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Random thoughts

August 20, 2018
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Celebrations amid changes

Opinion

August 20, 2018

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The last two months have been bad for some and good for others. Pakistan just celebrated its Independence Day. We, the senior citizens, witnessed the determined fight of Indian Muslims, under the guidance of Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, for the creation of Pakistan.

Hundreds of thousands of people sacrificed their lives and property for this struggle. Pakistan was achieved against heavy odds and enmity from both Hindus and British. We have inherited a country with vast resources – fertile land, rivers, snow-covered mountains, a large canal system for irrigation, an extensive railway system, good crop yields of wheat, rice and cotton, with hardworking farmers and abundant rainfall, and good quality sea yields for export.

We are a nuclear power and have many intelligent scholars, scientists and engineers, and even a Nobel laureate (Prof Dr Abdus Salam). Our expatriates remit almost $20 billion per year. We also have a very large number of kind-hearted philanthropists – good, noble, God-fearing souls – who help the many underprivileged people we have by providing food, medical and educational facilities. But here, the positives end.

We have had the misfortune of having a series of corrupt and inefficient rulers who have been plundering the country’s wealth for more than 60 years. We are not a failed state, more likely a dead one. The recent changes in the country are a lesson, a warning, to all of us. The wrongdoers have been caught unaware, from a direction they never expected. It is not a moment for us to rejoice, but to ponder at the workings of the power of the Almighty.

Eidul Azha is being celebrated with the usual fanfare and religious fervour. Congratulations to all Muslims all over the world on this happy occasion. The lucky amongst us were also able to perform Hajj. May Allah Almighty accept their prayers and sacrifices. It is my humble request that the actual slaughter of animals is not shown on TV as it can have traumatic effects on children, especially the young ones. Please do share your wealth and sacrificial meat with the poor and orphans. Almighty Allah will, Inshallah, reward you manifold.

After a long, heated, hectic and often dirty election campaign, we now have a change of government. The oft and loudly proclaimed change has actually taken place. Imran Khan’s long and strenuous efforts have materialised. Perseverance is the key to attaining one’s goals and success. The great religious scholar, a genius par excellence and a multi-linguist, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, whose two sisters spent their lives in Bhopal working for girls’ education, wrote a famous classic book: ‘Ghubar-e-Khatir’. In it, he quoted an Arabic proverb which meant that change, even from good to bad, is a pleasant change, because standing water becomes stale and then starts to smell. Hence, the current change (Inshallah from bad to good) is a welcome event.

In our country, changes are usually of two kinds, one that benefits the leaders but makes the lives of citizens miserable by an increase in unemployment, rise in prices, shortage of food, inflation, wastage of money on cosmetic projects (facilitating skim-offs and corruption). The other is an attempt to turn the country into a welfare state, seriously consider the needs and problems of the common man and solve these problems. There are names of many well-known politicians associated with the first, but far fewer with the second. There are many who are instantly ready to criticise and condemn changes, even for the better.

There was once a malicious campaign run against me personally and the Kahuta Research Laboratories (KRL) generally. Even the so-called well-educated people were outspoken in claiming that a ‘young man’ was taking the nation for a ride by claiming that he could deliver nuclear weapons through a ‘madhani’ technology (a machine for churning butter), and that the technology had never been used before or been tested at a commercial level.

However, I knew better, and together with my competent and patriotic colleagues I proved the sceptics wrong, and turned Pakistan into a nuclear power. Such efforts (and those of Imran Khan today) reflect Mirza Ghalib’s famous verse: Ye ishq nahin a’san, bus itna samajh lijiye/ Ek aag ka darya he, aur doob k jana he. We were determined not to allow our armed forces (and Pakistan) to go through the same disgrace and agony that they faced in December 1971.

The trouble with Nawaz Sharif was that he was often arrogant towards his colleagues. He boasted about what he had been given without being grateful for it. One should keep in mind that one reaps what one sows. Imran Khan will have to keep Nawaz’s and the fate of previous rulers in mind too. If he falls prey to sycophancy, nepotism and favouritism, he will end up the same way those before him have. It is often those who surround the leader who lead him into trouble and downfall. Imran Khan, beware.

Everyone wants a piece of the pie. The country is facing many serious problems – the controversy over where Imran Khan is going to live being the least of them. He should live in the PM House, control expenses, take the bull by its horns and tackle the real problems. We all know what they are.

Personally, I am extremely interested in our education system in general and the establishment of a world-class university/federal institute of science and technology in particular, which will put us in the world’s top rankings. I have the experience of setting up the Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute, possess vast knowledge of technology and education, and can do the job, if asked. I wouldn’t ask for a specific job or any pay. We have enough for our needs. Although I have already sacrificed much of my family life for work in the past, I will still like to help my country.

Email: [email protected]

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