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Saturday, February 17, 2024

Lack of passion to serve public in Quaid e Azam’s land of pure

Personal gains win over the passion to work for and serve the people of Pakistan. Pakistan has seen many regime changes yet seldom a passionate leader who aspired to a people's man in true spirit.

Opinion |

Passion has been in short supply in the land of the pure. Ever since the house of Sharif entered the political arena an effective system of personal profits has been introduced to perfection. Nothing moves unless driven by individual gains. Without passionate efforts, there can be no change. While Kaptaan is committed to building ‘Naya Pakistan’, in the absence of personal gains the system is not keeping pace with his desires. Choices are clear in the present set up one of the two is required otherwise it will be business as usual.

In Pakistan, the periods of the passionate rule have been limited. Jinnah passed away in September 1948 one year after the partition, with him ended an innings of selfless sacrifice and devotion to the cause of freedom. Liaquat Ali Khan the first Prime Minister (PM) then took on the mantle of leadership, with his assassination in 1951 another era of honest and devoted service to the people came to an end (1947 – 1951) till October 1958 there was a struggle for supremacy between the forces of passion and profit. With Ayub Khan’s ‘EBDO’ (Elected Bodies Disqualification Ordinance) in August 1959 all efforts of nation-building came to an end in the nascent republic. His imposed 1962 constitution was deplorable and insulting as it was built around him.

People have nowhere to go for relief. With genuine desire for change Kaptaan is doing his best but the trickle down has not happened yet

Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto (ZAB) era was full of passionate leadership (1970 – 1977). In fact, the entire elected assembly was outstanding. The period between 1977 to 2018 has been debilitating and perhaps the worst period in our chequered history. With an honest leader at the top after the 218 elections, passion is making a comeback while the challengers continue to stall it, the Azadi March being a part of this very effort.

With four years of Jinnah /Liaquat, leadership, six years of ZAB a total of ten years of committed and passionate leadership and now a year of Kaptaan’s struggle to regain the lost grounds of passion, it remains an uphill task. The era of personal profits introduced by the Sharifs was religiously followed by Zardari who managed to wrest control of the party from the Bhuttos. The religious right is neither here nor there, they become passionate for their own good only, some do opt for diesel while others for dollars.

Today in the land of the pure no one is willing to do anything in public interest. Kaptaan’s passion has not trickled down yet. The entire system is non-performing remains sluggish as ever and the public representatives who are required to drive remain shy of action, unless personal profit is involved nothing moves. The four years of the founding fathers and six years of ZAB were totally different. Public wellbeing was the top agenda item then. Even the civil servants had passion to serve. Public assets were preserved instead of misuse.

Read more: An overview of Pakistani politics from 1947 to Gen. Zia

Bhutto introduced the concept of ‘People’s Government’ or ‘Awami Hakumat’ as it was called. Chief Minister, Governors, Ministers met the public for retrieval of their grievances. Orders were given on files which had to be implemented by the bureaucracy. Non-compliance had to be justified and questioned. Bhutto himself reviewed the files with immaculate paperwork and notings. As student leaders we had free access to the Governor’s House. Mustafa Khar as Chancellor took personal interest in the affairs of the universities.

Every time we marched to the Punjab Assembly, Malik Ghulam Nabi (father-in-law of Dr. Yasmin Rashid) as Education Minister came out to hear our issues. Ayub Khan had turned Pakistan in to an executive state operating out of the air-conditioned Ivory Towers of Islamabad, Awami Hukumat changed it. Bureaucracy backed by the Khakis had started to rule not to serve. Bhutto challenged this evil nexus through ‘People’s Power’ but it was short lived.

Since 2018 it is back to the basics. Profit seeking public representatives do not command respect over the bureaucracy. People have nowhere to go for relief. With genuine desire for change Kaptaan is doing his best but the trickle down has not happened yet. A realignment of the state apparatus has to take place. Issues of corruption and incompetence have to be dealt with in an appropriate manner.

Passion, passion and more passion is needed to build ‘ Naya Pakistan ‘ and Kaptan cannot do it alone

This gluttonous, only for personal profit state apparatus has to be dismantled as it has no output. The masses are unwilling to carry this unnecessary burden. In the absence of passion, service to the people is not possible. In our 72 years of existence only ten years have been under passionate leadership. The results speak for themselves while Jinnah / Liaquat are revered and remembered even Bhutto is lauded as a great political leader who did not seek personal profits.

His finance minister and Secretary-General Dr. Mubashir Hassan still remains passionate about the social reforms of his party. Till today he lives in the same house on the main boulevard in Gulberg with his beat up Volkswagen parked there. Passion is hard to fade while profits diminish and evaporate over time. What sells today may not be saleable tomorrow but passion is everlasting it delivers against all odds. Profit seeker have destroyed Pakistan, while the People’s Republic of China has lifted the people out of poverty, the Islamic Republic has failed to deliver.

Read more: Naya Pakistan: Is PTI looking for fresh ideas to improve governance?

A model has to be developed to effectively transition from profit to passion till then the masses will continue to suffer but it remains our only course forward. Passionate leadership is the need of the nation without which our future remains bleak. Passion, passion and more passion is needed to build ‘ Naya Pakistan ‘ and Kaptan cannot do it alone.

Dr. Farid A. Malik is Ex-Chairman, Pakistan Science Foundation. The article was first published in The Nation and has been republished here with the author’s permission. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Global Village Space’s editorial policy.