Pakistan: Reflections on the Turbulent 69th Independence Day

Source:  Pakistan Herald Published in Current Affairs on Monday, August 17, 2015

Rationality and truth has its own language. Politics is a game of pretension and often outcome of psychologically twisted mindset.

The Pakistani nation must see the mirror – look at itself straight, candidly and with fullest sense of responsibility:    who they were, where they are and where they are heading to - or the Nation stands no chance for the recourse or coming out of the deadly political stunts of the few, time killing legal battles and the historical graveyards. If the nation was not complacent in all of these sadistic misfortunes: the Generals, Bhuttos, Zardaris and Sharifs would have never had opportunities to molestation of the moral, intellectual and spiritual culture and values of Islamic Pakistan.

(“Pakistan:  political curse needs urgent cure” 2/2012 by the same author).

“No Comments” just Ideas for Political Change

Rationality and truth has its own language. Politics is a game of pretension and often outcome of psychologically twisted mindset. Pakistan’s problems are complex and multidimensional. In a culture of corruption riddled politics, all is well and fine. A truth teller faces critical problems to make his readers understand the prevalent reality. It is clear what people want but unclear what leadership intents are about the future. At masses level, there is terrible sense of helplessness as they continued to be victimized by the consequences of political leadership and its triviality and viciousness visible all around the societal fragmented infrastructures. You wonder where Pakistan is heading to at the 69th celebration of its freedom.  Failure of hope is a real disappointment to the masses. There are no leadership achievements to be claimed by the ruling elite. PM Sharif is repeating sickening political failures of his predecessors – Ms. Bhutto, Zardari and Musharaf as they were all the same kind. Everywhere blame game is used by PM Sharif and his colleagues to dispel accountability. The insane egoism does not recognize its own incompetence, criminality and failure. Across the nation, agonizing situations warrant urgent attention to deal with insecurity, conflict prevention and conflict management, Pakistani Taliban’s terrorism, issues in responsible governance, disdain trade and commerce and to revitalize sustainable nation unity. PM Sharif and his colleagues amassed wealth, stolen time and opportunities for political change and killed peaceful civilian demonstrators, just to mention few. They react like paranoid and maniacs as if masses are the problem. Nothing will make the people happy except to see Sharif and his colleagues go immediately and are held accountable in a court of law. If conscientious Pakistanis living abroad are concerned about the decadent political culture and to rebuilding of the moral, intellectual and economic-political infrastructures, the ruling elite will ensure to deprive them the opportunity to be heard at a national level. When people are forced to live in political darkness, they lose sense of rational direction.

The 14 August independence day should have been a day for the people to rejoice and value the imperatives of the 69th Independence Day across Pakistan.  Flag waving, military parades and political salutes are not what people are looking to as the future-building of the nation. The ruling elite and the people live in a conflicting time zone being unable to understand the meaning and essence of the Pakistan Freedom Movement.

If people want political change, there is nothing wrong and it is not anti politics or anti- governance. However, if one assumes that a simple belief will deliver the changes, it is irrational. The key to bringing changes is belief that change can happen by strong pursuit and activism to commitment and principles leading to events, and collective experiences that should produce the results. After the 1947 freedom, nation-building was ignored and egoistic and ignorant people took over the helms of governance. National development requires open-mindedness to listening and learning as the critical factors for the changing role of the 21st century political leadership and so is the flexibility mechanism to be built-in for effective public leadership. Pakistanis need to see how the world views them in global affairs or else they live in a self-orchestrated fantasy soon to be vanished.

In Need of Navigational Change

Pakistani politicians who grab power through intrigues, political conspiracies, military coups, sectarian killings and large social-economic disruptions, would never cease to act or see an end to their hegemonic power control. Planned change and human development are critical factor for political pursuit to develop a progressive nation. Ironically, most educated and technologically learned Pakistanis are running away to foreign lands. Thus a critical scarcity of much needed skilled and competent resources to pursue the change goals. Pakistani official do not offer encouragement to new generation of Pakistanis to return to home country and be contributive factor. Pakistan’s economy maintains its existence on borrowed money. The IMF loans cannot be repaid due to lack of productivity and systematic corruption by the leaders. From educational institutions to public-private enterprises, governmental establishments and working culture are all operating in the neo-colonial order. There are no provisions of service, public interests and accountability. Who should envisage the essence of change in a culture of infinite corruption and darkness?

The 21st century knowledge-based politics and leadership accountability warrants change, and Pakistani politics urgently needs a Navigational Change. Logically, any intelligent leader would do his best to change and conform to the requisites of futuristic adaptability when facts of life warrant a change. Sharif and few Pakistani Generals need not to repeat what went wrong with Bhuttos, Zardari and General Musharaf and so many others most commonly hated and feared across the Pakistani household. Those who victimize the masses to deliberate torture and murder to entertain their favorite perversion from the prevalent reality of human affairs cannot be leader of the present or the future. Leaders should lead, not mislead. Although egoistic and corrupt Pakistani politicians and few Generals could be traded-in and sold at the global market according to the US specialist Bruce Riedel, One of President Obama’s advisors on Pakistan and the War on Terrorism (“Battle for the Soul of Pakistan”, Brookings Institute and Centre for Middle East Policy), but he warns: “The changes in Pakistan are unlikely to come peacefully and will have major implications for India and America. The stakes are huge in the most dangerous country in the world.”

Pakistan is being governed by the wrong people, with wrong thinking and doing the wrong things. Enlightened and educated Pakistani observers foresee the need for a Navigational Change - a necessity in time and space, away from the corrupt politics of the few egomaniacs and criminals called politicians. The priorities are to be focused on developing a new system of economic and political governance by disconnecting the interdependence on foreign aid, debts and dictates. The nation seems to be at its critical and painful juncture of very survival. Under the circumstances, what is there to celebrate?

Pakistani Politics Needs Educated and Intelligent Leaders to Cure the Political Curse

The military dictators, Bhuttos, Zardari and Sharifs could never have come into power unless the whole nation had lost the sense of rationality, PURPOSE and MEANING of its existence. These sadistic and cruel monsters have institutionalized chaos and fear, demoralization of a moral society and dehumanization of an intelligent nation and have transferred these naïve traits and values to the psychological-social-economic and political spheres of the mainstream thinking hub of the nation. Why should we care - many will assert at the cultural levels. Are there any concerned thinkers, intellectuals and proactive political activists to safeguard the national interests of the present and future generations of Muslim Pakistan? (“Pakistan: People’s Revulsion against Political Stagnation.” 9/2014).

For more than two decades, the masses endured load-shedding- shortage of electricity gone out for 10-12 hours every day. All shut-down major industries and businesses make Pakistan unproductive and unworthy of credible business partner. Politicians do not have the capacity to search for renewable energy resources to find workable solution. The prevalent darkness affects the moral, physical and intellectual growth of new young generation. Do the politicians care about developing a competent new generation of Pakistanis? This week, the global media highlights how poor school kids are sexually abused in the Punjab Province and how few affluent political lords aligned with the ruling elite exploit the masses and make money by selling videos of the heinous crimes. This questions the foundation of the nation’s religious imperatives, if any still in tact.  When corrupt people rule a nation, corruption spreads like wildfire and it degenerates the whole system of beliefs and human values. To imagine a progressive country, educated Pakistanis living abroad could be resourceful to transfer their knowledge and experiences for the good of the country and to strive for a Navigational Change. Nation-building must envision national capacity-building for change and development. But how? Hold your breath!

A former US diplomat tells how the Pakistani elite (MNA’s and few Generals) ask for block US visas. They sell the visas to others to make money. He wonders, if Pakistani politicians have any sense of accountability. A Japanese diplomat waits for 24 hours at Karachi airport to get his accompanying baggage from Islamabad airport. In frustration, he voices his concerns- does this nation has a system of public responsibility?   Finance Minister Dar (a close relative of PM Sharif), sends 4 millions dollars to Dubai claiming that he borrowed it from his son. The opposition asks for official proof from the Finance Ministry. The Ministry ridicules the opposition demand for hard evidence to prove how the money came to Dar from Dubai. Like Ms. Bhutto and Zardari, Sharif has taken millions of dollars to foreign countries. Should he not be held accountable how this wealth was generated and sent to buy properties in UK and business in Saudi Arabia? In 2014, Sharif brothers killed 14 civilian demonstrators and injured 100 people at the Minhaj al-Quran Academy, Lahore. Police refused to prepare a FIR against the Sharif brothers. Out of passion to share their experiences and help the homeland, many medical doctors working in the US went back to serve the people of Pakistan. Some returned with painful observations as if the nation does not care for its most valuable assets. One experience of an American neurologist of Pakistani origin will suffice who went passionately to serve his fellow countrymen. His clinic in Satellite town- Rawalpindi offered highly specialized systematic health care services to fellow Pakistanis.  Even treated those who could not pay the fee or medication bill. Thousands use to line up and day and night at the clinic. The doctor starts getting warning messages from local ‘ghundas’ (rascals) asking for protection money. The doctor continues to work and informs the police. They too want their share of the protection money and do nothing. He complains to higher civic authorities upon getting death threats but nobody listens or does anything to ensure the safety of the doctor and working clinic.  One day hundred of patients get big surprise when they see the rampaged clinic and the doctor is nowhere to be seen. Lufhtansa Germany Airline flies to Lahore but does not change its crew over there. The fear of kidnappers demanding money haunts them all the time.  What a Shame…. What a Shame … What a DISGRACE to a conscientious Pakistani that leaders of Pakistan’s Government cannot extend sense of security to a reputable international airline. No sensible person or global citizen will ever invest or travel to a country at the crossroads of daily bloodbaths, corruption, military coups and massive systematic political corruption.

Pakistan’s worst enemies are those who are unable to listen to voices of reason and peaceful activism for political change. The ruling elite and the people live in a conflicting time zone being unable to understand the meaning and essence of the Pakistan’s Freedom Movement. Pakistan faces multiple chronic problems which could undermine its future. To all concerned and thinking Pakistanis, the country needs a Navigational Change or we could end up losing our national freedom. What is the cure to the current problems? There is no magic pill to deal with all critical situations except a comprehensive new systematic approach for ‘Anew Pakistan.’ Undoubtedly, the enlightened masses do have the moral and intellectual capacity for adaptation to the world of reason and reality. This was clearly demonstrated during the 2014 public demonstrations in Islamabad.

This purpose needs unwavering public commitment and continuous struggle to political change. It needs not to be invented, it is living in the mind and spirit of the people, it just needs to be revitalized and better organized as the momentum is waiting for the grieving people. Towards your journey of success and deliverance, people have taken important steps. Their courage and commitment to political change is not accidental but an inborn value to bring them into a unity of purpose as the collective goal of the masses.

Pakistan urgently needs a savior, not Sharif or the few Generals. The solution must come from the thinking people of the new educated generation – the intelligent Pakistanis to facilitate hope and optimism for a sustainable future of the beleaguered nation. This should be the framework of the message and active agenda for change and reformation as the core of the celebration of the Pakistan’s 69th Independence Day. Mr. Nawaz Sharif has no political integrity and must step down or take leave of absence to face the criminal allegations in a court of law. It will provide a logical breathing space for a planned and workable remedy to a highly critical political crisis and to enhance a sustainable goal for political change. A new Government of National Unity should be formed under a non-partisan and non political leader of moral and intellectual integrity for a period of two years; a New Constitution should be framed with new public institutions under leadership of new generation of educated people; and then a new election could give meaning and clarity to the purpose of democracy and to transform the ideals of a progressive legitimate functional democracy.  The Need is desperate for the Pakistani nation to think critically and see the Mirror and stand firm in raising voices of reason for accountability and political change.

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Written by Mahboob A. Khawaja

Author Information: The author specializes in global security, peace and conflict resolution, and...

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