The Quaid's Mazar and military
Pakistani Dream and Role of the Military
August 17: "We have an image problem". This has been
repeatedly said by both General Pervez Musharraf and Prime Minister
Shaukat Aziz suggesting that everything is OK except that we are
just lacking in our public relations effort.
cursory review of only previous month’s news headlines presents
a totally different picture. Some of these headlines: "Pakistan
implicated in London bombings", "Worst train crash in
Ghotki kills over 200", "Breakdown of submarine cable
disrupts country's internet and telecommunication link with outside
world", "India moves with Baglihar dam threatening water
supply to Pakistan", "Hundreds die in the four provinces
due to outbreak of gastroenteritis", "Blasts in Quetta,
killings of ulema in Karachi, violence in Gilgit with shoot at
sight orders", "Army under attack in tribal areas with
joint FBI and army operations in progress", "Joint tribal
jirga of elders and ulema boycotting army uplift schemes",
"NWFP Assembly passes Hisba bill and the Federation files
an appeal in Supreme Court", "GHQ and Fauji Foundation
refuse to appear before Senate standing committee", "Nationwide
crackdown on madrassas starts with over 300 arrests", "Opposition
parties express no-confidence in fair and free conduct of local
bodies elections", "India and US sign a nuclear cooperation
pact and Pakistani PM's US visit is postponed", "Indian
PM targets Pakistan's nuclear program and infiltration in Kashmir",
"Pakistani PM dashes to Kabul to pacify angry Karzai",
" Musharraf government downplaying its failure over Siachen",
"Mukhtaran Mai and some government Ministers placed on ECL",
"Mr. Nawaz Sharif denied Pakistani passport."
These headlines are symptoms of a much deeper and growing crisis
of meaning and governance in Pakistani society on account of our
unstable political history. Long military tenures built and glorified
an individual at the cost of building institutions and rule of
law causing irreparable damage to our political and social structures.
democratic set ups during brief tenures were mostly left to fight
survival battles. Resultantly these more serious and long term
issues of the state and society have grown in complexity over
time thereby taking form of a national malaise, which creates
tension along five fault lines in our society.
first is about our national identity and meaning between Islamic
and secular interpretations of Pakistan; the second relates to
the model of governance and institutions for our state between
forces of democracy and military; the third is between the ordinary
people demanding rights and services and the ruling elite protecting
privileges and patronage; the fourth is about distribution of
resources and autonomy between federation and provinces; and the
fifth pertains to globalization thus bringing global imperatives
and forces in conflict with national interests, culture, and sovereignty.
future depends on our response to resolve these contradictions.
Otherwise the Pakistani society will continue its flip flop as
it is said in a Chinese saying that when fish is out of water
it continuously flips and flops sensing that its present position
is unbearable without knowing where next flip will take it.
The first tension relates to meaning and spirit of Pakistani society.
Pakistan was created out of a political struggle waged by Muslims
of South Asia, inspired by the thoughts of Iqbal and the vision
of Jinnah that Muslims were a separate nation rather a minority
which will not be safe within a united India.
Jinnah's fears of a Hindu dominated state were confirmed by the
actions of many of the Congress provincial governments of 1937-39
contributing to formal demand for independence by Muslim League
at Lahore in 1940. Despite the fact that Jinnah was spokesman
for Muslims in South Asia, his vision articulated an inclusive
and a positive conception of the meaning of an Islamic state,
which didn't preclude minority representation.
is interesting to note that at that time there were more credible
religious leaders present to claim representation of Muslims in
South Asia. Yet, Jinnah succeeded in winning vote of confidence
from the Muslims due to the broad appeal of his message. It would
not be fair to say that Jinnah espoused a pure secular Pakistan
because in that case there can't be a compelling justification
for Muslims to reject the competing secular message of the Congress
Jinnah, nobody can expect that he used the banner of Islam just
to get the votes from Muslims and after securing independence
he turned secular. Therefore, if one looks at his speeches in
the context of his vision one finds that there isn't any contradiction.
Jinnah's vision for Pakistan certainly carried Islamic underpinning
but was different from the traditional religious leaders in its
inclusiveness, meaning and appeal.
offered a package in shape of Pakistan which while providing freedom
to live according to Islam offered self governance, justice, dignity,
security, and opportunities of economic emancipation to all citizens
without any prejudice of religion. He modeled his vision on Charter
of Medina, signed by Prophet Mohammad (PBUH), in which there is
no distinction between Muslims and non-Muslims as citizens of
state so that all are equal in the eyes of state and can identify
with the state. He was able to appeal to secular and religious,
traditional and modern, and old and youth alike.
we inherited a civil and military bureaucracy strongly embedded
in western secular tradition on account of its British training,
which continued to serve the Royal Crown very loyally till midnight
of 13th August, 1947. With the creation of Pakistan, its loyalties
were transferred to Pakistan however its attitude towards public
still remained rooted in the British colonial tradition. A proof
of which is General Gracey's disobedience of Quaid-i-Azam and
Sardar Abdur Rab Nishtar's letter to Quaid-i-Azam about conduct
of Brigadier Ayub Khan, who was deployed to work with him on rehabilitation
of refugees, but was found to be more interested in mess and other
his good luck, Quaid-i-Azam died shortly after writing adverse
comments, approving his transfer to East Pakistan, and disallowing
him to wear ranks as punishment. Soon after Quaid-i-Azam death
and Liaquat Ali's assassination, this civil-military bureaucracy
hijacked the state and started molding it in its own western secular
outlook different from the vision shared by the nation. This created
a tension as pointed out by Prof Steve Cohen in the newly established
nation and the state took opposite directions. The nation subscribed
to Jinnah's interpretation of Pakistan movement and while the
state controlled by secular civil-military elite, which co-opted
British patronized feudal class, espoused a European secular tradition.
This disconnect between the nation and state, relegated the role
of Islam to hands of the religious parties, who changed Jinnah's
vision of a modern inclusive Muslim state into a theocratic and
second tension is a by-product of this dysfunctional arrangement.
Military assumed a dominant role in the affairs of the state after
Ayub Khan was able to offer his services to US for acting as a
foot soldier in fight against communism. That was the time when
it was more fashionable than today to bolster a dictator if he
was your own. Resultantly, democratic forces were crushed and
weakened in the country. Military destroyed judiciary through
manipulation and coercion to get decisions for providing legal
cover for its unconstitutional acts, corrupted political culture
by engaging in horse trading to create a political base, and devastated
civil services and institutions by inducting military personnel.
because Pakistan being a product of a democratic process inherited
strong democratic traditions, no military dictator succeeded in
becoming Saddam, Qaddafi or Castro. Each dictator was challenged
by democratic forces and had to bend by restoring some form of
democracy. Unfortunately, military dictators repeatedly mutilated
Jinnah's vision of constitutionalism and democracy as a result
our democratic, judicial and public institutions could neither
grow nor develop. Unless constitutional supremacy is restored
as envisioned by Jinnah, Pakistan will continue to flip and flop.
third tension draws from the civil-military bureaucracy-feudal
alliance, which has evolved over 32 years of military rule in
the country. Initially, Pakistan missed the opportunity of eliminating
feudalism as it faced immediate problem of resources and rehabilitation
of millions of refugees after independence. The other option to
get rid of feudal system was through continuity of democratic
system, which could have eventually led to emergence of a new
middle class leadership.
every Martial Law disempowered the new emerging breed of poor
and middle class based political workers and leaders by removing
their democratic ladder. On the other hand, feudal class remained
untouched because they didn't derive their strength from the democratic
process. Feudal power base, lands and holdings no Martial Law
ever touched. In fact, it always co-opted them because they are
pliable to control and suppress the people.
civil-military bureaucracy and feudals, has prospered and thrived
at the cost of the people, who are marginalized from any benefits
of growth. This elitist model of governance has turned the vision
of Jinnah sour for millions of Pakistanis still living under poverty
line, drinking contaminated water, getting sub standard education
and living without justice, quality education, healthcare and
fourth tension destabilizing Pakistan is due to the misunderstandings
arising among federating units. Military is a security apparatus,
which doesn't reflect regional shares in command structure. But
when it becomes the dominant political apparatus of the state,
regions under-represented in its higher echelons develop a sense
of deprivation. This caused East Pakistanis to part ways with
us and is now sowing the seeds of discontent in Sindh and Balochistan.
1973 constitution was agreed between all political forces, national
and regional. Its repeated sabotage is fueling regional and ethnic
forces in the country. Under military governments distribution
of resources award between provinces always becomes a discord
and provinces become apprehensive of a strong central government.
This conflict can only be resolved in a democratic system through
dialogue and understanding.
fifth tension is due to a universal phenomenon of information
revolution and globalization. New global governance structures
are emerging such as WTO, national boundaries are getting blurred
due to new communication technologies and cheaper logistics, trade
barriers are falling and global threats such as terrorism, HIV,
and environment are emerging.
role of nation states is undergoing a transformation as new global
arrangements are negotiated by the international community. Such
choices and decisions can be made prudently and implemented successfully
only if people are involved in the governance. Therefore, we find
an upsurge of democracy globally barring Pakistan. A General makes
all the vital decisions leaving people guessing about merits of
those decisions. Resultantly, national self esteem is low, apathy
is growing and international players like to play tough with one
person rather negotiate with representative leadership. Who wins?
is quite obviously a lot more than an image problem rather an
imagination problem. We must tackle these issues before they become
too complex to handle. Despite these challenges and tensions there
is hope. We still have a two party structure intact, global information
revolution has given immense power to our media, our civil service
despite its drawbacks is still one of the best in developing countries,
our judiciary is weak but legal community has grown in power,
our basic economic endowments are strong, and our youth is promising.
need to go back to the original vision of Jinnah and rediscover
“The Pakistani Dream”, which inspired our founding
fathers to secure Pakistan. Without clear vision nations and individuals
drift. A powerful vision fueled with strong passion and effort
can do wonders.
today’s context, Jinnah's Pakistani dream demands from us
firstly, defending our national ideology, freedom, and self respect;
secondly, upholding principles of democracy based on merit, accountability,
human rights, and respect for all citizens; thirdly, establishing
supremacy of the Constitution and Rule of Law and delivering justice
and good governance to all through independent judiciary and effective
public institutions; fourthly, creating equal economic opportunities
of prosperity and well being for all through promotion of human
development driven by enterprise, excellence, collaboration, innovation,
and ethics; fifthly, building a happy and harmonious society for
all, which is confident, free from all prejudices, provides security,
and fosters understanding, care, trust, accountability and social
justice, based upon the principles of Islam.
future depends on one question, can our military leadership learn
from history to prove its critics wrong by submitting itself to
Jinnah's vision and help the people of Pakistan realize “The
Pakistani dream” through a genuine democratic process?
writer is a former Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission of Pakistan
under the Nawaz Sharif Government. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org