Ever since their emergence, civilized societies have been classified into three distinct categories – the Upper, Middle and Lower classes. Affluence and consequently power has hall marked the top of this pecking order, while the bottom end is characterized by deprivation, subjugation and want. It is however the filling of this sandwich i.e. the Middle Class, whose size determines the condition of a state’s wellbeing – ‘the thicker the filling, the better the sandwich’.

On the flip side – if the filling is pitifully thin, then a chasm emerges between the ‘haves and the have-nots.’ This gap, when seen in historical perspective, generates a scenario where the deprived majority snatches its needs (and much more) from the privileged minority. This ‘snatching’ usually takes two forms. It either manifests itself in a popular revolution like the one that toppled the French monarchy to create the modern French State or it translates itself into an uncontrolled escalation of crime.

Blood is spilled in both instances, but while in the first case a new and more dynamic nation emerges from the chaos (much like the legendary Phoenix), the second manifestation spawns a crime wave, which, when fuelled by corruption and inept law enforcement, rapidly multiplies until it crosses into the realm of anarchy.

In our own case, Muhammad Ali Jinnah laid the foundations of a welfare state based on the principles of equality and justice. We regretfully slipped into a cesspool of poor governance, guided not by the principles set before us by our Founding Father, but by greed, nepotism and jobbery (traits that were abhorred by Jinnah). The end result was, that those who made the laws and those who swore to enforce it, failed in their duty. This was so because those mandated to sit in Parliament came mostly from feudal stock and ensured that no law which struck down their power-base was ever tabled. The enforcers in their turn became ready service providers to this powerful clique and created a viscous cycle that lent strength to an evil system, wherein merit was ignored and justice was denied.

Massive political inductions into the police force destroyed the institutional strength of this law enforcement tool and the rot even spread into the ranks of the lower judiciary. To make matters worse, the average Pakistani failed to comprehend the effects of an uncontrolled increase in population with no corresponding increase in economic growth and jobs. The uncivilized urge to sire male children with utter disregard for the number of mouths that needed food, led many families into errant ways in order to make a quick buck.

Notwithstanding the fact that we are at this point in time teetering at the brink of the abyss, we are ‘on the brink’ and not at the bottom. What this country needs is a leader, who has the capability to foresee the future two decades from today. He or she should be a leader with the passion and the gumption to understand what Jinnah wanted this country to become. Above all, this leader should be gifted with the moral and physical courage to undertake the journey intrepidly.

I have yet to find such a man or woman amongst the current rank of politicians, but I do believe with all my heart that this ‘Land of the Pure’ will one day overcome all that troubles it and if not us, then our grandchildren and great grandchildren will see Quaid e Azam’s vision fulfilled and the air shall ring with the full throated strains of

Pak Sarzameen shaadbaad,

Kishwar e haseen shaadbaad,

Tu Nishan e azme aalishan,

arze Pakistan,

Markaze yaqeen shaadbaad…

The writer is a freelance columnist.