Musings on Naya Pakistan

  • How do we endeavour?

Once upon a time, a nation struggled to carve an independent state for itself. Although it did succeed, but from its inception, faced many troubles. It fought wars with its neighbour, it fought with itself for an identity, it fought with its own people for their rights.

The nation witnessed successive leaders. Some made an effort to do well, some ran out of time. Others broke promises, many more didn’t bother to make any and imparted decisions at their own will.

Troubles mounted, faith jilted, foundations shook and emotions despaired. And then the promised one came. He crusaded and the false were vanquished. Truth gained victory, harmony prevailed. The nation regained its identity, overcame its troubles and conquered the world. And they all lived happily ever after!

This is the happy ending Pakistanis are hoping for with their new government. With jubilation across the country and beyond, it seems that all is well. A fervour not felt in a long time is experienced. Hope is revived after being long lost. Sagging emotions are uplifted.

But then life is not a fairy tale to get a compulsive happy ending. The jubilations are only at the surface. Beneath, there are cracks of suspicion. The gleeful spirit is mired by accusations of untruthfulness, of dishonesty, of foul play. Fingers dare to point and claim that all is not well.

The ‘non believers’ are ready to pounce at any misdoing and be glad to prove their point. Those who regard the country’s new leader as their messiah expect him to possess a magic wand, with which he would flick away all problems and at the end of the starry trail would follow prosperity and an everlasting utopia.

We want to possess a renewed country which begins afresh, but we don’t think about participating in the process. We are quick to make allegations, but afraid to prove them. We are willing to criticise, but unconcerned about correcting ourselves

The others remain dubious. They sense a fear, a non-assurance, a doubt on the future of unfulfilled promises, of faded charms, of extremity, of a doom rather than a dream come true.

As a nation, we have bred on scepticism. Every good or bad headline seems to be based on a motive. We, the people of this country, have suffered for too long; the atrocities of harsh rulers, the insensitivities of selfish leaders, the negligence of most, the ensuing rot of everything.

Pakistan waited and endured each time it was failed. We pinned hopes on who ever came next. For sometime, the euphoria of change would survive, later to be replaced by a repetitive cycle of gloom resulting from practices of nepotism, corruption, insincerity and lack of progress.

Probably, our history is a reason that despite a wave of optimism thronging the country today, a bag of mixed feelings is there. Allegations raise suspicion. Questions about broken promises bring worries. A fear of autocracy replacing democracy creeps in. So can we truly have a Naya Pakistan?

In the new Pakistan, questions should continue to be asked until they are answered. The one who asks should not suffer for questioning, the one who is asked should maintain the courage and patience to be questioned and then to reply.

In this land of ours, we should be able to openly welcome someone who promises a change. However, we should display the courage of pointing out when the promise is broken. We should have the vigour to ask for the mistake to be amended. And if it is not, we should be able to pick up the pieces and start afresh.

Those who attain power come from within us. The flaws which they display are also a part of us. They are not different, but we allow them to become privileged. In the past, we remained silent when they erred. We ignored when they brought damage. We followed them like Hamelin followed the Pied Piper and each time, barely escaped getting lost into nowhere. And then we followed another Pied Piper! The cycle must end.

New vigour would also demand renewed vows; not only from those who lead, but also from those who follow. The ills of politics are deep rooted and have seeped in every individual, whether in power or not. We depend on corruption to attain basic amenities. We seek to break laws to bring comfort in our lives. We amass wealth to secure our futures. Aren’t these the allegations we make on our leaders?

Naya Pakistan would mean that each time the bureaucracy repeats the entrenched practice of demanding an ‘extra fees’ for a routine process, instead of giving in to hasten the result, we resist and raise the issue in public and in the media. It would mean that we practice patience and learn to stand in a queue like civilised persons, whether in a bank or in a cinema or a public park. It would require us to wait for the signal to turn green before we proceed and also stop honking horns and edge in to make way on the other side of the lane. A Naya Pakistan would be a country where people protect and conserve their resources instead of ravaging them to the point of depletion and then making a hue and cry when they are not available any more.

We want to possess a renewed country which begins afresh, but we don’t think about participating in the process. We are quick to make allegations, but afraid to prove them. We are willing to criticise, but unconcerned about correcting ourselves.

The real channel of change is the people. And a change is not always a revolution. It can be a chain reaction; a message accepted and passed on from one to another, until it swells in numbers and becomes a cause in its own.

When each of us would find ourselves a link in this chain reaction, when we would bring a change in others as well as ourselves, when we would dare to break the myth and accept the truth, only then we can dream of a NayaPakistan.