Whereas we were witnessing a very apparent slide in the rule of law, morality and general lack of trust at all levels - individual, institutional, national and international - but some of the recent developments in our beloved country are so alarming that any discerning mind cannot escape the impact of harsh and ominous writings on the wall. At the regional level also, the continued distrust among neighbours seems to further increase rather than shrink.
One was horrified to learn that an elected member of an assembly along with his supporters captured a control mechanism of a canal and forcibly opened the gates to divert the flow of water in their desired direction. The muted, rather ‘no reaction’, by the sitting government was rather appalling. Then we heard of people under the patronage of certain political leaders attacked grid stations, destroying public assets under the garb of a protest against load shedding. The level of intellect of the mob can be evaluated by observing that they were destroying the same that they were demanding. And surely we all heard of the dignitary who, when caught up in a traffic jam, could think of nothing else but unleashing his guards on poor hapless commutators who were otherwise victims of the same logjam.
Raise the level and watch with amazement and disgust, what institutions are doing to each other, with no umpires and only a few sane voices suggesting calm and rapprochement. Politics is being played on the carcasses of dying systems and the media is actively taking sides, further opening the oozing wounds rather than applying a healing balm. And this time no institution seems to be strong enough or willing even to put in a word of advice. Free for all, incessant bloody infighting, spreading in all directions, with apparently no grand objectives but petty selfish interests, individual or institutional.
Look at the borders, East, Northwest or Southwest, enemies growling and spitting hateful allegations, friends not very satisfied, people who banked on you (Kashmiris) feeling abandoned. And, the enemy is not only active along borders but operating right into the heartland of our beloved land, if Kalbhushan and Ehsanullah Ehsan’s revelations are of any consequence. Every second day there are reports of arson in important factories, undermining the economy, as if piling up of unprecedented debt was not enough to break our back.
If whatever narrated above, as a birdseye view, is exaggerated towards gloom, then we can take a sigh of relief and reject all this as a figment of the imagination. But if the picture painted is nearly correct, then my dear fellow countrymen (and of course countrywomen), we are in some serious trouble, and this time there seems to be no self-correction or external nudging to put us back on track.
So are we doomed to be condemned by forces of nature as a useless and spineless nation with no goodness left that is worthy of sparing us this time? Is the situation hopeless?
All those who never give up (I humbly count myself one of those) and always see the brighter side, now will have to rise and get counted. Writing, making sermons and drawing room discussions will pay no more. If we really want good things to happen and course of the future corrected, we need to act. Nothing happens automatically; it is not even nature’s promise. We need to organise ourselves and either put our weight with some good ongoing political movement or create a new one with some specific objectives and not merely grabbing of power. But power will have to be acquired through public mobilisation and politically correct procedures. Provision of justice, education, merit and health facilities should be the basic slogan with a detailed manifesto laying down how each of these will be provided in this overpopulated and chaotic Country. Hardcore economists and foreign policy experts will have to work overtime in cooperative groups to steer us clear of the present muck. Armed Forces will have to be ready for further sacrifices as we pass through some destabilizing times.
Whatever remedies experts of sociology, politics and strategy proffer, one thing is crystal clear: immediate course correction is needed. It is already very late.
The writer is a former corps commander and also served as federal defense secretary.