Remembering the Quaid

It is with a deep sense of gratitude but, sadly, mixed with an acute feeling of remorse and anguish that the people of Pakistan today view the 133rd birth anniversary of Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, and the country that he created for the Muslims of the subcontinent. With a single-minded resolve and conviction and unmatched brilliance and advocacy, he was able to bring home to the opponents of partition that Muslims were a nation apart in every sense of the word, in religion, in culture, in outlook on life, and would not countenance the dominance of the Hindu majority when the British had packed up and left India.

The people of Pakistan, while they are beholden to the Quaid for giving them an independent homeland are, at the same time, remorseful at what they – to be more exact, their leaders – have made of that priceless gift. It has been a turbulent 62 years, with rare but short spells of smooth sailing. There have been constitutional crises, inroads of bureaucracy into the political domain, and, the worst of all, periodic military coups, upsetting the democratic applecart hardly when the wares were beginning to get arranged. No more needs to be said in elaboration of these misfortunes except that the internecine bickering split up the original country into two, aided and abetted by a hostile neighbour. Pakistan, instead of marching ahead and finding a respectable place among the advanced nations of the world, as the Quaid had visualised, has regressed in aspects that provide fundamental structure of a modern Islamic democratic society.

The scenario today is scary but the fault lies with turning away from the principles that underlay the concept of the separate state. We escaped Hindu domination but find ourselves under American overlordship! If one can manage to avoid being robbed and killed in the process, suicide bombing or even the thought of it would ruin one’s dream of a peaceful and secure life. Despite a hardworking, intelligent workforce, we have failed to make use of the plentiful resources nature has endowed the country with. Highly productive projects, like Kalabagh Dam, have been abandoned at the altar of provincial narrow-mindedness. The stored waters would have virtually freed us of the worries about irrigation needs and power shortages. The concept of federation, instead of getting entrenched, remains fragile. There has been loot and plunder with gay abandon. The feudal mindset ruling the country has neglected education, the kingpin of progress and prosperity. The result: growing poverty. Things might appear hopeless, but all is not lost and the situation can be turned around in a matter of years. The need of the hour is a leadership fired with the imagination of serving the masses in a selfless manner, uplifting them from the dungeon of ignorance and indigence, bringing them in the mainstream of life and keeping the national interest supreme.—The Nation

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