A retired General recently remarked that state is like a carriage pulled by four horses, if only a single entity is pulling it then its influence is bound to increase. He did not name the other pullers but I am assuming they are the Baboos (Bureaucrats), Qazis (Judges) and Siasis (Politician). Historically speaking Pakistan emerged on the world map as a result of a valiant political struggle ably led by stalwarts like Jinnah and Iqbal. The Khakis, Baboos and Qazis played no role in the freedom movement. In the Tehrik-e-Pakistan Gold Medals distribution there were no awards for gallantry.

According to Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto (ZAB) Pakistan is an ideology not just a piece of land. The founding fathers of the country had a vision based on which the course of the nation was se. Despite teething problems of a new nation hope was kept alive. In 1956, nine years after independence a unanimous constitution was enacted in which the thorny issue of East/West parity was also resolved. Baboo and Honorary Maj. General Iskander Mirza was the last Governor General was then inducted as the first President of the Republic.

It was widely believed that the country was created through the ballot and it was supposed to move forward with it. Ayub Khan’s Martial Law in October 1958 derailed the entire democratic order. He not only abrogated the constitution but also sent the entire political leadership home under his EBDO (Elected Board Disqualification Ordinance). Hussain Shaheed Suharwardy a brilliant legal mind and former Prime Minster (PM) of the country opened his defence in the Military Tribunal with these words, “A country in which a Lt. Colonel Presides over the trial of an elected PM has no future.” It proved to be a prophecy when Quaid’s Pakistan was dismembered in December 1971, thirteen years later. No horse was able to pull the carriage through the troubled waters. Voices of sanity within the Khakis (Lt. Gen Sahibzada Yakub Ali khan and Admiral (R) S.M. Ahsan) were over-ruled.

Indeed all four horses are needed to pull the carriage of the state but if one is put to sleep (Siasis) and the other two Baboos, Qazis infected with shots of ‘Susti’ (Lethargy) the rigours of the journey cannot be sustained. In the regime of Pervez Musharraf there was a Corps Commander’s Conference that he presided as COAS in which it was reiterated that the focus of the Armed Forces would be on training. I wrote a letter asking the President who was responsible for the training of the other organs of the state if all horses are required to pull the same carriage then at least the stable conditions have to be somewhat similar.

The education department Government of Punjab is as large as the Pakistan Army. Close to six hundred thousand people work there, then there are departments of other provinces as well taking the count even higher. The GHQ of Education (E-GHQ) of the province is run from a few rooms located on the right side of the main gate of the Civil Secretariat in Lahore. Initially there was one Secretary who ran the entire show now there has been bifurcation into lower and Higher Education. Rana Mashood is currently the Minister, till recently he had four more ministries under him.

Compared to Army GHQ (A-GHQ), E-GHQ is pathetic and reflects the plight of education in the province and the country. There are no logistic or monitoring frameworks to keep track of the system on which wrests the future of our nation. Despite tall claims not even universal primary coverage has been attained. As per the constitution every citizen had to be literate by 1985, but General Zia conveniently removed the time deadline clause. After getting rid of his un-holy amendments every school going child of the age of five years had to be accommodated in a school by August 2013 but it has not happened. While some of the horses have gained strength the carriage has lost speed and momentu. Why? Mainly because no one seems to be interested in nation building and this phenomena was started in October 1958 and has continued unabated except for the brief ‘Awami Period’ (1971 to 1977). The unanimously agreed 1973 constitution defined the energies of the horses and corrected the direction of the carriage.

As the first generation of Pakistan we have experienced both the rise and fall of our motherland. Initially the founding fathers were focused on building institutions which were needed to sustain the nation. Despite setbacks the direction was very clear everyone felt the responsibility. To day there is no focus or initiative, the carriage has lost the drivers or coachmen. Being a constitutional democracy the qualification and procedure for the election of the Coachmen have been clearly defined. Elections have to be credible and the candidates clean. No tax, loan or utility defaulte can participate in the electoral process.

Pakistan needs Coachmen to steer the carriage out of the troubled waters the horses cannot do it, their stable mentality comes in the way. For the sake of the country let us all broaden our horizons and focus on nation building as was done in the first decade of independence (1947 to 1958). Leaders have to earn their wings what we have today are ‘Siasis’ from the Ayub, Zia and Musharraf stables. It is time to get rid of the horse dung and clean our stables. As a nation we have been lead by great Coachmen like Jinnah, Liaquat Ali, Nazimuddin, Nishtar, Suharwardy, Junejo, ZAB etc who kept the horses on track and the coach on its course. Ayub, Yayha, Zia and Musharraf were all just horses with blinders who lacked the capacity to qualify as Coachmen that we need. However, being the only carriage pullers the Khakis can help in electing a Coachman through a credible ballot, General Raheel Sharif will then be remembered as a hero like his decorated brother Major Shabbir Sharif who laid down his life for his motherland.

 The writer is Ex-Chairman, Pakistan Science Foundation.