After 75 years, there has finally been a realization that the state structure in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan has serious faults and has badly failed to serve the people. While the world has progressed, Pakistan has regressed. In San Francisco, Lombard Street is considered to be the world’s most crooked thoroughfare. Similarly, in Victoria Island, British Columbia, there is a ‘Crooked Garden’ where nothing is straight, but the Leaning Tower of Pisa is unmatched in its tilt and is still considered a wonder of the world. Historians are unsure whether its imperfection was by design or accident.
Engineers now struggle to save it from a potential collapse, and millions are spent to preserve this historic monument. There is folklore that suggests it was built to highlight the decline of the times, and some other structures around it are also tilted. When I visited the Leaning Tower of Pisa for the first time in 1979, tourists were allowed to climb the tower, and the sloped balconies were very scary as one had to climb slowly and carefully.
Understanding the matter better
Unfortunately, the state structure in Pakistan has insurmountable slopes for the public to climb. The fault lines are serious, similar to the Leaning Tower, and billions are spent to support and preserve the inherent crookedness of the system. In Rawalpindi, the ‘Badmash’ (Ruffins) are referred to as ‘Dinga’ (Crooked), and they are required to walk in a certain way to prove their ‘Dinganess.’ Since the seat of power moved to the ‘Dinga land,’ the situation has become increasingly difficult for the general public.
While a few insiders flourish, the majority outside suffer. Such a system is bound to collapse, and no engineering can save it. The founding fathers were aware of this crookedness of the system and attempted to straighten it, but the inertia of the status quo prevailed. The Punjabi saying; “Khuti Rahe Bor Thalay” (The donkey remained in the shade) aptly describes the prevailing situation.
The United States won freedom from British Colonists over two centuries ago through a great military victory. George Washington led the Rag Taq Malatia force that defeated the Royal Army. As President, he led his country for two terms (8 years) and then went home, leaving behind a ‘Constitutional Democracy’ that has risen to become a superpower. The entire state structure left behind by the Colonial Masters was completely dismantled. Anything British was considered unfriendly and anti-people and was rejected. They even decided to drive on the opposite side of the road (Right Hand), and spellings were also simplified (Color, Program).
Today, the system in the oldest constitutional democracy in the world has no negative energy. The state is meant to serve, not rule, and no one can dare to go against the Constitution. For instance, when Donald Trump, the sitting President, could not stall the count of the Electoral College to replace him, the rule of law prevailed over individual power and interests. Similarly, Richard Nixon, as Commander-in-Chief, was advised by his Chief of Staff General Alexander Haig to declare an emergency and sack the Congress before his impeachment as President, but he chose to resign and go home, upholding the rule of law.
Bangladesh also won its freedom about half a century ago after the surrender of the troops led by Lt. Gen. A.A.K. Niazi. Compared to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the People’s Republic of Bangladesh has made great strides forward. Their target for exports in 2024 is $72 Billion, and they have even succeeded in controlling their population growth rate. In the 1956 constitution of united Pakistan, they conceded their majority, and today, unfortunately, we are a downtrodden majority.
The freedom movement was started by them with the formation of the All India Muslim League in 1906 at Decca. Yet, they decided to move on and dropped anything that was Pakistani. The legendary Allama Inayatullah Khan Mashriqi founded his ‘Khaskhar Movement’ to snatch freedom for India and restore Muslim rule. The ‘Khaksars’ were also a Malatia force that marched with their weapon of peaceful protest and defense, the ‘Spade.’ They were also called the ‘Bailcha Party.’ After finishing his Tripose from Cambridge University in Mathematics, he traveled to Germany to study the Nazi Party, while Jinnah and Gandhi came to India as Barristers to practice law.
Gandhi started his movement for peaceful protest for India’s freedom, while Jinnah advocated for a separate homeland for Muslims. After the partition of the Sub-continent, Allama Mashriqi was sidelined. He lies buried on Zaildar Road, Ichra, where he lived and died with his beliefs and convictions. Hitler’s gift of a Renault car is also showcased there in a dilapidated state.
Interestingly, the man who bartered our freedom, the first usurper, titled his autobiography; “Friends not Masters.” When he was being sidelined, his thoughts changed, and in his own words; “No one gives you freedom; you have to fight for it. No one fights for your freedom; you have to fight for your own freedom.” Indeed, real freedom has to be won, and in a war, one side has to lose and surrender; there can be no draw. Even in test Cricket, draws are a thing of the past, with most tests resulting in victory or loss, with very few in-betweens.
After 75 years of suffering, it is time to straighten the state structure. Climbing the slopes of the balconies of the Leaning Tower of Pisa left a lasting impression on me. It was an unforgettable experience that made the movement very difficult and scary. While Lombard Street and the ‘Crooked Garden’ of Victoria hold tourist interest, dealing with a crooked state structure every day is an unbearable torture that must end. Only ‘Crooks’ can navigate through such ‘Crookedness,’ like the Sharifs of Gawalmandi or the Zardaris of Nawabshah. Their rise coincides with the fall of Pakistan, and this must be reversed to end the suffering of the masses and move the country forward, like our brothers in Bangladesh who now chant ‘Sonar Bangla’ (Bangla the beautiful).
The words of the US national anthem say; “Land of the brave and free,” and Hafeez Jullundari wrote; “Quwaty Akhuwaty Awam” (Power of the people), little did he know that Zia Jullundari, the third usurper, wanted to remove these words. After defacing the constitution, he wanted a new ‘Tarana.’ In the words of Habib Jalib; “Ya Us Ka Pakistan Jo Sadaar-e-Pakistan Ha” (The President owns the country). Can it get more crooked than that?