Some Proposals For A Glorious Pakistan
24 May 2016
By Saeed Qureshi
Throughout its existence since August 14, 1947; Pakistan has,
perennially remained in troubled waters. From the anarchy of the initial years
to the interspersing of democratic stints, to military dictatorships, it has
been overshadowed by a constant threat of disintegration as a state. This
disintegration came off in 1971 when its eastern part then known as East
Pakistan was truncated.
While East Pakistan changed
her nomenclature to Bangladesh, the West Wing came to be known as Pakistan. It
was a cataclysmic event that happened in contemporary history when a state was
dismembered barely 24 years after its birth and independence from the colonial
All these years, Pakistan earned strictures such
as a failed state, a country not viable to stay on the world map and a nation
moving towards eventual extinction or another disintegration a la East
Pakistan. Pakistani society is infested with myriad chronic problems that
range from poor social and utility services to unstable or dysfunctional
institutions and sway of reactionary cutthroat religious militants. The
competent, efficacious, egalitarian and public welfare oriented governance has
ever remained elusive.
The mutual bickering and
intolerance of the politicians kept the functioning of democratic form of
government fragile and vulnerable to army intervention that always stepped in
as an interim arrangement. Yet the army in due course would consolidate its
rule as long as it could hang on. As such a stable democratic culture could
not take roots.
The state governance and power
wielding alternated between a non-representative military set up and the
political power grabbers who were more concerned with their power and pelf
than the national interests. In this pernicious musical chairs game of power
grabbing, the welfare of the people and development of the country was always
kept on back burners.
The people favor a popularly
elected system of government as was evidenced in the 2008 and 2013 general
elections. Although the 2008 elections were more of a no confidence vote
against the Musharraf quasi dictatorship, yet at the same time, it vividly
demonstrated that the people of Pakistan were aware of the importance of a
system of governance based on adult franchise contested between the political
During the past two decades Pakistan has been
turned into a war zone by latter day Islamic warriors as evidenced by a string
of bomb blasts and terrorist activities. In the latest suicide bombing in
Lahore on the Easter Day (March 27) claimed by a religious outfit, 72 people
were killed and 340 injured. It is Pakistan's second deadliest attack since
the December 2014 massacre of 134 school children at a military-run academy in
the city of Peshawar
In such a bleak and murky
scenario, the amelioration of the appalling socio economic problems of the
people cannot be effectively addressed with the urgency and seriousness that
it merits. The economy of Pakistan is in doldrums and seriously impaired to an
alarming extent as evidenced by an all time high inflation and parity rate
between dollar and Pak rupee. Apart from other countless maladies we have seen
a whole panic stricken nation waits in long queues for a bag of flour.
A nation is decaying and dying on account of religious
militancy, galore of crimes, hunger, disease, deprivation, poverty and rotten
civic life. All these afflictions fallen on a Muslim nation of 200 millions
still struggling for its survival are the consequences of the wrong doings of
the leaders who lacked vision and sincerity. The motives and agendas of
successive leaders have been to capture power and milk the national exchequer.
Despite army's continuous crackdown against outlaws for the past two years,
there doesn't seem to be an end to the crime and lawlessness.
Every year loans of billions of rupees are so conveniently written off. These
loans are granted to robber barons whose bellies and bank accounts are already
bulging like swelling balloons. There is least accountability for rapacious
robbing of the national wealth which must be spent on people's welfare and
There is an appalling mess
everywhere that instead of diminishing is accentuating. Democracy is the
finest system of government provided it can ensure social justice and equality
of opportunities and basic services. We need dedicated, visionary, and honest
leadership that can put Pakistan on the way to economic and institutional
stability, as we witness in the Western countries.
all depends upon the quality, sincerity, and caliber of the leaders whether
they make or break a nation. We in Pakistani have been having gangsters,
thugs, custodians and savior of an exploitative system with such despicable
manifestations as feudalism, elitism, untouchable military and civil
bureaucracy and so on.
As such Pakistan is in emergent
need of a new revolutionary social contract that should encompass radical
remedial changes in every domain and dimension of our society. It should start
from abolition of feudalism and Sardari system to abundant and adequate
availability of civic facilities namely electricity, water, transportation,
good roads, railways, jobs etc. Social and legal justice should be liberated
from the onslaughts of the pressure groups and influential individuals.
It is therefore; absolutely imperative that Pakistan's socio-
economic and political landscape must be completely reoriented and
refurbished. The status quo must be quashed, and new vigorous radical and
revolutionary agenda should be evolved. A new social contract must be written
that brings about structural and institutional changes in all spheres of
The change in attitudes, social behaviors,
the modernization of civic facilities and social services should be accorded
the utmost and top priority to ensure a decent living. The Pakistani nation is
mired in a primitive mode of life with rampant superstitions, myths of
mystical healings and fanciful stories of the past beguiling the people to
remain mentally backward.
Pakistan is stuck in a
morass of abysmal degradations of all kinds: open sewage lanes, cattle
stalking, pollution of smoke and noise, human and animal excretion blanketing
the entire country, pervading stink in the air, traffic madness and
overstuffed public vehicles, life threatening adulteration of food and
medicines, vermin infested water, power cuts et el. The officialdom and the
departmental network are corrupt, too ill equipped, too poorly financed and
too outdated to take the bull of these stupendous problems by horn.
Here are a few broad outlines of a social contract or an agenda
that can be instrumental in initiating the much and long coveted
transformation in Pakistan. As already stated only a leadership that is
genuinely sincere and dedicated to making Pakistan a modern, progressive,
prosperous, democratic and egalitarian state can enforce it. There might not
be immediate and forthcoming results but a direction and course would be set
in motion and the first momentous steps could gradually change the whole
dismal scenario into the resplendent one with hope and a will to move forward.
The galloping growth of population should be restrained both by
persuasion and official caveats. Two children recipe is certainly desirable
and ought to be made binding.
For devolution of
powers, rapid and optimum progress, Pakistan needs to have more provinces. The
existing administrative divisions should be changed into province. Besides
creating more provinces out of existing four provinces, the FATA, Kashmir and
Northern Regions should also be designated as provinces with maximum autonomy,
permissible under the constitution.
should be re-written with necessary additions and subtractions. All those
caveats should be expunged that bar Pakistan from being a true federation, a
genuine democracy and modern polity. The present government has introduced a
few meaningful amendments in the constitution but more are needed such as
abolition of feudalism and separating religion and state.
While the Feudalism, Sardari and clannish over-lordship in all shades must at
once be abolished, the taken-over lands by mafia should be effectively and
veritably distributed among landless peasants. People should be freed and
liberated from the centuries old vestiges of land-based fiefdoms and
indigenous colonialism by taking away the privileged positions and royal
status of super land lords against their tillers and bonded labor. The
divisions and discriminations of being high and low between citizens should be
replaced with equality for all. This is what our religion warrants and this is
what a modern civil society demands.
sectarian bands of all hues and cries should be contained and checked from
spreading poisonous, biased and intolerance-based agenda. All religious
denominations should be allowed to practice their faith. In case of conflict
in interpretation of religious laws, a productive and positive dialogue should
be followed than killing and bombing the rivals' worshiping places as
witnessed between the Sunnis and Shias. This can also be enforced by the
It would be in order that the state image
should be secular and of non-interference in religious pursuits. The mosques
should be built by the government and the existing countless mosques and
religious seminaries should be integrated with the national education system.
Saudi Arabian government the birth place of Islam controls the mosques and
The pivotal role of judiciary must
be ensured and strengthened at all costs by creating an independent judicial
system consisting of intrepid, clean, conscientious and upright individuals
who cannot be influenced by any trickery of bribe, pressure, political
influence or similar other questionable and dirty means. All court fees should
be abolished. The Accountability courts should form part of the judicial
system. Pakistan can take a cue from other modern societies for establishing a
strong and transparent judiciary.
Quality of life
needs to be improved without loss of further time. The entire civic and
municipal system should be completely revamped .The civic problems are
directly related to the people's lives in creating mental and social
awareness. People are desperate to have their pressing and local irritants
such as orderly traffic, trash collection, encroachment and cattle free
footpaths, streets and roads to be addressed effectively and regularly. For
these fundamental reforms the ''City and County'' system of local governance
should be adopted whose blueprints can be borrowed from the United States or
any western society.
It would be an epic milestone if the people in the coming elections vote for
the candidates and parties that relatively have a clean record and a fair name
in the public service and offer a progressive and a milestone agenda for
change. If the same chronically corrupt leaders and highway robbers return to
the assemblies, Pakistanis will forfeit a unique chance for a big leap forward
and a rare choice for a better future, although physically it may still remain
on the world map.
Finally the nation is beholden to the Army under General Raheel Sharif for
leading a crusade to rid Pakistan of the enemies of the country particularly
the religious zealots.
The writer is a senior journalist, former editor of Diplomatic Times and a
former diplomat. This and other articles by the
writer can also be read at his blog www.uprightopinion.com.