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HomeOpinionPakistan at 75: Diamond jubilee celebrations sans sovereignty

Pakistan at 75: Diamond jubilee celebrations sans sovereignty

Arguably, the powers of the status quo are just too strong to be shattered and the same was reminded to ZA Bhutto when he visited China in 1972 after the fall of Dhaka. Imran Khan is facing the same predicament.

Pakistan is celebrating the diamond jubilee of its independence from the British Raj today when the 220 million-plus nation is facing more tribulations, pangs and miseries than before. Freedom has failed to deliver the fruits of liberty and democracy and some argue that democratically elected governments and despotic regimes have proved equally inconsiderate towards the masses as State machinery is impassive toward people.

It is said that Atlantic rebels overthrew imposed monarchs in the late eighteenth century because they enslaved the people. A Scottish philosopher Adam Ferguson, who was a staunch opponent of the American Revolution, said that ”freedom is the name of protection of rights.” That is, when America was occupied by Great Britain, the people, then, were more protected. William Graham Sumner, a University of Yale professor had warned saying ”democracy was a kind of despotism.”

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There are many questions about the future of Pakistan which has increasingly become ungovernable. One of the leading political parties, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, also ruling in two of the provinces, has staged a freedom awareness rally in Lahore on the 13th of August. The PTI chief often expresses his concerns over incomplete and hijacked freedom. He criticized the system and the institutions that favored the corrupt rulers who minted millions of dollars from the system and laundered them abroad. He is also the greatest critic of rulers who kept the masses ignorant. Arguably, the powers of the status quo are just too strong to be shattered and the same was reminded to ZA Bhutto when he visited China in 1972 after the fall of Dhaka. Imran Khan is facing the same predicament.

Commenting on a question of how much Pakistanis are free and how to get rid of the slavish mindset, former secretary Power Division Irfan Ali said the biggest obstacle in the path of true freedom is the age-old lifestyle and mindset of the nation. It is a mindset ridden with unholy attachments to class, luxury and wealth. This has been accentuated by the capitalistic economic, political and social systems that we allowed after 1947. To blame the governments and rulers who are the products of this system without exception is our way of denying our guilt. We have to rise and wipe out all engines of capitalism and wipe out all physical signs of class distinction. True submission to Allah and His Prophet SAW can then be achieved and freedom attained.

Muhammad Zubair, who is a writer, said that freedom is a very comprehensive term, it meant that we will make our own system. Democracy will be dubbed as people want whether it will be Islamic or social. He said that the slogan of independence is western. It is one of the slogans of the renaissance; others were democracy, freedom of expression and rule of law etc. The British resorted to colonialism for the sub-continent.

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The omnipotent powers did not allow democracy to flourish here, the whole process of evolution could not proceed and we were left behind in the race of development. He said that if the external forces do not impose their decisions on us and we are free from the culture dominated by the conquerors i.e. Westernization, we could deliver better. Our salvation lies only to get rid of it all, he suggested. In addition, our intellectuals are largely conflicted. The liberal class has confused the new generation elsewhere. The religious clergy remained conservative to the extent that it opposed innovation. Imran Khan’s slogan of freedom of the country may be true or just a delusion as his political opponents say. However, it is definitely an effort toward finding solutions to these pesky problems the country is facing. In the sense that freedom is needed, rulers should eliminate their prejudices and root out ignorance among the people.

Former Vice Chancellor of Punjab University, Dr. Zafar Moin Nasir said that we have touched the depths of decline in 75 years, socially, politically and economically. He said that policies like nationalization and, sometimes, privatization could not solve our problems and the economy had to suffer. The ship nearly sank. He said that we increased the expenses beyond our resources and then relied on loans and we were swamped. The country got stuck. He said that we must increase exports and control imports. He said that we were politically bankrupt, and now we are going to be economically bankrupt. He said that we need a leader who will turn the crowd into a nation and block the way for corrupt people to come to power. Honest, patriots and educated people have to take over the reins of Pakistan. He said that the character of the nation needed to be rebuilt and there is also an urgent need to reject this outdated system.

Prof Syed Ali said that instead of getting freedom from the colonial and imperial systems we strengthened them. we have gone far ahead of the West in luxury lifestyle. Without completely demolishing all the aristocracy, western democracy, or the lofty play of the colonial justice system there is no way out. He said that the need is to fight as Hussain did regardless of the consequences.

“It seems that we have failed experiments in 75 years,” said a senior bureaucrat. The need is to completely overhaul the religious monopoly, the media, the justice system, powers that be and above all the bureaucracy, the officer suggested. What else can be a slap in the face of our justice system than the fact that a woman in district Layyah of Punjab was gang-raped first and then forced to be raped by dogs? he questioned. When the chief secretary and inspector general themselves have to take notice of an incident, it means that the system has been crippled down.

Summing up, one may say that freedom is to take decisions without foreign dictation. It is to buy cheap gas from Iran, cheap oil and wheat from Russia in the interest of the people. Freedom is to devise a system under the provisions of the Objectives Resolution. We need a system that meets the aspirations of the people. The foundation should be in line with the vision of Pakistan’s founders led by Quaid e Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, in which there is no room for corrupt, traitors, mafias and thieves of the national wealth. The system should be too foolproof and airtight to allow commission agents, and foreign agents in the garb of patriots. Above all freedom is to stop the brain drain and keep the desperate youth charged with hope, the real asset of the country.

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