Anyone but ourselves, it would appear
From Quaid’s concept of a nation based on “unity, faith and discipline” to our present dismal state where extremism, exploitation, greed, corruption and hypocrisy dominates our ruling elite and paid public office holders, it is a tale of deceit and treachery. Could Allama Iqbal and Jinnah have visualised that the welfare state they wanted to create would be ruled by men for whom politics is devoid of ethics and their conflicts of interest would blind them to constitutional obligations of the oath they took? Events like Panama Scandal or brutal lynching of Mashal Khan, or a state hostage to land and drug mafia, where patients die on floors of hospitals but the elite live in segregated housing societies, and billions are doled out to affluent through allotment and tax amnesty schemes, but no money to spare for education or health, it is a sad tale of self inflicted wounds.
What else could have been the fate of a country, which allowed its history and vision of founding father to be distorted to the extent that most of us are either unaware or not bothered about objectives of the struggle for modern democratic welfare state envisioned by Allama Iqbal in 1930 and its achievement by Quaid e Azam and his companions, all educated men of integrity, commitment and character. How many of us remember Jagan Nath Mandal – the Dalit leader of Sylhet – who voted for its amalgamation with East Pakistan and his relations with Muhammad Ali Jinnah who appointed him as first Law Minister in 1947 and head of first constituent assembly? It was the extremism, bias and intolerance of Upper Caste Hindu nationalists like Lala Lajpat Rai and CR Das who in 1924 had stated that Hindus and Muslims were two nations and could never exist together. The events in India today where members of other faiths are being systematically killed by fanatics with links to ruling political party are living proof if any is needed for what motivated Quaid and Allama Iqbal. How can anybody justify the hypocrisy of our ruling elite, which has exploited Islam to achieve their greed and vested interests and continues to do so?
Quaid e Azam wanted a democratic welfare state where Muslims could live in peace with members of other faiths, which is why he chose Jagan Nath Mandal as Law Minister. There is no doubt that Quaid’s vision of Pakistan embodied the thought that principles of Islamic justice, ethics, tolerance, welfare and morality would be incorporated in Constitution to be prepared by First Constituent Assembly of Pakistan, inhabited with 90% Muslims, as spelled out by him in his 11 August 1947 speech. Merely labelling a state as Islamic, does not transform it to the “Medina Welfare Concept”, nor holding of elections make it a democratic welfare state, unless there is strict accountability of all. It is when Rule of Law prevails, instead of whims of individuals or powerful state funded institutions that have chosen to assume a role, other than that defined by our constitution that a country develops. It is adoption of Islamic ethics and concept of equality before the law as elaborated by Quaid in his 11 August 1947 address to First Constituent Assembly, with no discrimination as to caste, faith or creed, which makes it a model welfare state. The sense of participation and welfare of the majority, with strong judicial system guarantees national security and not merely a strong army with its nuclear capability, as exemplified by collapse from within of Soviet Union.
If we are to survive, which we must, than there is no other route but to follow and adopt in letter and spirit Quaid e Azam’s vision and concept. The tragic events and takeover of state by men without vision, pygmies whose greed for power and ill-gotten wealth would prompt them to exploit Islam and adopt “Divide and Rule” legacy of British Raj through institutionalised corruption, such as allotment of state lands to paid public office holders has reduced this country to its present dismal state, where those who wield power, chose to live abroad, from where they decide fate of millions just like East India Company. We face crippling power shortages because our ruling elite has intentionally chosen to adopt energy welfare projects based on imported energy with its allure for kickbacks instead of using our own resources. In Miami gas is being derived from low grade coal, similar to our Thar Coal, to generate 2,500 MW electricity, while in Pakistan, Musharraf and AZ and NS are involved in expensive energy projects based on imported raw material, ignoring our hydel capacity. It is time to shed our hypocrisies, restore rule of law through more undiluted democracy and invest in human resource development schemes.