Every nation has a set of myths by which its people live and die; Pakistan is no exception. We just finished March 23 and soon we’ll be approaching the tortured-celebrations of August 14. Both these national spotlights involve public mythologies of freedom and independence that have guided this nation for six decades; yet the very reason for the existence of this nation that these holidays are meant to commemorate is no longer even remotely discussed. Subservience is cheap for most opportunistic leaders, because the masses are lost in the struggle to meet both ends meet and the lesser people among us are paying the price and giving lives, not the elite!
We are approaching the 60th year of national denial and treachery. We don’t have any independent national foreign or national policy. We have forgotten the reason d’être of Pakistan. We have become the mirror opposite of who and what we said we will be if we achieved an independent state. Achieved in the name of Islam, for Muslims, on the basis of two-nation theory, just look at how proudly we struggle to secularise Pakistan. Despite selling our sovereignty and our own people for economic benefits, look at the homeless, at the unemployed and at the sick as well as the disillusioned that roam this land like the living dead that they are fast becoming.
The government has used the spineless public to turn each agency of this government into its own mirror opposite. Instead of defending, armed forces are in charge of occupying Pakistan for the United States. ISI, IB, FIA and the Ministry of interior are licensee illegally detain and torture citizens while justifying the suppression of Habeas Corpus: making a total farce out of anything remotely resembling Justice.
The Supreme Court has now become the target when it violated its duty to protect and defend the Constitution when it allowed the military to rule and pass extra-constitutional orders, amendments and provisional constitutions. The elected bodies eagerly also joined in support of constitutionalising dictatorship by giving the General to rule as a president in uniform and giving army a role in making its presence a permanent feature of the governing mechanism. As a result stay and departure of the sitting military ruler is irrelevant.
The truth is we were never a true democracy. Pakistan was taken over by the subservient, pro-colonial masters’ elite from day one. They allowed themselves to do anything for the colonial powers in their insatiable greed for power and profits. August 14, 1947 was a transition from direct colonial rule to de facto colonization.
Like many other places from where the colonialists strategically withdrew in the name of giving independence, the Pakistani public opted out of the discussion about continuation of the colonial rule in other ways, by other means. They began their own private descent into the horrors of wage-slavery and making both ends meet for survival.
This all happened because too few questioned those myths by which we have lived. Our national history is a lie: because the truth and all its attendant crimes have been suppressed. We neither bring true representative democracy nor establish Islam in Pakistan. We allowed military and civilian feudal lords to rule us indefinitely in the name of democracy and Islam. They brought tyranny, corruption, chaos and murder. Other opportunists stood up and formed dozens of political parties with the same stated objective to establish Islam. Instead they could only achieve the un-stated goal: become equal partners in the power politics that did no good to this nation and will never do any good.
We are a nuclear power, yet we are the most scared and cowed nation on the face of the earth, which fully surrendered to the dictates from the United States without putting the slightest of resistance – thanks to the most obsequies and timid military General that the world has ever seen.
The latest myth is that we are ‘fighting extremism in Pakistan and Afghanistan.’ The fact is we are being used as a mercenary force in conjunction with the US military to suppress liberty and freedom in the name of corporate (read colonial) theft and greed the world over.
All of this fit nicely within Operation 9/11 for the inside job that was the crime of 911 and in which ISI, knowingly or unknowingly, played a role in putting the blame on Arab youth. That was a major crime in which the ISI colluded and that allowed the US government to immediately brand, within 33 minutes after the explosions, as an attack by a “Islamic extremists” without even considering any other possibility: Yet even as the evidence was being assembled and hauled away to finish off the cover-up, the United States was launching the first attacks of a pre-planned war on Afghanistan, and the rest is ‘history.’
In all that time amid all the blood that we have spilled including the death of more Pakistani soldiers than the death toll of Americans in Iraq, not to mention the civilians deaths and the hundreds still languishing in illegal detentions, or the surrender of our sovereignty: The Decider continued to promise us that he is the only one who can make Pakistan, “progressive and modern.”
If we had true representatives inside the government we could have stopped this, but our “protectors” are the same “elected representatives” that stood by while the Decider and his Outlaws stripped the public of our basic protections from our own government: which was the whole point behind the 1973 Constitution in the first place.
The so-called opposition are the ones who legitimised Musharraf dictatorship and served its objectives for the past five and more years. How did they allow themselves to run elections under a dictator? How did they allow him to remain president in uniform? How did they allow themselves to serve the country under a military dictator? How did they allow him to make his dictatorship constitutional? Didn’t they vote in favour of that? Did he do anything new today that he didn’t do in the last seven years? What is all this hue and cry about after the so-called opposition’s accepting and calling him president for the past many years?
Today the US is making public statements about free and fair elections and offering advisors for the upcoming elections. The colonial master would never let Musharraf go that easily. From the colonial perspective, he is the best person to lead the nation during these New Dark Ages of the Old World Order.
Pakistan has never built or sought to compete in a world where creativity or freedom can be tolerated. We never competed for success. We relied on aid and handouts. In return we allowed others to use us and our armed forces for their malicious objectives. Our citizens have become sheep that shall soon become even less, because too many have refused to seriously struggle those that have truly impoverished and sold us. The enemy we need to fear is here, and the challenge for survival increases daily.
Too many of us have given up on the great dream which led us to establishing Pakistan in the first place. Instead we chose by default to embrace only “math science and money.” There is no analysis, no research, and critical-thinking is no longer taught or encouraged anywhere. The language along with individual personal courage and honour have been butchered. Our youth are taught to follow orders, schooled in ‘how to fit in’ the global colonial order, and are encouraged to become a number instead of a person. They are deliberately kept away from Islam in a country achieved in the name of Islam, or they are given the partial message of Islam through tailored school curriculum.
The results of this sad state are everywhere around us: Look at total chaos. Look at the absence of alternative to perpetual military and civilian dictatorship. Look at the absence of social welfare, medical and educational support. Look at the increasing poverty and the widening gap between the rich and the poor despite all the tall claims of having increased GDP and billions in foreign reserves. Death and destruction and systematic humiliation is what we’ve earned, and if we do not begin that struggle soon then that fate is all that most of us will ever come to know.
Challenge the Mush’s myth of moderation and secularism and indispensability of the military support in politics by questioning the true history of this nation; so that when the 14th of August rolls round again, you will at least know about the actual state of this nation. Then ask if you dare: is this what I really want to give those that will come after us.
[Abid Ullah Jan is the author of The Musharraf Factor: Leading Pakistan to its Inevitable Demise.]