The yo-yo political game

Haunting sense of despondency, alternating with transient delight is what politics is all about in Pakistan. A resolute Will disentangled all the intricate webs woven to scuttle the freedom of the Muslims, in India and to dupe them under the spell of a barrage of fine and glittering words - Indian nationalism, Indian Congress - to hoodwink the Muslims identity and sensibility proved to be of no avail. In fact, Hindu chauvinism was their latent aspiration. Congress camouflaging it under "secular" ruse, while Hindu Mahasaba and its various off-shoots - RSS, Shiv Sena and so forth-came out openly with the big tongue of Bal Thakray pouring venom against Muslims, including the Saffron Brigade under BJP. Modalities to render Muslims - no insignificant minority by any means - into a permanent compliant minority, differed but the 'objective' was to carve out a great Hindu Empire reminiscent of the Maurian Dynasty minus its Buddhist Character. It is ironic that a vastly followed religion in the Far Eastern countries, has practically been washed out from the very territory of India, where it was born. Muslims, therefore, stubbornly ensured that their faith was not assimilated within Hinduism as was the fate of Buddhism. There was a galaxy of great Muslim stalwarts like Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, Allama Iqbal, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Nawab Bahadur Yar Jang, Liaquat Ali Khan, Hasrat Mohani, Nawab Salimullah of Dacca (former East Pakistan), at whose residence Muslim League came into being, which played its dynamic role in the creation of Pakistan. Besides them there were many others who followed Quaid-e-Azam with a sense of determination. What is intended to convey is that great Muslim political thinkers, endowed with strategic vision, gave us a great gift of history, the biggest Muslim country in the world - Pakistan. This unfortunately was sliced into two pieces - again as a function of Indian machinations. Our own failure was not to decipher the Bengali mind, as it was passionately averse to any domination, whether of Hindus or West Pakistanis. They were democratic in orientation, unlike West Pakistan which was essentially feudal. The Military rule in Pakistan created an attitudinal climate for the Bengalis, who could not co-exist with the Army at the apex of political power in West Pakistan, whose political culture was polluted by the feudal mind-set. A typical zamindar, had internalised all the values and lifestyle of the colonialists, to whom they served faithfully as their surrogates, and in turn, it treated its own people with disdain and antipathy like typical mini lords and successors of the British Ruler; Franz Fannon has written a very interesting book highlighting this post-colonial syndrome - The Black Face and the White Mask. This 'mask' gravitated quite naturally towards the power wielders - the armed and the civil bureaucrats. This trio, in deep collusion with each other, served as dissolvent of political culture. Pakistan lost that breed of great strategic minds - 'Quaid-e-Azam' to top them all. Ironically, the Kings Party as per his own revelation in the book, In the Line of Fire General Pervez Musharraf was created called Muslim League-Q (abbreviated for Quaid-e-Azam). Imagine a military ruler calling his political progeny, with the sacrosanct title of Quaid-e-Azam. This is the worst possible slander attributed to our great leader, who always held that army shall remain subservient to the civil rule. Pakistan's architects were far more visionary that those who later took control of its political structure. To convey it in the language of Thomas Hardy: "Mighty to build and blend but impotent to tend." The reason why it begs a dispassionate analysis. Indeed, the creation of Pakistan was a great step forward in the Islamic history perhaps, second only to the migration of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) from Mecca to Medina, which proved a harbinger of a great civilisational achievement. We, on the contrary are still fumbling on the political path. I had an occasion to pose a question to a great scholar and biographer of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Stanley Walport of University of California Los Angeles, when he visited Pakistan and addressed the National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST) Rawalpindi. I asked, "after few decades after the partition of the subcontinent, whom do you think was a greater pragmatic leader - Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah or Jawaharlal Nehru? To my great admiration for him, he said, "Mr Jinnah was quite superior to Jawaharlal Nehru, as the former was a far more pragmatic - down to earth - and also a visionary leader or words to that effect. In fact, he rated Quaid-e-Azam far too superior to Jawaharlal Nehru, more than what I had expected of him. He also gave very cogent reasons. Nehru, always thought that he was very shrewd and could outwit Quaid-e-Azam. So he asked him to define what was Pakistan's ideology? Quaid had replied that there was no reason for him to define what Pakistan's ideology was; Nehru knew it very well, and if he didn't why was he criticising it? Sometimes defining an idea or concept becomes very problematic. No one can say for sure what beauty is? And yet everyone understands it. Pakistan's ideology also comprises an amalgam of faith, economic, social and cultural imperatives. To single out one would be gross over simplification. It is a broad spectrum drug which proved to be the right palliative for the excruciating anxiety that had sapped the Muslim morale. I was once faced with a similar semantic dilemma. Late General Zia-ul-Haq, during the period I was serving as Advisor in GHQ, telephoned me and said that within half an hour, he was going to attend Joint Services HQs and the topic of the deliberation was "the ideology of Pakistan," so I should send to him an adequate definition of the concept at once. I sat down and really felt perplexed, as to where I had landed into. But as there was no escape, the general had to be provided a definition, which could satisfy him and his colleagues in JSCS. So I did some soul searching. I wrote, "It is the subsisting will of the Muslims of the subcontinent to have a state, where Muslims will have all the freedom to formulate laws and policies in consonance with the basic tenets of Deen of Islam, and that the parliament shall have the power to formulate laws based on Quran and Sunnah, while keeping in view the imperatives of the time." Implicit in this was an idea of a Muslim state and not an Islamic one. One could approximate it as far as possible, but to claim it to be totally Islamic, I thought was a bit too pretentious. I am not sure, however as to what precisely I wrote, but I was quit convinced that our Quaid did not want a theocratic state, nor did he wish to imitate western liberalism. Ethics and morality were part of the statecraft. Real-politik as practised in the West, was not the model that Pakistan, he thought, would follow. So he was neither fundamentalist nor as secular as Justice Munir wrongly attributed to him to be. Both Allama Iqbal and Mr Jinnah were attitudinally committed to "spiritual democracy." Dictatorial governance was based on crude 'power', whereas, democracy's driving force was 'justice'. It is indeed a great tragedy that contrary to the wishes of Quaid-e-Azam those who wielded power defaced the edifice of Justice. Long thirty two years of martial law and dictatorship has made our institutions much too weak and fragile - Justice being the worst casualty. Corruption has swelled to a very incredible proportion. Ours is a soft state, which Myrdal characterises as follows: "The prevalence of corruption as another aspect of the soft state and generally implies low levels of social discipline...This spread of corruption, in turn, gives corrupt politicians and dishonest officials a strong vested interest in retaining these discretionary controls - So corruption is caught up in the causal circle. It acts with special force a people become aware of its spread and know that effective measures are not being taken against it. Among the sophisticated grows the idea that corruption, like inflation, is an unavoidable appendage of development. The effect of this is to spread cynicism and to lower resistance to the giving and taking of bribes." Happily the dialectics is now tilting in favour of 'justice' over 'power'. The Lawyers' Movement ignited the spirit of Quaid-e-Azam's Pakistan - strong and viable judiciary. The coalition forces have identified the malady. The remedy is the ouster of the president, who is covertly subverting democracy. He symbolises crude 'power' with all the machinations of Machiaveli. The silver lining is that new breed of army leadership, represented by General Kiyani, is keen to see that 'political culture' is allowed to flourish. We have had enough of the yo-yo game, or what a great poet (Shad Azimabadi) said, Khyale vassal ko ab arzoo jhooley jhulati hay Qareeb aana dile mayoos key phir door ho jana This is the sixty years old syndrome of Pakistan. It must not swing any more between civilian rule and army dictatorship. General (retd) Pervez Musharraf is the last vestige of praetorianism. His impeachment will put Pakistan into a phase of new dynamism that will lend viability and resilience to our country. 'Power' does not relinquish easily - nemesis brings its ignominious end. The writer is a political analyst E-mail:

ePaper - Nawaiwaqt