Crumble Credibility


*Originally published in Pakistan Today.

26th November marks a month since the recent natural disaster struck Pakistan. With a staggering magnitude of 7.5 the earthquake ripped through the northern areas with unparalleled ferocity leaving hundreds dead and thousands of lives shattered. According to the BBC, government officials have stated that ‘at least 10,000 homes were destroyed’.

And it was the issue of the civilian institutions’ response to the devastation that the Senate recently picked up to criticise the government.

The army’s influence in Pakistan is one that is entrenched and patent but despite this being rooted in a long history which has rendered the dominance indelible on the country’s political, social and economic domains, there still remain fronts on which the civilian government happens to give way for the military to spurt ahead, boost and bolster its existing power.

One of these fronts is the response to natural disasters. Within a short span of the recent earthquake’s occurrence, General Raheel Shareef immediately ordered the mobilization of army personnel and resources for relief efforts. This incidence did not escape the recent debate in the Senate which Dawn reported as:

“PPP’s Farhatullah Babar said that Army Chief Gen Raheel Sharif had ordered troops to move to affected areas and carry out rescue work without waiting for the government’s directives. “It was a good move, but its implications should be looked into,” he said. The PPP senator regretted that information about losses had come from the ISPR (Inter-Services Public Relations) instead of civilian department and it showed “incompetence” of the government.”

While any efforts undertaken for the earthquake victims from any quarters of the state were both crucial and commendable, it is important to explore the political implications they also happened to contain. One of the clearest political implications of the army having given the first call for action in aiding the earthquake victims was the contrasting impression of the civilian government’s indifference resulting from its momentary inaction.

#ThankYouRaheelShareef

Critical instances like these feed into the popular belief in the Pakistan army’s unparalleled integrity and commitment to the people, inspiring tremendous trust in the military as an institution. This belief is frequently revealed in surveys and polls. The most recent of these was conducted by PILDAT, and while it revealed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to be the most popular political leader in Pakistan, it spelt the age-old result for the army which corresponds to its image among the people: as the most trustworthy institution in the country.

However, this division of trust and popularity is striking since it can be mapped onto the larger landscape of power and politics in Pakistan. The separation of popularity and trust is a key feature of the existing system in the country, where a civilian setup of a democratically and popularly elected government rules but often lacks the trust of the population. In case of natural disasters, this distrust is most evident when it comes to peoples’ willingness to donate to funds for the victims; most are more willing to donate if the material and monetary donations are to be channeled through the army rather than the government.

Although this lack of faith and trust in civilian governments greatly owes itself to the failures and corruptions of previous governments, it has also been sown through decades of dictatorship and their accompanying discourses which were used to justify and legitimate their existence by demonizing civilian rule and institutions. Nonetheless, attention must be called to the fact that the pace and degree of response and action, especially in testing cases such as those of disasters, are battlegrounds where governments’ trust is lost and gained.

It is imperative for the government to realize the indispensable importance of time in framing its response, performance and action in all areas of national affairs let alone natural calamities. It is here that the army takes the lead due to government inertia and delay thereby inevitably succeeding in being posited as an institution more responsive, hence closer to the public and their problems. The government’s delayed response undermines its own credibility which is otherwise pivotal in challenging moments like these during which support can be pocketed by elements inimical to peace in Pakistan.

It is no secret that crises of devastation, displacement and dislocation, compounded by the Pakistani governments’ conventionally slow and sluggish response, are often fertile grounds for non-state actors, militant and extremist groups to flourish in by activating their networks to function as relief groups within affected people while there remains a vacuum of proper government presence and assistance.

Another aspect to note relates to the nature of responses. While the PM announced a relief package for the affected people and ordered the establishment of several mechanisms to ensure its effective deliverance to the people, including a crisis cell for coordination between federal, civil, military and provincial agencies, these are still short-term measures. Cash compensations do not adequately, if at all, contribute to the long-term rehabilitation of affectees which is urgently required in the case of tragedies on the scale of the recent earthquake.

In a country plagued by a deep institutional power imbalance, civilian governments cannot and must not falter and flounder in responding to issues, affairs and crises; creating voids, even if temporary, for other institutions and groups to fill in and fragment its credibility and authority that are both detrimental to the health of the state and dent its potential for a truly democratic future.

Writing in his 1995 article ‘The Signals Soldiers Pick’, the late Eqbal Ahmad stated that the end of military intervention in politics hinges upon ‘the legitimacy of the civilian system of power [being] established over a period of time.’

Undeniably, the legitimacy of the civilian system of power is inextricably tied to its credibility which must be firmly established, constantly guarded and advanced. If a civilian system of power has to be maintained, governments must invest it with the credibility it craves, through their governance and performance, which firmly confers upon it the empowering authority it often lacks. Perhaps the idea that credibility must be constructed and cemented rather than let to chip away is too simplistic a proposition for redressing the power imbalance in Pakistan. Yet it is remains essential to recognize that legitimacy, credibility and authority are intertwined with each other and central to the narrative, if not the reconfiguration itself, of the Pakistani state’s distorted institutional ties. In the sombre shade of this, any sign of government lethargy dashes hopes for democratic civilian ascendancy, or so a military press release would concur.

-Hafsa Khawaja

Silencing LUMS, Resilencing Balochistan


*Originally posted on the Dawn Blog. Unedited version below:

“Learn about the history, complications, human rights abuses, and the struggle for justice that has been going on in Balochistan.”

Such was the description of an event that was to be held at the Lahore University of Management Sciences today.

Highly-anticipated, Unsilencing Balochistan was scheduled to have a panel including Mama Qadeer (Chairman, Voice for Missing Baloch Persons), Farzana Majeed (General Secretary, Voice for Missing Baloch Persons), columnist and activist M. M. Ali Talpur, academic Professor Aasim Sajjad Akhtar, Director HRCP I. A. Rehman and activist Sajjad Changhezi. The session was to be moderated by Chief Editor of the Daily Times, Rashid Rahman.

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However, yesterday students, staff and faculty at LUMS were abruptly emailed a brief, one-liner by Ali Khan, Chair of the Humanities and Social Sciences Department:

“The scheduled talk has been cancelled.”

While the reasons were clear to the wise, it was still difficult to imagine the stomp of boots within a private academic institution’s premises resonating among its decisions and activities.

Yet a ‘direct order’ by a certain ‘institution of the state’ was conveyed to Ali Khan demanding that the talk on Balochistan be cancelled immediately.

To the utmost furore of the students, Unsilencing Balochistan had become re-silenced even before it could be heard.

It says much about that state of affairs in a country when a discussion in a private university located in modern, urban provincial capital poses a threat to the state; when a few whispers from thousands of strangled voices of suffering and struggle raised to shatter the deathly silence shake the towering walls, overshadowing the state and society, of the corridors of power in the country.

Whispers put to immediate hush shriek of a culture of coercion and injustice, of power and subjugation.

The forced cancellation of the talk at LUMS is but merely a slight brush of the all-pervasive hold that has Balochistan gripped for decades; littered its streets and roads with mutilated bodies, left it with craters for graves and vanished many into thin air.

More importantly, the event’s cancellation is a blatant pursuit of the monopolization of discourse and narratives in Pakistan by the all-mighty and powerful. A pursuit, that is not new, which has previously and continues to subordinate education to certain agendas by the perversion of textbooks in Pakistan through distortions, lies, fabrications and obfuscations.

In the case of the Baloch and Balochistan, the monopolization is so complete, and its absorption so widespread, that challenging or contradicting it has now become a ‘threat’ and abhorrent to ‘the state’. It is a narrative of the sardars, the BLA and the naïve Baloch – manipulated by all to resent and dissent against the utopia that is Pakistan which has been ceaselessly kind and generous to the people of the province.

This narrative does all but exclude the greatest violator of Baloch rights – the Pakistani state and its institutions.

Umair Javed, who also teaches at LUMS, was quick to point out that none of the speakers who were to speak at the event were linked to either of the actors upon which the dominant narrative regarding Balochistan is centered; and that the state’s side of the story on the issue has been fed to us for over 60 years.

People on Twitter were prompt in stating that talks and discussions at LUMS don’t and cannot bring change; they are insignificant. Fair enough. However, then what was so significant and alarming about a discussion within the university that called for its cancellation? It was the persisting monopoly of narrative that the talk at LUMS seemed set to challenge – a narrative that is a product of the carefully-constructed dominant discourse which brands any dissent or dispute to be anti-Pakistan, anti-state ‘propaganda’; a narrative that conflates certain institutions with the country itself, to criticise whom is to malign Pakistan; a narrative that strangles the people for it seeks to strangle their voice. This fight of narratives and discourses is not trivial but a crucial battle in the struggle for a genuine democracy in Pakistan.

And the cancellation is yet another alarming reminder of the necessity to reclaim the discourse in Pakistan, to wrench it away from the hands of the powerful to the people.

Balochistan is bleeding.

And silence in its bruised and bloodied face is very much an accomplice.

And it must be remembered that only the aggressor would stifle and silence the cries and wails of its victims; for it exposes him. And the forced cancellation of the talk sputters the same.

As the cancellation is an assault on freedom of expression, freedom of speech, academic freedom and thoughts; it is an indicator of the palpable limits to the widely-hailed freedom of expression in Pakistan which is only allowed to run rampant upon political actors and groups. It stems from the stream of logic that accepts that a democratically-elected prime minister can be sent to the gallows, another can be humiliated and sent into exile but a military dictator cannot be tried. No, never.

Thus, the ‪#‎ShameOnLUMS‬ trend which absurdly holds the university at fault for planning such an ‘anti-Pakistan’ event and justifies the subsequent cancellation. The social media trend is but sharply reflective of the pervasive absorption of the dominant narrative regarding Balochistan, which includes conflation of an institution of the state with the state itself, and the consequent acceptance of limitations to academic freedom and discussion in Pakistan – a stark legacy of decades of dictatorships and authoritarianism that is pulsating strong even during an ostensibly democratic period; indicative of where true power lies even today

In a time such as this, the invaluable and timeless words of the great Eqbal Ahmad draw us back to them.

While famously speaking against the brutal army action in East Pakistan in 1971, and how uncanny to find striking relevance, sewn deep in his words for East Pakistan, to Balochistan, he wrote:

“I do not know if my position would at all contribute to a humane settlement. Given the fact that our government is neither accountable to the public nor sensitive to the opinion of mankind, our protest may have no effect until this regime has exhausted all its assets and taken the country down the road to moral, political, and economic bankruptcy.

 However, lack of success does not justify the crime of silence in the face of criminal, arbitrary power.”

And as the crime of silence reigns today; and if voices are a threat, then speak, nay, scream we shall.

@

National Clutter


*Originally published in The News.

It’s been over a month since the dharnas came to the capital.

And although Imran Khan warns of a civil war, the political temperature has come down considerably but not after exposing the bare and weak bones of Pakistan’s make.

To start off, with rumors and fears of a coup abound earlier; a most alarming reminder has been the persisting existence of the Third Umpire on the political front. Including a counsel of restraint on both sides, advocacy for facilitation of negotiations and advising the government not to use force, Dawn’s editorial published on 2ND September spoke on this string of the army’s statements and inaction towards the protesters that attacked the Parliament despite Article 245 as:

‘The carefully constructed veneer of neutrality that the army leadership had constructed through much of the national political crisis has been torn apart.’

The fact that army had to issue these statements and later another to assert its neutrality brings out a sneering irony.  

It is obvious that redressing the civil-military imbalance is urgent and yet perilous since the Third Umpire will not be leaving a field it has dominated and played on since decades anytime soon.

Secondly, while mudslinging and uncivil rhetoric has been and is an inherent component of Pakistan’s chaotic political culture, the current developments have assisted their swift mainstream resurgence; lest we forget Imran Khan’s volley of countless allegations and accusations against the sitting prime minister, ministers, parliamentarians, judiciary, police, journalists, bureaucrats and the media; and his free and open use of “oye”, “main choroon ga nahi” to “geeli shalwars”. The on-going rumpus has assisted and promoted the crude rhetoric of violence and slander in Pakistan’s political culture and discourse to once again rear its ugly head.

More importantly, a tweet by Mosharraf Zaidi on Imran Khan’s audacious release of his workers arrested by the police accentuates a disquieting issue:

‘One can blame PM Sharif to a certain extent, but delegitimization of the state machinery is now the unwitting PTI project. Disturbing.’

This act of Imran Khan’s may be hailed as bravado by his supporters, who condemn and decry Anjum Aqeel in the same breath, but since its declaration of civil disobedience, promotion of hundi; attempts to storm state buildings with PAT and this forceful release of arrested workers, PTI and its workers have certainly pursued a path of delegitimizing state apparatuses by way of blatantly defying the law.

With such a course of action, PTI has helped muddle up the distinction between the state and the government; attacking the former to shake the latter.

This is but a dangerous phenomenon in a country struggling for stability and security; adding a political plane to the constant challenges to the writ of the state by a plethora of groups including the TTP.

In the domain of the government, the consequences of ignoring political protests, as PML-N initially did with Imran Khan’s, have been dramatically revealed. Governments, especially that of parties like N which conveniently adopt smug complacency when in power, can no longer afford to be dismissive of opponents’ demands or perform sluggishly.

Moving on, as with every national occurrence, the media’s role has been of vital significance amid the inquilabi and tabdeeli mayhem. With fear-mongering, misinformation and sensationalism media houses flagrantly picked stances and sides. This glaring functioning of Pakistan’s media as propaganda houses for political parties with little room for impartiality and responsibility has been unfortunate. Media coverage has also been concentrated on the capital, with hardly any slot for the plight of the IDPs and later, the flood victims. All of this has once again lent weight to the idea that Pakistan possesses a vibrant, free media but a fledgling one not free from biases, unethical practices and oblivious to responsible, meaningful journalism.

Public discourse has also been affected, albeit with the curse of intense polarisation. With each lot sticking to its viewpoint and party loyalties with charged political self-righteousness, little room has been left for debate and discussion, let alone poor old nuance. All who oppose PTI’s politics are now ‘jahil nooras’ and all those who criticise PML-N ‘youthias’. And with debate and discussion shut off like this, this only strengthens the intolerance that is already embedded in Pakistan’s society and national mindset.

Another societal characteristic emerged amidst the dharnas, namely misogyny and hypocrisy. Appropriated into mainstream political discussion thanks to Maulana Fazul-ur-Rehman invoking the infamous fahashi narrative inside the Parliament, the dancing by women at Imran Khan’s dharna became a part of the political salvo against him.

A non-issue with no political weight or ramification, it is, as columnist and writer Abdul Majeed Abid, wrote:

‘One can disagree with the ‘dharnistas’ on dozens of accounts, without any mention of the term ‘vulgarity’….. this is important only in bigoted, misogynist societies such as Pakistan.’

It is astounding how women and men dancing at rallies can be an issue when there is a war being fought at home and a million Pakistanis are displaced from their homes, left for destitution.

This is a fine encapsulation of the clutter Pakistan is in today.

At the end, it is palpable that the political confrontation which began in mid-August sparked off a tense interaction between Pakistan’s politics, institutions, society and culture; the results of which are unsettling. A close to the current events may be uncertain but what is certain is that as a country aspiring for democracy, stability and prosperity, Pakistan has a long and difficult path to tread if it is ever to move forward.

~ Hafsa Khawaja

I Am A Traitor. I Am A RAW Agent. I am A Kafir. I Am A Pakistani With An Awakened Conscience.


Winston Churchill once said,

‘’You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.’’

A slightly simplified or altered version of this quote goes:

“A person who has no enemies never stood up for anything or anyone.”

It may be universally true but for Pakistan, I ‘reshape’ the quote to; If you’ve never been called a Kafir, traitor, RAW or MOSSAD Agent, it means you’ve never stood up for anything.

And today I’ll confess what makes me liable to be labelled any of the aforementioned terms on the virtual world.

I am a traitor for I chose to speak.

I am part of the ‘Fifth column of the enemy’ for I question the military establishment, its adventurism, ploys and doctrines that have become our strategic death. I am a RAW Agent for it agonizes me to see the oppression being carried out in Balochistan by no one else but this country’s own security apparatus and agencies and so I clamor against it.

I am a liberal fascist for I refuse to bear the hypocrisy that compels me to vociferate against brutal killings of innocents in Iraq, of Palestinians and other places; but  remain in deliberate oblivion and silence about the persecution and killings of Shias, Hindus, Ahmedis and Christians in Pakistan.

I am a traitor for I  question the silence on murders of the Baloch, Hazara, Tooris & other oppressed groups.
I am a traitor for I challenge questionable customs, traditions, myths and practices that have made this society and many lives rot away for too long.

I am a Kafir for I dare to reclaim my religion from the Mullahs. I am a disbeliever for I admire Abdus Salam and Sir Zafarullah Khan and have the audacity to express my rightful desire for them to be honored by all. I am worthy of being consigned to hell because I do not judge and determine who is a Muslim, to what extent and who isn’t. I am a disbeliever and a damned-to-hell liberal because somewhere in my confabulations there may be secularist undertones.
I am on a payroll for I do not ascribe every happening in my country to external forces or hidden hands and yet vociferate against the greatest of dangers and threats this country faces from within.

I am a traitor for I gladly rip away the locks imposed on my lips by orchestrated  ‘patriotism’ that shuns the voice of  my thoughts from translating into words of concern for what happens in this country of mine.

I am a RAW Agent trying to constantly ruin the country’s image for I draw attention to the misery of minorities in Pakistan in hope of the people realizing the importance of the well-being and freedoms of those to whom the white of our flag is dedicated.

I am a traitor for I chose to speak up. I am a traitor for I am a Pakistani with an awakened conscience.

‘Lack of success does not justify the crime of silence in the face of criminal, arbitrary power.’ ~ Eqbal Ahmad

~ Hafsa Khawaja

The Problem Isn’t With Pakistan’s Name Mr.Hitchens!


Dear Mr. Hitchens,

It was only some weeks back that I came to stumble upon an excerpt from an old piece of yours, which was basically an ‘analysis’ of yours [ and that too, quite a typical one considering it was related wholly to Pakistan] on the origin and meaning of the word Pakistan, by which you imply that all the reasons that make it a menace for the world today, have always stood as the cause and aim behind its very creation.

Although, knowing your eager inclination for sparing no opportunity to bash the country, I should’ve ignored the piece but your absolute  insolence of going to the extent of reasoning Pakistan’s existence as some vile plot on the basis of your twisted perceptions, made it perfectly beckoning for me to straighten them out for you and those who read it.

In your words;

‘The very name “Pakistan” inscribes the nature of the problem. It is not a real country or nation but an acronym devised in the 1930s by a Muslim propagandist for partition named Chaudhary Rahmat Ali. It stands for Punjab, Afghania, Kashmir, and Indus-Sind. The stan suffix merely means “land.” In the Urdu language, the resulting acronym means “land of the pure.”

To start with, Pakistan was intended to be, is and will always be the name of a country and a nation.

The British Imperialist Government in India never regarded it as a homogenous nation.

Lord Morley wrote to Lord Minto ‘Not one whit more than you do I think it desirable or possible, or even conceivable, to adapt English political institutions to the nations that inhabit India.’

It may be significant to remind you of the dispatch from the Government of India that described the ‘Brightest Jewel in the British Crown’ as ‘essentially a congeries of widely separated classes, races and communities and divergences of interests and hereditary sediment.’ And this was back in 1892.

Pakistan was never intended to be an ‘acronym’ or an adjective for anything else. Now, it is up to you, whether you choose to accept reality or not as you clearly seem to deny it here.

 

The manner in which you have mentioned Chaudhri Rehmat Ali, as some kind of unlettere or ignorant who blindly instigated a dangerous ‘propaganda’ – is deplorably exasperating.

You have plainly reduced all figures of the Pakistan Movement as mere ‘propogandists’ but must it be reminded to you that propagandas do not result into separate countries?
Mr. Hitchens, Pakistan was an ideology, not a propaganda.

An ideology that was never inevitable but was made inevitable by a series of events.

Yes, Pakistan’s creation was largely based on religious demographics that played a great role in the history of the subcontinent. And that, I might as well like to think of as the cause behind your evident penchant for penning down your antagonism and bias towards it, wherever and whenever possible – taking into account that those religious demographics were directly tied to Islam which you opine : ‘The real axis of evil is Christianity, Judaism, and Islam”.

Moving on, you write ‘It can be easily seen that this very name expresses expansionist tendencies and also conceals discriminatory ones. Kashmir, for example, is part of India.
The Afghans are Muslim but not part of Pakistan.
Most of Punjab is also in India. Interestingly, too, there is no B in this cobbled-together name, despite the fact that the country originally included the eastern part of Bengal (now Bangladesh, after fighting a war of independence against genocidal Pakistani repression) and still includes Baluchistan, a restive and neglected province that has been fighting a low-level secessionist struggle for decades.
The P comes first only because Pakistan is essentially the property of the Punjabi military caste. As I once wrote, the country’s name “might as easily be rendered as ‘Akpistan’ or ‘Kapistan,’ depending on whether the battle to take over Afghanistan or Kashmir is to the fore
.

You Sir, need to enroll in a school as soon as possible and one that teaches the history of this country for your understanding of it is even poorer than that of a 10-year old Pakistani child.

To state that Kashmir is part of India is a shameful travesty of history, facts and an insult to the thousands of martyrs of this Asian Palestine so I reiterate, that you seriously contemplate over my suggestion above.

The word ‘Afghania’ was used for Pakistan’s province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa [Previously known as North West Frontier Province ] and not Afghanistan as you seem to have fatuously believed so.

Startling, you are quite correct on the two counts of Bangladesh and Balochistan.

Indeed, it is an undeniable truth that the birth of Bangladesh was made inevitable by the behavior and actions of the governments of those time and an accumulation of political, cultural, social and economic reasons along with the military operation that was unsuccessfully carried out there when it was East Pakistan. And about Balochistan, the very campaign of atrocities that was executed in East Pakistan in ’71 by the Army is being repeated there.

As I deem that you may have not studied this quote of Chaudhri Rehmat Ali, I post it here:

“Pakistan’ is both a Persian and an Urdu word. It is composed of letters taken from the names of all our South Asian homelands; that is, Punjab, Afghania, Kashmir, Sindh and Balochistan. It means the land of the Pure. It symbolizes the religious beliefs and the ethnical stocks of our people; and it stands for all the territorial constituents of our original Fatherland. It has no other origin and no other meaning; and it does not admit of any other interpretation.”

Oh and just for your imperative enlightenment, the ‘TAN’ in Pakistan is taken from Balochis-TAN.

 

Pardon me Mr. Hitchens for all the neck-craning you must be doing from reading this letter, but now that I have written this far, I might just seize the opportunity and address you on your latest piece on Pakistan.

Although I should have known better of what your article must be comprising, bearing in mind it began with the praise of Salman Rushdie’s judgments and opinions on Pakistan yet I felt compelled to read it after all the ‘praise’ you had elicited from many Pakistanis for it.

For your comfort and my sanity, I will be skipping on refuting much of your inane comments in it.

One of the lines in ‘From Abbottabad to Worse’, that had me much in shock was :

‘Everybody knew that the Taliban was originally an instrument for Pakistani colonization of Afghanistan’

I wonder who this ‘everybody’ is. For all one remembers, wasn’t it Reagan who said “These gentlemen are the moral equivalents of America’s founding fathers.” after his meeting with the Taliban that took part in the Soviet War in Afghanistan.

Maybe, this ‘everybody’ should accept that these Taliban were the illegitimate child, a Frankenstein created by the West and thrusted to the Pakistani Hitler of that time, Zia-ul-Haq, for nurturing and breeding more to combat the Russians in the War.

It was at that point in history, that Pakistan was prepared as the hot-bed of terrorism and the USA’s part in it can certainly not be overlooked.

 

Surely, the USA is a prisoner of shame. The ‘betrayal’ that you speak of, by the puissant in Pakistan is more painful for the people of that land than any other nation and it is none other than America itself who is also responsible for this. By its incessant and brazen support and assistance to the military dictatorships in the country, which have spanned almost four decades in its 64-year old history and uprooted the plinth layed by Jinnah for the state through myriad actions intended to solely to consolidate their power and strengthen the military along with sowing all the seeds that have reaped today, from Ayub to Musharraf – the military establishment’s dead hand became unimaginably great in the affairs of the state, controlling the rudder of the ship even as civilian captains came and went.

This was, what gave them the audacity to play double games and ‘decieve’ its own allies. This was, what gave them the liberty to execute an idea as dirty as the ‘Strategic Depth’ doctrine.

Yet through all this ‘betrayal’, the games and the and reactions to it by the US, it was only the Pakistani masses who suffered from it. Either in the form of drone attacks, Raymond Daviss’ or global censuring.

Oh and Mr.Hitchens, I marvel at your ignorance! This land has much, much to be proud of.

 

At the end of this letter I lend you some honest advise that you leave the task of analysing the world’s problems, whining over them and instead listen over and over again to Pakistan’s Coke Studio, throw up the vitriol inside of you that you fill your pen with before writing to be finally relieved of the pain of knowing a wretched country like ours exists and troubles and distresses you so much – because the problem isn’t with Pakistan’s name, its with your hate-sricken mind, Mr. Hitchens.

 ~ With love from Pakistan.

Jinnah’s Pakistan- Are We Near?


Jinnah’s Pakistan. This is one dream that all of Pakistan yearns to achieve and are rueful over not being able to achieve in the past 63 years. Usually we blame others for what we face today but have we ever mused if we have even tried to be close to Jinnah’s Pakistan? Have we acknowledged our own weaknesses and faults? And the amends that we need to make? After reading a book of quotations of Jinnah that I posses, I decided to analyse and write about how far we are from being near to the land of pure that the Quaid envisaged.
Below are some quotations and the current situation of Pakistan in relevance to them:

“You must learn to distinguish between your love for your province and your love and duty to your State as a whole. Our duty to the State takes us a stage beyond provincialism. It demands a broader sense of vision, and [a] greater sense of patriotism. Our duty to the State often demands that we must be ready to submerge our individual and provincial interests into the common cause for a common good. Our duty to the State comes first : our duty to our Province, to our district, to our town, and to our village and ourselves comes next”

– Speech at Islamia College, Peshawar 12 April 1948

“Let me warn you in the clearest terms of the dangers that still face Pakistan…Having failed to prevent the establishment of Pakistan, thwarted and frustrated by their failure, the enemies of Pakistan have now turned their attention to disrupt the State by creating a split amongst the Muslims of Pakistan. These attempts have taken the shape of principally of encouraging provinicialism. As long as you do not through off this poison [provincialism] in our body politic, you will never be able to weld yourself, mould yourself, galvanzie yourself into a real, true nation….”

– Address, Public Meeting, Dacca 21 March 1948

[In Pakistan, such a divide, mentioned by our founder 62 years ago is still crystal clear in our nation. The poison of provincialism still lingers in the body of Pakistan. One of the most recent events that we saw last year were of the IDP’s of Swat entry in Sindh being protested and warned against by a few political parties. This was not a small incident but discrimination against our own Pakistani brothers only for the reason that they belonged to another province. This was not only against the definitions of a nation but also against the brother-hood that Islam strongly preaches.
The Sindh-Card hoopla and Sindhi-Topi Day are also both, in my opinion, a component of the very poison to spread it farther into the nation. I myself am proud of my province and do encourage the promotion of my province’s specific culture and specialities but I found the Sindh-Topi Day to be politically hijacked and motivated. Sindhis are also, repeatedly and wrongly, taught of a myth of their victim-hood facilitated by the Punjabis by certain political parties to gain their political mileage. Such selfish plots have lead to, although small, such as a movement for a separate province of Sindh and hatred amongst Sindhis for the people of Punjab. We are all Pakistanis and our province, city, district and towns do come after that. Pakistan is our identity, not our province.]

_______________________________________

“I want you to keep your heads up as citizens of a free and independent sovereign State. Praise your Government when it deserves. Criticise your Government fearlessly when it deserves, but do not go on all the time attacking, indulging in destructive criticism, taking delight in running down the Ministry or the officials.”
One of the most deplorable traits that have been developed within us due to a past marred with tragedies, losses, conspiracies and despair is the degree of pessimism and cynicism. We have lost all sense of respect and pride, disregarding the achievements of our people and the mere blessing of having been born in an independent land, a place to call home. We need to regain our sense of pride in our land and the fact that we belong to it, remembering that every nation has to go through a rough patch and a testing time before it reaches the height of success.
Our officials are corrupt and thus our criticism is natural but those steps that they take for the nation’s betterment (though seldom they are indeed) should be openly praised. Useless and baseless defamation and criticism of Government officals and those who represent us should certainly be spared. Above all, if they are indeed so wrong and devoid of honesty, why do we ELECT them?

– Reply to welcome address, Edwardes College, Peshawar, 18th April 1948

_____________________________________________

“During my talks with one or two very high-ranking officers I discovered that they did not know the implications of the Oath taken by the troops of Pakistan. Ofcourse, an oath is merely a matter of form ; what is more important is the true spirit and the heart. But it is an important form and I would like to take the opportunity of refreshing your memory by reading the prescirbed oath to you :
‘I solemnly affirm in the presence of the Almighty God, that I owe allegiance to the
Constitution and the Domination of Pakistan and that I will as in duty bound honestly
and faithfully serve in the Domination of Pakistan Forces and go within the terms of
my enrolment wherever I may be ordered by air, land or sea and that I will observe
and obey all commands of any officer set over me….’

– Address, Staff College, Quetta, 14th June 1948

“Never forget that you are the servants of the state. You do not make policy. It is we, the people’s representatives, who decide how the country is to be run. Your job is to only obey the decisions of your civilian masters.”
– Address at Military Staff College

Four Martial Laws and almost 40 years of dictatorship in Pakistan’s 63 years which included the rape of our nation’s sovereignity and sowing the seeds of problems that we are reaping today, all were due to the Generals who like the Quaid said, had forgotten the oath they took.It is inevitable that in such a long time of dictatorship, the influence and role of the military in the decision-making of the country. Our army inherited the British Military traditions and its officer crops were trained under British Military institutions established under colonial rule. With the decline of political institutions, they expanded their role and even reached the Presidency. Corruption, nepotism, avarice and greed were rampant in these years. The cancers that reside in Pakistan today, were assisted by Generals and their cronies. Our Army has always seemed to be oblivious of Jinnah’s words and their actual duty. They have played a major role in pulling Pakistan to the brink of collapse and anarchy. Our Army-men need to read these quotes of the Quaid and imprint them in their minds, it was their this lack of morals and integrity and intentional neglect of the Founder’s words and not only the Generals but support of the presumed and self-proclaimed ‘intelligentsia’ and elite of our society for dictatorships that made us stand here today.
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“We do not cherish aggresive designs against any country or nation.”
– Part of a broad-cast to USA, February 1948

Ironically, Pakistanis nowadays have actually started buliding up an aggressive attitude towards certain nations for they blindly blame them for what we face today. I mean India and Israel, certain ‘intellectuals’ have began infusing the ideas and notions of a wars which is a blatant promotion of extremism. Their reasoning and ‘analysis’ of the current situation of Pakistan is that each of our conflicts and predicaments has been caused by other nations conspiring against us and their Ingelligence Agencies, for this they mould facts to their own liking and to back their views. Blaming others is the most simple way out to hide your own faults and to reason your suffering and so the popularity of such views are growing and farthering the cherishing of aggresive designs against countries etc (against Jinnah’s words).
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– Hafsa Khawaja