Yesterday, one of my grandchildren, who is intellectually much older than his twelve years, popped a question that momentarily left me flatfooted. “Aboo”, he said “Did we get independence so that we could be ruled by thieves and traitors?” It took me a few seconds to muster my response and then it occurred to me that maybe there were more teenagers and young men (many of them future leaders), who may be taken up with a similar query, but hesitant to voice it for one reason or another. I therefore decided to address this week’s piece to all those troubled by the notion, in the hope that it may strike a chord in them as a prelude to a symphony designed to sweep aside the evil that surrounds us.
Our independence was secured by a few good men, who led a movement fueled by a mass of people, who believed in their leaders’ integrity and patriotism. We were unfortunate or perhaps tested by providence that this band of unique individuals spearheaded by Muhammad Ali Jinnah passed away early. Their successors, were politicians with no love for their motherland and only one motive - power and absolute power. Little did these wretches realize that with power comes corruption and with absolute power this cancer becomes absolute. We therefore found ourselves in a land that was not the Pakistan created by our founding fathers. This was a land where traitors were celebrated as heroes, where corruption and greed riddled our social structure from the top most public office to the lowest individual in the street. To make matters worse, the nation displayed the dark side of its character by reelecting these thieves and traitors as lawmakers and rulers. In doing so, they grossly insulted the sacrifices of men, women and children, who fell on the fateful journey to freedom and the young girls, who preferred to leap into wells, rather than face dishonor at the hands of marauding Hindus and Sikhs, during the transmigration of 1947. They callously compromised the thousands of lives laid down by our valiant soldiers in defending this land against those that sought to destroy it.
It was during the Q&A session of a motivational lecture that I delivered to a post graduate class in Islamabad that a young woman stood up and delivered a ‘yorker’ that almost sent me back to the pavilion. Her question was so vitriolic so as to be almost unprintable, but simply put (and diluted) it queried the accountability of the political parties that successively ruled the land in the most ethically and politically immoral manner, but none of which were ‘strung up’ for their misdeeds. I began my response by first saying that hopefully the word ‘strung’ had been used in the metaphorical sense, for having deeply studied the causes, dynamics and effects of the French Revolution I knew that the said word symbolized a much sinister scenario generated by a deep simmering anger amongst a large segment of people against those that ruled them detached from reality.
My concern also stemmed from the fact that regular interaction with all segments of Pakistani society had indicated deep polarization, laced with anger and frustration. An indicator that warned of the first tremor before the big quake. Mercifully enough, we are not the French and we still have some good honest politicians amongst us, who are willing to play their role in bringing sanity to the madness that prevails today. This insanity is manifested in the body language of the Sharif Family and made worse by the hawks that render advice to the disqualified Prime Minister and his daughter, both of who appear to live in a delusionary state of mind. By adopting the route to conflict with revered national institutions, they are acting like lemmings heading towards the cliff edge and into political oblivion. It would perhaps be wise for them and all corrupt politicians, to realize that a confrontation will expedite their ‘stringing up’ (in the metaphorical sense) for they will be held accountable sooner than later – as this is the law of nature - divine justice known to all and sundry as ‘mukafat e amal’.
The writer is a freelance columnist.