What went wrong with us? The answer: We lost our identity as a people and as a nation. Yes, ours were a great people, but thanks to our politicians and our military who surrendered to the U.S. dictates for the sake of their own personal greed and gains. They towed along the line given to them by Uncle Sam and took upon an identity that was imposed upon. Our armed forces were led to believe in the fear of Communism, not once but many times.
Why did we believe that Communism—an ideology—was a threat to Islam? Communism is now dead but our homeland, our Pakistan is in dire straits, mainly because of a false fear that the ideology we were led to believe was detrimental to our interests. The situation we face today is much worse now, as we see traitors and foreign agents roaming the streets of Pakistan. It is therefore, a political and moral imperative for all patriots of Pakistan to expose these traitors, and fight once again for our core values, the values for which this great nation was born to uphold.
BETWEEN HOPE AND FEAR
by Nayyar Hashmey
Roedad Khan’s op-eds often appear on this site. Recently too he put up one such article in the News International and Gulam Mitha, my friend from Calgary, Canada added a note of his own what he thought about R.K.’s article. Here is what he says:-
The writer Roedad Khan offers historical lessons in this article. I was inspired to read what he has written and sent him a comment to his post as mentioned below.
I request you to read this article.
My own note on Mr. Redad Khan’s write up precedes the actual post.
My dear Roedad Khan,
With much interest I read your article.
What did go wrong with Pakistan in my humble opinion is that we lost our identity as a people and as a nation. Yes, ours were a great people, but thanks to our politicians and our military who surrendered to the U.S. dictates for the sake of their own personal greed and gains. At behest of the US, we signed the CENTO and SEATO Pacts not realizing that such an alliance would harm our interests. We towed along the line given to us by Uncle Sam and took upon an identity that was imposed upon us.
Our armed forces were led to believe in the fear of Communism, not once but many times. Why did we believe that Communism—an ideology—was a threat to Islam?
Communism is now dead but our homeland, our Pakistan is in dire straits, mainly because of a false fear that the ideology we were led to believe was detrimental to our interests.
You very aptly write: “Amir!” Quaid-e-Azam told Raja Sahib of Mahmudabad in 1948, “You have no idea of the situation here. I am surrounded by traitors”.
These traitors are the waderas (the feudal), the mullahs and the top brass in our armed forces, all of whom hide behind the nuclear curtain. The people are no doubt a decent folk, but our rulers [they are not the leaders, they don’t have even an iota of leadership] are corrupt to the core and fabulously rich, the Qaroons of today.
I do hope one day these traitors will have to pay for their deeds against the people, against the great noble values for which this country was created by our great leader, Qaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah.
AND YOUR CONCLUSION IS AN EYE OPENER.
The situation we face today is much worse. Traitors and foreign agents are roaming the streets of Pakistan. It is therefore, a political and moral imperative for all patriots of Pakistan to expose these traitors, and fight once again for our core values, resist foreign intervention in our internal affairs and destroy the roots of all evils that afflict Pakistan. Let us put our hand on the arc of history, and bend it once more toward the hope of a better Pakistan.
Khan Sb., we can hope for a better Pakistan only when we get rid of these traitors and get back our lost identity. But who will and who can lead? Our only hope lies in our earnest and concerted prayers to Allah Almighty. We must become good Muslims. He will listen as he listened to the bonded Israelites and sent them Moses.
Ironically, today those very Israelites have bonded not only the Muslims, the Arabs and Pakistan but also the second Roman Empire. (A wonderful book “Are We Rome? The Decline of an Empire and the Fate of America” by Cullen Murphy). Gulam Mitha
I agree with all what Gulam Mitha has said in his equally apt note to Roedad Khan’s op-ed, which am putting up next. But where I do disagree with him, is our hackneyed concept of putting too much emphasis in religiosity of our nation as an independent sovereign state.
Pakistan’s raison d’être emanates first from its being a people practicing a faith different from the one practiced by the then majority religious community in the British ruled Indian subcontinent. In that context, to ask for one’s right, geographical division for the sake of division only would not have carried much weight. Coincidentally in the undivided subcontinent, it were mainly the Muslims who were not only being treated as second rate to the Hindus by the All India Congress, but the extreme Hindu right openly advocated their designs of converting the Muslims of India to the faith of their forefathers, an opinion which they still espouse to some extent in the present day Bharat.
That was the reason the Qaid advanced his theory of Muslims as a separate and distinct nation different from the one of British India’s mainstream. But Qaid himself was not a man of religion neither did he believe in a theocratic state. Many of his speeches speak of his mind on this subject.
He further advocated an existential relationship with our big neighbor on the pattern of U.S. and Canada. He told his people that now that Pakistan has been won to secure our interests as Muslims, as far as the state is concerned, there will be no difference between its people. Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, all are free to go to their temples, their gurdwaras and their churches, as do Muslims to their mosques.
I think this was the prime lesson we forgot and clung to the hackneyed concept of we Muslims are first Muslims and then Pakistani. This very notion, very concept negates the nationhood of Pakistan. I do not mean to say that we should minus religion from our life and our style of living. We the majority of Pakistani people are Alhamdo Lillah strong believers and we are very proud of this. But simultaneously while we are too proud of being Muslim we should equally be proud of being Pakistani.
This is a dilemma which we face today and it is the dilemma that has brought us, other things excepted; to our present state of affairs. This very concept took us to the fold of Americans when in the 1960’s we signed the CENTO and SEATO pacts.
Agreed the Americans played a big role in this, but how could or can we expect the Americans to accede only to our interests, our programmes and our wishes and our needs and forego their interests altogether.
I personally believe that first mistake that we made while dealing with the Americans was our simplistic approach of thinking America as our friend. This is the line that was given to us by the US state department and we blindly accepted this line. Contrary to the very fact that yesterday, today and tomorrow it shall always be so that relations between countries are based on mutual interests and interests sometimes converge but many a times they move in opposite directions. We got oblivious to this fact and tried to find friendship with the Americans like a holy decree and when we came to realize that we have been ditched by the Americans we started blaming them cursing ourselves that we got in Americans the not sincere friends.
Americans knew that with our strong onus on religion, we could be an easy prey to fall into the trap of fighting together against what they termed an evil empire shielded behind an iron curtain, an empire which did not believe in religion but in the godless philosophy propounded by a reject called Karl Marx, who decried that religion was an opium for the masses. [Though not true, but this is what we were told by the Americans and we without giving it a second thought believed this as the real truth]. With this philosophy the American laid the trap and we gladly fell into it.
Had we had our Pakistaniat before us, we as hardcore nationalist Pakistanis, would have dealt with the Americans as two bargainers deal together. We sold ourselves to the Americans and we sold it dirt cheap.
Later during the 80’s when the Soviets were lured into Afghanistan, again our generalissimo sold us to the Americans n and the price he got was damn nothing except the assurance that Americans will help his dictatorship prolong till such times that he will need it.
Come the new millennium. Again when the Americans needed us, we offered ourselves to become America’s murderers on hire. Like the text book definition of a traitor, our G in the top rank, offered Americans more than what they had wanted.
Interestingly, in 2004, I attended a meeting of the Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the agenda of the meeting was how to boost Pakistani textile exports to the US. There it was revealed by the Chamber’s Textile Committee Chairman that while in 2002-2003 the Pakistani government was negotiating with the Americans, the FPCCI met the then Commerce Minister Razzaq Dawood and apprised him of the need to get preferential tariffs from US trade ministry, because now that we are going to fight America’s war, we should at least have some trade gains from America.
The Chairman then said that they had requested Razzaq Dawood that US should waive off the extra tariffs, specially the antidumping duty that renders the Pakistani textile items more expensive by 18-24 percent vis-a-via Indian and Bangladeshi exports, which had better trade terms given to them by the Americans. That would have given a big boost to our exports said the chairman. If they can’t waive off the additional tariffs altogether, they should at least put it at par with Bangladesh. To this said the Chairman, Mr Razzaq Dawood said that he had talked to the president and the later had told him “we will not only get special preferential tariffs from Americans but much more than that”.
The president [P. Musharraf] went to the United States and came back empty handed. Not only were the duty issue not touched at all. but also the duty and other negative tariffs remained intact.
We were all aghast to learn this. In our mutual deliberations it transpired that somebody somewhere in our state apparat, in the top most level just surrendered to America’s dictates.
I don’t blame the Americans. When we our selves offer us for sale and this also as a loot sale, how can we blame the Americans!
Anyway coming back to the original subject once again, I think we should now assess ourselves as Pakistani nationalists and not as a religious entity. Our identity as a nation of Muslims had been good enough till we lived side by side with the Hindus, but now that we are living as an independent people of an independent sovereign state, we do need to do away with the concept of a nation based singularly on religion. We have to have cement our identity as Pakistanis and Pakistanis alone. Once we become a nation of Pakistanis, Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs Christians, Dalits, all as Pakistanis, we won’t have much problem in rediscovering the noble values of this sacred homeland of ours. We have been led astray as you rightly have said, by our kleptomaniac rulers, the politicos in civil, the men in Khaki as well as the feudals for whom this nation is an estate over which they rule with impunity and when they get old like old Mughal rulers, pass this on to their sons and daughters in succession.
Roedad Khan’s op-ed no doubt is very timely, an eye opener and a concrete road map to rediscover the lost glory of the great nation of Pakistan.
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