General Mirza Aslam Beg What we must look for is, first, religious and moral principles; secondly gentlemanly conduct; thirdly intellectual ability. Thomas Arnold The national resilience of the Pakistani people is to be judged by the degree of their consciousness and commitment to guard their values, traditions and honour called the 'national purpose, or the raison dtre, as the French call it. National purpose is sacrosanct and sublime. Quaid-i-Azam first of all preferred to affirm his own faith, belief and commitment to the cause of Pakistan. On October 22, 1939, while addressing All-India Muslim Council, he said: I have seen enough in my life, experienced the pleasures of wealth, fame and life of repose and comfort. Now I have one single ambition, to see Muslims gaining freedom and rise to the pinnacle of glory. It is my very ultimate wish that when I die, my conscience and my Allah may testify that, Jinnah never betrayed Islam and that he relentlessly struggled for the freedom of Muslims, to forge institutional discipline among them and strengthen their resolve. I do not wish to get acclamation or reward from you. I only nourish the desire that, my heart, my faith and my conscience, all bear testimony till my death that Jinnah, 'you contributed your share for the resistance against Islam and my Allah proclaim that Jinnah you were a born Muslim, lived as such and died, quite steadfastly, holding the banner of Islam against the evil forces. After Pakistan was created, Quaid-i-Azam provided the guidance and defined the parameters of our national purpose, on the following occasions: 1 First Constituent Assembly of Pakistan, August 1947. You may belong to any religion or cast or creed - that has nothing to do with the fundamental principle that we are all citizens and equal citizens of one state.Now keep this as your ideal and you will find that in course of time, Hindus would cease to be Hindus, and Muslims would cease to be Muslims, not in the religious sense because that is the personal faith of each individual, but in the political sense as citizens of the State of Pakistan. 2 February 1948 at Malir Cantt. You have to safeguard our Islamic Democracy, based on social justice and for the furtherance of the principles of Islamic equality and brotherhood; social equality and unity are the cardinal principles of our deen and our civilisational and cultural values. 3 March 23, 1948, at Chittagong. I can say with conviction that our system of governance shall be based on the foundation of basic principles of Islam, which shall be democratic. These principles are applicable in our lives now as these were 1,300 years ago. 4 February 14, 1948, at Sibbi Darbar. Adherence to the golden principles of life is the only source of our viability and strength, which has been enunciated as laws, by our holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad Mustafa (PBUH). His guidance was explicit and directional, embodying the vision of Pakistan, yet the nation took almost a quarter of a century to frame a Constitution. That identified our true vision of life based on a democratic system of governance. The Constitution defined the national purpose: To strive for a democratic order based on the principles of Quran and Sunnah. Thus, its main ingredients were: Democracy and Islamic Ideology as the fountainhead. But, unfortunately, we failed to serve the cause of both democracy and the Islamic Ideology. And till today no system has really emerged which could reflect our hopes and aspirations. The recurrent intrusions by the army and short interlude of the weak civilian administrations have led to a feeling of antipathy towards democracy. The present democratic system, however, is fortunate that those who trampled democracy in the past are now reconciled to take a backseat. For instance, the US is now in no position to install a government of its choice, as the military leadership is not prepared to play its game. The opposition, which in the past always relished a change, is now committed to the continuance of the democratic order under the Charter of Democracy. Our higher judiciary has attained its legitimate position and has discarded the notion of the Law of Necessity. Thus never before, a government has had such a favourable opportunity to deliver clean governance based on justice. But it is indeed unfortunate that corruption, incompetence and lawlessness have weakened the very roots of societal order. If this malaise is not removed, it will erode the peoples faith in democracy and they will be justified in demanding a different system of governance. Islamic faith is an integral element of our vision of life, but, unfortunately, we pay no heed to it. Certainly, allegiance to faith can be built through moral principles, knowledge and action, but the tragedy is that over 70 percent of Pakistans population is devoid of the knowledge of the deen. This is so on account of the fact that 42 percent of the population is illiterate and of the remaining, only 30 percent possess both, the knowledge of the deen as well as of the worldly affairs, and truly represent the Pakistani sensibility. These statistics were based on the survey conducted during 1990 by the army, of the officers and men inducted in the army, whose knowledge of Islamic faith was similar to what was in the general national context. It is but natural that the majority, the 70 percent, will rightly be demanding a 'secular system of governance. In fact, we ourselves are responsible for this state of affairs. We dont impart knowledge of deen to our children. Our schools are also reluctant to impart religious education and the 5-6 percent who mange to get the requisite religious education in madrassas are kept out of the mainstream. They suffer from a sense of deprivation and frustration, and thus on very trivial issues agitate to gain a sense of identity. The situation, therefore, is greatly obscuring the real issues of Pakistan. The people with belief and commitment to their national purpose know how to protect their values and traditions, which lend resilience to the nation. The living example is that of Afghans, who during the last 30 years have made great sacrifices to protect their way of life. In 2001, when the US had occupied Afghanistan, we sent the message to Mullah Omer: Should they engage in another war of liberation, it could entail much of bloodshed and destruction. It was, therefore, expedient that they follow the American plan and their promise for democracy for Afghanistan. A few months later, we received a firm reply: We have resolved to fight back the occupation forces till they are routed. When we gain freedom, we would take decisions under a free environment. It is unthinkable for the Afghan nation to follow the American plans, as it was not in harmony with their religious values and traditions. We shall engage in war and Insha Allahwe will triumph over the enemy and we will win our freedom. For the last 30 years, the Afghans have waged a grim struggle for freedom, thus reaching a point of victory, as ordained by Allah: You shall prevail, no doubt, you have suffered, but so have they (Al-Imran, 138-139). Very soon the invaders will be forced to run away, turning their back on you (Al-Qamar, 45). The writer is former COAS, Pakistan Email: