Pakistan: From Dream to Reality

The British ruled over three hundred and eighty million Indians for nearly two hundred years.  One of the most ethnically diverse nations of the world was divided into two states India and the newly created state Pakistan. The founding fathers of Pakistan Mr. Jinnah and Mohammed Iqbal wanted the State of Pakistan to be based on the principles of Islam. Furthermore poet Mohammad Iqbal clearly demonstrated in his poetry that a modern Islamic State must be based on three principles human solidarity, human equality and human freedom. Mr. Jinnah was an extremely sophisticated and cosmopolitan gentleman therefore his vision of Pakistan was different from what we experience today as a nation. Quiad e Azam had surely envisioned Pakistan to be a truly democratic State with freedom and equal rights for all its inhabitants.  Some observers in light of his 11th August speech have commented that Jinnah wanted the new state to follow the British model of relationship between religion and state. These observers contend that many of the present problems of Pakistan are based on the fact that our history has been distorted for the most part. Jinnah in his speech said “today you might say with justice that Roman Catholics and Protestants do not exist; what exists now is that every man is a citizen, an equal citizen of the Great Britain and they are all members of the Nation. Now we should keep that in front of us as our ideal and you will find in the course of time Hindus will cease to be Hindus and Muslims will cease to be Muslims not in the religious sense but that is the personal faith of each individual but in the political sense as citizens of the State.”   Surprisingly Mr. Jinnah requested a Hindu leader Jogendranath  Mandal  who had earlier represented Muslim interim government before partition to become the country’ s first law minister. The appointment of Jogendranth Mandal suggests that Mr. Jinnah was a man of his word and considered all citizen of his state equal.  One of the major hindrances to Quaid e Azam’s Pakistan was lack of consensus witnessed during the 50’s as Pakistan was struggling to achieve its nationhood.  Resultantly the process of Constitution building turned out to be rather tedious owing to the rift between the religious clerics and the politicians on whether or not Pakistan should become a theocratic state.  Soon Pakistan drifted from the path of democracy resulting in the first ever martial law imposed by Ayub Khan.  Despite the fact that dictatorship is not the best form of government Ayub’s era witnessed tremendous Development.  Ayub’s era was referred to as the Golden Decade of Development and the amount of respect he was given during his state visit to the USA was astounding.  The USA marveled at Pakistan’s economic development consequently trumpets herald President Ayub’s arrival in Washington which was quite opposite to what the latter Pakistani head of states experienced.  However it is believed that nothing in the world is perfect and this was surely true in case of Ayub’s regime.  Behind this marvelous economic development was the suppression of freedom of speech of Ms. Fatima Jinnah. In light of a collection of letters exchanged between Fatima Jinnah and Z .A Bukhari broadcasting controller Pakistan Radio parts of her speech were omitted.  These letters which were made public in a newspaper suggest that her speech was censored under the pretext of technical problems during national broadcast.  This certain incident if believed true indicates that our country experienced suppression of speech even in the former days which was contrary to what Mr. Jinnah wanted.   Larger spells of dictatorship and shorter spells of democracy suggest that regime security has been of paramount importance in Pakistan.  Regime security has not only caused military dictators to get a civilian cover for their regimes but has also caused successive Prime Ministers to take authoritarian moves.  It is believed that national security often takes precedence over the security of individuals. However in case of Pakistan it is true as a large portion of our allocated budget is for the Defense sector owing to the constant threat from our arch rival India. Therefore the inadequate budget coupled with problems of nepotism and corruption makes it extremely difficult for the State to meet the needs of its ever growing population.  If circumstances are to be blamed then one must consider the repercussions of the cold war in averting our eyes from the Pakistan Mr. Jinnah wished.  The growth in crime rate the accumulated external debts and cases of corruption against civilian governments prove that Jinnah’s dream has not materialized to the fullest.

It is true that ‘democracy is the best form of government’ therefore Quaid e Azam wanted Pakistan to be a truly democratic state in every sense. However corruption and bad governance by successive civilian regimes have always left a vacuum for military dictatorships. Ironically some people today are of the view that the country has experienced economic prosperity in times of dictatorship more than in times of democracy. Conversely others blame Zia‘s tyranny and failed U.S policies for this quagmire of guns, drugs and extremism. According to path dependency theory history is crucial for a State in its current decision making besides bearing a great influence on strategic planning. In light of this theory the mistakes made in the past are still hindering Quaid- e Azam’s dream from materializing.

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