SPEAKING FREELY Pakistan rots from the top down
By Mahboob A Khawaja
Speaking Freely is an Asia Times Online feature that allows guest writers to have their say. Please click hereif you are interested in contributing.
Pakistan is fast becoming a deadly theater of the absurd, amid unknown hatred, ethnic flare-ups, flourishing greed and political vindictiveness. On September 22, another outrageous attack at a church killed 85 or so innocent citizens of the minority Christian community. A few weeks earlier, 10 international hiker tourists were kidnapped and massacred in the mountainous K-2 region, and earlier Muslims of Shi'ite minority were repeatedly bombed in Quetta. (Mourners kept the dead bodies on display for days as a protest, asking for the military to safeguard their lives from in-house terrorism.)
There is no sense to make out of these cruel developments. The
global image of Pakistan and its political governance is under scrutiny. The scope of cruelty and viciousness is being enlarged everyday.
Are there any responsible people in governance who can be held accountable for the security of the nation? For a decade, Pakistan has endured senseless killings of the civilian population. Do the Muslim people of Pakistan have any collective consciousness still intact to realize that killing of one innocent person is equal to the killing of the whole of the mankind?
For what reason are these killings carried out and tolerated by political leaders? Is Pakistan governed by politicians with no awareness of the global reactions to their incompetence, foolishness and self-defeating criminal practices?
For more than a decade, Pakistan has been engulfed by a culture of deadly events, graft and gangster-dominated politics. It is as if society is embracing kidnapping, threats of violence, deaths of civilians and destruction of public security, and accepting diminishing trade, authoritarian trends in governance and intolerance.
There is no political, moral or religious justification for the on-going killings. These appear to be inhuman acts of psychopaths as part of a plan to undermine the future of the nation. If the sectarian violence is allowed to become a trend, it will dismantle the capacity of Pakistan to cope with a sustainable future.
If there any concerned and intelligent Pakistani politicians they should learn from history. Colin Wilson (A Criminal History of Mankind, 1984) explains how the Roman Empire declined once its sadistic and egomaniac leaders oversaw its collapse into chaos and ruin:
The Romans were slipping into violence by a process of self-justification, and once a nation or an individual has started down this particular slope,, it is impossible to apply brakes. The Roman people were too unimaginative and short sighted to realize that, once murder has been justified on grounds of expediency, it can become a habit, then a disease.
Pakistani politics does not seem form part of the 21st century knowledge-based age of reason and accountability. Those in the realm of power, are never open to listening and learning. The leaders are self-centered, ignorant and leave no room for reformation of the political process. For almost half of a century, the Pakistani nation has lived under the dark shadows of institutionalized corruption, crime-riddled political parties and its henchmen.
Pakistan continues to be governed by the wrong people, with wrong thinking and doing the wrong things. Nawaz Sharif was twice dismissed as premier on corruption charges and tried by General Pervez Musharraf over hijacking charges in 1999. Sharif and his collaborators do not enjoy the moral and intellectual leadership qualities needed to lead the nation.
Sharif was groomed by military generals. Such rulers have nothing new and positive for the future of Pakistan. The solution must come out of the new thinking and new visions of the young - the new generation of Pakistani scholars and intellectuals who are able to think independently.
There are no honest and credible politicians in the Pakistani system of governance. The masses are helpless as self-made leaders incur unpayable foreign debts that will saddle the country for generations to come.
The original teachings of Islam contain no extremism nor condone acts of terror against other human beings, yet the media allege that Taliban groups of Islamic extremists plan and attack visible minorities and their places of worship and even the common people of Pakistan in the name of their religion.
To a rational thinker, there can be no grounds to justify such attacks on the citizens of the country. All the minority groups and their places of worship are sacred to the nation. There can be no distinction or expediency to let them down when such challenges occur across the society. All of the citizens regardless of their faith and individual identities, must be protected by law.
Believers in Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Mohammad (peace be upon all of them) all worship God and according to Islamic teaching, are part of the Islamic values and history. How dare the Taliban or any other group to attack their places of worship? Do the Taliban follow a new precept of Islam?
Khyber Pakthunwa Province is governed by Imran Khan's Tehrek-e-Insaf. It seems Khan is unable to usher a new era of reformed politics and systematic accountable governance that protects human dignity and the minorities in that province. These dreadful killings do not set the stage for reformed politics. How strange that corrupt politicians should engage the Taliban in peace talks and expect the nation to accept their untimely and flawed gesture of peace.
Peace cannot be one-sided. Pakistani politicians and some of the military re notorious for their incompetence, treachery to national interests and shameful practices. This was clearly demonstrated when the American marines came in to kill Osama bin Laden and the case of Raymond Davis, who killed two Pakistanis but was freed by the direct intervention of former president Asif Ali Zardari and General Ashfaq Pervaiz Kiani.
The Taliban and many affiliated groups are funded and supported by foreign interests - and Pakistani generals and politicians know it too well. For too long, Pakistan's ruling elite has owed allegiance and loyalty to their foreign masters in Washington and London.
One of President Barack Obama's advisers, Bruce Riedel, recently described the Pakistani rulers (both civilian and military) as dubious characters who deceive the nation and make money by trading in their own interests.
The June election was supposed to usher a new beginning of change and reformation ("islaha") for the nation. Instead, Nawaz Sharif has simply replaced another well known thug and criminal, Asif Ali Zardari.
Change can only come through men of new ideas, a new visionary leadership of integrity. For almost two decades, Pakistan's capacity for change has been badly fractured and its moral, intellectual and political consciousness and values derailed and has undermined by the few. There are three major contending forces escalating conflicts to degenerate the future and cripple the freedom and integrity of Pakistan:
Firstly, the generals, who have ruled the country for almost four decades and are not willing to relinquish their own strategic- political powerhouse, militarization of the nation.
Secondly, feudal landlords cum politicians, the systematic by-products of the military generals are the selected few families - Bhutoos- Zardaris, Sharifs and Chaudris of Gujarat - acting as accomplice to support the military-based indoctrination as and when required for all seasons.
Finally, there is the people, the besieged masses of Pakistan - the net participatory victims and reactionaries to all of the tragedies for over 40 years.
Politicians pretend to label Pakistan as an Islamic state. But there is no Islam in the governance of the political system; it is a shame and an insult to the educated new and conscientious generations and thinking people of Pakistan. Islam does not coerce or violate the rights of the minorities but has an obligation to protect them in all spheres of life.
If Pakistan had Islam leadership, would they be complacent in the killing of their own citizens?
No contemporary politician thinks of Pakistan and its original foundation, its national interests or the interests of the people - the logical legitimacy factor to the embodiment of Islamic Pakistan. More than 40 years of time and opportunities have been stolen from the precious lifeline of the nation of Muslim Pakistan; yet, nobody has been charged and convicted with any crime nor punished for their treachery and monstrous actions against the freedom and integrity of the country.
Pakistan embodies multiple self-inflicted tragedies unknown in modern history. Power politics in Pakistan have become an outcome of institutionalized corruption, conspiracies, killings, and treachery to the national interests. The generals, politicians and assemblies are all the by-products of this flourishing business.
Pakistan is fast drowning in its own dreadful act of indifference, faltering security and a sickening history of killings to support the foreign agendas of war and strategic priorities. To change and reform the political governance, Pakistani must pursue political activism to bring the educated and intelligent people into leadership roles.
The rulers hold the absolute power in Pakistan. There is no democracy, no political accountability and there is no legitimate political system. Do the politicians need a high power jolt to change the course of history? If so, such such a powerful jolt can only come from the determination, proactive vision and organization of the people.
Speaking Freely is an Asia Times Online feature that allows guest writers to have their say.Please click hereif you are interested in contributing. Articles submitted for this section allow our readers to express their opinions and do not necessarily meet the same editorial standards of Asia Times Online's regular contributors.
Dr Mahboob A Khawaja specializes in global security, peace and conflict resolution with keen interests in Islamic-Western comparative cultures and civilizations, and author of several publications including the latest, Global Peace and Conflict Management: Man and Humanity in Search of New Thinking, (Lambert Publishing Germany, 2012).