By all standards Pakistan – my beloved motherland has had very painful, agonising and bad 2022. In general unfortunate country has been at its crossroads every now and then, however, in particular it has suffered immensely since Sep 11, 2001. In spite of zero role in that cataclysmic global event Pakistan came to suffer, sacrifice and bleed the most. Nature has its own ways. Even in case of environmental change, with below 1% Carbon emissions, Pakistan got greater suffering than it deserved through floods of 2022.
It may be highly painful and debatable point to analyse what brought Pakistan to this stage. Every one will analyse the causes from one’s own perspective. Without getting into controversy, who did what? I believe no one left any stone unturned in our journey to self destruction. We as citizens of this country always remained overawed by our desire to serve our vested interests. We shied away to look beyond our nose and remained focused on self interest, interest of smaller groups while keeping interest of Pakistan at the tail. In this pursuit our leadership also remained exuberant in serving interests of external powers more than interests of the people of Pakistan.
It’s my belief that nature bestows upon us OPPORTUNITIES. It’s in our hands to convert these opportunities into blessings or curses. I shall like to dwell upon three areas which have adversely affected Pakistan as the most. I will call these as THREE CURSES faced by Pakistan. First curse is lack of visionary leadership. I shall not single out any particular group, I will include leadership of all segments of society. Even a teacher including a religious teacher is a leader. Providence didn’t spare Muhammas Ali Jinnah to provide strong foundation to newly created country. He was seen off by a leadership whom he himself called as KHOTAY SIKKAY (fired cartridges). The leadership bestowed upon hapless people of Pakistan, began to ruthlessly grab Pakistan. They did nothing on human resource development and rather kept people of Pakistan farthest from teachings of Quran, Prophet PBUH and those of founding fathers. They began to ruthlessly serve their vested interests which were always facilitated through service of interests of global players. Like any society there are three grooming places for the new generations. School, mosque and home. All three are dysfunctional. School is teaching cheating, mosque is teaching violence and home is indifferent. Whom to blame? THE LEADER (the teacher, religious teacher, political leader, military leader, leader of a family and leaders of all hues)
Second curse is an extremely troublesome neighbourhood. Friends can be chosen but neighbours are given. In the East we have India which is mean to the core. It leaves no opportunity to damage Pakistan. India has been termed by Rajesh Shigri as boorish, condescending and overbearing towards its neighbours. Not only Pakistan but whole of SA is suffering due to intransigence of India. In the West we have Afghanistan. For over 200 years, Afghanistan has remained disturbed and dysfunctional. It has never been able to live in peace within and with out. Two of provinces of Pakistan neighbouring Afghanistan get seriously troubled. Iran a predominately Shia country is arrogant and views Pakistan from the prism of Shia-Sunni discord.
The third curse lies in Strategic Location. There are two dimensions to it. Firstly, Afghanistan and Pakistan have repeatedly come to the centre stage of global geopolitics. Every time they have paid a heavy price. Anglo-Afghan wars, finale of Cold War, GWOT; all played havoc with this region. Afghanistan known to be graveyard of empires has itself become a graveyard in the process. Pakistan has bled profusely in terms of human blood, economy, infrastructure, national character and image of the country. Secondly, this strategic location bestowed upon Pakistan and its national leadership a stature higher than its potential. Pakistan enjoyed transactional relationship with the US which always ended in a divorce. TV Paul has said, while ME suffers from resource curse, Pakistan suffers from strategic curse. ME has abundance of resources and thus lacks motivation to work hard. Whereas Pakistan gets easy money due to its strategic location so lacks motivation to work hard. While ME seems to have overcome its curse, Pakistan still seems to be encumbered by it.
The main question is what to do? People of Pakistan must take their destiny in their own hands. Leadership of Pakistan is overweighted by external opinions more than internal opinions.
There is so much of disorder in Pakistan which warrants a sustained effort of decades to improve. However, for 2023, People of Pakistan and more importantly leaders of Pakistan on the whole can make a resolution. If we all pick one and only one golden principle from each of our founding fathers, we can be a different society. Quaide Azam had said, “our duty to the state comes first; our duty to our province, to our district, to our town, and our village and ourselves comes next”. We need to pick this injunction of Quaide Azam and place Pakistan at top consideration in all of our individual and collective pursuits. From Allama Iqbal we should pick the concept of Uprightness. We shall not be selling our conscience for petty gains. Neither at national level nor at individual level. By just following these two principles we can become a different nation or group of people.
Long live Pakistan. Long live people of Pakistan. Allah may bless us wisdom and courage to serve our beloved country for better future for our coming generations