14 ‘Shoulds’ for a Better Pakistan

 
These 14 ‘shoulds’ might seem a loony’s dream? Well, maybe, but this country was a dream before its birth, a dream of hope and peace and prosperity before it was turned, by the monsters who ruled it for years on, into a nightmare for its inhabitants. And with the positive energies of our youth, can once more, we have the beginning of a noble dream and a lovely reality.
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PIN POINTING OUR ILLS AND SOLUTIONS

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by Muhammad Ilyas Khan

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Pakistan has been in turmoil for a long time now. Embroiled in political, ideological, social and economic chaos, I hope that the year 2013 will be the beginning of peace, enlightenment and prosperity in Pakistan. To move towards betterment, I, as a Pakistani, propose fourteen “Shoulds” on this occasion that I promise can change the course of our country but also require paradigmatic changes in our national priorities. Here goes the list:

 1. Education should be at the top of our priority list with at least 20 percent of our annual budget spent on providing quality education to the people of Pakistan.

 2. As a sage once said, ‘If you want to see the condition of a nation, see the condition of the teacher.’ So teachers should be the most valued (in the real sense of the word) people in the country.

 3. Our hospitals should be our second principal priority after education.

 4. We should make every effort to establish complete peace with our neighbouring countries including our arch-rival India. In this regard we can learn from European countries such as Germany, France, and the UK.

 5. We should devote ourselves to spreading a network of playgrounds in every city, town and village of our country.

 6. There should be a network of libraries, packed with books, magazines and journals and keeping with the pace of technological advancement, equipped with computers in every city and town.

7. There should be immediate and complete ban on pressure horns on roads and streets and gradually the ban should come down to eliminating honking at all.  Of course people need to be educated through electronic and print media against the indiscriminate use of horns and other sources of noise pollution in our environment.

 8. There should be a centrally administered system of mosques in the country. The Imams should be at least secondary school graduates besides their religious qualifications and should be recruited by the local administrative authority. They should be paid adequately for their services with the help and cooperation of the local community. The Friday sermons and teaching of these Imams should be monitored and they should be educated to present the peaceful, inclusive, humanitarian face of religion to the people .This will guard against the tendency among some of them of turning religion into sectarianism, extremism and the resultant violence.

 9. Democracy should be embraced, nurtured and practiced in the true sense of the word. Practical efforts should be made to take the power concentration out of the feudal class and to bring it down to the reach of the common people.

The first challenge in this regard is for political parties to become truly democratic and shun hereditary and dictatorial practices prevalent inside their ranks. Our armed forces should once and for all decide not to ever interfere in our political system and confine themselves to barracks .Let us for the coming thirty years, at least, try democracy without interference in its true essence.

 10. A Pakistani nationalism based on an international, humanitarian philosophy should be nurtured through a nationwide system of inclusive education. The purpose should be to broaden the horizons of the Pakistani youth to feel a part of the rest of the world instead of becoming paranoia to unseen enemies.  The concept of positive national ego should be promoted to upbring an independent youth that relies on itself rather than seek helping hands in times of difficulties.

 11. Strength in terms of economic and social development should be our primary goal driving our national policies and not just military might and our capability for destruction.

Live and let live should be our motive from now onwards if we really want to continue to exist and flourish in the comity of nations in the twenty first century.

 12. Rigorous measures should be taken to control our dangerously growing population, which is already beyond our means. Poverty, illiteracy, ignorance and misinterpretation of religion are main sources of this menace. The role of religious leaders is of special importance in this regard.

 13. An important indicator of the degree of civilization of a society is the way women are treated in it. Women emancipation through a process of education and awareness among the masses should be one of our top priorities. Pakistani women are exemplary in their devotion to their families and the welfare of those around them and this extraordinary source of our strength must be taped by giving them their due place in the social, economic and political spheres of our national life.

Again the role of religious leaders is of primary importance in this regard; many of whom unfortunately confine the role of women to domestic chores. These religious leaders consciously or unconsciously use their enormous clout as opinion makers against the economic and social freedom and autonomy of our women. This trend needs to be changed and women be brought into our national life as equal partners and stakeholders.

 14. We should, as a nation, make it a core principle of our national ethos that a society cannot live for long in the presence of injustice and endemic corruption. It should, therefore, be one of the top-most priorities to clean up corruption in our legal, administrative and political system, to have an independent, well-paid judiciary and an excellent, efficient and corruption-free police force.

 

P.S: Seems a loony’s dream? Well, maybe, but this country was a dream before its birth, a dream of hope and peace and prosperity before it was turned, by the monsters who ruled it for years on, into a nightmare for its inhabitants. And with the positive energies of our youth, can once more, we have the beginning of a noble dream and a lovely reality.

 The writer is an academic, a researcher and a PhD scholar at the University of Leicester, UK. Email: ilyasjans@yahoo.com
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7 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. We have to have these 5 basic changes [5 “musts” before the 14 should s’.
    1-Pakistani mothers must change their attitude towards the upbringing of their children.
    2-The religious leaders must change their attitude towards their followers.
    3-The teachers must change their attitude towards their students.
    4-The politicians must change their attitude towards their voters.
    5-The traders must change their attitude towards their customers.
    Until these pillars of the society do not change their attitude, nothing will change in Pakistan.

  2. @Suhail, I think the suggested change will be possible only when a different Islam and not the existing one persists . The change in identity of the coutry Pakistan can be caused through a single stroke by declaring it a secular state and amending it’s existing constitution. Momentum of change in right direction will take place by leaving Kashmir issue to the people of Kashmir and Govt. of India and through deployment of army at the western boarders to counter the terrorism.

    • @ Tewari AK, There is only one Islam accepted & practiced by the majority of Muslims world over. To create different versions of Islam that suit this or the other nation is whimsical and therefore carries no substance for Muslims’ mainstream.

      The Wahhabi version though has been forcibly imposed on certain Muslims to suit the needs of the western imperialists, yet in its essence it too is part of the grand Islamic faith practiced by billions of Muslims.

      As regards your proposal on Kashmir i.e. to be left to the Kashmiris is the real solution of the problem. Let the Kashmiris decide whether thy want to be part of India, of Pakistan or if they choose a course for an independent Kashmir.

  3. To whom you are saying these civilized options to change the gangrene like life styles of Pakistanis.
    Pakistan army management is ready to hire men in army, bound in providing them food, shelter, treatment facility and job security while left-overs are kept for the civilians, so you think your 14 “shoulds” be acceptable to them!!
    Kashmir problem gave strength to military supremacy in Pakistani feudal ruling system, so how would they get out of this demand where Qadri or Zardari like characters are kept on front foot for political maneuvering.

  4. There exists only one Islam. What a joke!
    Kashmir is for Indian Kashmiris. If people like you will realize it in Pakistan it is only then that you will be able to keep your nation intact. Otherwise it is at the brink of disintegration.

    • Kashmir is for Indian Kashmiris. [Better ask the Kashmiris whether they are Indian, Pakistani or the Kashmiri Kashmiris].

      You go on repeating the same thing again and again Dr. Tewari and it is interesting for me to see an Indian monitoring Pakistani blog so closely. But you are not alone. Worldwide Web is infested with Indians who don’t have much of a life besides commenting on Pakistani affairs considering, of course, that India is God’s paradise on Earth.

      Anyway what you say is your democratic right but your right may not be right in context of other people, other nations, other countries, other cultures. Its the people, the forces of history, culture, faith and democratic norms which ultimately decide the ultimate truth of your views on different issues.

      Vis-a-vis your views, its the sole right of the people of Pakistan to determine their destiny as it is the sole right of our Indian brothers to determine their destiny in India.

  5. @ Dr. Nayyar, It would be rather improper for me to comment in a way that it could become personal between us. As a matter of fact both issues i.e. of Kashmir and Islam is before the world community for the last many years. It is Pakistan in which democracy could not take roots due to the guns of the Pakistan Army and in the same manner terrorists’ guns are not allowing democracy to survive in Kashmir. Even then we are determined to keep democracy alive there.


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