Having tried everything to find salvation, people are now at their wit's end wondering where the solution to Pakistan's problems lies. The answer actually lies in one word: Truth. Start facing up to the truth, don't be embarrassed about it, genuinely intend to make the best of what you have (which is a lot), learn to distinguish between right and wrong and the road to salvation will appear before you. Having stated the obvious let me say that I am writing this at some risk lest those who wear patriotism on their sleeves misunderstand me. But it's now or never. The time to confront the truth has come. This article comes from one who loves his country more than life itself. Only such a person, submerged so deeply in love, can confront the truth, not to belittle but to use it as a re-starting point. Like a father telling his son about the wrong that he is doing and how to make amends, something only a loving father would do. Others would find it too embarrassing. Nothing could have been better for us than the making of Pakistan. Proof? Despite having run our beloved country into the ground, we are still better off than we would have been had India remained united, even the poor. Because our heads have been in the sand since birth, our anomalies are now threatening to tear the polity apart, as in 1971. Consider. Anomaly: the Lahore Resolution of 1940 did not mention either the name Pakistan or a single state for Muslims. When the Hindu-owned press screamed, "Jinnah demands his Pakistan" did it get the name 'Pakistan Resolution'? Solution: Get over it.Answer: the 1940 Resolution was a stage in the evolution of the Pakistan idea that was still gelling. That's all. Where lies the problem? Anomaly: we wonder why we accepted the 1946 Cabinet Mission Plan that would have kept India united and it was only when Congress rejected it did Pakistan become reality. Answer: So what? Don't blame Mr. Jinnah. He probably thought that this was the last throw of the dice and the best he could get in his dying days. The fact is that Pakistan did become reality. That's all that matters. Get over it and get on with it. Make your country a success. Anomaly: at birth we asked: "Are we a theocratic state or a homeland for India's Muslims?" We answered by letting the mullah force the label 'Islamic Republic' into every constitution. Then everyone forgot about it - Islam's spirit and intent and its egalitarianism and humanity, focusing only on the penal side as a symbolic gesture to our Islamic label instead of the duties of an Islamic state towards its people that must precede it. We deliberately overlooked Mr. Jinnah's August 11, 1947 speech in which lies the answer: homeland for Indian Muslims. In so doing we've made this question a fundamental problem because we still haven't definitively described our ideology in terms that can be implemented, like Haqooq ul Ibad. Anomaly: our independence was incomplete at birth because we would remain a British dominion until we framed a constitution. Till then, we inevitably operated under the 1935 British India Act. So it became imperative to frame a constitution fast. Had Mr. Jinnah authenticated it, it would have been difficult to mutilate. But our Constituent Assembly had been elected in India, now another country, and many of its members had constituencies outside Pakistan. Thus it became incumbent upon them to hold elections first and quickly give the Constituent Assembly proper representation and thus full legitimacy. It was the Constituent Assembly's first and foremost duty to frame a constitution as fast as possible so that it could become a legislature, because you cannot really legislate without a basic law that forms the framework for legislation. But we didn't hold elections, probably because the leaders who had left their constituencies behind in India feared that they might not win in Pakistan. The confusion caused by the influx of refugees was no excuse. India too had a similar influx of refugees, as later did Bangladesh, but they both held elections on priority after independence. It took us nine years to mutilate the 1935 India Act and glorify it with the name 'constitution'. Anomaly: not being an intrinsically democratic people but one from a courtier culture, we crafted an anti-democratic constitution that denied East Pakistan its most fundamental political and democratic right, "the will of the majority." To justify this we forcibly lumped the four provinces of western Pakistan into one province, thereby denying them their right of devolution. Anomaly: we wonder why our founding fathers didn't have at least the basic framework of a constitution ready that could guide the constitution makers? They did not even have the equivalent of the US Declaration of Independence. The Objectives Resolution came two years after independence, another stark anomaly. Answer: the closest thing we have to a document of intent and guidelines is Mr. Jinnah's August 11, 1947 speech, but we have ducked it ever since, because what we were essentially looking for was a Magna Carta, a compact between the King and the barons to share the spoils amongst themselves more 'equitably'. The people were nowhere in the picture. Thus three anomalies: our first constitution was framed by a non-representative assembly elected in another country, our second constitution by a military ruler and the present one by another non-representative rump assembly. Answer: either make Mr. Jinnah's speech the preamble to the constitution or make Pakistan a truly Islamic republic based on Man's inalienable Islamic rights. The primary idea of the 1970 elections was to form a representative constituent assembly to frame a new constitution for Pakistan. But by that time the polarization between East and West Pakistan had become so acute that the majority East Pakistanis swept the election. Now they could frame the constitution alone, exactly what West Pakistan's ruling elite had been trying to avoid since inception. They didn't accept the result, the assembly wasn't called, a civil war and war with India ensued and East Pakistan became Bangladesh. Had we accepted the result, it could have been another story. Anomaly: instead of learning from our mistakes, we made the same one again: we failed to hold fresh elections in the 'New Pakistan' so no one could have questioned the legitimacy of this constitution. (Legitimacy has been yet another perennial problem hasn't it?). With the Bengalis out of the way, the rump assembly comprising the minority proceeded to frame a constitution. None protested. Having lost half our country, we didn't even indulge in self-introspection. Typically, we buried our heads deeper in the sand and pretended that nothing had changed. We even attacked Balochistan soon after, for voting the "wrong way". We are paying for it now. Regardless of his role in 1971, Bhutto quite rightly wanted to heal wounds and unify a tattered polity with hearts bleeding and 90,000 prisoners of war. Thus he wanted the new constitution adopted unanimously, not by consensus. But another anomaly arose: Bhutto knew that a presidential system is natural for a federation, but he also wanted unanimity from those whom the British parliamentary system benefits, the tribal warlords and feudal robber barons. They exploited this and blackmailed him: British parliamentary system or no unanimity. Bhutto accepted it thinking that once things had settled down he would change to a presidential system, thus the heavy rigging in 1997 to get a two-thirds majority to change the constitution. He didn't contend with the power of the robber barons and feudal warlords in cahoots with America wanting to "make a horrible example of him" for the nuclear programme and paid for it dearly. We have been landed with the pro-feudal-tribal parliamentary system ever since. There was another huge anomaly at birth: the Muslims who felt insecure and really needed Pakistan got left behind while those who felt secure and thus were ambivalent till near the end got it. This was inevitable given the formula - Pakistan would be formed from Muslim majority areas. But there was no alternative to this formula and it is unrealistic to have expected a Pakistan so large that it could have accommodated all of India's Muslims. This contradiction would have been removed strong in every way, for it would have provided security to India's Muslims, like Israel does to the Jews. To do this we needed to face the truth, agree that no matter however we got Pakistan it is our bounden duty to make a successful country of it. We need to break the chains of mental colonization and craft a political system of our own in which the people are central. The Americans and Chinese did this after independence, instead of copying the old master's system. We treated Pakistan like victors do booty and exploited it to death. We didn't value it, forgetting that it is our beloved country because of which we all are what we are. People are laughing at us. Should I go on? It's painful. I will next week, because we have to reach the present. E-mail: hgauhar@nation.com.pk