Pakistan Day today, while it brings back to mind the promise that the nation showed 71 years ago, also puts into sharp relief the failings and the follies of the later as well as the present generations in not living up to that promise. It was a vibrant people then, charged with a mission that they fulfilled in mere seven years to the utter amazement of the world; now, it is a depressed nation living in a confused present and inexorably moving towards a directionless future, to the grave concern of its friends and the absolute glee of its foes. But what, after all, has happened to it? The fibre is the same, and it has proved its worth when challenged to act. The saga of nuclear achievement against the formidable opposition of most of the global powers and the restoration of the deposed judiciary are no small feats. A brief reflection on the causes of the glaring difference between then and now leads one to the only conclusion: leadership.
Then, it was the towering personality of Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah who led the nation on the strength of an unimpeachable character; he electrified the Muslim India with his firm resolve and unmatched logic for a separate homeland. Allama Muhammad Iqbal’s vision remained the guiding light. Later and now, with a few honourable exceptions, we have had and have pigmies trying to mimic the leadership role, without any guiding principle or concrete programme of action.The story, as it unfolded since the creation and the passing away of the Quaid, is a sad story of endless tussle for power, with little regard for the national aspirations. Constitutions made and abrogated, amended to suit the ruler’s convenience or held in abeyance; the hostile India constantly scheming to undo the reality of Pakistan; the generals grabbing power and ruining the struggling democracy, and the politicians, no less, running the country as a personal domain; in short, the unending greed of the own ruling circles – politicians and civil and military bureaucracy – made a mess of everything, and a deadly enemy never slackened in taking advantage. – Nation