Rolling out the Red Carpet

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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A Forgotten Dream

Some 68 years ago our founding fathers congregated at Lahore and adopted a vision of Pakistan commonly known as Resolution of Pakistan based on two-nation theory—a theory that had served the purpose of partitioning India, as 'ideology of Pakistan.' Deviating from this ideology, neither did Pakistan become a republic, nor evolve a positive, affirmative and dynamic self-image, rooted in thousand of years of existence of its federating units across the Indus Valley Civilization.

Our founding fathers were well conscious about the Hindu oppression, corruption, and tyranny. In the wisdom of their own experience, they created for us a land where the people were supposed to be the true sovereigns, the creators of government, the only grantors of its power. They intended the government to be both the employee and servant of the states and citizens, rather than their master. They dreamt for the government where our officials are accountable to the people, rather than the people being accountable to government.

Alas! Soon after the demise of Quaid-e-Azam, the depredators reined in and dragged on the Hindu legacy. The poor remained poor and a small minority overtook the stage as real masters. Contrary to the vision of our founding fathers the captors of Pakistan transformed it into a weak state.

Scholars cannot agree how to define a weak state, but most concur that it is one of the world's gravest challenges. The World Bank frets about 30 low-income countries under stress (LICUS). Britain's Department for International Development (DFID) worries about 46 fragile states.

Weak states are not always weak. They are sometimes strong states that have voluntarily forfeited basic state functions as a matter of ideology, or allowed them to be usurped by special-interest groups. Strong weak states are states that possess powerful military/police power for advancing the narrow economic interests of a small class of citizens while sacrificing a significant segment of the population as failed market victims.

Pakistan has completely failed due to artificial Western constructs and its faux pas in creative policy planning. It lacks an effective judiciary system to safeguard the rights of the poor.

The failure to provide security for all citizens is the first sign of a weak state, as is the use of state violence on its own citizens. What victims of crime experience at police stations today was alien even during colonial era. An economic infrastructure has failed to deliver income or wealth equitably is another sign of a weak state.

An excess of per capita national debt is also a sign of Pakistan’s weak statehood, as is pervasiveness of corruption and fraud in government and business.

Likewise, hunger and food shortage for the poor while food surplus persists in the economy is another sign of weak statehood. Pakistan has a very rich minority that takes advantage of the failed system with the blessing of the state. Thus, Pakistan’s 5% rich own the 95% of nation’s resources.

Those who have not prized freedom have chipped away at every major clause of the constitution, until today we face a crisis of great dimension. The destructive political and legislative attacks against the constitution since its adoption have only escalated. Freckles of anti-democratic clauses have been intruded sometimes in the honored name of doctrines of necessity and other times for good governance but to justify or perpetuate self-rule. Consequently, even after long 58 years Pakistan today stands tall as a weak state.

Pakistan is a weak state for it contains ethnic, religious, linguistic, and other tensions that limit and decrease its ability to deliver political goods. These conflicts have started exploding into open conflict. GDP per capita stands unimpressive. Corruption is common. The rule of law is weakly applied. Time and again army rule is poked in.

Pakistan has completely failed in its ability to deliver political goods. Security is state's primary function. Lucklessly, Pakistan is badly disciplined in providing security to people. Criminals are considered as nobles. Degeneration has reached new and strange dimensions. Offenders sneak into federal cabinet without problem. Consequently, mafias, organized and not organized crimes are dominating. Pakistan has utterly failed in providing a framework through which all other political goods can be delivered.

Pakistan has also failed in adequately responding to a system of codes and procedures, which regulate the interactions of the population and sets the standards for conduct. It could not devise standard systems such as one for payment of utility bills and the masters sitting in air-conditioned rooms failed to feel the problems of common man who spends hours in harsh weather conditions for payment of utility bills. Other predominant problems include not up to snuff justice system, a forum for civil society, and a method of regulating environmental commons.

We have domestic enemies in high places, in and out of government, who work against the very foundations of Pakistan. We have done nothing and the enemies of freedom have succeeded. So I must ask: How much longer will the real public-spirited remain deceived and uninvolved? How much longer we will allow the blood of our forefathers, and all those who have fought for freedom, to be trampled upon? Are we willing to have our freedoms overthrown? Can We The People afford to allow this to continue? Or, will we stand united and indivisible, within constitutional limits and within the law, to restore a Constitutional Republic, and assure that there is liberty and justice for all? We deserve no less.

If honest Pakistanis take a stand they will have an incredible power because their hearts will motivate them. They will be motivated by their love for true spirits of the Pakistan Movement and the sacrifices made by the unknown workers of freedom struggle. They will be motivated by their paternal and maternal instincts to protect the rights of their families and future posterity. My children and yours deserve no less. (