Note: This article was completed on August 4, 2014. Since then little has changed; this piece is still relevant on this 68th Independence Day.
Stray reflections on the 67th Independence Day
For the sane in Pakistan the fight is about protecting the values, the humanity has developed in the course of thousands of years, from the political and religio-political witchcraft, which it is intent upon destroying thoughtlessly. How the time-tested values were trashed (and are being trampled even this moment) when Pakistan came into being is a saga of ruthless fights between the politicians continuing to this very day, the August 14.
The greatest deceptive lessons the politicians taught the citizens derive their justification from the misconception that a state may be based on this or that faith, or ideology. That also hints at the infatuation that a theocratic state is a political possibility; whereas history has no such example to show but the only ones which ultimately proved tyrannies and relaxed in political absolutism.
In addition to such ideological adventures, another fever gripped the nation’s mind from the very beginning; that is the notion of an omnipotent welfare state. The politics exclusively revolving around the slogan of such a state gave rise to a state which started feeding itself on the hard-earned money of the citizens. Thus, not only became the state a handmaiden in the hands of every types of criminals under the leadership of politicians, but gradually it turned out to be the cruelest enemy of the citizens of Pakistan itself.
Resultantly, the state of Pakistan became a goldmine for the elite classes, and in order to appropriate the resources which the state happens to possess and generate, there emerged a new class, which the writer has termed as the State Aristocracy (Riyasati Ashrafiya) and which he has elaborated upon in his Urdu book, Pakistan Mein Riyasati Ashrafiya Ka Urooj (The Rise of State Aristocracy in Pakistan). This class of Riyasati Ashrfiya thrives and survives by its capture of the institution of the state and its resources, and use the slogan of democracy to befool the citizens of Pakistan. That is why the Pakistani Riyasati Ashrafiya is thoroughly against constitutionalism, rule of law, and an independent judiciary, and the latest evidence in this regard comes from the Parliament’s efforts to give more powers to the Parliamentary Commission vis-à-vis the Judicial Commission as far as appointment of the judges for the higher courts are concerned.
Despite the emergence of this new class of Riyasati Ashrafiya in Pakistan, the political elites remain divided and at dagger-drawn towards their own tribes. That’s what is happening today in Islamabad. It’s actually a ruthless fight to capture the state of Pakistan. But why does this fight continue even after about 7 decades have seen Pakistan go from bad to worse? What’s wrong with Pakistan, and its political elites or the new class of Riyasati Ashrafiya?
Philosophically, the chronic cancer may be diagnosed and explained thus: whenever any size of community forms, in order to live together the members of it agree to follow certain values, i.e. sort of a code of conduct. Never ever any community did come into being on the basis of a faith or an ideology. It was always an agreement or a contract to abide by certain values and rules which with the passage of time were abandoned; and what remained to be followed and imposed by this group on that group had only the semblance of a faith or an ideology leaving its moral core behind to rot. This complex phenomenon may be simplified by proposing that the abandonment of moral principles or values or rules of conduct served the interests of the elite classes who and/or their cohorts, without conspiring, politicized the faith or ideology of their community to perpetuate their rule and appropriate the resources of the kingdom or the state they happened to rule. The same took place when the state of Pakistan was instituted in 1947 on this day of August 14.
Integral to this is another proposition: When a community forms together, it invests certain persons with powers to give protection of life, property, and personal freedom to each and all of its members without any discrimination. Also, part of this function is the provision of justice and that to all equally. That is what comes to be instituted and known as a state. From the day one, Pakistani citizens were bereft of this protective role of their state and to this moment remain so. Their life, property and personal freedom are more than ever vulnerable today to the whims both of state and non-state actors. The ordinary Pakistani citizens were never that insecure in Pakistan as the present day Pakistan has forced them to be!
All the more reason to despair today is that the same political elite which is ruthlessly fighting for the capture of the state of Pakistan is exhorting the ordinary citizens, and spending millions to celebrate the Independence Day! What is there to celebrate? Celebrate the state of Pakistan, which has badly failed in protecting its citizens’ person and property and their personal freedom! Or celebrate the thoughtless fight for the capture of the state of Pakistan?
Must we ask what is there to celebrate on this 67th day of independence? What did we achieve through these 7 decades? Should we celebrate that chronic disease called Disagreement, or the Lack of Consensus? Ji, that lack of consensus between the political elites which did not allow a constitution take shape and secure Pakistani citizens their constitutional freedoms during the first 25 years or so after Pakistan was established. For the next 40 years, the citizens knew they had a constitution, but never enjoyed the security of their person, property and personal freedom.
Instead, what the ordinary citizens witness today is that despite the existence of a constitution which is verily in enforcement, certain political elites are adamant to give it up for an Anti-Constitutional Revolution which will make them capture the state of Pakistan! That means Pakistan virtually has no constitution to run the state of Pakistan. The fight for the capture of the state is still raging on the 67th Independence Day. It is the political elites which are demeaning the state and the constitution of Pakistan. That delivers a message for the citizens of Pakistan to heed: Demean the political elites! They are their culprits!