Living in Pakistan for most of the Pakistanis is nothing short of a persistent nightmare and an unrelenting trauma. The Pakistani society is rapidly decaying and could be pictured as rotten. The rulers and the coterie of leaders do not shy away from heaping miseries, humiliations and deprivations on a nation that was born some six decades ago. The people have been subjected to horrendous civic and social deformities that could equate Pakistan with some of the obscure African countries where life is at a subhuman level and human civilization is yet to make its presence felt.
The dignity, the self esteem, the honor and the moral principles look like unpalatable anathema to the politicians of Pakistan. The, shameless leaders, the brazen-faced politicians and the parliamentarians are like leeches sucking the blood of the people and turning that hapless segment of humanity into living corpses.
Water, let alone potable, is becoming a luxury to be bought with money. The electric power for a society is like blood in human veins. This indispensible amenity is not only horrifically scarce but callously expensive. Because of the load-shedding patently a cover- up for acute power shortage, a whole nation is developing mental disorders and sinister psychological disabilities.
The social sector is in an indescribable mess. The Health, education, transport, environment, institutions, departments, railways, roads, dams, manufacturing units, mills, factories, moral moorings, individual ethics, are in state of rapid decay. If we try to look around for good governance among various societies in the modern times, Pakistan cannot be among them. If you picture Pakistan in your mind, you may visualize the deterioration of such essentials features as order, discipline, peace, decency, honesty, fairness, mutual respect, and self-esteem.
The people with a flaming soul and pricking conscience groan and grieve over a massive decline and drift rapidly swallowing that nation that prides itself to be erected upon religious foundations. There are also people who keep chattering about the pristine and immutable Islamic principles and the ideal mode of life that it offers. Can we see a millionth of its practical reflections on the soil of Pakistan? The preachers of such ideals are themselves its violators.
Religious dogmatists never tire is misleading the people and exhort day in day out a sublime society under the umbrella of Islam. Their resounding rhetoric is to “catch hold of God’s rope and be united and to not fragment”. Can you see a feeble glimpse of those lofty and precious injunctions in any Islamic country let alone in Pakistan? The religious dogmatists, theologians, preachers and scholars spew out venom from the pulpit against the rival sects that differ in faith for their own reasons.
The Muslim nations and Islamic polity have remained perennially divided and fractured all these 1400 years. The Islamic scholars have failed to work out a doctrinal consensus between a plethora of sects and denominations because no one likes to compromise on elements of faith. The goal of unity and oneness among the colliding sects within Islam would remain an elusive goal as it has remained all these centuries. Hence, one can witness incessant religious bloodletting between sects in Pakistan.
The political leadership in Pakistan has been busy in destroying and weakening the country rather than building and fortifying it. It is a divine curse and dire misfortune that the ruling elite in Pakistan are engaged in disservice rather than servicing the country and the people. It is because of the dishonest and incompetent, self serving leadership that Pakistan, since its inception is, bedeviled by loathsome traditions and sordid pursuits.
You name a social or moral vice and you would find that in this land of pure. It is here that the grafts, nepotism, greed, poverty, toadyism and fanaticism abound. The country is awash with horrible crimes from target killings to the rape and child molestation. It is in this country that the laws are bent for safeguarding the interests of clans, parties and individuals. The self- aggrandizement supersedes the national priorities and nation-building. Misuse of power, violation of law, breach of constitution and the established tenets of a civilized and civil behavior, are the norms that the leaders and people in power adhere to.
The escalating breakdown of governance and the socio-civic impasse has accentuated the scale of agony and disempowerment of the masses to an all time high. The people suffer in silence. There are sporadic protests by the suffering sections. But these are far and few, like a bubble and disintegrated. The countrywide earth-shaking eruption or ferment that could trigger a movement for casting away the prevailing abominable order is nowhere in sight.
The empowered crooks and swindlers laugh in their sleeves and perpetuate in their perfidious proclivities by brutalizing the people and enhancing their riches and privileges.While a lone jurist in the person of chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry is holding on to the ramparts of justice, every insidious and vicious machinations is being pulled out to denigrate him and thus derail the due process of law.
The exploitative pressure groups and privileged lobbies starting from the presidency down to a contractor are up in arms to defy and debase the justice system which is the only hope for hanging on to a civil society. The establishment, the political parties, the people’s representatives, the loathsome money grabbers, the swindlers of public money and the ubiquitous gun totting assassins have joined hands to wreck the society and victimize the harmless citizens.
The people from lower strata of population are already half dead with the woeful state of utilities, galloping cost of living, meager incomes, broken law and order, rampant killings, stifling red tape and so on. The harassed and frenzied people do not know where to go for redress of their even ordinary problems such as to get a liter of petrol or gas or a gallon of clean water.
Three provinces of Pakistan are in a state of utter turmoil with swelling insurgency and upheaval. Baluchistan’s nationalists demand an independent Baluchistan. The Taliban and militant Islamists want to rule the North Western Frontier region starting from Swat to the Durand line. There is a civil war going on in the tribal areas for about ten years now. Karachi, a vital port, the largest city and economic hub of Pakistan looks like overtaken by dreaded mafias and bandits.
Does the present lot of power wielders possess the intentions, the mettle and vision to douse these flames of separation and rampant lawlessness? No way! In fact, they want this marvelous country to vanish so that their skins are saved and they can enjoy a cozy life with their fabulous wealth in distant lands.
In the face of this dooms-day spectacle, the government in power is bracing itself for another bout and head-on clash with the justice system. The federal cabinet consisting of the ministers from the majority party and the parasitic minority parties has approved the draft of the “Contempt of Court Bill 2012” aimed at exempting the president, prime minister, governors and chief ministers from contempt of court proceedings.
Besides, another bill has been approved that would legalize the dual nationality paving way for duel nationals to participate in the next general elections. If passed by the parliament this law would also protect current lawmakers with dual nationality from disqualification. Now these are the dirty tricks to thwart and belittle the courts and to nullify their decisions with regard to contempt and duel nationality.
So instead of addressing the collapsing governance and the pervasive rot seeping into every lane, street, house and in the ideological foundation of Pakistan; the privileged, elitist feudal classes, and aristocrats are obsessed with fortifying and perpetuating their power and pelf.
Is the allegorical reference to Rome burning and the emperor Nero playing on flute relevant to this appalling state of affairs in Pakistan?
In those primitive times when absolutism of the monarchs was the unquestionable norm, the desperate people drove that ruthless tyrant out of the palace, chased and killed him.
The other allusion relevant to the ongoing ghastly scenario is that of the “French Revolution”. It was in the wake of that historic revolution that feudalists, aristocrats and the powerful exploitative sections of that decaying society met their nemesis through guillotines and outpouring of public wrath.
From that ruthless and blood soaked revolution, emerged another glorious order that let the French society bloom with a “hundred flowers”. An era of liberty, human emancipation, democracy and enlightenment was born that became a harbinger for other societies to follow suit. Can this salubrious transformation happen in Pakistan? Can someone lead the people to make that miracle happen in Pakistan? Or else there is no hope and Pakistan is destined to decay, disintegrate and disappear.
The writer is a senior journalist and a former diplomat based in Dallas, Texas, USA.