We have a dream!
On 14th August 1947, Pakistan emerged on the world map as the biggest Islamic country. But Congress leaders and brute Hindu majority did not reconcile with the new reality, and planned to destabilize the nascent nation. Thousands of Muslims were massacred, women raped and abducted, and unprecedented exodus of Muslims towards Pakistan ensued. Once again in 1971, India through an international intrigue disintegrated Pakistan first by training Mukti Bahini cadres to create turmoil and later direct invasion of the then East Pakistan. Of course, Pakistan proved its resilience against all odds and after 65 years of its emergence as an independent country, Pakistan today is an atomic power with the credible delivery system.
Allama Iqbal had dreamt of a separate homeland for the Muslims of the sub-continent and his dream was converted into reality by Quaid-i-Azam with the backing and support of the vast majority of Muslims. 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. Though 14th August is the day to rejoice, as on this day we got freedom from the British Raj but 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-e-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. However, our ruling elite have brought the resource-rich country to the brink. Pakistan has indeed all the ingredients to make it a welfare state, yet majority of the people are living below the poverty line. 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, bureaucracy and new-rich industrial robber barons 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. And they have the capability and the will to defend the integrity of Pakistan. The problem is that many an element is out to create confusion, and we still are obliged to listen to the debate as to the purpose for which it was created, though it has completed 65 years of its existence. The fact of the matter is that on 14th August 1947 we got rid of the colonialism but fell a prey to neo-colonialism due to flawed policies of 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 11th September 2001 events when Pakistan was coerced into altering its foreign policy. The internecine conflicts amongst political parties and lust of power of the politicians and some power-hungry generals had resulted in three martial laws in 1958, 1968 and 1977, and another military dispensation in 1999. Unfortunately, the people got a raw deal during Martial Law and suffered in equal measure during the tenures of democratic governments. It was because of internecine conflicts of political parties and then formation of alliances demanding of the military to overthrow the elected governments. Another reason being, the degeneration had crept in every stratum of society with the result that the nation faces spectre of terrorism, corruption, nepotism and lawlessness. However, the people of Pakistan have not lost hope their spirit is alive and kicking, and their dream lives on.
The question arises as to what should be done to rid the society of inertia and corruption? Can Plato’s managerial meritocracy help? It may hold good in services but political exigencies demand far greater than what is provided in that discipline. Leading the people in their pursuit of political freedom, self-governance, economic independence, evolution of a vibrant society and progress in the fields of science and art requires different categories of leaders. Pakistan needs a type of leader that first believes in certain principles he practises what he believes he upholds those principles and is accepted as an exemplar for others. Such leadership only could reach the hearts of the people and bring about psychological changes in their outlook towards life. It inspires them to unite with a view to transforming the society and changing the system for their social, material and spiritual well-being. Unfortunately, our political parties are being run as personal fiefdoms, and their leadership remains in the family members of the founders of the party.
In Pakistan, barring a few honourable exceptions, most leaders lacked political acumen, leadership qualities and sense of direction that brought the country to the present pass. Pakistan today finds itself at the crossroads. And 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. 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.
Despite many odds, we, the people of Pakistan, have a dream that one day this nation-state will exert to implement the concept and the ideals of our faith — Islam.
We have a dream that one day the legacy of British Raj will be eliminated and bureaucratic and aristocratic classes will merge, through system of socio-economic justice, into one class of people simply known as Pakistani nation.
We 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 over half a century will transform into an oasis of freedom and justice. We have a dream that one day this nation divided on various lines will grow into a garden depicting unity in diversity.