Pakistan is celebrating its 75th Independence Day today with much zeal and enthusiasm. Like the previous years, cities are lit up with green and white lights; there will be grand displays and promises made to make Pakistan a great nation as per the vision of its founding father, Muhammad Ali Jinnah. Every year, Jinnah’s vision is reiterated by the politicians in power at the time, the message of tolerance, multiculturalism and diversity is re-integrated in the political and social spheres. However, with each passing year the country has only moved further away from these values and will continue to do so until some solid change is brought around.
75 years ago, Pakistan became an independent state, a sovereign state that was not answerable to anyone. Millions of people were martyred during the mass migration and millions others were displaced only to find themselves in a country that despite having an independent status could not get rid of the slave mindset. The British were replaced with a class of feudals who considered the land to be in their ownership, the institutions slowly became the masters and rulers instead of becoming what Jinnah had urged them to be, servants of the people. Democracy could never take precedence over other systems due to this master mindset and therefore, development was left far behind in the mid-1900s.
Another reason for Pakistan not being able to move forward and make an impact in the world is due to the ‘India syndrome’. The neighboring country that became independent of the British a day after Pakistan was made out to be the permanent enemy. While the neighbor kept development at its core, Pakistan used up most of its resources against a threat which was there but in essence it was minute and not as much as it was exaggerated in the national agenda. Had the focus of Pakistan been Pakistan itself, the country would not have been in such turmoil as it is today.
Currently Pakistan is in a myriad of problems. The nation state is witnessing one of the worst political, constitutional and economic crises in its history of seven and a half decades. The parliament has failed to perform its role time and again. The judicial system and bureaucracy are deeply politicized and resist administrative reforms that could make the system better for the people. The security agencies have been brought over to solve political problems and there is an everlasting problem of militancy which cannot be reformed through talks, however, Pakistan has chosen that route and will likely suffer consequences. The country has regressed and become more and more intolerant with each passing day. Till now there is no national identity, no unity in diversity can be seen in the country. There is growing intolerance which has weakened the social fabric of the so called nation state.
It does not matter who is to blame for these problems as they have existed since the past 75 years. The country was never able to establish a sound economic framework. Constant regime changes and decades of military rule failed to allow democracy to prevail which also caused hindrance in economic development and forming proper trade channels with other democratic nations. Education, health and research and development were always given crumbs. Pakistan chose arms production and import over the basic needs of its citizens due to the threat of neighboring India. India chose to focus on improving its education system and many other aspects which is why it is now a greater state than Pakistan albeit its shortcomings.
If there’s any threat to Pakistan it comes from the inside rather than the outside. This Independence Day Pakistan should vow to become truly independent of all the self-made threats, the regressive policies and poor politics.