Among the most popular TV News Anchors and Talk show hosts in India is a man who goes by the name of Arnab Goswami. On a Sunday morning, while scrolling through prominent TV channels, I came across an interesting debate on a renowned channel “India News Today”. What looked like a high profile talk show on an International Indian Channel, what I saw was Mr. Arnab Goswami having two Muslim leaders being bullied by hard-liner Hindu Nationalists on a live transmission. The core topic under discussion was; why Muslims object to Vande Mataram being read and bowed to by all students in schools and all civil officials alike? As one of the Muslim guests tried to explain the point that the song Vande Mataram includes words like prostration to a female deity that is Hindustan and that it would be considered as “shirk” under Islam, suddenly, the whole audience and Hindu guests speakers on the show went into a frenzy of insults and derogatory comments.
The TV show host added fuel to the fire by abruptly and aggressively commenting that Muslims who fail to respect the Vande Mataram song should leave India. The irony is not only in the fact that India expects the world to believe that it has a just and secular socio-political setup but also in the notion that nothing has changed after 70 years. The divisions of religion, class and creed continue to hound the sub-continent. Treachery and poisonous rivalry is as clear as it has ever been. It was this very violent and repulsive behavior that doomed the idea of a combined Bharat with Hindus and Muslims living together side-by-side with mutual respect and ownership.
Pakistan was and still is the answer to this dilemma. Quaid-e-Azam and his companions vowed to defend not just Muslims of their contemporary times, but those, belonging to the future as well. With the new idea of “Naya Pakistan” and the victory of “Tehreek-e-Insaf”, the dream of the Quaid has a new hope of revival.
Quaid-e-Azam in his many speeches, time and again, referred to Pakistan becoming a Muslim Welfare State. A country based on the ideals of Quran and Sunnah combined with the best features of democracy and good governance.
Imran Khan in his address following the victory of PTI in the 2018 elections, referred to Madina under the Holy Prophet (PBUH) and the idea of Quaid-e-Azam to build a prosperous and developed nation based on a similar philosophy. The nation is overjoyed and full of hope. Finally, change is on the horizon. Winds of Islamabad are showing a pattern of reform and reinvigoration. The stereotyped MNA and MPA culture is on the brink of metamorphosis into something worthwhile.
It took Imran Khan 22 years to achieve his dream of becoming the Prime Minister of Pakistan. History will stand testimony to this remarkable victory. Every able Pakistani ought to welcome Mr. Khan and wish him good luck that may he be able to transform his true intentions into a viable reality. May he exhibit the same persistence and pursuance that he has displayed to achieve this victory towards achieving the dire needs of the poor people of this country. May he become the leader we all have been waiting for, Amen.
From a historical perspective, Pakistan has had only a handful of leaders, who were worthy of International stature. After great titans like Quaid-e-Azam and Liaqat Ali Khan, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was like a Greek Hero in the ethos of Pakistan. Educated, celebrated and worthy, but like the Poetics of Aristotle, he met a tragic end. His work and his vision left incomplete and died in its infancy at the hands of conspirators and Super powers. It would be pointless to analyze military dictators as true leaders as they were never lawfully destined to perform the role of Prime Minister nor President. However, politicians like Nawaz Sharif arose from the ashes of democracy. Without the charisma and qualities required of a leader who steers the country like the Captain of a ship, certain politicians were mainly good manipulators of the electoral process.
Listening to Imran Khan, one is compelled to observe the audacity and determination of a legitimate and honorable leadership before us. In the opening address, Imran Khan gave a glimpse of his vision for Pakistan. Many would say that the devil lies in the details, yet, it is also essential to never lose sight of the horizon. PTI has already unveiled a 100 days plan and a detailed agenda on the reformation of the tax system and empowerment of National Accountability Bureau. The PTI team is convinced that corruption cannot be tolerated and the prime function of Governance is to restore human dignity by investing on the people. In my opinion, these two basic agenda points are more than enough to restore greatness to this nation. A corruption-free Pakistan has to be progressive and well-developed Pakistan. The task that lies ahead is to permeate every nook and cranny of the Government machinery with this ideology and implementing the intended change. There is hope as well as thrill.
The 80s and 90s are considered by economists as the lost decades of Pakistan, but even in these dark times, Pakistan managed to become Nuclear Power. The Chagai Nuclear tests of 1998 were a befitting reply to India over its Operation Shakti Nuclear Tests which had been planned to pressurize Pakistan and lower the morale of its military through techno-nuclear superiority. The Indian designs to liquidate Pakistan or occupy it in a military encounter were forever obliterated after the declaration of Pakistan as a country possessing a full-fledged nuclear arsenal. The physical boundaries of this country were not to be tempered with. However, on the side of economics and human development, Pakistan has continued to spiral down or back and forth for the last thirty years.
Time and again, the failing financial network has been rescued with heavy loans and bail-outs by IMF and other International Monetary organizations. In this dire situation, China Pakistan Economic Corridor has come as a revolution to the old state of affairs. An investment of over 60 billion dollars is set to jolt the economy into an aggressive acceleration. It is upto the people of Pakistan to take full advantage of this scenario and join the ranks of a developed and powerful nation. The coming of CPEC is complemented by the Geo-Strategic position of Pakistan as the ultimate roadmap to double digit growth in GDP and Human Development.
The new government is set to join the helm of affairs with fresh faces and a new resolve to take actions that have been neglected for decades. The new PTI government must install meritocracy as the top priority of all governance based institutions. Merit and competency can rescue the failing system from all its vices. PTI is being looked up to by Pakistanis living abroad as well. It is a historical movement that patriots not just from inside Pakistan but those from outside are willing to be a part of the nation-building process. PTI has the honor of being a non-family political party. All the best to Khan and his team for restoring justice, humanity and self-esteem in Pakistan, his famous slogan since twenty two long years, finally bearing fruit.
(The writer is Chairman of Jinnah Rafi Foundation)