NEWS & VIEWS
AS envisioned by the Quaid, Pakistan was to be a modern Islamic welfare state where a free and independent people would enjoy equal rights without discrimination on the basis of religion, sect, ethnicity or gender. The August 14 is indeed the day to rejoice, as this day we got freedom from the British Raj. It is also the day for introspection, self-accountability and evaluation as to how far we have been able to live up to the ideals set by the founding fathers. Quaid-i-Azam had envisaged a free, progressive, humane, and modern Pakistan, ruled by just laws, rooted in the eternal values of Islam, and at the same time responsive to the imperatives of constant change. Unfortunately, flawed decisions of inept leaders have brought the resourceful country to the present pass, which is facing many challenges. However, people of Pakistan have the resilience, determination and will to overcome those challenges.
Muslims of Pakistan despise and reject bigotry, as they believe that Islam is a religion of peace and exhorts Muslims to understand the universe through their sense perceptions. The Quaid had also warned that beneficiaries of Jagirs, feudal lords and exploiters were to have no place of privilege in an independent Pakistan. “If any one of you thinks that Pakistan has been created for the feudals and capitalists, I will have none of it”, he had unequivocally declared. Pakistan, the beacon of hope for the Muslims of South Asia and beyond, came into being through great struggle waged by the Muslims of the sub-continent. Pakistan has all the ingredients to make it a welfare state, yet majority of the people are living below the poverty line that cannot afford two square meals a day. This is contrary to the objectives for which Pakistan came into being.
The question is where did we go wrong? Unfortunately, Pakistan lost its Quaid and other founding fathers too soon, and conglomerate of privileged few, feudals, military and civil bureaucracy and new-rich industrial class devoid of political acumen and vision took over the state. The only redeeming feature is that Pakistan is now an atomic power, and its people and armed forces have the ability to meet any challenge posed by internal and external enemies of Pakistan. The fact of the matter is that on August 14, 1947 we got rid of the colonialism but fell a prey to neo-colonialism due to flawed policies of the various governments in the past. Since 1950s, we had to depend on the West for our development and defence, and the dependency syndrome was evident after September 11, 2001 events when Pakistan was coerced into joining the war on terror.
However, the people of Pakistan have not lost hope; their spirit is alive, and their dream lives on. On July 25 elections, Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf emerged as single majority party and will form the government on August 18, 2018. Imran Khan, prime minister in-waiting, is an honest man, and he waged the struggle against corruption, nepotism and inept rulers. Though challenges are enormous, but given the will and his determination, Pakistan can meet those economic and other challenges. However, to meet the internal and external challenges and threats to its security, it is imperative that the nation is united. Moreover, all pillars and organs of the state should work to convert moribund society plagued by corruption, immorality, inertia, factionalism into a progressive, vibrant and dynamic organism brimming with vitality and creativity. Nation has given mandate to PTI and Imran Khan, and it is hoped that they will deliver. Allama Iqbal had given the clue as to how to achieve this laudable objective, and underscored the need to reinterpret Islamic thought and assimilate its eternal principles to overcome centuries-old stagnation with a view to launching the nation on the path to revival and build a future worthy of its glorious past.
Pakistan, indeed, has industrious people, vast areas of land, variegated seasons suitable for various crops and fruits, rivers, large coastline and abundant natural resources. Its mountains and valleys are the most scenic in the world. Its strategic position, which is confluence and meeting point between Sinkiang of China, Iran and Central Asian republics, cannot be over-emphasised. Its principle city-port Karachi is a convenient route for Central Asian States for trade with the western and other countries. With the completion of Gwadar deep-sea port, it has the potential to become a hub of international trade.
Last but not the least; the people of Pakistan are proud inheritors of traditions of great sufis, saints and poets who fostered the message of peace and brotherhood over the centuries. Inspired by their exhortations, the people of Pakistan are determined to establish socio-economic justice in the society with a view to uniting the nation. And Pakistan would one day find a respectable place in the comity of nations. We the people of Pakistan have a dream that one day our nation-state of Pakistan will assume the actual meanings of its configuration as envisioned by the founding fathers and will not be identified with one of the most corrupt but with civilized nations of the world. We have a dream that one day this nation-state of Pakistan, sweltering with the heat of injustices for about seven decades will transform into an oasis of freedom and justice.
—The writer is a senior journalist based in Lahore.
NEWS & VIEWS