Rekindling hope

By Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri

It is indeed a matter of great happiness that Pakistan is celebrating its 60th anniversary since its inception in 1947. It is an occasion which demands of us to have deep introspection and undertake a critical analysis of last 60 years of our national life.

Any unbiased and objective assessment of the situation Pakistan is placed in these days would make one gloomy and sad. Pakistan is not what it should have been in the light of teachings of its founding fathers. We were lucky to have intellectual giant of Allama Iqbal`s stature who laid the ideological foundation of this country and a political realist like the Quaid-e-Azam who turned the dream of Allama Iqbal into reality by virtue of his dedication, rock-like determination, honesty and commitment.

Internal challenges explain the present-day predicament of Pakistan. If these challenges are not handled wisely and judiciously, I am afraid, we stand the chance of being pushed back even further from whatever little bit we have achieved in the span of these 60 years. To me, the foremost problem relates to the inclusion of common man in the fruits of freedom. For the last sixty years, our successive governments whether civil or military have hegemonized the decision-making arrangements to the total and absolute exclusion of man in the street. Today common man is dejected and feels let down by the rulers whether past or present. Resultantly the ruling elite has come to maneuver policy-making in such a manner that it has been able to reap all benefits.

So root cause of our problem lies in what passes for a system in this country. Unless we change this discriminatory, unjust and cruel system with just, equitable and even-handed one in favour of people of Pakistan, we as a nation are doomed to suffer. We have to make our people realize that it is they who are the masters of this country and the fate of the country lies in their hands. This sense of ownership will infuse in them a great passion and will rekindle the fast-fading hope in their own destiny and destiny of country.

It is high time we fought for rule of the constitution in the country. Institutions not individuals provide longevity to the nations and societies. If every institution of the state performed its assigned role under the constitution, no problem would arise. Issues are created when institutional mechanisms become weak enough as to be overtaken by self-styled individuals.

I have my complete faith in the abilities of this nation. As is proven many a time, our people have faced many tests and trials successfully in spite of distressing circumstances. They have shown resilience and character in even odd situations. The middle and lower middle classes of this country are hugely talented and have established their worth umpteenth times. Our doctors, engineers, scientists, lawyers, teachers, professionals and people belonging to other walks of life are immensely hard-working and are engine of growth for this country. If they could perform so well in these trying circumstances, imagine their performance once they are provided with enabling environment.

The unmatchable patriotism and zeal shown by all and sundry during the calamitous earthquake proved doomsayers wrong. The spirit of unity and oneness to which our great Quaid attached huge importance, and which once characterized our struggle for independence, was on display again. At the same time the way this nation responded collectively to the attempt at unceremonious ouster of the Chief Justice of Pakistan recently reminded one of the same spirit and passion, which once possessed this nation.

We are answerable for our acts of omission and commission to Allah Almighty. This country was achieved after untold sacrifices in man and material and it is miracle of Allah Almighty. If we fail to come up to the expectations of people, we will be held answerable. I declare again that `unity, faith and discipline` are our buzz-words and we need to translate this slogan into reality. We need to revive the same ray of hope which once made us overcome the insurmountable odds. I will end up with a quote of the Quaid-e-Azam, which is still relevant today: "Allah Almighty has given us a great opportunity to show our worth as an architect of a new state and let it not be said that we did not prove equal to the task.

Daily, The Nation, August Tuesday, 14, 2007