by Dr Tariq Khan:
Sounds familiar? To me, very much so. I have heard nothing else but, as I grew up from a beardless boy in the 50’s and 60’s, to the present. This is what each set of corrupt and incompetent “rulers” , whether Military or Civilian, have been telling us by way of a soother, while they picked our pockets with increasing brazenness. And not too much finesse.
We seem to have got stuck on this Nazuk Morh, while others have surged on. Our arch enemy India is now way up there rubbing shoulders with the elite nations of this planet. But even Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh et al have all long overtaken us, while we are languishing on the Nazuk Morh with our 1950’s mindset and narrow Military paradigm. There is no point in mentioning the other regional players like China, South Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia. We all know where they stand today.
Why is Pakistan such a loser? Lets apply a reductivist method and see if we can nail some of the causes. The No.1 cause has to be Leadership. Or to put it more accurately, a severe dirth thereof. No prizes for saying that we have been cursed with corrupt, vile, incompetent, malafide and inefficient leaders after the death of the Quaid. This leadership issue is getting acute as time passes. The intellectual pygmies that posture as our leaders do not have it in them to extricate Pakistan from the quagmire that they themselves landed it in. Only fools will expect them to produce anything different out of the hat, as most of the anchors and euphemistically called Talk Show hosts on Pak TV channels would have us believe, screaming and out of breath.
Each successive Government, starting right after the death of Mohammed Ali Jinnah, have set up their own grand experiment, poorly thought out and destined to fail, which subsequently collapsed under its own weight. Objectives Resolution, Basic Democracy, Islamization (Wahabi style), Talibanization, Enlightened Moderation, Pakistan First; we’ve had it all. Wrecks of these failed experiments litter the sad political landscape, as more of the same is being concocted without a second glance at this wreckage and the devastation it has caused to the social fabric.
Huge organizations like Intel, Microsoft, McDonalds (to name just a few of the thousands) with hundreds of thousands of employees are being run as highly successful enterprises. Indeed these can be considered as mini countries (with a little stretch of the imagination). While we have run our highly successful enterprises like PIA, Pak Railways, Pak Steel into the ground. And with it our Nation.
What’s the secret? There is non. Good Mangers produce Good results; excellent Managers produce excellent results. The country itself maybe considered as an Industrial/Business empire in the present day competitive world. We need Good Management. I don’t see that in any of the faces being paraded on the Pak TV Talk shows. Their intellectual bankruptcy is tragic.
2) A population Bomb has exploded right in our faces! Can anyone see it? I doubt it very much. I have put this at no.2, but it needs to go right up there with the crisis of leadership that Pakistan faces. In typical Pakistani fashion, when a problem is too big for us to understand we turn our backs on it. Only, this one is going to bite us hard on our backsides. You just have to see the kids in our big cities crawling into garbage bins and dumps of refuse foraging for food and clothing. Poor, poorly clothed, malnourished, this is the common man or woman; the average Pakistani. They are destined to stay illiterate; turn to drugs and crime, and they form the masses that need resources like food water and shelter, and healthcare
3) A dismal Economy! As President Clinton would say, “It’s the economy, stupid!” Is it so hard to understand that only an economically viable nation can stand tall and proud amongst the comity of Nations of the present day world. Not a nation that is posturing around as a Nation of warriors. Who gets impressed with that anymore? The world has had enough of war. People want peace. Pakistan seems to be at war with most of its neighbours, and with itself. We seem to think the whole world is scheming against us, when more than likely it is the other way around as the world looks on at a Pakistan that seems to be imploding. We come up with fantastical conspiracy theories against us, and then Islam of which we are great champions; unlike Saudi Arabia or the other Gulf Arab countries.
We really do need to take a long hard look in the mirror. We will see a malnourished, confused, scruffy, rougish little thug staring back at us. That’s the average Pakistani. I am not saying this just to run anyone down, but we really need to do something about this. We need to set the economy right, and as a first step, let us stop all those wars, please! Peace and prosperity go together. We need GOOD GOVERNANCE and THE RULE OF LAW as first requisites for achieving this.
4) Education: Recently, an Indian Chief Justice while addressing a gathering in a Hotel in India said that he thought 90% of Indians were idiots! A strong statement, but probably close to the truth, and applicable to both India and Pakistan! Because of wrong priorities, the educational system in Pakistan has been ignored completely. This is going to cause great problems. Nuclear Weapons that depend on foreign technology for maintenance and delivery systems are not our assets, but severe liabilities. So are the foreign and local militants that we maintain in the tribal belts of KPK. Our true assets are a well educated populace in whom have been inculcated in addition good values like human decency and caring for each other, particularly in times of need. We all need to learn that we are human beings first. Religion and political beliefs are personal matters, that should be practiced with due regard to others value systems. We have to learn to show tolerance, otherwise we are in danger of imposing a sort of self quarantine on ourselves, as we look with hostility upon the rest of the world, and the world shuns us in horror as we go about murdering people administering Polio drops, Shias, Christians, Ahmedis, and threaten to blow up countries that are unlike us.
5) Here is a final point that I want to make. There is a collective Intellectual failure! I have been watching the Talk Shows, and in particular the frenzy that has been caused by the arrival of Dr. Tahir ul Qadri on the scene. The level of discourse is of the level of a school playground. That is the most disappointing thing.
So, if we do not have the education and the intellectual capacity to put our house in order, what is to be done? The British Imperial masters left a top class infrastructure, from railways, roads, canals, bridges, to a civil service judiciary and Military, that has taken us 60 years to finally destroy completely.
Let us take the example of the Gulf Arab countries. They gave top slots to Western Managers; did not interfere with them, and the result we can see in places like Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Qatar etc. This was not just the Money but Good planning and its implementation. That is one way to go about it. There is no shame in admitting that we cannot do it ourselves. The shame will be if the country continues to disintegrate right before our eyes, and breaks up again like it did once and Bangladesh was formed.
That will bring untold hardship to a lot of good people, who will have nowhere to go!