“In Pakistan lies our deliverance, defence and honour … In our solidarity, unity and discipline lie the strength, power and sanction behind us to carry on this fight successfully.”
(Quaid’s Message on Pakistan Day, 1945)
The month of March every year makes us reminisce the day when the leaders of India’s Muslim community passed the Lahore Resolution whereby they unequivocally put forward their demand that “India should be grouped to constitute independent states in which the constituent units should be autonomous and sovereign.” It was a watershed moment in the history of the Subcontinent as the Resolution, which was like a manifesto of the All India Muslim League, delineated a promise to protect “religious, cultural, economic, political, administrative and other rights” in the new state.
Given these historical facts, can we say that today’s Pakistan is what the Muslims had struggled for? Do we have a country that was promised by its founders? Are even the fundamental rights like those to security, health, education, etc., provided to the citizens of this state? Rampant injustices and ever-growing economic disparities say it all!
In today’s Pakistan, the widening schism between the haves and have-nots has given birth to a two-class system where sources — or more rightly, country’s exchequer — are ‘possessed’ by one class while those belonging to the other are leading a life of misery and wretchedness. Calling a spade a spade, this state of affairs is the culmination of indifference that the ruling elite have been showing toward people’s problems. This lethargy on the part of the policymakers — and the implementers as well — has resulted in corruption that has permeated almost every state institution. Even more distressing is the fact that the government, which should have worked vigorously to strengthen the accountability mechanism in the country, has come out against its own watchdog i.e. National Accountability Bureau (NAB).The Prime Minister himself chided NAB because, in his opinion, “They [NAB officials] terrify the government officers on baseless charges and hinder the performance of their official work.”
Instead of alluding to the clipping of its wings, the Prime Minster should have appreciated NAB’s work because its is due to its exemplary vigilance that there has been a significant decline in corruption in the country — a fact further proved by the Corruption Perception Index 2015 launched by Berlin-based Transparency International.
The ruling elite of the country must realize that corruption is mother of all ills of Pakistan. It has given birth to multifarious problems including nepotism and favouritism and has negated meritocracy, transparency and accountability. It is because of this negation that we are still grappling with a lot of problems.
It is true that Pak Army’s Operation Zarb-e-Azb has been instrumental to a substantial decrease in heinous acts of terrorism, what we need now is another ‘Zarb-e-Azb’ against socioeconomic injustices meted out to the people by a handful of individuals. This is exactly what has been envisioned by our founding fathers and was put into words by Quaid-i-Azam in his famed presidential address to the Constituent Assembly on 11th August 1947 when he said, “We are starting with this fundamental principle that we are all citizens and equal citizens of one State.”
We already have lost almost seven decades; and we cannot afford to waste more time. The government, being the true representative of the ‘people’ — not of only a few influential individuals — should do its duty and draw up pragmatic policies to pull the country out of multifarious crises. The most potent tool to effect radical changes can be the youth of the country. Our passionate youth have all the vigour and zeal to take Pakistan to the zenith of glory and excellence. Quaid-i-Azam too had a great confidence in the youth as he used to call them the “nation-builders of tomorrow.”
And to achieve this coveted goal, the government and the people of this great country should wage a war against all types of malpractices and inequities. We can, and we will, win this war.
“Go forth, light-armed and heavy-armed, and strive with your wealth and your lives in the way of Allah! That is best for you if ye but knew.” (At-Tawbah: 41)
The rulers should also remember the warning mentioned in verse 38 of the same surah which says, “If you do not go forth, He will punish you with a painful punishment and will replace you with another people.”