The essentials of a state


To develop a society


A common statement we come across many times every day in our conversations with our fellows and in debates on electronic and print media is that Pakistan is passing through a very difficult phase and then a number of reasons are attributed to it. Everyone from his own point of view blames others for bringing Pakistan to this stage. The politicians blame the martial law regimes; the supporters of the martial law regimes ascribe it to the incompetence of the politicians; the intelligentsia blames the rulers as corrupt and the masses as ignorant; and the masses charge the rulers and the intelligentsia both for giving more importance to their personal interests compared to the national interests.  Hence, a blame game is going on without trying to identify where we went astray.

If we turn the pages of history, we find that right from the beginning we could not follow the right track because of a lack of vision and a clear policy. We thought as we had attained this homeland as a result of the combined effort of the Muslims of the sub-continent, we could also run the country the same way. But we did not realise that what to speak of a country, even a very small organisation cannot be run this way. The successful management of any organisation is carried out by dividing it into units, assigning specific tasks to each unit, execution of the tasks by the experts of that field, and not allowing the units to interfere in one another’s work because if any of the units transgresses its limits and interferes in the work of the others, it disturbs both balance and system of the organisation.

Plato in his political philosophy emphasises the need of balance and the division of tasks among the institutions of a state. According to Plato a state basically comprises three parts: a rational part, a spirited part and an appetitive part. He draws this analogy from a human being who according to the psychologists and the biologists is a combination of three elements: 1) the rational element which enables one to reason and to argue 2) the spirited element which makes one courageous or cowardly and gives one the strength of will and 3) the appetitive element which consists of desires and wishes. Hence, according to Plato an ideal state should consist of three parts: 1) the rational part i.e. the rulers or the politicians whose role is to think, to contemplate and to make policies 2) the spirited part i.e. the army whose role is to defend the country and 3) the appetitive part i.e. the masses like farmers, workers working in the industry, doctors, engineers, craftsmen etc whose role is to perform their duty well and to provide the basic necessities of life such as sufficient food, better health conditions, stable economy and shelter to their fellow countrymen. Hence, these three different parts of a state should perform their assigned tasks distinctly and honestly and should not interfere with the others because when one interferes with the others the balance of the society is disturbed.

We committed this mistake right from the beginning and as a result of it we have come to a stage where every day we listen that Pakistan is passing through the most difficult phase of its being. Our politicians right from the beginning could not realise that their role is to think and to make policies. So they did not push themselves to that level of maturity, insight and wisdom which is essential for the policymakers of a country. They neither educated themselves nor let the masses be educated. Resultantly, they could not manage the affairs of the state effectively. On the other side, the spirited element, the army, not only equipped themselves with their professional skills but also upgraded them in knowledge and trespassed the civil rulers in many aspects like discipline, knowledge and maturity. So naturally a thought emerged in their minds that being more capable in both the spirit and rationality they better deserve to rule the country. They started believing that the politicians are less capable and cannot perform their functions properly.

Secondly, the corruption done by the politician added fuel to the fire and the army whenever found an opportunity threw the civil governments out of the scene, took over the charge of the country and started interfering with the policy making issues of the country. It did not realise that the role of the army is just to defend the country not the policy making and that the ways of dealing with the political issues or policy matters are entirely different from ways the army issues are dealt with. The third element i.e., the appetitive element, the masses, in which we can include the industrialists, the agriculturalists and all other professionals, whose role is the production and provision of things and to perform their role in the uplift of the economy, neglected their righteous job. They took more interest in the politics and became politicians. So having entered into the realm of politics, they started making policies in their own benefits to the detriment of the common people which resulted in poor socio-economic conditions of the masses.

As a result of our mistakes we could not develop as a society where only specialised people perform their specialised tasks and play their role for the betterment of the society as a whole without interfering in one another’s domains. Hence, the need of the hour is that every individual as well as institution should realise its true role and stick to it sincerely without interfering in the affairs of the others. This is the only way which may lead to stability in Pakistan.