Emanuel SarfrazDeath like slumbers and my quest to live

Two years ago I used this poet’s rendition about the state of his being to explain the condition of our nation that has for long been stupor due to dearth of good leadership. Not much has changed since then. Pakistan continues to face crisis after crisis. We recently had general election. The results remained traditional and in many ways look like recipe for disaster like the 1971 polls. PPP was reduced to Sindh, PML (N) swept Punjab, and nationalistshave come in power in Balochistan while PTI could make big impact in KPK alone. In 1971 polls to counter Mujeebur Rehman the West Pakistan voted for ZA Bhutto. But the fact remains that they ignited the Pakistanis to come out of the prevailing inertia. While the terrorism seems to be spreading its tentacles to all kinds of negativities like sectarianism, religious intolerance, ethnic and regional differences it has sparked a great turbulence in the minds of people who now are aggressively talking about nationalism. Only true spirit of nationalism can counter the rising wave of extremism in some sections of society. If the current trend continues we may witness the rise of nationalist Pakistan that change the nation’s destiny. Every Pakistani now believes we don’t have the luxury of time and things may get out of control. Pakistan was created after a long struggle under the charismatic leadership of Muhammad Ali Jinnah. The founding father was called by the people Quaid-e-Azam meaning the greatest leader. He was no doubt the greatest leader of this region in the 20th century. A progressive person with a towering personality Jinnah was able to thwart designs of Hindu leaders and some British conspirators and Pakistan was made. From scratch we started and Pakistan, which Indian leaders had predicted that it would fail, continued to make great strides in every sector. After Quaid-e-Azam and Liaqat Ali Khan Pakistan failed to get good and sincere leadership. Our history is chequered with military regimes and corrupt civilian governments taking reigns of the country. People of Pakistan are resolute that the state of Pakistan will not only make progress but could also be a role model for other third world countries. From time to time Pakistan has been declared a failed state by some scholars and so called leaders having their own vested interests. There are three dimensions to the allegations. Sometimes Pakistan is called a rogue state because of the element of terrorism. Then it is called a failed state mainly due to bad governance. Thirdly it is called a defaulter state due to weak economy. The allegation that we are a rogue state is because of the war in Afghanistan, which brought the kalashnikov and narcotics culture into Pakistan. During the jehad in Afghanistan funded and sponsored by USA fighters from all over the world came and many of them settled here. The nearly three million refugees most of which never went back to Pakistan had young people growing up in war environment. They never gave up arms and the result was that they formed terrorist and criminal outfits that at times were funded by the rulers and by some friendly countries. This ‘foreign funding’ has turned Pakistan into a battleground for proxy wars. The violence in Karachi, the rise of extremism in southern Punjab and killings of Hazaras are some of the examples of these proxy wars. Another allegation is that of Pakistan being a failed state due to bad governance. When governance is invisible, corruption is rampant; nepotism is at peak no state can make progress. Recent history is full stories incompetent regimes plundering of national wealth. Thus the country failed to make development in any sector. Since there is no local body system there is no grooming process of politicians. Incompetent regimes would continue to come into power considering the leadership never got the have any grooming. One must keep in mind it is never that the states fail it is the individuals and leaders that fail. Pakistan has all the institutions built over the years on solid ground. It has a disciplined army. State will continue to exist but the process of decay cannot be stopped if the government does not act to safeguard the interests of state. Pakistan is often alleged to be a failed state due to being a defaulter state. After being in the clutches of foreign aid loans of World Bank and IMF for long our economy crumbled. It was in 2006 that Pakistan was given clean chit by the World Bank and IMF. But soon the regime’s tenure was over and Pakistan was pushed under the same menace. Today we are running a government only on the basis of borrowed money. Our national economy is at the lowest ebb with terrorism touching new peaks and human bodies falling like autumn leaves. There seems no immediate solution in sight. Recently elected government having made tall claims before coming into power now seems clueless as to what should be the priorities. The most depressing situation is with regard to both electronic and print media. Electronic media is in race of ratings while print media is in race to procure advertisements. There is a saying ‘nations and press rise and fall together’. Journalism is no longer a mission. It has become an industry and media organisations are no longer playing the role of watchdogs. The result is disastrous as sensationalism and speculative stories rule the roost. People are fed up with ‘Breaking News’ that are flashed every five minutes in all news channels. Though some are really breaking news but most are just sensational ones of not much importance. In this scenario what should be done to change the things positively. The answer is the sooner we learn to take decisions on governmental level and find our own solutions the better. There is no space for ‘Made in London’ and ‘Made in Washington’ decisions. Can we do it is a million dollar question. If we have to sail the state out of these crises we need a strong political will and courage to take unpopular decisions. Our security agencies and related institutions are fully aware of how to tackle the armed outfits and miscreants. The government needs to take stock of the situation and act swiftly before it is too late. Masses are fully aware of the situation and have started showing the much needed spirit of nationalism. The government should promote this spirit of nationalism as it alone can bind the nation together and eliminate all kinds of negativities and extremism creeping into our society.nemail: emanuelsarfraz7@gmail.com