Pakistan needs national integration and harmony
THE ongoing political polaristion has greatly damaged the national harmony of Pakistan among its masses. Whereas, the political parties and democratic process is expected to enhance the concept of nation building and creating harmony among various segments of society, the people of Pakistan have been greatly troubled by both. This means that democratic system of Pakistan and its political parties have been found wanting in achieving both. Indeed, political forces have created more fissures and divide among the masses rather uniting them under the single banner of the state. This was clearer during the recent political campaign of PTI which emaciated the state from multiple angles; political, social, economic and from the security perspective. This was more of militancy than a political struggle. In a way there has entered an element of militancy in the politics of Pakistan. This element is damaging the state to a greater extent from the perspective of its national harmony and national integration. The statements of the political leadership of PTI especially Imran Khan has threatened the very sovereignty and national integrity of Pakistan.
The anarchic nature of the international system obliges the nation states to have their own system to ensure their sovereignty and integrity. 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 common feeling of unity, solidarity and cohesion. To achieve national integration, the factors like; political affiliation, religion, language, culture, tribes, casts and ethnicity though play significant role, yet need harnessing under a single factor; the 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, casts, creeds, different ethnic backgrounds have worked together for a cohesive society and a harmonious state. Nevertheless, this trend is eroding in Pakistan with passing day. Some of the political parties and their avaricious leadership think that, if they are in power then all is well otherwise they can compromise the state and its interests.
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 time were given religious flavor. 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-centeredness of the political parties and their petty gains are a new example of creating disharmony; the evolving political fault lines in Pakistan.
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. 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 individuals and families.
There is a massive misuse of main-stream and social media by the workers and leaders of various political forces who constantly provoke the opponents for petty political gains at the cost of national gains and common national interest. The media, both electronic and print must realize its responsibility towards promotion of national integration. The 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 programs. The media is indeed the most significant pillar, which can promote the national cause and harmony.
As a way forward, let’s reject all those forces which promote division among Pakistani society on any basis; religious, ethnic, political and provincial. Pakistan strong needs a harmonious and integrated society. Political and religious leadership of Pakistan must stop polarization of society for their personal and petty gains. There is a need to create an environment where people have stakes over the state and state and its institutions give a good deliverance to people in their personal and social lives. All is possible once there is a peace, political and social stability, national integration and cohesion among the people of Pakistan.
Good governance is yet another crucial aspect which must be catered through measures like; timely provision of justice, education, health and other civic requirements. There is a strong need that ruling class should adopt the people’s centric approach, rather misusing the 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 rising socio-political polarization in Pakistani society. There is a dire need to understand that, future of Pakistan rests on national integration which can be achieved through social cohesion and harmony among all segments of Pakistani society.
— The writer is Professor of Politics and IR at International Islamic University, Islamabad.
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