Dr Farid A Malik |
On August 14, 1947 Pakistan started off well, common good was on everyone’s agenda. Jinnah the first Governor General died on September 11, 1948 while the Prime Minister (PM) Liaquat Ali Khan was assassinated on October 16, 1951. Khawaja Nazimuddin a prominent politician from the Eastern Wing first replaced Jinnah and remained Governor-General till 1951 and after that PM till 1953. He was a graduate of Cambridge University, was an honest and able politician. Common good was high on his agenda.
He played an important role in framing of the 1956 constitution in which the principle of parity was accepted by East Pakistan despite a larger population. Ghulam Muhammad succeeded Khawaja Sahib as the third Governor General. Despite his failing health he refused to step down for personal power and control. Finally, Baboo and Major Gen (Honorary) Iskander Mirza with the help of General Ayub Khan was able to oust him in 1955.
The focus has to be on cohesion not conflict to build the nation. There has to be an unselfish co-operation of individuals to come out stronger.
After the promulgation of 1956 constitution he became the first President of the Republic. Elections were scheduled for 1958 to be held on the basis of one man one vote or adult franchise. To prolong his presidency he imposed martial Law on October 8, 1958. Two weeks later on October 27, 1958 the first Desi Army Chief Ayub Khan himself decided to take control of the country. As it is said rest is history.
A direct comparison between the first PM and the first real President reveals the change of direction of the leadership. Despite being a Nawabzada the PM had no house to live in. After his assassination in 1951 the family fell on hard times their property claims remain unsettled even till today. The unelected President allotted 40 kanals of prime land in the new capital where a mansion was built for him. His son Capt ® Gohar Ayub and heir apparent had a scooter loan when his father became the President.
Within a few years he entered the ranks of the privileged. His father-in-law Lt Gen ® Habibullah Khan Khattak launched Ghandhara Motors that started local assembly of automobiles. Politics is based on common good. In order to survive a politician has to serve his voters. Bureaucrats, Technocrats, Generals, Judges rely on organizational support to perform and move up the ladder, service to the people is not part of their routine.
Air Marshal Nur Khan was perhaps the ablest soldier of the country. He served in several capacities. Pakistan Air Force (PAF) was built by him and Air Marshal Asghar Khan his senior. After retirement, they both entered politics. Nur Khan’s political innings was short as he soon realized that he was not fit for this profession. Asghar Khan kept the struggle, the highlight of which has been the famous case against the establishment interference in the political process through alliances like the Islami Jamhoori Ittehad through which Nawaz Sharif was launched.
Khawaja Nazimuddin a prominent politician from the Eastern Wing first replaced Jinnah and remained Governor-General till 1951 and after that PM till 1953.
The founding fathers of Pakistan were well educated and able politicians who worked for common good. Unfortunately our transition to freedom has been repeatedly hijacked by the establishment and its hand picked inept politicians that we to have deal with today. I remember how Qayyum Khan as Bhutto’s Interior Minister overhauled the passport Directorate and established the Identity Card System which has now been computerized.
Today NADRA (National Data Registration Authority) has one of the best data network built by MIT educated Usman Mobin the current Chairman of the authority. Yes, Pakistan has talent which is cornered and frustrated while the establishment assisted by their handpicked and corrupt politicians rule in self-interests. Over the years several brands of Muslim League have been launched to be replaced on as needed basis.
All India Muslim League (AIML) was formed in 1906, since then only two political parties were launched for common good. In 1967 Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto (ZAB) after leaving the Ayub cabinet launched the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) to achieve an equitable distribution of wealth. Imran Khan after retiring from Cricket formed Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in 1996 for social justice. There is a long list of parties that were formed to deny common good in connivance with the colonial state apparatus.
Asghar Khan kept the struggle, the highlight of which has been the famous case against the establishment interference in the political process through alliances like the Islami Jamhoori Ittehad.
Currently, the Ex-President Asif Ali Zardari and Ex-PM Nawaz Sharif both are in jail while some are absconding (Shaukat Aziz, Pervez Musharraf). Being a genuine political entity that came into being for common good PPP will survive while the future of PML-N is uncertain as it has outlived its innings against the common good. The constitutions of 1956 and 1973 were formulated for common good to regulate the relationship between the rulers and the ruled. To deny common good the 1956 document was annulled while 1973 version has been disfigured several times.
Activism not pacifism is the way forward. When common good becomes uncommon it is the beginning of the end for a nation. Today Pakistan is a constitutional democracy headed by an elected PM who went through an extended political struggle spread over two decades. He was not discovered by the Generals and launched into the corridors of power to stall common good. We need to build national institutions to serve the people of the Islamic Republic. The focus has to be on cohesion not conflict to build the nation. There has to be an unselfish co-operation of individuals to come out stronger.
Only by working together for common good we can rise, otherwise we will perish. The era of the corrupt and unscrupulous is over. Politics is only for the pure and able who rise through their own struggle based on service to the people. Common good has to become common again as it was when the journey of Pakistan started.
Dr. Farid A. Malik is Ex-Chairman, Pakistan Science Foundation. The article was first published in The Nation and has been republished 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.