by Zia Sarhadi (News & Analysis, Crescent International Vol. 53, No. 1, Sha'ban, 1444)
Every year, March 23 is celebrated as Pakistan Day. On this day in 1940, a formal demand for the creation of Pakistan was made through a resolution of the All-India Muslim League. The party claimed to represent the interests of the Muslims in British colonized India.
The meeting was held in Lahore. Today a monument in the form of a tall tower, called the Minar-e Pakistan, has been erected on the spot to highlight its significance.
The day is also celebrated with a march by smartly dressed Pakistani troops. Top officials—the president and prime minister—deliver stirring speeches threatening to turn Pakistan into another Switzerland. This has been a common refrain heard for decades even while the country has been run into the ground with mass poverty afflicting people.
Some constants in Pakistan’s polity can be identified. It is a country that has become addicted to handouts from abroad: the IMF, ‘friendly’ or not-so-friendly countries and the ever-ready cash-cow, overseas Pakistanis. Subservience to the US is another constant in Pakistani politics.
The criminal syndicate of generals, feudal lords, bureaucrats, judges and media that runs Pakistan has sucked the blood out of the country. They are unabashed criminals, gangsters, rapists and murderers. Their sole purpose in life is to plunder state resources.
Today, Pakistan teeters on the brink of economic collapse. Negotiations with the IMF for a bailout package of $1.1 billion has come with stiff conditions to remove subsidies and float the rupee against the US dollar. IMF conditions have led to astronomical price increases of most essential commodities, including food and fuel prices.
Poverty, already high, has increased alarmingly. The middle class, small as it was, has been decimated. There are only two classes in Pakistan today: the small but rapaciously greedy elite class and the vast majority of the rest.
The situation is so bad that in most major cities, young girls are now selling their bodies to get some money for food. And the country still calls itself the “Islamic Republic of Pakistan”! What is “Islamic” about Pakistan where girls are forced into such degrading acts just to feed themselves or their families?
In such dire conditions, is there any justification to hold military parades and deliver stirring speeches? People cannot feed their children while the elite indulge in their customary plunder and debauchery. How long can this situation last when people can neither get food nor justice because the judges are also thoroughly corrupt?
At the root of Pakistan’s problems lies the military’s domineering attitude. It is involved in all aspects of life and every policy of the state. In the only domain where it should concentrate its energies—defending the country’s borders—it has failed miserably. Far from liberating Kashmir from the clutches of India which is touted as the military’s main objective, it is not even capable of defending the country’s western borders with Afghanistan.
Attacks have become far too common. The most recent attack occurred on January 30 in a mosque deep inside the police headquarters in Peshawar. That a terrorist could penetrate multiple security checkpoints in a heavily-fortified security zone speaks volumes for the pathetic state of affairs. Has anyone taken responsibility for this massive tragedy that killed 101 people, almost all of them police officials, and injured another 217?
It is time to call a spade a spade. Pakistan is virtually under martial law. There is no law, only the heavy boot of the military on the necks of the people. Crooks, rapists, murderers and other assorted criminals have been imposed as rulers on the country because the former military chief, Qamar Javed Bajwa felt Imran Khan was not doing well as prime minister. He accused the former prime minister of mismanaging the economy?
Several questions arise. How did Bajwa figure out that the economy was not doing well under Imran Khan’s government? Is he responsible for the economy of the country and if so, on what basis? Bajwa has also trashed the reputation of the army, for what it was worth.
He is guilty of treason and should be tried for this supreme crime. The tragedy is that there is no court in the country where a judge would be able to deliver such a verdict. The army would not allow such a trial to take place because it considers itself above the law. This was evident in the funeral held for Pervez Musharraf, the other military dictator who died in Dubai last month. Despite being convicted of treason and sentenced to death, he was given full military honours for burial. How long can this farce continue?
The people of Pakistan are fed up with this state of affairs. They are reaching a point where some individuals, unable to take it anymore, may start targeting the criminals in power. Who can blame them if they are pushed to this state through starvation?