“With faith, discipline and selfless devotion to duty, there is nothing worthwhile that you cannot achieve”—Muhammad Ali Jinnah
Agreed that Pakistan today is not the country its people would have liked it to be. Agreed that there are many systemic drawbacks, agreed that its economy is definitely not enviable, agreed that there is a law and order situation, agreed that corruption is rampant in all spheres of life, agreed that the general population is unhappy and restless, agreed that health and education are nothing more than businesses, agreed that agriculture is no longer our pride, agreed that the once thriving industries are now facing serious set-backs, agreed that if given an opportunity most Pakistanis would choose migrating to foreign lands, agreed that our polity is dominated by those who would never be able to find even a petty employment post on their own, agreed that we have missed many buses as we enter into our 76th year of existence, agreed that countries who saw independence after us have progressed while we have played havoc with our own rich resources…..agreed that we have together brought our beautiful country to the edge of disaster but how do we steer this ship out of these choppy waters is the question every Pakistani is seeking a workable answer to. Is it possible for us to find the messiah who can resurrect and restore this country to a glory worth its dignity or do we need something else?
A building, no matter how magnificent, can get reduced to rubbles if it is not inhabited by human beings. On the same note if those people or the caretakers are insensitive, callous and irritatingly incompetent, there is a great probability that the building would not be able to retain its grandeur which points to the fact that quality of humans is essential to maintain a certain standard. This is also indicative of another important factor that if a country has to make a positive turn-around, the first thing to focus on is its people for without their help and support there is no way anyone can single-handedly bring about a revolution and the most effective way is to instill discipline. Only a nation that knows how to remain disciplined and steadfast can expect to gain progress and retain its independence. Good leaders like a sensible shepherd will therefore first harness their people’s behaviour even if it entails invoking discipline with an iron hand. Learning to obey and respecting rule of law are traits that enable human beings to accept writ of the state and appreciate freedom in its true sense that also means justice too is indispensable.
Simultaneously, physical health of the people should be at the forefront of priorities which means increasing agricultural production with intensity covering all aspects including grains, fruits, dairy products and livestock. Self-sufficiency in food is significant for promoting health because only a healthy body is capable of housing a healthy mind essential for growth and advancement. Related industries can help in accelerating economic activity that is vital for employment resulting in higher revenues for the government. This requires substantial shake-up in revenue laws making them equitable across the country as well as across all spheres of activity.
Mental faculties get honed with good education that is not limited to just reading and writing but goes beyond these areas towards developing the characteristic of inquiry to encourage investigation important for innovations and inventions. Our downfall is partly due to converting our younger generation into automatons dependent upon foreign technologies and knowledge. Unfortunately, there are a few worthwhile inventions that can be credited to Pakistanis although they are adept in making the most of gadgets introduced by others. Check out usage of top-loading washing machines for extraction of butter in the early 1980s. Using services of the existing selfless and the practical in both education and health, these sectors can be improved tremendously without incurring too much hassle.
The above can be made possible only when merit and competence reign supreme in civil-judicial-military bureaucracy. When the concept ‘right man for the right job’ is fully in play then only can one aspire to promote these ideas, improve infrastructure and go for development keeping in mind at least the next 100 years if not more. The existing regulatory structure has lost its effectiveness becoming just a giant white elephant that is sucking the country dry. A more responsible governance scheme is needed at the grass-root level to ensure progress for every segment of society.
One does not start painting the neighbourers’ walls if one’s own house is in disorder. Despite the necessity of having good international relations with the entire world and maintaining a neutral position with respect to all, the best thing to do is first organize and clear up inner mess. We claim ourselves to be an Islamic country but pay no heed to having cordial relations with bordering countries. We even forgot the words of our founding father, Muhammad Ali Jinnah when he said: “I sincerely hope that they (relations between India and Pakistan) will be friendly and cordial. We have a great deal to do…and think that we can be of use to each other and to the world.”
There is no point in claiming independence if one is unable to take up a stand for or against others and if one is to align with a particular block in defiance to another then it only shows interdependence. Foreign relations are highly sensitive and must be handled extremely wisely and prudently.
It is important to remember that when cancer attacks bodies, three important treatments are meted out. Surgery, chemotherapy and radiation—all these methods are invasive and meant to cut and flush out the toxins from the body. Similarly when cancerous people or situations attack and paralyze the country then some stringent measures are required to be taken on a war footing to avert further damage. Of course, no existing political personalities would be willing to incur the wrath of their electorate if they seriously and honestly go about bringing a much-needed transformation for in doing so they are bound to step upon the toes of their patrons and may even lose their support. Only one with nothing at stake can be prompted to take actions without any hesitation provided one does so with absolute sincerity and loyalty to this country. .
“You will have to make up for the smallness of your size by your courage and selfless devotion to duty, for it is not life that matters, but the courage, fortitude and determination you bring to it.”—Muhammad Ali Jinnah
The writer, lawyer and author, is an Adjunct Faculty at Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), member Advisory Board and Senior Visiting Fellow of Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE)