Pakistan had just come into being in August 1947, its founder Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah had firmly believed that the largest Muslim state had come to stay and that no power on earth would be able to destroy it. However, according to him, if there were enemies within, no enemy would need to do us any harm from outside. Indeed, his words were very prophetic. Whatever damage we have done to ourselves is done by “we the people”-especially those who are responsible for running the state, safeguarding its integrity and sovereignty as the sole guardians of our territorial and ideological frontiers.
Just two years after the birth of the state of Pakistan, an academic in the Brooklyn University New York, Professor D. Schumann (June 3rd, 1949), forecast the following: “recently came into being in South Asia is a state manifest with enormous pitfalls unique to itself. Its existence is vulnerable, as time will show. In less than a half century, the state will collapse because of its people—who are born with chains of slavery, whose thoughts cannot see love of a free country and whose minds cannot function beyond the scope of personal selfish ends.” Not much different was the observation of Maulana AbulKalam Azad, a prominent leader of India, in his monumental historic treatise ‘Indiawinsfreedom.’ The prognosis of Maulana Azad who was one of the top leaders of Indian National Congress was not much different from that of Professor Schumann. The Quaid dismissed Maulana Azad as Congress’ show boy dancing to the tunes played by the Congress leadership notwithstanding the fact that Azad’s prognosis ultimately had historic value.
No doubt it was a great achievement that after resolving to seek autonomous status for the Muslim majority states in the Lahore Resolution (March 23rd, 1940) in keeping with the aspirations of Allama Sir Muhammad Iqbal’s historic address at Allahabad Session of All India Muslim League (1930), the idea of Pakistan as a separate Muslim state was conceptualised within seven years entirely due to painstaking leadership of MAJ. And had we translated MAJ’s vision into Pakistan by making it a social welfare state with equality for all its citizens irrespective of caste, creed, colour or gender and not a semi-theocratic, pseudo-democratic garrison state that we have now, the course of our history would not have been so torturous, full of palace intrigues, political murders, constitutional subversions and finally break up in March 1971. It was the same month Awami League leader Sheikh Mujibur Rehman decided to formally go for establishing Bangladesh despite inevitable army operation to stop him.
How ironic it was that on March 23rd, 1940 Lahore Resolution was adopted by a representative gathering of Muslims of the sub-continent under the banner of All India Muslim League that ultimately resulted in the creation of Pakistan. It was an astounding achievement that just in seven years’ time Pakistan came into being despite fierce triangular opposition by the British rulers, Indian National Congress, religious leaders and Muslim Unionists ruling Punjab. Interestingly enough the Lahore Resolution that was christened as Pakistan Resolution many years later, was moved by Sher-i-Bangla Maulvi FazlulHaq from Muslim majority Bengal and seconded by Choudhry Khaliquzzaman, leader of UP Muslim League in a city that until then had been a stronghold of pro-British Unionists mostly feudal Muslims of Punjab.
While celebrating Pakistan Day ritualistically, people who matter must search their hearts and ask where Pakistan is heading to
Regretfully mission objectives got derailed soon after the death of the Quaid and his trusted lieutenant Liaquat Ali Khan. First, MAJ’s vision was hijacked, his dream of Pakistan as a secular social welfare state with ironclad guarantees for equal rights for all its citizen–irrespective of caste, creed, colour or gender were replaced by the concept of a security state for the greatest good of the power troika comprising of military, civil and judicial bureaucracy backed by Punjab’s feudal class and those very religious parties that had opposed creation of Pakistan such as Jamaat-e-Islami and Ahraris.
It is, indeed, a tragedy of the highest magnitude that the glorious vision of MAJ’s Pakistan today is being floundered by the vested interests to undermine democracy, throttling of the media, empowerment of the masses, less privileged including women and minorities of their rightful place in the society as equal citizens. Women are being dictated what to wear and what not to, where to study and what to study, minorities are being killed and discriminated by religious extremists with impunity. It is indeed shocking to note that most of it is happening in the largest populated province infested by the extremist and sectarian organisations routinely banned under pressure from the United States and international community. It surely seems to be ugly manifestation of a policy of running with the hare and hunting with the hounds.
Don’t be shocked to come by advertisements in newspapers issued by public institutions such as local bodies offering menial jobs of sweepers only to be applied by minorities such as Hindus, Christians and Shias. While celebrating Pakistan Day ritualistically, people who matter must search their hearts and ask where Pakistan is heading to. With life becoming short, brutish and nasty—we are going down the slope to chaos and anarchy. Regretfully, growing corruption, lack of good governance, our gross failure to give equal rights and respect to women and minorities-amounts to giving space to extra constitutional forces and the retrogressive elements romping in the country under the cover of religion.
Looking at the oppressive manner opposition leaders are being treated in the name of accountability rightly described by PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto as an act of political engineering, one regrets to say with a heavy heart that Pakistan is receding into a state of flux after its success against a military dictator and later Praetorian machinations to undo the 18th Amendment.
It is now or never. Nation shall have to declare enough is enough and go after the perpetrators of terrorism, extremism and sectarianism as well as those elements within the government who are in cahoots with such undesirable elements that are gnawing the country at its roots. It is a historic coincidence that one of the bravest women leaders of Pakistan-Begum Nusrat Bhutto was born on March 23rd, 12 years before the Lahore Resolution. This is not a memorial article to pay tribute to her but to warn the nation of the serious consequences threatening the very existence of the country as forewarned by Professor Schumann and Maulana AbulKalam Azad.
The writer is the former High Commissioner of Pakistan to UK and a veteran journalist
Published in Daily Times, March 22nd 2019.
Source : https://dailytimes.com.pk/368092/whither-pakistan-3/1151