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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Who dreams of Purana Pakistan? -Dr Farid A Malik

When the PTI came to power after the 2018 election, people believed that it would change the status quo, reform weak institutions, and prioritize justice and equality. However, even after three years, the much-promised ‘Naya Pakistan’ is yet to be seen. There is no apparent change seen in this government to differentiate it from the previous ones.

‘Khor’ (Eater) is an interesting word of the ‘Persian’ language extensively used in Urdu also. Several derivates of this phenomenon exist Adamkhor (Man-Eater), Rishwatkhor (Bribe Taker), Haramkhor (Forbidden Stuff Eater), Ghostkhor (Meat Eater), Dalkhor (Lentil Eater), Sabzikhor (Vegetarian), etc. Then there is another version ‘Khaar’ (Drinker): Khoonkhaar (Blood Drinker), Mahkhaar (Wine Drinker). In poetry, these terms are widely used. Omar Khayyam wrote, ‘While you are ‘Khunkhaar’ as you suck the blood of the people, I am only a ‘Mahkhaar’. Unfortunately in the land of the pure, it has been a big party from 1985 to 2018 (33 years) where only ‘Wining’ and ‘Dining’ have taken place by the ‘Khors and the Khaars’. The law and order situation in Pakistan has improved significantly, but the PTI would still have to do a lot more to maintain progress.
My late father the Tehreek-e-Pakistan Gold Medallist termed it ‘Dawat-e-Walima’ (Food which is served to celebrate the consummation of marriage in the hope of legitimate family expansion). In Punjab the most popular dish is ‘Pulao’ while in Sindh it is the ‘Sindhi Biryani’, both are equivalent to the famous words of the last Queen of France Marie Antoinette before the revolution toppled the Monarchy, she said to the hunger strike masses; “Eat your cake”.

The Islamic Republic of Pakistan has three shades

‘Asal’ (Real-Jinnah 1947 to 1958),  ‘Purana’ (Old-Zia, Sharif, Zardari  1977 to 2018) and ‘Naya’ (New-Imran 2018 to date). Because of the struggle of the ‘Progressive Activists,’ there was a brief period of democracy between (1971 to 1977) under the leadership of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto ZAB. After his judicial murder in April 1979, his daughter Benazir was tried but she was also eliminated in 2007 leaving the party in the soiled hands of her greedy husband. Recently the leader of the opposition Shahbaz Sharif proudly proclaimed that the people are longing for the ‘Purana Pakistan’.
His words reminded me of Empress Marie Antoinette before she was captured by the mob thereby igniting the French Revolution in May 1789. It also took me back in time when the first dictator Ayub Khan decided to celebrate his decade of progress (1958 to 1968), like the French revolution ‘It was best and worst of times. While the ‘Khors and the Khaars ‘ were celebrating, those who were left behind came on the streets. We the students of the first born free generation were at the forefront of this struggle against tyranny. Tear gas and Lathi Charge of his ‘Halaku Khan’s in the Police force could not quell our protests. In March 1969, the mighty Khan Empire collapsed and his heir apparent Capt (R) Gohar Ayub Khan could not ascend to the throne he had created in his new capital Islamabad which was close to his home in Haripur and his place of work in Rawalpindi.
I am sure the Adamkhors, Rishwatkhors, Haramkhors, Khoonkhars, Mahkhars must be dreaming of the ‘Purana Pakistan’ together with their stalled bounties. There is a very appropriate Urdu proverb that says; “Billi ko Chacharay Kay Khab” (The cat dreams all the time of the meat scraps or trimmings). Since 1985 when the ‘Tajirs and Juicers’ joined the already entrenched ‘Mirs, Pirs, Sains’, there has been an irreversible decline. Today the republic faces an institutional collapse. All the hard work of the builders of ‘Asal Pakistan’ has been neutralized by the rogues of ‘Purana Pakistan’.

Why Naya Pakistan is a complete disappointment?

Unforunately the players of ‘Naya Pakistan’ have not been able to dig their heels to stop this slide down. Even some ‘Khors and Khaars’ have managed to be a part of the team that is meant to take away their bounties. ‘Naya Pakistan’ is being derailed by these unsrupulous individuals who always manage to cling to power by slipping away form accountability.
As always, the bureaucracy and judiciary have decided to side with the old players, giving them the benefit of doubt even where it does not exist. While the public is unable to get relief, the ‘Khors and Khaars’ get away. By playing with his Platelets, Nawaz Sharif managed to enjoy his sojourn in London, while his younger brother was stopped at the airport at the last moment. Zardari has smart lawyers who keep getting adjournments. Neither exoneration nor conviction, the stalemate continues while the corrupt gain time. Even religous obligations like Haj, Umra and Walima are performed at public expense while it is strictly forbidden to do so. Pilgrimage is tied with individual affordability not misuse of power and perks as is the case today in the land of the pure. Public funds are for the common good not the fulfillment of individual piety.
While the public is ‘Khawar’ (devastated and suffering), the rulers enjoy their ‘Pulao’, Buryani, Mah aur Sagar. Ocassionally some of it is served to the public as bait to win favours  which creates an inhuman scene of the deprived humans. There is another interesting saying that decribes the current scenerio; “Halvai Ki Dhukan Nanna Ji Ka Fathia” (Freeloading). The dreams of the ‘Freeloaders’ have to be shattered by moving away from the ashes of  ‘Purana Pakistan’. For ‘Naya Pakistan’ to emerge a fresh start with new players has to be made, there is no going back to the old ways of the ‘Khors and Khaars’ if days of our ‘Khawari’ have to come to a close.
The writer is Ex-Chairman Pakistan Science Foundation. He can be reached at  fmaliks@hotmail. The views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.