the day? Why the poor masses of this country are being drowned in tsunami of inflation? Why the economy of Pakistan has been crumbled? Why our leaders are busy in mudslinging upon each other? Why have we left behind in developing states of the third world? Why has poverty pushed us into a treacherous quagmire? Why are SOPS for fighting Coronavirus not being implemented? On my part, the answer to all these questions was “sir, I am ashamed”
Listening carefully to the father of the nation, I earnestly requested him. What is the way forward? Give us a roadmap. How could Pakistan become one of the great nations of the world? Is it on the verge of being collapsed? Is there any ray of hope? He replied. Listen to my words carefully. It is not all doom and gloom, if you make a serious effort, you can still reach your destination. Unlock the chains of slavery and terror. Bury all the hatchets of sectarianism and provincialism. Despite serious challenges Pakistan has a bright future. Let us work for greater Pakistan. All the institutions should work within their constitutional framework. Combat the menace of Corona virus, poverty, gender inequality and illiteracy prudently. Media should play a constructive role of educating, informing and entertaining the masses. It is the custodian of protecting ideological boundaries of the state. Similarly, the khakis should safeguard the geographical boundaries of the country. It has nothing to do with the politics of the country. It is not their business.
He reiterated: “Uphold supremacy of the constitution and establish the rule of law. A vigorous system of accountability across the board ought to be established where no one is above law and the Constitution. All the citizens including khakis and judges are equal before law.” Responding to one of my question he answered. Devise robust and pro-active foreign and internal policies. Parliament is supreme but it demands supreme performance of the parliamentarians. He also stated Pakistan has rendered huge sacrifices in the war against terrorism, both in terms of loss of precious human lives and substantial damage to the economy. Let us mobilize all our resources in a systematic and organized way and tackle the grave issues that confront us with grim determination, discipline worthy of a great nation. In addition, he advised. It is high time for taking bold decisions. Let us learn from blunders of our tragic history and move ahead. Learn from the progress of Germany, Japan, Malaysia, China and Singapore. There is a dire need of sincere and charismatic leadership at this critical juncture. There is no room for dynastic politics in Pakistan. Power and privilege would have to be curbed. Science and technology would have to be given way if Pakistan were to compete with the rest of the world.
It is high time to get out of these multidimensional crises as quickly as possible. The time is running out fast. Strategy is needed to stop Pakistani reliance on US money. At the moment, China is the only countervailing option we seem to have. The need of the hour is to reach some understanding with India by hook or by crook. Secondly, we must recognize that we can no longer continue to be a nation of beggars that depends on outside patrons like International Monetary Fund, World Bank and other financial institutions to fund our economy. There will always be a price to pay. We have to learn to be economically self-reliant by bringing structural economic reforms and rectifying the current tax system of the country. He emphasized: “The time for taking a decision on fighting all the evils of the country was yesterday, but our rulers seem to be waiting for tomorrow that will never come. Are there any saviours who can stand up and fight for Pakistan? Or the nation awaits a miracle. Intelligent nations keep an eye on the present to ensure a bright future. Great nations always learn from mistakes of their past and look forward.” The Quaid also manifested: “You will have to be alert, very alert; the time for your relaxation is not yet there. With hope, discipline and sincere devotion to your duty, there is nothing worthwhile that you cannot achieve.” I wanted to converse with him a little longer. But he refused and said. “Enough is enough. Convey my message to the rest of Pakistan.” I promised him to do so. In the meantime, the clock struck 4:00 am. My eyes opened. I woke up early to make ablution to prepare myself for Morning Prayer.
—The writer is an Assistant Commissioner in the KP Government.