People are waiting for another Quaid

Remembering the QuaidBy Asif Haroon Raja

Sir Syed Ahmad Khan raised the slogan of Two-nation Theory to challenge the brute majority of Hindus in All India Congress. Allama Iqbal raised the hopes of Muslims through his scintillating poetry and gave the idea of Pakistan. Unconquerable spirit, strength of will and singleness of purpose of MA Jinnah united the Muslims of India under the banner of Muslim League and turned the dream into reality. His honesty, strength of character and undaunted steadfastness helped him in achieving his goal of creating Pakistan. The Quaid lived all his life by a strict code of personal ethics and never compromised on principles and discipline. The Quaid was a man who could be trusted upon without an iota of doubt. He had assumed a legendary image for the Muslims. His presence was a matter of strength and comfort for them. Creating a new Nation had taken all the character, prescience, conviction and energy of the Quaid. In his Presidential Address to the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan on 11th August, 1947 he said, “My guiding principle will be justice and complete impartiality, and I am sure that with your support and co-operation, I can look forward to Pakistan becoming one of the greatest Nations of the world.

Pakistan was very unfortunate to lose MA Jinnah just after one year of its birth. Hardly had he closed his eyes when the Muslim League which the Quaid had nurtured and solidified into a cohesive force, began to crack from within. Devoid of strong leadership, the hidden demented forces of hate, greed and destruction who had remained suppressed under the awe-inspiring personality of the Quaid, surfaced and started to dismantle the edifice bit by bit that had been erected after so much of pain and labor. Regionalism raised its ugly head. Mini-mind and rapacious leaders that came after Liaquat Ali Khan set aside the vision of Quaid-e-Azam and started plundering the nation with both hands. Fascism overtook democratic norms and the country kept lurching from one crisis to another.

The ideals of the Quaid have been torn into shreds. Sycophancy, nepotism, jobbery, favoritism, bribery, corruption, red tapism, hypocrisy, immorality and all sorts of vices have become rampant. The country is gripped in lawlessness, extremism and terrorism. While the honest are hounded and persecuted, the dishonest and rogues are patronized and shielded. Decent politics have been replaced with hooliganism and dirty politics, and democracy stultified. Democracy, Anglo-Saxon laws and economic system are pro-rich and anti-poor. Incompetence, greed for power and pelf of the successive regimes has made Pakistan economically weak, politically unstable and socially and religiously divided.

Pomp and show of the rulers and the elite class and their insensitivity towards the downtrodden has made the latter heart-broken, disenchanted, resentful and revengeful. Great majority is drenched in the pool of poverty. Having nothing to lose, many have opted to join the criminal gangs or terrorist groups. It is from among the have-nots who are responsible for the deaths of over 50,000 Pakistanis and the gruesome attack on a school in Peshawar on December 16 in which 133 children were martyred. Existential threat to the security of Pakistan is not from the traditional enemies across the border but from within.

While the entire lot of politicians is on one page to eliminate the scourge of terrorism, the 20-point Action Plan announced by the PM is very encouraging. Concrete steps have been suggested to net the terrorists, their sympathizers and helpers. However, the whole burden has once again been put on the Army to fight the battle of survival. The question is, have we not held several APCs in the last six years and came out with unanimous resolutions to root out terrorism? While the military performed its task of clearing and holding the troubled regions commendably, other organs of the State remained out of step and failed to perform. Heavily politicized police which is supposed to act as the first line of defence against criminals and terrorists lack capacity and will to deliver. The judiciary, particularly lower courts failed to convict criminals and terrorists and failed to provide justice to the have-nots. The Supreme Court made no effort to revamp the flawed criminal justice system. It is owing to utter failure of civil courts that the people are vying for establishment of military courts. Civil administration lacks will power to take over secured areas from the Army, undertake rehabilitation and development works and win hearts and minds of the affected people. No effort has been made to bring FATA in the mainstream and it continues to remain Illaqa Ghair. PPO has not been implemented in real sense and special courts established in Sind have not convicted any hardened criminal/terrorist. Failure of democracy to provide security, social justice and means of living has impelled the people to seek out military rule.

Successive governments lacked moral courage to point out that intelligence agencies of US, UK, Israel, India, Germany and Afghanistan based in Kabul were heavily involved in fomenting terrorism in Pakistan and also in discrediting its premier institutions through orchestrated propaganda war. They have continued to treat them as friends of Pakistan and followed one-sided policy of appeasement despite having collected concrete evidence of their involvement in FATA, Swat, Balochistan and Karachi. While the rulers never tire of saying that we are at war, they continue to indulge in merry making. They have remained busy in amassing power and wealth and are more worried about personal security and security of capital cities particularly Islamabad by turning them into Red Zones. Rather than becoming role models, respecting laws and ensuring their implementation, the rulers and elites violate laws with impunity.

Several political/religious parties and groups are soft towards the banned extremist groups and preferred talks over action. Right persons were not chosen for negotiations. So-called independent media and NGOs have been instrumental in promoting the agenda of foreign countries and PEMRA/Ministry of Information remained silent spectators. No effort has ever been made for moral refurbishment, national integration and to narrow the ever widening gap between rich and poor. As a consequence, extremism kept growing and new crop of terrorists kept increasing and terrorist groups mushroomed.

Among the corrective actions, no thought has been given as to how to doctor the causes which foment religious extremism, sectarian strife and intolerance, how to refurbish declined moral turpitude, human values and ethics, how to change ostentatious lifestyle and behavior of the affluent class and bringing it in conformity with the teachings of the Quaid and as prescribed in our religion. No plan has been spelled out how to revamp three-tier education system and to better the lives of the have-nots, convert their hatred into brotherhood and fraternity. Law and order can never improve until and unless the police is depoliticized, its quality and capacity improved and given a free hand. People can never be won over unless they are provided cheap and evenhanded justice and their basic amenities of life made available. Military courts should be established only in Karachi and Quetta where terrorism is rife and no airstrikes or drone attacks are taking place and Army is not involved.

In the APC, the political/religious leaders should have pledged to become role models and to religiously implement the guidelines and legacies of Jinnah by turning Pakistan into a welfare state. Alas! Dream of the Great Quaid remains unfulfilled. People are still waiting for another Quaid.

The writer is a retired Brig, war veteran/defence analyst/columnist/author of five books, Director Measac Research Centre, Director Board of Governors Thinkers Forum Pakistan.

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