As we celebrate the anniversary of Quaid-e-Azam, Pakistan is engulfed by terrorism, its children being massacred, while ordinary citizens are victim of target killings, extortion and kidnapping, some of them affiliated with political parties. While there will be the usual messages to uphold the ‘Father of Nation’s’ vision, in practice whatever Quaid stood for has been reversed. The Quaid wanted civil and armed servants of state to be apolitical and reminded them of “constitutional and legal implications” of the oath they take to be faithful to the constitution, by elaborating “that executive authority flows from the Head of the Government of Pakistan—any command or orders that may come to you, cannot come without sanction of the Executive Head. That is the legal position”. No sooner had he died, that our bureaucracy, trained by the British Raj to rule an occupied colony, conspired with political remnants like Unionists, first to delay finalisation of Constitution by sacking First Constituent Assembly and then rejecting it.

What was to be a modern democratic welfare state soon became a nation under martial law, followed by a series of failures, leading to dismemberment in 1970 and becoming sanctuary for terrorists by 80s. Politics of principles and ethics followed by politicians of caliber and integrity like Mohd Ali Jinnah, Allama Iqbal etc., was reduced to politics of opportunism, where men without integrity abused power to become traders, serving themselves, indulging in massive tax evasion and making a mockery of ethics like ‘Conflict of Interest.’

The Quaid wanted Pakistan to eradicate, in his words the curse of corruption, bribery and black marketing, which we inherited in 1947, today we are a country where corruption has been institutionalised, state having distanced itself from its primary obligations of welfare, education and health and instead become hostage to insatiable greed for state lands, privileges by paid and elected public office holders, a remnant of Colonial Raj.

The state has outsourced education, health and security to private sector, allowed private militias to be formed and replaced East India Company and its native collaborators, with men holding ‘dual nationality,’ who having pledged an oath of allegiance to another country, today head political parties, hold public offices, deciding fate of nation, where they have no stakes.

MALIK TARIQ ALI,

Lahore, December 24.