Uphold national honor and self-respect

 By   Mohammad Jamil

The destiny of a nation depends on the determination of its people; but there has to be a leader with vision, courage and wisdom with a credible team to inspire them to unite in their struggle for safeguarding the sovereignty and independence of their country. In Pakistan, the myriad political and religious parties, intellectuals, pseudo-intellectuals have variegated stances and perceptions about various issues and challenges facing the country. Yet, there appears to be a consensus that Pakistan is facing a multifaceted crisis, which is the result of ineptness, incompetence, and lust for power and flawed decisions of the ruling elite over past few decades. Indeed, Pakistan needs leaders with vision, wisdom, tolerance and perseverance to extricate the country from the quagmire it is in. According to Hegel, a leader has to be not only conversant with, but in harmony with the spirit of the age. A real leader is a master strategist and a great tactician who blends pragmatism with idealism to achieve the desired objectives. He upholds national honor and self-respect while running the affairs of the state.

Leadership is described as poetry; and its composition depends more on natural instincts and knowledge of an individual and less on his training. To understand as to how a leader can use the immutable laws of society and lead the masses to vitality and stability, one must look at the methodology of a botanist with his plants or an agricultural expert with an orchard. An agricultural scientist observes all the factors affecting the growth of the trees in an orchard including the effect of laws of nature, climatic and environmental conditions, the culture and type of trees, and then using his knowledge, experience and expertise and these laws for the benefit of the trees to grow fast and bear the best quality fruit. A conscientious leader with world vision and conscious of social, cultural and economic conditions of the people uses his wisdom and statesmanship to unite the people for onward march to progress and prosperity. Other qualities such as self-respect and good conduct determine the level of maturity, extent of graciousness and civility of a nation.

Traditions, social norms and customs of cultured societies are so tuned that mutual respect, deference and harmony become the hallmarks of their socialization process. Consequently, these values become part of the national psyche and people accord top priority to self-esteem, human values, personal pride and collective sense of dignity. They remain conscious of their conduct and carry themselves well during different stages of life and when the country faces challenges to its security. Thus the nation formulates principled and exemplary sets of rules upon which the edifice of entire national character is built. Unfortunately, our leaders often ignored the core values and remained oblivious to public opinion about their conduct. They violate the basic rules and resort to shortcuts to advance their personal interests. Sometimes their conduct is revealed when they defy laws and indulge in corrupt practices. Unfortunately, the corruption has not only deprived the national exchequer of its revenues and eroded the profitability of the state sector enterprises but also destroyed the very fabric of society.

It is a matter of grave concern that corruption has deeply permeated in every strata of our society. Scandals regarding corruption, misappropriation, plundering of billions from banks and other federal, provincial and semi-government departments abound. According to a Transparency International Pakistan’s report, Pakistan has lost more than Rs. 8,500 billion (Rs. 8.5 trillion or US$94 billion) in corruption, tax evasion and bad governance during the last four years of the PPP government. Though National Accountability Bureau claimed that it had recovered a part of the plundered money, yet most culprits either escaped or were honorably acquitted by the courts due to lacuna in prosecution and investigation, lack of evidence or witnesses. From 1947 to 1958, during the eras of first seven prime ministers, incidence of corruption was minimal; during Ayub and Bhutto eras corruption remained within manageable limits. However, as a result of Afghan war American dollars flooded the market, and since then corruption has broken all the previous records.

It appears as if the very meanings of success and accomplishment have changed, as rights of others are usurped. Media deserves approbation for having exposed those involved in mega scandals, and judiciary’s role has also been commendable in putting them in the dock. Of course, some palmed-off media persons become tools in the hands of the corrupt and foreign agencies to the detriment of the nation. There is need for the media to stress the point that all those at the helms of affairs should re-orientate their focus and conduct themselves with dignity and honor. The top-down model is recommended as it will not only help the general public to follow suit but would also promote courage and tenacious resolve of our political leaders, social workers and heads of academic institutions to conduct themselves when interacting with foreign leaders and undertaking decisions to engage in businesses having an impact on Pakistan’s image and prestige.

Corrupt practices must not be allowed to continue and all out and sincere efforts should be made to eliminate corruption. Evils of society must be highlighted in their real perspective with complete social abhorrence, while criminals are brought to justice. While making efforts to normalize relations with India and paving the way to hold meeting with Indian Premier, our government functionaries should precede in a dignified manner. Our leadership should not be apologetic in the face of allegations by hostile neighbors, and should negotiate peace with them as equals. According to English daily, American protocol had indicated that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif would be invited by President Obama over a cup of tea, which he declined. To get Pakistan a respectable place in the comity of nations, he will have to work hard to eliminate corruption, tax evasion, nepotism and last but not the least terrorism, which will help revive the economy and rid the country of the dependency syndrome.

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