There are certain things in life that make no sense at all. No matter how hard you try, you can make neither head nor tail of them. Not only that, but you can’t even understand the rationale behind them. At such a time we have to look towards history to untangle this tangled mess so that we could solve the problem on the basis of past experiences. It is an irrefutable fact that the democratic system of any country is its backbone.

The word democracy is derived from two Greek words: ‘demos’ meaning citizens living within a particular city state and ‘kratos’ meaning power or rule. It refers to a government that represents people and works for their benefit. In other words, democracy is a political, moral, economic and social structure that takes a country to new heights of success.

All over the world, democratic governments have led their nations out of difficult situations through sheer determination and hard work. Japan, Germany and England are some of the countries that were devastated by wars and were able to emerge as successful developed nations on the world map through their determination, hard work and persistence. But the democracy in which we are living isn’t aware of even the basics of the ‘demos’ or democracy. There is neither democracy nor are there any democratic values.

I first met with Professor Michael Sandel of Harvard University through my benefactor friend, Mr Ali Azam who is also a lecturer of Islamic Ethics. Michael has propounded that in the modern era, many political problems can be solved through propagation of moral values. The importance of the fact can’t be denied that this is the actual problem facing Pakistan. It is a matter of routine for the incumbent party to frame the members of other parties in fictitious cases, to level baseless allegations and above all, to renege on the promises that they have made with the people.

Our politics has weird standards. Over the years we have remained in a quandary as to who should be labelled a traitor and who should be called a patriot. From Bhutto’s hanging to the disqualification of Yusuf Raza Gillani and Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, Musharraf’s trial for treason and Nawaz Sharif’s conviction in the Panama and Iqama case, echoes of the treason and Iqama trials against Khawaja Asif and Ahsan Iqbal have been a regular feature of Pakistani politics. At one time, government machinery is run by manufacturing Q League, the experiment of MMA and at other times, the alliance of MQM and JUI-F with every incumbent government creating commotion in the national polity. The logic behind all this is, at least, beyond my comprehension.

We put political leaders on a pedestal and shower them with accolades and then we give the same leaders titles of traitor and incompetents and start exploiting them. Even today the Indian Army is terrified of Pervaiz Musharraf and tales of his bravery are on everyone’s tongue. Nawaz Sharif’s order for nuclear tests and his stand against American dictation is as clear as a bright sunny day. Bhutto’s passionate speech in the UN and then his efforts towards making Pakistan an atomic power are still alive in the memories, similarly the successful war of General Zia and General Hameed Gul against Russian colonialism is an undying proof of their services for Pakistan.

Above and beyond these facts, the reality is that dictatorship has never proved fruitful for any country; if democracy is allowed to flourish in letter and in spirit. Regrettably Pakistan has remained highly unlucky in this regard because our tradition is to make heroes of today into traitors of tomorrow. It is easier to comprehend the allegations of malfeasance, exceeding the limits of authority or even rigging the elections but the melodrama of treason is extremely regretful. We will have to put an end to this tradition, bury this type of political victimisation and make moral values a part of our political system. This is the only way out of this quagmire. Government and opposition have never been on the same page for improving the systems of accountability, economy, society and politics. Things are run on adhocism. Welfare and wellbeing of the people has never been a top priority of our successive governments.

It’s pertinent to mention a few examples here. Japan, Korea, Saudi Arabia and UAE, have entered into mutual agreements with Europe and America which allow their citizens to travel to these countries without visa for six months. Similarly, European Union and America have also entered into agreements that have made mutual trade and travel easier. Up until 1962, Germany was one of the biggest recipients of American aid. 14 countries of the world were providing Germany aid and interestingly enough, Pakistan was one of those countries. In the era of Ayub Khan Pakistan gave Germany a loan of Rs120 million for a period of 20 years. The German Chancellor wrote a formal letter of thanks to the government of Pakistan for this act of beneficence. This letter is still a part of the archives at the Foreign Ministry. Turkey and many other countries entered into lucrative agreements with Germany in lieu of the assistance provided, but surprisingly Pakistan made no such effort that could have benefitted the general public.

There is time yet, Allah has provided Pakistan with another opportunity in the form of Gwadar. China is going to be a world superpower within the next decade. Pakistan should work on devising ways and means that aim at easing travel and trade for Pakistani people. If this opportunity is squandered away, then there is no chance of availing facilities that weren’t available to the Pakistani nationals in the past 70 years as well. Apart from this, the laws about transfer of land should be amended such that any foreign national who doesn’t enjoy Pakistani nationality, couldn’t buy land so that a repetition of the history of East India Company and Israeli settlement of Palestine, could be avoided. Most importantly it is the government’s responsibility to provide the Pakistani’s living abroad with best facilities and opportunities to serve the interests of Pakistan. Just providing banking services like opening of an account aren’t enough; more thought has to be put into measures that could enable these expats to serve Pakistan properly and to the best of their abilities. Doubting their loyalties is highly regrettable and disgraceful. Pakistanis living abroad aren’t any less patriotic than the Pakistanis living within the country. But at the same time there is nothing wrong in giving preference to the people living within Pakistan for important and high-profile jobs. There are no two opinions about the fact that the expats believe in serving and not in designations.

Sheikh Jawad Hussain

The writer is a lecturer of Law in London. He can be reached at sheikh_hussain@aim.com.