By Rafiq Jan
Pakistan’s creation was not just a matter of luck or coincidence. It was indeed the outcome of perseverance and craft of Jinnah’s years of struggle. His endless nights of vigil and persistence made this improbable dream a reality.
He was fortunate to witness Pakistan’s creation, however could not live long enough to pass his legacy onto the coming generations of his newborn state. His untimely demise left the budding nation in a dilemma of how to follow their founder’s vague footprints. Life gave him no time to celebrate his historical victory. He had to leave the ship, which he launched so brilliantly, amidst the whirlpool of domestic and international conspiracies in waiting.
Freedom from the British Raj threw the country into an abyss of corruption. A plague that no nation can afford to get by. The feudal lords and demagogues continued to rage under the aegis of their personal interests. The military, among others, also contributed towards socio-political and economic downturn. Hence, Pakistan’s ruling elite, including politicians, military, bureaucracy and feudal lords, sacrificed long term gains for short term interests.
Frequent military take-overs also led to oppression of civil rights in the 1980s. The rich continued to get richer and the gulf between 70% population, of those below the subsistence level, and the rest of elites widened exponentially resulting in a culture where crimes and ignorance became a way of life.
The militancy, ignorance, and the religious fundamentalism were all lavishly funded – both locally and from foreign elements – to rank it amongst unstable and irresponsible states. It lost its dignity in the amity of nations. Lack of education, health and a strong judiciary deteriorated the internal administration and institutions. It became a sanctuary for terrorists and criminals. Those in power, especially politicians, ruled the roost and the ordinary citizens either chose to migrate to foreign lands or to accept the status quo.
The conspiracies that were hatched 70 years ago have now come of age and the stage is set to punish Pakistan for failure to cooperate with international community. Threats of isolation, denial of economic aid, lowering of diplomatic status for our foreign missions, sacrilege of our passport globally at immigration counters, are few of those stringent measures that have been put in place in the recent past.
We have even lost the right of claiming the status of a respectable UN member due to our own inaction and deliberate connivance to act responsibly. We enjoyed the short-term luxuries instead of long-term strategic thinking and thus arrived at a point where nothing other than a miracle can come up to get us off the hook.
Most importantly, the last 10 years of so called democratic governments played Russian roulette with national prestige and integrity. It was the final nail in the coffin for an already rickety economy that had been surviving on IMF and World Bank loans. Incompetent and unqualified state ministers and advisers, with more than a half belonging to ruling families, have been calling the shots in major policy affairs. Fake development projects have been shown as infrastructural strategies. People have been pushed into ignorance and religious zealots are bred to support the elites’ agenda of hegemony.
Health, education, law and order and civic values are at their all-time low while the hefty spending on motorways, failed power projects and lavish lifestyles of rulers on tax payers’ money are continuing with foreign loans, further damaging the country’s financial reserves and prestige. Pakistan is in dire need of another Jinnah, however for a nation that has been in a stupor for 7 decades, it is next to impossible for someone honest and mentally strong to pull a victory against strong head winds.