Moied Javeed |
“Pakistan First” was perhaps popularized by the erstwhile military dictator and CEO of Pakistan, Gen. Pervaiz Musharraf after his coup in October 1999. Musharraf had his own characteristic style of saying it after almost every speech and interaction inside the country and abroad. Since then, many political and civic leaders have used it on different occasions. Now many who use it may not know its origin. But that does not matter, and we don’t have to like or dislike Musharraf – and his controversial role in history – to unearth the meaning behind the term.
This excessively used phrase, “Pakistan First” has never been properly understood by the masses, for that matter even by the educated elite. And its identification with Musharraf might have put off many in the media and politics. But the phrase is beautiful! If properly understood in the true spirit it probably means that petty politics of self-interests and narrowcast agendas should take the back seat and the collective interest of people, society and the state should prevail.
“Pakistan First” means that the criminal spun given to the religious, national, and business narratives to forward one’s own narrow political agendas must be set aside to put Pakistan above everything else.
It’s heartbreaking to see that to score a political point, many of us are not happy even if there is some positive development about Pakistan. For instance, this deliberately negative debate about the 4% economic growth that is being done by many in politics and the media. They are simply not prepared to accept the incoming sales figures of cement, steel, bricks, autos, tractors, and textiles. Or for that matter the positive change that may come because of the new mortgage laws and the boom in the housing market.
We are constantly sold agendas that are beneficial to few individuals, institutions, or corporations. While these narratives are being sold by the media, it is completely forgotten that this negativity will have long-term effects and ramifications for all – the collective self. The criminal spun given through media to distort the mental makeup of ordinary people, the common man on the street, not only jeopardizes the collective sentiments and self-image but also the long-term development of the country.
Our leadership requires taking bold decisions for the benefit of the country and the “collective interest” of its people. Our legal and criminal justice is weak and is being made weaker and weaker by the internecine politics of the bar associations across the country. The bigger picture of the “collective interest” of the people and justice is being ignored in favor of entrenched personalities. This system needs to be strengthened to curb the litany of lies and deceit.
The religious extremism, political maneuvering, and abuse of public office must be checked, and all should be taken to the task through a modern legal framework. Strong and stubborn leadership is required at all levels to ensure that the interests of the country remain first and foremost. Let us unite under the banner of “Pakistan First”
Moied Javeed is a senior telecom executive in Pakistan. Opinions expressed are his own and may not necessarily be owned by Global Village Space Publications.