Behind the Great Wall of China a ‘People’s Republic’ is emerging as the next super power of the world. Every visit presents an experience in development that exposes the limitations of our retrogressive colonial state. It is an organized collective effort at self, mutual and national development. “Raisat Hogi Ma Jaisi”, (State will be like a mother) the signs are evident all over.

This was my third visit to the ‘People’s Republic of China where I presented a paper at the International Pittsburgh Coal Conference held at Xuzhou October 15-18, 2018. The China University of Mining and Technology is located here. The city is the Mining Capital of the country. Research is being carried out on all aspects of the mining sector including land reclamation and environmental considerations.

Prime Minister (PM) of Pakistan has recently concluded (November 2-5, 2018) his state visit to the ‘People’s Republic’. China is a time-tested friend, the term ‘Iron Brothers’ is used for this exemplary friendship. The first PM of China Comrade Chou-en-Lai visited Pakistan in the sixties, when I had the unique distinction of presenting a bouquet to the Chief Architect of the Chinese revolution. Pakistan emerged on the world map in August 1947, the ‘Peoples Republic’ came into being in October 1949. While China started afresh, Pakistan continued with the old ways.

While human development has continued in the ‘People’s Republic’ it came to a grinding halt in the ‘Islamic Republic’ in October 1958. Martial Law changed the direction of the state from nation to empire building. Karl Marx called it the ‘oldest form’ of government. The date November 07, 1968 is etched in my memory when we the students of the sixties revolted against the dictatorial regime of Ayub Khan. The struggle continued for 139 days till the dictator resigned on March 26, 1969.

Recently articles have appeared to celebrate 50 years of this uprising. Unfortunately, Pakistan has had a crisis of revolutionary leadership which according to Trotsky is an essential ingredient for a successful revolution. The victory on the streets was compromised in the corridors of power. In retreat the dictator handed over the reins of the country to another Military Commander Yahya Khan. Rest is history, Quaid’s Pakistan was dismembered.

In the ‘People’s Republic’ the state is rich which then uses its wealth for the development of the nation. Initially it was ‘Roti, Kapra, Makan’ (Food, Clothing, Shelter) for the world’s largest population. Bicycle became the major means of transportation, now battery driven scooters have been provided to the masses. Everyone has been put to work to earn a decent living while the state facilitates and serves to improve the quality of life. Private sector is allowed to invest but the state remains an equity stake holder. Profits generated are deposited in the nation’s kitty to be used for the uplift of the people. Everyone is taken care of; no one sleeps with an empty stomach.

In the so-called golden era of Ayub Khan the wealth of the nation came into the control of about two dozen families. Land, permit, loans, protection, monopoly were all provided to the select few, who then established their business. Exports were under-invoiced to skim off foreign exchange while imports were over-invoiced to rob the nation of its earnings. Now these industrial units are being converted into Shopping Malls to earn trillions with no benefit to the people.

Norway stands out as the most desirable country to live in the world. It is one of the leading Nordic Welfare State. By law all natural resources belong to the people, their earnings are used to fund the welfare projects. From cradle to grave all human needs are catered for. The 1973 unanimous constitution of the country has defined fundamental rights of the citizens. Article 25-A has declared literacy as a right of the people. It was to be achieved by August 1985. Zia’s martial law derailed the effort. Under the 18th amendment the new deadline was set for August 2015.

Three years past the constitutional deadline, even universal primary coverage has not been achieved. Every five year old does not have space in school in the Islamic Republic. It does not stop here; even clean drinking water is beyond the reach of the common man. While the People’s Republic of China is moving in the right direction, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is not. Like China, Pakistan needs revolutionary leadership that can think and operate out of the box.

In order to progress a nation has to set its course. It is either revolution or constitutional democracy. On August 14, 1973 the truly elected representatives of the people unanimously passed and then enacted a constitution that must be followed in letter and spirit. Now that balance of payments on the external debt has been achieved, it is time to focus on nation building. Every five year old must be in school by the end of the year, or the nation must get ready for a revolution. The colonial state has to be reformed; otherwise it will have to be dismantled to convert Pakistan into a People’s Republic like China our ‘Iron Brother’. The divide beyond the Great Wall cannot go on forever. Like their Chinese brethren people of Pakistan deserve a better future. Can Kaptaan deliver like Chairman Mao Tse Tung and Comrade Chou-en-Lai only time will tell. Long live Pak-China friendship.


The writer is Ex-Chairman, Pakistan Science Foundation.