Is the dark, long night about to end?

“Few individuals significantly alter the course of history,” wrote Stanley Wolpert in the preface to his book on Mr Jinnah. “Fewer still modify the map of the world. Hardly anyone can be credited with creating a nation-state. Mohammad Ali Jinnah did all three.” By 1940, the mystical bond linking Jinnah and the people was so profound that nobody could challenge Jinnah’s leadership of the Muslims of India. He was their sole spokesman.

Beverly Nichols, who first met Mr Jinnah on December 18, 1943, called him a giant, the most important man in Asia. “India is likely to be the world’s greatest problem for some years to come, and Mr Jinnah is in a position of unique strategic importance. He can sway the battle this way or that as he chooses. His 100 million Muslims will march to the left, to the right, to the front, to the rear at his bidding and at nobody else’s… that is the point.” Without Jinnah, it is safe to say, there would have been no Pakistan. Rarely, in the history of human endeavour, have so many owed so much to one, single, solitary person.

Mr Jinnah envisioned Pakistan as a modern, progressive, democratic country drawing its inspiration from the true, dynamic, pristine, revolutionary Islam of its early years with its emphasis on egalitarianism, social justice and accountability. Jinnah was a fervent believer in the sovereignty of the people, the inviolability of constitution, supremacy of civilian rule, an absolutely independent, incorruptible judiciary, rule of law and a strong, neutral, honest civil service. The ruling passion of Jinnah’s life was the love of law and liberty. On innumerable occasions, before and after the establishment of Pakistan, he affirmed his faith in democracy, social justice and the equality of men as taught by Islam. In a broadcast to the people of the United States of America in February 1948, he said, “The Constitution of Pakistan has yet to be framed by the Pakistan constituent assembly. I do not know what the ultimate shape of the constitution is going to be, but I am sure that it will be of a democratic type, embodying the essential principles of Islam... Pakistan is not going to be a theocratic state to be ruled by priests with a divine mission.”

With Mr Jinnah’s death, it was as if a great light had gone out, and people were left groping in the dark. The hands of the nation’s clock stopped the day the Quaid’s heart stopped beating. Sometimes, I wonder if it ever occurred to Mr Jinnah that, one day, Pakistan will be stripped of all its core values; the constitution, the supreme law of the land will be abrogated or suspended, defaced, disfigured and changed beyond recognition; Pakistan will be ruled by a corrupt president and his dream will turn into a nightmare.

As he left the constitutional convention of 1787, Benjamin Franklin was asked by an admirer, “Dr Franklin what have you given us.” Franklin turned to the questioner and replied, “A Republic, if you can keep it.” Not too long ago, we too possessed a great country earned for us by the sweat of the brow and iron will of one person. Where giants walked, midgets pose now. Our rulers, both elected and unelected, have done to Pakistan what the successors of Lenin did to the Soviet Union.

Many nations in the past have attempted to develop democratic institutions, only to lose them when they took their liberties and political institutions for granted. Pakistan is a classic example. Born at midnight as a sovereign, independent, democratic country, today it is neither sovereign, nor independent or democratic. Today it is not just a “rentier state”, not just a client state. It is a slave state, with a puppet government set up by Washington, ill-led, ill-governed by a power-hungry junta.

Think about where we stand today? We have President Zardari. And little hope and no cash. The Pakistan Mr Jinnah founded is gone. It disappeared the day power-hungry generals and corrupt politicians hijacked Pakistan. On that day, the lights went out. Pakistan slid into darkness. Thanks to eight years of General Musharraf’s illegitimate rule, followed by over two years of Zardari’s corrupt administration, today Pakistan is a ghost of its former self. If it were to look into a mirror, it won’t recognise itself. Today Pakistan looks like a bad parody of the miracle we witnessed on August 14, 1947. If Mr Jinnah came today and saw President Zardari, in occupation of his august office, he would say, “I am afraid I need to erase this and start all over again.”

“When the head is rotten, it affects the whole body,” King Abdullah is quoted as saying with reference to Pakistan. A country that tolerates a situation in which people who are corrupt to the bone rule, is a sick country. I have always believed and always shall, that indifference to corruption at the summit of power is treason.

Who is there to inspire the people? Who is there to lead the people? Who is there to cleanse Pakistan of the filth surrounding it? We need a committed, passionate person to lead our country, not a Sunday school teacher taking baby steps cautiously. Pakistan is hungry for a person who will light a candle in the gloom that is our morale; who has a passion burning within him to set our nation alight; who will be the standard-barrier of the disenchanted; who can give voice to our humiliation; who places country above self; who gives the country a new agenda; one that does not replace one set of corrupt leaders by another; who offers the genuine hope of a new order to take us into a new millennium; and, most important, whose hands are clean.

Is the dark long night about to end? And has the time come for us to leave the valley of despair and climb the mountain so that we can see the glory of another dawn? Cast off despair. The darkest hour is the one just before dawn and as generally happens in history, it is at the darkest hour that a bright star arises when you have almost given up hope. When a nation is in crisis, it needs a man to match the time. ‘You don’t create such a man, you don’t discover such a man. You recognise such a man’. Time cries out for leadership. Cometh the hour, so cometh the man. The hour will find the man who has the will and power to restore the Pakistan dream.

Talking about social justice and equality in the Pakistan of his dream, Mr Jinnah said in a speech delivered in April 1943, “Here I would like to give a warning to the landlords and capitalists. The exploitation of the masses has gone into their blood. They have forgotten the lesson of Islam. Do you visualise that millions have been exploited and cannot get one meal a day? If this was the idea of Pakistan, I would not have it.”

Today all the symptoms which one had ever met in history previous to great changes and revolutions exist in Pakistan. Men and women of Pakistan, now is the hour to claim your rights, your core values, your stolen money. The cabal that rules this poor country is degenerate to the very bones and nauseatingly corrupt. We must extirpate it root and branch. Be prepared to march. It is time to go to the barricades. The great are great only because we are on our knees. Let us rise.

Source: The News (by Roedad Khan)

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