Pakistan News Service

Thursday Oct 17, 2019, Safar 17, 1441 Hijri

Which way to (re)start?

06 February, 2007

By Muhammad Ahsan Yatu

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Change of profession is a difficult proposition in Pakistan due to shortage of opportunities. The story of the extraordinary people who make up less than one percent of our population is different. They can change anything, even their gender, due to their hold over resources. They aspire to become politicians also. As Russell said, after having affluence, the next and the last step on the ladder of success is to have political power.

Our extraordinary lot comprises the urban and the rural 'aristocracy' and top soldiers. They run their institutions and businesses, accumulate ambitions and wealth, topple or help topple governments and take over the reins of the state. Or they turn democrats and manage their entry into the corridors of power through elections. They do so by replacing each other, often with ease and sometimes through a clash also. The clash among them is the clash of personalities and not of policies. Time eventually makes them politicians too. What kind of politician? That can be judged from the continuing decline of the political process in Pakistan. Regardless, their change of profession or, more candidly, their assuming of one more profession is not resented. Rather, it is welcomed and tolerated, and tolerated for long.

From old history we know that for ancient societies, stability, even if it meant submission, had remained a paramount need. It mattered little who brought it — the warlords, the chieftains, the kings, insiders or outsiders — and whosoever brought it was welcomed. Today in the West, including the Americas, and also in many societies of the East, stability is still a paramount need, but unlike the past, it is now directly proportional to people's participation in political and economic processes. An imbalance in proportionality is no longer tolerated. People rise and fight for their rights, using the platform of the political party to which they belong.

The story of society in Pakistan is the same as it was in a millennia old world. Despite joblessness, poverty, social disparities, coercion and political deprivation, our society is apparently not ready to fight back. It is due to many reasons such as the joint family system, a predisposition to live with the minimum, illiteracy, apathy, absence of organisation, belief in fate, fear of anarchy, and adaptability. But the dominant reason is that people do not have a direction, platform, or political party. They do not find much difference in the dispensation of various rulers, i.e. between a soldier's rule and a politician's rule; a feudal's rule and an industrialist's rule; an Islamist's rule and an enlightened moderate's rule. Phrases like 'the ugliest democracy is better than the fairest dictatorship' do not attract them.

People's acceptance of any rule is because of fear of anarchy. Anarchy is, as it was many millenniums ago, a cause of fear even today. The regimes in Pakistan since 1958, when the countrywide martial law was first imposed, invoked the factor of adaptability, i.e. tolerance for prolonged dictatorial rule. Like other species, humans too have strong traits of adaptability. However, it is not so with the people of the so-called first and second worlds and some of the third world countries. Their transformation into an 'intolerant' species, the fighters, is a result of a long intellectual and physical struggle. The people of this part of the subcontinent had learned, and even practised, this kind of struggle when the British ruled India. The momentum of the colonial era struggle remained with us, in one form or the other, till 1958. Afterwards, the generals and their friends from the urban and rural aristocracy attacked it and succeeded in eroding it gradually, and by the year 1999 it was almost gone.

It was done by changing the attitudes of people. Their interest in intellectual and physical development of society was diverted to non-issues, such as the Indo-Russian threat, Palestine, Kashmir, unity of the Ummah, superiority of the armed forces, atomic bomb, etc. In fact, the rulers themselves were fearful due to their elitist background and also due to the fact that they had little knowledge of modern statecraft. The incompetent bureaucracy that came to us as a colonial baggage was also fearful. Whosoever ruled, ruled under fear. Hence coercion and the attack on people's ability to struggle. In Pakistan, political power is not Russell's last step. Here it means self-preservation, multiplication of affluence, and extension of hold over resources. Here it means meanness and greed, regardless of who adopts it, the so-called aristocrats or the generals. This meanness and greed pushed us back by many centuries. The factors of capitulation and adaptability that had disappeared to a great degree during the rule of the British have returned and become entrenched.

Thus it should surprise none if President Musharraf has sustained his strange rule and has become a half-politician as well. If he doffs his uniform and participates in elections, he would become full politician. But even to become a politician like the ones that we have, he would have to pluck up courage. Would he? Soldier-presidents may be able to do anything they like, but they are not that courageous when it comes to fighting political battles without their uniform. Remember General Ayub Khan's reaction to the uprising against him. He became so fearful and nervous that he undid the very Constitution that he had himself contrived. The other soldier-presidents, General Yahya Khan and General Ziaul Haq, who came after him considered it safe to remain in uniform till the end of their respective careers.

It could be argued that before elections there are little chances of Musharraf's parting with his uniform. And after the elections, if they are held and if things remain undisturbed, his uniform would become a necessity also for elected politicians. The kind of politicians and political setup we have will not be able to rule the country in the grip of the fear of anarchy without the support of the army. However, keeping Pakistan's society composed and united any longer will not be that easy. People do tolerate oppression and exploitation for the sake of stability, but it does not mean things would remain smooth forever.

In Pakistan, conflicting diversities are in a much larger number than the cohesive ones. Add to them the increasing starvation and criminalisation of every aspect of life, and the resulting picture is a forecast for sudden anarchy. And sudden anarchy would remain a possibility till a pro-people party emerges and enters the political arena. Before the elections of 2002, most of us were of the opinion that the army was responsible for all the ills of Pakistan. During and after the elections, whatever happened was awful; whether it was a search for BA degrees, certificates from the madrassas, formation of alliances, manipulation of election results, the passage of LFO, vote of confidence for the president, Jamali's ouster, or the induction of Shaukat Aziz, the army and politicians did it together.

And that led many of us to believe that not only the army, but the nation as a whole is in terrible need of guidance. And only a social democratic political party can provide that. In fact, the absence of the political Left is the real reason for all the ills of Pakistan. Is the political Left, whatever exists in our part of Pakistan, ready to come out? It must, because there is no other way out.

P.S. The call for the Left's resurrection may have come from Lahore, but only those democrats who can rise and resist, and live and die in Pakistan can lead and succeed. Let us wait for a Mengal, Marri, Bizenjo and Bugti. They are around, but we will have to accept them first as human beings.


Reader Comments:


Excellent analysis!
Diversity enriches democracy & strengthens it. We also need Communists & athiests on board. Army rule is just an excuse for Stability & national security( actually it's military's insecurity). We also have get away fron the idea of devine supremacy ( or is it religious insecurity). Let practice the principle of " Live & let Live". Let's get rid off the draconian laws and draconian constitution.
Great philosophers & constitutional scholars elsewhere ( mostly in West) have already done the work, there is no harm in copying them.

a s ahmed, Pakistan - 06 February, 2007

Why should we die for a new king?

If we get " a Mengal, Marri, Bizenjo and Bugti", then Allah help us as they represent not the left but a tribal war lord mind if the type we would not be alive to regret.Mr Yatu you have got it wrong.As long as the public feels they can tolerate things, they can not be aggitated enough to fight.That is the dilema ooooooooof the political parties of today.The present set up is preforming better than the PPP (2 times) or the ML-N (2 times).Inspite of 2/3 mandate what new legislation did they bring in to change laws which are more than 100 years old and taken over from early colonial times? And that is the nub of the question.Do not blame the public for the short commings of the politicians.The PPP has a president for life now and ML-N almost the same. Why should they be supported.What political programme do they have? None.That is the answer.

M.Iqbal, Pakistan - 06 February, 2007

Which way to

Let us say its a new beginning. What is lacking in Pakistan is the education and morale of the nation though there are some too good people and there is no one like them in this world but they are not in majority. Education is a must and then role of Paper Media, TV, School, Colleges and Universities. The best place to take a start is the home where Mom and Dad got to teach their kids the difference between right and wrong though its knows by nature that humans know the difference from the start. Rule whether its a military or civilian people got to take the responsibility to contribute honestly. Honesty must be taught and punishments given to those who break the law and order. Mal-practices can minimize if so called leaders change themselves. If they can't change replace them and induct fresh blood with latest teachings. No one is treated too bad in Pakistan but anyone who plays with the government and become a terrorist must be dealt with. An Islamic country do treat most of their people like good human beings but NO ONE IS ABOVE THE LAW and those who like make their own States within Pakistan are not allowed to do so and do need to be dealt with severely. Respect the law whatever the conditions are you all have to change and improve them collectively. Vote the poeple who are honest and refrain giving backing to those who are already corrupt. Knowing voting them in is wrong and will not make a good sense of vote. May be with time it will change.

mohammad, United Arab Emirates - 06 February, 2007

Chaos or anarchy favours those who control!

Situation in Pakistan needs to be seen in broader perspective.
Pakistan's very creation had the will and support of British because of their plans to create an apple of discord in the form of Kashmir and thus creating a basis for the wars and so have a continous basis for their or Americans influence in the form of selling militaryhardware and training.British made it easy for Jinnah to proceed,no arrests,no hard time except for the masses who payed through their blood.
British knew that both military (as Punjab supplied soldiers to British for control its colonies)and civil service are educated and trained to keep British or Americans interests above that of their nation.In India it didn't work out because of the bigger country and maturity and strenght of politicians due to their sufferings and struggles.Proofs are available while Nehru had an attempt on his life by CIA(Read Killing hope by WIlliam Blum on internet Ayyub Khan was put on payroll and he got $2Lakhs per year until death.Ayyub khan according to his nick name that he got in the end payed his masters well(not the nation that fed him but Americans who payed him stipend)Killing of Liaqat Ali Khan and Fatema Jinnah has been suspected on him.ALso while Nehru refused to buy military hardware from only one source knowing that means expensive deals,blackmail at the time of need for spare parts and loyalty of Officers to the arm suppplying nation as is their psyche.Nehru made an army loyal to its nation.
But it didn't end there, it continues now as well.Superpowers are involved in the internal affairs even to the extent of creatin chaos because it is part of preexemption that is said to be the strategy of control.Also with the loyalty of military bought on greed or fear(carrot and stick) strengthens the strategy.Now with this so called "war on terrorism" is a ground for the strengthening of the intelligence agencies in the country and making them directly loyal to the agencies supervising them of foreign powers.SO the chaos is part of the deal and when it becomes big you could call it anarchy.
Anarchy could end when the army is loyal to nation and obedient to the civilian authority which gets direct feedback from the constituencies of elected politicians.Militarys rule has caused deterioration of the law and order condition,it has created fear in the masses by acting as servants of other intelligence agencies, and so kidnapping,torture and killing is going on ,all for greed and fear .Of the whole institution which is so highly paid from a poor nation.Generals don't care how people perceive the army or nation as long as they can make money and benefit the mafia that supports them including the military personell.People in Pakistan should realise and speak against it.THis is a very dangerous trend.People should not support those politicians who for their immediate benefit support and demand for electing of Musharraf in uniform.This will put Pakistan into a very disgraceful set up the effects of which will take many many decades to remove.

Dr.Khan, United Kingdom - 07 February, 2007

How long will this go on?

Yato sahib, very good article. So this is the situation in the land of the pure ones. The castle of islam. After 60 years, we are still looking for good leaders and good governing system.
One wonder how long will this be going on? Do not these people have some kind of pride? Pride of being Pakistanis. Or at least beeing muslims? Do not these people think> how will history judge me? Will people come to pray, because of what good i did for the nation, on my grave or piss on it?
Allah, the allmighty, who has given me so much, why can not i be thankful to him by beeing kind and wise for my nation? OR AT LEAST LET IT ALONE?

Khan G Farooq, Norway - 07 February, 2007

My be we should all stop being Pakistanis?

Time and again one can read and see Pakistanis critical to former and today's Pakistani polticians. THAT IS GOOD. But I often wonder how critical will that same person be, if the criticed politician invite the critciser to join him? My be even offer him some kind of post? The point is most of us are only VERY critical to a certain politician, because he/she has not offered us any kind of benefits. The moments he/she does, most of us will bow down to him/her and even admire and prise him/her.
The funny thing is> here in Norway, at every 14th of August, some people and organizations invest a lot of money in inviting and hosting some kind of politicians AND OFIVIALS from Pakistan. They never ask themselvs> what has this person REALLY done for my community of origan or EVEN for Pakistan? Does he/she really deserve what i am offering him/her? NO NO their brain never work that fast. They are only VERY happy to have the 'EXCLUSIVE' honour of having been allowed to sitt with the inviteds on the same stage AND FEEL VERY INFLUENTCIAL AND IMPORTANT. ALSO HAVE SOME groupphotgrahs taken. IN short the old feeling of chaudrypan.
SO HOW CAN THERE BE ANY REAL CHANGES IN PAKISTAN, WHEN WE, INSIDE PAKISTAN OR ABROAD, LET US SELL SO CHEAP? Also we socalled welleducated ones are the same. Be honest> if bb or ns did give you some kind of post, would you also THEN be as critical as you are now? Of course not.
The media is the most corupted and ANTINATIONAL sector in Pakistan>
TV> ful of semiporno=modern=western clad women, dramas after dramas after dramas. DAY AFTER DAY. When did somebody watch any informative kind of programs AND SERIALS on Pakistani tv? Programs about the world outside Pakistan. How far it has progressed and most important HOW it did that? Or programs/serials for the benefit of the poor viewer.
Paper media is even worse> full of FANCY models, with cloths 99 % of Pakistani womens will not have the money to buy. Paper media never think about putting any government under pressure about the plight of our educaton sector, for exempel. THEY ARE SO STUPID, THAT THEY DO NOT UNDERSTAND THAT IF MORE PEPOLE GET EDUCATED, THEY WILL BE THE VERY FIRST ONES TO HARVEST THE FRIUTS OF THAT. BECAUSE THE EDUCATED MASSES WILL READ MORE NEWAPAPERS, MAGAZINES AND BOOKS. Therefore their business will grow. SO WILL, NAURALLY, THEIR PROFITS.
In the end, may be WE ALL need to change our mentality? Into being Pakistanis without thinking like Pakistanis?
BTW> Conditions will never change in Pakistan as long there is racism in Pakistan. As long as people, regardless their zat and clan are not treated equally, ALSO AFTER ELECTIONS, by the politicians we may forget any real progress and unity.

Khan G Farooq, Norway - 08 February, 2007

No more third world for Pakistan

Seperation of church and state in a predominately Islamic country. Could it be that Pakistani people are finally figuring out that rule of religion is open to infinite interpertataion of how humans think whereas the rule of law is limited to human actions? Find someone for the people, elected by the people, hold them accountable, and pray for the best. Good luck and Gods' speed. Maybe Amir Latif?

carlos santanna, United Kingdom - 08 February, 2007

First step

First step needs to be to get together as many people who are educated,with credentials in their fields and credibility due to it, and retired(so time to spend) and willing to work.
To reach them, an ad be put in the newspaper for such interested to get together for the sake of Pakistan and Pakistanis.I should be careful to say Islam,(Army is now afraid to use the word Islam,because American preference changed.I remeber the time of Zia when It looked as if we got a new mujadid in uniform)Then see what the people say how there ideas shape into what action?
But certainly there is a realisation that Pakistan has been put into deterioration path by its leadership including military whose main aim has been to suck national resources for itself using all different excuses and covers available.But the positive side is that all the same retired officers with may be probable exception of military realise that it is a different Pakistan altogether.
Most important issue is the law and order situation that needs to be corrected and then other works come in line.

Dr.Khan, Uruguay - 10 February, 2007

Pakistan Cought in own trap

Text of editorial in Pashto poem: "They were sinking our ship, their own sea became stormy"

The Pakistan intelligence service has prepared a report to the Interior Ministry of that country on recent bomb blasts and attacks in Pakistan. Once again this report blames the Indian intelligence service for the bomb blasts in Pakistan and adds that the Indian intelligence service conducts such blasts through Afghanistan and with the help of the Afghan intelligence service. The report claims that suicide attacks are carried out by Al-Qa'idah and bomb blasts by Indian intelligence service. This report unconsciously confesses that Pakistan is the centre of Al-Qa'idah and Taleban.

The interesting point is that on one hand Pakistani officials, including President Pervez Musharraf, and Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz claim that they are facing violence by Islamic extremist groups and tell the international community that Pakistan and Afghanistan are facing similar threats, on the other hand their intelligence service blames Afghanistan for bomb blasts and unrest in Pakistan and says that Indian intelligence service is operating via Afghanistan.

Actually not only Afghanistan and the international community but also the Pakistani authorities know very well the main causes of problems, the latest example of which is the Pakistan former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto's remarks. Addressing a news conference in Washington three days ago, she said that the Waziristan peace deal was not beneficial any more. The Taleban come together in Waziristan and then conduct attacks in Afghanistan. Hamed Mir, a Pakistani journalist, writes in Monday issue of the Jang newspaper about recent explosions and suicide attacks in Peshawar, saying: These [attacks] were in retaliation to aerial bombing in Bajaur and Waziristan.

In short, we can say that Pakistan is trapped in the trap that they had fixed for others. Pakistan continued to play mysterious games instead of adopting serious measures on removal of terrorist centres and contributing to the establishment of friendly relationships. They continued this mysterious game for such a long time that finally lost control over this game.

These are the results of those ominous plots and double standard policies developed by Islamabad in the past. Even now instead of revising their policies, the Pakistani intelligence service produces reports laying the blame on Afghanistan and other countries. I recalled a poet's words who said: They were aiming to sink our ship, but their sea became stormy.

Samir Afsheen Latifi, British Indian Ocean Territory - 10 February, 2007


Yatu Sahib,
You are a Kashmiri, and also Punjabi and Live in Islamabad.Can't you tell Army personell, at least the retired ones, that Army sucked Pakistani nation on the ground of Kashmir and now they are afraid to even speak about it.

Abdul Karim, Peru - 12 February, 2007


Democracy is a myth..rarely works in a third world.I don't believe in democracy. Had it been such a good idea, it would have been done years ago. Almost all empries in the world existed, survived and thirved without democracy. The British empire got most of its riches from imperialism and so did America by killing native Americans.
China is not a democracy and is becoming an economic power and most properous Arab countires have never tasted democracy.
It might work for some, but not for others and I hope people understand this. Also its a justification for all the imperialism and injustice done by mankind in old times.

Uzair Usman, Pakistan - 13 February, 2007

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