An entire generation grew up in Pakistan waiting for the country to become a modern democratic welfare state. That didn’t happen and now this generation has aged and spends much of their free time asking themselves this simple question: what was wrong?
If there is no commitment, there can be no fulfillment and to understand commitment and, in this context, political commitment, one must understand the individual or groups who make decisions. Thus, understanding the entrepreneur, the decision and the decision maker is important as they influence and shape the outlook of a country. And from the perspective of a leader and a political party, corporations are just ideologies.
Seventy-five million people believed in a leader when he undertook the task of building this nation. The religious ideology that held West Pakistan’s 37 million people glued to East Pakistan’s 42 million people was swept away when, for the East Pakistani liberation movement, different languages, cultures and customs mattered more. for them than religion. I define “entrepreneur” as a leader who takes on this great responsibility and the risk of managing the state. The question that bothers me is this: could we have thought differently about our Pakistani brothers in the East if we were more human than religious? The worst thing any ideology does is it enslaves one mind and it doesn’t matter if there are 37 million minds or 220 million minds because when people become mentally enslaved they no longer remain pragmatic and stop think and are influenced and affected by the ideological beliefs generated by their undertakers.
History tells us of many such undertakings and Hitler’s racist and expansionist ideology was the worst of all, which sowed the seeds of the great rivalry between communism and capitalism and ultimately made the Third World the battlefield of simmering ideological and military conflicts. But let’s limit ourselves to Pakistan and the reasons why we could not become a modern and democratic welfare state.
We were supposed to become a constitutional state, but we ended up becoming first a security and garrison state and then a religious state. We are the least democratic, and democracy in this country is a facade, used by undertakers to buttress their power. More Machiavellian in their conduct who believe in his advice in The prince (1513) that “religion is a very useful tool for the ruler and helps a great deal in obtaining and retaining power”. No wonder the PDM chose Maulana Fazl-ur-Rehman to lead it and the TTP now seems more of a party not guided by ideological motivation but choosing when and when not to protest. The people, 220 million of them, are supposed to be closed-minded, unthinking and view everything as self-generated and self-cultivated, and not guided by the ideological preferences of our undertakers.
Democracy should have set us free. Instead, it has made us more consumers of religion than of humanism and liberalism. In this religious and undemocratic and constitutional Pakistan, it took 26 years for the Supreme Court of Pakistan to advise state officials to exercise the utmost caution in handling blasphemy cases. Even the advice to act with the utmost caution is called historical judgment. I don’t know how the utmost care exercised by state officials will prevent the next Priyantha Kumara Diyawadna from being lynched on false charges of blasphemy. I can’t understand that.
History teaches us that ideologies arise from particular social circumstances. When circumstances change, can the ideology that guides a nation stay the same? Can the same horse that pulled a loaded cart on flat ground pull the same loaded cart up a steep hill? If an ideology has not acted as an ideology of renewal and progress at best, how can it do so at worst?
Would our Machiavellian elite, our great undertakers do this nation a great service and stop looking at this country only through an ideological lens and start looking at it with a greater sense of purpose and a common sense lens? Today, this country is clearly divided between the forces of the status quo and those who oppose it. The status quo is what brought us to our current condition. So what resonates with the people is not what brought us down but what can lift us up—a political enterprise, a promising enterprise that promises; accountability at all levels, a fair political field, an independent foreign policy, the elimination of poverty, geoeconomics before geopolitics and above all the creation of a just and rewarding political system that can create equal opportunities for all.
The Machiavellian elite cannot allow this, but neither can they prevent it, as it stems from rapidly changing social circumstances and is the business of a very trustworthy and credible undertaker with the people. How come an undertaker who is not despised by the people is despised by the court of law? Are there limits to contempt of court and have those limits not been crossed before? Why does the law seek to punish this undertaker regardless of his pledges — the specific pledges that are so popular with the people? Why doesn’t the law of the land take into account the probabilities surrounding this undertaker?
Is this solitary violation of the law, which makes no sense to many, so bad that it will bring down the whole legal structure? Perhaps the law needs to understand that this endeavor goes against the forces of the existing status quo – those who have bought and destroyed the laws and flouted the authority of the system and consistently set a bad example. How can the law punish one company and not the other? Only the setter and setter of bad examples should be punished and the majority of people in this country don’t think he belongs in that category.
Forty-two million people didn’t care about any ideology and broke away because they found a leader they believed in more than any other ideology. Again, in this same country, another leader once again speaks of a sense of purpose, a different and higher sense of purpose that resonates with the people.
You have to be crazy to stand in his way with contempt suits, technical disqualifications or terrorism charges. The only solution is to hold free and fair elections and let the people speak. We’ve been there once – coercion, intimidation, even military operations have failed. I hope for the good of this country, reason prevails and we don’t make the same mistake.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 4e2022.