Sovereignty only through self-reliance | By Zaheer Bhatti


Sovereignty only through self-reliance

IT is lamentable that under the smokescreen of Parliamentary Democracy, which was supposed to be a Government of the people, by the people, for the people, Pakistani political leadership has reduced it to a self-serving system where feudalism and capitalism continue to flourish, treating the common man as their subjects who they could toy around with at will; the colonial masters in obliging chosen individuals commanding local influence and throwing up compliant leadership to serve them, and the resulting affluent minority monopolizing the legislature, entrepreneurship and amassing wealth.

The colonial legacy has continued to flourish in Pakistan at the cost of the common man even after departure of the British, whereas feudalism in India was immediately abolished, which is why it has been better off while Pakistan continues to suffer with its ‘Yours Truly’ slave mentality.

This country failed to throw up a consensus document in the shape of a Constitution to chart out an action plan for an Ideological State created for an Islamic sovereign in the comity of nations, until 26 years of its directionless existence due to the early departure of its founding father.

Mercifully in the year 1973 a Constitution for Pakistan was ironed out, but not before suffering the ignominy of surrendering half its country in the shape of Bangladesh due partly to its own myopic handling of East Pakistan which allowed enemy India to conspire and exploit the situation and sever its majority wing; with Imperial West conveniently looking the other way.

Unfortunately, despite a turbulent passage of another half a century since, with the Khakis taking turns initially to stem the roteventually started to enjoy the rule until more recently when it decided to remain at the remote control; Pakistan does not appear to have learnt its lessons, as it currently plunges into a deep political crisis and the possibility of a so-called National Government using the Instrument of Elections looms large; though it remains to be seen in what shape PTI, the majority Party will figure in the set-up, which while chastising the Establishment to correct their wrong, still harbours the illusion that it will sweep the poll in view of an unprecedented instant support demonstrated within and abroad in reaction to Imran Khan’s removal, despite PTI’s economic debacles and political isolation.

Imran Khan nevertheless needs to recognize, that although his conspiracy mantra garnered considerable support initially from this emotionally pent nation, the momentum could die down rapidly if he merely kept dwelling on the refrain like his cricketing triumph, and is unable to nail it with concrete evidence sooner.

It is clear by now that there indeed was a Cipher message from Pakistan’s Ambassador in Washington conveying uncalled for reservations about Khan’s Government in the White House and consequential threats if he was to continue in power; referring to the impending vote of No Confidence against him in Parliament.

The content, tone, tanner and language used by the Under Secretary was not only considered unacceptable blatant interference but caused a strong Demarche to the US as unanimously decided by the National Security Committee of Pakistan.

It is strongly rumoured though that the Khan like his predecessor choosing to lock horns with the Khakis over various Issues of late is what actually brought him down.

True also that since the American President Joe Biden had been dismissive of Imran Khan from the very start; ignoring to exchange even small pleasantries with him as head of an important government; leave alone encouraging any meaningful engagement, which was devoid of grace and by no means diplomatically acceptable behaviour; be it of the mightiest.

The Khan rightly registered his protest by not receiving the various high ranking Americans visiting Pakistan as a quid pro quo; and letting Pakistani officials of even rank meet them.

Washington not used to such repartee from smaller nations, had not taken kindly to Imran Khan’s bluntness in matters it would normally extract compliance.

Their annoyance appears to have coincided with the turmoil within the country to hasten showing him the door, except for the needless threat it hurled through a lowly-placed diplomat.

Khan calls it conspiracy which the US denies, as conspiracy is a covert stipulation normally between two entities.

Here a galaxy of pawns was overtly used by hook or by crook who played ball while others may have got used unknowingly.

But Mr.Khan provided them with the fertile ground by losing one group of party-men and coalition partners who became victim of his self-righteousness one after the other.

If he wishes to become a Statesman, he needs to grow out of his ‘self’ and be flexible. Additionally, this nation needs to take remarks of various leaders in the spirit they are uttered and not give them the twist of their choice which is destructive for the image of the country.

When Imran said that if Modi came back to power the Kashmir Issue would be solved, he was merely trying in anticipation to urge him on to the negotiating table; it is another matter that Modi acted smarter in using imperial support over his annexation move, but it is a pity that the opposing PDM accused Imran of selling out on Kashmir.

When Imran said that Narendra Modi took decisions resisting any outside pressure in his national interest, his opponents chided him out of context, to have praised the enemy.

Likewise when Shehbaz Sharif said that beggars could not be choosers, he meant that when you keep on extending the begging bowl to Imperial Donor Agencies, you could not avoid to be dictated, the Khan and Company started ridiculing him to have termed Pakistanis a nation of beggars.

Prey! What else have successive leaderships in Pakistan done except enslaving the nation with more borrowings and refusing to slash non-development expenditure to get out of the debt trap!

It is horrendous that this nation continues to be remorselessly burdened with an army of Ministers and Advisors and saddled with self-styled Consultants at staggering packages despite the economic crunch.

Shame is a very small word to describe the apathy. The sovereignty and independence will not come without a whole lot of measures for achieving self-sufficiency in the country; putting your heads down together in unison and tapping the enormous potential and natural resources which we merely keep talking about and dissipate our energies gunning for each other.

The only way to genuine freedom is ingenerating self-respect as a nation through productivity and earning more than you spend.

Only then can you look the adversary in the eye as do the Chinese today in addressing the mightiest of the world.

Breaking the begging bowl and self-reliance is the only option to self-respect and true sovereignty. The rest is all cheap rhetoric.

—The writer is a media professional, member of Pioneering team of PTV and a veteran ex Director Programmes.