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If I compare the present state of affairs of Pakistan then I would find my 40 years old Pakistan much better and I have listed reasons below, as to why the situation is deteriorating day by day.
Every successive government harmed its institutions and very fiber of our society in the name of creation of new Pakistan. The other nations feel happy to take the concept of their old developed home lands and feel proud of their culture and history and promote their old values. Hence we should have not advocated for a new Pakistan after every five years just for getting votes, rather we should have reformed Pakistan for the benefit of a common man.
The new Pakistan cannot be termed new Pakistan with modern designer clothes worn only by elite class, dancing programmes and sophisticated demonstrations and slogan of Tabdili (Change), but we should have reformed our society and the laws coupled with great economic policies. Pakistan cannot be reformed unless there is proper implementation of “rule of law”. The “rule of law” was much better in our old Pakistan than it is today.
Amid the toasts, the fireworks and independence celebration of the 14th of August, hardly there was any mention of cataclysmic event of 1947 in which around 2 million people lost their lives, up to ten million went missing and 75,000 women were raped and abducted. Unfortunately, there’s no memorial to these victims, no mention and no tributes on either side of the border, but that’s another topic. The question is, are we actually living in the country we got after this large-scale historic violence and for which our ancestors gave up their lives so that we could breathe and move around freely? I guess we all know the answer; the Pakistan that Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah handed over to us, 71 years ago was quite different, peaceful, happy, dignified and more prosperous than today. I was further shocked sitting in the Convention Centre attending the celebration of Independence Day when the president of Pakistan did not mention a single word about sacrifices of those who laid their lives to make Pakistan.
Our beloved country Pakistan had experienced a growth rate in GDP of over 5 percent and in per capita income of about 2 percent per year over the first years of its independence. It witnessed this sharp acceleration in the growth momentum in the economy during 1960s and the 1980s. In spite of rapid population growth during this period, per capita incomes doubled, inflation rate was low and poverty declined from 46% to 18% by the late 1980s. This healthy economic performance was maintained through several wars and successive civilian and military governments during the 1950s, 60s, 70s and 80s.
Although we are known as the country with Muslim majority, the loss of East Pakistan, which used to be a part of Pakistan, gave us a huge set back in 1971. The separation of East Pakistan had weakened Pakistan as the nation was taken aback by constant conflict between the two wings (East and West Pakistan) which dramatically erupted into mass civil disorder which was due to the failure in resolving the disputes. The conflict was given rise because of several of our own mistakes, made early in the short history of Pakistan. The differences emerged when the East Bengalis started feeling a sense of discrimination and regional prejudice, which were successfully exploited by India through propagation by Akash Wani Indian Radio that West Pakistanis took all the wealth, privileges and better jobs. There was a great massacre, which was engineered by India and this act of separation badly affected our economy and system resulting into depleting progress. Did we learn any lesson for this tragedy as a nation? No.
We miss the time when there was only one TV channel and there were only three radio stations in Pakistan, in Dhaka, Lahore and Peshawar. Today we have hundreds of news and entertainment channels on TV, yet none of them can beat the programmes that were aired on that single TV channel; PTV. There were no fake or self-created hypes in those programmes.
There was a time when we used to enjoy limited number of games like hockey, football and partly other games and now children have gadgets to play with all the time, lying in their comfort zones without any kind of physical activities.
Families were more friendly and united and personal interaction was a common thing. Children had so much respect for their elders. I miss the lost country where there were strong feelings for each other, where the people used to resolve their disputes by the guidance of the elders and there was hardly anyone to blame for being traitor.
There was no concept of child rape and there was hardly any serial killer. And in today’s Pakistan over 17000 children have been sexually abused since 2013 in this new Pakistan and these numbers of immoral activities are rapidly increasing every year for the past ten years.
There was no terrorism, no bombs, not a single suicide bomber in my old Pakistan. Unfortunately today, Pakistan has become a major target of terrorism, as for the last 15 years it has taken a huge toll on Pakistan as more than 63,000 people lost their lives so far. 2,096 is the number of fatalities from terrorist attacks from 2003 to 2017 and it happened because the then dictator threw Pakistan in others’ war and we allowed religious extremism to grow and become monster. We started witnessing number of sectarian killings, which stood as 5,303 from 1989 to 2017.
No TV anchor used to create a hype of an issue or play with the honour or dignity of others. Now we watch the news and find unauthorised investigators, prosecutors and judges sitting behind the screen convicting a person just based on allegation and in line with their own agenda. There was no such persecution and nobody dared to assume the role of court by sitting behind the screen. TV channels and newspapers used to get TRPs for ground-breaking news, but there was no over exaggeration of unnecessary news to get the better rating. There was no fear of breach of privacy and there were no social medial squads running after you to breach your privacy. Ethics and morality were above wealth and power in my old Pakistan.
The deterrence of crime was there; therefore, people were scared of doing corruption or committing crimes. People used to socially reprimand those who were corrupt. Values existed between blood and friendly relations.
I watch TV, read newspapers and meet various people from all walks of life but I don’t see the warmth which I had experienced being in old Pakistan and I hardly witness care of those values now. I do not see that love and care which I used to see as a child in the eyes of my fellow Pakistanis and in common man.
I now see that the idea of new Pakistan is still being sold by the politicians just to lure in the public to attract the member ship of parties and to create even greater craze for a new Pakistan where I see more deterioration in values in this new half broken Pakistan. Despite all this, we have not realised our mistakes as we continue to commit the same blunders. We beg off the world with our forever begging bowl in hand every three months to make this new Pakistan survive. We try to look like a modern state on borrowed money with modern clothes. We boast off our media tailored achievements whereas we are left far behind as compared to other nations who got independence much later than us. We have mortgaged our major national assets to give new look to new Pakistan. I am searching for my old Pakistan in this well-propagated new Pakistan rhetoric where I could see more values and honesty in actions. I am looking for my old Pakistan where the politicians would not exploit their votes in the name of change.
I need my old Pakistan where ASI (popularly called as ‘ChothaThanedar’) was more powerful than the IG of today who implement the rule of law better than an SP of this time. ASI used to enforce imminent rule of law just by taking a round of his area sitting on the back of horse.
Politicians are propagating for the new Pakistan with various slogans but in reality political, social and financial values are deteriorating. Instead of becoming a scientifically modern nation we as nation have become self-centered, we are becoming more orthodox and rigid in our postures. Now the success is determined by creating abusive squads to hit the opponents.
I need my old Pakistan when the debt was as low as $27 million that was taken on 27th March 1952 from IBRD purely for the cause of rehabilitation and development of Pakistan.
Old Pakistan had more respect abroad. My green Pakistani passport was respected abroad. Pakistanis were treated as innocent and honest. My PIA was the best airline, which used to lead and train today’s number one airline called The Emirates airline 35 years ago. Karachi airport was the hub of international airlines. Pakistan had the best shipping service.
Old Pakistan’s chief executives were used to be received by the president of USA and even Queen of England in person.
I want my old Pakistan where nobody was carrying a gun to protect himself whereas, now I have to protect my family, both at home and outside with a gun.
Every government failed to perform to the expectations of a common man and every time a common man was betrayed in the name of new Pakistan and ‘Tabdili.’ A common person is already dead inside and he is hearing yet another slogan of Naya Pakistan. The common man is standing confused about the slogan, as the slogan of Naya Pakistan is not a new slogan. This slogan has now gone to the third generation.
Will the new Pakistan be able to give a common man respect like the old Pakistan? Will the new Pakistan be able to bring the real family values back? Will the new Pakistan bring peace and prosperity in the lives of common men and in the country besides restoring its forgotten grace in the world? Will the new Pakistan be able to get rid of financial slavery from international financial institutions and restore the ownership of its national assets?
There are so many challenges ahead of new Pakistan to tackle with and to bring back my old Pakistan. Let’s pray that the new champions of slogan of Naya Pakistan succeed in their mission of making the old Pakistan as new Pakistan with the same values and traditions.
Let us talk of reforming our old Pakistan by bringing about the rule of law where the elected members will dare not beat the common man on the street, where our women wouldn’t be mistreated in the political gatherings, where the leaders would walk with their chins up and work for the common man and where the leaders and officials would work for the national interests and not for their own interest or business expansions.
Give me my old Pakistan as there is no rule of law in this new Pakistan, which is merely a slogan to grab power. Moreover, the new Pakistan is now fully mortgaged to foreign lenders, whereas my old Pakistan was only mine and there was no mortgage on me or on my children. Will the new custodian of new Pakistan deliver us mortgage and debt free Pakistan?
The writer is Chairman of think tank "global eye" & former Interior Minister of Pakistan @Email: [email protected] .com, Twitter @Senrehmanmalik, @GlobalEye_GSA, WhatsApp +923325559393