United we stand, divided we fall!

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Nosheen Saeed:

On 14th August 1947, Pakistanis achieved their cherished goal of freedom and established Pakistan as an independent sovereign State, where they could live freely with honour, dignity and self-respect. God blessed Pakistan with enormous wealth, resources, potentialities and possibilities. To utilize these gifts, God provided talented, committed and enterprising people, possessing a vision, ability and devotion. Every Pakistani had the opportunity to contribute towards his homeland by serving it honestly, sincerely and selflessly thus leading his homeland towards progress, prosperity and development.

The early departure of Quaid-e-Azam left Pakistan in a state of quandary. Every successive government was worse than the other; each blamed the other for its deceptive and destructive policies. The previous being the devil and the current pristine. This tug of war weakened institutions and law and order. Intolerance grew giving birth to sectarianism and discrimination between caste, creed and communities. Government after government shelved national wellbeing and worked towards personal and vested interests. Those who were against the creation of Pakistan became the ruling class. To perpetuate their rule, they trampled fundamental law, morals, values, principles, traditions, discipline and code of conduct.

The issues held dear by the Quaid, national integrity, social justice, faith and supremacy of law were shrouded. The Quaid’s image was modified to suit the dubious ends of our time tested, tried and failed politicians. This cliché took over the State and ruled over it like a colony imposing its rule on the slaves – hapless people. Lacking originality, vision, sincerity and having no notion of governance, leave alone good governance, unleashed a reign of confusion. Our social and religious ideology succumbed to pressures and quick fixes. Consequently, it was misconstrued and adjusted according to circumstances. Democracy suffered at the hands of civil and military oligarchs. A reign of corruption, favouritism and personal aggrandizement was unleashed, killing merit, competence and professionalism. Infringement and contravention sowed the seeds of provincialism and sectarianism. Instead of galvanizing the people towards national integrity and following the Quaid’s motto of unity, faith and discipline, dissension and diversion, set in. Loot and plunder of the State’s riches continued by mercenaries, the rich became richer and the poor became poorer thus with the passage of time an unbridgeable gulf between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’ widened.

The Quaid found it painful to see the curse of provincialism holding sway over Pakistan. It was imperative to get rid of this evil which he considered a relic of the old administration when people clung to provincial autonomy and local liberty of action to avoid British control. After the creation of Pakistan, having one’s own central government, it was a folly to continue to think in the same terms. This is truth easily forgotten by people who begin to prize local, sectional or provincial interest above national interests. In the words of the Quaid, “Local attachments have their value but what is the value and strength of a part, except within a whole.” He further emphasized, “Our duty to the State comes first; our duty to our province, to our district, to our town and to our village and ourselves comes next.” On another occasion he stated, “You must learn to distinguish between your love for your province and your love and duty to the State as a whole, our duty to the State takes us a stage beyond provincialism. It demands a broader sense of vision and greater sense of patriotism.” He asked to pause and consider before taking any step whether it would be conditioned by ones personal or local likes or would be determined by consideration of the good of the State: “Representative governments and representative institutions are no doubt good and desirable, but when people want to reduce them merely to channels of personal aggrandizement, they not only lose their value but earn a bad name.” A bright future lay ahead if individuals, both officials and non-officials, play their part and work in this spirit. Pakistan would emerge as one of the greatest nations of the world.

While talking on the subject of sectarianism, the Quaid declared, “If you want to build up yourself into a Nation, for god’s sake give up this provincialism. Provincialism has been one of the curses; and so is sectionalism – Shia, Sunni etc.” He warned the Nation not to fall into the trap of the enemies of Pakistan who were unfortunately Muslims financed by outsiders.
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Our Land

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Proud to be a Pakistani

S. Tariq

I recently had the opportunity to travel from Abu Dhabi to London on business. Let me confess that I am not a happy air traveller and nine times out of 10 am inclined to take a sedative and sleep my way through the flight. This time however, I made an exception and struck up a conversation with a middle aged, distinguished looking European sitting in the seat next to mine. After our initial exchange of pleasantries was over, we came to the inevitable question of where we came from. When I told him that I was a Pakistani, he looked at me in a distinctly uncomfortable manner. Feeling a bit peevish and angry, I asked him if something was bothering him. He stuttered a bit and then said: “To tell you the truth, I do not know how to carry on a conversation with anyone from Pakistan, since they invariably come around to lambasting westerners for all ills that beset their country.” I was now confronted with a complex situation where I had to, in the few hours that we had available, act as an unaccredited ambassador of my country and also keep myself engaged in conversation to distract my mind from the ‘perils’ of flying. By the time we landed at Heathrow, I had managed to salvage the Pakistani image to a large extent and secure an invitation to lunch at the gentleman’s family home in Sussex. We are now good friends and ‘Wally’, as I shall discreetly call him, has become an avid lobbyist for everything Pakistani.

Passengers travelling on a foreign airline flying from the United Arab Emirates to Pakistan were awakened from their reverie by loud expletives answered by a soft female voice trying to explain that snatching up a second tray of food from the passing trolley was a definite ‘no no’. Perhaps it was the sight of the chic stewardess, who spoke Urdu flawlessly, that had aroused the ‘macho male chauvinist’ in the moustached and bearded Pakistani, but the man was berating the poor girl in a language that made me lower my head in shame.

The other day, while window shopping with my family in Jinnah Super, we were stopped in our tracks by the sight of a Pakistani escorting a group of elderly foreign visitors around the shops. The man, who appeared educated and fairly well-to-do, was engaged in what can best be termed as a despicable show of subservience and sycophancy towards his charges. I wonder whether he was amply rewarded by his colonial master’s for selling his pride and making a fool out of himself.

And now we have the story, where a bunch of our so-called ‘cricketing heroes’ got the snubbing of their life in the recently conducted Indian Premier League bidding gala, when not one of the teams made a bid for them. I wonder how many of these stars will return home chastised with the realisation that they have brought a bad name to Pakistan and how many of them will once again rush to the next auction only to suffer more humiliation.

Somehow our concept of national pride got warped with the early demise of our Founding Father and the inept leadership that followed. We set aside the notion of collective pride in being Pakistanis and set about developing individual vanity. We nurtured a culture where quiet dignity and humility were considered signs of weakness and as an icing on the cake, we demonstrated our negative qualities to the outside world. We did not even then realise what damage we had done, till such time we were singled out at foreign airports and visa offices and subjected to procedures that no self-respecting human would tolerate.

I often wonder if we can turn things around, before it is too late. I have begun a personal campaign of politely telling people not to spit on the sidewalk or litter our roads, not to put posters on road signs meant to guide people, not to break queues or traffic lanes and generally behave in a dignified manner. In doing so, I have courted trouble, but I intend to persevere in the hope that others will follow my example and perhaps one day this small group of people will grow, heralding a change – a change that will spawn a new breed of citizens who will travel forth into the world commanding respect, awe and pride in being a Pakistani.

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Long Live Pakistan

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