Pakistan in Search of Freedom and Security
Today, Pakistan is crippled with catastrophic floods, rising insecurity and rampant socioeconomic and political exploitation. The country’s ruling elite and the Generals are not open to reason and accountability. They cannot realize the imperatives of hopes and expectations of a new generation of educated and morally and intellectually competent people. The future belongs to the new generation of educated people, not to the naïve and obsolete Generals. They view “power” and “Pakistan” as their own property. The authoritarian leaders played with its destiny and future with impunity. They are the wrong people, with wrong thinking and doing the wrong things. If there were any fair system of accountability, some of the Generals and the accomplice politicians would well have faced firing squads for their crimes against the nation. Pakistan is continuously being incapacitated so much so that we lost our best neighbour and a tried and tested friend – China. We the People aspire to have friendly relations with all nations – the United States, the EU countries, Russia, China and others.
The established forces of evil and destruction are within Pakistan, not outside. Imperial doctrines of governance and control of people led to moral and intellectual decadence, repression, tyranny, conflicts and socioeconomic and political miseries. An elected, legitimate government of PM Imran Khan was hurriedly dismissed via a covert military intervention and a hoax legal judgment which itself violated the constitution. How can you restore normalcy in a rigged and naïve political culture of systematic corruption? The quest for political change lacks the existence of public institutions to sustain reasoned politics, educated and intelligent leaders and proactive visions for change and adaptability to a critical future-making. The dream of a progressive Pakistan was lost by conspiratorial Generals and accomplice wealthy landlords dating back to the British colonial era. The Generals and affluent landlords were the product of elusive manifestations rooted in longing to British colonialism, not to Islamic thoughts and values. A snapshot of a critical moment in time and history unfolds dark imagery of political governance and military coups. During the 75 years after the British Raj, Pakistan was morally, politically and intellectually dehumanized by five military coups which all were individualistic and conspiratorial and they defied the aims and purposes of the national freedom movement. The Generals and ZA Bhutto conspired to lose East Pakistan, and India was allowed to occupy Kashmir, and we continued to lose more in socioeconomic and political domains because of the dishonesty and failed leadership of Bhuttos, Sharifs and the Generals. These monsters stole billions and billions to own palaces in the United Kingdom, France and Spain. The thinking people of the new generation of Pakistanis view the Bhuttos, Zardaris, Sharifs and Musharraf – all in one slot – the most corrupt, crime-riddled people who will never come to terms with reason and honesty to reflect on their wrongdoings. They never imagined how the present and future generations will remember them. Is Pakistan becoming a dead-ended moral and intellectual landscape? Military Generals do not build the nation or its socioeconomic and political infrastructures, principles, values and standards or anything to do with future-making. Their one-track mental microscope cannot imagine prevalent injustice, corruption and calamities unleashed by those that they collaborated to put into power.
The nation needs soul-searching
If the Generals and accomplice politicians were to realize the tensions of reasoned possibilities for a “progressive Pakistan,” they would abandon the primitive and redundant longings and become adaptable to change and participation of new-age educated and honest people. Most dreadful tragedies were orchestrated by design and dishonest figures. They played with its destiny and broke it as they were never part of the freedom movement and had no relationship to the ideals of Pakistan. The country was defeated by India in the 1971 war as a part of a conspiracy by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and General Yahya Khan. Altaf Qureshi (Editor, Urdu Digest) wrote “Saqoot-e-Dhaka se Parda Uthta Hai” (1972) in which he described the details how Bhutto and Yahya betrayed Pakistan and stabbed the nation and deserved firing squads but were not held accountable for their crimes. Are the Pakistanis still living in any rational denials of their own chapter of history? ZA Bhutto sought help from Mrs. Indira Gandhi (the then-PM of India) and agreed to defeat and surrender Pakistan at Dhaka to become the next President, Chief Martial Law Administrator and Prime Minister. Ayub Khan had ousted him as a minister because of his conspiracy to defeat Pakistan in 1965.
Ms Benzair Bhutto and her mother Nusrat Bhutto were alleged to be involved in the killing of General Zia ul Haq and 12 Pakistani Generals as well as 100 others in a C-130 plane crash near Bahawalpur, in August 1988. When she became the country’s Prime Minister, her government traded lists of Sikh and Kashmiri freedom fighters with Indian premier Rajiv Gandhi (Lahore meeting) – later, thousands of them were targeted and killed by Indian security forces. Ms Benazir Bhutto and her husband Asif Ali Zardari were indicted by a Swiss court on $60 million money-laundering crime but they, still, returned to political power. Nawaz Sharif was sentenced for hijacking the PIA plane, returning from Sri Lanka, with General Musharraf on board and 265 or so passengers and wanted it to go to India. He was also involved in money laundering and his government was twice dismissed on corruption charges, but still he became PM a third time. Sharifs, Ms. Bhutto and Zardari stole billions of dollars from the national treasury to buy properties in London, Paris and Spain. Ms. Bhutto and Zardari owned a palace in Dubai worth approximately $10 billion, and Sharif Brothers have several apartment complexes in London valued at around $30-$40 billion. Why can’t this stolen wealth be recovered to help the flood victims of Pakistan? Why should Pakistan beg foreign masters for $28 billion in flood aid? In a highly corrupt culture of politics, no one dares ask such rational questions. According to George W. Bush, General Musharraf and 12 other Generals were gifted with $2b – “Pakistani Generals are paid” to do the job, wrote the NYT (07/2007) during the war in Afghanistan. No wonder how Musharraf bought a $1.4 million villa in London’s suburbs and allowed a retired US General to monitor Pakistan’s nuclear arsenals. Pakistanis need soul-searching to realize the gravity of political corruption, national security and how the nation continued to flop in a global context.
A navigational change
Young people are disillusioned and are increasingly leaving Pakistan to settle in Western countries. The brain-drain problem afflicts Pakistan adversely in socioeconomic and political future-making as old and former subservient to British legacy run the country. With new generation’s migration, Pakistan is fast losing its best talents and energies for the present and future. In 2019, this author offered Imran Khan a logical plan for sustainable change. Most of his associates were uneducated and former loyalists of political parties which now formed his opposition. None of them had any knowledge or experience in critical thinking, strategic planning and change or future-making. Why did Khan waste four years in the fantasy of Naya Pakistan and failed to live up to his imagination?
There is an irresistible manifestation of educated leadership to safeguard the nation, its freedom and security. But Pakistan is obsessed with political cynicism and corruption. Reason and revulsion will not restore normalcy but a moral reformatory revolution could save the future of the beleaguered nation. At the edge of reason, a turbulent Pakistan desperately needs new and honest people of educated generation to plan and reconstruct political change. Imran Khan, if he is allowed to contest national elections, has a challenge to think and plan for a navigational change and sustainable future-making. Pakistan urgently needs a saviour, a person of proactive vision and honesty to pursue a navigational change for future-making; not Shehbaz Sharif, not Bhutto or the few Generals. The solution must come from the critical thinking hubs of the new educated generation – the intelligent Pakistanis – to facilitate hope and optimism for a sustainable future of the beleaguered nation. Under the present chaotic affairs, a new Government of national unity should be formed under a non-partisan and non-political leader of moral and intellectual integrity for a period of two years; a new constitution for a presidential form of government should be framed with new public institutions under the leadership of new generation of educated and honest people; and then a new election could give meaning and clarity to the purpose of democracy and to transform the ideals of a progressive, legitimate and functional democracy. The need is desperate for the Pakistani nation to think critically and see the mirror. We ask the retired and conscientious Generals to come out and launch a peaceful march for political change and democratic stability. We ask the Ulema to hold public protests and symbolic funerals of the corrupt leaders. What We the people are rationalizing could be ridiculed by thugs and indicted criminals currently in power. But, on the contrary, those enriched with knowledge, logic of honesty and planned change for future-making will view it critically and seriously a genuine and timely pursuit negating fanaticism to ensure the national freedom, security and sovereignty of a stable Pakistan.
Dr. Mahboob A. Khawaja specializes in international affairs-global security, peace and conflict resolution with keen interest in Islamic-Western comparative cultures and civilizations, and author of several publications including the latest: One Humanity and the Remaking of Global Peace, Security and Conflict Resolution. Germany.