June 20, 2011

PAKISTAN: Forgotten Lessons

KARACHI, Pakistan / The News International / June 20, 2011

Forgotten lessons

By Zafar Alam Sarwar

There are octogenarians in the twin cities and Lahore, and even in Peshawar, who despite their old age have memory as fresh as early morning dew.

Portrait of Elderly Man from Rawalpindi
Copyright © Olivier Galibert, France 

They remember how Pakistan came into being, how the father of the nation battled with death until September 11, 1948, and how one of his close lieutenants was shot dead at Company Bagh in Rawalpindi on October 16, 1951, when he, as prime minister, was to make a pro-people announcement. That’s how the newborn state was orphaned when it was still in its infancy.

Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah talks to students. (Photo courtesy: pakistaniat.com)
Read Jinnah's Vision For Pakistan

They tell city youths that Pakistan was destined to be a welfare state as role model for the rest of the world. And that was not a difficult task. What was required of us was to work, work and work.

According to the founder of the state, Pakistan was the embodiment of unity of the Muslim nation and that unity we, as true Muslims, were duty-bound to guard and preserve zealously. “If we begin to think of ourselves as Bengalis, Punjabis, Sindhis, Balochs and Pathans etc. first, and Muslims and Pakistanis only incidentally, then Pakistan is bound to disintegrate,” were the words of the Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah. But, by our actions, we reversed the meaning of what he said more than once.

Now around 40% of the population is reportedly living below the poverty line.

There were persons who wanted to serve the cause of the suffering masses and build up Pakistan as a great nation with the ideal of peace within and peace without, socio-economic progress, and justice to all without any discrimination and prejudice. But all such men and women, even journalists, were jailed, flogged and persecuted. Many were exiled. Their only ‘crime’ in the sight of the rulers was opposition to subservience to imperialism and imposition of martial law at the instance of an imperialist country. Hasn’t politico-economic slavery to an imperialist head of so-called global village reduced our motherland to penury? What we ought to do for economic independence?

Nature gave us everything, we still have got unlimited resources, it’s for us to build, and build as quickly and as well as we can for our future generations. That calls for, first of all, character building and developing the spirit of self-reliance. What’s character? It is highest sense of honour and the highest sense of integrity, conviction, incorruptibility, readiness at time to efface oneself for the collective good of the nation. As for self-reliance, we’ve to depend upon none except our own inherent strength. That’s our safeguard and the best safeguard. God helps those who help themselves.

So, never mind, if one says that self-seekers have always treated the country as a ‘ghareeb ki joru sub ki bhabi’ (everybody has right to poor man’s life-partner) who stands helplessly in the comity of nations with tearless eyes. What now remains to be done to the motherland deprived of modesty and chastity? The so-called leaders should better answer this question if they’ve any amount of righteousness left in their heart.

There’s however another question stirring the mass of people: how to restore the purity of thought and deed? Yet another question: how to save Pakistan, or who will save Pakistan?

Interestingly, citizens disappointed by politicians ask senior media men while sipping tea from an ordinary small cup: what we, the exploited people, should do in this hour of distress.

There’s only one graspable answer.

Pakistan was achieved on the basis of Islam which is the most progressive religion of the world. It teaches liberty, equality and fraternity. Its concept of socio-economic justice to all lays the foundation of human brotherhood as enjoined by Almighty God. It encompasses a wide range of responsibilities on its followers for the benefit of mankind, also pursued by socialists and communists in Asia, Africa and Latin America. We mustn’t let anyone orphan our motherland any more.

Zafar Alam Sarwar
E-Mail: zasarwar@hotmail.com

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