Sun January 21, 2018
Can't connect right now! retry

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!


Akram Shaheedi
January 11, 2017



Long live Pakistan

Long live Pakistan

Pakistan and democracy are inseparable because its creation owes to the democratic struggle. The successive dictators’ attempts to sever this linkage between the two caused irredeemable losses to the nation both in territorial and ideological terms. They ruled the country against the aspirations of the people. Their policies were generally believed as responsible for inflicting wars with downside aftermaths to this nation.

On the other hand, civilian/elected governments rather handled the security and diplomatic domains with amazing successes because no war broke out during their periods. Their foreign/security policy was largely based on the Quaid’s vision, ‘friendship with all and enmity with none’. Resultantly, there were no territorial losses. Instead, Gwader was included in the landmass of Pakistan by a civilian Prime Minister without fight. Prime Minister Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto retrieved thousands of square miles of territory from the enemy lost in 1971 war.

Interestingly, an advertisement has been on electronic media lately projecting the indispensability of Pakistan and one institution to the exclusion of all other nation building institutions. This projection seems one-sided and indeed untenable as the whole nation is totally committed in the process as the cherished cause to fulfill the genesis of Pakistan. Its attribution to only one institution is unfair because all institutions are one in treading on the trajectory with requisite zest to make the country a bastion of peace, prosperity and stability. To limit its scope indeed falls in the category of bumbling attempt to create cult.

In this context, Parliament being the mother of all institutions should have been included suitably engaged in the legislative business on important national issues having far reaching bearings on the life of the citizens. It can be safely claimed that the much desired goal national development can only be achieved when all the institutions are projected as working in tandem for the attainment of objectives as defined in the constitution. 

The over-loaded attribution of the culmination of the national objectives to on only one is quite clearly imbedded in ignorance of the dynamics of the process of evolution that is driven by a host of factors emanating from the social, political, historical, cultural, geographical perspective of a nation. Undermining or ignoring these factors may not facilitate in bringing out the accurate picture. It may also fall short of intellectual impeccability if carried out in isolation. The show-casing  of such a production may not be quite representative because Pakistan is a federation consisting federating units where people of diverse backgrounds live together aspiring for seeking unity in diversity. 

The author of the advertisement for the sake of harmonious composition, even at the expense of brevity, may have used the footage of the historic and proud moments in our national history to make it catalyst to invoke the sentiments of pride and appreciation among the viewers or the targeted people. The epoch making national events like the passing of the constitution by the then Constituent Assembly in 1973, Islamic Summit held in Lahore, Joint session of Parliament standing behind democracy in 2013-2014, lawyers’ movement for the restoration of judges, holding of general elections, the freedom of the press, unanimous 7th National Finance Commission Award, cabinet meeting’s approval to the National Action Plan etc., may have been given due consideration. The insertion of such visuals would have greatly made it an excellent and representative production. 

The said advertisement in the present form gives the impression of single track production arousing the feelings of imposition rather than of its sinking well in the hearts of the people. Salam to those who are engaged in fighting in eliminating terrorists in FATA and other places bringing qualitative improvement in the security situation in the country. The nation values their sacrifices from the core of their heart. There is a need to sustain that reverence. Simultaneously, maintaining and promoting civil-military balance within the ambit of the constitution is important obligation. It may be accorded the priority to keep the statecraft on the even keel for espousing the cause of national integration and cohesion.       

The sponsor of the said public message may consider amending it to broaden its outlook. Or, hire some good professionals those know the art of image building fully well because high quality professionalism is the dire need in such ventures that can only be carried out by those who are also well versed with the history of the country including the currents and undercurrents of the contemporary politics based on democratic ethos. PR ventures if based on vaccum may spoil the broth to the extent of finding no taker despite the aggressive marketing.

Long live Pakistan dream will definitely come true if constitution is adhered to in all walks of national life. History is testimony to the fact that Pakistan army attained amazing successes under the umbrella of civilian/elected government’s rule. Sawat Operation and now Zarb-i-Azab are the recent astounding accomplishments of Pakistan the world recognizes and appreciates. On the contrary, successive dictators’ periods are synonymous to the infliction of irreparable losses to the nation because all of them were guilty of violating the primary law of the land.

Starting from General Ayub Khan followed by General Yayha Khan, General Zia-ul- Haq and General Pervez Musharraf, all of them had played havoc with the collective destiny of the nation. All the territorial losses to the country were their heart-wrenching legacies besides creating political and economic mess of appalling proportion.

East Pakistan became Bangladesh during General Yayha Khan’s watch that was the tragic result of the abrogation of 1956 constitution by Genral Ayub Khan. His first misdeed destroyed the basis of national unity. It unfolded an era of political and economic alienation among the East Pakistani people leading to the culmination of Bangladesh. Siachin was lost when Genral Ziaul Haq was the ruler of the country. Kargil debacle followed by humiliation and embarrassment at the international level was the result of the General Musharraf’s misadventure.

Pakistan’s security and territorial integrity interests were better served during the watch of civilian/elected governments’ rule. The enemy did not dare to occupy even an inch of country’s territory. The apt pursuit of diplomatic means by the respective governments kept enemy’s aggressive design at bay.  All wars between India and Pakistan broke out during the dictatorship periods with devastating consequences for Pakistan including the dismemberment of the country.

General Ziaul Haq and General Musharraf’s hot pursuit of Afghanistan as “Strategic Depth” had backfired. Today, Afghanistan considered Pakistan as responsible for all its predicaments. French Prime Minister’s observation has proved correct in case of Pakistan’s dictators who abjectly failed to defend the national interests and caused appalling losses to the nation. He said, “war is too serious business that cannot be left to the Generals”. What to talk of their dealing with the complex issues of governance and international diplomacy.

The elected prime ministers who made the defense of the country impregnable deserved the tributes of the nation. Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto matured country’s nuclear programme caring less of Henry Kissinger’s threat of making him horrible example for pursuing the programme. Benazir Bhutto equipped the country with the state of the art missile technology with the pin-drop striking capability. Nawaz Sharif demonstrated the matching courage of an elected Prime Minister by conducting number of nuclear tests in May 1998 despite the US unprecedented pressure. Billions of dollars US aid offer could not melt his resolve. Today, no aggressor can cast an evil eye on Pakistan because the country is a nuclear power. Had there been a dictator ruler of Pakistan in 1998 he would have not dared to conduct nuclear tests, and the friends and enemies would have not known the nuclear potential of the country. Dictator would have surely acquiesced to the pressure because dictators’ relations with US were generally of master-servant equation.

General Ziaul Haq jumped into the Afghan war considering it as a rare opportunity analogous to shot in the arm for his least popular and vulnerable government. His immediate and main concern was, like all autocrats, to strengthen his rule that was rather on the slippery slope. General Musharraf continued it as US proxy till the much desired denouement of his rule. They may not be absolved of the unpardonable crime they committed against the country and its people because their hands were stained with the blood of thousands of civilians and the brave soldiers who had lost their lives in the bloody conflict. The ordeal of the people was not over yet because the stranglehold of their legacies had been choking the nation in all possible ways since then.

If Pakistan had the elected government at that time it would have most probably decided not to take plunge in the Afghan inferno keeping in view the reservations of the people instead of giving in to the US dictation. Imagine, such strategic decision would have saved the nation from the colossal collateral losses the nation had been subjected to since then. Today, Pakistan would have known for the good reasons in the international community and the question of India’s endeavors to isolate Pakistan diplomatically would have simply not arisen. Long live Pakistan!

[email protected]

PPP Media Cell