by Zafar Bangash (Opinion, Crescent International Vol. 52, No. 11, Jumada' al-Akhirah, 1444)
It is extremely depressing to witness the unfolding events in Pakistan. This has raised serious concerns about its very survival. The Pakistani elite comprise a criminal syndicate of feudal lords, the bureaucracy, military and media. They are all certified criminals, gangsters, rapists and murderers whose only purpose in life is to plunder state resources.
Despite its enormous natural wealth and thus huge potential, Pakistan is being run into the ground because the parasitical ruling elite are busy stealing all state resources and whatever else they can lay their grubby hands on. Theft and plunder have been institutionalized into the system.
Pakistan functions not so much as a state but as a huge real estate racket. Land mafias usurp lands belonging to others but the victims have little or no recourse in law to retrieve what rightly belongs to them. This is because the judiciary is just as corrupt. People’s genuine grievances remain in limbo for decades because the judges are too corrupt and easily bribed by the powerful to dispense justice.
On important issues, judges take their orders from the military high command despite the latter claiming that they are “not interfering in politics” and are “neutral”. Such bald face lies would be hard to find elsewhere. The depressing fact is that there is no rule of law in Pakistan.
The constitution, for what it’s worth, is treated with disdain. Successive army chiefs have violated the constitution by overthrowing civilian governments and grabbed power. The judiciary has provided legal cover for such illegal acts.
When the constitution is violated with such impunity and there is no accountability for gross misdemeanor, it leaves little room for optimism for the survival of the state. The social contract between the state and the people has not only broken down, it simply does not exist because the state itself has withered away.
Flag raising ceremonies and military parades, however impressive, do not make a state. They are mere attempts to hide the ugly reality of total breakdown. The people have not only lost faith in state institutions but also respect for them.
The country’s economic condition has deteriorated so rapidly since last April when Imran Khan’s government was overthrown through a soft coup that it is on the verge of default. Traditional sources of foreign funding, mainly handouts from the IMF and friendly Arab countries have dried up. Pakistani exports and remittances from overseas Pakistanis have also declined, the latter because people have no faith in the criminals imposed as rulers by the military.
Imran Khan’s quest to force elections in the country, though admirable, is misplaced. Elections will not help bring about change even if he wins the desired two-third majority in parliament. The entire system is rotten and has to be demolished completely. This will not happen unless the powers-that-be are defanged. That is a tall order and will require huge sacrifices in life and blood.
There is no evidence to suggest that Imran Khan is prepared to take that route at present. Perhaps, he is not sure of his supporters’ commitment. Even within his own party and allied parties, there are people secretly in league with the army top brass and taking directions from them. Under these circumstances, how can fresh elections solve the country’s problems?
When there is a cancerous tumor in the body, it has to be excised to give the body a fighting chance to survive. If the tumor stays inside, it will spread and infect other organs of the body. This is what seems to be happening in Pakistan.
In order to bring about change in society, it is important to analyze the prevailing situation and determine what is wrong with it. Following that, a clear direction must be provided as to where the society needs to go. The ultimate goal and how to achieve it must also be clearly articulated. Then comes the stage of mobilization of the masses.
Looking at the situation in Pakistan, there appears to be much confusion in the minds of those promising to bring about change. It does not help to promise change yet insist on working with the very people and institutions that are impediments to change.
Physical revolution must be preceded by a revolution in thought. Without the intellectual revolution, all struggle ends up as futile pursuit. The chaos that engulfs Pakistan is the result of such muddled thinking.
What is the way forward? The Prophetic Seerah offers very important lessons. While all Pakistanis, and indeed Muslims everywhere, claim to love the Prophet (pbuh) and will even give their lives to defend his honour, they have not internalized the lessons of his life’s struggle.
He totally rejected the Jahili system in Makkah and refused to have anything to do with it. When he was offered a power-sharing arrangement, before he could respond, it was rejected from on high by Allah. He does not want His committed servants to mix Haqq with Batil. The struggle for justice will face many challenges but these will have to be faced and surmounted in order to reach the destiny ordained by Allah.