New Age Islam
Tue Dec 06 2022, 11:46 PM

Islam and Politics ( 16 Sept 2010, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Wake up Pakistan – before it’s too late

It’s always darkest before the dawn

By Essa Mian

WHEN I was young I only had one aim in life, one aspiration, one objective. I wanted to join politics and help people. The life of a political worker amused me so much that I used to look forward to holidays from school only so I could go back to my village and be involved in the local politics, spend time with people and watch my father try to solve their problems. I was told helping people is what politics is all about, it’s a social cause, an honour; its neither a profession nor a hobby, but a lifetime of dedication and commitment. I believed it. How naïve was I and how aloof from reality were the people who told me all of that.

As early as high school I had realized that our country is plagued with corrupt, inept, incompetent and selfish politicians who neither had any ideology nor any vision. I had started to loose interest in politics and I even believed, when I first heard, that the word politics is derived from poly-tics and it means “many blood sucking parasites”. It made sense at the time. Hell, it still makes sense. But even then there was always something in me which never let me pursue any other subject or explore other horizons, so to say. I kept coming back to it. Politics was in my blood. It’s like how a banker’s kid always turns to banking and how a general’s son always wants to join the army. Well there are always exceptions but doing what your father did always has its advantages. The experience you get from just watching, listening and following your father and of course, an opportunity to get good, genuine advice. I guess there is more to it than just that, but in short, one tends to be better at doing stuff he grew up with. This is the only reason why I still follow our country’s politics otherwise there is nothing in it to attract young people.

As our country is getting older our youth and our middleclass are getting disoriented and disinterested in our current affairs. And that is a very alarming sign. I remember once on Election Day my classmates and I got together to go out and vote. I was astonished to find out that half of them didn’t have their ID cards made and the rest who had their ID cards didn’t know which polling station they were registered at. We decided to ask their parents and one of my friend’s father’s response sums up the state of our electoral process perfectly, “main nain sari zindagi vote nahin diya toh mere betay ka kahan register hona hai”. Now these are the educated, middleclass, hardworking people who are the backbone of any nation. If people like these are distancing themselves from the political process then it is not surprising that this country is in the hands of these “blood sucking parasites”. It is a big misconception that revolutions are brought about by the masses. It is always the middleclass which evokes, encourages and motivates the masses to take to the streets. But they only do so when they themselves are neglected by the elite and today Pakistani middleclass is experiencing just that.

Today we have two mainstream parties with its bands of all season “jeray jitay oodey naal” parties running havoc in the country. PML-N has gone from a dictator made rightwing mughal mindset party to a Bhuttoesque leftwing mughal mindset party. ANP has gone from a secular Bacha Khan ideology to a GHQ Wali mindset. MMA has so many M’s that I M afraid to even talk about the M. PPP has gone from a leftwing socialist party to a party of Zia loyalist, establishment friendly lotas. (Interestingly all of these have taken a U-turn on ideology without a single amendment in their party manifesto). And then there is that fascist party which believe it or not seems like the only party which gives true representation to the people. Imran khan is a one man army and his is the only voice of reason in this jukebox of political comedians. The system doesn’t want him and his strategy so far doesn’t seem to be working. He talks about overhauling the education system, giving complete autonomy to the judiciary and ending corruption. If any two of the above are achieved Pakistan can be saved but the only man who people trust and look up to either doesn’t have faith in his own abilities or doesn’t have the time to build a team which can see him through. Shaukat Khanum is a great cause and he has to work very hard in order to keep it running but if this country doesn’t survive Shaukat Khanum won’t have any patients to tend to. We need to support and encourage people like Imran khan who give a ray of hope in this pitch darkness of leadership vacuum.

Our nation is surrounded by controversies and we tend to get so involved in the next big thing that we completely loose focus of the previous disaster or the bigger picture. In a month’s time we have shifted from Cameron’s statement to Zardari’s UK visit to the shoe throwing incident to media blockade to the floods to Altaf Hussain’s catalyst statement and now to the match fixing scandal. This latest controversy in cricket only reflects the state of mind of every Pakistani these days. With a man like Zardari at the helm of things, what else can be expected from ordinary citizens of this nation? All institutions have failed so why is it such a big deal if our cricketers are privy to such pathetic behaviour. If our President can do it, the PM can do it, the generals can do it, the judges can do it, then why the hell should the cricketers not do it? Because we are passionate about cricket or because these poor immoral kids have not been accepted to the elite core yet?

Nevertheless, if these allegations are proven to be true then everyone involved should be banned for life but we also need to realize that we are all somewhat responsible for their actions. We don’t question when a bureaucrat changes his fortunes in one life time and turns his assets from dust to gold but we are upset when the same bureaucrat oversees the beating to death of innocent boys in Sialkot, we don’t question how are political leaders have become the richest people in the country but we get furious when the same people plunder the aid received for flood victims, we don’t question when our judicial system allows the fraudulent candidates to contest in general elections but we feel outraged when the same people raid the Supreme court, we don’t question why the military gets such a huge part of our budget but we feel obliged to keep it away from taking over and let the “democratic process” continue, we don’t question when our media corrupts our minds with their melodramatic political saas bahu style talk shows but we get on the streets when the same channels are blocked by the very same class they represent and we don’t question how our own forefathers accumulated their wealth but when people like Riaz Malik flaunt their wealth we call it 2 number paisa.

There is a cause and effect for everything. The faces on the forefront might be those of the politicians, the military, the media, the bureaucracy, the judiciary, or even the cricket team, the fact remains that the people in all those institutions come from our midst. We are failing as a nation, as a society, as individuals and if we want to build our nation we have to correct our society and to do that we need to improve and better ourselves as individuals. We are told that we have a very vibrant and active civil society now, the moral police so to say. We are told it’s the awakening we have been waiting for and now that this moral police have taken birth and are flourishing, things will improve for our country. Although there are some good people out there who are working dedicatedly and wholeheartedly for the betterment of this country, the rest of them are only out there because they have nothing better to do with their lives. It’s mostly the kids with elitist mindsets who see the suffering and want to do something without hurting the status quo which they themselves are a part of. I know it’s fashionable to support a cause and voice your opinion but unfortunately we are the reason why our country is in the state that it is. We have the power to bring a change but we are too busy indulging in trying to do “right thing” without even knowing what that right thing is or what it stands for. The time is passing by fast and if we still don’t wake up then the very people we are pretending to help will come after us with sticks and stones and teach us a lesson we so dearly deserve.

They say it’s always darkest before the dawn. Today our country is going through its darkest phase but we must look to the future optimistically. We must unite as people and tell ourselves that together we will guide this country out of this storm and lead it to prosperity, stability and progression. We have what many develop countries can only dream of; abundant natural resources, rich and fertile land, ideal geographical location, and above all, a very talented and capable human resource. We just need to stop waiting for good leadership to emerge out of oblivion and help us maximize our potential. We have many Ataturks, Mandelas, Muhatirs and Jinnahs amongst us and to bring them to the forefront all we need to do is change the thinking from, “iss mulk ka kuch nahin ho sakta” to, “iss mulk ke liye main he kuch karon ga”. It’s time to show the world that Pakistan is a nation of fighters. Wake up Pakistan – before it’s too late.

Source: Dawn, Pakistan