Pakistan’s Fatal Revolution Viral


Having been dragged by the horses ridden by politicians and military despots through the mud for 63 years, the notion of a revolution has not failed to enter the mind of Pakistanis as a saw to cut and break free from this chain of humiliation manacling them.

Recently this feeling and thought has become stronger in Pakistan by the intensity of its pervasiveness fueled by the revolts in Tunisia and Egypt. Pakistanis reason the absolute and dire need of a revolution in their country by stating how either they’re in the same or worser conditions than that of the two Arab nations.

 

 

One might question them, have they followed the events or studied the situations in both the aforementioned countries? Egypt is under the tyrannical rule of an obstinate dictator since he assumed power on October 14, 1981.

With an already-imposed Emergency Rule since 1967, Mubarak exercised his totalitarian muscle a great deal by depriving Egyptians of their basic human rights, suspending their civil liberties, stunting their social growth, curbing any freedom especially freedom of expression by strict and savage means   with an era that ensued of fraudulent elections, inflation, poverty, political persecutions, unemployment, corruption and illegal arrests. Om id Dunya has been survivng under a brute.

Reflecting was the case in Tunisia under the grip of Ben Ali.

While inflation and poverty et al maybe the similarities between Pakistan and Egypt, there’s a visible contrast in between which includes the chiefly important political landscape and the Civilian-Military imbalance of power.

People in Pakistan demand a revolution but a revolution against what? A Government they themselves elected in 2008? What a farce!

 

 

If its to remove the ‘American Puppets’ that ‘have sold the nation’s dignity’, who elects them again and again after getting carried away in the flow of emotionally-charged election speeches of the puppets? The very Pakistani nation now rallying for an uprising!

Pakistan suffers and continues to do so but largely because of the nation itself (minus the years of the forcibly saddled authoritarian rulers to our backs).

With an attitude of placing petty allegiances to parties over the country, dangerous divisions into sects, ethnic separations, indifference towards the erosion of Pakistan’s heritage, abandonment of culture due to sweeping shame felt in owning it and a despicable and damaging ‘conspiracy mindset’ that is developing which ascribes anything that happens in the land of 796,095 kmof area as a work of ‘vile foreign forces’ – to rife dishonesty from the farmer to the Parliament and a frazzled moral and social fabric – Pakistan in no way can afford or requires a revolution with these  inadequacies.

The entire world has witnessed the surreal, perfect religious harmony amongst the Egyptian Muslims and Coptics during the January 25 revolt. While Muslims prayed, Christians formed a human ring around them for protection.

When the Muslim Brotherhood members raised Pro-Muslim slogans at Tahrir Square which implied that Egypt was for Muslims only, they were stopped by Egyptian Muslims who declared Muslim and Christians are all Egyptians and a new shout:

“Egyptian people here we stand,

Muslim Christian hand in hand!”

During the prayers at the Square, priests and imams prayed for Egypt together. When the Imam was leading the prayers, Christians’ repeated after him in louder voices so that all Muslims could hear.

Even gender boundaries transcended as women and men prayed together.

Can this ever be the case in Pakistan where there is a stark wave of subliminal intolerance being infused into even the minds of the educated? Had it been that Muslims and Christians had stood together to pray, the Mullahs would’ve raised the cry of blasphemy and a deluge of fatwas would’ve swept the country. Had they seen women praying with men, threats would’ve tumbled down upon all those who participated in it.

Egyptians showed their awe-inspiring sense of nationhood by forming committees to clear the areas where they protested every morning after millions had gathered there the night before.

Groups were organized to guard the museums and properties and possessions of people, while all those who were skilled in their professions came running to provide help and assistance to their fellow countrymen – such as the doctors who aided the injured freely.
Does Pakistan need a revolution to adopt this spirit?

Did not this nation pull down Musharraf?

We’re not worthy of a change with our stagnant ways which smell of stench.
And thats where and what we have to change.

With the nation sunk in disagreements and tiffs,  wide possibilities of religious exploitation leading to extremism, some insisting the system of democracy should continue and the others pressing on Khilafat to be installed, even if a revolution takes place – anarchy, looting, killing would envelop the country and all hell would break loose with the advent of a civil war.

Pakistan would fall apart if a revolution takes place.

The solution is to let the democratic system go on, no matter how defected it seems to be currently. It will naturally strengthen the vital organs of the state (Judiciary, Media etcetra) to an extent that they start ironing out the loopholes in the institution of democracy itself in Pakistan, clearing the path for it to operate as it should.

 The failure of individuals in the system to deliver should not make one ascribe those to the system.

Too many times in Pakistan’s history have democratic governments been overthrown and at the end, such a mess had been carefully crafted that it proved to be the perfect excuse for the boots to come marching in.

Systems can not be overhauled for individuals. Democracy is a culture along with being a system, that needs to be cultivated. It requires time which this nation, that has resisted years of several dictatorships, refuses to give.

To see how democracy functions if facilitated with patience and continuity, one must not look any farther than India.

The nation must also aim for unity, an evolution, an intellectual revolution and aspire to establish the values Jinnah and Iqbal had wanted for their Pakistan.

 

Pakistanis must change their attitudes and themselves along with rationally analysing the situations to bring about a difference in their country, for virals can never be the remedy for any ill, in this case, the ills of Pakistan.

– Hafsa Khawaja

Uncoverings Of The Flood : Balochistan Govt’s Inaction : Are We Nurturing The Deprivation In Balochis?


As posted on LUBP :

“Balochistan has a history of bearing the brunt of feudalism, the chameleionic political scenario and  the extreme natural calamities of flooding and drought, both which blow the remaing normalcy of life there into smithereens.
Latterly, Southern Pakistan has been hit by a wave of torrential rains that have affected the lives of about 50,000 in parts of the province and yet dismayingly the response of the Provincial Government has been nothing more than apathetic :

Tens of thousands of people have been left marooned, countless killed and numerous missing and others rendered homeless as almost six districts of Eastern Balochistan have been struck by wild onrush rains and most villages, towns and districts have either submerged into the flood water or been completely bashed out by them but the people in these zones are yet to be approached by rescue teams or vacated to safer places.

 

Hundreds of people are either stranded, trapped or living under open skies with no access to relief or even the basic necessities of food that they need for survival. These local people have contested the claims of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) of dispatching relief or food supplies to them, refuting them while waiting for the Federal Government to announce any substantial financial assistance for them, those who lost their lives or those who lost their entire belongings, food stock, household goods and valuables in flash floods.

Most of the province has been cut-off from the rest of the country as a result of the explicit damage and destruction of its communication system and the vehicular transport system which links it with the cities around and other human settlements has been suspended or immobilized.

There is also a marked threat of outbreak of epidemics in the flood affected regions as there is a lack of food, clean water and medication leave alone substantial medicine and medical staff which are even unapproachable for easily-treatable cases of snake-bites that have been reported from villages but could not be treated as the rescue teams have not arrived or are short of medical articles such as snake-bite serum.

 

The Wazirabad village of Bakhtiarabad in Lehri Tehsil is the worst-affected area and such is the situation there that dead bodies are decaying for nothing is available for neither the funeral nor the people to bury them.

 
 
Over 57,000 people have been affected in Sibi, Lehri, Barkhan.The floods have damaged 90% of the houses, over 50% livestock and agriculture.
And according to the district agriculture and revenue departments these floods have broken the past records of 1978.

 

“In Tambo Tehsil of Nasirabad, more than 30,000 people have been made homeless while crops have been completely washed-out in the canal-irrigated area.

Around 0.2 million people had been affected by floods in six districts of Balochistan where rescue and relief work had been slow and inadequate. Roads, power transmission lines and railway tracks have been destroyed in the district.

Despite the massive destruction, relief work had not started in Tambo tehsil.”

This cataclysm was and is a testing time for both the Balochistan Government and other governmental organs which constitute the body of the provincial government and it is discernible now that there has been a miscarriage from the provincial government’s side in fulfilling their responsibilities.

The Balochistan Health Directorate has failed to discharge medicines to the flood-hit areas and even the districts where emergency has been declared, which has led to some deaths.

The Provincial Government’s response to this cataclysmic inundation has been slow, impassive and lackadaisical.

July to September, are the defined monsoon months of Pakistan and Balochistan has a history of ruinous floods which occurred numerous times including in 70’s, 80’s and the 90’s. One of the main tasks of the management, administration and government are to plan, co-ordinate, manage and ensure the implementation of their decisions.

When it is a well-known fact that the province is at a constant threat of floods in the Monsoon season, why did not the provincial government pre-plan a strategy before the rains to prevent the huge damage that has been inflicted now?

  

The Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) had already been predicting strong rainstorms around Pakistan before the floods and still is issuing statements that show the rains are expected to continue along the border areas of western Pakistan.

Now that the officials of the provincial government are reiterating about their involvement in the efforts to help the people but state that the deluge is hindering their completion, why hadn’t they formulated a programme for the prevention of flood damage before-hand?

 

The transport authorities should have prepared alternative routes for the people and the rescue teams to use in case of the areas which were bound to be affected and the transport system there to be washed away too.

Three years before, another flood had occurred, during the reign of President Musharraf and  the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) had revealed that of the 80,000 homes destroyed in the disaster, nearly 60,000 were in Balochistan alone, where some 15 districts were badly or severely affected and the loss was estimated at Rs.10 bn.

At that time, the Musharraf Government was censured and denounced for its listless reaction to the disaster and yet today, under a democratically-elected government: the people of Balochistan face the same stagnant situations that they had previously faced.

 

The response to flooding in the region hasn’t kept pace with the severity of the humanitarian emergency.

The Provincial Government should have devised a plan before Monsoon in coordination with the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and The Pakistan Meteorological Department to asses the nature of the rains, the threats they posed to the province and an aerial survey should have been conducted in search of higher areas in Balochistan where camps could have been established and the people could have been moved there with their belongings.

Now that the rains have swept the province, both the Provincial and Federal Government should work-out a project or course of action for the immediate rehabilitation of the people on an emergency basis with huge relief supplies of medicines, goods, blankets, tents, food and other facilities that the Balochis direly need.

Balochistan may make up 48% of the total land of Pakistan but its clustered population has the most surging feeling of deprivation and alienation whose roots aren’t a puzzle to trace considering the policy response to their pleas and predicaments which is nothing more than lip-service or cold and half-hearted efforts such as of today when the region has been shook by a crisis.

We must realize that that the sense of divestiture, virtual separation, disparity and deprivation that the Balochis have today and which many believe are being exploited by foreign elements, has been nurtured by our very own ignorance and misinterpretations of their dilemmas, needs and aspirations.

 

As Benazir Bhutto herself wrote in ‘Daughter of the East’ about East Pakistan:

“From revenues of more than thirty-one billion rupees from East Pakistan’s exports, the minority in West Pakistan had built roads, schools, universities and hospitals for themselves, but had developed little in the East. The army, the largest employer in our poor country, drew 90% of its forces from West Pakistan. 80% of the government jobs were filled by people from the West. No wonder they felt excluded and exploited.”

Although there are differences in Balochistan and East Pakistan, the last line of her writing fits perfectly into the picture of Balochistan today.

 

About 46% of the gas in our country is obtained from Sui in Balochistan. Majority of Pakistanis talk about developing the resources in Balochistan (Thar, Reko Diq etc) and letting the country benefit from them, but have we wondered or ever thought of developing Balochistan itself and equipping the Balochis educationally, politically and socially?

‘Aghaz-e-Huqooq-e-Balochistan’ is indeed a laudable step by the Government but it needs to be implemented. We need to grant them their basic rights and shun being lax in responding to their calls in times of help.

The population of Balochistan forms only 5% to 7% of Pakistan’s total population and it feasible enough to deliver its people the right to education, shelter and all other basic necessities that they rightfully deserve and the Government needs to prioritize the strive for removing the deep-seated feelings of resentment and making the Balochis realize that they are not children of a lesser God but as much vital for Pakistan’s future and as much part of the flesh and soul of this country as those in Punjab, Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.”

– Hafsa Khawaja

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.]

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“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

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“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

”Let The Change Stem From Within”


“62 years ago,
By Jinnah, this land was on us bestowed,
Unity, Faith and Discipline its foundation,
Walking on thorny roads through the scorching heat of struggle and hardships,
Migrated the Muslims to this land for their future generations with great expectations..

Brimmed their eyes with hopes of parity, justice, tolerance and egalitarianism,
Desired they a land, replete with peace and devoid of religious sectarianism,
But soon, their dreams of prosperity shattered,
And at the hands of dictatorship, their fate battered,
Sybarites ate out of my soil’s flesh,
Every time, they escaped their time to be threshed,
Often unfurled the flags of democracy,
Banished were great leaders and of democracy was made a mockery,
To be the peoples’ saviour, many claimed,
Yet, each forgoed Jinnah’s dream and Iqbal’s vision,
And to the name of Pakistan, they brought shame,
On the fair face of Pakistan,
Thrown were blotches of injustice, corruption and brutality,
Raped was my country’s dignity and sovereignity….

Bleeds now my soil and in the sea of conflicts and problems, it drowns,
Infected is my homeland by terrorism’s cancer,
With a former dictator’s incisions,
My land is scarred and has many divisions…

Yet, not far off my eyes detect hope’s glimmer,.
In my heart, the light of love for my country does not get any dimmer,
Burns my soul with my country’s situation,
With my patriotism’s guidance,
And Mohammad (PBUH) as my source of motivation,
The evils of our society I shall uproot,
For the Pakistan, Jinnah and Iqbal envisioned,
And for the dawn of parity, liberality, altruism and progress,
I will contribute
I vow to serve my beloved land and make a change
By making it stem from within…”

 

Hafsa Khawaja