In a world driven by technology, the only change is permanent. The status quo is not an option, and never will be in the future. Unfortunately, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is trapped in a vicious cycle of status quo. As the first generation of the republic, we have experienced various shades of the homeland. On August 14, 1947, a new ‘Emerging Pakistan’ came into existence. Transitions are never easy. Considering the immense challenges faced by the new country, the founding fathers decided to continue with the age-old entrenched ‘Colonial System of Governance’ but with a desire to facilitate. Those who opted to serve in the new land were prepared to meet the challenges. After the death of the father of the nation Muhammad Ali Jinnah a year later in September 1948, Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan led from the front.
His assassination in October 1951 proved to be a major blow in our march to freedom. The challenge to the status quo was blunted by an unholy alliance of the ‘Colonial Leftovers’. Three champions of status-quo (Ghulam Muhammad, Iskander Mirza, Ayub Khan) took control of the republic. One by one they took turns with the help of their foreign sponsors. As Governor General (GG) ‘Gamma’ refused to step down despite being incapacitated. It was during the term of Mirza that Pakistan became a republic with him as the first President. Khan continued as Army Chief and Defence Minister. The ‘Emerging Pakistan’ came under the boots of the status quo with the Martial Law in October 1958.
Understanding the matter better
Despite being debt free, the usurpers blamed the political leadership for corruption which according to them had brought the exchequer to the brink of bankruptcy. It was a managed campaign to derail the democratic order from which the republic never recovered. Khan’s so-called golden period ended in March 1969. After the first free and fair elections in 1970, the break-up of ‘Quaid’s Pakistan’ took place. Our brothers in the Eastern Wing decided to break away from the shackles of the ‘Colonial Status-quo’. They blamed Punjab for the dismal state of affairs in the republic. In the last 50 years, Bangladesh has emerged as a rising economic force in the region leaving Security Stricken India and Pakistan behind.
Under the elected leadership of Bhutto, an ‘Awami Pakistan’ emerged. After the surrender in the Eastern Wing, the forces of the status quo were in disarray. Bhutto and his team of ‘Comrades’ moved swiftly. In August 1973 Pakistan emerged as a ‘Constitutional Democracy’, Rights of the people were recognized and enshrined in the constitution. With major reforms in the Passport Directorate, the right to travel was recognized and facilitated. Today the expatriate community is the biggest source of foreign exchange remittances. Basic industrialization also took place together was the revamping of the ‘Nuclear Programme’.
Unfortunately, the period was short-lived (December 1971 to July 1977). Once again the forces of the status quo regrouped to stall change. Subservient and corrupt leadership was imposed on the nation. The republic was turned into a ‘Satellite State’ to do the dirty work of the ‘External Masters’. In 1996 Imran Khan launched his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) with a promise to build Naya Pakistan on the debris of the ‘Purana’. In other words from Emerging to Autocratic to Awami to Purana now, a ‘Naya Pakistan is in the making ‘ which faces stiff resistance from the forces of conservation. Imran Khan (IK) the most popular leader of his time is leading the charge from the front. IK is fortunate to get a second chance which Bhutto never got.
As a Muslim League child, I had a chance of meeting the stalwarts of the founding party the All-India Muslim League (AIML) which was launched in 1906 in Decca. Most of the workers were disillusioned and disappointed with the prevailing situation. A Punjabi phrase was often narrated; “Khoti Rahe Bor Thalay” (The donkey remained in the dark). Khan created his own brand of Muslim League with its headquarters on Davis Road, since then it has acted as a ‘Freemasons of Democracy’.
The Chaudhrys of Gujrat and Sharifs of Lahore were launched from here. Currently, the premises is in control of PML (Q). Under the ‘Awami Hukumat’ the ‘Freemasons’ movement was banned and their complex on the Shahrae Quaid took over. It is time to dismantle the framework of ‘ Freemasons of Democracy’ who act on the signals received from Rawalpindi and beyond.
Democracy has its own dynamics which cannot be manipulated
In the checkered political history of Pakistan, only two genuine parties were launched in Lahore. Bhutto formed his People’s Party in November 1967 while IK entered the arena in April 1996. Both leaders came into power through the ballot but were unable to dismantle the dreaded status-quo. The establishment remains in firm control of the levers of power, the transition of power takes place with their nod and never without it. Today Pakistan is at the crossroads again as it was in 1977 when the constitution was suspended and disfigured by the usurper. Pakistan is destined to be a constitutional democracy where people must choose their leaders in a free and fair electoral contest as was done in 1970.
Read more: Politics of thugs in Pakistan
Every organ of the state has to function within the constitutional boundaries. NROs (National Reconciliation Ordinance ) are not the way forward. A major restructuring of the system is needed to deliver relief to the people. Like Bhutto, IK has a solid public following, instead of confrontation, dialogue is the way forward, status quo is not maintainable. ‘Naya Pakistan’ has to emerge from the debris of the old. Bringing back ‘Thug’ into power will not work, the will of the people must prevail as it did in the year 1970. Pakistan is blessed with enough resources to meet the needs of the people but not the greed of the few who have ruled over us under the dreaded status quo.
The writer is Ex-Chairman Pakistan Science Foundation. He can be reached at email@example.com. The views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.