In the Middle of Difficulty Lies Opportunity. Pakistan, ‘Please Rise’

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rise PakistanWe are in the middle of difficulties. These difficulties are of a gargantuan nature. Never has Pakistan experienced so acutely, a vacuum of leadership with an all encompassing lack of credibility and trust deficit. Never have the masses had such complete lack of faith in its leaders because of their scant respect for values. What was wrong yesterday has become correct today and worse, that which, until now was wrong is defended by those, who are expected to set examples for the future.
This is not just about Terrorism and religious intolerance. It is about the hypocrisy of the leaders, the peak of which seems nowhere in sight. It is about the lack of political will to do the ‘One Right Thing’. What is lacking is the will to do what is accepted to be the norm in civilized countries; democracies or dictatorships alike.
All of this is, unfortunately happening at the same time. What we are facing now is unprecedented. ‘Are we a failed state? Is, on the mind of every ordinary person.
Some one said, ‘In the Middle of difficulty lies opportunity’. Can this be true? Can it be made possible? Can Pakistan rebound from the depth of the moral and institutional decay? These are questions which should be on the mind of every thinking person and the leadership in particular. Are they?
But what is on the mind of the leadership 24 seven? Power distribution and power sharing. What do the discussions revolve around? Pick up any newspaper or tune in to any channel and the answer is self evident.
Is there any effort to lift the nation out of its economic and social depression? Is there any effort to motivate a budding young generation towards constructive nation building? Is there any effort to enforce the rule of law? Are there any efforts to provide social and legal justice except to a few elite?
Why has our nation not come out of this circular game of musical chairs in which one power holder bequeaths to another; not institutions or moral foundations of a healthy society but downward spiraling decadence?
It is important to understand Pakistan’s current dilemma? This is a dilemma of deep contradictions. Does democracy come first or does governance come first? Some of these contradictions relate to values being sacrificed so as to save a democracy which has never existed. This democracy will never come into existence until we raise the bar of our moral standards and learn to do, the ‘One Right Thing’.
While expounding and propagating the slogan ‘Save democracy’ we have compromised values and imperceptibly, but surely, set standards, the bar of which has gone down. It has dropped to the level of those who are at the lowest rung of ethical and moral standards. What is sad , this is being accepted by our civil society.
It should never be so, if we aim to come out of this morass. The civil society and the nation must rise and say ‘NO’. A Big NO’ to everything which violates the fundamentals of what our religion lays down for high moral standards. We should do the right thing in circumstances favorable or not so congenial. Expediency has to be subordinated for upholding higher values even if it is at the cost of party or individual interest.
What is happening is quite the contrary. The leaders ‘Claim endlessly that the worst democracy is better than the best dictatorship’. Unfortunately, the price being paid to uphold this slogan and the sacrifices that they have to make to prove this acceptable to the people, seems to be of no concern to them. One compromise after the other is the norm of the day. This is a cloak which has been worn for years; to cover and protect corrupt governance.
The truth is that there can be no democracy unless there is good governance. Bad governance implies; back to any other form of Government which provides good governance. Rule of law and governance must address the needs of the people not just a few..
No nation or individual can develop unless there is a self analysis and a corrective mechanism to set things right. Where does our nation stand today? Our nation did not raise a voice when it elected a President via the NRO route? It claimed democracy was strengthened.
1. Is it now, not a pity, that ‘Two years down the road it looks back and realizes NRO sets the moral clock back. Let us move the clock fast forward and get rid of the NRO’. Why was it not thought of in the first place asks a bewildered nation.
2. Is it not a Pity for our nation that its leaders negotiate a NRO in which corruption of the elite is condoned?
3. Is it not a pity for our nation that its leaders accept the NRO, so as to be pardoned under the NRO, knowing fully well, it would be honorable to be acquitted by the Courts. Notwithstanding the fact that the NRO, is rejected in totality by the Nation, they boast, they have accepted the NRO for democracy.
4. Is it not a pity that the Government stoutly defends Kerry Lugar Bill in which there are highly objectionable clauses. Coincidentally the same clauses are identical to a page in the book written by the nation’s Ambassador himself a beneficiary. Although this bill humiliates the people, the Government says ‘democracy will be strengthened’.
5. Is it not a Pity for the nation that the judiciary allows a General to make amendments to the Constitution and stay on as President in uniform?
6. Is it not a pity that they take oath on the PCO. When a reference is sent against ‘One’; the judiciary suddenly realizes there is no justice in the country, forgets about the reference and turns its back on the same President. Promises are made on oath about quick justice to the litigants ‘many of whom have died waiting’ for these “Golden Words’.
7. Pity the nation in which the ‘Big PCO kings’ issue contempt notices to ‘Small PCO princes’ who took oath on another PCO. It is now ‘PCO 1 versus PCO 2’.The battle of the powerful versus the powerless rages while the country fights a war on terror.
8. Is it not a pity that the nation fights a war on terror and extremism but many of its Madrassahs, spit hatred against other sects. The religious parties and the Government looks the other way.
9. Is it not a pity for our nation that its billionaire former PM’s/Presidents declare that they have taken loans from their family members to make a living. The people who have visited the palaces of these poor billionaires, are aghast.
10. Is it not a pity that the media asks Hillary Clinton to tell them if their ISI chief should be a civilian or from the Army. This media then seeks people’s votes on the ISI chief selection, through SMS.
11. Is it not a pity for our nation that the leaders who are now pursuing a war in Swat and Waziristan, were calling the same war a U Turn, when they were in opposition. They trumpeted fighting the extremists and Murderous Taliban, a U Turn but now they clarify, this is ‘To save Democracy and their way of life’.
Is it not a pity for our nation that the media which demands action against terrorists and Lal Masjid operatives declares them innocent after the action and condemn the action.
12.Some so called popular leaders and the media idolize the extremists for a very long time. The leaders/courts release the arrested ring leaders from jail. They take a U turn when their own lives and property are attacked and Sufi Mohd, their erstwhile hero, attacks the Constitution, civil liberties and democracy. He is arrested and promptly released.
13. Is it not a pity that the leaders are unable to make basic commodities and utilities available but refrain from changing the lifestyles and do not visibly make any cuts in expenditures.
14. Is it not a pity those accused by Air Marshal Asghar Khan, in a corruption scandal case popularly known as the IJI scandal are not tried and the case remains pending and buried. He runs from pillar to post to get the case heard in the Supreme Court but to no avail.”
15. Is it not a pity that the nation re-elects the ruling elite which created the conditions, exploited by  and other hostile forces, to create Bangladesh.
16. Is it not a pity that the nation does not stand up’ even when, ‘ Ninety-eight per cent of the population is in a state of despair, frustration and has lost hope. The wealthy 2 per cent, armed with foreign passports and visas with huge wealth stashed abroad, are ready to leave the country any time’.
17. And as says ,Khalil Gibran
18.“Pity the nation that welcomes its new ruler with trumpeting, and farewells him with hooting, only to welcome another with trumpeting again
19.Pity the nation whose sages are dumb with years and whose strong men are yet in the cradle.
Pity the nation divided into fragments, each fragment deeming itself a nation.
By Shams Abbas
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